Tow Vehicle

Submitted: Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 17:15
ThreadID: 123133 Views:9349 Replies:12 FollowUps:9
This Thread has been Archived
I would like some advice regarding a suitable vehicle to tow a 19ft BT, tare WT at manufacture 2480kg. At the moment I am towing with a 97 Toyota Troop Carrier 4.2 Turbo diesel 110,000 kms, which works well, but I feel is operating at the top end of its capacity and would like some feedback on other options. With the van fully loaded I would expect the weight to be around the 3,000kg which is the towing capacity of the troopie.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Bushtracker - Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 20:48

Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 20:48
Hello Dave,
lone Ranger here.... I am trying to lay back and encourage others to have more of a go here on the Forum, but with 42 viewings and no answers to you, I thought I might interject something.... Primarily because I have towed with a Troop Carrier since the prototype Bushtracker I first built over 13 years ago... A steel framed Viscount, with two spares on the front, a reinforced a-frame, light truck tyres and suspension, and was the laughing stock of my 4x4 Club for about a year.... The butt of all jokes... Ha! Poor old van only lasted a short while before it literally start to come apart at the seams, but it was the birth of the Bushtracker concept. I took a hiding in my 4x4 Club, the butt of all kinds of jokes..

Then like all Pioneers I could have my smile as I started to see them with vans the next year, as they saw it was possible to go 4x4 with a van. Nevermind my old Viscount only lasted about 18 months and the corners of walls and roof started to open up, and cabinets were walking out from the walls and my normal 20 minutes with a screw gun every time we stopped could not keep it together any more.... The ground was broken and more followed. A tent just did not cut it when they saw the level of comfort I could drag in Low Range 4x4 !!! The pioneering breakthrough was done, we just had to build one that could hold together and so Bushtracker was born about 12 years ago.

I have had three Troop Carriers. Tracy has also had at least one, and a couple of 80 Series, and we both had 100 Series and I still have an old Sahara that my Son drives now and a 100 Series, my Wife drives. I have had two Turbo Troop Carriers, Tracy one. Your van at 2480, must have almost all of our Optional Equipment on board, a very well equipped van. You Troop Carrier can tow 3500, there may be typo in your Post. I am somewhat of an engineering expert on what can be done with a Landcruiser.. Now to the Crux if it all:

I had the same dilemma, towing extensively out West and in the NT. I investigated a year and looked at 20 vehicles that had the V-8 diesel conversion in Toyotas and studied all the engineering myself. The long and short of it is two fold, first of all it is just not necessary. Second of all it is just not worth doing the conversion, which will cost about $20,000 and is hard on the gear boxes. I can tell you the engineering details involved, but it is just not worth the overcapitalization of the vehicle. I ended up buying a second hand Ford F-350 7.3 litre diesel Crew Cab 4x4, 6-7 years ago when it was so rare people stopped and stared...

NOW, having towed Bushtrackers with three different Fords, one of the first to do so many years ago, I will tell you something you should take to heart.... Is it better? YES in every way except city parking... BUT IS IN NECESSARY???? RESOUNDINGLY NO !!!!! In your sized van it is definitely not necessary. There is probably no other vehicle as capable and durable as your Troop Carrier, in that size of van. So you have the choice to go to the big Fords (or Dodge or Chev) but in a 19' you cannot justify it. Me, oh heck yes! But I fully realize that under about 21' Toyota is still the King and our most common tow vehicle, and for that job the Troop Carrier is about as good as it gets.

Maybe just slow down and accept that you are not going to pass everybody. The Troopy will do fine. Expect about 500,000 miles out of the engine, and do the tranmission and transfer case rebuild at about 250,000 km. Do your tailshaft u-joints at 100,000 and spines at about the 200,000 if they are getting loose. Accept it and live with what is probably the best tow vehicle for your sized van... The Fords are superior in every aspect except tight corners out Bush and parking in town. With a bigger van you have no choice over about 21', but at 19' it is hard to justify anything more than what you have... The backing and filling in tight spots out Bush with a Ford, is not worth it when the Troop Carrier is so capable in a smaller van like a 19'.. For me it is, I love the big bed, and the power, and better fuel economy towing, and more the room and more storage, but it is not necessary in your size of van. I love the bigger towing capacity of 4500 in the Brazillian built Fords, and 6000 kg towing capacity of my full import one... But I have an over equipped 22' Bushtracker. It would be hard to justify with only a 19'. Live with the Troopy, She's all right...

