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Old 07-16-2018, 01:46 AM   #1
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Front hitch and crumple zone and the German TUEV

Hey guys,

today I am thinking about some way of front recovery hook for my 2014 E350 located in Berlin - Germany....

Looking around, reading threads etc. leads to the easiest possibility which seems to be mounting a front hitch receiver. And this is really not expensive.

This is what I am looking for : https://www.curtmfg.com/part/31053
And here are some older discussions : http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...l-18363-2.html

The interefence of the front hitch in conjunction with the crumple zone seems to be not really ideal. What do you think?

And may be somebody could get me some advice regarding the German TUEV / regulations? That might really be an issue for my E350 in Germany.

Cheers Martin
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:11 PM   #2
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I had a front receiver hitch on my E250 and took it off because of my concern with the crumple zone. It bolts directly over the crumple zone part of the frame and I canít see any way that it would not significantly alter the frame properties there, as it bridges almost the entire crumple zone ďcrimpsĒ with solid steel.

With that said, I guess a further discussion would be how well the crumple zone actually works in an E-can and whether one should really be concerned about it.

I picked up two heavy duty tow-point hooks to install, but havenít yet figured out how to mount them to the frame without causing a similar issue.
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Old 07-17-2018, 01:31 AM   #3
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I agree. The hitch does affect the effectiveness of the crumple zone.
If ever, the crumple zone can not be as effective as it is without the square mounted hitch receiver.

One could may be mount hooks to the points where the hitch is usually mounted. But then towing could probably bend the frame ends?
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Old 07-18-2018, 04:30 AM   #4
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This is entirely my personal opinion and should be taken only as that........

Given the nature of the E-Series body-on-frame construction the frame crumple zones are somewhat meaningless relating to any safety improvements they might suggest. If anything a front-mounted receiver mounted aligned with or slightly behind those indentations could possibly transfer any front collision energy further back on the frame. This might serve to better protect the foot well portion of the cab should frontal damage be enough to "travel" that far backwards.

Relating to any German TUEV regulations I'm not familiar with those so can't add anything there.

Again just my opinion; having once owned a body shop and repaired many a similar body-on-frame vehicle that construction is quite different from unit body vehicles where crumple zones et al are designed and built-in to absorb or redirect collision energy.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:22 PM   #5
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I'm with JWA - The crumple zone in the E-series will not do anything in most crashes. High-speed into a stationary object, maybe. Into another car, no.

I hit a metal freeway barrier with my van at 60 MPH, only the left radius arm bracket bent. Frame did not need straightening from this.

This Ambulance was in a 50 MPH head-on crash with a Chevy Tahoe, and it looks like the frame on this is still fine too.


But... I can understand any reservations a TUV officer may have, since a front hitch would stiffen it even more. The rear pair of bolts really don't do much, except resist negative tongue-weight forces, which are unlikely on a front hitch. You could easily replace these with a shear-bolt, and maintain full functionality of the hitch. In a crash, once the shear bolts shear, the hitch would no longer bridge the crumple-zone.
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Old 07-21-2018, 06:06 PM   #6
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This discussion calls to mind the Econoline Crash Safety thread from a couple of years ago:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ety-17640.html
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Old 07-22-2018, 04:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glider View Post
This discussion calls to mind the Econoline Crash Safety thread from a couple of years ago:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ety-17640.html
That's a great video in that link----typical body-on-frame collision damage that would almost certainly be written off as a total loss due the repair costs of the body and frame.

If vans have any "advantage" over typical passenger vehicles its that the occupants sit higher above the ground than say a Honda Civic or similar vehicle. Impacts from those tend to be directed downward under the frame which minimizes occupant injuries due direct contact. Whiplash injuries are another story as they are in any auto collision.

When/if one E-Series hits another or collides with any other vehicle of similar size/weight that advantage immediately disappears, vulnerabilities of the design demonstrated quite clearly. I myself don't drive 10 feet without constantly interrogating my rear view mirrors, traffic directly around me and other forms of defensive driving I probably don't realize I practice daily.

No the E-Series aren't marvels of body construction or occupant protection which is useful only if we're aware of this while driving them.
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:35 PM   #8
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I feel a lot safer in my E-van SMB than I did in my 1988 VW Vanagon Westy at least :-) That was like death waiting to happen on a front-end accident!
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Old 07-22-2018, 03:44 PM   #9
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One thing I know is smb welds a plate over those joints and has been once they started doing the 4x4 systems in house. Itís one of the things I was told might be a good idea because I do use my winch and I might pull out the expansion joint.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:29 AM   #10
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i aggree, the crash zone seems to be very different from modern vehicles.
It looks somewho meaningless for most situations
So taking this into account I would mount it and not think about crumble zone issue any longer.

But for the German regulations and homologation its a diffent story.
Suppose I go the TUEV officer/engineer and tell them - this crash zone is not what it seems to be . They might feel a bit f***ed ?

cheers,
Martin
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