Is every Caravan and 4WD out there overweight

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 08:33
ThreadID: 92702 Views:7211 Replies:20 FollowUps:16
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Hello everyone, well nearly finished packing for our trip around Australia. I thought I had been very frugal with my packing so I thought it was time to go and weigh the rig. Well to my surprise the van was over by 100 kg and the tug was under but not by much. To be honest I thought I would be under there are so many empty cupboards in the van. Going on my experience I think there would be very few legal van / tug combinations out there. Interested to here some thoughts from experienced travelers.
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Reply By: Member - lyndon NT - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 08:46

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 08:46
only 100kg, I would guess many are much more over weight than that!
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Reply By: The Landy - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 09:06

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 09:06
I use a data card (excel spreadsheet) to monitor weight in the vehicle to ensure it is under GVM. I’ve got the basic weight of the vehicle, and list stuff that I put in including fuel, water etc.

It might seem a bit pedantic, however overloaded vehicles can lead to instability and accidents, and if you have a serious accident where there are injuries you can rest assured the police and insurance company will be pedantic in checking if an overloaded vehicle was a contributing factor.

You can find a copy of the spreadsheet here

Cheers, The Landy
AnswerID: 481067

Reply By: Ian & Sue - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 10:11

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 10:11
We are going to do a weigh in before we leave for the eastern states on Saturday but would be very surprised if we are overweight. We used to backpack before discovering the luxury of caravanning and still pack very lightly!

Over the 6 years we have been vanning I have even culled our very light load with the "if you haven't used it throw it out" theory. Only on a very rare occasion have we found we needed something we put out and there is always an op shop! LOL.

Just about packed ready to leave and the Landcruiser has no extra baggage, the caravan has only a couple of mags in the overhead cupboards has a cardboard box under with bed with some spare tins of food, and at least 4 of the draws are empty. I have two coats, two jumpers, two pair of jeans and 2 of shorts, a spare set of sheets and one hatch over the bed with T- shirts.

The heaviest of gear is the generator, and hubbies tool kit.

Karratha WA

AnswerID: 481072

Reply By: Ozhumvee - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 10:45

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 10:45
I'd reckon there are thousands of them including many 4wd's, both singly and those towing campers and trailers.
We used to travel in a troopy (2A and 3C) and it would have been over on just about every trip. I can remember a weighbridge operator refusing to write the weight down once as it was way over GVM.
AnswerID: 481076

Reply By: Bush Wanderer - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 11:01

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 11:01
When I last went down the CSR I was 520kgs over.

One of our trailers came in at 4049kgs.....just a tad over. Need one of those Effie's for this trailer.

Trimming weight is hard when the tare weight is up there.

AnswerID: 481079

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 11:20

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 11:20
I'm not prepared to travel overweight, & the present setup isnt near to that, but if you
are in that category maybe you should consider the consequences. The risk of a
really bad downside may not be that high, but if they happen it could be catastrophic.
Your insurer can wipe you if either your van is over, or your tug is over, & that includes
damage to both if only one is too heavy. Now that is a huge hit, but maybe the main
issue will be injury sustained by passengers in your car or others. Will your third
party insurer honour a claim in such circumstances ? Now, I dont know, but that is
one thing I wont be putting to the test...........oldbaz.
AnswerID: 481081

Follow Up By: Wayne david - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 12:43

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 12:43
I'd say the main issue is putting the lives of others & your own family's at risk just for the sake of a few more comforts. And it's mostly because people don't the time to stop and think.

I'd wager that if people went through their vehicle & van and asked the key question 'do I really need this'? Then a lot of 'crap' would stay at home where it belongs.

I've always preferred the idea of Travel Light. Poverty ensures I do it with ease.

Cheers - Wayne

FollowupID: 756465

Reply By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 11:36

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 11:36
shhhhhhh yes most probally are
AnswerID: 481084

Reply By: ken triton - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 14:44

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 14:44
Thanks for all your replies, it is interesting that no one seems to be able to be within the limits without being extremely careful. What will happen if National Parks insist that everyone has a grey water tank adding say another 80 kg,
AnswerID: 481100

Follow Up By: Phillipn - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 20:35

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 20:35
If the water going onto the grey tank is from the fresh tank, their would be no change in weight

But if you use water was from an external source then you would have a problem.
FollowupID: 756514

Follow Up By: ken triton - Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 07:43

Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 07:43
Very true Phillip, but you have also added the weight of the tank and the plumbing as well. I just think that the caravan manufactures should be putting more thought into the weights when building caravans as a lot of the time the chasis and axle combination could handle more weight the plate represents and lets face it another 100 kgs would make quite a difference when packing, that being said the more the weight allowance the more people will stack in.
Thanks for your reply
FollowupID: 756541

Follow Up By: Phillipn - Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 14:32

Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 14:32
We have had a modification to the weight of our van from 2500 Kg to 2700 Kg which is the capacity of the chassie. Costs quite a bit of money, but cheaper than being pulled up by the cops and put off the road for being over weight.

