Tow vehicle recommendations

Submitted: Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 15:57
ThreadID: 138532 Views:2682 Replies:13 FollowUps:37
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My neighbour requires the following;
Must be Ute
Must tow 3.5 tonne
Must be automatic
Must be comfortable
Must not be tiny 3 litre approx motor
Must not need to be modified.

The 70 series Toyota was considered but don’t think they come in auto.
The Nissan patrol was also considered but not sure if they come in Ute style.
Unimog / comfort style types out of the question
Please offer recommendations.
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 16:00

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 16:00
Dmax. We have just purchased our third. Never had any major troubles in 14 years we have been running Isuzu's
AnswerID: 626224

Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 16:15

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 16:15
I’ll tell him. He likes the Toyota 200 series with petrol motor but they aren’t made in Ute style apparently.
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 16:57

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 16:57
I personally wouldn't have a petrol as a tow vehicle no matter what make or model.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:17

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:17
Ivan
Is yours the one with the tiny 3 litre engine? It is nearly a 186 Holden engine which used to be seen towing large vans. More torque in the tiny Isuzu though. I think cruiser 3's neighbour may be a fad and fantasy buyer, rather than a thinking buyer.
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Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:29

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:29
He just brought a new “house on wheels” and his current dual cab Ute was struggling on its first trip over the mountain he reckons. Quite p....off he seems.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 19:34

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 19:34
If he's bought, and needs to tow, a "house on wheels", then the simple answer is - buy a 3 tonne Isuzu truck to pull it.

It never ceases to amaze me what people think dual cab utes should be capable of towing.

It is actually much less than the manufacturers ratings, which are set to the maximum possible, under ideal conditions, with minimum loads in the vehicle.

These factory towing capabilities are a huge "bragging rights" sales gimmick that have little resemblance to real-life motoring - where roads are less than ideal, utes are loaded to the hilt, temperatures can be extreme, nearly everyone is in a hurry because they've only got "X" amount of holiday time available - and where they need to see it all - right now.

An "industrial-size" house on wheels, needs an industrial-rated tow vehicle.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 20:00

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 20:00
Cruiser
I wonder what his vehicle and van actually are. The tow ratings are, " What the vehicle can move along a road with some degree of safety" . People are bred to believe salesmen/ women and throw reality out the window. I was looking at vans a while ago and the salesman asked what I had to tow with. I mentioned a manual Dmax. He said, no worries. It was huge and near 3 tons. Far more than the vehicle capability despite being "rated" as such. The crazy world of towing.
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Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 21:03

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 21:03
RMD It’s a Bushtracker caravan and he only went and picked it up with his current dual cab. Obviously he is going to buy something ideally suited to towing the new unit and while he has a set criteria he no doubt has several vehicles in mind, Nevertheless he was open to suggestions from anyone who may have experienced a similar situation.
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Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 21:13

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 21:13
Ron, I agree with everything you say and I guess my neighbour is of the same mind, that’s why he is going to buy something more than adequate for the task. He just needs to decide on what is best for his needs. The 3 ton truck sounds the sort of thing he needs as long as he can find that sort of strength with car like comfort.what model / type do you suggest and I’ll let him know.
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Follow Up By: Member - FSH00 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 23:36

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 23:36
Tell him to take a look on the bushtracker forum plenty of good advice on there.
Work to live don’t live to work

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Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 09:47

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 09:47
FSHOO
Thanks for pointing us to the Bushtracker forum.
Seems they recommend what they call “the big 3 Americans” Ford F trucks, Dodge Ram or Chev Silverado. It seems those three are very similar to their mind with a slight preference going to the Dodge.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 12:45

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 12:45
Cruiser, the Hino and Isuzu light trucks are the best of the available truck lines, they are available in auto and manual and single cab and crew cab - and they are built to work and tow.

But the problem generally is, these small trucks aren't luxurious enough for a lot of people, who also want high levels of comfort - and a vehicle they can go shopping and touring in.

So that essentially leaves the big American trucks as a choice. I have no personal ownership experience of the latest big American trucks (but I did own an F100 4x4 that I bought new in 1977).

