alloy or steel tray

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 12:01
ThreadID: 108998 Views:7500 Replies:10 FollowUps:16
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Hi , I'm buying a new Ranger soon but would lik ed some feed back from people that have had both Alloy , welded alloy or Steel trays .

Also still deciding on X travel cab or twin cab.

And whether a have standard or extra long tray,

On the twin cab standard length is 160 mm long ,or 1860 mm max
I also tow a 8 long track master caravan . Would the extra 200 mm cause more problems when towing, or if need an extra long towing receiver would cause problems, van weights about 3 ton loaded.

I'm also looking at buying either the canopy for the tray if they really are strong or buy a box that can be lifted off with side legs when not needed.

Thanks in advance
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Reply By: Whirlwinder - Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 13:04

Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 13:04
749,
My advise, based on personal experience, would be to keep the tray on a dual cab as short as possible. If it is long then the weight will be behind the rear axle which increases the load on the rear axle and reduces the weight on the front axle.
Remember that the load capacity of the rear axle includes the rear seat with 3 adults.
Over loading the rear axle with weight behind it will be trying to flex then break the chassis.
I have experienced this setup on a Ranger, fortunately not my vehicle though, which was a pig to drive with the jerking of the chassis flex. We ended up getting rid of it.
If you insist on a long tray to carry weight the spend about $7-8 k and get the chassis lengthened and stiffened. There is a photo on EO somewhere of a broken dual cab chassis that was trying to carry a slide on camper. I think it happened along the CSR.
If you want to explore the lenghtening idea and are in NSW then contact John at Specialised Vehicles on 0427993811. He knows his job and will advise you what to do.
Ian
AnswerID: 537085

Follow Up By: 749 - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 04:24

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 04:24
Thanks, I have seen a chassis bend before But that was from installing airbags between the spring hangers.
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FollowupID: 821366

Follow Up By: Whirlwinder - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 07:38

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 07:38
749,
The truck I was talking about did not have air bags fitted. It had been fitted with higher rated springs to try to carry the extra loading on the rear axle.
It then carried that load ok but flexed where the rear spring front mount was on the chassis.
Incidently, I don't think it matters which brand of dual cab you get, the problem is the same.
I would go for an alloy tray that is welded in an effort to keep the weight down if you still want a longish tray. The good news is that if you find the truck flexes with a load you can still have the chassis lengthened at a later date, it just costs a little more. If you do it first there will be no need to upgrage the rear springs because some of the weight will be carried on the front.
Anyway, good luck with whatever you choose.
Ian
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FollowupID: 821368

Follow Up By: 749 - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 11:09

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 11:09
I believe there needs to be some flex but not enough to bend or cracked chassis, I will look into it either way but if I'm not going to exceed the weight I'm hoping it should be fine.
And on that note would the steel tray be more solid on the back section which makes the front section flex more where alloy tray will flex more and less Likely to bend or I am thinking about side flexing and where the problem is down force behind the axle.

You would think that if they rate 1 ton payload with 350 km down force on tow ball the vehicle should withstand any breakages.

I think if I use commo sence nothing should go wrong.

I think I will stay with the standard length tray for now ,

Thanks for your input.
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FollowupID: 821378

Follow Up By: 671 - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 12:55

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 12:55
"But that was from installing airbags between the spring hangers."
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Air bags make chassis bending a little easier but they are not the only cause of chassis damage. They are exponential springs as opposed to your leaf springs which are linear. They get progressively harder as they compress, just like bump rubbers do. The air pressures required to make them lift overloaded rear ends will result in them hardening rapidly by the time they are around 40% compressed and they will be like a rock at 60%. They usually bring the chassis to a sudden stop before the leaf springs would have allowed it to get down to the original bump rubbers. The result is the chassis usually bends at the top of the bags. Without them it is usually closer to the front spring hangers.

Keep in mind heavier springs do not alter the leverage effect on the back of the chassis. Only a WDH will do that and I think that is not readily understood by many owners.

Imagine a car for example with no trailer but with the two hitch bars in position on the tow bar. If you were to lift the ends of them with a crane, and assuming nothing broke, you would eventually lift the rear wheels of the car off the ground. You would have lifted all the weight off the axle and transferred a lot of it to the front wheels.

