Car towing capacity.

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 14:34
ThreadID: 136522 Views:3707 Replies:9 FollowUps:14
This Thread has been Archived
New to caravaning and doing a bit of walkabout soon. (new greynomads) I have a 2010 Mitsubishi outlander 2.7L manual, petrol. The caravan we are towing at the moment is a 12foot coromal popette. Its to small for us and looking at something up tp 16foot, no bigger. We are not doing of road, mostly staying on road, occassional gravel now and then if need be.( Been there and done that 4wd thing in a past life). Will the wagon I have tow a 16foot..or what vehicle is suitable. Not looking at towing much load, want to travel as light as we can..cheers .
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Hewy54 - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 15:13

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 15:13
Size of the van does not really come into it.
It is the ATM of the van that is important.
Look on redbook to get the towing capabilities of your car, them but a van accordingly.
Be sure to go by actual Tare and ATM (run it over a weighbridge before you by) not by what is stamped on the plate.
AnswerID: 618151

Reply By: Kazza055 - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 15:34

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 15:34
Van weights come in roughly at 100 -125 kg per foot so a 16' van is going to we roughly between 1600 to 2000 kg, from a quick search you Outlander is only rated to to 1500kg so to me you are over the limit for that vehicle.

I had a 2010 Challenger towing our 2500kg van, it did it but only just, trying to overtake another vehicle at 90k/h needed a lot of road to get it wound up. That model Challenger was rated to 2500kg and the later model went to 3000kg which from my experience would not work.

My suggestion would be to have a look at the MUX or D-Max if a dualcab is OK. Isuzu are very reliable cars and are rated at 3000kg and 3500kg respectively but once again I would not recommend towing the maximum weights with any vehicle.

When it come to your weights, don't forget to take into account the load in the car including fuel, fridges, passengers etc etc. It all soon adds up.
AnswerID: 618152

Follow Up By: RMD - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 16:07

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 16:07
That is sound advice from Kazza.
FollowupID: 890029

Follow Up By: mountainman - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 05:02

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 05:02
Thats a pretty sad comment if your going to generalize that no vehicle can tow at max weight.

I would have no problem at all towing with a cruiser or patrol. or pajero or any large vehicle at max GCM.

It is a slight worry with all the dual cabs offering high towing capacity though.

Honestly , in the end its the nutter behind the wheel
Or lack of brain matter behind the wheel.

Making a blanket statement no vehicle should ever tow at full tow capacity is just plain stupid.

Driver education is where the issue is at.

Also as well as how the vehicle suspension is setup to tow said load.
Let alone how the trailer suspension has been built.
Dual spring rocker suspension on any tandem should be mandated into law than a silly slipper dual leaf setup which encourages trailer sway and is most widely the cause of accidents.
And a correctly packed van also helps with towing but the rocker suspension helps alleviate the out of balance.
Its soo common on tandem trailers that you see let alone hire the dangerous setup of the leaf springs.

Its not just a simple issue.
No vehicle should tow at max weight will
fix the problem.
FollowupID: 890068

Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 11:05

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 11:05
Mountainman...towing 3000kg with a Pajero is just plain stupid. Mine is a 2014 Pajero and I tow a 1600kg camper. 150kg ball weight.. I,ve towed trailers all over the country and in my opinion 2000kg is the limit for a comfortable drive. Sure you can sit on 85-90 towing 2500kg and go down to 60kph through the hills. Thats just plain rubbish. Even the Patrols I drove I wouldnt tow at full maximum...the 4 cylinders are less power than the Pajero Its all one upmanship from the advertising dept trying to sell more cars.
FollowupID: 890077

Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 12:06

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 12:06
The problem the way I see it is that people buy a car that is rated to 3500kg and then buy a van that they think they can tow with than vehicle not taking into account how much payload they are going to carry in their car.

My van weighed in at 2500kg and my car was 3000kg - both were fully loaded for extended travel. This gave me 495kg breathing space with my load.

If I have a van that weighed in at 3500kg I would already be 500kg overweight.

FollowupID: 890079

Follow Up By: mountainman - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 12:25

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 12:25
You seem to forget years ago vehicles werent build to todays higher powered and better torque motors than now.
People just took their time on the road.