However, my nephew, who I work with closely, has an affinity for the big "yank tanks", and he's owned several big Fords and a Silverado with a Duramax diesel and Allison auto.
He got rid of the Silverado, because it was constantly in the workshop with many niggling problems, a lot of them electrical-related.

He says the Fords have given him much less trouble, although I think he plays down any Ford problems.
His latest rig is a 6.2L petrol V8 Ford F150 SVT Raptor - which he claims is the most capable 4WD he's ever owned, and its handling and ride is incredible.

He tows a Jayco base station toy hauler with it, and the Jayco regularly runs well over 3 tonnes loaded. However, he says little about fuel consumption, he doesn't care about fuel costs, his business pays for that. I have no doubt the fuel consumption levels are abysmal.

This Raptor appears to have performed quite reliably, he works it hard on extensive firefighting in the SW of W.A. and it oftens travels many hard kms through the bush on fresh bulldozed firebreaks.
However, the V8 is no longer available in the Raptor, the latest engine is a twin turbo V6, which I don't think has the same "grunt" as the V8.

As far as the new Dodge Ram goes, they are a bit of an untested quantity at present, it needs more on the road to find out any serious problems. The Cummins is the best part of them, IMO.

I have a friend who owned a '97 Ram with the 5.9L Cummins, he couldn't fault the Cummins, but the performance of the Ram as far as reliability didn't impress him, with steering and suspension faults, poor braking, and high cost parts, with poor parts availability.

Despite all that, he did hang onto the Ram for around 15 years. I suspect he did that just to try and get his major investment out of it.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 14:11

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 14:11
Hi Ron
Thanks for the detailed input.
In a way it’s hard for someone to make a decision with so many options available now days, on the other hand it’s great to have so much available to us.
At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference.
I avoided making any suggestions as to what he should buy instead turning to this forum so as to offer all the options available to him.
It will be interesting to see what his final decision turns out to be. Furthermore knowing what a workaholic he is I am surprised that he even brought a caravan and wonder if he ever gets time to use it.
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Follow Up By: axle - Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 10:38

Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 10:38
From what I've experienced over the years, i'm not so sure a 3t truck would be the ideal thing either. Most of them are shockers on wet roads taking off on wet surfaces,unless you have sufficient weight on the rear,and I mean more than towball weight of a 3.5t van!

When you get to these weights to tow, unless the tow hitch is forward of the rear axle (Fifth wheeler idea)...Then in my opinion only, you still have a unstable and
unsafe set up.

Cheers Axle.

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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 14:29

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 14:29
I wouldn't go past a Dodge Ram. Ticks all the boxes including fuel economy, stability, comfort and storage - plus legal.
Cheers Andrew

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Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 17:12

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 17:12
Hi Andrew and Jen
I agree with you, and I think he will go that way but when he asked my advice I wanted to solicit as much information as possible for him without being one eyed.
May I ask, do you own a Dodge Ram??
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019 at 17:52

Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019 at 17:52
Cruiser 3.
I don't but if I was doing it again I would. Powered by Cummins who have agents throughtout the country and mechanics who are familiar with them.
I actually have a F250 dual cab and canopy with the 7.3L V8 towing a Bushtracker. Also very happy with this rig. GVM 5.7T and GCM 9.2T and fuel consumption at ~ 9T = 23L/100
Sits on the road like it was on rail tracks even when meeting road trains in cross winds ?
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Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019 at 18:09

Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019 at 18:09
Andrew and Jen
I’ll pass that information on because it will be of value to him I’m sure,
Thank you.
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Reply By: bobsabobsa - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:09

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:09
Dodge Ram 2500 will tick all those boxes
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Follow Up By: RMD - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:19

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:19
Ok if the council will allow widening and lengthening the garage I suppose.
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Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:31

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 17:31
he did mentioned he may have to go to 2500 Ford
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Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 22:21

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 22:21
Bobsabobsa
Thanks for the tip about Ram 2500, I think it is on his list
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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 05:43

