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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Currently Motor Caravans are exempt from European Type Approval rules. However this is about to change. As of April 29th 2012, all newly built Motor Caravans (on vans up to ten years old) will need to pass an Individual Vehicle Approval examination. This test has already replaced the SVA test for normal cars (since April 2009) in the M1 category.

Motor Caravans (over 2500kg - so this excludes the 800 and 888 Specials) are considered as Special Purpose Vehicles, along with vehicles adapted for Motability use, Ambulances, Hes and Armoured Cars. As such these vehicles have their own specific tests...

Here are some extracts from the new IVA Testers manual...

Section 19 Seat Belt Anchorages

Page 141

"the required standards do not apply to seats intended solely for use when the vehicle is stationery..."

however

"at least anchorages are required for lap belts for all rear seating postions"

Page 143

Where a vehicle is presented with this type of seat, the presenter will be required to provide evidence that the seats of this type... meet the requirements for an M1 category vehicle. This should be in the form of a declaration from the vehicle converter or seat manufacturer making reference to the vehicle concerned, confirming that the seats fitted (other than the original manufacturers seats) meet the strength and positional requirements of Directive 76/115/EEC for a category M1 vehicle and supported by documentative evidence of the seat test results.

i.e the seat needs to be type approved for your vehicle.

So what, I hear you say?

Well, from April 2012, you will not be allowed to reregister your (up to) 10 year old van as a Motor Caravan; therefore, you will not be able to insure it as a motor caravan if it does not pass an IVA test...

The 2012 date means that this ruling applies to the final two years of the T4 production as well as all T5's...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Interesting.
does this apply to DIY conversions?
Yes, but only for vans upto tens years old...

There is still no requirement to actually fit rear seat belts on passenger carrying seats in home built motor caravans even though the anchorage points must be present, as far as I can see (watch this space, though - that is currently under review).

However, I do foresee legal ramifications for all passenger carrying motor caravan owners involved in accidents, if they fall short of these requirements...

By the way, if a seat is not intended for passenger use, on the road, then there should be a sign present saying so...

There is nearly 300 pages in this manual...

The way the seats are mounted to the body, the position of the seat, the positioning of the release mechanism (must in within reach from outside the vehicle) and the method of locking the backrest upright are all checked.
 

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RE IVA tests for motorcaravans.
So if this directive comes to pass, do we know anybody out there who manufactures these beds with seatbelt fixings AND the necessary paperwork to present at an IVA test. If thereisn't then a lot of people are going to have uninsurable vehicles!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Generally, the manufacturers include all the necessary documentation with the seat...

So far as I know the only seats type approved for the T4 are the RIB seat and Variotech, and they have a range of seats type approved for the T5, the Nissan/Renault/Vauxhall/Opel, Transit, etc...

Which is one reason why they are so expensive - their designs have to be crash tested in each vehicle to get the certificate that the vehicle owner needs to present at the IVA inspection...

Whether T4 vans and Caravelles over ten years old with non approved seats (including the T5 Multivan seat - in a T4) would be uninsurable, is yet to be tested, as the T4 now comes under the VW Camper banner with some of the club insurance brokers, thanks to it's popularity.

This IVA test applies to all vans converted to carry passengers as well - if the vehicle is not capable of carrying passengers (i.e a permanently flat bed is fitted) then type approval is not an issue...

Other items in the IVA radar are tyre load ratings (matched to the axle weight of the van - see the chart in FAQ's relating to this).

Also, with particular regard to personal imports from the US and Asia, the absence of E numbers on tyres, lights and glass will be an issue, and the speedo must read in miles per hour, headlights must dip to the left, the rear foglamp must be on the right and the front indicators must be visible as if you were standing one metre from the vehicle's side - all carry overs from the SVA test which was phased out in April this year (2009)

Ergo, all personal imports now currently have to undergo the IVA test in order to get a UK number plate...
 

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I spoke yesterday to a seat/bed manufacturer, one of the well praised ones and they seemed unaware of the issue. I also spoke to a conversion company specialising in VW T4/5s among other makes of van and they said they do not supply any certification and would not be considering any action until the directive was in force.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I spoke yesterday to a seat/bed manufacturer, one of the well praised ones and they seemed unaware of the issue. I also spoke to a conversion company specialising in VW T4/5s among other makes of van and they said they do not supply any certification and would not be considering any action until the directive was in force.
I only found out through some trade press, four months after the SVA test was scrapped, so I'm not surprised that it is not common knowledge (although my sources for the seat belt threads were aware of that some changes were on the cards)...

I'm finding it increasingly typical that we are not made aware of stuff like this until it is almost on top of us (I'm refering to the LEZ here, which had apparantly been put out to public consultation yonks ago).

Anyway, I'm doing my best to keep on top of it all - as soon as I get wind of something you'll be the first to know about it...
 

