Sway Bars/weight Distribution

Hi All

I have just purchased my first caravan, its a 24ft jayco sterling family van.
Will I need some sort of weight distribution or sway bars to aid my towing, if so what type and make would be the best for this type of van.


Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 12:15

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 12:15
Yes and a 750 Hayman Reece is ideal.
Always use more than 5 links

What are you towing it with and what is the vans ATM

(the fully loaded weight from the plate in the boot)
AnswerID: 325068

Follow Up By: Lee D - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 12:43

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 12:43
Im towing with a Prado and the ATM is 2600


FollowupID: 592186

Reply By: toyocrusa - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 12:52

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 12:52
Hi Lee. Just to divest a bit.I have been looking at these vans for some time now and have on 04 Prado as well.The factory recommended maximum towing weight is 2.5 tonne so I have decided on the 21.10 model so as to come in under this weight. You will need to be careful as if your van exceeds it as there are all sorts of ramifications including voiding your insurance in the event of a claim. You will definitely need the weight distribution and as suggested the Hayman Reece are the more popular brand.
AnswerID: 325076

Follow Up By: Member - Tessa (NSW) - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 13:43

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 13:43
As I understand the legislation, the fact that the van ATM is in excess of the Prado manufacturer's stated limit makes the combination illegal. From the National Caravan and Recreational Towing Guide (sorry, the legislation itself is such a dog's breakfast I thought this would be easier to understand):
"In December 1998, a national regulation came into effect that limits the mass a vehicle can tow. ......You will find the towing mass (or towing rating) under the towing section in the vehicle manufacturer's handbook. The rating will include a trailer weight capacity and a trailer ball weight capacity, both of which must be adhered to."
The other thing to consider is what will the gross weight of the van actually be? There is usually a huge difference between what the van manufacturer states as the Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) and what it is in reality. If you fill your water tanks and gas bottles you have added 200kg's. The food in the pantry can add up to 20-30kgs and then there are all the extra things you carry with you, like clothes, chairs, outdoor table, annexe, annexe flooring, hoses, &etc. Can I suggest you get your van all packed up and ready to go and then put it over a weighbridge.
I note you say this is your first caravan. Have you considered doing a caravan towing safety course? That's an awful lot of van you are going to be pulling around on the highway and through the suburbs, on occasions in traffic lanes no wider than the van itself.

FollowupID: 592193

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 15:22

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 15:22
The ATM is what the manufacturer states is the max allowable gross weight.

If you choose to take the kitchen as well as the sink you will overload it for sure.

Just be frugal and then when its full take it and weigh it.

Then take it home and take out what you dont really need.

If its still over the ATM take a prayer book with you. LOL
FollowupID: 592201

Follow Up By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 16:04

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 16:04
I agree with Graham, we just come under our maximum Tow Weight
fully loaded with every thing, Annex Walls , Full Water Tanks, ect,
I carry a fair bit of extra gear in the Van Boot as well, had it weighed
at the local Weigh Bridge fully loaded, now we keep the Weigh Bridge Receipt on file with the Insurance Papers & Rego, even got a
Photo of it getting Weighed.
FollowupID: 592207

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 13:17

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 13:17
As far as I am aware the Prados limit is 2500kg so your van is 100kg past legal.
I had the same problem when I bought my van. Took the salesmans word that "just dont fill the water tanks and u will be OK"
Dead wrong.
You may not tow anything that the ATM exceeds your cars capacity even if its empty.
I had to upgrade from an Auto Patrol to a Cruiser at a cost of $23,000.
Pays to do your homework Im afraid.

In saying that I see vans that are obviously too heavy for the tow vehicle running around every day.

Thats fine till something happens and the insurance companies are well aware and the first thing they do is weigh the rig for legality.

Another thing that amazes me is the loads people put in the tow vehicle.
You see Cruisers loaded up to the hilt with a tinny on the top and a huge van on the back.
There is also a limit on the CVM and a lot seem to forget that the towball weight forms part of the cars load.
AnswerID: 325079

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 13:25

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 13:25
Should be CGVM Combined Gross Vehicle Mass

I have upgraded my Vans ATM from 2564kg to 2800kg and to do this need to have a ball weight of just over 300kg. (chassis rated at 2500kg)
That only leaves me a bit over 300kg for fuel, two people and anything we put in the back
FollowupID: 592192

Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 16:35

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 16:35
The subject of WD/LLD has been raised on other forums.
Some vehicle makers are advising not to use WD/LLD on their towbars. There are large forces applied to the bar with WD/LLD and I have seen recommendations to disconnect them when in caravan parks with speed bumps and spoon drains, also when entering your driveway etc where you get large vertical movement between vehicle and van.
Very complex situation, especially when operation near the limit of vehicles and towbars.
AnswerID: 325105

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 18:49

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 18:49
As long as you are sensible they are fine.

