Jackaroo ball load listed in owners manual

Submitted: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 01:42
ThreadID: 22597 Views:4711 Replies:12 FollowUps:4
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The owners manual of my 1999 Holden Jackaroo lists the maximum ball load as 100 kg. The Holden tow bar fitted when new (made by Hayman Reece) lists the maximum ball weight as 120 kg. I'm looking to purchase a caravan with ball weight of about 130 kg which is more than the lower of the two figures, so thinking that a weight distribution hitch might solve 'the problem' I called Haymen Recce. An interesting conversation followed.

Hayman Reece stated that the towbars they now make and sell for the Jackaroo are rated at 250 kg. Some early towbars were rated at a lower figure, but a NRMA report on safe towing suggested the ball load should be approx 10% of the caravan weight, meaning the maximum caravan weight would be 1000 kg, which is very very low. Evidently, Holden then revised their ball weight limit up to 250 kg a couple of years ago. If you use the 10% rule, this then matches the maximum towing load of 2500 kg.

I'd be really grateful if any owners of late model Jackaroos could look in their handbooks and tell me the maximum tow bar ball load listed in the towing section (chapter 10) and the age of their vehicle. For the Hayman Reece statement to be correct, Holden must have changed the figure from 100 kg to 250 kg at some time around 2001 - 2002, I would think. I would like to see if this apparent increase in rated capacity was reflected in the vehicle handbooks issued with later model vehicles.

Thanks heaps, Steve
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Reply By: Member - Nobby - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 07:58

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 07:58
According to my handbook, the max towing weight for my jack(2000-2001) is 2100kg. The max load on rear wheels is 1140 kg and max load (gcm) is 5100kg.
AnswerID: 109387

Follow Up By: Steviebee - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:10

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:10
Thanks for this Nobby, but the figure I am looking for is called the maximum ball weight load. In my handbook, it is shown next to a diagram of a trailer if that helps you to locate it.

Is your Jack petrol or diesel ?

FollowupID: 366006

Reply By: Member - Crazie (VIC) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:30

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:30
Hi Steve, couldn't find it in my hand book, mine said what Nobby's did and the 10% thing. My towbars says a towing capacity of 2500kgs and tow ball rate of 250kg. Driving a v6 petrol.

AnswerID: 109395

Follow Up By: Steviebee - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:39

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:39
Hi Crazie,

thanks for that.... very interesting. I suppose it is possible that this figure was not listed in later manuals, but it is fairly important - in my manual it is on page 10-3 next to a small diagram of a trailer, in a section called "Tow bar ball load".

Thanks again, Steve
FollowupID: 366011

Reply By: Redback - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:36

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:36
Steve go HERE AND SEE Jack disscusion on ball wieght.

Seems only the later model Jacks have the larger ball wieght.

AnswerID: 109398

Reply By: herkman - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:40

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:40
Also you should understand that a load distribution hitch, will not normally allow you to increase the towball weight.


Col Tigwell
AnswerID: 109400

Follow Up By: Steviebee - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:47

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:47
Thanks Col and others,

I'm keeping off the potentially grey area of load distribution hitches for now.

Hayman Reece told me later Jackaroos (same model vehicle) were re-rated to a higher ball weight from the earlier 100 kgs to a more realistic 250 kg. If this is correct, the higher figure should be listed in later manuals.

I'm trying to get this verified by owners of later model vehicles by seeing what their mnauals say on the subject.....

FollowupID: 366015

Reply By: Member - Banjo (SA) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:48

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:48
Yep - its a bugger this one - been right into the topic with my 99 TD SE model - came out the other end of the issue, and have now forgotten most of what I leaned - I sorted out my specs and have moved on. Will run back through my papers. In a nutshell though, Holden were damned near useless - other people like Tom Oltoff from the caravan industry were good, BUT the big snag is ....... if the bar/ball setup is rated at 120kg, you just might be compromised with insurance after a bingle. My guess is the car and the bar can take 250kg easily WITH load levelling hardware in use. Not much good if all the specs say 120 (which is probably a lazy cop-out on the part of Holden). My book says 100 - the bar says 120 - there was a change from Holden at some stage in print - will see if I can find it.
AnswerID: 109401

Reply By: Member - Nobby - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:57

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:57
In my book there is no numbers next to the diagram of the trailer however in 10-4 they mention that a load distribution hitch should be adjusted when the tow bar ball weight exceeds 120kg. This seems to be the same as the rear axel load (10-3) of 1140kg. My jack is petrol (3.5l, Auto) and tows a CT which I admit is no where near your proprosed weight so in your case I might be looking at a lighter van if the whole set up is going to be that close.In saying that they also say in 10-2 that you can tow up to 2100kg with a 2500kg rating tow bar. My understanding from a while back was that the tow ball weight didn't have anything to do with the tow bar but more to do with the suspension of the vehicle ( I may be proved wrong). I have just looked at the tow bar on mine and it is rated at 2500kg. Mate in the end Who Knows?
AnswerID: 109403

Reply By: age - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 10:29

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 10:29
My brother went through all of this with his 99 3.5l Jack - at the end of the day it was the insurance company that stepped in and stated that using the 10% rule for ball weight and as the manufacturere has put a 100kg limit on it, in their eyes he was only entiltled to tow 1000kg. A huge crock considering the bar is plated with a 2500kg limit. Holden would do nothing for him, neither Hayman.
AnswerID: 109416

Reply By: flappa - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 10:40

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 10:40
This is actually pretty common.

What the manufacturer has as Max Ball weight , is different to the towbar weight (eg Haymen Reese) , which is totally unrealistic given the max weight that can be legally towed.

