Is Mazda BT50 (Ranger) suitable for carrying "slide on" on/off roads?

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 17:07
ThreadID: 106728 Views:12589 Replies:13 FollowUps:40
This Thread has been Archived
Hi all, I would like to revive an older archived thread from a couple of years ago.
Thread ID is: 94799.

It’s a great thread that so many contributed to re: the BT-50 (Ranger) abilities to carry weight on its tray. We are hoping to avoid the same experience where the poster eventually moved to a Landcruiser ute, which is obviously a more heavy duty vehicle. Unfortunately we will be carrying more weight than they did but on a newer model vehicle.

If the poster happens to read this post, was the BT-50 still drivable after the incidents you had, as in could you drive it to a mechanic or did it have to be towed somehow?

I have read this above mentioned thread a couple of times as we are seriously considering doing a very similar thing on a Mazda BT-50 XT Freestyle (extra cab) cab chassis. Given it’s a couple of years on I am hoping there might be more information available from this forum audience on the new BT-50 (Ranger) off-road with a load on off-road and maybe some better news. For example:
- Has anyone seen and willing to comment on BT-50s or Ford Rangers performance with slide ons around Cape York which is definitely a trip we want to do in the future (or some of the long desert tracks or in sand dunes)?

- Can it still comfortably pass a road train or other vehicles with the slide-on on?

- Does anyone have or know anyone with a slide on on a BT50 or Ranger and how has their vehicle been performing with the weight both on and off road and importantly what if any modifications did they make and did they achieve the handling balance where they still enjoy driving the vehicle with or without load?

- As my slide on will only be on 10-20% of the time a comfortable ride with or without load will be important to us as is how the vehicle handles. With this in mind what mandatory modifications should I be considering?

The slide on we are looking at for the BT-50 XT 4X4 Freestyle (extra cab) cab chassis (not dual cab) weight 360kg dry weight. The Travelander Standard Trayback Evron DC1 slide on is the dual cab model which is the same model they sell for an extra cab vehicle like the BT-50. Link here: Evron DC1 Brochure

We have carefully calculated our total weight and allowed for few modifications we would like to make to our set up and I expect on a long trip we would total about 3100kg weight and the current BT-50 has a GVM of 3200kg. The only good thing about this number is that I am confident at all times we will be under the GVM and most trips we would be 3000kg or less as most of the trips we do are pretty gentle as far as off road is concerned.

Unfortunately if we can’t make this work we may have to consider a off-road camper trailer (even though we have tried camper trailers and we don’t want to tow anything and we would much prefer a slide on as we camp out of a Prado with a tent at the moment which works well). Most likely we would keep my current Prado as I do not need a ute for work. The Landcruiser and Patrol utes are just not comfortable enough for me nor do they really have an extra cab configuration that we would like.

As yet we have not spent any money on either the ute or slide on so we haven’t broken anything as yet :-)
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Reply By: Ross M - Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 17:56

Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 17:56
I haven't really gone into the issue of a slide on a ute chassis but it isn't the so much the weight you are carrying or if you are under or near GVM it is the amount of that weight which is acting behind the centre of the rear axle and trying to bend the chassis upwards in or near the middle. Usually this stress is concentrated froward of the leaf springs front hanger point.

A previous thread a while ago showed a Hilux which had that problem, correctly positioned ie, weight then possibly OK.

Don't like the thought of overtaking or passing a road train with one on though. Pull over and stop or buy and icecream and eat it while he gets in front of you.
AnswerID: 528407

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 18:25

Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 18:25
We have an F250 extra cab with an 8ft tub with a Palomino Real Lite poptop slideon which weighs 750kg with a full gas bottle and full water tank (80l) on the back and I don't think I'd like to have a smaller vehicle than the Effie with a slideon on the back especially on dirt or off road. Think about where the weight is and the effect on vehicle stability.
Ideally the majority of the weight should be forward of the axle and as low as possible, with an extracab you are behind from the start as the extra length in the cab pushes the weight back behind the rear axle.
AnswerID: 528409

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 20:17

Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 20:17
Thanks Ozhumvee and Ross M.

When I looked at a few of the slide-ons at the camping show in Melbourne last weekend they all seemed to have heavy items like batteries, water tank etc at the end of the slide-on near the cab. When we would pack the slide-on we would put our heavier items near the cab also which hopefully will be in the front of the rear axle. We will also have some storage in the back of the cab and potentially also in first part of the tray before the slide-on so we should have some options as to where we store heavier items.

