Submitted: Monday, Aug 11, 2008 at 03:33
ThreadID: 124962 Views:3435 Replies:4 FollowUps:1
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We pick up our long awaited BT next week. It will be our first caravan.

My dear navigator is worried that I'll try to take it where we might never return. She says I need training, ( she always does ). This time I'm thinking it might be a good idea to get someone with credentials to show us both just what terrain can be negotiated and how to get/keep out of trouble.

Although I've dragged a small trailer off road for years and learnt from the hard knocks I'm thinking a 20' BT is a different beast. Also my navigator does not appreciate the macho need for hard knocks before it sinks in.

I've come across Australian 4WD Training and Tours by picking up their brochure at a 4WD show, but I wonder if anyone has any experience with this outfit or any suggestions for alternatives around Brisbane.

I'd appreciate any suggestions,( about the driver training that is )

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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Monday, Aug 11, 2008 at 05:44

Monday, Aug 11, 2008 at 05:44

The main thing that you have to do is keep the speed down at first and make sure your weight distribution is right. You don't need to worry about the terrain that you can take it, it is on the black top where most people come to grief.

We always use our water starting from rear tanks and moving to the front so as to keep weight on the ball.

The extra length just means that you have to take corners a bit wider than you usually do with the vehicle and if you have a camera fitted to the rear of the van then it will make changing lanes easier as well as reversing. You will find that it is easier to reverse the caravan than it was with the small trailer.

If you are able, travel out to the Quilpie Rally where there will be lots of people who can give you some tips.

As for driving schools I don't know of any up this way.

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AnswerID: 575742

Reply By: Lost and Frowned - Tuesday, Aug 12, 2008 at 18:56

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2008 at 18:56
Thanks Brian,

I really appreciate your advice. I've been scouring the forum and picked up so much valuable info on all sorts of topics . It's also to try to prevent me from asking questions that have already been answered.

Yes we are booked in for Quilpie. We look forward to meeting you if you're going and some of the other boggers.

Thanks again for your rapid response.

Cheers, Nigel.
AnswerID: 575743

Reply By: Taj Mah Tracker - Tuesday, Aug 12, 2008 at 20:28

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2008 at 20:28
I have towed a long drawbar 21 foot bt for 35000k and a smalled 14 foot van for the same distance before that.
I would have judged myself to be reasonably competent at towing.
A few weeks ago I had the oportunity to go on a towing course by Tow Ed ( see ).
I was very impressed and learned new skills. Their hand book is about 150 pages and contains lots of good info.
After a dvd presentation, we learnt to negotiate a slalom course that looked far too tight for a large van, then again with the cones offset to make it harder.
Then backing in a straight line for 50 to 75 metres just using mirrors. (harded than it sounds).
Backing in left and right hand circles seemed strange, till it developed into a really cool way to back into a tight simulated van site, from the blind side, and nail it first time. That was extremely impressive.
I was so confident after this I was able to park the van between two houses, with 150mm clearance each side. That is very tight judged by my values. (and the $$$ values of a BT)
Tow ed are running a course in Brisbane this weekend.

Hope this assists.
AnswerID: 575744

Follow Up By: Lost and Frowned - Sunday, Aug 17, 2008 at 09:04

Sunday, Aug 17, 2008 at 09:04
Thanks Ian,

The Tow-Ed sounds good. We picked up the BT this week but didn't make the school this weekend. Maybe I can fork out for a private lesson.

Cheers, Nigel.
FollowupID: 850020

Reply By: AlexMc - Wednesday, Aug 27, 2008 at 19:11

Wednesday, Aug 27, 2008 at 19:11
Hi Nigel,
A major difference betwen driving a truck and driving a car! In a car something happens and it gets the drivers attention and then they react to it. In a truck (or towing a caravan) your constantly looking for what can happen/go wrong in front and around you so as to either avoid the situation or maximise the time/distance you have to deal with it. A long drive in a car in the country is a pleasure, same in a truck/rig is work! Sooooo- focus-pay attention 100% of the time, take plenty of breaks and you'll be fine.
AnswerID: 575745

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