You can not do that with heavier springs or air bags. The wheels are still on the ground, the weight is still on the rear end of the chassis and nothing has been transferred anywhere. All you have is an incorrectly loaded rear end sitting up a few inches higher. The chassis is still at risk as plenty of owners have found out.

Your big problem could be the high tow ball weight on your 3 ton van. I noticed on the Track Master site that they list the required towing capacity of cars for each model. The car manufacturers list a maximum towing capacity only. It usually for good condition like highway driving only and should be reduced as conditions get rougher. The first thing I would do is ring Ford on their customer information number and discuss it with them. They made the car so ask them, not the van manufacturer or dealer.

They may rule out a big van with the physical dimensions and weight distribution of yours. I noticed Mitsubishi has been criticised on the net for claiming the Pajero will tow 3000kg but if you exceed 2500 kg, the tow ball weight must be reduced considerably to a point that eliminates many big vans. What they are saying is yes it will tow and be able to control some 3000 kg trailers or whatever in certain conditions but they are not heavy enough or long enough to control a 3000 kg van at highway or freeway speeds. Your Ranger will tow your van ok but the van will stretch it to the limit when it comes to controlling it if the van is ever subjected to a sudden change in direction at speed by wind or whatever.

If Ford are anything like the manufacturer of my ute, they will tell you a WDH must be used if the tow ball weight exceeds a certain number of kgs. This means some of that high ball weight must be taken off the back and moved to the front. The trouble here is WDHs on off road vans don't always work very well. If you get too great an angle between the car and the van in rough conditions, the tow bar, car or hitch can very easily be damaged. The hitches are usually used in flat conditions only.

Take note of what Whirlwinder said about the seats. That could have been a major factor in bending the Triton chassis in the photo. The Ranger has three load bearing areas: the five seats, the fuel tank and the back of the chassis. All must take their full share of the load if you take the car up to GVM. You can't have a couple of average weight people in the front and the rest out the back.

The weight of your tray, the tow bar, the ball weight, the people in the seats and any other accessories must also be deducted from the carrying capacity
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"You would think that if they rate 1 ton payload with 350 km down force on tow ball the vehicle should withstand any breakages".
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That is static weight only. It is a very different story when it is in motion. You could place a brick on your bare foot without any problems but drop it onto your foot from about 300 mm and you will instantly notice there is a big difference.

When the 350 kg on your tow ball falls suddenly as your rear wheels drop into a small washout or whatever in the road, the forces generated will increase by the square of the distance it is behind the axle. The ball will be around 1.2 metres back making the force on the end of your chassis around 504 kgs. Whatever else is behind the axle will also add to that force.

This is why so many people have chassis problems. They look at static weights only but don't stop to think what happens to all of that material when it is in motion.
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FollowupID: 821393

Follow Up By: 749 - Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 00:25

Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 00:25
I read somewhere that Fords do not recommend using WE on the ranger.

At present I'm towing the van with a 4.2 L patrol. It does a good job but slow.
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FollowupID: 821462

Follow Up By: 749 - Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 03:12

Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 03:12
WE = WDH, I hate when it changes words on me
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FollowupID: 821463

Reply By: 671 - Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 14:15

Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 14:15
I have a neighbor with a lengthened tow bar and a long tray on his Navara dual cab. He has been towing a light weight box trailer around the district for years without any problems and he puts next to nothing in the tray. If he was to put a 3 ton van on it and a fair bit of gear in the back, he would have far too much weight too far back behind the axle and it would be good bye chassis in no time.

It is easy to make the mistake of accessing a car's suitability by looking at maximum carrying and towing capacities only. They are static weights, everything changes dramatically when the car is in motion. The owner of this car carefully weighed it and was well under maximum weight but look at what happened. http://www.4wdaction.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?t=99859 All of that weight behind his rear axle slammed the chassis down repeatedly on rough roads generating downward forces well in excess of the static weight. This levered the back down and lifted the front placing to much stress into the chassis.

He is not the only one. The net is full of similar examples.

