The towing thread


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Interesting debate, I don't like regulation all that much, and prefer education, which works well in most instances, but those on here who support regulation do so because they know that education doesn't work for a minority who think they got it covered, and then stuff up. And when they do they affect more than just themselves. Lawmakers make rules to cover the lowest denominator, ( the people who stuff up the simplest exercise), and make everyone comply to that rule. So, the more F*wits who stuff up, the more rules we will eventually have, until you need a licence to fart responsibly. But we might be able to stave off the over-regulation with good education programs which make it socially unacceptable ( Ah yes, social engineering at work here!) to take risks towing big vans with small vehicles and no experience, and if they are cheap/ free people will take courses to prep themselves. Perhaps the companies who sell vans & campers could include a half day familiarisation course with the vans they sell if they got a tax break. Govco could sort that fairly easily.
One doesn't need stats to notice trends, and thinking about solutions before regulators bring the hammer down is a good thing.


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while we're at it as I'm sure a lot of grey nomad accidents would be caused be fatigue rather than the caravan they're towing.

I would put the van /car combination at about 98 on a scale of 100 and fatigue at 2. My wife and I have done a hell of a lot of Outback and coastal touring in recent years and the general rule with grey nomads is if you don't get into a roadside rest area or a caravan park by 3 pm, there will be no room left for you. We have seen first hand evidence of that many times. The majority do not leave before 9 am then there are lunch and site seeing stops during the day.

I think one major problem is the not so grey travelers on school or annual holidays. Many of them seem to think it is ok to roll out of places like Melbourne to see the Kimberlies in two weeks.

Then there is the van salesmen who think it is fine to just match the weight of the van to the car's towing capacity and away you go.

Another major problem in this country is we have a missing link in our range of tow vehicles. We don't have a readily available and affordable supply of new or good used big American pickups. That is the type of vehicle needed to tow our ever expanding range of monster vans. A 200 series for example will easily pull a 3500 kg van but as soon as something goes pear shaped at highway speeds, it often changes rolls in seconds and becomes a dinky toy with a powerful engine as the huge van throws it out of the way.

A small Japanese truck would solve a lot of problems when it comes to keeping big vans under control but they are not everybody's idea of a family car when it is not towing.

I am all for having a towing licence but it must be issued after the successful completion of a written examination on every aspect of towing and that goes way beyond just the road rules.


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As someone who has a canter 3.5 and a bobcat I can confidently say I’d rather (and do) tow the bobcat with the ranger Ute. It is more powerful, has a longer wheelbase and better towing/safety electronics. The brakes work harder on the Ute but are more effective in an emergency. You need weight in a small truck to settle it down enough to tow and that puts it out of car rego weights. You also need to go to approx 8t trucks to get a tow rating above 3500 kg. My ranger tows a 680 Haines, the bobcat and other big things. It has a wheelbase 450mm longer than a 200 series and is a very stable tow platform. It’s no ram/f250/gmc but for what it is it’s honest enough. I tried towing the Haines with the truck. It was pretty abysmal and without weight in it, boat ramps are its worst enemy.


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You need weight in a small truck to settle it down enough to tow and that puts it out of car rego weights. You also need to go to approx 8t trucks to get a tow rating above 3500 kg.

This bloke has a 3.5 ton truck and a 3500 kg van. He also put 1 1/2 tons of gear in the back and the truck was still 1 ton under its maximum carrying capacity. Imagine trying to do that with a 200 series.

It might even be too much for an F250. If the weight in the back of the truck was ok, it still may not have had enough space for all his gear.


