Towing a caravan with Series 2Discovery TD5

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00
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I own a Discovery TD5 and am considering purchasing a 16ft Coromal Seca caravan for touring around Australia. I would like to hear from anybody with the same rig, any relevant information especially with regard to fuel economy etc and if it would be a good choice of caravan for the Disco 2.
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Reply By: KiwOka - Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00
Micheal, I was looking at a 2001 Defender TD5 to tow a bushtracker round Oz and found that while the Td5 will tow 3.5 ton on-road it is ONLY rated to 1000 kg Off-road. (But I guess tht wont matter to you). Other than that I was not able to find any negative information on the Td5. That being said I have found very little good info on the Discovery. All the 4WD sites have negative info on them, One goes so far as to say "Great 4x4 if dont have to go off-road."

Good luck with your search for the rigth vehicle. Might I recommend one of the following. ANY late model TD4.2 (Toyota or Nissan) or a Defender Td5 (NOT THE DISCO). PS In last months "4WD Monthly" (issue 43) there is an article about towing and the Patrol 3.0TD worth a read.
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Follow Up By: Mike - Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for your reply . I already own a new Disco 2 ,so far am very impressed with the fuel economy and overall performance I am still running it in at the moment . Our plan is to use the caravan as a base and go off road using our tent less problems.Iam yet to decide on a Caravan but the Coromal Seca off road version looks to be a good choice, the most off road I would take the van would be on gravel roads.
I need to get some idea of approximate fuel economy for budgeting purposes.
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Follow Up By: Kiwoka - Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00
In that case Mike, I would suggest renting a van for a week and give it a try. Remeber that every vehicle and triler combo is different and the way in which it is loaded will have an effect. Give it a go and see. That is the only way you can be sure. Wouldn't want to run out of fuel or money now would you!
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Follow Up By: Bob - Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00
Don't believe the negative stuff about the Discovery. Most of it comes from people who have no experience whatsoever with the vehicle but have some prejudice. There is a good Yahoo group for Discovery owners. It is a fiddle to join but if you want the good oil with out the bullsh it is worth the effort. Towing an off road trailer is a breeze in the TD5. Heaps of torque makes it effortless driving.
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Follow Up By: Rnago - Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00
Bob The overwhelming view of Discos in the 4wd world did not just appear by chance. It is well earned and founded on the collective experiences of many people.
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Follow Up By: Winaje - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
To reply to Bob. He is right, there is a good Yahoo group, and I say that becasue I am the owner of it :-))) Seriously, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aussiediscoveryii click on join, and submit the questionnaire you will get. We will give you the REAL facts about the vehicle and it's capabilities. Bill Church
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Reply By: Graham - Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 10, 2002 at 00:00
Can't help you with the TD5 fuel economy, but as well as the Coromal van it might be worth your while to look at Kedron (made in Qld,) or the Evernew out of Melbourne...both have models for towing down the corrugated roads behind 4x4's..

cya down the track........Graham
BTW.....we choose an Evernew.
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin - Monday, Aug 12, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Aug 12, 2002 at 00:00
Graham,

Going through the same hoops myself re which van and would appreciate your thoughts on Evernew Vs Kedron - visiting Evernew next week.
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Follow Up By: Graham - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002 at 00:00
Kevin....
Really the main thing I choose Evernew over Kedron was that for me the Evernew is local ...only 1/2hr drive away...if I was in QLD then I'd go for the Kedron most likely...
You maybe able to check out our van as it maybe at the yard next week...its a 16ft 9ins...off roader with sugar glider suspension.
email me if you want more grahcom@netspace.net.au

cya
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Reply By: Eric - Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002 at 00:00
Michael,
Dont tow any thing with a disco the rear axles and diff are to fragile,
they are a good touring vehicle and will give resonable service if driven carefully. Consider the cost of buying and towing a van agianst the cost of staying in motel accomadation, the number of nights for the same $ is over 500 and thats before you brake anything.
Eric
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Follow Up By: Graham - Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00
Eric I doubt that Mike wants to stay in motels, they are a completely different lifestyle. motels are ok for a night or so but not for exteneded holidays where you move on every few days or week or 2......we used to use motels before we returned to a van...thank god were back in a van, we find it a much better life style as well as the freedom to go/stop wherever.. Besides much more friendly and sociable patrons in parks than motel. As for cost of van being same as staying in motels ...well thats debateable but I'm sure as hell its costs us less in the van... 1 night in van = $45 ($17 avg. park fee + $8 extra fuel per + $20 per night van repairs and depreciation and tow veh xtra service etc) wont get much of a motel for that....motels mostly avg. around $65.

