Submitted: Monday, Dec 13, 2004 at 21:11
ThreadID: 121646 Views:4405 Replies:2 FollowUps:1
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Kind Regards to all,
Steven Gibbs here, Director, Bushtracker

This is a guideline to help people, as they are planning and designing their new Bushtracker....


Our Optional Equipment list is the most extensive in the Industry, and if you took most of that equipment it adds 300 to 400 kg to the van, and we honestly weigh the van with all that gear on board. I cannot comment about other Manufacturer’s practices. For instance, when you buy a new Toyota, the weight is already plated. If you add a snorkel, a bull bar, a tow hitch, side running steps, and other gear before Delivery; they do not redo the registered tare; where we do as an honest effort to take the best care of the Client that needs to know the total they are towing… An 18' with a lot of gear can weigh in at about 2300-2400kg. There are many variables that have a part in this, even down to the layout as an open plan will weigh less than a rabbit warren... Some have 45 kg in wheel adaptors for the new Landcruiser, odd IFS wheels, and countless other variables that add up.. Normal gear and layout should put a 20' van up around the 2500kg mark. 21' can go 26-2700 with a lot of gear.. But then some people add a tremendous amount of little details and widgets. .It is hard for people to remember all of the little bits and pieces they add on themselves. There is a broad spectrum of variation in layouts as it is, but then all the minute details added in add up to more weight. One little light more, can mean more in wire, extra circuit breaker and such that adds up to more weight than the light itself. One thing is constant and that is the extreme attention to little added goodies and details, adds up to a heavier van... One person I can recall, had a simple 20’ layout, very easy to get along with, and without any extreme attention to detail or added on bits and pieces, and weighed in at 2450. Then another person with much the same layout, was one of those that made many repeated trips here adding on bits and pieces each time, supplying a lot of advanced electrical and components, and great attention to details added in every nook and cranny. And his file was about a half inch thick full of all the additional details... Each of the ideas had great merit on their own, but they added up in weight, and that 20’ van finished way overweight at nearly 2780 kg with the same layout. People tend to forget that it is not just an extra panel or battery we are talking about, it is a list of 150 little bits and pieces that add up in the end... A kilo or pound here and there..

We have had people try and weigh their vans later and were surprised at what they weighed. They forget about the water in the water heater that they can't get out, and two inches of water in the tanks that won't drain unless they are moving due to the suction vacuum break on the looped vents, little things like gas in the gas bottles, fuel in the diesel heater tank, and such; but they also forget about all the little widgets they added along the way...And it all adds up...

I do remember anther 20’ van, that was at 2700 kg, with about 50 or a 100 little add ons... Little rails on shelves and this and that, and it all added up... The record of late, is another person that made forty trips here with little fold down tables here and little shelves here, and captains railing here, and slide out cutting boards, and lights in cargo areas, and around in front under the overhang, and over the outdoor shower, and extra electrical and plugs, and stereos and DVD stackers and quad speakers and flat screen TV and satellite decoder, and three way switching this and that, and bunks that converted into this and that, and computer work station under the table, and extra towel rails in six different places, and all these kind of little good ideas. They only weighed a kilo or two, but after 185 of them were added on he weighed in at one of the record heaviest 20’ van at 2840 kg.... That did not do him any favours as he was towing with a Landcruiser, but it also does not do us any favours as our so called Competitors point that out as if it were the norm for us. When in fact most 20' vans go out at 2500-2600 kg and this extreme is the exception. We try and do the right thing, and cannot add these goodies on after market because the Client could go overweight without knowing it. But doing the right thing sometimes backfires on us... Hence this guideline of help in planning....