We upgraded to a tow vehicle with a tow capacity of 3350 Kg. From one, which had a tow capacity of 2500 Kg.

Our van has a grey water tank, which holds 102 litres. Which get infrequent use, only used when needed.
FollowupID: 756573

Reply By: MP - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 14:48

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 14:48
I also wonder what the licencing requirements are. At what point do you need a heavy vehicle licence for a large vehicle and caravan? ie loaded Lancruiser and 3.5t caravan might weigh 6.5-7t?? or 5th wheeler??

AnswerID: 481101

Follow Up By: ken triton - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 15:00

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 15:00
Good point Mark, although when you see the way that some people have there rigs set up maybe some sort of training and endorsement would be a good idea. There are a lot of people who have never towed just drive their small car to work everyday, they then retire and hook up a large van to their new Cruiser etc and off they go. Pretty scary really.
FollowupID: 756481

Follow Up By: MP - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 15:18

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 15:18
I agree Ken. You should need some sort of licence endorsement to tow a trailer of any kind. But I suppose towing is the easy bit. It's the stopping, turning and reversing that will cause the most grief!! If you ever need a good laugh go to your local boat ramp on a busy Sunday....

FollowupID: 756484

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 21:54

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 21:54
Or the rubbish tip :-) Watching some trailers being reversed is quite funny
FollowupID: 756522

Follow Up By: Member - Old Girl - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 22:39

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 22:39
I like backing up the trailer next to some bloke that went in side ways beacuse he cant back.
FollowupID: 756527

Reply By: Member -Dodger - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 17:12

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 17:12
Yes a lot of people including vanners are overweight.
One of the reasons was that the original tare weight was incorrect and then there was not much needed to have the van overweight.
I personally have weighed my outfit van and tug and found the van to be 8kg overweight and the tug 10kg under. This was a fully loaded rig for a long trip.
The weigh-bridge person then threw me a curved ball stating that the weigh bridge only measures in 20kg lots so I could be 10kg over or under.
My solution was to unload from the van a carton of ale.

But I digress, Many could be overweight but both manufacturers are getting better with their weights as we the punters get more savy about weights.

Just my thoughts Dodg.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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AnswerID: 481105

Follow Up By: Phillipn - Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 14:37

Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 14:37
Did you check the ball weight, you may get a surprise.

FollowupID: 756576

Reply By: olcoolone - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 18:37

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 18:37
I would say most 4wd's set up for touring are over weight.

Our 200 series had a 500Kg GVM increase done prior to rego for this very exact reason.

We weighed it when it had a ARB steel bull bar, Warn M12000 winch, ARB alloy roof rack and the bottom part of the Kaymar wheel carrier plus a UHF radio and driving lights not forgetting the 5 steel Toyota rims and MTZ's ....... We had no middle or back seats in, no aux battery, no fridge, no rear racking and only 1/4 a tank full of diesel ....... with no people or baggage it weighed in at 3050Kg and standard they have a standard GVM of 3300Kg.

So add a full tank of diesel,2 adults and a bit of gear it would put us just over the 3300Kg standard GVM..... chuck our camper on with a ball weight of 75kg and your over even more.

REMEMBER GVM is the MAXIMUM allowable weight of the vehicle on the road.

Now set up for touring with all the bells and whistles plus some we are looking at a GVM of 3650Kg and 3725Kg with the camper on ...... so with the GVM upgrade we have just made it.

We have gone a little over board on some of the gear but still again what we went over board on only added about 75Kg.

It will not be long before insurance companies and transport authorities catch on and start taking action just like they do with road transport operators.... defects, fines and warnings.