If you dont have enough links you can snap a bar in a tight turn as the chain wont allow for the bar to move forward or backward enough.

This is achieved by using the cams on the WDH to tilt your towball back a bit and thereby tilting the bars down a bit more.
( the towball doesnt have to be vertical)

When manouvering I always disconnect it completely and am cautious going into servos etc so that the bars don't drag on ground.

The only vehicles I am aware of that discourage them are the ones with auto levelling rear suspension as it tends to make it work against itself
FollowupID: 592223

Reply By: Lee D - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 16:39

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 16:39

My wifes having kittens now.

I went into the Jayco dealer and told him I had a Prado and would it be suitable to tow the van in question he replied a firm 'YES' ii cant beleive he put me in this situation!!

Am I right in thinking that even if I dont fully load the van and get it weighed nad it comes in under 2500kg Im still illegal.

The towing part is ok for me as Ive towed large trailers before, 25footers ect, so I should be ok there its the illegal bit that Im worried about.

AnswerID: 325106

Follow Up By: Member - Tessa (NSW) - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 18:06

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 18:06
afraid so!!!

FollowupID: 592218

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 18:42

Saturday, Sep 13, 2008 at 18:42
The answer is a definite YES

It comes down to this despite what a dealer may tell you

If the plated ATM is more than your cars allowable tow ATM its ILLEGAL in any situation full, empty or whatever.

End of story.

Mine was. Cars limit 2500kg Van ATM 2564.

Result had to buy a Cruiser

You may be able to get it down rated but why would you. You may have to leave the wife at home. LOL

Loading example
Does it have batteries and were they included in the Tare weight????????
Mine werent another 70kg
Gas 18kg
Water 160kg for two 80ltr tanks
Water in toilet about 15kg plus what you put in it.
Spare tyre 30kg
Annex 15??kg
Clothes ??? 50kg
Cooking gear 20kg
Jack 10kg
Hoses etc 10kg
Thats about 397 kg and I can think of a fair bit more you would take and usually a tandem van has a load of 400kg built in.

Best advice is take it to weigh bridge dead empty. No water or gas or bedding or anything and see what it weighs then you will know what amount you can take. An engineeer can recertify it for about $500 but then you can only load it up to that weight.

Lastly towing a van that is at the top end of any vehicles limit is rather a strain on it and will probably result in reduced life of some components over time.
Sorry to be a doom and gloomer but reality has to be faced
FollowupID: 592222

Reply By: Member - Don M (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 07:48

Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 07:48

I am absolutely staggered that the dealer has led you down this path and I suggest to you that he may have a case to answer by selling you a van that is not legally towable by the vehicle he knows yoy are going to tow it with. I reckon you will have to either go for a smaller van...(under 2500kg ATM) or get a vehicle with a higher towing capacity...he said, stating the obvious.

Secondly, why did they not supply you with the HR WDH in the first place...? Is the van new..? Which dealer..?

I have coincidentally, just bought a 24' Jayco Sterling, pick it up on Thursday after waiting 5 months...!!! From Jayco Sydney and they have been very good in all of this and they made sure I had the vehicle to tow it with..a Toyota LC200 AND supplied the WDH as part of the deal, as I would have expected given the total cost of the van. Oh, and I (we) did the Tow Ed course...now to see how I put into practice...
AnswerID: 325186

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 10:40

Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 10:40
Well my experience with salesmen when looking for a van was just that. They were there to sell you something and like a lot of salespersons, anything to get the sale.

I have a daughter who used to work selling computers for one of the largest retailers. She left because they were told what to sell "this week". She was good at her job and won prizes within the industry for it. However her sense of what was right overtook her and she left, feeling the customer didnt actually get what they came to buy.

Similar things happen in all selling industies, I'm sure and this includes Caravans.

I was told more than once when shopping and after stating my vehicle was limited to 2.5 tonne, I was shown vans that exceeded that and told "Just dont fill the tanks mate thats OK".

Well I didnt do my homework enough at the time and bought a
van privately, as stated above, that was too heavy.

On going to a repairer to get some additions done he

remarked. "Are you going to pull it with this ". I said "yes its Ok

with no water" He said "No its not" and proceeded to show me the regs.

Sadly I went home and raided the bank account and bought a Cruiser.

Only $23,000 to be wrong.

Moral of the story is Find out EVERYTHING you need to know,

Dont believe what you are told by someone selling you anything.

