buying the right tow vehicle

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 04, 2015 at 22:20
ThreadID: 129639 Views:10006 Replies:14 FollowUps:6
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Hi to all you BT Travellers, David here. I am new to the BOG forum having recently purchased a 2012 20' BT. I am now looking to buy an appropriate tow vehicle to travel around the block and all points in between. I am not currently looking to do serious off road work but do not want to limit future travel. ( I have travelled the Canning Stock Route & Simpson Desert, car only, so that is out of my blood )
I am currently considering the Jeep Grand Cherokee ( on price, economy & features ) but have the usual concerns about reliability & servicing. But a little voice in the back of my head keeps saying Toyota landcruiser is the way to go, considering reliability, longevity & reputation. ( but concerns over added purchase price & fuel costs )

I would appreciate any comments that may add to my thought process & help me select the right vehicle for the job.

I look forward to meeting fellow BT owners, on the road or at one of the musters.
Hopefully not stopped on the side of the road.

Cheers David, Yvonne & Monty ( the dog )
( 3 Amigos )
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Reply By: Condinup - Sunday, Jan 04, 2015 at 22:37

Sunday, Jan 04, 2015 at 22:37
Hi David,
Listen to the little voice, its trying to tell you something.
The 200 series would be by far the better vehicle unless you are wanting to go bigger.
You will most likely pay more for it but it will be money well spent. They are the most popular for good reason.

AnswerID: 588250

Reply By: Gone Bush - Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 04:33

Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 04:33
I agree with the little voice.

Jeeps are like Range Rovers. Whenever you ask a dealer a "what if" question when in remote areas, the answer always includes the words "flatbed truck to a capital city".

AnswerID: 588251

Reply By: G & J - Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 10:04

Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 10:04

This is such a personal preference issue, but my advice is to go with a vehicle that has full chassis rails.

Ultimately I reckon that method of construction gives a stronger foundation for towing and off-road work.

I have mates that just love their Jeeps and the like, but the Jeep has a monocoque body fitted with subframes front and rear (as do many other brands) and while they advise 3500 kgs towing capacity, the engineer in me says that they just aren't as strong with a big weight hanging off the back and flexing over indifferent surfaces.

Regards Geoff
AnswerID: 588252

Reply By: Emu 65 - Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 17:53

Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 17:53
We looked very carefully before buying our tow vehicle. It was the number of LC200's we saw in remote areas, and the fact that no matter where you are someone will know what to do if problems arise. That convinced us.

Listen to your voice.


AnswerID: 588253

Reply By: 3 amigos - Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 18:56

Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 18:56
Thanks to all who have put their 10 cents worth in, I guess I really knew the answer to my question but a little re-assurance goes along way. All reasons given are sound reasons & I guess I will have to reach a little deeper into my pockets - even dig up the buried tins in the back yard.

Thanks to all.
AnswerID: 588254

Reply By: Tonca 47 - Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 23:10

Monday, Jan 05, 2015 at 23:10
Have you considered the Ford Super Duty, Dodge Ram or Chevy Silverado.

AnswerID: 588255

Reply By: Out4Fun - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 02:29

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 02:29

We went down the same path and ended up getting the LC200 - as per BT page the most popular tow vehicle for our caravans.

Just another point to consider - and I don't want to start a discussion about GVM's - as the payload capacity for a LC200 is only somewhat 600kgs, you might like to look at a GVM upgrade. If you attach your caravan to the car it subtracts 350kgs as tow ball weight which leaves you with just 250kgs payload for fuel, people, gear etc. An upgrade e.g. Lovells or ARB can get you an extra payload of up to 500kgs.

There is lots of information to be found if you google it.

'Have fun and safe travels.

AnswerID: 588256

Follow Up By: JohnS - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 16:56

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 16:56
We have a 200 with a GVM upgrade. From what I understand the GVM is calculated without passenger and driver, also I think fuel is discounted. I know it's a contentious issue and there is plenty of debate about the details, but I would confer with a professional truck driver for clarifacation if it is of concern to anyone. We did it because we sometimes carry a boat.
FollowupID: 856302

Follow Up By: Out4Fun - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 20:26

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2015 at 20:26
Hi John,

I did a quick search for the definition of GVM and found this one from the Isuzu trucks Australia page:


"Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)

The GVM is the maximum weight that a truck can carry including its own weight. This is the maximum or total weight of a loaded rigid vehicle (including body, payload, fuel and driver). It is a figure set by the manufacturer and is lodged with registration authorities and governs all applications and is stamped on the compliance plate of the vehicle (also referred to as GVW or Gross Vehicle Weight)."


We did the GVM upgrade prior to the registration of the vehicle. The department of transportation (Canberra) issued a new label for the B-pillar stating Lovells as the secondary manufacturer of the vehicle with a new GVM of 3,800kgs. Our vehicle is now officially higher rated and can be registered or re-registered in any state of Australia. If you perform the GVM upgrade after the initial registration it will be a state issued compliance, which can not be transfered from state to state.

'Hope this helps.