Rear through these few links and you will get a much better understanding of the potential problems.
http://www.caravanandmotorhomebooks.com/pdf/vehicle_dynamics_complete.pdf

http://www.exploroz.com/Vehicle/Caravans/Caravan_Dynamics.aspx

http://caravanbuyersguide.com.au/tow-vehicle-caravan-weight/
AnswerID: 537088

Reply By: The Landy - Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 14:35

Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 14:35
We have a Toyota 79 Series Dual Cab, with a steel tray and alloy canopy.

You can read some more about the set-up in my blog Toyota 79 Series Dual Cab- Finally Completed.

Good luck whichever way you go...

Cheers
Baz - The Landy
AnswerID: 537090

Follow Up By: 749 - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 11:13

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 11:13
I first saw your set u please a few days ago and love your alloy box.
I'm looking at doing the same thing but cost might steer me away.
I don't like that the steel boxes weigh 400 kgs and more maybe a steel or alloy frame with good canvas might be the go as long as dust does get too bad .

Thanks
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FollowupID: 821379

Reply By: madfisher - Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 19:37

Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 19:37
As some one who is in and out of various vehicles all day, I can tell you steel trays ride much better when unladen. Generally tend to rattle less to.
Cheers Pete
AnswerID: 537107

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 19:52

Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 19:52
749,

As you haven't decided which ute you're going to buy as yet, and you're going to tow a ?8 long 'van weighing "about 3 ton", you'll be better off with an alloy tray. Especially if you decide on a dual cab!!!

A canopy or box will add more weight, so you might need something in alloy for that too. Agree with the others re a short tray for dual cab.

Only way I'd be looking at a steel tray, was if the ute was to become a work vehicle. Have a steel tray on my 79 series landcruiser, and it is very strong, surviving nearly 10 years doing station work. But it is built strong, and very heavy.

Check out this thread(98874) for more info on the dramas involved in overloading these light weight dual cabs. Hope you end up with a ute that gives you much pleasure........and no dramas.

Bob

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

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AnswerID: 537109

Follow Up By: 749 - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 11:16

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 11:16
It's am 8 Metre off road van. My android tablet makes up words for me :-)
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FollowupID: 821380

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 12:32

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 12:32
Ha ha, bloody iPads think they know what you want to say too. :-)

Have a look at the photos in my profile page, 749. We have an alloy slide on camper, that weighs maybe 400 kgs. Something shorter, and lower,might suit you, and they are usually very dust free.

Have fun planning,

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: 749 - Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 00:13

Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 00:13
Nice but man that is really long, does it come off the tray or mounted permanently.
The 400 kgs Does worry me, and maybe an extra 100 or more when filled up with beer.
But it is a nice set up
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FollowupID: 821460

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 07:26

Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 07:26
749,

Yeah, bit long, but we sleep in it so that is extra length that others might not need. Bloke makes them to suit each customer. Haven't put it over a weigh bridge yet to confirm weight.

Came with legs to remove it, but not an exercise you'd do at every campsite. Think most people leave them on most of time.

"100kg of beer".........don't need that much to get me giggling.......or going off like a busted cassette player. :-)

Bob.
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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 07:49

Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 07:49
Our is a Dual Cab, with a shorter-tray, however the overhang on both the Dual cab with the short tray and the single cab with the normal tray is the same.

Whilst we have a larger alloy canopy, if doesn't mean we load if to the brim, in fact, it is "lightly" loaded for most trips.

I think the thing about a Toyota 79 Series is you are getting a vehicle that is robust!

Good luck...
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FollowupID: 821468

Reply By: tonysmc - Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 22:08

Sunday, Aug 03, 2014 at 22:08
I have had both steel and alloy trays and now I would have nothing else but Alloy. The last vehicle I had with a tray actually came with a steel tray and I sold the tray and replaced it with an alloy one.
As far as tray length goes I would have a tray made that will fit a standard size alloy canopy or a canopy size that is normally carried in stock, as getting things custom built will always cost more. Also a proper made alloy tray does not rattle. I will only use trays that are welded together, not the cheap slot together riveted ones

Cheers

Tony
AnswerID: 537120

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 08:39

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 08:39
I have owned a couple of dual cabs and I suggest you consider which is more important to you ,carrying a heavy payload or carrying extra passengers
The extra cab will allow you to get your weight forward of the rear axle better which is a big advantage with these style of vehicles

If you need the dual cab go for it but be mindful of weight distribution, if not the extra cab will be a better vehicle under load carrying circumstances
AnswerID: 537133

Follow Up By: 749 - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 11:23

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 11:23
Not looking at carrying a big payload just lots of junk, junk you take and never use :-) . Mainly light stuff in crates or tubs . ! Also a 180 kg motorbike which means swags and light boxes aroun dc it. I am really sensible about heavy loads.
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FollowupID: 821381

Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 10:52

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 10:52
Have you thaught that if you are towing 3 tonnes, you may be better off with a small truck than a light ute.