Check it out it will still be there tomorrow.
FollowupID: 592328

Follow Up By: Member - Don M (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 11:24

Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 11:24
Maybe it is my engineering logic, but I knew all those things long before I looked seriously to buy the van of my choice. And, when it came to that time, I knew more about the van than the salesman...., hope that doesn't sound too smug!!
FollowupID: 592335

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 11:35

Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 11:35
Dont know if you need engineering logic, just a read of the regs is enough.

You wouldnt need to know much to know more than some salespersons.

When buying some atricles have read up on them and

deliberately gone in and asked akward questions to see how

much they do know.

Went to buy an expensive camera. Went to one shop that has two letters for name. Was told the manufacturer didnt make that model. ROFL.
Needless to say I wont be back there.
FollowupID: 592336

Reply By: Lee D - Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 13:00

Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 13:00
I think being a complete novice at this game I thought a main agent for Australias biggest selling caravans would surely point me in the right direction!!

how wrong was I !

The caravan arrives in 2 weeks and my wife is now deeply worried about the implications just about picking it up let alone going away in it, and as Graham pointed out I need to spend another $20-30k to get a 200 Landcruiser to pull the thing.

The whole point of getting the caravan was to have affordable quality time with the kids which has turned into expensive quality time.

Now I am left with with not alot of time to get a replacement vehicle as our first trip is planned for 3weeks time.

While were on the doom and gloom factor are there different types of Hayman Reese hitches as in the load capacity, I just contacted my local Installer and said can you fit a Hayman Reese Hitch as directed by my local friendly useless caravan dealer, which he has done, but will the hitch carry the van? as Im sure at the time he said it was a 2500kg hitch, I might be wrong though.

Thanks for all the comments so far guys.

AnswerID: 325229

Follow Up By: Gazal Champion - Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 14:46

Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 14:46
you don't need to buy a new 200 series Landcruiser, a good second hand 100 series will last for years if treated properly. They have a tow capacity of 3.5 tonne and so will fill your needs perfectly.

Get your van if its the one you want and look around and upgrade to the right vehicle at the right price.

Its not all bad news but good timely advice, if a little late for you.

At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

FollowupID: 592350

Reply By: Member - Old Girl (QLD) - Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 21:02

Sunday, Sep 14, 2008 at 21:02
do ya want to sell it.
Im trying to load a pic off my phone of a big mother being towed by a very small car. buddy your not the only one that gets ripped there are plenty out there.
AnswerID: 325305

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Friday, Sep 19, 2008 at 19:32

Friday, Sep 19, 2008 at 19:32
Perhaps you may have a case of "Not fit for the purpose"

If in fact the dealer said that it was able to be towed by your car.

Might be worth investigating or going to a smaller van.

A 100 series will pull it fine and has probably a better load capacity then a 200 series.

Get a 4x4 Trader. Heaps of 100s in there but a Diesel is the way to go when towing as the V8s drink like nothing on earth.

You wont find any 200 series for $20k more than a second hand Prado any way.

The diesel cheapies start at $81,000 and a VX is $92k and a Sahara is $107K

My bosses mate has a Sahara and all up it cost him $118K with the extras he had put on.

Get a 750 Hayman Reece WDH anything else is too small.

Let us know how you end up with this.
AnswerID: 326175

Follow Up By: Lee D - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2008 at 19:51

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2008 at 19:51
Yeh Hi Graham

Weve solved the situation now.
I bought a 2007 200 series with 14k on the clock ex demo for $59k, we pick her up Thursday.

Your right about the V8 and diesel thing but i looked at it like this, the diesel was about another 12k or so and I only keep the cars for 3 years will i really use 12k of extra fuel in that time, I dont think I will.
we are also looking at getting a gas conversion as well but may not be worth the hassle, what do you think?

FollowupID: 593924

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2008 at 20:11

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2008 at 20:11
Very nice.

Not my cup of tea but if its what you want its fine.

My friend used the same argument when he bought his petrol 100series and so did another friend who wasnt too happy when they offered him $28,000 for a trade in and its a low k one at that.

Dont know about the gas. My experience with it was that while its cheaper it doesnt go as far. My xF Falcon was doing 6 kpl on LPG as a taxi so dont know what the Croozer will do or how much it will cost to install.

Enjoy it all now you have it and the wife wont have kittens after all. Just as well you cant take them caravaning anyway LOL
FollowupID: 593928

Follow Up By: Lee D - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2008 at 20:31

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2008 at 20:31
Thanks for the advice, maybe ill see you on the road one day!!

FollowupID: 593937

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)