WHAT ABOUT MOTORHOMES, FIFTH WHEELS, OR UNITS ON TRUCKS?

 
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:10 am    Post subject: WHAT ABOUT MOTORHOMES, FIFTH WHEELS, OR UNITS ON TRUCKS? Reply with quote

On the issue of a 4 x 4 Bushtracker against a 4x4 Motor home, Fifth Wheel, or unit on the back of a truck, let me give you the perspective of someone who has done both quite extensively. Even right now, I often travel with my Mack 4x4 Dual Cab Horsetruck, which is the size of a Motorhome, or a 20’ Bushtracker on the back of a 4x4 truck. I do this sort of thing full time as a Lifestyle, so you might want to respect the point of view from the experienced… I like to call myself a “Scientific Realist” -So see if my points made to you do not have that ring of universal truth instead of personal opinion.

Carefully think about the ideas and see it you don’t recognize them as truths for yourself:

1. The Tourist destinations all around Australia are over-booked, over-crowded, and over-priced in the good weather periods for each area about 9 months out of the year. Luckily, the best areas in Australia are not on the maps for several reasons. Firstly, the Government cannot afford to improve the roads in the remote locations, and secondly they do not want to bail out ill-equipped Tourists in those areas. Also, so that the “Locals” do not cause friction with the “Tourists”, these places are a matter of local knowledge only and not on the maps and Tourist Agenda. For the most part they are more pristine and beautiful, and as a rule are better than the sites on the tourist maps. You will not get into most of these with even a 4x4 motor home. These are the really beautiful locations to get into, not the ones on the tourist guides, and you find out about them by having a meal at the Pub and meeting the Locals.

2. You cannot get to most of these places listed above with a 4x4 Motor home because of the following reasons:
(a) The 4x4 motor homes are all too high to get the clearance on back tracks for trees and such and more importantly,

(b) The 4x4 motor home is too heavy on 4 wheels to really be considered a 4x4 at all. At least when you are towing a Bushtracker, the same weight is spread out over eight wheels (tow vehicle and caravan). The motor home just cannot get back far in the bush, and when they do if it rains they are stuck for a long time. The 4x4 Tourist rigs have this happen all the time. Last year on a main track out to Birdsville they bogged one bus so badly that two tractors could not even pull it out and they left it there for weeks waiting for it to dry out. With a Bushtracker you also have the other advantages of being able to unhook and pull out backwards if you have really made a mess, and you have better articulation and overhead clearance in the Bush. If that is not enough,
(c) You have to understand that the Bushtracker and tow vehicle combination has a great deal more articulation to go over river banks and up the other side where a motor home would bottom out and be hopeless. This will impact your travels being stuck on the main track side of a creek-river-washout-whatever, with undesirable neighbours and trash, when there was a pristine beautiful campsite on the other side the motor home just won’t get to. One trip, stuck on this side of the dry river and you would be joining the ranks of the converted..... To Bushtracker.

3. The die hard 4x4 motor home or standard motor home people are always in trouble with their schedule. They are stuck with having to run to the major tourist destinations and put up the over-crowding. If they do not book ahead, they do not get in. If they book ahead, they lose their personal freedom. If they do not make their destinations by 4 PM, their site is given away, so they cannot stay and enjoy this adventure they have accidentally discovered (like a good fishing spot, or meeting an interesting Character who is willing to show them his gold minelab fossicking site, or gemstone festival, or Outback rodeo, or whatever you might stumble on in your wandering). They end up losing out on their freedom because they have to run on a schedule. We have gotten many converts to Bushtracker from these 4x4 motor home people.

4. The 4x4 motor home looks really good in the magazines, but there is also a major lifestyle problem. Basically you have to pack up camp to go anywhere, and face it, a lot of our living is outside around the fire –chairs-BBQ plate and grill, etc. 1) You will have to break camp, put everything away, and pack up the motor home just to get a litre of milk or whatever. With a Bushtracker, you don’t have to pack up camp and put away everything in the van, you just unhook to go shopping. And #2) Half of the fun in wandering around “On Walkabout” is to go exploring. No matter where you go, every other day you will want to go do a little exploring. You will be camped at OOGEE-WAGGE Gorge, and hear about the old Chinaman mine out west, and the nice swimming hole and waterfall an hour south, and the fun pub meal and entertainment for kids with a lizard show out east...... And you won’t go to any of them because you would have to pack up the whole motor home instead of just disconnecting the Bushtracker... If you tried to drag around a little four wheeler behind the motor home, you would only be compounding the problem and really not get in anywhere.