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 05:43
A mate had one of those types of U.S pickup trucks .... suprising good on diesel he said better than cruiser .
Cheers Nick b
VKS 737 ( 0915 )
Wish the missus was as dirty as the tailgate

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Reply By: Michael H9 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 21:10

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 21:10
A friend of mine considered all the above and went with Chevy Silverado dual cab. It's an impressive machine.
AnswerID: 626229

Reply By: splits - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 21:18

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 21:18
Is the thing he wants to tow a caravan? If it is and it really does weigh 3500 kg or close to it then any of the popular utes will be struggling. The engine may be able to pull it easily enough but if the van gets hit by something like a sudden strong cross wind, it can take the ute with it in seconds. If a tow vehicle can't sit on the road like an immoveable object and hold its course, you are well on your way to jackknifing if the van starts swaying. For a van that size he should be looking at big US utes or small trucks.

A car with a 3500 kg towing rating can tow something weighing that much in some but not all conditions. A farmer towing a 3500 kg dog trailer with about 30 kg of ball weight around a relative flat farm is not going to have any trouble but if he takes a 3500 kg caravan out onto the highways, he will be taking a big risk.

AnswerID: 626230

Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 22:28

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 22:28
Thanks Splits.
He is very responsible, that is why he is wanting something that is very safe. He only towed the caravan home with one of his current vehicles thinking it would be ok because the van was unloaded. It was most probably ok but not ideal.
I think he is going to Cobar next week to have look around, nothing to look at in the bush.
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Reply By: Keith B2 - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 22:11

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 22:11
Looks like his caravan needs a good Yank.
Keith
AnswerID: 626232

Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 16:23

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 16:23
Yank tanks are most probably the only legal option and the safest by far for towing such a heavy load as most others claim 3.5t towing but that is actually a false claim.

I reckon if your neighbour is serious about wanting a true 3.5t towing capacity scroll down to a previous thread done not long ago on here titled Maximium Safe Towing Weight you will find a few answers there.
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Follow Up By: splits - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 21:20

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 21:20
Batt's

A claimed 3500 kg towing capacity is not really a false alarm because the manufacturers never say what it can tow. There are countless things being towed around all kinds of roads that can weigh that much that are not likely to cause the driver any anxious moments.

The time to complain about these 3500 kg capacities is when a manufacturer says it can tow a caravan of that weight but that is never likely to happen.
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Reply By: 9900Eagle - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 08:39

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 08:39
Ok, lets get rid of the also rans, many can tow 3.5t which is ok for towing the boat that doesn't exceed 3.5t loaded but with a van they won't be able to keep their GCM legal.

Now that probably also disqualifies the 200 series and the V8 Patrol unless they put very little in them which from my observation is virtually no existent, so over the GCM they go as well.

Many light trucks come with automated manual transmissions and are reliable, but the are large and are built for short haul so this may not suit due to comfort. I did drive an 2016 Isuzu light for a day but found the automated manual badly wanting on some gear changes, having said that it is probably sorted in the latest ones.

The other alternative is a converted V8 70 series ute with an auto trans. They are available professionally installed with the only catch now being comfort and cabin noise, this also depends on the individual. Below is a link to a conversion.

Auto trans conversion

That just about only leaves the American units which will fit the application except for size and price. Size can be overcome by shopping early and picking parking spots. Just not truck parking areas and bays. Sorry had to add that as it is causing a bit of a problem.

I have no experience with these utes but I do know the Ram Cummins 6.7l diesel is a cracker and good on fuel.
AnswerID: 626236

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 15:54

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 15:54
Problem is then of course by the time you do a 'conversion' on a new 70series ute from manual to Auto your still stuck with basically a noisy agricultural farm ute for the price of a yankee highway hauler that is factory built to do the job ...
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Reply By: OBJ - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 09:33

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 09:33
It's not what you wanted, but you can get a conversion on a 70 series to auto. I realise that you asked that it need need modification, but thought I'd throw it into the mix for your consideration. It's not cheap, but it's not a big job. The auto fits neatly, so no radical cutting etc.
Just a thought.
OBJ
AnswerID: 626237

Reply By: cruiser 3 - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 09:53

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 09:53
Thanks everyone for your comments.
I will pass all of this on to my neighbour when I see him today and I am sure he will appreciate your help.
Some very useful information has been offered so once again thank you all.
AnswerID: 626238

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 19:21

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 19:21
This would be the go! GVM of 4495kg & GCM of 7T plus. Only 6x4 though..........



