WATCH YOUR WEIGHT (NOT YOU) THE VAN AND GEAR ADDED ON....

 
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Bushtracker
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 4908
Location: Kunda Park
State:: Queensland
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:29 am    Post subject: WATCH YOUR WEIGHT (NOT YOU) THE VAN AND GEAR ADDED ON.... Reply with quote

Hello Pre-Loved Bushtracker Friends, and wanna-be's....

On the A-frame is a Plaque that tells the original TARE and the ATM....
The ATM is the Aggregate Trailer Mass..... Total GVM of the van Maximum.....

Now over the 11 years, we have purpose built vans for peoples needs... If a van was built as a light weekender or short trip van, it could have a lighter suspension. If a van was built for seasonal or full time travel it would have a heavier suspension....

So why not put the heavier suspension on all vans??? Good Question, I am glad you asked.... Laughing Laughing Laughing The answer is easy, riding too hard with not enought weight in, is just as bad as riding too heavy with too much weight in.... And both will shake the van and contents to cause damage to equipment and cargo....

In the too heavy case, you can look underneath and see the bump stops and where they have been hitting the chassis or worn the bump stops away all together.... AND per the tip on measuring the distance on the spring, you can determine how they are running.. But nothing beats a trip to the weigh bridge, and looking at the ATM rating on the van.... You want to have (depending on the size of the van) about 500 to 800 kg of cargo room left between what the van weighs as is, and the ATM rating..

Now the good news is, we can upgrade the suspensions if need be.... Years ago we had a Guy running around in a 16' van that was light built for weekends and short trips and only had a 2500 kg ATM suspension underneath it... He was breaking stub axles on rough tracks and even smooth tracks... You see when you thrash it hard enough, it can weaken the stub, and it could break later like the straw that broke the camels back syndrome, even on a smooth track... Anyway, this Guy complained and raised a ruckus, only later to find out he was running overloaded at about 3000 kg... WAAAAAY OVER LOADED...!

So why do we not put too large of a suspension under vans like that? Well just the opposite has happened. Mind you it is rare, but on another 16' van, he had something like 30 lockers, storage everywhere, every nook and cranny filled. But then he only traveled fast to his fishing spots so never really loaded the van up like he planned. What happened? He had about 500 kg reserves in his suspension that was unloaded and it rode too hard, shaking things to pieces.. What did we do? On that van we actually lightened the spring pack for him...

So it can go both ways, but 95% of the time if there is a problem it is because the van is overloaded. However, we can change suspensions to suit different needs. So keep this in mind. It is better to fix it right at your convenience, than to break something way out past Woop Woop...

Why should I care? Well, I am dedicating myself to helping others. And a second hand Bushtracker Owner is important to. I am using my success to benefit others in many ways, like disabled children on my horse property with a 42 metre indoor arena I built for them. I was successful long before Bushtracker, and the responsibility with success is to help others. Another way I can do this is by helping you in the wider Bushtracker Community. And besides, we have 45 men working and 300 suppliers, how does it look for us if a Bushtracker is way out there and has broken off a wheel and stub axle... It is bad for us, people will not know that the Owner has overloaded or pounded the suspension into oblivion on his own.. They will just see that it is broken... Hense this tip for all of you prospective second hand Bushtracker buyers... OK?

Now if you own one, weigh it, if there is a problem get in touch with me at Bushtracker... A complete suspension change out, can be $3500 to $4500 depending on what we can re-use if anything, like brakes and bearings and such. Yes that is expensive, but not as expensive as breaking the suspension in oncoming traffic or way out past the black stump behind na willy willy... Is this about money? Not to me, we don't need or want the extra work, I can assure you... This is about you, and your success in your travels, and I am trying to help you and look after your best interests..