Most of the down sides to utes and dual cabs will then go away.

The Iveco turbo daily in 4wd has been mentoned on this and other fora pretty regularly..and I am starting to see a few of them arround

there are also other alternatives


need a truck, buy a truck.

cheers
AnswerID: 537143

Reply By: Honky - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 13:36

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 13:36
No association but Ultimate suspension had a picture of a ranger that was severely overload. They modified the suspension to take the weight.
Maybe worthwhile to talk to them on the best option.

Honky
AnswerID: 537156

Follow Up By: 671 - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 17:04

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 17:04
Honky

The Ranger we are talking about may not be overloaded. The bent Triton in the link that I posted was also not overloaded. The problem here is ithe downward leverage forces behind the axle which is bound to be excessive when the car is in motion with a longer tray and an extended tow bar with a 3 ton van on it. A custom built suspension can't fix that.
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FollowupID: 821416

Follow Up By: Honky - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 19:46

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 19:46
Only suggesting that they may know what does or does not work.
I have even read that a steel tray can strengthen the back but as I am not an engineer my advice is worth nothing.
This photo may be a candidate for a bent chassis.
https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/t31.0-8/p180x540/1796865_10151948223826129_1868646587_o.jpg

Honky
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FollowupID: 821431

Follow Up By: 749 - Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 00:17

Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 00:17
It does look good. I wonder what that weighs
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FollowupID: 821461

Reply By: 671 - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 22:31

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 22:31
"I have even read that a steel tray can strengthen the back but as I am not an engineer my advice is worth nothing.
This photo may be a candidate for a bent chassis."
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I am not an engineer either, I am just going by the research I have read on the net (not in forums) and what I have seen in person and on net photos over the last eight years since I started taking an interest in the problem. The work done by Chris Killer and Bailley Caravans at Bath University in Englandhttp://webby.natcoa.net/Caravan.pdf got me started.

I doubt if a steel tray would make any difference unless it was built in as an integral part of the cabin. I saw a bent chassis Trition drive very slowly into the caravan park at William Creek on the Oodnadatta Track last year. It had 220 kg on an extended tow bar. The tray was long with a canopy and was full of gear. The canopy had a small tinnie on top and there was a light trailer on top of the tinnie. The chassis had a big crack across the top flange on each side right at the back of the cabin and it had spread halfway down the sides. You would have needed chassis reinforcing right through to the front suspension to stop that.

This car may well have been under GVM but there was simply too much weight behind the axle. It all comes down to the forces generated by mass ( the amount of material in something) when it is in motion, particularly when it is out on the unsupported end of your chassis behind the axle.

The easiest way to see this is with a hammer. Hold it out in front of you by the handle and you will find it weighs next to nothing and is easy to hold. If you then bring the hand holding it down firmly into the open palm of your other hand, you will find all the dense material in the head will want to keep going with such force that it will most likely partially dislodge your grip on the handle. You are still holding the same light weight object in your hand, the only change is you have put it in motion. That is what is happening to your chassis behind the axle.

The chassis is designed to cope with a certain amount of this but if you take it beyond its design limits, severe damage can easily be the result. Of course that applies to every other part of the car. This is why you see things like an incorrectly loaded car with heavier springs to lift it stranded on the side of a track with a broken diff housing or sheared wheel studs. The excess weight was still bouncing up and down on standard parts that were not designed for it.

The ute in that photo looks bad but it may not be. If the engineers who designed it were aware of the problems associated with chassis loading, you can bet they would have anything heavy like fridges, kitchens, water, batteries, toilet etc as far forward as possible.

If they went by appearance, practicality etc then who knows what the weight distribution would be like and what will happen out on the road.
AnswerID: 537182

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