No different to now.
If you want to tow up a huge mamoth hill at full towing capacity well expect to drop some speed unless youve just got money to blow on a 6.6 duramax diesel conversion or a chev silverado.
Pretty simple dynamics really.

No 4cylinder td on earth is capable of towing 3500kg up a steep mountain at the speed limit.
Even a turbo diesel 6 might lose 10- 20km an hr possibly even more.

But i guess i just had to make that bleeding obvious to you

You want to tow at max weight.
At full speed limit.
Buy a duramax engine converted vehicle or factory built one.
Or do i need to name every big donk available in oz like the 6.7 or 7.3 td engine

You should expect with any small motor you purchase that at full weight towing it really isnt going to travel at speed limit all over Australia over a massive hill !!!

But i guess i had to make it bleeding obvious didnt i......

You want to tow a decent load
You need to scratch up a large amount of coin to do it.
To tow at the speed limit on any hill

Or do we want to go titt for tatt and really drag the topic off the road and through the bush
And just nit pick

What your saying is just general common sense.
But i guess i just had to make it really obvious the expectations of towing with small motors you should also expect a lower performance towing wise.

But who really has the coin to stump up the funds on a big american v8 diesel vehicle thats going for over 100grand ,
Just soo you can tow whatever over a mountain at the rated speed limit.
To be comfortable. ............

Nissan has dropped the ball on the 4cylinder td.
No one on earth things they are a good tow vehicle.
Thats why you see 1hdfte patrols getting around or even 6.5 chev to 6.6 duramax.
FollowupID: 890082

Reply By: Batt's - Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 16:04

Sunday, Apr 08, 2018 at 16:04
As well as mentioned above try to keep the weight down also if your interested have a look at pop top vans they have less wind drag so are easier on the vehicles engine & drive line and it will be better on fuel for towing.
AnswerID: 618154

Follow Up By: mountainman - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 08:03

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 08:03
If your that worried about keep the weight down and saving fuel.

Dont buy a van.
Just motel it as you go.
Means you dont need to upgrade vehicle.
Huge savings in not buying a van.
Or added maintenance of van let alone the added stress of weight on vehicle.

Or even , the more fatigue issue on the vehicle driver , compared to not towing.
Easier on doing quick stops as your not dragging a van to find a long enough park.
Always plenty of options to think about
FollowupID: 890069

Follow Up By: Batt's - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 13:45

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 13:45
That doesn't all make a lot of sense what's actually wrong with being smart and trying to save a few dollars when towing.
FollowupID: 890086

Follow Up By: mountainman - Tuesday, Apr 10, 2018 at 03:03

Tuesday, Apr 10, 2018 at 03:03
I can make it simple for you too.....
Put basically if you tow...
You are going to use more fuel.
Also going to put more strain on vehicle / soo more wear and tear.
Also you are limiting yourself to what you can see or go.
It is alot slower towing a van.
Highly likely people upgrade their vehicles to tow a large van
Soo think about the coin they drop on the van... and upgrading vehicle.
Then think about the costs of maintaining a van...
Its an ongoing issue.
And even damage via traveling.

Trust me i have alot of family that tow vans.
Gone all out and spent motza money on tow vehicle and van.
Only 6mnths later to go and sell it all up.
Soo... do you think its still cheaper to just van it ?

They took a huge loss on the tow vehicle and sold the van quite cheap to just get rid of it.

Factor in the extra fuel , it just would have made more sense to just motel it.
Because they also had a cheap car to run around in

Also other family members do the same.
If they want a quick... cheap trip away, they just pack up and go and motel it.
Soo much quicker, costs are low as they drive a small car and you are actually in front in savings.

Nothing is ever simple....
Look at the total cost..
Than thinking buying a van is just going to save you money.

Owning a van is a lifestyle.
That is whats being sold.

Not a cost saving exercise.

Look at the whole picture...
That makes alot of sense

But i guess im talking to someone..
" but i want to save money... soo i buy a van " till their blue in the face.

