Friday, 25 August 2017
Although it had previously been registered, the former owner had made modifications that substantially increased the tare (unladen) weight.
That heavier weight meant we could only add around 70kg in total of water, gear, clothes etc - while still remaining within the legal range for a single-axle 750kg (fully loaded) trailer. In effect, if we put in the mattress and only partially filled the water tank we would be over-loaded. The previous owner had started the process of having the trailer approved for registration in a higher weight category but hadn't continued due to a death in the family.
We thought everything seemed fairly straight-forward - but we were wrong! What a saga! Nick and I both researched. We received various conflicting advice and I was beginning to think we might never camp anyway other than in our back yard!
At some stage, the former owner called in to drop off some spare keys. He gave us the name of a mechanic who had previously seen the trailer. When that lovely guy attended, he looked at all our paperwork and asked what we were doing?! He explained the flaws in our interpretation of the process - and advised how we should properly proceed. He was definitely a man with a plan!
On his advice I arranged for another wonderful man to inspect the trailer and provide modification certification, which included attaching the necessary "mod plate" to our trailer. When that was done, my first adviser returned to complete a roadworthy/safety inspection and then I was ready to present all my certificates to the motor registry.
When I was standing at the service counter waiting for all the relevant data to be processed, the registry computer stalled. I half-expected the operator to say "computer says no"! Fortunately there wasn't an issue and I was soon handing over the registration fee.
Given all the angst I was a bit stunned when I actually exited the motor registry with my brand-new number plate, which proves the camper trailer now has a legal ATM of 1200kg! Hooray!