Mike many vans are towed with the your type of vehicle and as long as its within the weight range specified by the manufacurer then go for it and enjoy......

cya Graham
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Reply By: Bob - Friday, Aug 16, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Aug 16, 2002 at 00:00
Michael. I have a 2001 Discovery TD5 and last year I toured Central and Western Australia. I towed a Jayco Lark (large wind up) and did 25,000
kms in 3 months - overall economy 12.9l/100k. Only trouble I had was dust ingress - but don't we all when travelling inoutback West . Had all the seals replaced in Perth under warranty
and no problems since. Have now upgraded to a Jayco Westport 18 footer full van. No problem towing and on a recent trip to SA and Qld
averaged 15/100k. Am very happy with the vehicle and towing is a breeze. Regards
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Reply By: winaje - Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2002 at 00:00
Michael, I have a TD5 Disco in Auto without SLS. I have towed a 35ft 3500kg van from Melbourne to Canberra on the Hume Highway, and averaged 17 MPG, no idea what that is in l/100kms sorry. I had no problems at all, apart from slowing to about 50 kms/h on the big hills out of Gundagai. The only modifications that I have done are a heavy duty brake controller that can brake up to 4 axles, and a 750lb Hayman Reese Weight Distribution Hitch. The hitch is plugged into the standard receiver. I can categorically say that this vehicle is able to tow anything that we are likely to require of it, and I say that from experience. You should have seen the looks from some people as I passed them on the freeway!!!. I am not sure as to the LEGALITIES of towing with that amount of towball weight. I know that Land Rover do not rate up to the weight I had on the towball, but I also know that they will always dramatically under-rate, so as to minimise breakages. I am also quite sure that there are some on the group who will point out something that I have missed, and I look forward to the replies. Bill Church
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Reply By: Mike - Friday, Aug 23, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Aug 23, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for the positive feedback Bob & Bill,
Just another couple of questions have either of you got extra transmission coolers and what engine oil are you using? I am getting a lot of conflicting advise as to what oil to use. there is a genuine Landrover oil available in Perth.
regards Mike
AnswerID: 5964

Follow Up By: Retiredbob - Saturday, Aug 31, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Aug 31, 2002 at 00:00
Mike. Further to my response - My vehicle is fitted with ACE and I have also fitted a Hayman Reese bar and hitch to cater for the load levellling bars.
If I am doing extensive travelling with the van I normally change Oil at 5000K and I use Castrol GTX Magnatec. I was after another the Castrol brandthat the agents use but
it is only available to the trade but they (Castrol) recommended the Magnatec as an ideal substitute.

Agree with David re speeds for towing. Unfortunately I tend to get a bit "Toey" between hops and usually travel at 100 k. Must learn to be more patient and slow down to 90-.
Better for the economy and the scenery. Am off again this weekend fo a week or so. Love the vehicle, van and touring

Regards
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Reply By: Eric - Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00
Graham.
When you calculate the cost of staying a night in the van you did not take into account the purchase price and reg and insurance and the interest on that capital actual or as a lost investment potential and the depreciation of your tow vehicle plus the longer time it takes to get anywhere. the benifits of staying in onsite vans or cabins include access to hot showers and washing machines. The average caravan owner pays about $500 per night over the life of the van. get your accountant to work it out in your case.

