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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    A few years ago, I had a discussion with an insurance assessor.

    Factory fitted towbars were ok as they are certified at the factory. However added on, non-sabs/sans tow and bull bars, different story.
    If you have an accident insurance will/might not pay-out.
    He stated, they are looking for more and more excuses not to pay-out. He said, in a meeting the week before; the manager stated the assessors need to reject more claims.

    And the cops know itís illegal so you open yourself to a fine or bribery
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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    How will they know if it was factory fitted or aftermarket?
    I'd think there are bigger issues in our roads and they going for easy targets like usual.

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  5. #23
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by trev1136 View Post
    Every towbar should have a plate or stamp stating max ratings,ie: tow weight and vertical load. Vertical load is on the ball. And the design should have been tested to the SANS specs for towbars.
    If your towbar says max tow weight is 850kg then you should not be towing a 1 Ton trailer
    Well we all & sundry on this forum has many lengthy discussions on the legal limit of trailers which corresponds with the allowable vehicle limits.
    Nobody checks their balls...err towballs
    This thread has made me aware and went to have a look. Been towing that same some trailer since 1997.

    ...but then I am no angel

    But if I have it right that is a rating for the towball only.
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  6. #24
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    Bicycle racks also have certification. I remember an insurance rep telling me that home made racks will have to go thru sabs testing.

  7. #25
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    Makes more sense now. I wondered what all the fuss was about when the guys making this gadget kept on saying they were waiting for registration/certification...

    All it does is allow adjusting towball heights for different trailers...
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  8. #26
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    The Ranger has a riveted plate and a sticker. Factory towbar.

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  9. #27
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    I would think the tow hitch and bicycle carrier still need a Towbar that is certified or whaterver.
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  11. #28
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    Just checked my Nissan Hardbody's towbar sertification.

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    Last edited by Viertrek; 2021/10/14 at 04:55 PM.

  12. #29
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof View Post
    Well we all & sundry on this forum has many lengthy discussions on the legal limit of trailers which corresponds with the allowable vehicle limits.
    Nobody checks their balls...err towballs
    This thread has made me aware and went to have a look. Been towing that same some trailer since 1997.



    ...but then I am no angel

    But if I have it right that is a rating for the towball only.
    No I do not think so. From what I can see / understand it is a 75kg downward hitch weight and an 850 kg towing weight.
    Peter
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  13. #30
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    So if I bolt a SANS approved towing fixture (with an appropriate sticker), using the correct size and grade bolts, to a homemade bumper am I now legal or illegal?

  14. #31
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by LCamper View Post
    SABS 1505-1 extract below.
    Thank you Lcamper for posting this. Do you know if it has been referenced by the legislation? The existence of a SANS standard does not necessarily mean that it is in fact a requirement of the Act or Regulations.

    I am getting the impression that this matter has been left somewhere in the middle by law makers. The intent was to bring this in as a requirement, and some manufacturers comply to the intent, but it may not yet be law, and there must then be a grandfather clause somewhere.

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  16. #32
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by rob wilson View Post
    Thank you Lcamper for posting this. Do you know if it has been referenced by the legislation? The existence of a SANS standard does not necessarily mean that it is in fact a requirement of the Act or Regulations.

    I am getting the impression that this matter has been left somewhere in the middle by law makers. The intent was to bring this in as a requirement, and some manufacturers comply to the intent, but it may not yet be law, and there must then be a grandfather clause somewhere.
    Hi Rob

    Nee, ek weet nie! Interesting question though.

    You will have to ask the likes of Willem, Half-Pint, New etc how the various codes of practice/acts/gazettes/roads act etc apply and intertwine.

    My understanding is that a code of practice is a gazette. In this case (SANS 1505) is Gazetted in Government Note R243 as No. 23183 March 2002.

    I have also noticed that the code of practice that we talking about, which is more of a technical/engineering code (SANS 1505) allows higher allowable tow ball weights than what is stated in Note No. 355 Gazette No. 26161 26 Maart 2004 which states min of 25kg and max of 100kg.

    Does a rational engineering design (1505) override or possibly supplement the other gazette?. I’ll leave it to the experts to answer.
    Last edited by LCamper; 2021/10/15 at 02:17 PM.

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  18. #33
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by rob wilson View Post
    Thank you Lcamper for posting this. Do you know if it has been referenced by the legislation? The existence of a SANS standard does not necessarily mean that it is in fact a requirement of the Act or Regulations.

