Robert Pepper's excellent article on Ute's claimed tow capability.

Submitted: Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 13:11
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Roberts article for Practical Motoring details why 3500kg towing may not be real.

Article on Utilities towing capabilities
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Reply By: Luke F1 - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 13:47

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 13:47
Great article. I see this everday and its becoming more of a problem as more grey nomads retire and do "the lap". Why can a person who has never towed before, drive away on holidays with a rig weighing over 6000kg and in most cases well over the maximum weight. And yet they keep getting away with it. These people have no idea. How many road users need to be killed before the laws are changed. Harsh but true.
AnswerID: 554699

Follow Up By: Zippo - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 13:56

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 13:56
Yup, there needs to be a separate licence class for that stuff (and most of these fresh retirees wouldn't pass based on what I've seen). And before ANYONE should be allowed to tow anything more than a 500kg box trailer there should be a test/endorsement for the ability to reverse the bl00dy thing.

Yesterday the neighbour across the road returned with her tug and pop-top van. She couldn't back it into her driveway, but at least had the sense to ask for assistance - which I provided with MY vehicle. At least in her case she has an excuse - her hubby used to do all that while he was alive.

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Follow Up By: Luke F1 - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 14:24

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 14:24
Always good entertainment watching the brand new 22foot caravans being backed into their sites. This may be the reason why so many of these large late model caravans are for sale.
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 20:15

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 20:15
A lot of the older caravan parks are not designed for the big 25 footers.
In my experience I have mainly witnessed competent drivers poke their big rigs into some very tight spots.
Sometimes you will get a small minded audience, of armchair experts, slinging off at them as they back in.
Baffles me a bit – it’s a bit like bleep envy I guess.
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Reply By: TomH - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 14:18

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 14:18
It does however have a couple of errors or omissions in it. He doesnt include ballweight in his description of payload in first part of the article.
It is after all probably a major weight in that. His comment about towbars is vague as you can only tow the lesser of the vehicles limit or the towbar limit whichever is the lesser.

Eg 3500kg car 2500kg towbar = 2500 tow as in pre 95 80 ser Toyos

3500kg Towbar car 2500kg = 2500kg tow as in auto 3.0 Patrols
AnswerID: 554701

Reply By: Whirlwinder - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 21:05

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 21:05
Yes, a good article but I saw a glaring error in recommending heavier rear springs on the D22 dual cab. There is no point in fitting heavier springs as all that does is make the chassis stiffer up to the front of the springs and it flexes at that point as the load behind the axle tries to lift the front wheels off the road.
I have first hand experience with this very problem with a semi Government dept Ford Ranger. When I first drove it, it was very clear to me something was very wrong. I did some axle load tests and found the front axle to be about 200kgs lighter when the back was loaded than when empty! The chassis was flexing badly enough to give neck ache to passengers and driver.
The correct way to fix the issue with dual cab "any brand" is to put the back axle under the load, after all the load includes the back seat not just the tray. You will note the 79 series Landcruiser dual cab has the rear axle moved back about 500-600 mm so it is in the correct position. The the standard springs can do the job easily and the front wheels can get back on the ground properly.
As for towing 3.5 tonnes, well any fool can see that is an accident waiting to happen!
P.S. Putting soap box away now.

AnswerID: 554715

Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 20:29

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 20:29
Putting the rear axle under the load makes so much sense. But, to do a dual cab with the axle under the centre of the "load area" - AKA tub - would require the chassis to be redesigned.
If you look at the chassis configuration of single, duel and crew/king cab models of the same vehicle you will soon see that the chassis is exactly the same. So the only difference is the length of the cab. Means that the single cab was designed first (and the axle placed at the "ideal" location for THAT configuration. Then, the other variants were stuck onto the chassis.
Can understand why, as the chassis design must be a real headache for vehicle designers, but the real headache comes when we try to load a "multi" cab - be that 2 or 1.5 times - to anywhere near capacity.
Even without the added complication of a caravan, the multi-cab variants have problems. (just look at the threads with images of broken dual cabs, for example!)
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Reply By: 671 - Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 23:51

Monday, Jun 08, 2015 at 23:51
A good article and long overdue but it could have been even better if he had asked the manufacturers to explain their towing capacities and limitations, if any, before he wrote it.