I will contact the various suppliers and attempt to work out how much weight will sit behind the rear axle and also on the rear and front axles individually. Unfortunately we can't push the unit any more forward as we were told it needs to hang 50mm over the edge of the tray at the rear so the slide-on legs can swing down to allow the slide-on to stand on the ground.

Any idea how many kilos behind the rear axle might be a problem or who I might talk to about whether this is an issue or not off road?
FollowupID: 810943

Reply By: Member - Timnivo - Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 21:50

Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 21:50
G'day Sam39. I think the xtra cab would carry it ok, if it is the dual cab model evron. I think you would have to keep the tray length shorter than the normal 2100mm though.
Better to have a shorter length tray and the camper right against the headboard for the best weight distribution. You should be able to put some sort of rack on the roof of the extra cab to carry a second tyre and some lighter gear.
If it was me I would be putting a dual cab length tray (1800mm) on it if possible. If you must have the standard length xtra cab tray, a chassis stretch around 300mm would be a must if you wish to tackle some of the rougher remote tracks.
I have a dual cab slideon (piggyback) but went a different way converting a 200series wagon to a dualcab with a 650mm chassis extension. Good luck with it!! Timnivo.
AnswerID: 528417

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 09:56

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 09:56
Good point Timnivo. I will have a look into this as it might be possible to put the 1800mm version on the extra cab vehicle, thus pushing the weight more forward. I did briefly consider converting the Prado or other vehicle but its looks quite costly and where possible I would prefer to keep the vehicle as close to its original as possible.

So far I have only really looked at the Fleettrades tray that has steel sides. It has the bonus of being able to attach the slide-on straps to the steel sides rather than the chassis. They do have the 1800mm version so I will ask them about it.

I was hoping for the longer tray though so I could build some additional storage (approx 350mm gap) between the cab and the slide-on and storage some heavier items here like recovery gear, second battery, beer, tools, solar panel. Possibly some of these could go in the rear of the cab if we coud fit everything.
FollowupID: 810974

Follow Up By: Hoyks - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 10:56

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 10:56
Just go with the standard length tray as to fit the shorter one you may find the chassis sticks out or you keep clocking your shins on the tow bar, especially if you are working down that end cooking and stuff. It will also be easier to on-sell a reasonably standard vehicle than one that is missing a foot of tray.

That said, when you fit the camper, just slide it up against the headboard of the ute and when you open the kitchen you now have an inbuilt bench top. Some tool boxes forward of the rear wheels will give you some handy storage for recovery gear that is out of the way.

Don't be tempted to fit airbags either. They will install a pivot point in the chassis that the engineers never planned on having. the only real way to do it is go with springs rated for the load and put up with the bounce when it is unladen. Under done springs will see the suspension getting compressed to the point that the bump stops also impact the chassis, which is not a good thing over time.

This is my home made version and sitting it forward it doesn't look too out of place and the balance is good. The vehicle is about to be upgraded to a BT50 too.

FollowupID: 810988

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 14:04

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 14:04
Thanks Hoyks,
I reckon your slide-on does look good and I like the idea of the instant kitchen etc. The was considering doing a similar thing until I found out that the Travelander needs to hang 50mm over the end of the tray for the rear legs to swing down so unfortunately this isn't an option for this slide-on but it might be possible should we eventually go something else. I will find out what sticks out if we went the shorter chassis (not preferred) as we wouldn't be getting a tow bar.

We are definitely keeping re-sale in mind, so I am trying to keep it reasonably standard for those reasons.

It would be interesting to hear how you slide-on goes on the new BT50.
Do you know how much you slide-on etc weighs fully loaded?
FollowupID: 811007

Follow Up By: Hoyks - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 17:12

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 17:12
The box with the tent attached (60kg) would be around the 140kg mark.
Then I stick in it a fridge, second battery, cooking gear, chairs, 40kg of tool box, food, some water etc.

So ready to roll it would be around the 4-500kg mark.
FollowupID: 811026

Follow Up By: Hoyks - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 17:24

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 17:24
So, if the asthmatic normally aspirated 2.5L diesel putting out a whopping 64kW can haul it along at the speed limit (overtaking? Forget that!), then a new BT50 at 147kW and almost 3 times the torque at 1/2 the rpm should be able to do it.
FollowupID: 811027

Reply By: Slow one - Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 22:02

Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 22:02
There are a couple of things going for you. One is the fact you are looking at an extra cab and not a twin cab, this will help, the suicide doors on the Bt50 are also excellent.
The other is the fact the later utes have a much stronger chassis compared with utes of a few years ago.

