Tow Bar Rating

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 08:55
ThreadID: 120491 Views:5734 Replies:15 FollowUps:0
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The HR tow bar on my 4.2 GU is rated at 3500kg, however it is only rated at 120kg ball weight. My 18' BT is surely going to exceed that! Discussions with a couple of HR dealers have revealed that the 120kg rating is all I'm going to get. Is this the case & if so are all BT's being towed by "under rated" tow bars? Is this a problem or am I worrying about nothing? It seems to me that even non BTs of any decent size are going to exceed 120kg ball weight.
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:11

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:11
Jay, Its a bit weird the computations that some car makers do which then causes some anomalies in the vehicle specs. Take for example my F250 ... Gross Vehicle Mass - 4173kg Towing Capacity - 3500kg/350kg B/W Gross Combined Mass - 7323 kg As you can see if you add towing capacity to max vehicle loading (GVM) you get 7673kg ..some 350kg over the GCM ...surprise, surprise the ballweight !!! This effectively says the tow max of 3500kg has to include the ballweight obviously, as it applied to the vehicle. So in combination I have to take 3500 away from 7323kg to give 3823kg as my max vehicle weight (when towing at max capacity) so I dont exceed the listed GCM and become illegal. Once separated the F250 reverts back to 4173kg (GVM) There are two concerns about overloading. If you exceed any manufacturers loading specs you contravene the road rules (Traffic Act) because the traffic act uses the vehicle makers specs for weight limits. Over loading would possibly void your comprehensive insurance and possibly your third party insurance ... leaving you exposed if you hurt anyone in an accident .... and leaving them without financial cover. I'm not risking it !! The other concern is that over loading might cause a component to fail making you have the accident in the first place. Then we are back to above paragraph. Sure ! ...there is a built in safety margin but you still contravene the traffic act. Obviously you DO, have to have, an accident and you DO have to get caught being overloaded ..... Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:12

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:12
Jay And I thought I had opened a can of worms, I hadn't thought of that one - It's getting more confusing now -My head hurts My guess is that mostly GCM is ignored like GVM & we all hope we don't have a accident. Looks like we might have to go back to light on road vans towed by F250's & loaded very light - Not !! Oh well, I better get the calculator out again to look at my vehicle upgrade options - Hmmmm - wonder what the Hummer towing, payload, GCM ,etc etc specs are ???? Cheers Darryl
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:13

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:13
Hi Anthony GVM.....Driver and Passenger...150Kgs NOT another DIET !!! Bugger Regards Ulrich & Julie
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:14

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:14
Eighteen months ago I said the Unimog was the way to go. Still looks good! Griff the Blasphemer
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Reply By: Luvntravln - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:15

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:15
Darryl Dazmit - You'd best believe you opened a can or worms - very heavy mothers too! I picked up my F250 yesterday with its custom canopy, and the F250 is going on a diet and the BT is going to gain some weight ! When you don't leave anything out in doing a complete - perhaps some would say so I will say it for them "unnecessary" upgrades (I don't think they were unnecessary (diff locks, air bags, upgraded shocks, bull bar and winch, water tanks and long range fuel tank) because of where Jackie wants to go without the BT - the weight starts to creep and crawl and walk and run and the scale screams STOP! Tonight the designer of my canopy (it really is fantastic!) and the automotive electrician/mechanic that did all of the refit (there businesses are next door to each other) are putting their heads together to determine what course of action to take. It is interesting of course that the GCM is the real problem because of the 350kg loss in F250 nonball weight payload. For example, when towing I do not need the water tanks in the F250 filled and that eliminates 180kg of weight that isn't a problem when not towing. There is also the option to increase the payload of the F250 by an engineer's certificate. Bob Lemon was able to increase his by 250 kg; apparently you do not want to go as high as 4500 GVM because that necessitates a different license to drive the vehicle. I am looking ito the recert and will advise. Thanks again Darryl; better to deal with the issue now than after a problem occurs! Anthony is absolutely right in his post about being concerned about going over the mfg's recommendations. Cheers, tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561802

Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:16

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:16
All of a sudden, a horse with two long sticks attached with a sheet canvas over them is looking good ... a cup of tea made from a handful of cobblers pegs or Noogoora burr ..toxic value aside ...on the banks of Three Moon Creek. A baby shotgun to get the odd galah/possum pie going. The odd wash in a cool creek with gum leaves. The cold reality of a shiny glass of beer at every town. Nah !! Give me 7 tonne of refinement at 95 kph, espresso maker, 14 bottle underseat storage of fine reds, 200L of 4 degree box, hot shower and sat tv ..... any time !!! [wink] Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:17