Cheers Eric.
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Reply By: StephenF - Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00

Monday, Aug 26, 2002 at 00:00
Eric, your conclusions are a bit off. Caravans retain a good proportion of their purchase price. Rego is negligible - I pay $50 in SA. Increased depreciation of the tow vehicle is debatable, but some extra maintenance is required. So what if it takes longer to get anywhere - you're on holiday! Cruising along at 85-90 km/hr is much more relaxing than blasting along at 120. Caravan parks have hot showers and washing machines. When you're at home the van is an extra room and can be used as such. And finally, you're always sleeping in your OWN bed in your OWN room. I once saw a TV program about what was found on supposedly clean sheets and beds in hotels and motels, and believe me you don't want to know!!
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Reply By: David - Tuesday, Aug 27, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2002 at 00:00
Michael

You will find they will be an excellent match. I think that I can give an unbiased view based on past experiences and my future direction with vehicles. Unfortunatley, too many people love to knock Disco's without having first hand experience with them. (especially the latter models)

The Series 2 TD5 Auto is an excellent tow vehicle with this the propsed or an even bigger Coromal (Say 535 or 600 Seca or Capri)

Only suggestions:

1. Replace standard Rover bar with Hayman Reese hitch so you can use (legally and otherwise) a load distribution hitch. All vans should be towed with these. The standard Rover bar IS NOT designed for load equalisers although with grinding you can make them fit. (This is the same as most other vehicle manufacturers hitches)

2. Keep tow speeds at 90 km/hr or less as any higher you will find fuel consumption will significantly get worse. This is easy in WA because that is the maximim speed you can tow a van (>750kg) anyway. If the TD5 has a few Km's on the clock (>50k) you will find that it will happily sit at a higher speed with plenty in reserve - you will just pay for it at the bowser.

3. You could expect to use up to an additional 2 litres / 100 km with keeping the speed down. On the open road I normally get 12.5 l / 100km increasing to about 14.5 l /100km with either van or boat.

4. ACE & SLS definitely improves the towability of the TD5. It is a pity these are not standard on ALL 4WD's. When are the Japanese going to catch up?????

I have been very impressed with the TD5 and in the 3 years of ownership it has not given me one ounce of trouble and without doubt the best tow vehicle I have ever had. It is probably one of the best 4WD's to actually "drive" with or without something behind.

I can say all this becasue I am just about to take delivery of a new 100 Series T/D auto and I do not expect that it will be any better in the towing department as well as most other areas. My decision to trade to the Cruiser was based entirely on 2 reasons - $ and room.

A new Cruiser T/D auto worked out cheaper than a new Discovery and you can put that down to the shortage of Discovery's in Australia due to the Poms trying to satisfy the US market. Yes - I will miss the Disco.


Rgds


David




AnswerID: 6078

Reply By: Mike - Thursday, Aug 29, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 29, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for that information Dave, another question for you how did you find the traction control did you do any beach work with the DISCO?
Regards Mike
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Follow Up By: David - Thursday, Aug 29, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Aug 29, 2002 at 00:00
Mike

I have found that the traction control is much better than what the press say but not as good as what Landrover say.

For general driving (particularly in wet and slippery conditions) and general offroading I have found it very good but there have been times when I have found it wanting.

I have done a reasonable amount but not a lot of beach driving. Under these conditions there are so many variables that I have found the traction control inconsistent. I can quote examples where one day I got bogged and I should have been able to sail through and in another case where out of 5 vehicles (all common and capable 4WD's) I was the only one to make it up a difficult hill with relative ease - due entirely to traction control.

A lot does depend on how you drive with traction control which really is at odds with the intent of the system (ie to make it as easy as possible) I have also found that on the beach getting the right tyre pressure is more critical with traction control. Don't tackle any beach with normal road pressure tyres particulary if you have ACE / SLS where the rear recommended tyre pressure is 46psi. You need to carry a good onboard compressor as well. I use a Big Red and even then only pump the rear tyres back to say 34/36 psi otherwise it takes an eterntity to get back to proper pressures
l
If you were doing quite a bit of beach or soft sand work and/or moderate to difficult 4WD'ing I would suggest you have a look at the aftermarket diff locks that are available.

ARB have in my opinion an excellent electronic diff lock that utilizes the exisiting mechanism on the transfer case. It allows you to lock the transfer box with traction control either on or off. It is quite a flexible system and not too expensive.