I carry 300kg in the back of my extra cab and have a ball weight of 250kg from the van. I have an extra 300kg spring rating as well and all sits level when loaded. The ute loaded weighs 2800 kg and add the 250kg, it comes to around 3050kg. The stock suspension won't be heavy enough at all to do the job, so a spring upgrade would have to be installed. Some will point you toward airbags, but they place a great strain on the chassis at a point that wasn't designed for loading. That is my view on them.

Yep, you will want to keep you heavy items forward and over the rear axle. As for passing, you will have no problems at all with the slide on. On thing to make sure of is the quoted weight of the slide on is correct. Sometimes manufacturers can be a little liberal with their figures.

I saw a dual cab Amarok with slide on that had stock suspension, and that was one scary sight I can tell you.

With you vehicle weight remember to factor in any accessories. Bullbar and long range fuel tank + the extra fuel all add up.

Some are talking about the Iveco daily 4wd dual cab so this might be worth a look. Otherwise for something that can carry weight easily and is comfortable, the F truck might be an option.
AnswerID: 528418

Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 23:32

Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 23:32
I saw a scarier sight at Hell's Gates last year!
A Ford Ranger with a broken chassis, he had to leave his 14' van at Hell's Gates & limp back to Burketown to try to get it welded.

FollowupID: 810959

Follow Up By: Slow one - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 06:20

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 06:20
which model Bt50/ranger. The new ones have a much heavier chassis.

Yes, you can break their backs, but then again give me any ute, including even a cruiser and I guarantee I can destroy it in 24 hours.

FollowupID: 810965

Follow Up By: Slow one - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 08:22

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 08:22
I just bought up an image of a new ranger with a broken chassis, looking at the photo all the weight was behind the rear axle. With the extra cab it is approximately 900mm from the centre of the axle to the back of the cab, which brings the weight forward compared with the dual cab.
FollowupID: 810967

Follow Up By: Shaker - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 08:29

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 08:29
I didn't check the compliance plate, I was just told the whole rig was under a year old. I wouldn't be interested in a ute that had to be loaded in front of the rear axle,
The one I saw broken didn't have much in the back anyway.
FollowupID: 810969

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 09:33

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 09:33
Wow... I just had a look at the Aveco Daily 4x4 looks amazing. At this stage I don't think we can stretch the budget that far or cope with number of underground car parks I wouldn't be able to get into around Melbourne. If I was near retirement and had a lot more time to spend in the bush it would be well worth a more serious look though, maybe its the next vehicle!

I have carefully worked through what we would carry and changes I would want to make to the ute over the next few years. Worse case we would be up around the 3100kg mark if I have miscalculated as there is a few things we could do without.

@Shaker, was the Ranger you saw a dual cab as these seem to be the main offender for more easily damaging the?

@Slow one, what suspension uplift did you go with on your extra cab? I have been hearing mix reports about air bags so if I can avoid them in my situation then I probably will.
FollowupID: 810973

Follow Up By: Slow one - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 12:50

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 12:50

I used the OME 300kg suspension with a 2" lift, and I am satisfied with the result. The valving in the front seems a little strange as on certain bitumen roads the front can be a little rough, but once on corrugations all is good.

I believe different suspensions are offered in 300, 450 and 600kg upgrades from different suspension suppliers.

You may gain more information and be able to ask questions on the new ranger forum which also encompasses the BT50. Just don't be put off by some of the posts. You will see common problems when you get a lot of posts on one subject, and a couple that come to mind are the bypassing of the erg system, and the turning of of the alternator smart charge on the Rangers.

My way of thinking on air bags is you are placing load on the chassis where it was never designed to be, if a long support former was manufactured to sit over the chassis and spread the load, I would have not problems with airbags. Many seem to use them without problems but I myself have reservations.
FollowupID: 811004

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 15:24

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 15:24
Thanks Slow one. I wasn't aware of the Ranger forum, I will have a look and maybe post something there also.

What does "valving in the front" mean?
Do you still enjoy driving it with and without load?

I had an OME suspension uplift put in a previous Patrol Wagon from years ago and it served me well, so I may consider going that way again.
FollowupID: 811016

Follow Up By: Slow one - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 15:51

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 15:51
they are the valves that control the rebound of the shock or strut by controlling the flow of oil in the shock.

I am sure if you google it you will get better answers than I can give.

As for load, the vehicle is very good to drive both empty and loaded. The springs seem to be progressive enough so as to to eliminate the kick in the back action from the heavier rear springs.