Save a few dollars when towing.....
Well, dont tow

Or drive below the speed limit and save some fuel.
Or buy a smaller van.
FollowupID: 890108

Follow Up By: stringybark - Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018 at 21:48

Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018 at 21:48
Yay mountainman...that's great advise also. I think we are pretty much going to do a "combination" of the motel-tow game. After reading the feedback a few times, sounds like best to stay with what we have. My sister has a 33 foot van...Lordy, Lordy, Lordy..(.I call it the one bedroom flat). Its just not for me, I just don't feel confident with that game, besides...they always complaining that the gear box is overheating..wonder why? cheers
FollowupID: 890165

Follow Up By: mountainman - Saturday, Apr 14, 2018 at 19:06

Saturday, Apr 14, 2018 at 19:06
Common sense doesn't prevail sometimes stringybark.
Even making it bleeding obvious is a battle.
Forgot to mention the price of fuel in some locations can be 50% or more than regional areas , or even more.

FollowupID: 890225

Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 11:42

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 11:42
Hi Tia V. I think you will struggle to find a suitable van in the size you are looking for that your current vehicle can comfortably tow. You do not specify what the Braked Towing Capacity or the GCM of your vehicle is, so giving you some accurate advice is not easy.

Looking at the current Manual Outlander specs, its Max. Braked towing Capacity is 1,600 Kgs. with a Kerb Weight of 1,410 Kgs, & a GCM of 3,585 Kgs. This gives you a load capacity of 2,175 Kgs including passengers. A 14' van will have a Tare weight of around 1,400 Kgs, add food, water, gas and gear, probably around 150 kgs. (90 Ltrs. of water is 90 Kgs), and you are getting pretty close to your Max. Braked towing Capacity. It is not advisable to tow at your Max. Braked towing Capacity as things (particularly stability) can get out of control pretty quickly.


Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 618167

Reply By: splits - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 13:34

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 13:34
Will the wagon I have tow a 16foot..or what vehicle is suitable.
All vehicles will tow their maximum rated capacity but how reliably or safely they do it depends on what that are towing. You can't go by weight alone. When you look at the endless number of car (not truck) towing accidents on the road, about 99% of them involve caravans. If all of those cars were towing a same weight trailer of some description that was much shorter in length and lower in height, the accident would most likely not have happened.

This link will give you a good idea of what the maximum weight of the van should be. It is guide only and not law but it is highly recommended if you want the best possible chance of keeping both the van and car the right way up.

ThIs one looks into the dynamics of towing. DYNAMICS

These Utube DVDs from Mitsubishi are well worth looking at.TOWING Note the towing weight of 85% of the kerb weight of the vehicle, not its maximim weight. All of this is coming from recent research into caravan stability and I would not be surprised if one day it becomes law over there as well as here..

Whatever you buy, make sure it has all the heavy items in it as close to the axle as possible and has nothing outside hanging off the back. That includes a spare wheel and any steel structure to support it..

If you find the ideal one and the spare is out the back then have it relocated under the van and close the the axle. Any caravan repair workshop should be able to do this using the little wheel lifting winches that you see under the back of utes.

Don't forget to read the towing instructions in your car's handbook. The specification sheet will list the maximum capacity but the book often includes a lot more.
AnswerID: 618170

Reply By: Erad - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 14:47

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 14:47
There has been a lot of guff said about towing capacity. The focus has been on how much power you have.This is not the issue. It is the weight of your tow vehicle and the balance of the whole rig when towing. You cannot expect to safely tow a 3 tonne van with a mini minor, even if it had the power to do it. You need stability, and sadly tow vehicle weight contributes significantly to stability.
My first caravan was an 18 ft 4 wheel full height van. I towed it with a Citroen DS21. Magnificent stability because there was virtually no distance between the rear wheel centres and the towball. Before I bought the van, I took it out on the road and tried violently to unsettle the rig by deliberately swerving Left to Right and repeat it over and over. It was extremely stable, so I bought the van.
Your Outlander will have more power as my Citroen had, so it should be OK. Even if it doesn't, you are not climbing hills all the time and so what if you have to drop down a few gears???? I currently have a 16.5 ft Jayco poptop van, and the tare weight stated on the drawbar is 1170kg. Frankly, I don't believe that at all, but my Pajero pulls the van really well. One thing with my van is the ball weight. It is HEAVY. I cannot manually lift the front of the van, so I reckon it is well over 150 kg. I have done the sway checks with this van, and it does not tailwag at all, so I am confident that it is OK, although it does load up the rear of my Pajero quite a lot. This is the most important feature of buying a van. It is no good to you when your car is hanging upside down with the caravan still attached and on its side. Whatever you buy, find a quiet road and have someone behind you to monitor your antics and check how stable the rig is before you hit the road in earnest.
AnswerID: 618175

Follow Up By: splits - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 19:11

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 19:11
I took it out on the road and tried violently to unsettle the rig by deliberately swerving Left to Right and repeat it over and over. It was extremely stable, so I bought the van.

