? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby HGMonaro » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:45 pm

the implication of being legal when towing is insurance... overweight and they may not pay out in the event of an accident.

I'm with Titch, find a van that suits you then get a vehicle to tow it. Someone was asking a similar Q on ExplorOz (website) and I think they ended up with a small dual cab truck (truck not ute!) to be able to tow the van they ended up with (was big) and be able to take their mutts in cages on the back.

All 5dr Prado's have a 2500kg limit (I think SWB 3dr are 3000kg) and I think Paj's are 2500 except the latest model. Patrol range from 2500 to 3000 (or maybe 3500) depending on engine and gearbox (I don't know the what's what though). Landcruiser Wagons (80, 100series) might be 3000kg but the 75/79/70 series utes and troopys are 3500kg. F Trucks (F250, etc) can tow 3500ish but they won't seat enough for you. Would need to check those weight as I not certain on them :) Then there's Disco's as mentioned above, (3500kg??) but like 3.0lt Patrols there's the worry of Landdrover reliability, real or perceived.

But back to the van... why would you only use it when you can't get something else? Can understand staying with friends but staying in a hotel for more than a day or two gets annoying (no facilities... and all yours will be in the van parked outside!!), not to mention the cost.

If I was in your situation I think I'd do this....

1. buy an older van that big enough to :
-- gut it
-- install 2 bunks, make one a triple (that's 5 beds in all). Get them custom made/built in so they are skinner than a regular bed. Run one across the van and one down the side. Leaves room for a kitchen/fridge on other side.
-- make a folding double bed (lift up against a wall which leaves seating around edges and somewhere for the little kids to play in the middle). There are vans with these so it's possible :) Maybe have a table that folds down off a wall for meals
-- as much storage as possible (you won't have any room in the car to cart much). I'm think under seating, under double bunk.
-- no shower/toilet... just won't have room.
-- redo running gear, etc

2. weigh van
3. buy 7-8 seater wagon that can tow it.

something like that! :)

Cheers, Nige
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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby Kittycat » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:01 pm

Nige you make it all sound so easy!! lol

We would like a custom van, but wont have the time as it wont be purchased till a few weeks before we leave, our money is all tied up in our house.

Only one of my boys can go in a "top" bunk (medical and physical limitations for others), so unfortunately 1 bunk set will be the max we can have. I like the idea of popping them all into a queen bed together! lol At least then they wont be scared. Often at home three will climb into one double bed *sigh* when they are scared and they all fit well, with room for one more!

I have been looking at vans for a few weeks and have seen one or two that have double/bunk/table folds down, or one had double/two bunks (we can use 1 top and 2 lower) and the table folded down also (we will take a fold out table so we can eat of that and not need the one inside the van (wouldnt all fit anyway!).

We really have to have the toilet due to medical needs, so will have to squish that in somewhere.

We will sleep in the van a lot, esspecially if we are going for a year, but I thought that when we get somewhere that we are staying for a while we will get a 2 room chalet or similar, will give us some space and some more room for the boys to do thier schoolwork etc. With 5 boys as you can imagine, space is highly desired but not possible in a caravan, and its not like we can let them go outside and wander around and play without us to have a break, need to have them locked/fenced in, or be with them 24/7.


Im thinkign a patrol might be the go, but will go anf look at some and tet drive and see what I think.....our car is the most important thing so I think we will get the best we can afford, and if thats a landcruiser we will go that way, and if not then we will get a patrol and then downsize the van to the biggerst and safest we can get with the car we have...if its tiny then so be it!
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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby Kittycat » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:09 pm

Oh and I know you all say to get the van first but we are more worried about getting the "right" car, mechanically and in our price range. Worst comes to worst we can get a teeny van and the settle for paying for accomodation as needed, where as if we are stuck to getting a specific car to match the caravan weight (i,e, end up *having* to get a landcruiser only due to weight/tow/seat requirements) then we may end up not being able to afford a really really good one and pay for that in repairs later. IYKWIM?

initially we were going to "hotel" it all the way across but then we decided it would be less restrictive and much much more fun with a caravan!
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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby Redback » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:55 am

If your looking at an auto, you can cross the Patrol off your list, it only has a 2.5t tow capacity, unless you buy 2008 on.

The NM DiD Pajero auto has a 3.0t tow capacity, towing you should get around 12l to 13l/100k

Prado will be the same as above too, only thing is price, the Prado will be 10 to $15,000 dearer.

I wouldn't worry so much about parts availability in the bush, it's pretty much the same for all vehicles now, knowone carries lots of parts now, even Toyota parts are ordered in now from Melbourne or Japan, min wait now is 3 to 4 days for any make of vehicle a mate found that out when he did a hub in his 80 series cruiser, he was not impressed at all by how much Toyota and the workshop wanted to charge him either.

Also you should always try to keep the weight of what ever your towing at least 500kg under the max tow capacity and also keep the weight over the tow hitch down to 50kg under it's capacity too.

People will tell you about 10% of the weight of the van is the weight over the ball, this is only a guide, it can be under, but not over this.

So when you start looking, find out the tare weight (that's the unlaiden weight) of the van that you want first, no need to buy it, then look for the car that will tow it, keep in mind that the combined weight of the gear and the people in the car and the gear in the van are added the whole weight of the car and van or GVM (gross vehicle mass)

Remember this important fact, If the car is 2.2t and it's GVM is 2.75t, then 500kg is all that's allowed to be loaded into the car, that 550kg is a combined weight of people and gear by the way, now add the van at say 2.0t, that's a combined weight of 4.75t, to legally drive this combination you need a MR licence, the max weight of a combination on a class 1 licence is 4.5t after this it needs to be upgraded.

