Towing a camper trailer

Hi all,
We have started the search for a camper trailer. This was only from the excitement created from discovering this web site. Could someone please provide info about me towing a camper trailer with our VS Commodore wagon. It is a V6, petrol only. What weight should I look at as a maximum, and also if anyone would have fuel economy info that would be great. So looking forward to our upcomming travels!
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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 17:24

Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 17:24
Hello nootsa. Your VS Wagon is legally limited to 1600kg towing weight but as a safety precaution I would try to keep it as far under that as possible eg, 1000-1200 kg. The reason being the vehicles are getting a bit old now and towing heavy loads creates extreme heat in both the engine and the transmission. I presume it is an automatic and if so it should have a transmission oil cooler fitted. Don't forget to include the weight of the loaded goods that you put into the vehicle. I would also make sure the vehicle is in good order including clean/serviceable coolant, engine oil and transmission fluid. Once you have your trailer take a few short local trips to get the feel of towing and that will also test the vehicle. Apart from that just go and have fun. Cheers,Bob

AnswerID: 450206

Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 17:27

Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 17:27
Forgot to mention that fuel economy would drop about 30% over what you are getting now. It will depend on your total loaded weight, the terrain you drive over and what speeds you like to travel at. Bob

FollowupID: 722679

Reply By: nootsa200873 - Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 17:31

Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 17:31
Great advice. I hope to gather all the hints and tips from EO members and make my best decision. Thanks heaps.
AnswerID: 450207

Reply By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 20:05

Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 20:05
Good luck & enjoy Nootsa. Don't get too picky with your first one - buy the cheapest second hand one you can find that takes your fancy and is in your price range.

You're always looking for ideas to make them a bit better so no matter how much you spend, you're still looking to "improve" it a bit.

After about 3 you start to get it somewhere near what you want!

The main thing is to get out & start having fun in the great south land.

Paul B Kalgoorlie
AnswerID: 450231

Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 20:06

Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 20:06
Or you can be like me and just stay with the old faithful much modified and much loved.

Paul B
FollowupID: 722709

Reply By: Member - Jayco_Mauler (Vic) - Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 21:23

Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 21:23
Hi Nootsa

I am also looking for the first campertrailer as a result of finding this site so i wish you all the best with you search and subsequent purchase. From what i have been looking at probably the most important aspects to check are the chassis to ensure it looks sound and free from too much rust etc, all about the roof area including a thorough search inside for any sign of water damage, and a thorough inspection of the canvas tent section to ensure it is free from holes, tears, pinch points etc. Then you get into the wind up mechanism and all the nitty gritty.
There are so many to choose from out there that there are plenty to suit most budgets, its just a matter of getting the best value for what you want to spend and being fussy. The more time you spend looking, and the more you research, the easier it is to spot the value when you see it.
Check out a thread a few pages back regarding "Best pop top for under $10,000" posted by "Viscount_Mauler". It quickly turns into info about campers and i received some fantastic advise from members about the Jayco range that you might find useful when searching for the perfect camper yourself and how to spot a problem one. It may not be a jayco but the rest is still relevant.

Goodluck with your search

AnswerID: 450245

Follow Up By: Member - Jayco_Mauler (Vic) - Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 21:26

Sunday, Apr 03, 2011 at 21:26
Yessss i know the question was about fuel economy and towing capacity and stuff but i couldn't help myself.

Make sure you let us know what you bought and put up some pics so we can take a look.


FollowupID: 722725

Reply By: Geobserver - Monday, Apr 04, 2011 at 08:54

Monday, Apr 04, 2011 at 08:54
I have towed a full camper trailer with Falcon and Commodore wagons on long trips. Both do it with ease - 110kph on the blacktop and fuel economy around 13-14 litres per 100ks. The big tip is to get load equalising bars - I can't recall whether that is the the actual term for them - someone else might be able to correct me - but they are steel bars that connect between the towbar and trailer. The bars put more of the weight through to the frront of the car and take the load off the rear end. Makes a huge difference in the way the trailer sits (no sag), saves your suspension and improves handling on the highway significantly, especially on less smooth roads. An absolute necessity for me now.

AnswerID: 450276

Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Monday, Apr 04, 2011 at 09:39

Monday, Apr 04, 2011 at 09:39
You have got a lot of useful suggestions so far. I would add that unless you are familiar with towing and camping with a camper trailer I would go and hire one and do a few short trips before buying. It will help you confirm if you are heading the right way before spending money.
AnswerID: 450286

Reply By: Ray - Monday, Apr 04, 2011 at 10:08

Monday, Apr 04, 2011 at 10:08
If I was very new to camping I would get a reasonably quality tent and put the remainder of my camping gear into a 6x4 trailer. For the time being you could use bedding and utensils from out of you house. If you really like camping the you can upgrade later
AnswerID: 450292

Reply By: Member - Brian R (WA) - Monday, Apr 04, 2011 at 12:45

Monday, Apr 04, 2011 at 12:45
Hi Nootsa
As you will see by my profile, we have a little A'Van....which is great. However, before that we put together a camper trailer. I had a new 6x4 made (in Perth) with the addition of wind down jacks and a spare wheel up front, we also bought an Oztrail Trailer camper (tent) which bolted on top. All up it cost around $3000, about 3 or 4 years ago. was a great easy setup, just didn't suit our requirements at the time.

AnswerID: 450303

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