5. The problem with the Fifth wheel sort of concept, is that it does not articulate enough to get into any more difficult of places than does a motorhome. But even after that, there is a more serious problem when the Fifth Wheel unit tow vehicle goes over a bank, or mound, or raised cattle grate, or up over the creek bank, the Fifth Wheel grounds out and BOGS the tow vehicle every time Shocked Shocked Since in the Fifth Wheel, the wheels have to be minimum 66% back from the hitch point, and most are 75-80% and the horse varieties are 90%, in all cases there is a huge overhang in front of suspension. So, as soon as the tow vehicle goes over a cattle grate mound and drops off the other side, the fifth wheel gets pulled into the ground. And as soon as the tow vehicle goes level coming up a grade or a creek bed, the fifth wheel is still coming up the grade and gets pulled into the ground and gets stuck.. Shocked I know, I used to have a 29' Gooseneck Fifth wheel and I kept getting Bogged all over the Outback. Shocked

That is why I travel with my horses in a horse truck and pull my van behind, just like most of the Outback that wants to cart horses in remote regions, as the Fifth Wheels do not go much more off road than a motorhome. Wink At least I articulate in the middle, and my suspension is in the middle of the van, so the tow vehicle can be on a flat grade and the van still be coming up the out of the creek bed, as there is not the extreme front overhand like on a Fifth Wheel where it would just get pulled to the ground and bog the tow vehicle.... Exclamation Exclamation Yes, they look great in the American magazines, but they stay on the bitumen.

Yes they look good on the highway, but where they can go is over crowded, over booked, over priced, and lacks adventure. It is as bad as with Motorhomes..!! You would be better off just flying and staying in resorts if you are going to go something like that, as it is restricted and cannot get into the "Real Australia"....

6. If you were still not convince on the motor home issue, I would probably tell you that if you did not mind the volume of Japanese and German Tourists, and city people in buses, any where your motor home will go and get into, then you would be better off just flying and staying in resorts.. Ha!

I don’t mean that to sound sarcastic, but the truth… Anywhere the Motorhome or Fifth Wheel sort of thing can get to will suffer all these problems, and overcrowding in the places they can get too… Not the way to see the real Australia… The one off the beaten path, the Australia not on the maps, when you get the voyage of discovery in Bushtracker country...


My best advice.

Regards, lone Ranger, out there doin it for a Lifestyle
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somebody wanted to see a picture of a Gooseneck, to understand what I was talking about:



This was my old Rig from the 1990's, a 29' Gooseneck. Now this was as heavy a duty rig as you can build in a Gooseneck, massive ground clearances, military tandem load sharing suspension, THE WORKS..!!

And I got Bogged all over Australia!! Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed
If you look at it, the suspension has to be at least 66% back from the front, to qualify, and most are about 75%. As the tow vehicle pulls up a bank, and goes onto the flat, the front of the Gooseneck gets pulled right into the ground.. Embarassed

The same goes for any bank, up or down, as the vehicle goes over the edge on the way down, same thing, Fifth Wheel gets pulled right into the ground befor the suspension can get there. Even over a raised cattle grate higher than the ground clearance you see here, after the tow vehicle has gone over, the fifth wheel rig has lost its lift and just gets pulled into the ground. Just not the way to travel the Outback...

Yes, we build them, we built this one... And we build standard living quarters ones that look like our Bushtracker Vans.. But as in all things, if there is a disadvantage to doing it, we tell you up front. Better to go into it with your eyes wide open..

I can tell you for sure as I have been there and done it and build them: They will not go anywhere near the places a Bushtracker Van will go!!! Wink

Here are a couple more of my own R&D Goosenecks:




They all have dramatic limitations for off road work... Wink

Regards, Steven Gibbs, Director, Bushtracker


Last edited by Bushtracker on Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:48 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a Topic in this Section where you can see some Gooseneck rigs, so I will not digress to those details as it is fully covered in that other topic.

I just thought I would show you what a truck mounted Bushtracker body looks like:



In this case, he could have done away with the departure angle if he was going to have that bicycle carrier bumper affair on the back...



He about 6 years out now, and is in for some more goodies, and I thought you might like to see this one.



Now the problem is really more that just too tall, too heavy on six wheels, it is more of a Lifestyle issue in that you do not have a vehicle to go exploring with. You also have to pack up the entire camp just to go get a bottle of milk. You are always better off towing, more weight distribution on more tyres, un-hook and pull yourself out of a bog, or un-hook and run into town or go exploring.

This convenience is why it is always better to tow a rig you can un-hook and have a vehicle on its own..