    I am getting the impression that this matter has been left somewhere in the middle by law makers. The intent was to bring this in as a requirement, and some manufacturers comply to the intent, but it may not yet be law, and there must then be a grandfather clause somewhere.
    Agreed 100%. Just the fact that there is a standard for this does not imply that it is compulsory to use it. Certainly factory fitted towbars have been done to other standards. The spec plate is desirable, so that you know if/if not you are overloading but not necessarily a legal requirement. Do you or don't you check before departure what the downward pressure on the ball is?

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  19. #34
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    Having received much input on this subject, I was fortunate to also receive informed comment from Mr Bert Mauch of TR Forum (google if you want to learn about towing!). I have copied and pasted Bert's reply to my questions below:

    'The fitment of couplings to tow trailers not exceeding a GVM of 3500 kg is since 2002 regulated by VC 8065:2002 Compulsory Specification for ball type couplings and towing brackets for towing caravans and light trailers.
    This Compulsory Specification makes direct reference to SANS 1505 - 1, 2 and 3 with the only exclusion of the coupling fitted to a vehicle with integrated coupling prior to the point of sale. In other words, it makes SANS 1505 a legal document.

    It therefore means that a coupling ball as per SANS 1505-2 as well as the complete fixture as per SANS 1505-1 (complete bracketing between the chassis of the towing vehicle and the coupling ball, including the drop plate) must comply to all sections of the relevant specification.
    This includes that a data plate is fitted in a conspicuous place, listing all values as outlined in section 6.2 of the specification. In cases where stop plates or other arrangements are used to adjust the height of the ball coupling from the ground, specific attention must be given to section 6.2(e).

    Although this plate might specify a value of 3500 kg for the GVM of the towed vehicle, this does by no way mean that a 3500 kg trailer can be towed. There are further possible limitations through Regulation 151 of the National Road Traffic Regulations, which state that the GVM of a trailer may not be more than the Tare of the towing vehicle, nor may the combination exceed the GCM as stamped on the towing vehicle.
    These are the values stamped on the various data plates and not the values as measured on a weigh bridge at a certain point of time.

    In other words, towing an unladen trailer will be illegal if the masses stamped on the data plates of towing vehicle and trailer are not within the limit of Regulation 151.
    (There are districts within the borders of SA where the regulation is applied, but in other districts there is a certain amount of leniency.)

    The test certificate which you received is a document required by the manufacturer to prove to the NRCS (National Regulator for Compulsory Standards) that the item has been tested and meets all standards when fitted to the test subject, which is considered representative for all items manufactured to the same engineering specifications. It does however not replace a compulsory fitment of a data plate to the tow ball arrangement.' End of quote.
    So, it would seem that the answer is in fact clear. Data plate is required on all towbars unless they are OEM fitment prior to point of sale.

    Thank you for all the comments, and to Bert for providing the definitive information.

  20. #35
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    I am not sure if it has already been stated in the thread. So, forgive me if it has.

    SANS1505 was made a compulsory motor vehicle standard by GG 243 on 8 March 2002. However, the gazette states that it does NOT apply to the tow bar/bracket and ball fitted by the vehicle manufacturer prior to sale. It thus only applies to aftermarket equipment.

  21. #36
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    My Fortuner's Bosal made towbar plate states 90 kg verical and 2000 kg mass.

    I am impressed to hear that there is in fact a traffic officer that appears to know his job! Give the man a Bells!
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  22. #37
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Poen View Post
    My Fortuner's Bosal made towbar plate states 90 kg verical and 2000 kg mass.

    I am impressed to hear that there is in fact a traffic officer that appears to know his job! Give the man a Bells!
    +1
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  23. #38
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    I noticed that the photos of the data plates do not refer to SANS or SABS.
    If I get my towbar checked by a Pr Engineer and stick my own label on does it comply?
    Is there a regulating body?
    Last edited by WayneB; 2021/10/18 at 05:23 PM.
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  24. #39
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    Default Re: Is my towbar legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by WayneB View Post
    I noticed that the photos of the data plates do not refer to SANS or SABS.
    If I get my towbar checked by a Pr Engineer and stick my own label on does it comply?
    Is there a regulating body?
    It is usually good practise for a data plate to refer to the standard it is complying to, but if the standard does not require that marking it may be left off.

    No, applying your own label does not make it comply. You would have to have your physical towbar, or a representative sample of, tested and evaluated to the relevant standard and compulsory specification, SABS1505 and VC8065 in this case, by an approved testing facility. You would then have to submit the test report to the NRCS for their approval.

    The regulating body is the NRCS https://www.nrcs.org.za/business-units/automotive
    The NRCS create and maintain the compulsory specifications (VC's) for a wide variety of products that are required to conform to some type of standard.
    The NRCS is also the body that gives homologation approval and issues NaTis numbers for all vehicles.
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