Here is the link to the forum, you will just have to register. I believe 4wd action mag also has one for the BT50/ PX Ranger.

newranger forum
FollowupID: 811020

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 17:47

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 17:47
Thanks, posted on Ranger forum.
Heres the link:Ranger forum topic
FollowupID: 811029

Reply By: disco driver - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 01:31

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 01:31
Hope this helps.
My Mazda B2600 Freestyle is a model or two earlier than the current models but the well back tray on mine and also the current model is a bit over 1800mm long with the tailgate up, tailgate overhangs rear of the chassis by about 150mm or so when closed
The rear axle is about 450-550mm behind the back of the freestyle cab. I'm judging these dimensions by eye but usually am pretty close to my estimates.

These measurements should give you an idea if your proposed plan will work.
As long as your slide-on does not hang out the rear by too much and you keep the weight down to a minimum and as far forward as possible and do NOT tow anything heavy (preferably nothing at all) it should work out ok.

AnswerID: 528434

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 10:02

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 10:02
Thanks, that does give me an idea for now.
I will go back to suppliers as ask them for the specific measurements so I have get an accurate measurement of there the load will be. When I went to the tray place on Friday they have a few in there being worked on.
FollowupID: 810976

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 11:16

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 11:16
Here we go again...the same old story.

Take a vehicle then load it up to very close to it maximum legal GVM...THEN expect to off road it.

Somehow this will always result in disapointment.

I have a mate who baught a BT50.....real good ute in the current he went and baught a slide on.....yeh well on paper that all looked fine.....till he started driving at arround, towing a trailer and doing some light off roading.

A yeh...well then....current situation is that the BT50 now has the chasis lengthened and an extra axle under the back of its a 6x4 not a will go off road.....but its crippled because it does not drive all wheels.....but its a bit more comfortable to drive.

We keep comming back to people running way to close to the GVM.

This IS a problem even on the highway.

take the lead of the army....they ( or at least the did) rate vehicles two ways....the vehicle had a on road rating that represented what would be the civilian load rating, then they also had an off road load rating that was considerably varied from vehicle to vehicle but typically 1/2 to 2/3 of the payload off road.

NOW the issue compounds with slide on campers......thay have an unavoidably high centre of gravity.
They may work out OK on a much lower centre f gravity 2WD...but put 6 inches under the centre of gravity by going to a 4wd and its a whole other story.

So here we are with a vehicle loaged very close to its GVM, with a high centre of gravity....and you want to drive this off road.

Now here is another little may have done your maths..and it may seem to come down OK......curb weight, pluss payload and you are still under GVM...yeh well you may still be overloaded on one of the axles...depending on how the weight distribution is.

Remember too if you ever expect to tow a trailer, the ball weight must be deducted from the GVM and the towing capacity may look good.....but how does the Gross Combination Mass work out.

Serioulsy...if you need a truck buy a truck.
Or you may be better off with a camper trailer or caravan.

AnswerID: 528463

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 15:16

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 15:16
Thanks Bantam, I can assure you I share your scepticism re: BT50 carrying this amount of weight. Its why we put this post here to hear from others who may be doing it or hear about others experiences that people have seen out in the bush such as your mate. It sounds like he has had his fair share of adventure and we certainly do not want to be in a similar situation. Do you know how much weight he would have been carrying on his ute chassis and where he had the problems?

RE: towing, I won't even be buying a tow bar so no plans to tow anything which is why I don't want a camper trailer. The little boat we are planning on will go on top of any future rig which is one of the items pushing us up towards 3100kg on a long trip.

RE: off-road, in the last 5 years that we have had the Prado (suspension uplift only) we have hardly seen any corrugation. Its only been to southern NSW, SA and Victoria. The previous Patrol wagon I had for 12 years and it went around Australia for 5 months (towed an off-road trailer) and I would be surprised if the BT50 could not handle what we did then, saying that we definitely didn't have a huge load or did any of the central desert tracks or cape york. I can say that we are never in a hurry, we are picky about road conditions and weather and we can change our plans when we go anywhere as we are pretty gentle with the vehicle we drive compared to many I have seen.

Are people seeing Rangers or BT50s in these remote places with a slide-on or towing a trailer?

The challenge with any vehicle for us is that 90% of the time we need a car and so I am trying to find a way to reduce the risk as much as possible that we will have issues and still be able to enjoy the other 10% safely. If we can't do this we will have to re-consider our options and make compromises elsewhere.