Kind Regards, lone Ranger, been doing it longer than most....
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 570009

Follow Up By: Newchum - Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 21:40

Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 21:40
As my name suggests I am a new chum at Caravanning but have done a fair bit of research and believe that in the BT I have the right van. We intend visiting the factory some time next year and are considering a van up to 20ft with ensuite (for the better half) and the majority of all options to allow independent living in the bush. I don't particularly want to buy a big Ford, and after reading some of your comments am considering purchasing a secong hand 4.2lt diesol landcruiser (either turbo or not). However, I am unsure about the towing requirements particularly where a rig may be close to the recommended towing weight of the vehicle such as the 20ft van and would appreciate any advice.

I would also like to say that the BOG site is excellent for the unitiated and is also a great advert for BT. We are looking forward to getting our van and getting on with it.

FollowupID: 846796

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 21:59

Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 21:59
Hello New Chum,
Toyota is still our Number One most common tow vehicle.... At 20' you are sitll OK, even 21'. Will the Fords do it better, yes, but per above at that size they are NOT necessary. I towed for YEARS in a 20' with Toyota over 5 States in the Bush, and loaded up!! Gregory river channels, West McDonnell Ranges out by the W.A. border chasing camels, up the west side of the Cape, I have pushed the limits with a 20' and Landcruiser for many years of the past 10... Been there, done it, and you are fine with Toyota. Trust me, I have done it longer than most.... Trust me the lone Ranger isn't just a pretty (ugly) face.... Ha!

HERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT POINTS TO HELP YOU... I am not sure that this type of second hand vehicle isn't a better 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, anyway. 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... 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 as LEAST as good as new in relation to maintenance way out Woop-Woop, for half the money. It also has the tried and true solid front monobeam axle housing... Which in the steering front end is far stronger than an independent if you put it to the test running off the road into a ditch or hitting a jumpup or rut or cattle grate tooooo hard. !!!! (stuff up)

ALSO AND IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW I am not sure that second hand is not a BETTER option for now as we wait to see the new V-8 coming. An aftermarket turbo kit on a naturally aspirated 100 Series Landcruiser is roughly the same comfort and power and looks as the new IFS Turbo Cruiser, but easier maintenance at half the cost. AND CONSIDER THIS: I would buy a second hand one for now anyway, if you were going Landcruiser; to wait and see the new V-8 Twin Turbo coming… The new IFS Turbo Cruiser prices might fall in a heap when the new V-8 Cruiser comes out.. But a good second hand one bought at the right money, will always hold its value. I would not want to be buying a new Turbo Cruiser right now for $75,000... And see what it was worth on the second hand market six months from now if the V-8 Twin Turbo Cruiser is well recieved... Who would want the current 6 cyl? Not many I expect, so the price might take a bit of a dive second hand. An older one would probably hold in there better...

Regards from the Ranger to all... I hope my time and efforts are appreciated, but if not, I have done my best to be of help anyway...

Semper Fidelis

"The Last Stand In Open Country"

My Profile  Send Message

FollowupID: 846797

Reply By: dazmit - Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 21:04

Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 21:04
Hi Dave

Can I suggest you run the loaded van over a weighbridge. I have seen many people shocked at the differance between estimated weight and real weight.
Knowing the real weight should help you choose what vehicle would be best suited.


AnswerID: 570010

Follow Up By: NIK `N` OFF - Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 22:17

Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 22:17
Hi Dave,

I am not suggesting you do what we did, but food for thought,

I have owned many cruisers, my last was the latest 1HDFTE 5 speed auto, lovely vehicle, we used that to tow a 16'6" internal sized van that had an all up weight of 3200kg, yes it was weighed on a weigh bridge and was well over its legal weight of 2650kg, i take responsibilty for some of the weight as we had extra water tanks fitted after manufacturing and the van was weighed fully loaded, tanks full, outboard, genny etc but even so it opened my eyes up to what the weights can be and not all is as written on the compliance plate.

The Cruiser with its 3500kg capacity and ample power towed the van superbly, fuel economy was around the 5.6klm per litre with a worst of 4.5 against a head wind, my tow speeds were always under 100kph but i was able to sustain that speed prettty well wherever i wanted, hills etc.

After a year and 30,000klms we decided we wanted a larger van including the ensuite, I was also regretting not buying a ute as we have intentions of taking a 4wd Quad bike on our travels to use on the isolated spots for access for fishing and fossicking, We had decided on purchasing a 19' BT and we were fortunate to sell the van & cruiser as a package which left me with the choice of a new tow vehicle, for us it came down to the F250 simply because of the fact that it has 4 full sized doors [great for the grandkids] and the ute tray for the Quad. With our BT being 'only' 19' i am expecting the F250 to do the job with ease and therefore return better economy than what we achieved with the Cruiser and also a lot of the owners towing much larger & heavier vans achieve, time will tell on that one.

