Towing with a Troopy

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 04, 2006 at 07:18
ThreadID: 122973 Views:5402 Replies:2 FollowUps:5
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G’day all

Could any Troopy owners advise the weight of their van fully loaded, only if you have actually done the weighbridge thing, not just a guess would be appreciated

We are trying to get some idea from people’s experience what maximum weight of van can be handled by our Troopy (‘02 Turbo Diesel).

We were also thinking of doing a power upgrade (chip) if anyone has done this, we think it will need it.

Also can anyone advise if the Troopy can be upgraded somehow to increase it’s GCM (6350kgs). Toyota book says the max vehicle weight allowed is 3300kgs this leaves 3050kg for a fully loaded van less any vehicle roof rack weight. I think that's how I understand it.

Basically would like to know if a Troopy is up to the task of towing a Bushtracker.

Any thoughts appreciated.

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Reply By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Oct 04, 2006 at 18:45

Wednesday, Oct 04, 2006 at 18:45
Hello John,
Ozdyssey, nice pen name... Ha!

Look, in the Old Days, both Directors of Bushtracker had Troopys. At the time we thought they were one of the best rugged tow vehicles. I went as far in the 1990's as to have a stretched one built, power upgrade to 12HT Turbo out of a Japanese Toyota Bus, added side door and meter stretch of body. We both raised families towing with Troopys.. I have owned two, Tracy one, pictures all over Bushtracker, all were Turbo jobs, and successful towing up to 20'. Talk with us on a visit here.

Matt of TroopyTracker will no doubt bite on this, as he is still an avid Troopy Fan. It is still a good towing choice for up to 20' or so, and your legal towing limit is 3500 kg. You can get GVM Upgrades easily, mine was done up to 3800kg on the tow vehicle GVM! I have done up two of them all the way to ARB diff locks on one, and Bootleged Sahara Diff locks on another. Other than maybe Matt of TroopyTracker, I would be up there in the most fanatical and mechanically experienced Troopy Mechanic of anyone. I mean all the way to rebuilding transfer cases and transmissions with hardened shafts to stop the bearing wear, and repowering, and research... I mean way out there... Ha! Only taken out when I was looking for a Detroit diesel to repower again, and found a full import F-350 from Texas, with a 7.3 litre V-8 International truck Diesel, and then my last Troopy was retired to be a Tourist Bus on Fraser Island in about late 1999 from memory.

Back to your needs, the law reads you can tow up 3500 kg with a Troopy of your year, in any case. We have the ADR Transport Rules Printout here, you can have a look.

Why not Troopys now? We we just opted for more power and better fuel economy with the bigger Detroit Diesels and International Diesel. Before they were readily available about 20 of our Customers repowered with the 6.2 or the 6.5 Hummer V-8 Diesels with some success. However, it grossly shortens the life of transmission and tranfer cases, and with the Fords and such readily available none of our Customers have done it for many many years. I have done considerable research on repower of Troopies for better fuel economy, talk with me here...

But in answer to your question, plenty capable towing vehicle, one of toughest, and good for 3500 kg. I towed a 20' all over the Outback with one, Tracy 18 and 19', and we would still have maybe 40-50 or more towing with Troop Carriers now. You want to talk with someone that has pushed a Troopy to the max, dragging a Bushtracker through false river channels fishing, chasing camels in the desert, gone all over with one? Come in and see me and see some pictures of Troopy running in the extremes..

Regards, lone Ranger...
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Oct 05, 2006 at 00:44

Thursday, Oct 05, 2006 at 00:44
Per phone call question, no one to my knowledge is enforcing any GCM figures on vehicles less than Medium Rigid trucks... And they are somewhat invalidated anyway when the truck is Registered as a "Custom Landcruiser" for $6 with Qld Transport as was mine. I had Mod Plates affixed by a Trucking Engineer for the upgraded GVM and such... I have had the same thing done to my Mack Horsetruck, and have Modification plates attached and now have a GCM increased from 19 T to 24 T, but no one has ever checked that either. My Log books, yes... Interstate.

My own Troopy was really heavy with about an extra half tonne on board and stretched a meter, with aux roof air, and more gear than you want to know about 3600-3800 kg. It was Registered as a "Custom Truck" which you can do as soon as you modify the suspension, and my GVM was increased to 3800 kg with three point shackles and chassis reinforcement.