Kind Regards from the well meaning lone, or lost, or last.... Ranger
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Innkeepers



Joined: 20 Jul 2007
Posts: 70
Location: Armidale
State:: New South Wales
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject: Do Your SUMS first. Reply with quote

Hi Steve,
Yes, we totally agree with you and as we've exchanged numerous e-mails about this subject in the last few days, we're pretty sure that our case has prompted this post from you.

We feel that this is good info for all others looking at a pre-loved Bushtracker or any other van for that matter. In our case we purchased a pre-loved 18 footer in absolutely brand new showroom condition.

The plate on the draw bar shows a Tare weight of 2360kg and an ATM of 3000kg. This gives us a total load allowance of 640kg before we hit the ATM of 3000kg and if we exceed this....we're overloaded.

Well, I hear you say that 640 kg is a fair amount of load and even if we "throw in a few extras" that we probably don't really need that much, we'll be right.

OK now let's look at that 640kg....Our 18' has 3X82 litre water tanks and yes, we won't have them full all the time...however given that water is pretty scarce after 7 years of drought.....anyway when you do have them all full, you will in a lot of cases be on an unsealed and possibly corrugated road which will work your suspension harder than the "Black Top"

OK now some important sums:

1 litre of water weighs 1 kg, so 3X82 litres of water weighs 246kg
Lets fill those 2X20litre jerry cans on the draw bar. Say 40kg
2X9kg gas bottles as well so another 18kg.

So this now adds up to 304kg and if we add that to our Tare weight of 2360, we have a total of 2664kg, a difference of 336kg from our ATM of 3000kg

So now we have only 336kg of load left to accommodate the food, clothing, crockery and cutlery, pots and pans. Not to mention the other little plug in electrical appliances we might want like aTV?? Bread Maker?? Generator.

336kg is not much is it when you think our Generator (Honda EU20i) weighs 23 kg so now we're back to 313kg.

Well our BT doesn't have an awning, so lets put one on...OK now we're under 300kg load before we start putting anything in the fridge.

Now in Steve's notes elsewhere on this fantastic resource, he says that in his experience, 3 water tanks is bare minimum and most with 3 tanks will come back and get another one or 2 tanks.

We totally agree with him...FOR OUR APPLICATION... which is camping in remote places for extended periods.

OK, now lets asume that our new awning weighs in at 30kg, so our ability to load drops from 313kg to 283kg ....and now we fit only one extra water tank and make it separate to the other 3 and have an extra pump and fittings. Lets allow 10kg for the empty tank and fittings and 82 kg if we fill it with water too. So we've added another 92kg, which brings us back to 191kg allowance for our load.

Not much now.....
Well, we haven't fitted the awning or the 4th water tank yet, and we will...but we took our Bushtracker to the local public weighbridge here in Armidale and we found that we were already 200kg overloaded. Yep 3.2T = 3,200kg.

Steve mentions how your weight can creep up and here is a perfect example. So do your SUMS.

Of course, we don't think for a minute that ours is the only overloaded caravan on Australian roads....however as Steve says, best to upgrade your suspension in your own time at the factory and not in a Bulldust Hole on the Plenty Highway.

This hasn't happened to us and it won't as we're doing the SUMS first. Having the Bushtracker factory at your disposal for future upgrades is a great safety net for all BT owners and in the suspension stakes, they are always there to offer advice on the correct way to go to ensure trouble free touring.

Any van owner who hasn't put their rig on a public weighbridge should do so for their piece of mind. It costs nothing if you don't require a certificate.

Hope this info helps others.

Cheers
Rick & Julie
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Bushtracker
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
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Location: Kunda Park
State:: Queensland
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your comments...

When your van was built there was no intermediate suspension like we have now... Out of needs, I invented it about 4 years ago. Your van would have just missed out.. It is the 50% larger swingarms and 4.4 ton stub suspension, but of course with a custom lightened spring pack.. Now that larger 4.4 ton would have been RIDICULOUSLY TOO LARGE for an 18', so we had the research done and came up with a light spring pack for intermediate sizes. Now we can go up 250 kg gradients per springpack...