A later model TD Troopy would make a fine tow vehicle, Good luck with it all.

FollowupID: 846798

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 22:27

Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 22:27
I might just add that 16-6 van that weighed 3200kg (must be a record for that size!!! was NOT a Bushtracker, it was a Kedron.... I don't want any Newbies to get scared by such a Tare.

Roughly our 16' with about 300 kg of Optional Equipment on board, would weigh 1900-2000, maybe 2100 if they are really loaded up, 4 wheel 12" brakes and all of our Optional Equipment. 18' comes in regular around the 2300 kg mark, and 20 at about the 2500 kg mark. Allow about 100 kg more if they are going out with the extreme of 4 33kg 100AH batteries, 4 panels, and more that 4 water tanks as well as almost all of our Optional Equipment.. What people pack in over and above that is out of our control.

Setting the record straight, Ranger
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

My Profile  Send Message

FollowupID: 846799

Follow Up By: dazmit - Saturday, Dec 23, 2006 at 02:08

Saturday, Dec 23, 2006 at 02:08
Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Tare was empty weight and Mick said his 3200kg was fully loaded.
I also understand Mick's 16'6" was measured internal length - add 18" for the boot and that would be equivalent of a BT 18' ?
Either way as I said a lot of people get a shock when they weigh their loaded vans.


FollowupID: 846800

Reply By: NIK `N` OFF - Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 22:45

Friday, Dec 22, 2006 at 22:45
Yes Steve it was, i did not mention the brand as i felt that as i had not weighed the van at its completed stage and then had 'extra's' fitted at a later stage [2 extra 62lt tanks] & things like the genny, chainsaw, fuel for both, outboard, TV etc, i felt that because i could not give an honest figure of its before weight it was unfair of me to cast any judgement on its total weight, all i could write was what it actually weighed on the weigh bridge regardless of where the weight came from it was a heavy 16'6" van, It was perplexing to us as we have been camper trailer owners for many years and tend to travel fairly light compared to some we know & seen. Hope you understand my thinking.

Suffice to say we have gone with BT as we feel they better suit us and our lifestyle.
AnswerID: 570011

Reply By: Spirit Gypsys - Saturday, Dec 23, 2006 at 03:33

Saturday, Dec 23, 2006 at 03:33
I fully support Steve's comments re Toyota's and particularly the Troopies with the extra space & load capacity.
If I was buying new now I'd certainly wait for the V8
As for am turbos on the 1HZ motors,I have just learned the hard way that they have a not uncommon tendency to blow pistons/ and or con rods as they are NOT built to turbo strength.

Particularly when loaded to 3.3 t and 3.5 ton of BT behind and a van brake seizes and you dont see the temp guage til too late.

Mine is going to cost me around $3,500 to put in turbo strength pistons con rods and gudgeons if I do it myself, Don't know about the head yet but something is leaking there too.
I'm going to spend another $1,800 on a Denco intercooler kit while I'm at it.
If you are going 2nd hand, look for a factoury turbo troopy and save yourself a potential problem.
AnswerID: 570012

Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Saturday, Dec 23, 2006 at 07:14

Saturday, Dec 23, 2006 at 07:14
Howdy Spiritual Gypsys,
We have 1HZ and have procrastinated re after market turbo for some two years now - Had read a forum named "80series Cool" (or whatever it is) re such and whilst there is much debate on the topic it seemed to us (very conservative) that we maybe give it a miss - now glad we have as TOJO tows Mobi VERY well without - except up long slow inclines or into HEAD winds! The gear box gets a good working and we seem to use 3rd gear quite a bit without much detriment to the fuel economy as we get a "better fuel burn" at around 2600 - 3000rpm and the 1HZ seems to thrive there.
We are looking VERY seriously again at Diesel Gas stuff - maybe in new year if the sums re Govt rebate look favourable - I have read VERY favourable anecdotal (Sp?) reports re those systems. Will do the usual read and re-read and drive others crazy with questions to see what the latest experiences are though!
Should the old faithful 1HZ die on us then we have looked at the fitting of replacement equivalent with factory turbo.
Thus far TOJO has been very good buddies with Mobi as a touring and exploring rig.
Cheers - Ian & Sally
FollowupID: 846801