There are a lot of people out there driving around with grossly over weight combinations and also doing it with the wrong licence.

So keep the weight down as much as possible.

Oh yeah I forgot that the weight over the ball adds to the GVM of the tow vehicle too, so that 550kg is people, gear and weight over the tow hitch!!!

Baz.
Last edited by Redback on Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby GypsyLady » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:56 am

HGMonaro wrote:the implication of being legal when towing is insurance... overweight and they may not pay out in the event of an accident.

Not just insurance but over weight vans also means possible loss of demerit points and definitely a fine ($$) and in some places confiscation of the van....

HGMonaro wrote: Landcruiser Wagons (80, 100series) might be 3000kg
Cheers, Nige


100 series Landcruiser definitely has a legal tow capacity of 3500 and a GVM of 3500 as well.
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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby Redback » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:17 am

Idealy the 100 series would be the best, but I think price will be the determining factor

Manufacturer's specifications
station wagon, 5+3seats, 4 doors, front outer seatbelt pretensioners, ABS brakes available
loa: 4890mm, width: 1940mm, height: 1920mm (1915mm GXL, 1890mm GXV) track: 1605mm/1600mm (standard, RV), 1620mm/1615mm (GXL, GXV), grnd clearance: 230mm (standard, RV), 2210mm (GXL), 220mm (GXV)
approach: 31-36, departure: 24-27, ramp break over: 155-151
weight: 2230kg-2405kg (unladen), GVM: 3180kg-3260kg, towing: 750kg (unbraked) to 3500kg (braked, regulations permitting)

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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby Kittycat » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:53 am

Thanks again all.

So much information to take in!

Yes I shall most certainly have to look into the car and weight, people alone will add up to 300kg since there is 7 of us.

Gosh I can just see we are going to need to tow the caravan and a trailer as well :lol: hmmmmm pity that isnt possible!! thinking road train he he ::)

Hubby has his MR but I need to drive as well and I dont, not to mention I cant drive a manual *blush* and now isnt the time to learn. If we end up with a manual then hubby will have to drive all the way.

Shall redo the finances closer to the date, maybe we can squeeze more out for a better or newer car.....depends really on the cost of the van.

Can anyone tell me things to look out for with older van? safety issues? how does one determine if an older van is safe? obviously the underneath needs and frame to be rust free, but what else?. Also is dual wheel safer than single?
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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby GypsyLady » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:25 am

IMO dual wheel is by far the best especially in a van of 18 or more.

In an older van look for stress fractures.....your hubby will probably know what these are and what to look for. Also look for evidence of water leaks, stains on the walls, ceiling and inside cupboards. Look in all the unusual places too.
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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby HGMonaro » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:44 pm

gypsylady wrote:Not just insurance but over weight vans also means possible loss of demerit points and definitely a fine ($$) and in some places confiscation of the van....


minor issues :) compared to 70K+ worth of car and van if you write it off!
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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby Rosco532 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:01 pm

Kittycat....Compared with the 'MIGHTY PATROLS'.....the rest are 'pussycats....I drive a patrol and have no trouble....along with Prado's they are the only 2 worth considering as 7 seaters and enough power to pull the skin off a rice pudding .
And to Redback....What alot of codswollop....My 'Auto' patrols GU4500 (and its petrol/lpg)....it has so much power and .pulls up hills....even on LPG.....I was advised to flick it over to petrol on the hills but noticed no difference.....Normally lives on gas and gets about 15k...or so on petrol every other week...just to keep the petrol flowing.

Kittycat, just to throw a spanner in the works, have you guys considered a bus/motorhome ???
..I would have thought that the $$$ you are talking of spending on a caravan / tug would buy you a nice bus of around 36ft....and make use of your husbands MR license...Just a thought....
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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby Kittycat » Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:06 pm

:) thanks for your reply Rosco532

We have eyeballed a couple of motor homes but we like the flexibility or having a seperate car so when we stay with the rellies in Syndey we can leave the caravan there and use the car to travel to local places etc without lugging a bus along. Nearly all the smaller campervans didnt have enough seating (plus unsafe seatbelts) so that left it to a "real" bus and then the issue above comes into play...couldnt imagine trying to navigate a bus around the local kmart car park :lol:

Im so far eyeballing the Patrols, landcruisers and prados...though Im not sure the prados have enough towing capability. From what I have seen we are lookign at around a 05-07 Patrol or a prado, the landcruiser we need to go back to an 02ish for the $$ and low Kms sadly, even then we are pushing it, seems like prices in WA are quite exxy!!.

Oh and I got it wrong, hes got HR licence not an MR lol
Last edited by Kittycat on Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby Rosco532 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:35 pm

Fair call there although there are a number of buses towing trailers with 4wd's.
Sounds like you guys have a great adventure mapped out for yourselves...I have to agree that getting out there and doing it will give the kids a better appreciation of their own country ...far more than sitting in a school room.
All the best for your trip.........
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Re: ? Best car for towing caravan? Your recommendations

Postby xmasbaby67 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:08 am

Rosco is right about the buses pulling a 4wd.

We have seen heaps of them come through town here, they are usually towing a small 4wd like a Rav or similar but not sure if you will have enough seats tho.

Good thought tho Rosco

Keep up the good work Kittycat it will all be worth it. :armsup
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