• So this is on the radar for the Boss and I.


    Gumb i am sure you have a heap of advice.


    Anybody else on here have any other thoughts.


    Bear this in mind though.



    Not looking to do a GVM upgrade.


    Just the two of us no kids.


    My preference at the moment is a JB van called the Gator possibly Gator X given the inclusions :shrug: but all that may change.


    Entering the research phase of purchase ||


    Thanks in advance

    Enjoy your "Q"
    James


    Primo XL, GMG Davy Crockett, Akorn Jr and Ziggy Portable.


  • A guy in our club bought a JB and it was a disater in that it was so far over weight that it was dangerous to tow. He couldn't do more than 80kph without it fish tailing. I have seen others and people were happy so maybe it was a one off but they had to rebuild it to get it legal (after a fight).


    There's a big problem with the Nissans and that crazy lowering of GVM as ball weight increases. Just watch that one, it has a big negative effect on how much gear you can carry.


    My Pajero has something similar but it's to do with ball weight when the van exceeds 2500kg so not a GVM issue.


    Beware of the utes becasue they cannot tow up to their stated 3500kg ATM. It's absolute crap because their GCM is fixed and if you add 3500 for a caravan you end up barely being able to put more than 2 people and a can of coke in the car before it goes over the GVM.


    Rule one is never tow anything heavier than the tow vehicle.


    Rule two. HWhatever you buy, get it professionally weighed when fully loaded (car and van) before you hit the highway. Can cost a couple of hundred to do but it can save a life.


    Our van is a single axle Goldstream 1760 semi offroad and has an ATM of 2540. That's a big as I will ever go in a van. Pajero comes in around 2800kg.


    It's a bloody minefield and the problem is that what is legal in one state may not be so in another.

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  • There are also so many stories of utes with broken backs. I wouldn't be going anywhere near that 3500 tow limit personally.


    Mum and Dad have an Explorex and they seem to be pretty good from what I know. They did however have to trade the Pajero and go bigger with a new Patrol due to GCM issues. A big van does not allow much in the car, hence they needed a bigger car.


    The big V8 is also pretty fun to drive and the kids love doughnuts in the paddock.



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  • Yep all of those issues above were discussed today.


    The Nissan lowering of the GVM is an issue however we are only looking at a smaller van and I have allowed plenty for what we have in the vehicle 600kgs and we are under by 15kgs of the allowable. Used an online calculator from a reputable guy.


    Towing Weights Calculator
    Use this towing weights calculator to see if your caravan or trailer weights are within limits; covers GVM, GVM, TBM and more, plus advice.
    l2sfbc.com


    Mind you I think I was getting it all wrong as I was reducing my GVM by that percentage and then putting the Tow ball weight into the calculation as well.


    RV DAILY | Why Nissan tow ratings are rubbish!
    Nissan, and indeed many modern dual cab utes tow ratings are rubbish... we look at what it is that makes them a bit of a furphy...
    rvdaily.com.au


    I think what that sticker is saying is if the tow ball weight is 100kgs simply make your tow ball weight 130kgs as that amount is taken off of the GVM.


    Yep we will get it all weighed as well as both of us go and do a towing / driving training course.


    It was interesting to go to the weights talk and understand all of how to work it out.


    Gumb you have a semi off-road my question has also become whether I need an off-road van ?


    We do want to do the Gibb River rd for example and from what I can gather it can be done in a semi off road it will just be a slower trip and will have to ensure I adjust tyre pressures etc..


    It’s a $10k question I guess.


    Wazza your right about the 3.5 Tonne thing.


    No way in the world would a 2.3litre twin turbo diesel be able to tow it in the first place nor would it be able to control / stop a 3.5 tonne trailer.


    We don’t need a big van anyway it’s only the two of us and as big as we will go is about 17ft.


    Yes well aware of van weighing less than the vehicle.


    Will make sure we have ESC fitted to the van as well as I reckon that’s a great thing.


    More research before taking the plunge I guess.

    Enjoy your "Q"
    James


    Primo XL, GMG Davy Crockett, Akorn Jr and Ziggy Portable.


    Edited 2 times, last by Jimmy70 ().

  • Sounds like you are on the right trak, unlike many who just buy a big van and drive away in ignorant bliss until the unthinkable happens. it's getting worse out there as people new to towing join the numbers becasue they can't go OS.


    Good on you for doing a towing course. :thumbup:


    I haven't done the Gibb River Rd but there are people I know who have and if you take your time it should be OK with a semi off road van. I didn't go full off road due to the extra weight (2800kg comapred to 2540 for our 17'6 van) but I still have independant dual trailing arm suspension on the new van and it has good ground clearance when compared to an on-road van. For full off road like the GR, we have the Tvan and that can go anywhere the car goes.


    The weights all come down to payload of the vehicle (which includes tow ball download) and many people don't realise that a Toyota Landcruiser has less than a Prado or my Paj but the Cruiser can safely tow a heavier van.


