Potential buyer of a BT

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 17, 2005 at 07:20
ThreadID: 121849 Views:3459 Replies:4 FollowUps:1
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I am considering purchasing a BT - for obvious reasons!!! My only concern is - will my curent model Pajero DiD be adequate to tow a BT caravan ( about 20" ). I am aware of the towing limits - towing capacity, ball weight etc. etc. But I would like some feedback from any Paj owners who tow a BT before I commit myself to a purchase.

Many thanks.
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Mar 17, 2005 at 21:26

Thursday, Mar 17, 2005 at 21:26
Hello, the "Lone Ranger" here at Bushtracker,

I am sometimes not too popular, because I have to sometimes break the bad news to people. I would suggest though, that you might take what I am about to tell you with a bit of understanding; in that I am doing this for your own good, and with your best interests in mind... Spending a great deal of time writing some alternatives for you....

I am sorry to tell you that Pajero Owners will not be able to help you. There are limitations to the tow capacity and safety of the Pajero. Look, the Optional Equipment in the Bushtracker can weigh 300-400 kg. Yes, most people do want most of that equipment, as we specialize in Off-Road independence, self-sufficiency, and a quality lifestyle; but if you take most of that equipment that pushes the weight up. The last two 18' vans weighed in at 2280 kg and 2390 kg. And the last two 20' vans with almost all of the Optional Equipment weighed in at 2520 and 2580. Now, if you allow for 400 to 600 kg in personal gear, toys, tools, water and such; you are over the safe towing capacity of the Pajero. Yes, 18' to 20' is the most popular size, but virtually none are being towed by the Pajero as it is limited to 2500kg. Our only happy Pajero Customers are towing 16' to 17' vans, and even that is rare...

There is really an issue here that needs to be dealt with, on maximum size of Bushtracker to be put behind a Pajero... And it is not what you might think... It is not about power..
First of all you need to understand how we operate... A Salesman of other companies might just tell you what he thinks you want to hear. You may not always like our honest feedback but it will be in your own best interests. We treat you fairly, not just tell you what you want to hear and send you on your way. We will try and take care of you, and tell you what you really need to know for a very good reason: Our Customers are the ones selling more than half of our vans for us now, as we really make an effort to do the right thing by them for their own best interests.. Why? We are Number One for two reasons, firstly we have the Best Product, the Best Engineering, the Best Equipment, and the nicest interiors and finish of them all !! And secondly we look after our Clients Best Interests, because it is really in our own Best Interests to do so!! So here is the real issue on safety in your case.. It is not about off-road, all four wheel drives are a tractor in low range gear off the road. It is more of a safety concern on the highway... The Pajero is not a full sized tow vehicle on the global perspective, even here it hardly qualifies as a mid-sized 4x4 like Toyota Landcruiser and Nissan Patrols... It is an issue of the length of wheelbase for leverage at high speed, and the strength of the running gear itself, when you have to make a radical maneuver to avoid an accident or a spilled load or a Bullock or something... The wheelbase of the Pajero runs out of safety margin somewhere around 18' as it is 70mm shorter in wheelbase than Landcruiser, and 170mm shorter than a Nissan Patrol. I know that does not sound like much, but that and more specifically the lighter running gear, makes for a safety issue with leverage and control. It is just not as safe if something happens to cause a radical move at 100 kph.. There is just not enough leverage and stability and strength in the running gear to do it safely with a Pajero. It exceeds the capacity of the small running gear, axles, bearings, transfer case, and general running gear of the Pajero; but also it is just above the safe towing capacity of that size of vehicle and wheelbase lenth for leverage on the van itself at high speed with the smaller vehicle....

Enough of the engineer Jazz, it is also just plain illegal and we will not let you do something that could end up in disaster, and will not build 20' for the Pajero........... But wait a minute before you dispair: There is possibly another option to consider.... A secondhand vehicle for half the money of new.... You should take a look at a magazine called the "4 x 4 Trader". There will be 500 vehicles in there for sale every month.. About once every three months for some reason there will be a half a dozen vehicles reduced to ridiculous prices all at once!! You have plenty of time while your Bushtracker is being built.....You can get the RACQ to have a look at it, send pictures over the internet, negotiate a price, and have them meet you at the Airport to pick you up... For half the money, I am not sure that it isn't another option, as I also do not like the trend in the new vehicles with computer run complex systems that cannot be rectified in the Bush.. For example-I know personally, I would like a 97 to early 2000 Toyota 80 Series or an a couple of year old Toyota GXL 100 Series for half the money of new, maybe even with extra equipment already on it; rather than all the fancy electronic run injectors and injection pumps of the new ones. The same goes for the other Brands. It seems as though the Company Engineers are designing the engines to take the maintenance out of the hands of the do it yourself people and make them dependent on the Dealerships for all service... And that works in the city where you can be towed to a Dealer, but way out Bush it is a problem... Just a personal view, but maybe it is another option to consider for half the money... Especially if you are a handy sort of a person yourself.... It is what I did in getting a new Cruiser for my wife, I bought a 2000- 100 Series, aftermarket turbo and intercooler, and it was loaded with extras like long range tanks, diff locks, air compressor, and much more.. It has no engine electronics to run the injection pump, injectors, and controls; and I think it is twice the vehicle as new, for half the money. It also has the tried and true solid front monobeam axle housing... Same comfort and power and looks as the new IFS Cruiser, but twice the reliability at half the cost, and without the potential frailty of the new Cruiser independent suspension and computerized engine management systems...