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Our prposed coversion was to gain us unquestioned access to caravan sites, some operators are not happy about VANS on site. Well, we have decided against a conversion in view of the lack of clarity. Can't afford to invest £5/6000.00 and have to test in court, whether or not the seat belt anchors conform. It's also not clear either, whether a 12 year old van with a ( by 2012 ) two year old conversion falls under the ten year rule,ie is it the age of the van or the conversion? My own insurance company requires an Engineers report , rightly so, and - - - I was planning to have an IVA test for that purpose. The status quo is , shove the vintage motorbike in the van and hookup the caravan!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Our prposed coversion was to gain us unquestioned access to caravan sites, some operators are not happy about VANS on site. Well, we have decided against a conversion in view of the lack of clarity. Can't afford to invest £5/6000.00 and have to test in court, whether or not the seat belt anchors conform. It's also not clear either, whether a 12 year old van with a ( by 2012 ) two year old conversion falls under the ten year rule,ie is it the age of the van or the conversion? My own insurance company requires an Engineers report , rightly so, and - - - I was planning to have an IVA test for that purpose. The status quo is , shove the vintage motorbike in the van and hookup the caravan!!
Just clarified on the top page that the IVA is for conversions on vans upto ten years old (from April 2012) - fitting seat belts is well covered on the Forum - click on Search in the Tool Bar, then Tag Search, which will present you with the Tag Cloud...

Yes, I agree, some sites do get clicky when it comes to motor caravans - even the Factory ones!
 

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Our prposed coversion was to gain us unquestioned access to caravan sites, some operators are not happy about VANS on site. Well, we have decided against a conversion in view of the lack of clarity. Can't afford to invest £5/6000.00 and have to test in court, whether or not the seat belt anchors conform. It's also not clear either, whether a 12 year old van with a ( by 2012 ) two year old conversion falls under the ten year rule,ie is it the age of the van or the conversion? My own insurance company requires an Engineers report , rightly so, and - - - I was planning to have an IVA test for that purpose. The status quo is , shove the vintage motorbike in the van and hookup the caravan!!

I am pretty confident that if you register a vehicle as a motorcaravan before the 2012 date then it will always be registered as such and there will be no need for any further questions from DVLA etc. You also dont need an IVA (but of course I am sure you could get one). An engineers report is OK, but mostly of use if you have done structural work, but is quite good to attach to your change of description request and keep the DVLA happy.
As I understand it, from 2012 any newly registered vehicles changing from a van to a motorcaravan or newly registered motorcaravans will have to have an IVA if at the time of application they are under 10 years old.
So if you convert now and dont wait until 2012 to change the V5 then these rules will not affect you.
Of course, no matter what you do, you wont always please the little Hitlers who run some caravan sites:*.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
You'll need to get your up to 10 year old van IVA'd if you want to register it as a Motor Caravan (if it isn't already), which may or may not also affect how you insure it.

This also applies to vans converted to carry passengers...

If you don't feel the need to reregister, then so be it, but it's the insurance ramifications that are the big unknown for these up to 10 year old van conversions.

You don't have to have a professionally built van, but you need to be able to prove that the seats fitted have been Type Approved for that vehicle and the seat belt anchorage points are upto scratch.
 

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I think I may have mis-read your earlier post about this not coming into force until 2012.
I take it that the test is now a legal requirement if you want to change your classification on the V5 to camper?
I have a rear seat from a supplier on here, that does not have type approval.
It does have seat belts fitted, so If I try to change my V5 to camper, will it need a IVA test?
If so, It will not pass on this point alone. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
A short answer to your questions, Jurasic, is to get it reregistered before the test kicks in, in April 2012 - you may find your insurance will be cheaper, especially if you insure through Adrian Flux or Chris Knott, who recognise this Forum as a club, because of our affiliation with the ABVWC...

No vehicle legislation has ever been retrospective, apart from the children under 3 seat belt rule (where they must be restrained - if no seat belts are present in a vehicle then a child under 3 can't travel in it)...

Also, the IVA test only applies to vans ten years old and younger, so, no doubt, these none type approved seats will continue to be sold and fitted (and I include T5 Multivan, Previa and Bongo seats in this) but we now know that a line has been drawn for newer vehicles, including late, 2002 on, model T4's...
 

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The Variotech seat I used a few years ago had tonnes of TuV approval certificates with it. Meanwhile I'm picking up another Variotech tomorrow so I'll make sure all the paperwork is included. On the old T4 variotech the belts used the VW mounts for the reels so that helps but the seat had the buckles attached. One interesting thing I heard this week was that the pictures you see on the Reimo website shows some funky slim headrests which took away allowing you to fold the seat without removing them but they haven't got the TuV approval yet so all the seats being sold still have the std headrests.

I cant fault the idea of a motorcaravan IVA test. Whats the point in VW fitting the drivers seat with all manner of air bags and pretensioners if you get flattened by the rear bed in a crash?
 

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I remembered at the weekend that I read *somewhere* that the legislation regarding camper conversions was changing - have spent the last 2 days trawling the net trying to find some info. on it - imagine my surprise when I found out it was on T4 all along... (should've guessed really I: - good shout StephenTazz)


anyway this should prob. be made a very BIG sticky as it's going to have quite a major impact on builds within the next year or so (I thought the changes came in in April 2011 - so basically I’m very relieved to have re-found this thread as it's taken the pressure off to find, complete and register a van before next April - WHEW!!!)
 
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