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  • My dad has a Navara, about 4 years old and it tows his boat and camping gear fine. Ive driven it home from Ningaloo loaded up and it was a lot nicer trip than my 79 series ute.


    In saying that I have a pop top Caromal pioneer (around 2600kg) and while the cruiser handles it, its definitly heavier than dads boat and gear.


    Navaras arnt known for their towing ability

  • This might help. He's not a fan of Nissan or Ford but he does know his stuff, even though his delivery style is not everyone's cup of tea.


    If I was buying today, I'd be looking at the Isuzu D Max or Mazda BT 50 which is what my son has just bought. There are a lot of D Max dual cabs in the club and they are all happy campers.


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  • We have a full off road camper, and that's where the utes are getting in trouble off road. They are in some pretty tough terrain going over steep inclines with the weight of the camper hanging off the back, thus breaking the back of the Ute.


    The guy in the video above, John Cadogen also did a video on this, might be worth checking it out.


    It does not sound like this is what you want to do, but I think you should consider an off road capable van. You car is capable of getting to an out of the way spot, so you may regret it if your van can't get there. Again I'm not talking about hard core 4x4, just something that will be fine away from the black top.



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  • I tow a 19ft Pop top 2200kg and my work dual axle trailer with my Ranger and it doesn't even know there hooked up. Seriously love it.

    I would consider a Dmax but not the Navara. Also my caravan is a single axle which I have underslung to raise it. Both van and ranger have high clearance and level with each other and this gets me places it wouldn't otherwise.

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  • There are also so many stories of utes with broken backs. I wouldn't be going anywhere near that 3500 tow limit

    I personally know someone who broke the back of a Navara a few years ago. I dont know all the details, just saw the pics on FB. Even after a big tow in dads Navara I would be wary of hooking my van up to it (cant actually test it because it has E brakes and you need to wire up for a van)


    My van is a offroad, has a very hefty chassis, independant suspension and uses a treg hitch. Its pretty heavy for a tiny van.

  • Every ute has an inherent weakness at the back of the cab:


    This from John Cadogen, easier to copy and paste him than type it myself:


    There is an inherent weak spot between the back of the cab and the leading edge of the tray, because in a vehicle with a separate chassis, where the body is mounted onto the chassis, that contiguous body over the top of the vehicle does act as a contributor of sorts to rigidity in that longitudinal bending plane. The plane which turns it into a banana if you get the loading - and in particular the dynamic loading - you might make the vehicle experience out there on the road.


    I've seen pics of a 79 series busted too.


    Your Navara will be fine, just watch your loading. There is a large distance from the back axle to the back of the ute tub, don't put heavy stuff there as you are leveraging the extra weight.


    Buy yourself one of these:


    https://www.repco.com.au/en/4x4-adventure-escape/trailer-towing/trailer-parts-accessories/hayman-reese-tow-ball-weight-scale-up-to-350kg-4320/p/A9672169?rgfeed=true&cid=google-shopping&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&WCF_AMPERSAND®ion_id=100448&gclid=Cj0KCQjw_fiLBhDOARIsAF4khR33xXE0luQ5TIBUDIwsmG8-D6nrEY34LBdwsa_R7fGg22RSmrRJHWcaAtKxEALw_wcB


    Does not have to be this brand, but I borrow my brothers when I'm loading up the camper so I can move stuff around to try to reduce the tow ball weight. Once I've moved stuff around to make the tow ball weight as neutral as possible I memorise for the trip home.


    Just be careful with the weight and be conservative, but definitely get something capable of going off road, I'm not talking extreme stuff, just stuff that can be a little rougher getting into a nice spot.


    Yes some of those other utes may technically be better for towing as they have leaf springs, and I think the navara has coil spring, but life is a compromise, coil gives a better ride.


    This is what I was talking about when breaking the back of the ute. Look at how much weight is behind the back axle, and look how far back those two spare tyres are. Every mm further back makes that leaver longer. Not only has this guy got his spare tyres, his canopy and whatever is in the canopy placing stress on his chassis, but wait till he goes over the hill and the camper is still coming up the hill and is now physically lower than the ute. We are no longer talking 200kg of tow ball weight, we are now talking 600+kg hanging off the tow ball, added to what weight is already there.


    All that force is being pointed to the spot right at the back of the cab where the body ends.


    Only a couple of weeks ago I saw the weights and measure guys set up in suburbia with a portable weigh bridge pulling over every trailer, van, boat and truck. Never seen them do it in the city before.




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  • Always amazes me that no modern camper or other trailer (especially the off-road ones) that I've ever seen has the the adjustable axle that my 1950's built 2000L tanker trailer had when I did my army service back in Sweden.

    That sucker had it's axle position adjustable by about 50cm, want it to follow as close to the towing vehicles track as possible all you had to do was unlock and crank it to the front position...want it easy to reverse, just crank it back to it's rear most position.
    Another plus, that we really didn't bother with as the truck could handle the weight would be adjustable towball weight.