I agree, we do have some more work to do to make sure we are not overloading either axle and work out where our weight is distributed etc. The initial assessment we did seemed like our rear axle load would be okay but it needs to be more precise. I will post some more information about this over the next week.

If the rear axle can carry a max of 1857Kg. Can anyone tell where that weight load would be calculated from on the cab end chassis?
My guess by looking at the brochure (see attached links) is that it
would be 1610mm from the centre of the rear axle if the measurement between the axles is 3220mm which is how I read the brochure.
BT50 Weights
BT50 Dimensions

I definitely need to understand the high centre of gravity issue more as much of the weight as I understand it will be at the tray level. Maybe that is what you are saying, i.e. that anything at tray level is still high, if that is the case, is the main issue then general vehicle handling and rollover?
FollowupID: 811015

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 16:09

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 16:09
Unless I have worked it out incorrectly we would be at about 540Kg under the rear axle max capacity of 1857Kg. That assumes everything that we might plan to carry in the BT50 including passengers in the front, tray, slide-on etc are carried by the rear axle.
FollowupID: 811021

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 17:50

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 17:50
If you think most of the weight of a slide on is at tray level...and that means a low centre of are dreaming.

As you go higher you need very little weight to raise your centre of gravity and make the vehicle unstable.

OH and add a boat on top of that....yeh well

This is why most stationwaggons are limited to 100KG or there abouts carried on the roof.

Weight carried on the roof has been identified and a significant factor in the high incidence of backpacker, troopie accidents on frazer island.

That is with a troopie that has a load bed nearly a foot lower than a ute.

It is wise to remember that slide on campers like caravans are in general not cleverly engineered, are not built with cutting edge materials and are mosty designed by welders not engineers.....there is no requirement for any meaningfull certification and certainly no requirement for lanechange/swerve testing..

I have seen a few on the road and just the hold down arrangements frighten the bjesus out of me.

As far as your estimate of the rear axle loading....your earler maths shoed that you where only a couple of hundred Kg under GVM.
540Kg under rear axle capacity......I doubt it very much.

I run a hilux with a similar rear axle rating..I carry a very light aluminium tray with a fibreglass canopy..and I travel pretty lightly loaded & I am not 540Kg under on the rear axle.

FollowupID: 811030

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 18:31

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 18:31
Hi Bantam, I may well be incorrect as this is the first time I have tried to work this out, any assistance from anyone on how to calculate this value would be appreciated. These are the figures I am getting from the Mazda specs brochure.

GVM: 3200, Front axle max: 1480kg, Rear axle max: 1850Kg
These add up to more than 3200Kg which is the GVM not axle max capacities.

I assumed that 0Kg is on the cab chassis loaded when it comes out of the factory, this could be very wrong, I am not sure how to find out this number otherwise. The calculations we have made tell us that we want to put a max of 1300kgs in the BT50 as a whole. For easy calculating I assumed all of this would be on the rear axle including passengers in the front seat, tray etc. Therefore 1850Kg - 1300Kg = 550Kg

FYI: the boat we are looking at is Quickboat tech spec.
A bit about how it folds up: Unfolding the quickboat
The big long bag up top weighs 36Kgs.
FollowupID: 811033

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 21:10

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 21:10
The problem is that without intimate about how weight is distributed...which realy does not exist...none of this can be calculated with any sort of accuracy.

The best you will manage is a vague idea.

the first you will know with any certainty, is when you stick it over the weigh bridge.

The asumption that you start with zero is also wrong.

The curb weight of the cab chassis does not include a full tank of fuel, the weight of the tray or any accessories.

Its a good thing that the maximum axle capacities don't add up to the GVM...because the front/rear weight split is not always easy to predict or calculate.

IF the camper s wheight is centred over the axle...well then you can assume that that weight is borne on the rear axe....has the camper manufacturer given you a centre of gravity measurement in writing.

Um yeh thaught not.

FollowupID: 811058

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 09:04

Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 09:04
Ok, so its smoke and mirrors, I will see what I can get out of Mazda.

The reason I started with 0Kg on the rear axle is that we have allowed for fuel, tray, accessories etc in our calculations to be conservative and we were still more than 500kgs under the rear axle weight. I agree it looks a lot under I will try and find out how this number is calculated.

I think I read somewhere that kerb weight includes 10% of the fuel tank capacity added as weight.
FollowupID: 811075

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:13

Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:13
There are a whole pile of background things and asumptions that are made to produce the published figures.

Another one is the asumption that a standard passenger weighs 75Kg.

And 10 Kg, here and 20Kg there all adds up.