Of course, there’s always the JMACX 6x6 conversions............if you’ve got a spare $50K!

Bob

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

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Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 20:27

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 20:27
BobY
I know a bloke who had one of those about 4 years ago. After a while he said to me “I don’t know why I didn’t just buy the right vehicle in the first place”
He then went and brought a Dodge Ram with a Cummins diesel and has been happy with that ever since. Funny thing he also has a Bushtracker caravan.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 22:31

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 22:31
Yeah, worked with a bloke last year who had a Dodge Ram dual cab, with canopy, to tow his van. Think he said it cost him $140K, but the economy was better than the 79 ute he replaced, which he said couldn’t do the job.

Bob

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

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Reply By: Phil G - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 21:06

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 21:06
Can also get a 200series and chop it into a ute (although I just noted your last point)
Creative Conversions.
Can get it up to 4200kg towing.
Not what I'd personally do as I'm tending to do retro now - just moved from a 200series back to a 78series Troopy.
AnswerID: 626247

Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 12:21

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 12:21
I was also going to suggest a converted 200 series from Creative Conversions. A GX or GXL converted would work out about the same as a Yank Tank. I know the OP stated no conversion.

Macca.
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Reply By: GarryR - Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 06:41

Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 06:41
I notice a lot of comments about the Toyota landcrusier. Just read in the Age newspaper on Saturday that Toyota are ceasing the V8 as of 2021, and will be replaced by the 300 Series V6 petrol and V6 turbo diesel with all Toyota models to become hybrid by 2025 - 2030. Who's engine is yet to be decided, as this is to keep up with Euro standards. It made interesting reading. They also state that it should not effect towing capacities, but one will wait and see.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 08:52

Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 08:52
It will take a lot more 'development' before you get a 'hybrid' capable of towing , all the current Toyotas that are 'Hybrid' including the new Rav 4 do not allow any towing whasoever ....
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Follow Up By: B1B2 - Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 11:46

Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 11:46
I see Car Advice has a write up on what they know of the 300.
https://www.caradvice.com.au/763431/toyota-to-axe-landcruiser-v8-300-series/?source=carousel&slot=0
I don't buy 'The Age' anymore.

Cheers,
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 21:27

Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 21:27
Some of the biggest dump trucks around, use pure diesel-electric motive power to haul 400 tonnes, and more, up 1 in 8 grades out of mines.

In fact, the electric "trolley" dump trucks, drawing power from overhead wires, are faster out of the pit than the pure diesel-mechanical drive trucks - and they have a higher level of reliability, with less catastrophic failures of major components.
Catastrophic failures of transmissions and engines in the regular diesel-mechanical drive trucks are all too common.

Worlds biggest electric drive dump truck in Russia

There's nothing wrong with hybrid drive, and the Japs will tune it so it's capable of towing.
The latest RAV4 has shocked Toyota with the sales level of the hybrid version, such is its smoothness and seamless operation.
Toyota originally calculated for a sales level of 40% of the new RAV4's being hybrid - the actual orders for the hybrid are running at more than 60% of the vehicles on order, to the detriment of the normal drive models.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 21:34

Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 21:34
Alloy, you've been fed a "furphy", as regards the towing capacity of the new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

The spec sheet says a towing capacity of 1500kgs for the AWD RAV4 Hybrid, with a braked trailer. It's 750kgs for an unbraked trailer.
The 2WD Hybrid RAV4 has a tow capacity of 480kg.