Whatever you buy, find a quiet road and have someone behind you to monitor your antics and check how stable the rig is before you hit the road in earnest..


There is only one thing wrong with that idea. If you try it above what is known as the van's " critical " speed, you most likely won't recover despite the best efforts of a Citroen or any other similar size car.

It can feel as stable as can be below that speed and that has lulled many drivers into a false sense of security.. That is the nature of the "pig" design for trailers. Others like the "dog" or "fifth wheeler" handle in a completely different way.
FollowupID: 890099

Reply By: Member - Penski - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 16:03

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 16:03
I think you will struggle to find a 16’ on road van, even a poptop, that will fit into the 1600kg limit you have. You did ask about suitable vehicles and there are many. If you like your Mitsi then a Pajero will easily tow a 16’ and can be a good value buy second hand. The Challenger would also do it easily. If you decide the next step is to upgrade maybe find a van you like and then go car shopping. If your van comes in around 2000 kg’s you have a lot of choice.
For what it’s worth I’m with Kazza. I tow a 1600kg camper with my Pajero and would happily go to about 2000 kg’s but not much more. When touring I want to enjoy the drive and the destination. If we eventually move to something over 2000 kg’s we will be looking at something like a LC200.
AnswerID: 618176

Follow Up By: OutBack Wanderers - Sunday, Apr 15, 2018 at 22:59

Sunday, Apr 15, 2018 at 22:59
I just sold my Bailey 14' Tare 840 kgs GVM 1200 kgs, my tow KIA Sportage diesel AWD Max tow 1600 kgs

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

FollowupID: 890265

Reply By: stringybark - Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 22:25

Monday, Apr 09, 2018 at 22:25
With much gratitude to all replies. As always much to learn about the different capacities. For the moment we are staying with what we have..Its such a light caravan..(12Foot) and I have decided to "motel it" on the odd occasion. Cheers all...see you on the road.
AnswerID: 618188

Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Apr 10, 2018 at 10:45

Tuesday, Apr 10, 2018 at 10:45
I used to have a 2.7L petrol 2WD Hilux traytop work ute - and despite all the Hilux legend, I can assure you that it didn't cut it as a tow vehicle, even just pulling an empty 16 foot 'van.
I did one 700km non-stop trip with the 'van when I moved it from the place of purchase to my yard.

The Hilux's towing capacity was rated at 1800kgs, but the empty 16 foot 'van I towed would have only been around 1500kgs - and the Hilux made hard work of towing it, and the fuel consumption was abysmal.

I've currently got a 2013, 3.0L turbocharged and intercooled diesel Hilux work ute, and it makes the work of towing 2 to 2.5 tonnes, a breeze.
If you want to tow regularly, and tow more than a tonne, diesel is the only way to go.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 618199

Follow Up By: stringybark - Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018 at 19:34

Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018 at 19:34
I hear what you're saying Ron. I WAS tempted to try a 16footer but thought the better of it. As mentioned earlier mines only a 12 footer and I've found that the Mitsi barely knows its pulling the van. Mind you, I stay much within the speed and braking limits. Experience from a previous life has taught me that. The guy I bought the van from, used to tow it with a 2L Mazda, he towed to Qld (from Vic) a few times. So I figure with the 2.7L, I am pretty "safe"....cheers
FollowupID: 890162

Follow Up By: mountainman - Thursday, Apr 12, 2018 at 07:07

Thursday, Apr 12, 2018 at 07:07
The 2.7 hilux motor is a rocket when you get lpg conversion on it.
They absolutely fly.
FollowupID: 890166

Sponsored Links