AnswerID: 481109

Reply By: Member - Old Girl - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 18:56

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 18:56
We have a problem going the other way. Our basestn can carry up to 700kg behind the wheels. To compensate this the two tanks, shower and fridge is in front of the wheels. So when we travel with out gear like the motor bikes in the back the tow ball weight goes up to a whopping 400kg. So when going away without the bikes we have a problem which is sorted with carrying the water in jerry cans or take heaps of stuff. Easter we are taking someone elses comp tyres because we need the tanks full.
AnswerID: 481110

Reply By: Crackles - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 20:01

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 20:01
If fitting steel bars, a winch, storage & long range tanks to a 4x4 wagon it's basically impossible to come in under GVM. A few years back Parks Vic had alot of trouble complying as they found their Landcruiser trays were overloaded on the front axle with just an alloy bar, a small 9K winch & two passengers.
While the tow vehicles may be hard to keep under, vans & trailers are easy as it's either people buying oversized models with too many features or simply packing too much crud. While manufacturers need to take a bit more responsibility in reguards to loading, when selecting a van the intended load really needs to be allowed for.
Classic example is the Kedron vans. Fit them up with all the options & the empty van is just slightly under GVM. That's without packing the 600+ KG of food, water & camping gear they are supposably designed to carry.
For single vehicle remote travelling I've always gone well over GVM but after building a gear trailer recently It's quite easy to go legal, in fact I'm about 400kg under max combined weight.
Cheers Craig.............

AnswerID: 481114

Reply By: Rockape - Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 21:05

Thursday, Mar 22, 2012 at 21:05
yes there are many overladed units out there and ves when I look at my old girl many times I am overloaded.

What many of the authorities look at is the amount of accidents that are caused by this.

I know this seems unfair to those who get booked for overloading and I was one of those, but this is how it is looked at.

Many reduce their speed and distance from other vehicles to counteract this much to the annoyance of other road users, but this is fact.

When there is an accident the authorities look for a cause. If one is found quickly IE. Fatigue, other vehicle at fault, road conditions, speeding, weather and so on they will leave it at that as they look for the root cause.

If the accident is bad or they have any doubt as to the cause then they will go into detail.

NOTE! If it is a major accident they will look at everything.


AnswerID: 481126

Reply By: ken triton - Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 07:45

Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 07:45
Thank's again everyone for your replies, some very interesting points raised, the more you ask the more you learn
Thanks again
AnswerID: 481147

Reply By: The Landy - Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 10:19

Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 10:19
It appears from this thread that many regularly overload...

Whilst not intending to criticise those that choose to do so, I think there are a couple of considerations worth taking into account. Firstly, it may not be safe, especially for weights well in excess of GVM, the other is that if you have an accident, and you increase this risk if the vehicle is overloaded, than you could be charged with a criminal offence in the case of an accident involving serious injury or death, and that is before the insurance company turns up.

Cyberspace always has a way of coming back and biting. If you are over-loading your vehicle, and I don’t advocate you do, at least don’t put it out there on the internet that you do, it is a permanent record available to all to view in the future, and you might be surprised the extent to which authorities and insurance companies might go when investigating an accident.

Just food for thought...
AnswerID: 481171

Follow Up By: Wayne's 60 - Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 23:02

Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 23:02
Sorry Landy,

If a traveller has not checked their weights when laden and are involved in an incident, it is not an accident ...... IT'S A CRASH.

.... and these days .............. there is NO EXCUSE.

Wayne & Sally.

FollowupID: 756600

Reply By: GT Campers - Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 13:28

Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 13:28
adding to the problem is that some caravan manufacturere aren't quite honest with the placard weights of thier vans
AnswerID: 481189

Follow Up By: Wayne's 60 - Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 23:03

Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 23:03
Sorry GT,

See above.

Wayne & Sally.
FollowupID: 756601

Reply By: Wayne's 60 - Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 23:12

Friday, Mar 23, 2012 at 23:12
Hi Ken,

We have posted some comments further down your thread and considered it appropriate to reply to the OP.

In short, Yes.

Have a look at the vehicles as they are driven down the highway

.... the way they don't handle .... on good roads.

.... the way they brake ..... and not in an emergency situation.

..... the way the whole unit seems to wallow ...... like a whale looking to land ... HARD!

Yep, sure worries me/we/us ........... added to comments I've seen posted on forums, that people save the money that they would've spent on apparently "unnecessary" insurance.

We hope that they don't BUMP into us.

Wayne & Sally.

AnswerID: 481220

Follow Up By: ken triton - Saturday, Mar 24, 2012 at 20:18

Saturday, Mar 24, 2012 at 20:18
Thank's Wayne for your input, at least this thread has got people talking and making everyone more aware of there weights. I know I am now more aware of the problem and I am looking seriously at how to reduce weight where required.
Regards Ken and safe travelling
FollowupID: 756652

Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Mar 24, 2012 at 16:05

Saturday, Mar 24, 2012 at 16:05
This is a question that soooo many simply don't want to hear the answer too......even worse sooo many know what the answer is going to be and studiously ignore the question.

I've sad it before and got flamed for it ...but I believe that most of the 4wd station waggons are entirely unsuitable touring vehicles because of their lack of payload....they barely stay legal with 2 adults, 3 children, school bags and shopping.

then we start with towing......the majority of mowing contractor trailers will be massivly over weight on a daily least half of the boats as towed to the ramp will be over weight.....and caravans...Oh hell.