That in a nutshell is the problem: You can go overboard with all of the well meaning ideas you can collect. Imagine if you were a 4x4 Novice and went to some watering hole in the Outback like Lightening Ridge. As you walked down the street you took notes and looked in detail at all the different ideas on the forty Landcruisers parked on the main street. Each individual would have a different idea of gear, some front hitches, some with winches, some with rear winches, some with two spares, some with dual tanks, tool boxes, roll bars, side bars, side steps, centre consoles, multiple radios, fridges, solar panels, boat rollers, roof racks, pole holders, side lights, flood lights, backup lights, water tanks, hot water shower systems, cargo cages, roll out drawers and compartments, tyre breakdown kits, on and on and on.... If you as a Novice took on board half of the great ideas, your vehicle would be overweight and illegal before you got into it... This is precisely the problem: You need to think about what you can do without, rather and collecting all of the great ideas. It is not about what more you can add on, but what you can live without when you sift through all of the great little added on bits and pieces..
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Monday, Dec 13, 2004 at 22:29

Monday, Dec 13, 2004 at 22:29
I have copied this post and placed it in the Non-Financial members Documents Folder along with other useful postings that Steve has recently submitted.

It is good to see BTi putting details of how the extra goodies we all put in our vans can add up to a lot of weight if we go overboard.
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AnswerID: 565514

Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Tuesday, Dec 14, 2004 at 23:43

Tuesday, Dec 14, 2004 at 23:43
Thanks for that Steve,

Makes one think twice about introducing some space saving ideas such as ones I have developed on the KISS principle, like the under-van storage of sullage hose (6m of 40mm pvc pipe along the left chassis), racks for awning poles, winder, TV antenna, brooms, rake, axe and shovel, and a rack for the Sat dish, all in the front storage locker. All this of course, frees up a lot of floor space in the locker.

What we have to be careful of is the temptation to use this space to store other stuff, which, may be really unnecessary for the particular trip.

All this can contribute to excess weight. Our 18 footer has been weighed at a touch over 3000kg with three tanks full and one empty, and at the same time, 210kg on the hitch. That's 7 % which is OK and it tows well!

Put everything you WANT to take on a trip on your garage floor, then pack half of it in the van and you probably have everything you NEED!! *

* Old Jungle Saying


AnswerID: 565515

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Dec 15, 2004 at 01:46

Wednesday, Dec 15, 2004 at 01:46
Hello "Tellem Bugrem"
stg here at Bushtracker,

Look, the sad fact is that many of the vans running around out there are far heavier than the Owners know. We have been told that other people will weigh the vans standard, and sell the "Optional Equipment" on another docket and install it as "Owners Cargo". I cannot comment on that, but years ago when we had the time to do repairs on other companies vans, we often found this to be true... As I said, we weigh them just before Delivery with all of our gear and other Companies gear on board.... Because the Owners need to know what their margins are.

But, the old cynical saying "no good deed goes unpunished" is true here, as other people may spread disinformation as a sales gimmick... The real truth is that all the so called off road vans are close in weight, if you have the same gear in them... Particularly the wood framed ones. We are often disadvantaged, because we offer more Optional Equipment, and weigh the vans with the Optional Equipment on board, so our final Tare is often higher than the so called competitors. But it is primarily due to that fact that we offer more gear. In general, we are lighter from the body armour up because of the construction of our wall frames, and heavier from the body armour and chassis down. This ends up tending to give us a lower centre of gravity. The final product as a van with a lot of options on it, tends to be 100 or 200kg heavier than our so called competitors, but this is basically due to the fact that there is more gear in our vans.... We simply offer more, and a lot of people take it for good reasons...

Now I am not putting this kind of information out there as any kind of Sales Ploy, this is intended to set the record straight. You would be amazed at the amount of disinformation spread, and people do not know any better!!! As an example of the kind of myths that get back to me: One of our Bushtracker Owners met a man with a new caravan of another persuasion, and in the conversation he ask him why he did not buy a Bushtracker.... The answer was stunning, the man said he heard that: "Bushtrackers were mass produced now, you could get one in three weeks, and an 18' Base Price started at $80,000.
Now I just get upset that all three statements were so ridiculously stupid, but also the fact that person settled for less of a van (no names) for nearly the same money, due to disinformation spread by wrong people. I just want them all to play with all 52 cards of the deck... I do not like the fact that some people get hurt by this kind of wrong information. Sure, one could say that they should have checked with us, but still, this is the purpose of me writing this kind of a follow-up: To set the record straight....

When I have the time, I will do battle to dispell the wrongful myths out there... For the good of all...

Kind Regards, stg at Bushtracker...
FollowupID: 844146

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