Jayco Sterling 23 and Mitsubishi Pajero

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 19:51
ThreadID: 65874 Views:7455 Replies:8 FollowUps:18
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Hi, I'm a brand new member who is about to finalise the purchase of a 2007 Jayco Sterling 23 Club Lounge. We currently have a Mitsubishi Pajero and wondered if anyone els has a similar rig and could share any insights into towing etc..?

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Reply By: RoyHarvey - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 22:38

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 22:38
Hi Bob
We have a Pajero and tow a Jayco 17.55 outback with a gross mass of about 2100kg. The Pajero handles it very well, and I would think it would manage the '23' OK. The concern would be that the '23' having a tare of around 2200kg, may exceed the Pajero's allowance when laden.
Cheers Roy
AnswerID: 348530

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 23:05

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 23:05
Before you sign up check that the ATM on the vans plate does not exceed your vehicles legal towing capacity.

If it does you may not tow it legally Fully loaded empty or anything.

I made the mistake and had to buy a new vehicle with higher towing capacity.

Cost me another $23,000

Dont believe a salesman who says "Just dont fill the water tanks"

Its not legal,and the seller should know better.

A tandem van usually is rated 400kg above Tare to give you the ATM
FollowupID: 616727

Follow Up By: Member - Bob K (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 02:30

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 02:30
Hi graham, I've done some more research and I'm still a bit confused. Your definition relates to the ATM as rated on the compliance plate whereas others I have read talk about the operational ATM - ie the actual laden weight of the trailer. It's an important issue for me - would you have a reference point that I could go to to seek clarification please?
Regards and thanks
FollowupID: 616745

Reply By: Member - Bob K (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 01:11

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 01:11
Thanks - that's good advice! I haven't seen the ATM, only the Tare weight on the Jayco brochure - I will need to look at the plate. Is there no way of reducing the ATM legally?
AnswerID: 348545

Follow Up By: Member - Heather G (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 05:45

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 05:45
Bob, we have an 18' Jayco Outback sterling which we towed last year with a pajero auto diesel. The van was supposed to weigh a little more than 1900kgs empty however with the extra battery and solar panels etc added it is considerably more. We put it over a weighbridge before we left (and after we packed it as lightly as possible) and it was just over 2500kgs with a ball weight of 230kgs.
We worried about this all the time we were travelling and ended up trading it for a late model Navara with a 3 tonne towing capacity not long after we returned. ( cost us approx $20,000 to do this)
The pajero had no problems towing the van but we didnt feel comfortable.
I would have the dealer put the van over a weighbridge before you take delivery so that you know the true weight. If your van isnt an outback model it may not be a problem as they are not as heavy.
Heather G
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FollowupID: 616747

Reply By: ozjohn0 - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 08:00

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 08:00
ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass) is the maximum ALL UP weight as certified by the trailer (Van) manufacturer.
The actual loaded weight is the Gross Weight and MUST not exceed the ATM.
The allowance by most manufacturers is 400kg above the Tare Weight to establish the ATM. With a shower van in particular with two water tanks this allowance is usually inadequate leaving many vans illegally over weight. Fortunately some manufactures have larger allowances and others will issue a new compliance plate if approached pointing out the inadequate allowance.
AnswerID: 348549

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 08:42

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 08:42
Exactly right The GVM or Gross Vehicle Mass must never exceed the rated ATM

It should have a compliance plate fitted to tell you the weights
But a check is advisable cos some makers just plate it by model not by actual vans

My plate has both Tare and ATM on it from new.

The van originally had a tare weight (Plated) of 2164kg.

When I bought it there had been two batteries and two solar panels fitted bringing the tare up to 2300.

The Plated ATM was 2564kg so if I filled the water tanks(170kg) i had less than 100kg for contents.
At the time i owned a 3ltr Patrol auto which legally could tow only 2500kg.
I sold this and bought a 100 ser Cruiser.

Then took the van to an engineer and had it recomplianced to 2800kg ATM.
Able to do this as only limitation is chassis is a 2500kg and so with a ball weight of 305kg the rig is legal.
Something to watch out for as should you prang it the first thing the insurance will do is weigh the whole rig as it was at the time of the accident. that is with everything including you in the car as it was on the road. If its over Bye Bye unles you can prove that the weight did not contribute to the accident.

