towing 2 horses - which 4WD?

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 10:54
ThreadID: 30513 Views:5651 Replies:12 FollowUps:8
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Hi all

Apologies if you have been asked this 10,000 times before by horsie chicks.
I have finally bitten the bullet and decided to buy a 4WD - to tow 2 horses safely, expecially up hills. My hubby and boys would also like to go camping/cart dogs, bikes etc, so it is the right time for us too.

I have up to $25K to spend, but less would be good. Have driven a 100 series Cruiser, and it felt like a truck. Drove a GQ Patrol 5 years ago, and that felt good. Dad said stay away from Land Rovers / Range Rovers / Jeeps as there are limited dealers and they have you over a barrel for parts. He had a Jackaroo towing a caravan, and although it did it, it was a bit gutless. I don't want gutless, I want safe.

It also has to be the car I drive to work, and park in a city car park (on the 7th floor). Hubby keeps trying to convince me this will suck, and we're better off getting a cheaper 4wd ($5 - $6K for a 1989/90 patrol and a "zippy" car for $6K for town travel - the diff in fuel pays for the second lot of rego & insurance).

So, trying to decide between the 2 car option, or spend $15 - $25K on a GQ or GU Patrol, or a Prado, or maybe an 80 series Cruiser if they are less "truck like". Only bad thing I've heard about Patrols is its difficult/very tricky to open the barn doors with a float on.

Also doing the whole gas/petrol vs diesel mind game, because I've been told diesel will get (around town non-towing figures) 12-13lit/100km diesel, petrol 17lit/100km and gas 26lit/100km, so if it is the same $$ fuel diesel to gas, I figure diesel is better for towing. But also told the non-turbo diesel patrols (ie pre 2001) were sluggish, and the early 3.0 turbos had issues, and anything after 2001 is out of my price range. So kind of feel I am going around in circles. Can anyone help please?? I really appreciate it :-)
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Reply By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:22

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:22
I reckon although 2 cars can make sense unless you need 2 cars it works out more expensize especially when you take servicing and repairs to a 5-6 k 4by into account.
Both Patrol and Cruiser are slugs for towing without a turbo and couls be a PITA driving around the city when a disabled guy on a modified pushbike blows you away from the lights. Reality is most cars today are darn fast off from the lights so the gap between cars and non turbo diesals has never been greater.
Towing a 2 horse float you can expect consumption from either to be huge with a petrol but if youve got horses that is the way it is. My parents towed horses all over the state for my sisters with a 351 f truck campervan that had a range of 3-400km
A petrol however will give you more grunt for towing and will get around the city easier
No suggestions but just a few things to think of
AnswerID: 153580

Reply By: Rob from Cairns Offroad Training & Tours - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:38

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:38
Hi horsie chick ;-) I feel if you are towing something heavy like horses you need an auto. 80 s were available in auto turbo diesel and should be in your price range. Could be your best option if you can find a good one, remember condition is more important than klms. A non tubo diesel will struggle with horses on the hills but it will get you there. Auto petrol cruisers and patrols have dropped way down in price and you should find good ones for less than $20 k. Do tend to be thirsty tho. Cheers Rob
AnswerID: 153583

Reply By: flappa - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:42

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:42
You could buy a Dual Fuel 4.5 Petrol Patrol for that sort of money . . . Probably around the 2000-2001 mark. Either an ST or maybe even the luxury Ti (would be good for the "look" at the Horsies ;) )

I think the Manuals can tow up to 3.5t , whereas the Autos are 2.5t.

I would assume the Petrol Cruisers would also work.

AnswerID: 153585

Follow Up By: JJ01 - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:55

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:55
Hi there guys

Definitely auto please, can drive a manual easily, but would much prefer auto (won't go into this ... ;-)).

Do those fuel consumption figures sound right to you?

The auto diesel 80 series Cruiser or duel fuel patrol sound good. I'm assuming they cost about the same to run diesel vs gas, and with the gas one just tow on petrol? HM $$ do you think to convert a 4.5 Petrol to duel fuel if I can't find one done, and is there anything I should watch for in the conversion?

Last question (I promise!) is there any diff in turning circle, driveability, comfort etc between the Cruiser/Patrol/Prado (which I guess you both think is too "small"), as I have to do 400 "normal" km per week?

(actually starting to think this might be fun ...)

FollowupID: 407480

Follow Up By: flappa - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:23

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:23
There are plenty of already converted Dual Fuel Patrols around (depending on where you are of course).

The cost to convert one is about $2800 last time I checked.

The Patrols are almost made for running on gas , with nothing specifically needed.

the Cruisers I'm lead to believe , still work well , but require a few extra bits . . . extra valve lub ???

I have a 1998 GU Ti 4.5 and my fuel economy is roughly . . . 20/100 around the city , 16/100 highway , and 20-22/100 towing my CT. I would expect towing something like horses would see it around 25-27/100. OK , its not cheap , but , the Patrol will do it easily , and safely , and have plenty of power to spare.