This way you get the best of both worlds and it is interesting to note that the updated Discovery due for release late 2002 early 2003 appears to have the mechanical lock re-installed whilst maintaing traction control.

This is the usual way of Landrover Australia eventually admitting that it is not quite as they say. (the same applies about towbars and ballweights as well)

Hope that this helps, Regards David
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Reply By: Mike - Friday, Aug 30, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Aug 30, 2002 at 00:00
G'day David,
I appreciate your extensive reply.My Disco was registered in Feb 2002 it was a dealer demo with very low klm's.so it does not have the difflock spindle in the transfer box, I am aware of the ARB kit as a friend of mine has suggested perhaps it would be worth getting hold of an earlier transfer box casing to enable the fitting of the kit.
I have located somebody who has a new transfer box complete with the CDL inside it, cost exchange would be $1200 so with the ARB kit is going to take it up around $2000. hence my question about the succcess of the traction control, so I can decide if the extra cost is worth it. I believe Landrover should come to the party with an upgrade kit if the ATC is not as successfull as first thought, but perhaps that is wishfull thinking!
I have an onboard ARB compressor so tyre inflation is not a problem.
When the weather gets better I am off to give the vehicle a thrashing on the beaches south of Perth.
I have asked this question before but had no replies ,what engine oil do you use David there is differing opinions as to weather full synthetic is necessary or not because of the complexity of the TD5 I just want to get it right then stick to it.
Best Regards MIKE
AnswerID: 6157

Reply By: Mike - Friday, Aug 30, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Aug 30, 2002 at 00:00
G'day David,
I appreciate your extensive reply.My Disco was registered in Feb 2002 it was a dealer demo with very low klm's.so it does not have the difflock spindle in the transfer box, I am aware of the ARB kit as a friend of mine has suggested perhaps it would be worth getting hold of an earlier transfer box casing to enable the fitting of the kit.
I have located somebody who has a new transfer box complete with the CDL inside it, cost exchange would be $1200 so with the ARB kit is going to take it up around $2000. hence my question about the succcess of the traction control, so I can decide if the extra cost is worth it. I believe Landrover should come to the party with an upgrade kit if the ATC is not as successfull as first thought, but perhaps that is wishfull thinking!
I have an onboard ARB compressor so tyre inflation is not a problem.
When the weather gets better I am off to give the vehicle a thrashing on the beaches south of Perth.
I have asked this question before but had no replies ,what engine oil do you use David there is differing opinions as to weather full synthetic is necessary or not because of the complexity of the TD5 I just want to get it right then stick to it.
Best Regards MIKE
AnswerID: 6158

Follow Up By: David - Friday, Aug 30, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Aug 30, 2002 at 00:00
Mike

I would be very surprised if your transfer box does not already have the diff lock mechanism there - it just does't have a connector to inside the cabin. My understanding is that all Series II have it. If you get underneath the vehicle and reach up on top of the transfer box you should be able to feel the mechanism which can actually be activated with a shifter.

It can be difficult to initially locate it so I would suggest you take it to ARB and they can confirm as to whether it is just a simple case of putting their electronic mechanism in place. I was quoted about $800.00 installed.

With respect to oils you get so many different stories I am not sure what really is the best. In my case for the first 40000kms I used Castrol TXT Softec Plus (full synthetic), but, this oil is expensive. More recently it has been Castrol MAGNATEC 1030 which appears to be fine. With my Disco however I changed oils every 10,000km not 20,000 as recommended. My Disco was always serviced by the dealer and I did not realise until I had done 60,000 that this was the first scheduled filter change which I think is far too long.

I would suggest that rather than spend a fortune on a premium oil such as TXT Softec, use something like Magnatec 1030 (or an equivalent than complies with the specifications) and change the oil every 10,000kms and filters every 20,000kms. That way you will always have good clean oil plus have the benefit of intemediatery services which I have found can rectify any minor problems. If you have doubts, I found that Castrol's technical department in O'Connor is very helpful.



Rgds


David


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