weight and towing

Submitted: Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 08:12
ThreadID: 133114 Views:7835 Replies:10 FollowUps:30
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Not looking forward to the flak I am going to cop, but here goes

These comments are opinion only, and are limited to mid class 4wd's in a towing application. I claim only to be a consumer, no expert.
I read most articles in this forum, and a high proportion of them are about bent chassis, towing accidents, and vehicle towing ratings.
Many, many vehicles today are very easy to overload, as they are built exactly to spec, and no more. They will carry the rated load, but fail when loaded further. This can happen when the vehicle hits a big bump, or when towing. Note I mean rated load, and also axle rating
Another issue is the dreaded death wobble. It normally ends about 100 meters further on from where it starts. Poor loading is primarily to blame.
And almost invariably, both are caused by the user. Not the manufacturer.
That should stir the pot a bit!! Read a bit further, though.
There is more confusion about this issue(s) than who should be governing the nation, I reckon.
Issue one, overloading. I have seen very large, and very small tow vehicles overloaded. Size does not matter if it is overloaded. Now they were not manufactured with a load in them, so I can only assume the owners put it there!! Within this issue, there are related things.-
first one is the users ability to know they they are overloading, we dont have weigh bridges at home.
Second one is the users ability to read and understand the regs, there are 1,000,000 versions of the legislation, according to forums etc. And the regs are confusing - more later
Third one, engine size. This one gets me, there are so many people towing who relate power to ability- "she goes over the range in top gear" grrrrr
Forth one. Axle loading. And mid framed 4 door 4wd's. Rated payload is one thing, but placement is another. Almost all mid sized 4wd's that are 4 door, have massive overhang of the body, in some cases it is nearly entirely protruding to the rear of the back axle. And behind that is the tow ball??? Force = weight by distance, so axle loading must be considered. Loading one of these to spec, and then towing, is almost a written guarantee of a bent chassis. What I am saying is, if the load on a ute is mostly behind the rear wheel, and it is use for towing, and it is loaded to 100 percent of factory stated capacity, then axle loading is exceeded. I read a good article about axle loading here on the forum the other day, worth searching for. I have seen a lot of pictures, and actual vehicles bent, and, strangely, all were 4 door mid sized 4wd's with overhanging trays, a big load, and towing a (say) 23 foot van....So I stand by my statement that most issues are user related, good luck with insurance and warranty. Some people are stupid, many are confused
Towing. More formulas and more confusion, more interpretations. Some major items are not understood or given enough exposure
GVM. That old chestnut. Engineering approvals, "how do it get my Proton Satria GVM upgraded?" Approved GVM upgrades are ok if you dont want to tow. You can load the vehicle to the limit the engineer has approved. But some people think that the GVM upgrade is for the vehicle, and THEN they can tow to vehicles rated ATM. And that is WRONG. I once had a 4.5 ton truck, towing a Bushtracker, and was having a few problems that were unrelated to weight. And an old bloke told me I should have bought a Mitzy, as they were actually rated for 3.5 ton. My only regrets were that I didnt find out which way he was heading, so I could avoid that path. A Mitzy towing a BT??
The sleeper is the uncertainty about GCM. Some vehicles are rated from the manufacturer with a GCM, gross combined mass. This is the total weight allowable for the loaded vehicle plus the total tow weight. And it cannot be exceeded - so a 4wd with GVM upgrade is actually rated lower in tow capacity...an example, my BT50 is rated as follows,
GVM 3200
Tow 3500
GCM 6000
Now, if I loaded up my Mazda to its GVM, and tried to tow the rated load of 3500kg, then I would exceed the GCM, which cannot be exceeded, by law.So to stay legal, I can only tow 2800 kg with the Mazda fully loaded. 3200kg +2800kg= 6000kg - GVM + ATM = GCM. (Now I know this is not exactly correct in some states, but for the exercise its ok)
So say if I increased the GVM of the Mazda to 3600kg, I could then only tow 2400kg, as 3400 +2400 = 6000. Remember if your vehicle comes with a GCM rating, then it can never be exceeded, regardless of GVM modifications. And if it does not come with a GCM rating, then it is the sum of the GVM at manufacture, plus the ATM rating, and cannot be exceeded. So again, a tow vehicle with GVM upgrade has to drop its tow capacity. General statements, it varies by state.
I think it is poor that this issue is so unclear, and so unpoliced. Vehicle manufacturers can rate their vehicles to unrelaistic values (mid sized 4wd's rated at 3500kg tow, when in fact that only relates to ability with the tow vehicle as a cab chassis only, no fuel, no passengers, no body. Wrong.
And caravan manufacturers who supply newbies with the largest van that that vehicle is rated at, 3500kg's is some cases, and state that their roll is to get him out the gate legal. I actually went to a Melbourne factory once, and was told exactly that. Loading is up to the consumer, my roll is to get him out the gate legal.......And a very well known brand as well. Very disappointing
A change in legislation is needed to simplify this issue. It is wrong that the consumer is left to "get it right" (this is failing) when vehicle and caravan manufacturers are able to hide behind poor legislation and present their products in the best commercial light, leaving consumers confused and convinced that what they are doing is correct. A code of conduct for manufactures of vehicles and caravans that protect consumers. Access to weigh facilities. A local source of clarification re these issues. Some comeback if the consumer is fooled by salesmen. Australia wide legislation, most caravans cross state borders.
When a ute bends, or a tow situation goes upside down, then something needs to change.
And finally pig headedness. So many people think that articles like this dont relate to them (cos they were told theirs CAN to 3500kg) Its related to everyone towing. At a guess, 90 percent are overloaded in one way or another.
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Reply By: Gronk - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 08:34