This is why there have been a string of overloading issues published and discussed.

for example it is easy enough to take pretty well any of the ststionwaggon them with bullbars, winches, rear tyre carriers and roof racks...then find they are overloaded with little more than 4 adults and no baggage.

One of the southeren government departments published an advisory document because they found that their light dual cab utes as equiped where over loaded on the front axle with 4 adults in the cab.

Going back to the original question....a BT 50 is as suitable as any other for carrying a slide on camper...but there are inherant issues...and the devil is in the detail.

Detail that it is often difficult to find all the hard information before you purchase.

FollowupID: 811080

Follow Up By: Member - Brenton H (SA) - Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:29

Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:29
Don't forget the GVM also includes the weight of the occupants.
Husband and wife alone can be an extra 160? Kg.

FollowupID: 811085

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 22:04

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 22:04
Yes indeed. people often forget the occupants in their GVM calculations.

As for 160Kg......hell, there are plenty of people out there in the 90Kg pluss bracket.

And remember the standard designs and load calculations are worked on a 75 Kg adult.

Not so much of a problem with utes...but some of the 5 seater station waggons have a payload ( that is GVM minus Curb weight)
in the 600 to 700 KG.

4 large large adults a full load of fuel and a big esky and that GVM is busted

FollowupID: 811226

Reply By: lkyphl - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 16:53

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 16:53
G'day Sam39,

I have a D-Max extra cab with a slide on.

The chassis needed a 300mm extension to get the balance point of the slide-on over the axle ; a $6500 unexpected cost. This was due to the manufacturer misquoting the balance point prior to my ordering the unit.

The manufacturer also underquoted the weight by 290kgs, which means the I am quite limited to the amount of gear I can carry ; no recover equipment, for example.

I would take the quoted weight with a bucket of salt ; see if you can get an owner to weigh his vehicle with and without the unit before you make the decision. Also see if you can measure where the balance point of your prospective unit is, which will tell you where in relation to the axle the unit should be optimally placed.

Slide-ons are a good way to go !

AnswerID: 528487

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 09:07

Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 09:07
That's really pathetic from Isuzu, I will try and find out more re: BT-50.

I agree re: slide-ons, I am trying very hard to get there.
FollowupID: 811076

Follow Up By: lkyphl - Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:08

Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:08
It had nothing to do with Isuzu ; the misquoting was by the manufacturer of the slide-on, who told me the balance point was 300mm in front of where it actually is, and the weight 290kgs less than it actually weighs,
FollowupID: 811079

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:19

Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:19
Thanks, I will make contact with Travelander and see what they come back with RE: actual weight, distribution of the weight and balance point. I am assuming yours is not by that manufacturer.
FollowupID: 811082

Reply By: Isuzumu - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 20:20

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 20:20
First thing I would be doing is talking to Mr Mazda and asking them, if I put a slide on camper on the back of one of your vehicles and it comes in at 3100 Kg GVM and I do a trip to Cape York and I brake the chassis will I be covered under warranty.
AnswerID: 528506

Reply By: Lyn W3 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 20:28

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 20:28
There was a BT50 in Childers a couple of weeks ago with a broken back, it was only a couple of moths old and has a IBC POD in the back full of water so that would be around 1000kg. From what I heard it was going fine until they crossed some up and down cane train tracks and it just folded from the extra forces.
AnswerID: 528509

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:25

Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:25
The problem IS and so many fail to understand is that the load ratings and towing capacities on ALL these vehicles are specified for smooth improved roads.

AND particularly on cab chassis utes.....the manufacturer has no option but to specify the load properly distributed on the mountings provided.

If the tray or whatever is mounted on the rear of the vehicle does not distribute that weight properly across the mounts...well all bets are off.

There is a conga line of these modern highly rated vehicles with some sort of chasis failure......and most will claim that the vehicle was within spec at the time...and seems no brand is immune.

Fact is the light ute format and many of the other 4wd formats have been pushed to their limit of development and people continue to push the limit of specifications.

FollowupID: 811084

Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:46

Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:46
Just to put this in a little perspecive.
check the images & threads linked.!/page3

AnswerID: 528531

Follow Up By: Sam39 - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 09:37

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 09:37
Thanks for putting those links together.
The first one in particular is very disturbing.
FollowupID: 811156

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 22:22

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 22:22
One of the problems with dual cab and extra cab utes is the front tray mounting point.

Almost without exception, these, non single cab utes, are built on the same or very similar chassis to the single cab ute.

Now when a single cab tray is mounted on most of these vehicle there are three sets of mounts.