I went and weighed my rig last week and found the van was 150kg over and the car was 20kg over so have been ruthlessly getting rid of stuff and are off to weigh it again shortly.

There was a thread on this subject and same make of van a few weeks ago and the guy had to buy a Cruiser as his tow was under rated for the van he bought.
Incidentally you may not tow a trailer that exceeds the towing weight of the vehicle or the towbar weight whichever is the lesser.

FollowupID: 616754

Follow Up By: Wherehegon - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 11:43

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 11:43
Hi Graham,

""Incidentally you may not tow a trailer that exceeds the towing weight of the vehicle or the towbar weight whichever is the lesser.""

Interesting point. When we bought our commodore new we had the choice of three bars, 1200kg 1600kg or 2100kg, we went the 1600 hayman reese for towing our boat. I didnt like the idea of the 2100kg bar as its came with extra bracing for inside the rear quarters, this was telling me some thing, the vehicle was not meant to tow that sort of weight.
Now I believe this rule of the tow vehicle must be more than the trailer being towed was lifted some years back.
I have just rang the RTA here in Penrith Sydney and this is the current rule. We used my old VX commodore for an example (weight on rego certificate saying 1530kg) and he was checking up on it and come back to me stating the trailer was not allowed to be more then 2100kg which is what one of the bars were rated at. The only thing he stated was that any trailer over 750kg had to have trailer brakes to be towed behind the commodore.
So looks like that rule was changed, which to me would be the case as I have seen many vans,boats etc that would way alot more then the tow vehicle. Not sure what the rules are in other states................WHG
FollowupID: 616766

Follow Up By: Member - Heather G (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 13:40

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 13:40
How difficult, and how expensive was it to get an engineer to do the recompliance plate Graham?
Heather G
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FollowupID: 616780

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:18

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:18
Firstly to Heather G

It cost $475 but I am a good customer of the place who did it.

It involves checking the following

Tyres, Rims, Springs Wheel bearings,
Chassis rating Brakes capacity,hitch capacity and anything they might think of.

In my instance the limitation was the Chassis being rated at 2500kg.
Everything else was rated at 3000kg.
Result, by having a ball weight of 305kg I got it certified to 2800kg.

To Wherehegon.

Any trailer which has an ATM of over 750 kg has to have brakes to be towed behind anything.
Any trailer of 2000kg or more must have brakes on all wheels and have a break away unit as well.
The brakes may not be over ride either.

It is not the actual weight of the car that matters but the manufacturers stated towing capacity, which is rather different.

That is why the rule says the rating of the vehicle or the towbar whichever is the lesser.
As You say there are differently rated towbars and to use the heaviest one you may need to install a towing pack in your suspension.

If you have the lightest one that is all you may tow even if the car is rated higher, whereas your neighbour who coughed up the dough for the heavy one can tow 500kg more with the same car.
Even with a cruiser which can tow 3500kg it is advisable to uprate the rear springs for extended towing of a caravan.

I have installed EFS progessives in the back of mine and it makes a great difference well worth the $180.
State rules may differ but the ADR rules are good to read and it is starting to be that rules are country wide.

Certainly something to be aware of when buying a van.

I got my advice from an engineer in Queensland who has a repair business and has seen more vans than any of us put together and can tell you the good or bad points of damn near anything.

FollowupID: 616785

Follow Up By: Member - Bob K (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:23

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:23
Hey Graham, can you provide more detail on the 'EFS progressives' - are they some sort of spring assistors or replacement springs?
FollowupID: 616786

Follow Up By: Wherehegon - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:25

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:25
Hi Graham, yes definately worth doing our homework before purchasing things like 4wd's/cars and vans for touring in. Have read it on here and other sites quit regularly where people have bought them selves a nice new van only to find out their vehicle is not capable some even been told by the sales people that they would have no issues behind there vehicles wether it be a falcon, commodore or 4wd only to find out they cant. Worth checking it all out first before handing over your hard earned $$$ .........WHG
FollowupID: 616787

Reply By: Member - Bob K (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 09:45

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 09:45
Thanks Graham Heather and Ron, I now feel I understand this subject a lot better and should be at the top of the class when I do my Tow-Ed course later this month. Thanks to your advice I have a trip to a public weighbridge planned and I am also calling the NSW RTA, the Insurance Co and Jayco to get all my ducks in a row. It's ironic, we decided to buy a caravan to rid our lives of stress - oops - recalibrate:)

Thanks again for your patience and advice - it seems like I'm not the only one to have been a bit confused

Kind regards
AnswerID: 348559

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:27

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:27
Personally I wouldnt tell the insurance co anything till its sorted out.
Start with Jayco Make them weigh it empty and start from there.