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 08:34
Sorry mate, but a sensible approach to towing won't fly here..

Sensible went out the window when people started out with a dual cab ute that weighs approx 2.2 ton , then whack a 3 plus ton van on it, all because the manufacturer said it was OK ??
AnswerID: 602940

Reply By: Member - Rich - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 09:09

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 09:09
Very interesting comments.

I am going through a bit of weight balancing act at the moment.

One of the things that got me was that when you read the glossies they do not always tell the full truth.

I have a DISCO 4 and the glossies state a tow ball weight of 350kg but when you read the manual there is a bit more to it.

The manual states it is 150kg but can go up to 350kg by reducing the GVM value at the same rate. Not exactly those words but is my understanding.

This is not to bad but as you point out it is very easy to reach GVM when you start adding mods which I have. My GVM is 3260, GMC 6760 . I went over a weigh bridge the other day and weighed the car. I had tools in the car, those I normally take with me, me - huge weight and full tanks of fuel (around 190 litres as have an aux tank). It came in over 3t. This does not leave me a lot of room if I want to tow something with a ball weight in excess of 150kg, which I do, and add a few other extras like a fridge and the wife. My tow ball weight at the moment is 280kg.

I believe other vehicles are similar when you look in to it further.

Your point of being aware is very important.

AnswerID: 602942

Follow Up By: Member - Jim B8 - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 09:18

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 09:18
yes, we all need to consider our situation every so often. Results are seldom good news. Too many people think that selecting the "best" rig is the answer. But even F250's can be , and are often overloaded.
And the saddest thing it the tears on the roadside, and the true belief that it was all caused by the van suddenly starting to sway........
FollowupID: 872566

Follow Up By: Gronk - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 09:57

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 09:57

This explains it a bit. But a lot who have exceeded these guidelines won't agree..
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Reply By: TomH - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 09:57

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 09:57
You have made a basic mistake here.
Firstly the towing rating is done with the van weighed on its own so is the ATM
as is the GVM of the tug.

However when you join them together and weigh them you get the GCM.

OK all clear.

That weight if your rig is loaded legally contains the BALLWEIGHT WITHIN THE GVM OF THE TUG.
Therefore you are towing the balance of the weight which is the GTM of the van.

You cant weigh hooked up and add the ATM to the GVM as you have added the ball weight twice..

Make sense I hope so.

You cannot load your tug to GVM and then add the ball weight as its illegal to exceed that figure.

So you have a tug with GVM of 3200kg which when hooked up includes the ball weight of say 300kg.
You can then add 2800 GTM for the van and be legal.

When you unhook the ATM of the van will be 3100kg and the 'Actual Loaded Weight " of your tug will drop to 2900kg.