With gas , you could expect to add about 1/3 to your fuel economy . . . but , Gas cost is less.

I regret not buying a dual fuel when I bought mine.
FollowupID: 407482

Reply By: Howard T - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:49

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:49
Hi JJ01

We have been towing horses all over the state for the past 10 years. Kids and wife belonging to pony and other clubs and I tagged along for the ride.
We originally started out with a HJ60 diesel wagon and upgraded to an 80 series about 7 years ago. I havent really done any mileages and neither of these vehocles were turboed. I have put extractors on the 80 series.
Probably what I am trying to say is we got where we were going and safely on time wife drives the cruiser around town.
The barn doors are not hindered by the tow hitch. The float is a Macro.
If I had to do it again (kids grown up) I would definately opt for a turbo but then I have a friend who swears by his petrol Series 80 auto.
Also there are towing laws (in Qld, dont know about other states) that should be adhered to. If you have a prang I dont know how you would go with insurance etc. Am really not up with theses laws except when I enquired at the Main Roads at the start of my towing career I was told a 4.2 diesel was adequate for what I wanted to do.
Best of luck

AnswerID: 153590

Reply By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:17

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:17

I have done a lot of heavy towing with a few vehicles and would like to share my experiences with these vehicles.
Firstly a 96 petrol Pajero, great for driving around town and relatively stable with 2 and a bit tonne on the back. Downside- up to 30lt/100km fuel.
Secondly a 99 cruiser (n/a diesel) was a large car to drive in town, very stable with even 3tonne on the back. Downside- Poor gearbox and an absolute slug when loaded.
Thirdly an 00 Patrol (4.2T) also a large car to drive and park around town, very stable with any load on the back and also a strong drive train. Downside- the damn thing runs hot when asked to work. It is my understanding that nearly all 4.2 turboes do this.
Fourthly an 01 petrol Jackeroo. Easy to drive and park around town, great power for towing (only 2.5T legally) but not that stable with big loads (in my opinion). This vehicle is probably the pick of these four for general reliability and getting the job done. Downside- 25-30lt/100km fuel. I do not use this vehicle as it is seriously uncomfortable for me in two ways.... unstable and terrible seats. So I use the 4.2 turbo Patrol and just take my time when the hills come along or outside temp dictates that I have to slow down to prevent overheating. Other than this the GU sits me just fine.
Each vehicle that I have owned has downsides and to me it is just a matter of picking the one with the most liveable downsides for your application.
If the vehicle will mainly be in the city and only have the GG's on the back occasionally I would go the Jackeroo as it is so good for the city, but I am in the country with big loads on continuosly so it is the Patrol for me.

Good luck with your choice.
Regards Trevor.
AnswerID: 153597

Reply By: Member - Stephen M (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 17:40

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 17:40
Hi there jj, I'd go the 2 car option, buy yourself a little barina up to around 5K these things are bullet proof I've had 2 of them and boy did they work hard espescially when I bought my house had a tow bar fitted and the lot. There are plenty with factory air con so you still have a bit of luxury sitting in the hot traffic. You dont need power steer they are very light, can park any where you like cause you can sqeeze into litte spots and use about 6/7 litres per 100k. Just pay third party insurance so that you are covered against hitting some one and lets face it who will steal a barina to try and get away from the law if they need too. Thats still leaves you with 20k to spend on an earlier model mickey mouse 4.2 turbo diesel patrol but wont be in auto or you might find a good 80series in turbo diesel in auto although I think you will be pushing to find a low klm one in that price range. But dont forget if a diesel is well serviced it will out last a petrol motor.And can bet you will save a fortune in juice doing your 400 k a week even a patrol on gas. Sit down and work out your fuel roughly for 12 months running a barina to and from work plus ducking down to the shops, running the kids around 6L per 100 klm compared to roughly 23 for a petrol patrol/ cruiser even 13/15 for diesel then dont forget diesel is what 1.35 a litre here in sydney work it out and I can see the 2 car option a better option for you. Regards Steve M
AnswerID: 153662

Reply By: LisaH - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 20:04

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 20:04
Hi JJ01

I'm a horse girl, and have both a Commodor and a '89 Landcruiser tray.

Assuming the float is not too heavy, ie, both still within towing limits, I have to say I prefer my commodor 9been towing since VN days, now have a more recent model, but in a wagon.

The wagon is comfy for us, has HEAPS more room inside than any 4WD, (short of the mega 4WDS), and has a lot more get up and go than the 4WD's. I haven't put it up against the newer ones, but they would be out of your price range.

Assuming you are not ending up on 4WD tracks which horse fuilled floats JUST HATE.... and assuming you are mindful of wet paddocks etc, you would have a better driving experience in the commodor. Particularly if you have electric brakes on the float.

The cruiser is a work horse, guzzles fuel, has no guts particularly on the hills, and is good for my nieces cos I know they won't get into trouble with either the horses or the float.