In other words, for the money in your Pajero, if budget is an issue, I would suggest that the same money in a second hand Landcruiser or Nissan Patrol is a far better option.... The Patrols are a very successful vehicle on their own, with the higer tow capacity of 3500kg from about 97 on... They are stronger, safer, and guess what.... The larger diesel engines get better fuel economy when towing as well as offering a better margin of safety...

Sooooo, the Toyota is still our #1 tow vehicle, with Ford coming up strong, and then the Nissan Patrol 4.2 Turbo, remaining our most common tow vehicles. But the Nissan 3 litre automatic is not in the running…. No one is reporting that they are happy towing with it in that sized van. There must be a reason it has a lower tow rating and is far cheaper.. The Pajero is in that same category, and the happy quotient for towing that size van is Zero. That is why I am taking the time to write this for you, as there are no Pajero Owners towing in that size van to respond to you with the bad news.. The larger Nissan has a larger tow rating and good track record and good reports as a tow vehicle, but is not available in an automatic… If you want an automatic you are back to the new IFS 100 Series Cruiser, or a Standard 100 Series, not the IFS Turbo list above, but a Standard one and add the turbo on later…. Or go see the new big Fords and possibly fall in love….

Kind Regards, Steven Gibbs, Director, Bushtracker
Filling in for the request for Pajero Owners response towing 20' vans..... As there are none......
AnswerID: 566031

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 02:54

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 02:54
Just got an Email at work from someone concerned about their Nissan 3.0 TD with the Manual Transmission. To those concerned, the Manual 3.0 has been getting fair reviews and we have a couple of people towing with them quite successfully and happily. It is the Automatic 3.0 TD that some people are not happy with. It has a towing capacity of only 2500kg, where I am told the current Manual version towing capacity is 3200 kg, which is close enough to the full 4.2 Patrol at 3500kg. The reduced towing capacity of the auto is there for a reason, and restricts people to smaller vans which is OK for some, just not all...

Kind Regards from the "Lone Ranger" at Bushtracker
FollowupID: 844426

Reply By: Bushtracker - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 01:09

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 01:09
Bushtracker again, with an afterthought.... Maybe have a look at the my Posting "Current Report on Tow Vehicles from Hundreds of Owners" Posted on this Forum on Feb 10, (next page over). There is more information there on the current trends in Tow Vehicles... And just because I have some reservations about the new computer run vehicles does not mean that people take it to heart. The new Landcruiser IFS 100 Series Turbo Diesel is still the #1 Tow Vehicle because they want the Warrantee or they want the inner city parking or prestige, or they just like the way it looks or drives.. Sometimes there are even tax consideration advantages of buying new through their business or property that sways their choices...

We just give the best overall guidance we can so people can make the informed choice that suits them.....
Cheers, stg at Bushtracker
AnswerID: 566032

Reply By: Urban escape - Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 04:38

Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 04:38
Hi Steve
Many thanks for your advice and honest appraisal of my situation. Obviously I need to re-think my options.
AnswerID: 566033

Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 03:15

Saturday, Mar 19, 2005 at 03:15
Hi Tom,

Sent you a post yesterday but seems to have got lost in the ether.

Steve is right, I originally looked at a new Disc 2.5 TDi after all it's got a 3.5 tonne tow capacity - and we're not in a hurry. Safety re wheel base was the issue I was not aware of being a newbie to the caravaning world. I took Steve's advice and bought a rigid front-end 2000 model LC 100 Auto petrol 4.5L

Since then we have added a ARB suspension upgrade - medium coils and OME shocks plus poly airbags on the back - as they say in Ireland "Brilliant!!"

I needed an excuse to get the spare out from under the vehicle - so we added a duel fuel gas system. The 90L tank goes into the space originally taken by the spare wheel and aux tank. We now have 90L+ of both fuels and a Kaymar rear wheel carrier. Tow on petrol and potter on gas is the plan.

The vehicle is a spotless ex CEO's car with only (then) 65,000 K's on the clock. and had never seen a dirt road before I bought it. It got all the usual add on's factory alloy b/bar + very good spotties+ running boards. I really like the 'open up and hinge down' rear doors - they make a good seat plus table when have lunch on the road. Mobs more space than the 'disco' and considerably cheaper to boot - even though it took 4.5 hours to beat the buggers down to my price.

It's a thirsty beast but a joy to drive and the ARB suspension make bush driving with a bad back/neck a pleasure once again. I guess the bit extra we pay on fuel we save on caravan parks - whilst enjoying the great outdoors. Anyway it's on for a while .... I've heard that fuel is free in heaven.

Enjoy your research.

Cheers John and Jean.
AnswerID: 566034

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