  • Wazza I am not planning to do any of the stuff in the picture with a van.


    Yes you are correct Coil Sprung Navara. Although with the Lift kit I had put in of 2 inches it now has constant 300kg in the back. Only items in back are Canopy 80kgs, Fridge slide, 100ah Lithium Battery and Fridge.


    If I was to do that sort of stuff I would be leaving the van and just going in the Navara and Swagging it.


    Yep I am being conservative in the research as I have now discovered in the JB vans that having a L shaped lounge increases Ball weight vs a Cafe style lounge. Apparently it has to do with the Axle location.


    It is interesting that in the JB range there is Three vans I am looking at:


    a) Gator 17'10. Full off-road

    b) Gator X 17'10 Same van just all of the extras Airbag suspension and Lithium battery system.

    c) Dirt Roader 17'10. Base style model less extras but does come with Off-road independent suspension.


    When I spoke to the dealer up here he tells me no they don't make a Dirt Roader in 17'10.


    Hmmmmm that's an interesting statement


    http://arillo_orange.ag-seller-16107.preview.sitedynamic.carsalesnetwork.com.au/vehicle/OAG-AD-19606649?orderBy=4&resultstyle=&dealer=AG-SELLER-16107&make=&model=&yearMin=&priceMin=&yearMax=&priceMax=


    I do like Lithium and in talking to a Automotive Electrician last night (need to get the car ready) they can do the conversion on a van pretty easily.


    Not convinced on the Airbag suspension although I do like the levelling ability and having a compressor permanently in the van.


    My question is how fiddly is the levelling thing ?

    Enjoy your "Q"
    James


    Primo XL, GMG Davy Crockett, Akorn Jr and Ziggy Portable.


  • An upgraded suspension is better than air bags which really only level the van but do nothing about transferring weight from the rea axle like a WDH would do. They put all the downward stress on to one point on th chasis as well, which isn't good in a ute. The problem with a WDH is that you can't use them in undulating off road terrain.


    I have air bags but don't ue them since my last upgrade to HD springs and Koni shocks.

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  • Post by Geoffo ().

    This post was deleted by the author themselves ().
  • Noted Geoffo


    This is an interesting review though.


    Ford Ranger v Toyota Hilux v Nissan Navara v Isuzu D-Max v Mitsubishi Triton v Mazda BT-50 towing comparison
    We hook up six popular utes to a 2800kg caravan to see how they perform the towing task
    www.whichcar.com.au


    It’s not decked out with drawers or anything like that. There is a fridge, slide and lithium battery in the back that’s it.


    On the calculations I have done, including the boss and I a full tank of fuel etc…. I have allowed 600kgs on the vehicle we will be ok just need to ensure we have a light Tow ball weight.


    We will be ok and if we do have issues I am due to Novate a new car for work in any event so will just have to bite the bullet.


    Realistically we are 6-8 months away from buying a van whilst we do a lot of research.


    Two brands came up today which I hadn’t heard of before and they are pretty much Vic Brands. Billabong and Evernew caravans. Anybody know anything about these ?

    Enjoy your "Q"
    James


    Primo XL, GMG Davy Crockett, Akorn Jr and Ziggy Portable.


  • Evernew are very good quality vans but I’m not sure if they still use the wooden doors inside which look old style to me. My brother in law just took his down the Gibb River rd and while he did take it very easily, the van was fine except for a cracked shelf in the fridge.


    I’m not sure about Billabong but check out Goldstream too, they do a lot in the off road market and their Panther is a very well built van. I’m on their Facebook page and there are almost no negative comments, everyone is very happy with theirs. I checked out a few brands before we settled on Goldstream and have been very happy with it.

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  • I don't remember hearing bad stuff about Goldstream, seems to all be good. There is a Goldstream camper in the family that has done lots of challenging off road stuff. These are those almost hybrid camper / caravan type things with a shower and toilet, hard roof etc. Has had no issues.


    I may have mentioned it earlier, Explorex. It may not be the right van for you though, they only do offroad and extreme off road. I know several owners, including my parents who love them. No idea about the weight of their smaller ones. Fully welded steel frame, I had a look at one during construction and was very impressed.



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  • Gumb is your van a Pop top ?


    Our preference is not a pop top.


    Had a great chat to the owner of Evernew today who ironically uses a Navara (same model as mine) to tow their 17’6 van. Been in business since 1968 which gives me some comfort. And they are Aussie made.


    RT-X 28 Series - 17'6" | Evernew Caravans
    Constructed on a heavy duty chassis with our newest suspension systems and incorporating Evernew Caravans' comprehensive list of standard inclusions and many,…
    www.evernewcaravans.com.au


    No dealer in QLD but that is not a great issue as warranty work can be done by product suppliers up here.


    Wazza Explorex look good as well, they are next on the list to investigate.


    Heading up to dealer on weekend to look at a JB Gator X.

    Enjoy your "Q"
    James


    Primo XL, GMG Davy Crockett, Akorn Jr and Ziggy Portable.


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