I find when i go a bit more bush I am with friends who have promised not to lead me anywhere they (in their 4WDs) can not get me out of.

The commodor makes towing easy.

AnswerID: 153695

Follow Up By: adamj1300 - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 20:15

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 20:15
but whats th e legal tow weight of the commodore?
FollowupID: 407593

Follow Up By: LisaH - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 20:31

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 20:31
2 tonne, some of the fords have slightly more. As i said, the float can't be huge, so therefore you probably won't be towing warmbloods and heavies.
FollowupID: 407599

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen M (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 21:42

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 21:42
Hi there Lisa I have had 2t behind my vx commodore and will never do it again, bleep house braking will need to put harder springs in the back, and eventually will pull the arse end out of the car. Yes the trailer had electric brakes, double axle same as horse floats, Yes I am used to towing (semi trailer driver part time) but I think it really puts major strain on transmission etc. Not having a go at you or any thing But I then towed it behind my mates 80 series petrol cruiser and the difference was un believable, more stable on the road, better brakes, and just felt a lot more comfortable to drive. Regards Steve M
FollowupID: 407629

Follow Up By: LisaH - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 20:12

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 20:12
I have to admit i have pad the cost of having the 2 tonne tow kits inNo offense, but truck drivers probably have greater expectations than someone, (me) who was towing for the first time 15 years ago. I still sit pretty on the main roads, I go easier than my friends in their 4wd's and it is still easier, more confortable, faster and better than using the cruiser.

I'm not saying there aren't better 4wds than my bruce, but for a lot less than 25k you can pick up a car able to tow 2 tonne. you gotta look at the usage. If the car also has tobe a city car, unless you are towing a hell of a lot, I can't see the justification for two cars or a 4wd.

I have towed in a GU patrol which was lovely. Not gonna happen for $25k.

Don't flog it, the commodor has been great.
FollowupID: 407807

Reply By: desert - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 20:05

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 20:05
The two car option is my first recommendation. Each of the 4x4's you mentioned are going to seem like trucks to you, especially on the multi-story car park parking bays and ramps. A 3 litre diesel Jackaroo is smaller in length, good visibilty at all corners and has a high driving position. Unsure of the twin barn door and tow ball clearance though. These are a powerful, economical capable 4x4 that is extremely underrated and not so popular, yet there is little wrong with them. Consequently, you should be able to pick one up for that sort of money. Good luck
AnswerID: 153696

Follow Up By: LisaH - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 20:34

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 20:34
Gotta be a bit careful with the older smaller 4wd's they don't actually have the towing capacity.
FollowupID: 407601

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 21:33

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 21:33
Desert and JJ01,

The barn doors have no probs clearing the caravan coupling so imagine the same for horse float. The same cannot be said when jockey wheel is in place though.

FollowupID: 407624

Reply By: Member - Stephen M (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 21:47

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 21:47
Hi there jj check out question no 30536 this is what happens.. !!!

Regards Steve M
AnswerID: 153727

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 21:52

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 21:52
Why not get a $20k non turbo patrol, $3k for turbo, and and a $2k car if its only to get u 2 work in?

I got a 92 Maxima Ti, fully optioned from auctions in great condition needing tires for rego for $2200.00 last October.

Thats what I drive to work, and the patrol is a weekender.
AnswerID: 153728

Reply By: ellmcg - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 02:49

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 02:49
I guess it depends on what state you're in, but in the ACT Landcruisers and Patrols seem to be the only legal choices for towing a float + 2 horses (unless you want a monster Ford or something).

I would definitely go auto and dual fuel. It'll probably also be worthwhile thinking about suspension - heavy duty springs on the rear (so they last longer), and altering the front suspension can greatly alter the ride. I suspect your impressions of LC versus Patrol could have been effected by characteristics of the individual vehicles - not that I'm biased or anything!
AnswerID: 153772

Reply By: KOR - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 12:14

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 12:14
Hi there,

We have been members of pony club for years too. We have a GQ Ti Patrol (auto) which is great for towing the float around with two horses inside. We also use it for towing the ski boat, trips to the bush, etc. With two grown teenage kids it fits us all comfortably. It sucks the juice tho. We did have the car on dual fuel but our particular 4.2l GQ did not run well on gas.

We have done the sums and it is cheaper for us to leave the car in the shed when it comes to commuting to and from work (we live 40k out of town, therefore a round trip is around the 80k per day and with the patrol sucking about 23-25l/100km) and have purchased a Holden Astra. The saving in fuel alone has allowed us to have this second car on the road including insurances/rego, etc. Parking is also an advantage in a small car.

Another consideration for us is the environment. Less fuel used = less greenhouse gas emissions. Next consideration is safety. Whilst we feel that the Patrol is safer for towing horses than say a falcon/commodore, we feel that it is not as safe as our Astra with it's modern safety equipment for general touring.

Hope this is helpful

AnswerID: 153821

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