My van at the time was also running heavy with a 5kva Honda Diesel, and six water tanks, at around 3400kg fully loaded with gear for a Family of five, tanks full, and loaded with more than you want to hear about... Just for fun we put it over the Scales in NSW at 7 tonne combined with my heavy outfitted Troopy. I hope there are some other Troop Carrier Owners active on the Bog, to give you perspectives, will wait and see, but I was a Troopy Fan, last on was the six pack with rotating front seat. Some of us travel heavy, our own fault, as we are a bit "Pack Rats"....

Regards, Ranger
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Follow Up By: TroopyTracker - Thursday, Oct 05, 2006 at 06:03

Thursday, Oct 05, 2006 at 06:03

John's accessory list makes mine look sensible!! More toys than Toyworld might be a good description!

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Follow Up By: rovingoz - Friday, Oct 06, 2006 at 03:46

Friday, Oct 06, 2006 at 03:46
Thks for that. With what you’ve said we feel more confident the Troopy could reasonably handle towing a BT. We had just about given up considering the BT. Matt has also said the 'other' offroad vans weights will come in pretty close anyway.

We have already done a factory tour but would appreciate doing it again, preferably with yourself or Tracy. We were attracted to BT originally due to the philosophy of only using the best gear avlb etc. Spending this kind of money on anything is a big decision for most so we are keen to get as much information as possible from the horse’s mouth so to speak, on why you use different components etc. We were also a little disappointed we couldn’t view a finished van or showroom van to see the finished product.

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Oct 06, 2006 at 17:47

Friday, Oct 06, 2006 at 17:47
It would be just bad luck if there was not finished ones here to look at. There are usually 2 or 3 ready waiting for Delivery. Sometimes there is a rush of Deliveries of 3 or 4 in one week that will clean us out of finished vans and then there are only the ones in the Production Line, but that is relatively rare.

As to weights, we are about at the middle of the pack of so called off-road caravans. Some weigh more. As to cost, the recent people that have shown me prices of the so called opposition, shows that we are on the cheaper end right now... We have no real competitors if anyone takes the time to see the quality of how they are built, even in the detail of the finish. But on the loaded weight, since most of our Owners are really out there doing it, they sometimes pack too much on board. We cannot regulate how much people pack in. With most of our Optional Equipment, which weighs 300-400 kg, with all of that equipment on board an 18' will weigh about 2300, and a 20' will weigh 2500 kg. Some people go overboard and pack in another long ton in the extreme. If you watch your weight, of course you do not have to run that heavy...

As to another Factory Tour, you are welcome any time, just call so we can make sure we reserve the time for you..

As to the 6 wheeler.... I spent three years looking at it, and before Ford came back into the country, considered the top of the heap to be a 6.5 Lt Detroit diesel and 6x6 to be possibly the bee's knees... Glad I did not do it. Regardless of what NON-FORD Owners say, they are getting around 600,000 miles out of them in the U.S. that is around the 850,000 kms. Maybe with a transmission job or two, but that is how far the engines are going. Consider the options, but you will have more in the Troopy than in a Ford if you go down that path. And the 6 wheeler Troopys like you are talking, are horrible off road, as one axle is non driving but lifts weight off the drive axle so the rear drive breakes traction too easy. The True Bogie Drive 6x6, is rare, about $30,000 plus, and HORRIBLE on extreme maintenance to keep it going. A Detroit diesel conversion, increase exhaust, engine, increased radiator, hardened shafts is transmission and transfer case, and all the little bits you aren't counting on, will see no change out of $20,000 more.

My Ford, with full air bags front and rear, with diff locks front and rear, with roll bars, long range tanks, 15,000 winch, NightForce driving lights, Alpine Stereo and Video screen, Pirahnna third battery system to drive a fridge, and extended 6 year Warranty from Ford, cost $65,000. Be careful you don't over capitalize on the Troopy. It will do fine on its own on 18-20' and there is a new generation of vehicles coming..

I will stand by my advice as engineeringly and economically correct. Ford against your religion? Fine, Ford is Overkill for vans less than about 21' or so.. OK, stick with the Troopy until the new Toyota comes out and we will can see what is on offer, but I am not sure I would burn money trying to make the Toyota what it is not. Most I talk to that have done it would not do it again.