FollowupID: 856303

Reply By: Silver and Tinks - Thursday, Jan 08, 2015 at 19:50

Thursday, Jan 08, 2015 at 19:50
Hi John

We have a 20 foot BT we tow it now with an extented dual cab landcruiser 200 series with a GVM upgrade (previously F250). It tows effortlessly.

We just bought a MY14 Jeep to use as a daily driver that can be also used to tow the BT if required.

We when to Dubbo over Christmas and took the Jeep as the tow tug as a test, it was excellent but not has safe feeling as the Landcrusier at higher speeds but the fuel consumption was about 7 litres per hundred K's better than the Landcruiser.


AnswerID: 588257

Reply By: jj7488 - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 12:36

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 12:36
Stick with an American truck.

Better fuel economy. Infinitely safer. Can upgrade your BT to 4000kg and be legal all round

GVM upgrade is a waste of time & money for towing a heavy van. You still can't go over the 6850kg GCM. Max rear axle load is also a worry.

AnswerID: 588258

Reply By: NIK `N` OFF - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 19:09

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 19:09
That's not the info I have,

Toyota do not specify a GCM so therefore the amount is the GVM of the vehicle plus it's rated tow capacity.

GVM upgraded to 3800 on Cruier + 3500 tow capacity = 7300kg

AnswerID: 588259

Follow Up By: Gone Bush - Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 23:50

Monday, Jan 12, 2015 at 23:50
You are absolutely correct Mick, in Toyota's case.

The amount of MIS-information being peddled by uninformed people is breath-taking.

FollowupID: 856304

Follow Up By: Bow & Nan - Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015 at 18:29

Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015 at 18:29
Well said Mr Bush
FollowupID: 856305

Reply By: Grumpy - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 20:06

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2015 at 20:06
Agree, Mick and Stephan. So much mis-info around.

My Lovells GVM upgrade also includes new axle loads on Compliance Plate.


AnswerID: 588260

Reply By: jj7488 - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 11:04

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 11:04
Definitely agree there is a lot of miss information out there. Most people seem to have next to no idea.

Try ringing Toyota Australia and getting a letter that they approve the new GCM of 7300kg
Or call an engineer and ask them.
Better still the insurance company they will be the ones that pay out if there is a claim

Maybe different rules for different states but in Victoria......
AnswerID: 588261

Reply By: col carpenter - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 17:50

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 17:50
Go the Toyota, proven performer, by the 1000s out there doing it.

If off roading, without the van is on your agenda, the big yank tanks aren't in the same class as the others. I work (seasonal) on a station in the NT, and the station owner bought a new (2014) Ram to tow some heavy trailers to and from Darwin, great for that, but took it out on the tracks to see how it went, not good.

It was too heavy,too long, turning circle is useless, and rear overhang had it hanging up all the time, it had to do 3 point turns to get around sharper turns, it was bogged or hung up that many times, the station owner will never take off the gravel again. They are a heavy thing to winch and snatch,makes others reluctant to help.

I do know another similar site incorrectly states, that they are only 900m longer and that turning circle is same/ better than a 200 series, not true check the spec's.

But if only towing on gravel,worth a look.

Regards Col

AnswerID: 588262

Reply By: Grumpy - Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 04:22

Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 04:22
No point ringing Toyota, as Mick says "Toyota do not specify a GCM for the 200".

This subject is discussed thoroughly on the LCOOL website.


AnswerID: 588263

Follow Up By: jj7488 - Sunday, Jan 18, 2015 at 12:40

Sunday, Jan 18, 2015 at 12:40
Sorry I can't paste the page but go to LCOOL search in the 200 section for "GVM upgrade - Lovells or ARB/OME" read the post from ARB Friday march 22 2013. I would think ARB know what the rules are. But maybe not and you guys are right??

Also he mentions the axle loading. Lovells is a joke. They give you an upgrade of 450kg overall (1800kg front & 2000kg rear) but this only 50kg above the stock rear axle loading. Scary if you have black widow drawers with fridges etc fuel and BT ball weight. Good if you carry spare tyres on the bonnet like an old LR defender....
FollowupID: 856306

Follow Up By: NIK `N` OFF - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 05:14

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 05:14
GVM upgrade

I'm guessing your referring to this.?

I'll stick with my research and what owners have had in writing from Toyota and place Sam from ARB in the same basket as sales people who give misleading information.

Note he uses the word 'vehicle' and NOT specifically Toyota ...

Toyota do not specify a GCM .... The GCM is calculated as GVM + Tow rating when the vehicle is upgraded to a higher GVM it is plated as secondary manufacturer, the new GVM becomes the figure to add the tow capacity to eg 3800kg + 3500kg = 7300kg

Also quoted from the same thread you refer to

An Owner writes:

"My advice from Toyota is that they don't stipulate a GCM and as far as they are concerned regardless of the GVM, the towing capacity remains 3500 kg.

I have written advice from the Qld Transport Dept, confirming this "

But then again I could be completely wrong :-)

FollowupID: 856307

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