Does all that make sense. It does to me and a huge number on a Caravan forum.

However some manufacturers dont state GCM so you can tow a 3500kg ATM van provided you dont exceed your GVM of the tug when hooked up.

You can also legally tow a van with a higher ATM than recommended PROVIDED that at the time of towing its weight does not exceed the stated limit

EG A tug rated to a 2500kg limit can tow a 2700kg ATM van provided if weighed it does not exceed 2500kg at the time.

You are partly correct about increased GVM as if the tug has a stated GCM that cannot be exceeded no matter what you do with the tug.

However some who do not have a stated GCM can have an increased GVM and still legally tow the stated tow limit.

It is the NEW GVM as plated plus the tow rating otherwise there would be little point in doing it.

I think a couple of members here have done that.
AnswerID: 602944

Follow Up By: Member - Jim B8 - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 10:07

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 10:07
I avoided specifics, too many interpretations, and its all been discussed before. It leads to more confusion, as different states see it differently.
My topic is that current law not working across Australia, and people are out of pocket, injured, or dead.
I didnt want a debate about who interprets it correctly, so I stuck to general statements. I really dont think a forum can declare the correct version to such a situation, unless there is a politician who gets on board. Good for debate though, and thanks for your reply.
FollowupID: 872568

Follow Up By: TomH - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 11:10

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 11:10
However by posting incorrect examples it only confuses the issue.
The weights I have stated are the correct way to weigh your rig.
A politician wouldnt have a clue without asking one of their many "Advisors"
The correct people to ask is the TMR in your state as I did to get the answers.
FollowupID: 872569

Follow Up By: eaglefree - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 17:16

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 17:16

I understood "you've made a basic mistake here"..... Nothing after that.

Not your fault but so confusing.
FollowupID: 872577

Follow Up By: TomH - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 17:39

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 17:39
And therein lies the problem even when set out plainly people just dont grasp the facts.

No wonder so many overweight and dangerous rigs around. It pays fo familiarise yourself with the various definitions of weight as misunderstanding them can lead to problems.

To help you here they are

Tare. Empty weight from the factory, If a motor vehicle with 10L of fuel.

Kerb weight. Tare plus full fuel tanks.

GVM.Gross Vehicle Mass. Maximum legal loaded weight of a motor vehicle and when towing includes the ballweight.

Trailers (Vans)

Tare, empty weight no gas or water.

GTM. Gross trailer Mass. the Maximum allowed legal weight on the axles only.

ATM,. Aggregate trailer Mass. the Maximum allowed legal weight on the axles and jockey wheel.

GCM. Gross combined Mass. The maximum allowable legal weight of the combination of tug and van when coupled up and is the sum of the GVM and the GTM of the two.
GVM, GTM, ATM and GCM are not weighable weights. They are stated legal limits and should not be exceeded.

The weight of your vehicles at any one time are best described as " Actual loaded weight".

Additional info here.

Hopefully that is less confusing. Unless of course your comment was "Tongue in cheek"
FollowupID: 872578

Follow Up By: Member - Jim B8 - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 17:49

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 17:49
yes, its easy to be the rightest person on a forum, but they dont fuc* around in the crematorium. when people get it wrong, people die. And the problem is the legislation, not me.
FollowupID: 872579

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 19:22

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 19:22
"GCM. Gross combined Mass. The maximum allowable legal weight of the combination of tug and van when coupled up and is the sum of the GVM and the GTM of the two."
I don't think that is correct.
GVM + GTM may not equal GCM at all.

OKA196 motorhome
FollowupID: 872583

Follow Up By: TomH - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 20:07

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 20:07
So what is correct then as if you have tug loaded to GVM including ballweight what is left to make the allowable GCM. Could be I guess described as the actual loaded weight on the wheels.
It may not in any one instance be equal to GTM but may not exceed it and its the weight on the wheels only thats left
What I was trying to say is that by taking the GVM and ATM to make up GCM you have counted towball weight twice as its already included in the tugs weight when hitched up. .
So you could have as in the OPS example a 3200GVM and a GCM of 6000kg