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:17
-LOL Griff- - probably not far from the truth though !!! Jay - gotta be unhappy about the diet after all the design work in setting it up but as you & Anthony say, best to be legal if it comes to to the worst. I'm towing our van with a TD Prado but as the van is 200 - 300kg heavier than expected ,I'm on the weight limit of the Prado with just packing fairly light - I can't even think about filling the 3 water tanks. It doesn't help when along the way we upgraded to a compressor fridge with 3 X batteries, washing machine ,TV, DVD etc etc which are all great creature comforts but stack on the weight.(I'm with Anthony - travel in comfort & style though) We are looking at upgrading vehicles next year to a TD 100series Cruiser but the trouble with them is they are so podgy (overweight) empty the payload is only approx 700kg - our Prado has a payload of around 840kg, crazy isn't it. Most of us think the big Cruisers & Patrols are great for big payloads but in fact they aren't, a Patrol is only 600kg & then you have to start subtracting payload for higher towball weights . After Jay's point yesterday I looked up the Tojo site & surprisingly they do not mention the GCM - just added a NA - Wonder if that means it doesn't have one - I doubt it, probably just don't want to show how low it probably is. Good luck with your diet Jay, as I'm still calculating a 100s would probably tip over GVM in my case as there are 3 of us & associated children's pushbike etc etc. Oh well I might stop worrying about it all for the time being & look forward to our trip to Cania Gorge next week instead Cheers Darryl
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Reply By: Luvntravln - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:18

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:18
As is sung so often: I WANT IT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! tgintl/jay
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:19

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:19
Jay, What is your new tare weight with the canopy and all the extra goodies that are permanent fixtures in it? Brian
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:20

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:20
Brian, I know Jay's tare weight !!! Let's agree on his GVM at 4173kg ish !!! He comes in at ...... 4172.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 !!! Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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Reply By: Luvntravln - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:21

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:21
There is no question that we will use all of the GVM of 4219. The work has to do with keeping the BT under 3500, and the GCM at no greater than 7369. Clearly the canopy is a bit heavier than anticipated; and the battle is still being waged. tgintl/jay
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Reply By: Luvntravln - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:22

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:22
Question: When determing the total contained in GVM you have to include everything including passengers, ball weight, et cetera. When determing the maximum weight that the vehicle can be when towing, assuming that the BT weighs 3500 and the GCM is 7369, the maximum weight of the vehicle would be 3869. Correct since ball weight is part of the 7369? In other words if you went on a scale with the vehicle and the BT, the total shown must be no more than your GCM less the weight of the passengers (unless you are sitting in the vehicle too!). Correct? tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561809

Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:23

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:23
That makes sense Jay - but I'm not 100% certain. Darryl
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:24

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:24
The Gross Vehicle Mass as listed cant be past obviously but how they measure it can be fudged a bit (leeway) depending on the operator of the scales. Usually the van is disconnected and the vehicle axles are weighed and added together. There is an unwritten rule with trucks that 10 % over might get away with ...certainly 0-5%. This will allow you to be outside the vehicle when weighed. A savvy operator (transport dept scaley)will leave ballweight on for a vehicle GVM and that is 99% of them. Because of the leeway given by the operator, as I said, you should not have to be in vehicle. Then the BT axles are weighed ...then ballweight ...then added together. The VIN plate is then checked for max allowable ... Aggregate Trailer Mass. If all this is ok then they are added for a Gross Combined Mass. Personally, I dont think the transport authorities have the resources to chase caravan owners checking weights. I've never heard of a BT being weighed ...even in combination. Thats not to say it wont happen !! Manned weighbridges would be a concern as they can just drive you in and weigh you in 10 seconds just like the trucks. You hear it all the time on channel 40 UHF .... the truckies ask if the weighbridges are open and if others say no they go up the highway ...if yes, they take the back roads .... I wonder if they are overloaded ??? [smile] If you get called into a weighbridge they will weigh you in the vehicle because you dont get a chance to get out before it gives a reading. It really only becomes a problem if something breaks from overloading. The chance of that happening in a BT or F250 or Cruiser etc even at 20% overloaded is minimal. The niggling thought of being wiped by an insurance company in an "event" keeps me close to the mark with the weight specs for BT and tow vehicle. I consider it a duty of care to other road users to be travelling safe by having my rig within the rules. Having the towing dynamics as safe as possible .... checking critical areas of couplings, tyre condition, even driver fatigue, etc also comes under this umbrella. Compared to some rigs I see on the highway people towing BT's dont have much to worry about ..... Jay, if you get pulled over by transport or police the quickest way to be gone through like a dose of salts is to ARGUE with them !!!! The next thing they dont like is a person quoting the rules back at them or specs ...that will put you on the side of the road for awhile as well. Imagine what I could quote to them but I have a policy when pulled over (rare these days but same tactic) that is .... Look Dumb and Listen Only. Some say its easy for me to do !!! [wink] Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:25

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004 at 09:25
In 29 years in the Victoria Police, 14 on highway patrol I never once heard of a light vehicle being weighed, even a falcon towing a tandem trailer with bob cat on that lost control and overturned on major freeway was not weighed and the RTA also attended that accident. As for insurance companies dropping you because you were over weight. By the time the insurance company got to see the damaged vehicle or van then it would be in a towing yard and they would have to go to a lot of trouble to have a disabled vehicle taken to somewhere to have it weighed accurately. I think that by posting discussions like this on the open forums, it just gives law enforcement people something to think about and they might then start doing it. As for getting pulled up by police, drive a vehicle that is clean and looks in good condition and blends in with all the other well kept vehicles and you will not be pulled over in the first place. If you have been caught doing something wrong be polite and apologise for your transgression, there are very few police who will then go looking for any other offences, other than the one that they pulled you over for in the first place. As Anthony said, be a smart arse and they will then pin prick and it is really fairly easy to find something wrong. Brian
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