As I recall , you need some sort of sticker from Holden that shows the increase in Ball weight.

A few things about this that I'm aware of.

Max towball weight , is without any sort of load levelling device. Weight distribution hitches play no part in Max ball weight.

Ball weights can be adjusted slightly , depending on how you pack your van , but, that brings its own problems , especially when unrealistic weights are used by Holden. Its likely you will end up with a very unbalanced van.

The only way an Uncle of mine got around this subject , was to get a 4 wheel van. Great reduces ball weight , and allows a bigger van to be towed (more towards the upper end of max towing weight).
AnswerID: 109417

Reply By: Steviebee - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 18:29

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 18:29
Hi all,

I tracked down an owners manual from a recent Jackaroo and found the section on towing has been revised ! Thanks to those whose replies led me to realise this. The wording is different to mine, and there is now no specific maximum ball weight listed, only mention now is that it should be 10% of the trailer weight. Given that this can be up to 2500kg, the maximum ball weight is therefore, by implication, now 250 kg. as Hayman Reece told me yesterday.

In the newer manual, Holden do state that up to 1200 kg towing weight (ie x 10% = 120 kg ball weight), a load equalising hitch is 'recommended', and above 1201 kg to 2500 kg towing weight (ie x 10% = 120 - 250 kg ball weight), a load equalising hitch is 'essential'.

Also separate sections in the new manual states that a load equalising hitch is recommended when the ball weight is more than 120 kg, and that above 120 kg ball weight, adjust load distribution hitch so that car and trailer are level.

Thanks to all who helped with info. .. I cringe when I think of all the confusion and misinformation around this. Aimed at improving safety, the very people who should know (Holden) act like woodentops when you ask for advice on matters like this.

I am an experienced Engineer (not automotive) and my understanding of Weight Distribution or Load Equalising Hitches (WDH / LDH) is that , yes, they do not reduce the ACTUAL MEASURED ball weight of the trailer. You can get this figure by just sticking a set of scales (eg bathroom) under the front end of the trailer drawbar (ie where the ball sits) and reading the scales. In the practical situation, applying a heavy load to the tow ball does two main things : increases the load on the rear axle (with high enough load could eventually snap) and reduces the weight on the front vehicle wheels (tend to lift weight off front and so reduce steering effect and effect of brakes on front wheels). A WDH / LEH will definitely counteract the EFFECT of both these unwanteds, and create the EFFECT of a lower ball weight. However, ball weight is measured with the trailer off the vehicle and so in this 'black and white' view does not count in the equation.

AnswerID: 109491

Reply By: Member - Banjo (SA) - Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 16:35

Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 16:35
May be of use Steve......
Did not read all the above (again) but......
Found the paperwork Holden sent me when I was querying the ball weight limits a year or two back. My guess is that they have sent me copies of the current handbook pages - updated from the stuff I got in 1999.
With the expected caveat that they are resonsible for actually recommending nothing in concrete terms, they do say:
1. Adjust your trailer load so that the hitch downforce is 10% of the all up trailer mass. This could of course max out to 250kg at the ball.
2. Then if your ball weight exceeds 120kg, use and adjust a load levelling hitch.
3. Then test the front and rear axle loads at a weighbridge to see that they are within limits (1250kg / 1500kg).

To satisfy point 3, we are therefore required to ascertain points 1 and 2. As a formula it seems to hold water - at least its in print in the handbook !
I chose a Campomatic Ranger instead of the Kimberley Kamper when looking at campers - avoided the load levelling hitch as a result. I simply use air bags to provide a whisker of lift in the tail, when the Campo gets a bit light at the back (water loss in tank).
AnswerID: 109856

Follow Up By: flappa - Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 16:58

Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 16:58
So has Holden actually backdated the towball limits to include the earlier Jacks ?

As In . . . legally . . . written something on Holden letterhead etc . . . or just said . . . use the same as the new Jacks . . . she'll be right.

AFAIK , nothing major has changed between old and new (ie , if the new ones can have towball of 250kg , then so should the old ones).
FollowupID: 366424

Reply By: Steviebee - Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 18:37

Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 18:37
This aroused a bit of interest in another Jackaroo forum, follow this link


A couple of us have emailed Holden through their website (customer assistance) quoting our vehicle details VIN etc.. and Holden have confirmed our vehicles are capable of the higher ball weight, ie 250 kg. with a proviso that load equalising hitches be used above 120 kg ball weight. My Jackaroo is a 1999 model 3.0 TD.

I have to salute Holden customer assistance on this occasion for getting back to us so promptly, and for giving a definite answer, which fortunately for us was positive.

I'd sugest anyone concerned about their own vehicles should contact Holden with their specific vehicle details.
AnswerID: 109880

Reply By: Spratty - Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 22:08

Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 22:08
Hi Steviebee,
I dont have a Jackaroo but do have its cousin the Frontera, same deal manual says 2000kg with 90kg ball weight, spoke to a Hayman Reece National sales manager Stephen Steele at a cavravan show in Brisbane last June and he said the details he had said 2000/200, so he kindly offered to send me a new plate for my HR tow bar stating the correct weights.(which I haven't attatched yet must do it) I tow a 17ft van and use load levelling bars the older style 4 bar type and also have polyairs fitted, the van has a ball weight of 125kg,the previous van a jayco eagle had a ball weight of 145kg.
The weight distribution hitch will not lighten the ball weight but tranfers the weight back to the front wheels, I would not tow without a WDH as I did for a while with the jayco as caravan dealers told me I wouldn't need it with such a small van it was only when we were in mackay and had the ball weight weighed that I bought a 2nd hand WDH I couldn't beleive the difference it made tracked better and steered better. regards Spratty
AnswerID: 109927

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