New 2019 RAV4 spec sheet

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 09:29

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 09:29
Ron have you driven or do you work on or around those dump trucks is that why you know their so reliable ? I drive Komatsu electric haulers and I wouldn't class them as reliable may be they could learn something from the Germans if there that good.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 10:27

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 10:27
Ron N , don't believe all you read in a brochure even from you beloved 'Toyota ' I've ordered a 'hybrid' Toyota Corolla ,and guess what ? NO Towing whatsoever , No towbar / system allowed period ..Also took the New Rav 4 Hybrid for a test drive and Guess what ? Dealer recommendations are 'You want to tow ? ' DO not buy the 'hybrid' ...Yes the brochure says you can BUT you lose all the advantages of having a hybrid vehicle ....you want or need to tow even the 6x4 garden trailer stick to the fully petrol version ....thats 'straight from the horses mouth' ....
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 10:49

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 10:49
Batts, as a former mining contractor who owned 55 items of mining equipment, all weighing in between 50 and 100 tonnes operating weight - with 19 Komatsu dump trucks in the line-up, I think I'm qualified to comment on dump trucks.

I can tell you this much, I've seen and had my share of blown transmissions and engines in conventional drivetrains, and they aren't cheap to fix.

Most electrical problems in the dump trucks are related to electronics not being built for severe service - designers not understanding the need for triple sealing - and not enough electricians in the repair crews, with most mechanics not understanding electrics, and struggling to find electrical problems.

The Komatsu electric-drive dump trucks were not actually designed by Komatsu. They are actually Dresser (formerly International Harvester) dump trucks.
So they have inherited some major design problems by simply buying the Dresser electric dump truck business, and trying to fix the Dresser design faults.

I drove old (1950's) electric-control LeTourneau D-model Tournapull scrapers in the Army in the 1960's.
Those old Tournapulls were electric steering, electric control winches driving cable controls for bowl, apron and ejector operation - and they worked just fine, and they were fast and powerful.

R.G. LeTourneau invented electric motors for earthmovers in the 1930's - that produced full power in 1/6th second, in an era when the "experts" told him it was impossible to produce such a thing.

R.G. LeTourneau also invented the "electric wheel" for earthmovers - in the 1930's, not long after they decided rubber tyres were acceptable for earthmovers, over steel wheels!
The advent of advanced electronics and AC wheel motors has made electrics much more competitive and efficient.

The electric-drive Cat D7E bulldozer is still selling in serious numbers, and has done since 2009. Now it's been joined by the new electric-drive Cat D6XE bulldozer.

The only thing about these electric Cat dozers is, they are not actually hybrids, because they don't have a battery in the drivetrain.
But they are a step up to the electric-motive-power century, and we're bound to see batteries in hybrid earthmover drivetrains within 10 years.

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: cruiser 3 - Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 11:48

Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 11:48
Great input from everyone and my friend thanks you for that.
Received a funny comment from his wife when 3 tonne trucks were mentioned, she said “ I’m not riding in a bloody truck, we’re going on a holiday not to work. Next thing you will be wanting to tow it with your beloved tractor”
Her words except I put in “beloved” in place of her word that I cannot write here.
I will keep everyone informed of his progress.
AnswerID: 626251

Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 21:12

Monday, Jun 17, 2019 at 21:12
Sounds like my missus! She even reckons my Hilux is a truck!
And when I suggested touring in my Isuzu truck, I got the exact same response!! - "I'm not riding for a holiday in any bloody truck!!" LOL

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: eaglefree - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 15:38

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 15:38
4 wheel drive or not 4 wheel drive?. Are we all assuming every tow vehicle needed now is a 4WD?

If so all caravan forums are 4WD forums. Just saying. If tar road use or good dirt roads I'd suggest a light truck with plenty of towing capacity, not stretching a common 4WD to its maximum.

AnswerID: 626271

Follow Up By: cruiser 3 - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 17:06

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 17:06
Hi Eaglefree
For me I wouldn’t tow without a 4x4.
Although I have never needed it very often in my 50 odd years of towing caravans, there have been occasions where I have needed 4 low and in some cases even then I have had difficulty.
For instance when setting up camp near a beach, negotiating beside a nice little creek when looking for a good spot, in muddy conditions or simply on wet grass sometimes. And most of my travels would be considered on good sealed roads.I guess it’s like insurance may never need it but boy it’s handy when you do.
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