You can tow a van of 3050 kg ATM as 250kg of that is ball weight (Theoretical) and when weighed connected would come out at 3200 for the tug and 2800 for the van. By adding GVM and ATM you would be depriving yourself of 250 Kg
allowable weight
When separated tug would weigh 2950Kg and van 3050KG All legal
You cannot load tug to GVM and then add towball weight.
Im not trying to be smart just accurate as lots dont know the correct way to do it
You would have followed a similar very long thread on the CF a while ago that came to the same conclusions I have posted
FollowupID: 872584

Follow Up By: Gronk - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 20:42

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 20:42
And all of those trailer and 4wd weights wouldn't be so important to understand if people towed a van that was nowhere near the limit.
I posted up a graph earlier that is a recommendation in Australia and legislation in Germany, which shows weights for 4wd's that are nowhere near legal limits !!
FollowupID: 872585

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 22:12

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 22:12
The maximum towable mass is determined by the actual mass of the trailer, not by its ATM, provided the ATM is not exceeded. If the max towable mass is 2.5T the tug can tow a trailer with an actual mass of 2.5T legally, even if the trailer ATM is 3.5T

Also, in the case of many vehicles, GVM + max towable weight may exceed the GCM. In the case of my OKA, the max towable weight is 3.5T, the GVM is 6.6T and the GCM is 9T, so how much I can tow today depends on the current loaded mass of the vehicle. If it weighs 5T it can tow 3.5T. If it weighs 6.5T it can only tow 2.5T

OKA196 motorhome
FollowupID: 872592

Follow Up By: eaglefree - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 22:27

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 22:27
Not tongue in cheek TomH

Seriously confusing but I've got your reply for print out ...thanks
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Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 09:21

Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 09:21
To Peter I agree with you and already stated examples the same in my reply 3

The mistake that gets made constantly is people describe the vehicles "weight" as its ATM or GTM when its not. As you say it is the actual towable weight and may well be considerably under ATM or whatever.

Even descriptions in the pics below are incorrect in the lower part.

The Acronyms ATM,GTM, GCM are NOT actual weighable weights at all.

They are legal limits and nothing else.

I did also say that you can tow a van with a higher ATM than tugs legal limit provided, as you also said it does not exceed that limit at the time of towing.

I have that in writing from the NSW TMR..

WIll leave it there as this as on the other forum could go on forever..

FollowupID: 872608

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 13:12

Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 13:12
There are some interesting differences between terminology and legal practice in the light trailer sector and heavy transport.

In heavy transport the legalities are determined by the published rating of the vehicles regardless of how they are loaded ...... this reflects in licence requirements and what can tow what legally.
In heavy transport you CAN NOT tow a trailer rated above that of the tow vehicle rated capacity, regardless of how it is loaded and you must be licenced accordingly.

HOWEVER there seems to be allowance in the light trailer sector to tow a trailer that is actually within the tow vehicles towing capacity though that trailer is rated to be loaded above it.

I believe this is to be true and correct in all states, but I am yet to find any legeslative proof of this

The other interesting difference between heavy transport and light vehicles ...... heavy transports are in general specifically designed to carry and tow their maximum rated load continuoulsy as normal duty ..... passenger cars and passenger derived light commercials are not.

FollowupID: 872659

Reply By: allein m - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 11:26

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 11:26
There is many reasons why people have accidents when towing, I have lived in Broken Hill for almost 12 years now and we seem to get a number of accidents involving vesicles towing.

And there is a range of vehicles from duel cabs , land rover discovery 4, toyota and some sedans

one guy realized he had missed to the turn off to Burke the other day and not far from a slight bend he trying to make a uturn and a road train ran into his truck , that was nothing to do with the vehicle is was a silly mistake

Other factors not used to remote roads , trying to drive too far , head winds wild life are a major accident cause out this way and there is many other even poor maintenance can cause problems
AnswerID: 602947

Reply By: Member - Bruce and Di T (SA) - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 11:34

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 11:34
We were looking to buying a new vehicle with a towing capacity of 3.5 tonne. I did some rough sums, enough for us to get the gist and realise that 2.8 tonnes was really about the limit. We've settled on a 200 Series and we are upping the GVM as we'll have extras added. This means our towing capacity is less, but that's fine as our van, laden, falls within the towing limit.

