Caravan ATM Upgrade

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 05, 2016 at 08:46
ThreadID: 132917 Views:10313 Replies:3 FollowUps:0
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I have just finished a GTM upgrade in NSW and want to share the experience which was easier than I thought it might be.
1. Check with the manufacturer (Van and/or Chassis) what the chassis is rated for and what is required to effect an upgrade, in my case neither Lotus or G & S Chassis were at all helpful even when contacted by the certifying engineer.
2. Go to the RTA web site and identify a certifying engineer in your area and talk to him to ensure you can work well together.
3. If the chassis will carry the extra weight proceed but if it requiress modifications sell the van and buy one that is suitably rated.
4. There are some key factors that will limit the GTM as follows:
a) Axle (s) if twin must be load sharing;
b) Wheel Bearings;
c) Brakes;
d) Springs;
e) Wheels;
f) Tyres;
g) Hitch, and
h) Safety Chain(s).
5. Get hold of an Al KO catalogue on the web and look at the ratings of each component shown above.
6. Check and measure each component currently fitted and find out what each is rated at.
7. From that you will have a list of components that are below the limit you are targeting.
8. Check with your Certifying Engineer for his agreement with the list of things to be upgraded and to what spec.
9. Buy and fit all the required parts (or have them fitted for you) in my case it was four new higher rated springs.
9.a) Take the opportunity to replace anything else you find worn whilst you have the parts off the van.
10. Get a Tare weight weighbridge ticket, IE no water, gas or luggage and gear.
11. Have it inspected and tested by the Certifying Engineer and correct any issues he identifies, and
11. Take the paperwork with the rego papers to the RTA and get the upgrade documented.

It sounds like a bit of mucking around but mine took 4 weeks start to finish and cost about $1600.
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Reply By: TomH - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2016 at 09:53

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2016 at 09:53
Isnt it an ATM upgrade..The total weight on the wheels and the jockey wheel. You heading says one thing The article says another
When I did mine I took it to a well known van repairer who looked it over and checked all the parts ratings.
The chassis had its rating on a plate on the A frame and this was what limited the up grade. He then contacted an engineer who issued a new compliance plate which had to be fixed BESIDE the old one. (Not Replacing) .
Cost me $475 in good old QLD
It is apparently possible to do it with a non load sharing suspension as some off road vans have independant coil or even air suspension which is not always load sharing. However there is a 20% downgrade because of this as here from a site which does these mods
Quote "Upgrading to a non-load-sharing independent suspension from a load-sharing leaf will require the wheels and tyres to be checked for the additional 20 per cent load carrying capacity required by law."
AnswerID: 602099

Reply By: Member - Roachie - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2016 at 15:26

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2016 at 15:26
I think it also depends on what weight rating you are trying to go to/from.

I am currently looking into the up-rating of my Bushtracker from an ATM of 3,500kg to 4,000kg.

The main aspect (in my case) was the axle ratings. In my own case the axles are "4140" type which is satisfactory for a 4 tonne ATM.

The other aspects are:

1). coupling rating....I have already ditched the stupid DO35 in favour of a 6 tonne McHitch Auto (much better type IMHO)

2). Safety chains.... I have to have the existing welded-on chains removed and replaced with "Bartlett" type pin-locks. These need to be welded on to mounting pads of 6 to 10mm thick steel plate which is then stitch welded onto the sides of the A frame. I'm currently trying to ascertain whether 10mm HT chain will suffice, or do I need to go up to 13mm.

3). Girder strap.... although not essential, it is highly recommended (by Bushtracker) that the round steel rod girder strap be replaced by flat steel strap with dimensions of 10mm x 50mm.

I'm hoping that that is all I need to do. The Bushtracker has a Tare of 2,720kg so you'd imagine that the current 3,500kg ATM should provide a suitably large payload....but with 4 full water tanks (of 90 litres each), I already lose about half of that figure.

I've just had the GVM of my Silverado upgraded from 4,490kg to 5,171kg and that gives me piece of mind too.
Roachie....Don't follow me....I'm lost!

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AnswerID: 602110

Reply By: 9900Eagle - Tuesday, Jul 05, 2016 at 16:26

Tuesday, Jul 05, 2016 at 16:26
Had mine done (Queensland) and lifted it to 2600kg the same as the chassis.

Rang the guy and 2.5 hours later I had the new compliance for a little over $200.

He even came to my place and took all the details and checked everything he need to.
AnswerID: 602112

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