Read my bit above of what you have to do to get it uprated.

If its a tandem van its usually 400kg above tare. If it has two water tanks its not enough.

Your remark about getting the ATM REDUCED is a bit pointless as if you do you wont enjoy not taking any gear cos that will be the result. Might even have to leave the wife at home LOL.

The only correct way is to tailor the van to the car or vice versa.
If you want to keep a low rated car you have to buy a smaller lighter van or else buy a new car as I did (unwillingly) but necessary.

Welcome to the minefield of ADR rules
FollowupID: 616788

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 14:18

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 14:18
Cant offer any advice re weights as we tow a C/t under 750kg.
But would like to say welcome aboard EO as a member. As you can see , plenty of smart & knowledgeable people live here.
AnswerID: 348594

Reply By: Member - Bob K (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:18

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 15:18
Thanks Oldbaz. I've now spoken to just about everyone I'd planned to on this subject and here's what the said:

Jayco - The law is that you can not tow more that the capacity of the towing vehicle.

It does not refer to the tare weight but weight of the caravan when loaded .

A 23ft Sterling has a load allowance of 475kg which based on a tare of2185kg fully loaded the van would be 160kg overweight and so illegal .

The question is can you keep your load to under 315kg remembering that full water and gas tanks will account for over 200kg.

You should also consider the ball weight your vehicle can legally handle in relation to the van you are considering.

We would not normally recommend a van over 21ft for your vehicle.

The loaded mass of the trailer must not exceed the lesser of:
• Rated capacity of towbar and tow coupling
• Maximum towing capacity of the vehicle
• Maximum carrying capacity of the trailer.
• Maximum rated carrying capacity of the tyres

So I'm off to the weighbridge to check the laden weight of the caravan, the tow ball mass and the gross combination mass to confirm they are within the manufactureres limits. Finges crossed! Might have to gorgoe the satellite dish:)Thanks again everyone.
AnswerID: 348600

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 19:07

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 19:07
The vans ATM is obviously over 2650 kg
Presumably your Paj is rated at 2500kg.

The van is illegal to tow with that vehicle
Only way to be able to tow it is either get the ATM set at 2500kg and I bet you cant load it up at that with what you want.
Same problem I had and result $23,000 for a new car.

No other way out and stay legal.

When u weigh it you need to load it with EVERYTHING you intend to take, Food clothes TV spares EVERYTHING and I bet you will be surprised how much it will weigh.
No other way to be sure.
IMHO you will stuff the Paj towing that weight long distance

Progressive springs are springs that are wound tighter at the bottom to give more support when loaded and a fairly normal ride when empty and running on the top half.

Lastly dont even think of not using a Hayman Reece Distribution Hitch with a van of that size.

I weighed mine again today and it is still over weight but by emptying the water tanks i can get it right. I did however get rid of a lot of stuff I dont need.
In saying that, I can alter the weight on mine like that as the ATM is well within the Cruisers capacity as the maximum it can tow is 3500kg.
Its only when as in my case with the Patrol and yours with the Paj you may not run light if the ATM exceeds the cars capacity.

I read what you said they told you about the weights but guarantee what i said is correct.
FollowupID: 616827

Reply By: Member - Bob K (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 21:31

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 21:31
Graham, thanks for your concern and persistence. I've now checked with the Road Traffic Authority of NSW, The Insurance Company, Jayco and the specialist firm that fitted the electric brake controller and provided the towing hitch, as well as various other caravaners, one of whom tows the exact same model van with a Pajero like mine and has been a caravaner for 15 years. They all say the same thing - as long as I don't exceed 2500kg laden weight on the caravan then I am within the law but this obviously reduces the available payload from the maximum the van is rated for. I'm taking the rig to the weigh bridge tomorrow to confirm that I can do that.