In about 8 weeks when the Lovell's GCM upgrade is available we will consider that as we are considering changing our van which won't be much heavier than what we have.

My belief is that manufacturers saying you can towing 3.5 tonnes is very misleading.

AnswerID: 602950

Follow Up By: Member - Jim B8 - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 17:05

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 17:05
good to see you are considering the weight in your purchases
FollowupID: 872576

Follow Up By: splits - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 20:57

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 20:57
"My belief is that manufacturers saying you can towing 3.5 tonnes is very misleading."
They will tow their maximum capacity but not in a manner that suits every owner. There is an endless number of things that can be towed around the streets. The manufacturers list a maximum possible weight. They don't supply a list of what it can tow. It is up to the buyer to find out before buying the car.

Have a look at the trailer in this videotrailer and picture one like it behind a modern 4WD with a capacity of 3500kg and working at low speeds in say an agricultural or industrial environment. It could weigh 3500 kg but would place only about 30 kg on the tow ball. The car would do it easily but it would not safely handle a 3500kg caravan. Around town might be ok but not out on the highway.

No manufacturer claims their car will tow anything anywhere that happens to weigh the maximum. You have to look beyond figures in specification sheets.
FollowupID: 872587

Follow Up By: Member - John - Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 05:46

Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 05:46
"In about 8 weeks when the Lovell's GCM upgrade is available", GCM or GVM Upgrade?
John and Jan

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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce and Di T (SA) - Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 10:43

Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 10:43
GCM upgrade. We are getting the Lovells GVM upgrade before registration.

FollowupID: 872618

Follow Up By: Member - John - Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 11:29

Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 11:29
Bruce, please tell me more, GCM upgrade is a quantum leap over GVM increase. I have a Lovell's GVM increase already.
John and Jan

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Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 11:48

Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 11:48
Interesting considering what is said on here

Also Lovells site does not mention an upgrade of GCM.

It is prohibited in Queensland apparently since about 2 years ago when it was able to be done.

Most peoples undersatnding is that it increases the capacity of the tug without increasing GCM and therefore may actually decrease allowable towed weight.

A link to a statue that allows it would clear it all up because I have seen that supposedly it can be done but never seen actual proof.
FollowupID: 872621

Follow Up By: Member - Bruce and Di T (SA) - Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 12:00

Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 12:00

Apparently Lovells have been working on this for about 2 years. Last week they were in Victoria testing it. Now they have to write up all the technical details, hence the 8 weeks. When we rang them earlier in the week we were told it would probably be 3-4 weeks, but one of the engineers would ring us later in the week after they returned from Victoria. He did, on late Friday afternoon hence the knowledge about 8 weeks. To get the upgrade you must have a Lovells GVM upgrade. I doubt we will ever need the GCM upgrade but we are considering it as being insurance against possible overload, ie exceeding the GCM.

We decided on the Lovells GVM upgrade as we do a lot of 'offroad' travel, various tracks and as we would be have a bullbar etc. As well we tow and we wanted that safety margin.

My understanding is that the GCM upgrade will be a state compliance and not a federal, just like you get if you do the GVM upgrade after first registration.

We're waiting on further information once the GCM upgrade becomes reality.


FollowupID: 872622

Follow Up By: Member - John - Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 12:04

Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 12:04
Di, thanks, will keep an eye on Lovell's website.
John and Jan

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Reply By: Member - shane r1 - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 18:57

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 18:57
Yes all very confusing!
Consider this. When the vehicle combination is at or below maximum weight , it is going to need a lot of care and skill to operate it safely. And that's not really regulated is it?
AnswerID: 602964

Reply By: Member - Rich - Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 20:02

Saturday, Jul 30, 2016 at 20:02
It all to much for me so I am trying to keep a simple view of it all
1. I need to know the weight of my fully loaded car no trailer attached
2. I need to know the tow ball weight of my van
3. I need to know the weight of the van fully loaded not including the tow ball weight
1+2 has or be <= to the GVM for my car
1+2+3 has to be <= than the stated GCM for my car
2 has to <= the max tow ball weight for car

I don't care what my stated kerb weight and how it is measured is in the hand book, what matter is what it really weighs now. I don't care about quoted payload values either.
As a starting point I am just going to empty my car of as many extras I can. Fill up the two tanks to know limits then go and weigh that.
This will be my kerb weight from which I will start using when considering extras and towing capabilities as mentioned above.

