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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What Is Type Approval?

The United Nations has standardised international Type Approval directives to a common standard, so (in theory) new vehicles produced anywhere in the world can be sold anywhere in the world, because they are all built to meet the same safety and emissions criteria. Vehicle manufacturing is key to a country's success, and VW has played a key role in the fortunes of many countries over the years. However, a Type 2 made in Brazil, for instance, had to undergo a number of modifications before it can be sold here (and the same is true for any vehicle brought in from outside the EU). However, the harmonising of international Type Approval rules, specifically emissions and occupant safety, spelled the end of Brazilian Type 2 production in 2013.

On the back of the UN initiative there is a new EU wide Type Approval directive - the European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA). This Directive applies to all new vehicles, including Motor caravans, and is designed to harmonise all type approval schemes, even the local IVA/LVTA/TUV type tests, across Europe, so each component fitted to a vehicle has to be fit for purpose. By tidying up these annomolies this new directive will allow for each certificated component to be sold anywhere, not just the country it was approved in.

Volkswagen Partners have existed since the late 1950's - companies such as Auto Sleepers and Westfalia have complied European Type Approval for some time. Yet it is the diversity of small business enterprise in this market sector that has delayed the implementation of this legislation for Motor Caravans to be integrated in Group M1. Thus, even the vehicles that meet the standards remain outside the scope of Whole Vehicle Type Approval.

The first of the design compatible T4 Motor Caravans, introduced in the UK in the early 1990's, were built to British Standard 5750 for quality (the forerunner to ISO 9001) and Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) guidelines for Caravans and Motorhomes.

Since then, the rules have changed to account for the array of adaptations that can be made to a vehicle to fulfil specific needs in the marketplace - even involving an entirely new floor and chassis suitably strengthened for harnesses to restrain wheel chairs and occupants.

These could only be sold in the UK with either:
  • Single Vehicle Type Approval (SVA) - which also applies to personal imports from outside the EU
  • Low Volume Vehicle Type Approval (LVTA - for up to 500 units sold annually)
  • Wheel Chair Vehicle Converters Association approval (voluntary).
Only SVA and LVTA UK certificated conversions received Motability and Volkswagen Compatible Design approval. (The model shown here is an Auto Sleeper Trooper with suitable adaptations.)


These "local" tests are also applied to Crew Van, minibus and emergency vehicle conversions built by Volkswagen Partner companies.

The German TUV seat approval involves a pull test corresponding to the size of the seat - the pull test for a two seater Reimo Variotech is six tonnes; for the three seater ones it is ten tonnes, reflecting the momentum generated by the increased mass of a moving object (in this case each passenger and possibly the seat itself).


The TUV tests are held in such high regard the standard is already accepted and recognised across much of Europe and the Developed World. The larger seat manufacturers have TUV accreditation for their products for specific applications.

To gain full Type Approval for fitment to each application, a pull test is carried out with a seat installed in each vehicle type that it is to be approved for (this service is provided at a number of sites around the UK, but it does mess your van up!!!)...





The three point seat belt on the lhd Autohomes Komet shown here is attached to a reinforced steel member fitted across the roof above the rear door - as approved by BS5750.


Individual Vehicle Approval

Since April 29th 2012, all newly built Motor Caravans (on vans up to ten years old) 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. This includes home conversions on WV1 panel vans which are in the N1 light goods vehicle category that require reregistration to Motor caravans in the M1 passenger vehicle category.

Motor Caravans (over 2500kg - so this excludes the T4 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 belt installation and seat must be type approved for your vehicle.

So what, I hear you say?

Well, since April 2012, you have not been allowed to reregister your (up to) 10 year old van as a Motor Caravan without successfully completing an IVA test; therefore, you should have not been able to insure it as a passenger carrying motor caravan if it did not pass an IVA test, as your insurance declaration would have asked how many passenger seats there are in the vehicle...

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

Thus, only a seat which has built-in (integral) three point seat belts (either fixed or retracting) to restrain the occupant are suitable for late T4 panel vans and all T5's, that are intended to carry passengers, as there are no seat belt mounting points in the rear pillars, because they are not designed to withstand the stresses experienced in an accident.

With this application the most important factor (for the same reasons stated above) is the integrety of the seat mounting and the strength of the vehicle floor pan - only more so, as all the collision wave energy and the momentum of the occupant and seat (invariably pushing against each other) will travel through the chassis and floor and the seat (read seat belt) fixings.

Included in this category is the bed-seat from the 1995 on California Exclusive and the latest T5 Kombi, Shuttle, Caravelle and Multivan seats and...



... the Variobank 333 which is specifically designed with the new Type Approval regulations in mind.

Seats designed with integral belts and built-in anchorage points are built to withstand great forces and in themselves they would appear to be wisest choice.



However, the additional bulk and weight of the T5 Multivan seat and latest Variobank seat presents another set of considerations which must also be factored in when working out where to drill - and how many holes to drill - in the floor (and the shear strength of the bolts to be used). The more the merrier, we say, bearing in mind that should all these fixtures fail during a severe accident, these seats could potentially become ejector seats and their occupants could be uprooted backward, forward, sideways, upwards - in any direction, possibly bringing the floor with it as well...

Hence the need for multiple fixing points along the floor, all of which should be used...
 

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If any body wants to know about type approval let me know, my day job is a type approval engineer working for the UK type authority - the vehicle Certification Agency, and caravans and now Motorhomes are one of my subjects,

Cheers

Karl
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Karl

As I understand things, new campers and motorhomes are now subject to full type approval...
 

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You could have had type approval on your new camper for many years, it just wasn't compulsary.

New motorhomes will either be IVA (individual vehicle apporval), National small series approved, or have European type apporval (either small series or full unlimited series)

Most seem to be going for either IVA if they don't build very many, national or full european.

The requirements become slightly more stringent the further up the ladder you go.

there are still alot of convertors though building on pre-registered vans as this is a way of getting around the issue, if this is right or wrong is another thing, however you pays your money and makes your choices, I know what I would be doing if I had the money for a new build. (This is why also the rear seat going in my van is a tested one, and being fitted with large spreader plates etc as it is OK having a tested bed, but if it bolted in with a few small bolts and repair washers it won't do you any good)
 

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Motorhomes have been in the scope of type approval for many years, but because it was not mandated, and there were ways around it alot of people didn't bother. (Big companies have been type approved for years)

The van with either have a:

IVA - individual vehicle approval, where each van is inspected by vosa before being registered, ideal if only small numbers are being made per year, or each van is different, the standards required are the lowest of all the options (but still higher than doing nothing)

National small series - Limited number of each type to be made in 1 year, standard required is not much higher than for IVA really depending on what is being done.

European small series - Again limited numbers, standard required is again 1 step up from national, but it does give the maker the option of selling in europe without having to have a national test in each market.

Full European type approval. - top level, but does allow the seller to make unlimited numbers of each type per year and can be sold in europe without having to do national approvals.

Most converstors are doing either IVA, national or full european.

There are still afair number though building on pre registered vans, and these don't really have any kind of inspection as they are already registered, this is not always a good thing as seat belts should only be fitted to seats which have been tested to prove their strength, and are also fitted securely to the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Since April 29th 2012, all newly built Motor Caravans (on vans up to ten years old) 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. This includes home conversions on WV1 panel vans which are in the N1 light goods vehicle category that require reregistration to Motor caravans in the M1 passenger vehicle category.

Motor Caravans (over 2500kg - so this excludes the T4 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 applied to the final two years of the T4 production as well as all T5's...
 
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