Thanks again - your input has been valuable. I did request that you provide the referecne for your source of information but I can't see it in any of your posts - are you able to provide it please? If not don't worry.

AnswerID: 348642

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 21:53

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 21:53
I got the info from the engineer who respeced the van and he knows his stuff.

I still believe you will be tempting fate towing a van whose ATM is higher than the cars capacity but its your money so its up to you.
I certainly wouldnt.
I will try to find the reg as its written. WE are in Queensland however so it may make a difference.

Just cos someone has been towing one for 15 years doesnt make it legal.
Just read some of the posts on here about people driving altered and non complianced vehicles and you will see what I mean.

Best of luck.
FollowupID: 616868

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 22:28

Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 22:28
Firstly read this page if you cant find the spec plate




Particularly read page 5 headed insurance.
FollowupID: 616879

Follow Up By: Member - Bob K (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 00:41

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 00:41
Thanks ofr taking the trouble to provide this Graham, it's appreciated. The only section of this that seems to be in conflict with my advice is the statement that:

A trailer may not be covered by comprehensive insurance if:

• its ATM exceeds your vehicle’s towing capacity

First the statement seems a little conditional in that it says 'may not be' rather than 'is not' Second, the advice from all other sources that I have checked is absolutely consistent - its the actual laden weight of the trailer that must be lower than the maximum towing capacity of the vehicle not its ATM.

Graham, I think we've got to a point where we'll just have to agree to difer on our interpretation - but thanks for your advice.

FollowupID: 616902

Follow Up By: Member - Don M (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 07:46

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 07:46
I am with Graham on this...you cannot legally tow a van with an ATM higher than the legal tow weight of your vehicle.

If this is incorrect, then Tow Ed, where I also did my training, plus all the literature they gave me, is wrong. My books are in the van in storage so can't quote them, but on this point, the law is quite emphatic and, sorry to say, your sources, in my opinion are all wrong and you could find yourself in trouble if you prang and not just from insurance company's.

I have a 24' Sterling with cafe dinette, ATM 2720kg..(I think without checking) and weighed it before my last trip at 2650kg loaded with full tanks...close...!
FollowupID: 616912

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:24

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 09:24
Found the thread I wanted

Read this one


FollowupID: 616922

Follow Up By: PeterInSa - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 21:36

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 21:36
With a big Tandem you will have a Hot water system. add another 10 to 14 Kg (depending upon the storage) for the water in the system.

FollowupID: 617041

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 21:54

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 21:54
Make that aout 23 kg as most hold 23 around about

FollowupID: 617045

Reply By: Member - Bob K (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 22:37

Thursday, Feb 12, 2009 at 22:37
Thanks everyone for you input - especially Graham for whom this web-site must be a labour of love:). I now have all the information I need so for my sake there is no need for anyone to post any more (but I know Graham won't be able to resist:)) By all means keep the thread going for the sake of others. I have certainly learned a huge amount in just a few days, for which I am truly grateful.

In the end I have spoken with a variety of authorities including Mitsubishi, Jayco, the NSW RTA (twice and got two conflicting pieces of advice!), the NSW Police, CIL Insurance, the NRMA, Alliance, Tow-Ed, a public weighbridge operator, a couple of other caravaners who tow 23' Jayco's with a Pajero and of course all the good people on this site who have taken the time to provide input. Suffice it to say there is an array of opinions about what is 'legal' and of the likelihood of ever finding myself with a regulatory or insurance policy breach but the most consistent advice is that as long as I do not tow a load (ie an actual physical mass) in excess of my Pajero's specified towing capacity (2500kg) I'm most unlikely to have aproblem with either the NSW RTA, the NSW Police, my Pajero Insurer or my caravan insurer. The van was weighed with everything for the trip except food/drink and the rear water tank was empty. It's actual aggregate trailer mass weighed in at a little over 2340kg, so it's within the specified maximum load for the Pajero and well below the maximum rated ATM for the van. So we have finalised the purchase, however we decided to keep our options open for upgrading the Pajero depending upon how it perfroms -watch this space!

One of the issues that will no doubt give the layers a field day if ever this matter is tested in court is that the vehicle manufacturer, the insurers and the RTA use completely different terminology which creates the opportunity for a lot of interpretation. But hey, that's what layers are for - right?
AnswerID: 348800

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