In the last few years, this suspension has been an option on our Gear List. It was recommended for any 18' that went over 3 panels, 3 batteries, and 3 water tanks. Anything over that, and we recommended the suspension upgrade and made it standard on 19' vans.. Rick, your van was just built before that was available. Like I said: It comes as an Option on "heavy 18's" now, and is standard equipment on 19' and up... There is a certain amount of insurance in this, as if you are run off the road the suspension has 1.4 ton more reserves left in it before you break something..

I think there is a post in this Category about suggesting this heavier suspension as a retrofit for heavy 18's. You are a perfect candidate for this. 3200 kg, run off the road into a ditch by a Bullock jumping out in front of you? And you could have snapped a stub axle or broken something else ... Even more serious would be to have a stress fracture in it that maybe broke later on the highway due to a gust of wind or something innocuous... That could really ruin your morning.... Shocked Shocked

Anyway, thank you for your figures and comments, it may help others that have bought pre-loved vans, before disaster strikes.... !

Regards, LR
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beatit



Joined: 20 Jul 2007
Posts: 55
Location: CANNON HILL
State:: QLD
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very interesting thread. I have had a bad experience on this front – no not a BT (it was a camper trailer) and am verging on the paranoid on this topic. I have found out the hard way that weights are a critical factor in determining the suspension limits. I have had spring failure due to overloading and I hope that it will never happen again. It seems that I was able to get 900Kg of gear into/onto a camper no problem so a van will provide plenty of scope to get it wrong.

I know from experience that the theoretical does not always equate to the actual result. In my case I had a wrong variable that got me unstuck and consequently I now like the idea of weighing the loaded trailer for the “sanity” check and I know this is after the event but even at this late stage it is far better to know you have a problem before hitting the road blissfully unaware.

Now the experts say that recognising a problem is the first step to solving it. Really appreciate the “sums” provided by innkeepers as I have been pondering the difficulty of this challenge. It is near impossible to have an actual total figure calculated BEFORE you build a van because of the variable nature of what people pack. But like with so many things I may be totally wrong here so I would like to hear others about what vans weigh after they are loaded.

Have you weighed your van after you packed the van with your travelling kit? I am interested in the weights people actually take when travelling, to make this easy and save any legal issues I would appreciate the weight over tare.

Kind regards

Theo
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Black Cobra



Joined: 20 Jul 2007
Posts: 36
Location: Perth
State:: Western Australia
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:55 am    Post subject: Weights Reply with quote

I will be doing this exercise when I get back to Oz in two weeks before we leave for Birdsville. As our BT has been sitting there for the last four months after the quick pick up trip back from Qld so I have not had the time to do it.

The tare of ours is 2900kg so as we pack and load things up I will take it over the weigh bridge maybe before we fill the tanks and load things in and then after it is completly loaded with full tanks and all the other gear.

I have been getting weights for the accessories fitted to the F250 as well from ARB and will see what the truck weighs also.

I will post the findings in about 3-4 weeks just before we leave.

Cheers
Stewart
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Innkeepers



Joined: 20 Jul 2007
Posts: 70
Location: Armidale
State:: New South Wales
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, good thinking Stewart....when I took the BT over the weighbridge, I drove onto the table with our Landcruiser and BT and we were 6T all up combined weight.

The point of my "SUMS" is that a van with a tare of 2360kg and an ATM of 3000kg, really doesn't "Cut the Mustard" if you want to carry a bit more than 2 T-shirts, half a dozen eggs and a 6 Pack of beer.

We'll be upgrading the Suspension in ours so we can...

Hope you enjoy the races at Birdsville and if you get the time, go and see the working museum....he does guided tours 3 times a day that last for an hour and a half and well worth the $10.00....but what ever you do ....don't interrupt his tour with questions during the tour.....he just stops and goes away......question time at the end....Brilliant collection of gear though.

Cheers
Rick
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