Caravans would be the worst things on the road for pushing the limits of safety, GVM and towing capaicty........people buy the biggest thing that can possibly tow and for the most part do not have a full understanding of the weight limits.

This is why sooo many of them dawdle at 80Kmh on the highway because they would be scared $#@less at a 100 or 110KMH

The very idea of a person on a pasenger car licence driving a 9 tonne combination frightens me.
That is the legal limit a 4.5 tonne tow vehicle and a 4.5 tonne trailer on a pasenger car licence.

To compound the matter that combination can be larger and longer than a maximum legal dimension rigid truck

Just the very configuration of caravans and the concept of towing these things with pasenger cars on a 50mm tow ball frightens me.

If most of these large vans were built on a rigid vehicle chasis, you would require a medium rigid truck licence to drive them, because you would not find a light rigid truck long enough.

So many times with our vehicle selection we are sending boy to do a man's job.

BTW..these days I drive a heavy truck for a living.

AnswerID: 481267

Follow Up By: ross - Sunday, Mar 25, 2012 at 01:23

Sunday, Mar 25, 2012 at 01:23
I couldnt agree more.Every time I overtake some poor sod in his overloaded light duty 4wd I wonder if he will make it.

You can usually pick the type on his once every 3 year trip outside the big smoke.
Hanging onto the wheel with grim death,smiling,but deep down worried that if there is an emergency he hasnt got a hope in hell of keeping it all together.

And there is the other type that it totally oblivious to the danger he is in.
Ignorance is bliss for him.
FollowupID: 756674

Reply By: ross - Sunday, Mar 25, 2012 at 01:15

Sunday, Mar 25, 2012 at 01:15
"Is every Caravan and 4WD out there overweight"

Nope my 75 series landcruiser and trayback camper are about 3-400kgs under on most trips.
I like to go off road and taking an overloaded 4wd into 4wd areas is dumb.
It knocks the krap out of the track and stresses the hell out of your vehicle.

I wish the cops would start putting all the overloaded 4wds off the road.
If you need to live like you are in a luxury resort,then you should book into one.
AnswerID: 481306

Follow Up By: ken triton - Sunday, Mar 25, 2012 at 08:23

Sunday, Mar 25, 2012 at 08:23
Very true Ross, I hate 4 wheel driving with all my gear in, and when on a 4wd trip only I try to keep the gear to a minimum. The big problem is that a lot of people are not aware just how much weight they have put in their vehicle. I started this thread mainly because I shocked myself when I weighed my rig and hopefully it has made a lot of others look at their weights.
Regards Ken
FollowupID: 756679

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 25, 2012 at 09:14

Sunday, Mar 25, 2012 at 09:14
Now Ross have started with a vehicle that is fit for purpose and designed to carry a load...thus you will be finding it reasonably easy to stay within the vehicles capacity.

The vehicle may not be as soft and pretty as a domestic station waggon variant but it is fit for purpose.

Soo often we see people upgrading suspensions and looking for GVM upgrades and all sorts of jiggery pokery on vehicles because they are simply inadequate.

Our choices and options ARE limited, but people don't want to hear that.

Just as an excercise, go onto carbuddy or another car specification site and compare the payloads of various landcruser will have to subtract the curb weight from the GVM to find that.

Remember the design weight of a pasenger is 85KG.

If you do the maths on the 200 series landcruser if you put 5 typical adults (who these days will be over 85Kg) in it and a bag for the weekend each....y'd be lucky to put a couple of slabs of beer in the back without going over the GVM.

We realy need to look at our expectations and the vehicles we select.....a lot of what we are doing with pasenger car type 4wds, we realy should be doing with trucks and busses.

As for my vehicle a hilux....traveling 2 up with all that we require it is over 600KG under GVM, Thus it performs well both on road and off.
If I was driving a station waggon 4wd, I would be very close to GVM and needing a suspension upgrade.

FollowupID: 756683

Follow Up By: ross - Monday, Mar 26, 2012 at 12:21

Monday, Mar 26, 2012 at 12:21
It all came about when I purchased a full size slide on camper and found it was 50 kgs over the limit without passengers,dog ,food and clothing.
It was deceiving,it still had enough power but the bends were a bit iffy. I knew in an emergency it would be near on impossible to brake and/or swerve .
I also knew it had lost most of its 4wd agility,so it was pointless having it on a landcruiser.
So reluctantly ,I sold it and went for something smaller and lighter.
FollowupID: 756787

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