A pair at the front..pretty well right behind the cab ( on the strongest part of the chasis), and a couple of pairs at the back on the rear section of the chassis..the weakest part of the chassis.

The ute tray, be it style side or flat tray, acts as the top cord of a truss....not only distributing the weight carried in the tray properly on the chassis, but strengthening the chassis.

as soon as we remove that front mount from the equasion or make a similar mount reaward on the all ceases to be as strong.

This is particularly bad in dual cabs.

note where they break or bend.......

Seriouilsy I loathe and detest dual cab utes, because they represent one compromise after another.

I do not believe there is one dual cab ute on the market that is a, from the ground up design with a chassis substantialy different to the single cab.

FollowupID: 811227

Follow Up By: Slow one - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 06:30

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 06:30
it is a BT50 that is being asked about, and without exception the mounting point on the extra cab tray, is at the front just behind the cab.

Right where it should be.
FollowupID: 811244

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 20:29

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 20:29
Ahh yes but, that mounting point may be further back on the chasis.

If you look at the first picture link posted...that is of a hilux extra has a different chassis to the single cab and the dual cab which share the same chassis.

The extra cab hilux has a longer chassis...this being long may make it weaker.

FollowupID: 811310

Follow Up By: Slow one - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 21:01

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 21:01
Focus now. Latest BT50 is not an not older model Hilux. Relevance is required here. Those model Hiluxes had a far weaker chassis than the new BT50's, so lets keep it to the BT50/PX rangers.
FollowupID: 811311

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 21:30

Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 at 21:30
ALL the same factors apply to all the light utes.

The relivence is that all of these light utes derive from the hilux and the stout that preceeded them....the format and the basic design they all derive from has been pushed to its very limit.

AS the links I posted and the evidenced stroies we hear testify...NONE....NONE of the brands are immune from these very problems....the reasons remain the same.

They all break in the same places and for the same reasons.

FollowupID: 811313

Follow Up By: Slow one - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 06:43

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 06:43
Yes, the vehicles do break in the same places, the difference is how you load them, how you treat them and chassis strength.

You can't lump vehicles all into the one pot as times change. It is like saying Hiluxes, Narvaras Tritons, BT50's and the like are a buckets of pus, because the 1990 model had a problem. Times and vehicle design change with every model and most times the manufacturer sees what fails and fixes it.

I would never fit a slide on to a dual cab, but I would have no hesitation fitting one to a new model BT50 extra cab.

Mining are using the rangers and are not having many problems with chassis's on the dual cabs.

Wow, how did you go all the way back to the Light Stout. We broke a chassis on one, so it must have been Toyotas weak design. It wouldn't of had anything to do with the D8 push starting it fully loaded in a wet paddock.

I have no worries about running mine around the max gvm weight, it handles it easily with no sign of problems. My son's BT50 (previous model and weaker chassis) ran on it's gvm all day every day and never missed a beat in 250000k.

FollowupID: 811330

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 10:56

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 10:56
Your inability to follow an argument is breath taking.

Times do change and the basic format has been pushed further and further.

How did I go back to the stout....that is exactly where the hilux and all those who followed came from....and it is the father of this format...not a great deal has changed...actually it can be argued that the stout was stronger than the hilux and others that followed it.
As mate of mine said after driving a stout for a while, " Its a little truck, all truck"

This chassis failure did not seen to be an issue in the earlier machines......but because the format has been pushed and people are expecting more from a vehicle that simply has not changed all that much...we are seeing exactly these failures in the current crop of vehicles.

And yes it is all about how they are loaded.....that is the whole point of this thread....It is also about how they are driven.

The earlier versions simply did not have the power to carry the loads many currently do, while being driven aggressivly.

In the past people would have baught a heavy ute like a Patroll or a landcruiser or simply not carried the weight or attempted to cross the terain....or they would have done so slower and more carefully...because they had no option.

As far as the "I've been doing XYZ for years and had no problem" does not mean there is not one or others will not suffer a particular failure.

As for the mines.
Yeh well mine vehicles are subject to certain types of abuse, but in general they do not cover large distances at high speeds on substandard roads ( like the inland dirt highways) ( most mines are rigidly speed limited environments), nor do they cover large distances of chanenging terain ( like any of the popular destert tracks) ( with current OHS expectations most mine vehicles are required to stay on a fairly well made track), they certainly do not continuously carry high center of gravity loads like slide on campers...while doing this..

think about it.

FollowupID: 811335

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 11:42

Follow Up By: Slow one - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 14:43

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 14:43
The put down in saying the inability to follow an argument, and there is no argument is just to make yourself superior. Sorry that won't work with me.