Reply By: Bob & Chris - Sunday, Dec 24, 2006 at 00:24

Sunday, Dec 24, 2006 at 00:24
Hi Dave
We have a IHD Turbo 100 series Toyota.Our BT is 20ft.We purchased the Toyota and BT new around 2.5 yrs. ago.We think they were made for each other.The BT has done around 80,000 klms around Australia.Dirt roads include Birbsville Track,Gibb River Rd.,Strzelecki Track,Oodnadatta Track,Savannah Way and a few more.The 100 series has done 105,000 klms.I find that a max.speed of 95klms. per pretty good on the tar.On the dirt we drive to the CONDITIONS.While towing I change the oil and filter every 5000 klms.Diffs etc every 20,000 klms,Some might say that its to often,but oil is cheaper than nuts and bolts.Touch wood the Toyota has given us no trouble.BT. I service bearings etc. every 10,000klms.Suspension tolerances after 80,000 klms are still in range Hope this helps a bit. Bob
AnswerID: 570013

Reply By: Sundy & Cyclone - Sunday, Dec 24, 2006 at 04:30

Sunday, Dec 24, 2006 at 04:30
Gotta agree with the L.R., we travel fairly regularly with our B.T. which is 6 point something Metre's from "noze cone" to blunt end and our last 2 x L.C.100 series have been searched out as we prefer the solid front end, the un-complicated naturally aspirated diesel's which we have fitted with after market turbo's ( namely Dynamic). We have purposely searched out low km used manual vehicles and handles all situations without fuss.

"Sundy "
AnswerID: 570014

Reply By: Way2go - Sunday, Dec 24, 2006 at 20:52

Sunday, Dec 24, 2006 at 20:52
Well having not a tojo but a new 2006 4.2 turbo intercooled Nissan Patrol fitted with tray and canopy and towing an 18ft BT I have found that the slightest slope or head wind and the motor is working hard. I would reckon that I am all up around the 6 ton mark, This is a fair load for the Nissan and I for one will be seriously looking at the new Tojo v8 as I feel that mine is seriously lacking torque, because I have only done 20000k in the Nissan most will say that the vehicle is not run in yet. But I reckon that the power is just not there to tow 6 ton constantly.
As far as comfort etc the Nissan is fine but it is the old motor fitted with turbo and intercooler that is lacking the capacity to tow and carry that sort of weight.
I am open for comment or advice but to me being an ex tojo man for 20 odd years the Nissan is seriously lacking motor wise.
AnswerID: 570015

Follow Up By: TroopyTracker - Monday, Dec 25, 2006 at 03:30

Monday, Dec 25, 2006 at 03:30
New Tojo ute will get the V8 if you want another ute, and will be out well before the 100 series replacement from all acounts, March-May.

Your feelings towards the Nissan are the same as EVERY person I know personally that tows big loads, not 1000kg campers etc with one of these motors. Not only that they will get warm on hot days up long hills towing the BT. If you want more motivation I seriously doubt you are legal with the nissan utes 2500kg tow limit. Our 18fter is closer to 3.5 than 2.5 loaded for permanent living and with 4 tanks of water.

I've asked santa for a new V8 troopy, will see in the morning...


FollowupID: 846802

Reply By: TRB60 - Monday, Dec 25, 2006 at 00:32

Monday, Dec 25, 2006 at 00:32
Have a 2002 1hz aftermarket i/c turbo with gas conversion have not towed van yet but will be off to Victoria 11 jan 07, so will have a full report later that month.Fuel consumtion has reduced by app 3 lt/100 km here on Magnetic Island fairly hilly and short runs, so would expect around 17lt/100km towing as against 20lt/100km pre gas conversion towing at around 90 kmh. The other advantage is reduction in turbo lag, oil runs cleaner, motor cooler as most of the diesel is used by the motor as the gas acts as a catalyst to fully burn the fuel.The $2000 rebate is also available.

Regards Terry Bridges.
AnswerID: 570016

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Monday, Dec 25, 2006 at 06:22

Monday, Dec 25, 2006 at 06:22
We towed our 21ft BT with a 100 series Land Cruiser, tare 2480 and gross about 3300 before we added extra battery, 2 water tanks and extra solar panel. Cruiser had plenty of power.

Changed to F250 to get ute for storage and boat carrying, and found longer wheel base helped with stability when towing especially when a truck pushing a lot of air was overtaking.

We have travelled with friends who have a 16ft BT that has a gross of over 3000 kgs and he tows with a Patrol 3lt turbo and he finds it also tows well. He was able to tow his van around the 95 - 100kph while we were travelling with them.