In your best interests, stg
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, here is my latest R&D. This is the classic reason why 5th Wheels are so handicapped for off-road work, the clearance to articulation: This is my new Silverado infront of a 5 ton Gooseneck. Nevermind the air brakes requirement, that is not easy but only money at about $6000. That aside as a cost issue, but look how far the Gooseneck is up in the air and I really do not have enough clearance for even road work:



Now look at the structure over the rear of the bed, there is not enough room there for even road work. I will have to jack it way up with a telescoping hitch. And then it will be an eyesore and still not have any off road capability. I may have to, or get another horse float, but this is the problem in hooking one up to a 4x4, they are really built for a tray back two wheel drive and only on the highway...



I am not sure what I will do at this point, let it set up higher and give up on off road, buy another gooseneck with more clearance (rare), give up on towing it with the Silverado... I am probably going to have to do what I always thought was the eventuality and have to build one "purpose built" and not a highway runner.

If only I had the time... Rolling Eyes Oh well, next years R&D...
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Yogi and Muffin



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State:: Victoria
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Steve - bit of a bummer about the clearance on the Silverado with that great 5th wheeler the guys have worked so hard to fit out for you, the horses and all. Confused
Guess that is why you see some of them towed with flatbed trays instead of ute-style bodies. The clearances then approach a realistic range for most purposes, but of couse remove that ability to carry dogs/cargo in the ute body area! More R & D needed to solve another problem - just what you needed to stay busy!!! Wink Wink
Hope to head for the Centre later this week, as this southern weather is really getting a bit much to cope with unless you have the snow fields for a playground. Thanks to all those who made our 2nd BT such a joy to travel in. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
Regards to all - Jan
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like in the Cartoons about Yogi, Boo-Boo says: Duh, Ya! Yogi !!!

But it is not that big of a Boo-Boo Laughing Laughing Laughing Cuz, you aughtta know da crazy lone Ranger by now.. If this works, there will soon be a higher ground clearance one in the works, higher overhang clearance, and set up for Off-Road work.. Wink Idea

I just want to test the capabilities of the Silverado and transmission temperatures and such, with the Gooseneck I have now, before selling the Mack and committing to a new Gooseneck "Toy Hauler"...

Notes on Air Brake conversions are in the TIPS ON TOW VEHICLES in the Topic on Options Availability on the 2009 Silverado.. More to come, Duh, Ya Yogi !!!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Friends, here it is Yogi! 350 mm clearances now...

Here is the Maxi GooseNeck, modified for off-road. It is no where near finished, but the bones of the work have been done in basic structure and now we just have to add the alloy body armour to it in a band...

To put some perspective on this, the Duramax/Allison is pulling 9.6 tons right here as it sits.



Here is another perspective, and with horses on board it will be at the maximum GCM, in fact I am disappointed that I will not be able to take all four horses it is designed for. It is a bit heavy in the cargo bays and living area with all the junk I have on board.. I may have to do the common thing and unload some of my junk. Laughing .. Sitting here at 9.6 tons



This is the kind of clearances you would need for real off-road work as you drop down into a riverbed before the gooseneck gets there, or raise up out of the riverbed onto the flat while the gooseneck is still coming up..




I would not suggest any of you try this kind of Research and Development. It is tedious and EXPENSIVE. Leave such a hard job for someone like the lone Ranger. Wink

The Air Brakes working, and the power of the Silverado, is absolutley AWESOME... That I can say without reservation. The Silverado towing this 31' 5 Ton Gooseneck in TOW/HAUL Mode is about the feel of a Landcruiser towing a 16' Bushtracker Wink

************************************************************
Update, Oct, 09

It is finished... And has good clearances to suit the Silverado, and it does work for me with horses...



It even looks good....



But this is no way, an off-road Rig. This will not go far off the main roads. As soon as I go over the edge down a riverbed bank, I will just pull the front of the gooseneck into the ground. And as I come up a bank, as soon as the Silverado goes onto the flat while the Gooseneck is still coming up the bank, it will just pull it into the ground and get bogged. And if I do get bogged even on the flat, there is no way to unhook and pull it out in reverse like with a Bushtracker Van. When a Gooseneck or Fifth Wheel is unhooked it is on a hard stand with 1/3 of the weight there: You cannot pull it out of a bog....

All you can do is go to the main Tourist destinations you can get to with a Fifth Wheel or Gooseneck rig... (Ball or turntable) they just do not go off-road where the best part of Australia is. Crown Land, Forestry, National Parks, Stock Routes, private Stations, all the good places to go in Australia are for the most part out of bounds with a Fifth Wheel or Gooseneck setup. In all fairness, it is just not the way to try and travel, because anywhere they can get to, will be over-booked, over-crowded, and over-priced... Sad
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