Again Focus Bantam and don't go off on tangents like 1966 Toyota Lite Stouts and older model vehicles.

Quote " was getting quote's for insurance last week I have a bt50 2011 model". Again you are talking about the previous model BT50, have a look at the photo of his vehicle. Previous model. Please stick to what the op is talking about. The latest model BT50 extra cab and not a dual cab or a ute or a Hilux, Navara, Triton, Great wall or any other ute.

Now, without living in the past and using up to date info for the new model. The little ole weak chassis at the tray front mount is, 160 H x 90 W. on the extra cab and the tray mount on the normal ute is exactly the same measurement, 160H x 90W. They are pretty impress sizes in my book.

With all your negative comments tell me, when is the world going to end. Have a happy ending. As Oddball side to Moriarty in Kellys Heroes " Don't hit me with those negative waves Moriarty"

FollowupID: 811345

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 21:17

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 at 21:17

A mate rocked up at home, some years back, with a new Hilux dual cab, standard suspension, and a camper from Freedom Campers, perched on the back. Was a style side tray too, so a bit cramped for floor space inside the camper. It looked more like the elephant riding the monkey, instead of the other way round!

However, he and another mate, who had an 80 series & camper trailer, did a run into the Kimberley and back to NSW, without any dramas. Haven't seen him for a while, so don't know if he since had any chassis problems.

We've got an aluminium slide-on on an '02 Landcruiser ute, and after fitting 500+kg rear springs, and h/d front coils, it's riding much better, and doesn't sag in rear end. Maker said the slide-on is 400kg, and know the tray is on wrong side of 250kg, so hope we'll have room for the Cook and her driver.

Hope you get something sorted, the way you want it,


Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

Lifetime Member
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AnswerID: 528636

Reply By: The Bantam - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:08

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:08
The noddy effect.

Another thing to consider when loading vehicles...and it is very much the case with slide-on or mounted camper bodies on utes is dynamic loading...pendulum or noddy effect.

A vehicle may be evenly loaded and well within spec as far as GVM and axle loadings, but becuase of the way the load is carried excessive stress may be placed on the chassis.

If the weight is carried high and or near the ends of the vehicle, it can cause short term very high stress on the chasis, axles and suspension.

Driving over rough ground and under brakes, the weight may move forward and back....quite significanly.

Back in the day, when we had a telephone service run in the public interest and not for profit....Telecom raidio section used to run survey vehicles that carried a 100 foot pneumatic tower on a 40 series toyota ute along with a instrument pack on the back.....these mongrel things where afectionatly known as "Noddies"..because that is how they drove.
Inspite of being beefed up and reinforced, they required welding up, pretty well every trip.
I knew a couple of blokes who drove these things and another who was a machanic in the motor repair section.
An extreem case, and yes they where over weight..legall... because they ran on Z plates...but it illustrates the problem.

I have expereienced the same thing with ambulance boddies....nearly 20 years ago I worked in a body of my responsibilities was to road test the bare chassis after we got them and then the completed unit after it was finished.

These F series V8s went like a stabbed rat with no body on them, and handled pretty fairly....but once the body was fitted..the weight transfer under brakes was frightening, inspite of being long and heavy they nodded a bit over bumps and the body roll..Oh hell.

I did several ambulance body changeovers, onto new trucks and cracks in the chassis directly behind the cab where pretty common.

The load carried may be well withing the published limits, but the dynamic loading may cause a problem.

just something to consider.

AnswerID: 528713

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:17

Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:17
There realy is no substitute for keeping as much weight as low as possible and between the axles.

FollowupID: 811337

Reply By: Sam39 - Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 11:28

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 at 11:28
Thanks for all the replies so far, the information has been really useful.
We definitely have some more thinking and work to do before we start spending $.

Anyway I look at it we are now up around the 3200kg GVM limit, so if we go a BT50 we will definitely have to upgrade the GVM and not just a suspension upgrade. We just added a long range fuel tank to my spec and suddenly the weight jumped a bit more.

We are rethinking a few things including a choice of slide-on, what we take, where the wait is distributed etc. I suspect there is an answer in there somewhere as at this stage there isn't another mid sized ute option we like and we are not prepared to go to a camper trailer as yet.

We are still keen to hear any stories of Rangers / BT50's extra cab or single cab vehicles that carry a slide-on and how there travels have gone to date and how they mitigated the risks of rough roads and outback travel.
AnswerID: 528928

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