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Permalink 10:23:50 pm, Country: South Australia, Posted by : Brent, 445 words   English (AU)

Lets talk about towing ratings.

I had a discussion recently with another caravan owner who tows with a Holden Commodore. He told me that you didn't need a 4 x 4 to tow a caravan and he is absolutely correct. What you do need is a good understanding of the safety and legal ramifications of towing a load in excess of the rated capacity of your tow vehicle.

I also read a report in the AC & RV magazine about the Subaru Forester towing a small camper van. The report said that the Forester handled the tow fine except under braking the the camper pushed it a bit. Total vehicle mass was only 2500kg. The Forester has a towing capacity of 1800kg and the Cub only weighs 710kg dry. Loaded up it may come in at 1000kg so the Forester should be able to handle it but the Subaru manual states that you should use electric brakes if you are towing over 750kg and this Cub would be over that limit.

However, you will also load up the Forester with perhaps another 500kg counting people, fuel etc. and you can see that there is little or no margin left. This is not a vehicle for towing this type of load. My apologies if I just burst your bubble.

To add to the problems I found that the Holden Commodore, most models, have up to 3 different towing ratings depending on gearbox and motor combination. The PT Cruiser is rated at 450kg un braked and 454kg braked. This equates to a small tinny or perhaps a two motor bike trailer.

This link is a downloadable pdf so you can check your own vehicle but the real information should be in your vehicle handbook.

The whole website at http://www.towingguide.com.au is worth a read.

Just remember that the GVM of your vehicle/trailer/caravan combination is a legal and safety limit. It is the total mass (weight) of both vehicles fully loaded. Full water tank, full fuel tank, all food, clothing, toys, spares etc. You can probably get weighed at a nearby weigh bridge, you may get charged for the privilege but you should also get a slip for documentary proof should you need it.

My set up has been chosen to give me plenty of margin. The Pajero has a 3000kg towing rating, the Jayco will weigh in at around 1800kg fully laden so I have a buffer of 1200kg before I put anything into the Pajero. I expect that to get up to around 400kg of load. When I have it loaded I'll try to get a weigh bridge certificate.

Travel safe people, enjoy your holiday and get home again.


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