AnswerID: 602965

Follow Up By: gbc - Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 06:55

Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 06:55
If you are doing it for compliance, towball mass isn't generally measured, just axle sets. Compliance guys won't make you unhitch as a general rule, just drive over scales.
I'm not saying ball mass is unimportant, just that it is weighed as part of the payload of the vehicle and shows up as rear axle weight in the main.
FollowupID: 872604

Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 09:29

Sunday, Jul 31, 2016 at 09:29
I dont know here you got that from but the definitions are incorrect
GVM is NOT the total loaded mass of the vehicle It is the legal loaded LIMIT the vehicle can be.
Its actual LOADED WEIGHT could be anything up to but shouldnt exceed the Figure quoted for the GVM
The others are similarly wrong
The ATM would be better reading The maximum legal.............

Here are two examples of what I have been harping on about 1st is a copy of a reply from and is a quote form the ADR's

ATM and GVM and GCM meanings - These are taken from Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule Definitions and Vehicle Categories) 2005 they are the definitions as used in legislation.

AGGREGATE TRAILER MASS (ATM) - the total mass of the laden trailer when
carrying the maximum load recommended by the Manufacturer. This will
include any mass imposed onto the drawing vehicle when the Combination
Vehicle is resting on a horizontal supporting plane.

GROSS VEHICLE MASS (GVM) - the maximum laden mass of a motor vehicle as
specified by the Manufacturer.

This is the maximum permitted weight of all other vehicles.

GROSS COMBINATION MASS - value specified for the vehicle by the
'Manufacturer' as being the maximum of the sum of the 'Gross Vehicle Mass of
the drawing vehicle plus the sum of the 'Axle Loads' of any vehicle capable of
being drawn as a trailer.

The second is from WA legislation and while it refers to heavy vehicles any vehicle towing a trailer would be treated the same

As an Example:

In this scenario you may be required to drive a prime mover, towing a low loader dolly and quad
axle low loader carrying earth moving machinery that weighs 48 tonnes.
The tare weight of the combination (empty) is 30 tonnes Now add these two figures up:
Load 48t
Tare weight of vehicle (combination) 30t
GCM = 78 tonne

An example of the weight distribution would be;
6t (on the steer axle)
18t (on the drive axle group)
18t (on the low loader dolly axle group), and 36t (on the low loader axle group)
Total = 78t (the figures would be reflected on your permit)

The GCM rating for the prime mover must be 78 tonnes or more.
The GVM rating for the prime movermust be 24 tonnes or more.
The GTM rating for the low loader trailer must be 36 tonnes or more.
The GTM rating for the low loader dolly must be 18 tonnes or more.

Note it is the GTM of the trailer that is taken NOT THE ATM
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 06:52

Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 06:52
Statistically, 50% of the population is below average intelligence, they are allowed to drive and tow things. All this mumbo jumbo of acronyms and scientific equations is falling on deaf ears. In truth, the numbers that get used are - how much can your car carry.....as much as you can fit in it or on the roof, and that doesn't include bullbars, fuel etc. How much can it tow.....whatever the manufacturer says. How much does the van weigh....whatever the manufacturer says irrespective of how much you put in it. These are the real world numbers that are used. It might be fun to play Einstein and figure it out, weigh yourself etc but most will not, never will and frankly, are incapable of it. Therefore, the only answer is to lower the manufacturer figures down to include a reasonable "margin of stupidity"....MOS for the scientific types.

PS My wife ate a cake the other day that threw us 2kgs over GVM. I threw her out and told her to run behind until she got down to legal weight. :-)
AnswerID: 603003

Follow Up By: Member - Jim B8 - Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 09:49

Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 09:49
Leaving compliance to the end user is flawed. We need national laws that are simple and work. And overlap the vehicle/van laws so someone towing is covered.

State by state laws are a failure, it is a circus that some people get passionate about the law and compliance, when in fact they are wrong as soon as they cross the border.

And laws that prevent anyone eating cake ha ha
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Follow Up By: TomH - Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 10:56

Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 10:56
If you are travelling around the country generally your rig, if compliant in your home State is accepted as such in all States. Its when you move and have to reregister it that the problems can start.