There are so many variables involved in towing that they could not possibly be listed in the owner's handbook or in advertising brochures. If you ask the manufacturer though on their customer information service, you will get a much more detailed explanation.

The 3500 kg maximum capacity is a good example. I have spent a total of 11 years living in two separate locations in rural NSW. One was in the flat Murrumbidgee irrigation area. I have seen a few farmers with dog trailers and fair size ones at that. They would be occasional use things that would go at low speeds from paddock to paddock with a few ks of quiet road in between. They could easily be loaded up to 3500 kg yet they would put no more than about 25 kg onto the tow ball.

That is not going to hurt a ute in those conditions but a 3500 kg caravan behind it at highway speeds is a whole different ball game.

When a manufacturer says their car will tow a certain amount, it will tow something that weighs that much somewhere. They don't claim though that it will safely and reliably tow anything that weighs that much anywhere.

The problems start when inexperienced people think that it will.

His reference to rear axle loads is spot on. I noticed in the specifications for the 130 Defender on Land Rover's web site that 150 kg on the tow ball puts 206 kg onto the axle. That means 350 kg on the ball would be 480kg on the axle. When you add more to the tray and bounce everything up and down on a rough road further increasing the down force, it is not hard to see why many cars have broken their axle housing or wheel studs in the bush.

That would be one of the reasons why the off road towing capacity of the Defender comes down from 3500 kg to 1500 kg in off road conditions while the Discovery is 1000kg. I don't know if that is in the book or not but it is what they will tell you if you ring or email them.

AnswerID: 554721

Reply By: CSeaJay - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 13:16

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 at 13:16
Very interesting and thank you for sharing
It is becoming very hard for the average bloke to make a decision on what to buy to suit their towing requirements as there are too many variables.
Just like mobile phone deals I guess.
AnswerID: 554741

Reply By: fisho64 - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 22:45

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015 at 22:45
its becoming fairly common knowledge now (amongst those who bother to check anyhow) that most of the new dualcabs cant tow their maximum capacity while at GVM.
Personally I much prefer the flexibilty this provides than say Hiluxs way of just nominating a low capacity.
The fact that I could tow my 3 tonne boat legally to the ramp, or load up to GVM and go to the tip suits the thinking person.
For everyone else-well its up to the vehicle operator to ensure they comply-that has never been in doubt
AnswerID: 555800

Reply By: BunderDog - Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 23:00

Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 at 23:00
Travelling the Newell Hwy near Narrabri today I passed a Ford Ranger towing at least a 30ft tri axle van, two spares on the back. The Ranger was all loaded up as well. Now there aren't many steep hills through the Pilliga but it was struggling in one of the slow lanes at about 60kph in a 110 zone.
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Reply By: Rocka1951 - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 01:02

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 01:02
This great article with lots of detail thats not explained or offered when trying to buy the Grey Nomad set up. I try to be within limits when travelling as it is usually for long trips so i weigh bridge my setup the day before to make sure i have not done anything dumb.
I drive BT50 2013 with bull bar, tow bar, long range tank(140ltr) and full drawer system with Waeco fridge and tow Jayco 19'6 outback van with rear ensuite.
So weigh bridge comes out as follows
car and van 5660kg
caravan on ball 2500kg
caravan off ball 2700kg
car 2960 full loaded petrol passengers etc
so ball weight 200 kg
I am not engineer but an avid traveller wanting to travel well but more important SAFELY.
With all the reading on the subject of weights etc I struggle to know if i am safe. Many Nomads are similar limited experience but good intentioned in need of guidance. Am I safe ?????
AnswerID: 556023

Follow Up By: TomH - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 08:58

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 08:58
You need to tell us the Allowable GVM of the BT50, The ATM for the van and the GCVM of the two Also the legal tow limit of the BT50
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 14:20

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 14:20
Yes, you are within the limits and should be as safe as anyone on the roads can be.

I have a similar setup with vehicle and van, although my van is 2500 loaded and the vehicle goes 3100. My ball weight is slightly heavier at max 220kg but alters with water load to under 200kg.

Have done over 40,000K with this setup and all has been good.
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 16:59

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 16:59
One of the issues raised was whether the load carried by each axle was within the specified maximums even though the GVM and GCM is OK.
You might want to check the load on the rear axle as the 200 kg ball weight might translate into 260 or more due to the distance between the axle and the towball.
FollowupID: 842140

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