Regards, Ranger...
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: TroopyTracker - Thursday, Oct 05, 2006 at 06:00

Thursday, Oct 05, 2006 at 06:00
Thanks for the compliment, but I'm just a huge Toyota fan, and while I've done everthing mechanically thats needed doing to our car, there isn't much to do when you drive a Toyota ;-) I lost faith very quickly with mechanics, I'd rather have someone teach me properly, buy the specialist tools for the job and do it myself for the rest of my life/in an emergency etc. Thats what I've been doing everytime something needs doing and it seems to work well. I feel safer in the middle of nowhere being familiar with the whole show also.

Having said that, if anyone knows an experienced mechanic, familiar with 4wds and remote travel, who doesn't cut corners or rip you off, please tell me know as I think mechanical work is so tedious I'd glady pay someone if I knew I was getting value.

Since speaking to you last, I took a new factory TD for a good test drive and I was quite surprised by the power. Having driven our 4.5 petrol troopy for so long, only having driven afew diesels, I had fairly low expectations. Even considering the fact that our vehicle is overloaded (isn't every full time travellers), I thought it went very well, reving easily and very quickly to 3000rpm. Easily as good to drive as my petrol. I was dissapointed in the ride quality though, expecting a huge leap in comfort from ours. I really wanted to think it was hugely better and well, it just wasn't. I imagine the fuel economy would just about pay for the thing in comparison to what we use at the moment. The higher these prices go, the more important this gets.

While our's tows the BT fine, I honestly think something more powerful and bigger would do it so much easier. For full timers like you and I, something like an F250 would definantely do the towing and hauling all the gear much more comfortably. Unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of the Fords (sorry Steve and others). About 4 months ago I would have said without a doubt an F250 was our next vehicle. I know many here have no dramas and absolutely love their FTrucks but I just don't think I have enough faith in the vehicle to keep it well out of warranty period, which I would be. Perhaps Ford could send the blue prints over to Mr Tojo and have him build me one ;-) If I were buying new, selling before warranty up probably think differently.

The other problem for me is the sort of off roading I like doing, isn't really the sort of driving you would do in an F250. Dirt/flooded/corrugated/rutted roads, the F250 would be a god send with all that extra stability/power/control. When I unhitch though and head for the fun stuff, even the troopy feels huge. This really isn't an issue for most so the Ford is a better option in their case. Wish I had one now MAN the prices are off the chart!! Lady camped next door has a 4.2 F250, paid $40k for it and has since been offered $55K!!

I was amazed that the 78's have a 6350kg GCM. I think you have your figures right and it wouldn't be hard to go over that. When we last put every thing over the weigh bridge we were 6480kgs (within 10kgs can't remember). Our GCM is 6535kgs, but upgraded to this at the same time as getting a tow rating upgrade- Pre 10/96 Troopys/utes only have a 2500kg rating with 125kg ball load! Totally different situation to yours. The engineer just added our GVM of 3035kg to our new tow rating 3500kgs. So our upgraded GCM was an accidental bonus. Having said that I'm not sure you'd have too much trouble getting asmall GCM increase. We did have alot of trouble getting the upgrade, having to prove our vehicle was identical to post 10/96 models. Came very close to giving up and just trading in.

The enginners name was Gary Bow in Brisbane. He was great, told us exactly what we needed from Toyota. He told us he didn't expect to see us again as Toyota have a reputation for unhelpfulness in this department- VERY well deserved we found out.

If I were you I'd give afew of the six wheeler/chassis extending companies a call as they deal with stuff all the time. Then again, it might be less heart ache to plan around the Troopys GCM. I know with some more discipline we could (maybe) get under 6350kgs. If we do end up buying a 78 we'll have too!! It will tow better within specs and use less fuel.

I have high hopes for the new troopy coming out next year, wider, V8 turbo diesel hmmmm. Probably heavier also, further eating into what we can load into it (and behind it) :-( Another thing, not sure if a troopy could get any uglier, but if anyone can do it Toyota can.

I wish Toyota would come out with something bigger, 0.0000001% chance of that happening.


BTW, got your email, tried to call but no answer. Think I've answered your question here anyway.

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Follow Up By: rovingoz - Friday, Oct 06, 2006 at 03:41

Friday, Oct 06, 2006 at 03:41
Thks Matt

Good thinking mate, the six wheeler guys might be the go for the upgrade.
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