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His is the same load/tow series as the canter. It is a medium rigid truck license to drive it so if the mrs wants milk she’d better go and do some training. Ours is the short wheelbase tipper. There are some great points about them. There is almost zero rear overhang to the tow rack so bugger all feedback from the trailer. The truck will turn so tight the rear inside wheel will spin backwards - you haven’t seen wheel bearing abuse until you’ve seen a loaded tandem bobcat trailer tearing stones out of asphalt pulling a u turn in a standard 2 lane street - that is just a dream for a ranger driver - we need to find paddocks to pull u turns.
I also drive the big brother of his in 2wd - the 5t long wheel base with a cherry picker rig on it. That is approaching something truck based that I’d drive long distance in - but it is getting pretty large. If mum’s hips aren’t great she’s going to need a hand to mount up.
You’ll also note that they all mention comfort and speed. The little ones are all out of revs and ideas at 110 Kph empty. Towing a 3.5t van you’ll see 110kph once a week. They are noisy at proper highway speed and bone jarring unless they are half way to gvm - at which point you are back at a MR license.
There are great truck based tow rigs but generally they have had real money injected into them and until you go past 8t they are all still 3500kg tow rated. I went through all this when we were looking at bigger boats - “just get a light truck” isn’t that easy when you pay attention to the numbers. The 3.5t series we are talking about can be derated to a car license in qld, but to tow 3.5 t you need basically zero payload on board and I can tell you from experience if it is a bit wet on the road that combination is much more dangerous than towing with a ranger. Wet duals with 90 psi and zero downforce are like ice skates. Like anything light trucks are a compromise.
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Once you go above a 5t GVM tow vehicle, the size of your coupling will also effect
your tow weight's.

Tow Couplings – Changes in the new version of VSB6

August 29, 2017

From 1 September 2017, a new version of VSB6 will come into force. VSB6 Version 3 deals with the most common modifications to heavy vehicles. The new version is available here.

Following this change, an issue regarding tow couplings has arisen. 50mm ball couplings fitted to motor vehicles and 50mm ball coupling receivers fitted to trailers need to comply with ‘AS4177.2 Caravan and light trailer towing component’ (please refer to section P of VSB6 for more information).

For many years AS4177 has included a restriction stating that tow couplings are only for use on a vehicle with a GVM not exceeding 5t. However the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is aware that couplings have been fitted to vehicles with a GVM exceeding 5t. This impacts the rating of the coupling as a larger vehicle increases the forces imposed. Rather than simply prohibiting the use of these couplings on vehicles with a GVM exceeding 5t, NHVR has instead proposed an alternate process where a 50mm ball can be used, but with a reduced rating. What this will mean is that as the GVM of a vehicle increases above 5t, the rating of the coupling will decrease from 3500kg down to about 2000kg.


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When towing my boat
My hilux I could feel the trailer on the back
Now that I have a cruiser can’t even feel the trailer
So comes down to the towing vehicle also I think
Just finished a trip up east coast and saw so many small cars towing massive vans and the cars rear bumper was almost on the ground
And saw a bloke in the old Triton towing a massive van on his trailer and he had bend his chassis but he kept driving so some people just lack common sense to mabye


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Really good thread. Im close to purchasing my first ever camper trailer, the heaviest ive towed is my 14 foot tinny with some gear in do i gain training and experience??


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Anyway, time to bash some truck drivers....I hate the ones driving tippers with dog trailers, they are a bunch of lunatics when they are empty.
And when full to boot , lol . Paid by the load , not the hour , half of them are on the gear :confused: no log book restrictions as classed as local work.


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I might have seemed a bit harsh on my post last week . Most caravaners are pretty good and understand and are helpful.
Its only those that don't understand that really do silly things with trucks.


4x4 Earth Contributer
I keep a good eye out for Truckies when towing and I have no trouble. I have towed thousands of K's ( nearly forty trips :eek:) in the last four years. Just keep the old UHF on, have a call sign on back of van ( see pic.."AZZA CH 18"). All good stuff, especially when getting their call and letting them pass. If I can't find a good spot I just pull over asap. And yes, I do know what a left indicator flash means to them. Not like some car drivers who think I am pulling over to stop, so slow down behind me. :rolleyes:.
Renmark S.A. (8).JPG


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Most caravaners are pretty good and understand and are helpful.
I found the opposite over here, they're mostly muppets. They love to use their whole hand to wave rather than just lift a finger, I ignore all of them - and backpackers.