Eg Only in NSW do you need a Breakesafe monitor in the cab.

However you are still legal in a QLD registered rig which doesnt have one whilst travelling through NSW. Like wise your drivers licence is valid even if you stay in a van park for 6 months as long as it doesnt become your permanent place of residence. Tassy is a gray area with this so I havent gone there.
FollowupID: 872653

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2016 at 13:46

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2016 at 13:46
A classic example , B/inlaw has new van a tow vehicle [ complete campsite and dual cab Hilux] Q , how much does van weigh ? A 2500Kg . Q that loaded up , water ect ? A ,nah dunno . Q how much can new Hilux Tow ? A 3500kg !! Righto , don't think my FJ would be legal to tow the van but , its only good for 2250KG legally . A from B/inlaw [ Qld policeman ] you can tow whatever you like as long as it looks level ,no insurance company ever seems to weigh anything after an accident !!
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Follow Up By: TomH - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2016 at 16:01

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2016 at 16:01
Yeah well sounds like an intelligent answer from a cop.

However overloading also comes into the "How to stuff the tug by expecting it to do what its not designed for" Category.

People load them up, tow in overdrive and then moan the gearbox shat itself.

What do they expect..

Manufacturers have limits for reasons wide and varied.

If owners want to exceed them they do so at their own ( and sometimes people coming the other way)s risk.
FollowupID: 872720

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2016 at 17:24

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2016 at 17:24
Actually Tom H , you are WRONG about living in a C/van park for 6months and not changing your Driving licence , Every state and territory requires you to change your stated drivers licence address after 3 months residence at a different address [ defence force personnel excepted ] , yes your licence is still valid BUT it is in actual fact a requirement , totally different If you are constantly on the move.
FollowupID: 872724

Follow Up By: TomH - Wednesday, Aug 03, 2016 at 19:41

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2016 at 19:41
Well from the SA website

"If you’re visiting from interstate you can drive in SA with your current interstate driver’s licence as long as you adhere to your licence conditions."

It goes on to say if you become a PERMANENT RESIDENT you must .....within 90 days. Same for QLD. If you fit the permanent requirement like having a fixed postal address and pay insurance or rates etc you must do it.

If you are on a permanent holiday you dont have to. Same with a vehicle If you register a garaging address in a different state, as when you buy a house you normally as in QLD only have 14 days to change rego over. However I know of people who have lived i QLD for years and drive out of State rego'd cars

From the WA website

"If you are visiting Western Australia from another Australian state or territory, you may use your existing driver's licence for the period you are visiting WA or until the licence expires (whichever comes first)".

From NT website

"In certain circumstances, you can apply for an exemption from holding an NT driver licence if you're staying longer than three months but not more than 12 months."

It does say 3 months continuous unless you do the above'

From the QLD site

"If you are visiting Queensland from another Australian state or territory you can drive if you have a valid interstate licence"
No time limit mentioned.

The point of the Vic one is it says you have to change if you "reside" there for longer than......
Dictionary Definition of reside is "have one's permanent home in a particular
Under that if you are travelling around Aussie in a van and stop for a while you arent "residing" as per the definition as its not permanent

Tasmania is different and says 3 months and you have to change However when it was discussed on a Van forum no one owned up to doing so. .
FollowupID: 872729

Reply By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 09:47

Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 09:47
A great discussion, thanks for starting it Jim B8.

As I am looking at purchasing a new van I need to make myself aware of these figures and regulations.
What my Prado would be able to drag around is totally different to what I can and should tow.

I am at least better informed now that I have read this thread.

Is there a towing article on this site?
If not maybe there should be, but with differing views and opinions good luck to whoever gets to write it....lol

Always planning the next trip. VKS-737 mobile 1619

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AnswerID: 603009

Reply By: Gramps - Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 11:57

Monday, Aug 01, 2016 at 11:57
Jim B8,

"So again, a tow vehicle with GVM upgrade has to drop its tow capacity"

ONLY if the vehicle is loaded above it's original GVM. Not everyone gets a GVM upgrade and tows. It's also done because you have another use for the upgraded vehicle that does NOT include towing some overweight gin palace :)

AnswerID: 603015

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