Enjoying the friendship of BOG members

My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 570017

Reply By: Spirit Gypsys - Wednesday, Dec 27, 2006 at 06:24

Wednesday, Dec 27, 2006 at 06:24
Ian, (Mobi Condo) I tried to get a recond 1hdt (factory turbo) exchange motor for mine but no engine reconditioner wants to exchange a blown 1HZ for a hdt which is the motor that drops strait in . any later models require extensive mods.
Even at the quoted $5,300 (includes new head, HZ turbo pistons, heavier con rods & gudgeons) for a recondioner to do the job I tkink its the best way to go
AnswerID: 570018

Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Wednesday, Dec 27, 2006 at 18:00

Wednesday, Dec 27, 2006 at 18:00
Thank you for this info - very helpful and will keep it firmly in mind. We have a good Diesel mob or two here in Adelaide for when then time comes - hopefully not too soon!
Cheers - Ian & Sally
FollowupID: 846803

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Dec 28, 2006 at 19:25

Thursday, Dec 28, 2006 at 19:25
Hello Ian and Sally,
Trust all you Boggers had a good Christmas....

Anyway, I have met and known of maybe 200 of these conversions of Turbo on the 1HZ motor, Personally.... I own one myself. Tracy has owned several since the 90's... One comment, no offense to Paul of Spiritual Gypsys, but I made it a fastidious habit to TRACK DOWN ALL REPORTS OF BLOWN MOTORS RUNNING THE AFTERMARKET TURBO ON THE 1HZ..... Every one I could, for about 10 Years...

Every single case 6 or 7 engines, it was a result of what I would call poor maintenance. Low oil, or low water, or blown radiator hose, or something else that was a case of abuse or lack of maintenance. OVERHEATING is one cause that is common, but the contributing factor was always lack of maintenance every case I followed up on... IT IS NOT THE TURBOs FAULT..... Overheating also cracks the heads on the 1HZ, but again not the Turbos fault, but lack of maintenance or water...

With good maintenance, the RECORD WORST life expectancy of a fastidious maintenance person, was 270,000 kms towing a 20' Bushtracker, and then he replaced it because it was using oil.... We currently have one owned by a Friend, that Tracy put a Safari Turbo on, a 1999 1HZ, that was a Telecom truck with 200,000 kms on. I though surely if anyone had a problem it would be that one.... It is still running good now with about 400,000 on it. I do not feel a turbo on the 1HZ is any problem at all...

For any of you interested, this is an honest 10 year assesment, of aftermarket Turbo additions, resulting in that I still own one now on a 100 Series...

Regards, Ranger
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

My Profile  Send Message

FollowupID: 846804

Reply By: Spirit Gypsys - Friday, Dec 29, 2006 at 05:35

Friday, Dec 29, 2006 at 05:35
Yes Ranger I agree that over heating was the cause of MY engine failure
Since I have been looking for remedies tho I have talked to a lot of engine reconditioners etc. and Their reports are the basis for my statement that it is not oncommon for AM turbod 1HZ motors to blow piston and or con rods & gudgeons when worked hard for extended periods.
I also agree with you that ANY unmaintained motor is sure to fail early.
That was certainly NOT the cause of my engine failure.
When towing I check engine oil & water & tyres every morning, gearbox & rear diff weekly & change engine oil @ 5000 ks and filter @ 10,000 @ fuel filters @ 20,000.
I've had 2 older Tojos 1 was still going past 400,000 and 1 past 300,000 with original motors, clutches, gearboxes & diffs (can't say much for body conditions tho)
AnswerID: 570019

Reply By: Bushtracker42 - Tuesday, Jan 02, 2007 at 02:22

Tuesday, Jan 02, 2007 at 02:22
We bought the BT and 100 series T/D as a set. We are 2460kg but with 5 tanks plus the bits run out at 3300 kg loaded.
We have 225,000 ks on the 100 series, about 30,000 of this towing the BT.
We live in NSW and fequently are travelling the south coast which has a range of hills. I found it a little frustrating on the hills, but it is fine and I averaged 100km/hr on most roads. Cruising at 110-115km is no issue and had it higher overtaking.
I run road radials with Bilstein shocks most of the time as open road driving/handling is important to me when not towing. Here the car is better than a lot of options.
Off road it does everything I need. I compensated for wheel travel with a rear diff lock (no traction control in 2001) and with anti-stall, it's more capable than me.
I gave up waiting for the V8, and recently put the safari chip and a 3" exhaust on and it has changed the power so much. I got 35% more torqe at 50km/hr, and no dead spots in the curve. It's a different vehicle.
While I was intending to buy the 100 series replacment, I now am considering getting the last of the 100 series. Power is more than I need and I have so many bits.
The only issue I have is dirt and especially corrigations. I have stiffened rear + front and if the V8 has struts like the Hilux, it may sway me. I'll wait for the new model to be at least 2nd release anyway, so meanwhile I'm more than happy with the 3 'faces' of my tow vehicle.
AnswerID: 570020

Our Sponsors