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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 5051
Location: Kunda Park
State:: Queensland
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:30 pm    Post subject: GENERAL REVIEW OF ALL TOW VEHICLE OPTIONS... UPDATE 4/2010 Reply with quote


Most common NEW tow vehicles: The Toyota 200 Series, 76 Series and 79 Series Utes and Workmates, are in first place for most popular, in our most common size of Bushtracker from 19' to 21'. First place is the 200 Series V-8 diesel, 10 to 1, the Toyota "Workmate" a four door mini-troopcarrier sort of inbetween that and the wagons, is proving very popular and capable, and it has the single turbo version of the Toyota V-8 Diesel. After that, 4.2 Nissan Patrol, Dicovery 3 and 4, are popular new tow vehicle choices. Mind you the Dicovery 3 and now the Discovery 4 popularity is coming up fast as well in the smaller sized Bushtracker vans from about 20' and under. As I was saying though, in our most common size of Bushtracker is in the range of 19' to 21' the 200 Series is definitely in the lead as the most common tow vehicle. There are Topics on this in this Category, GVM increases, suspension modification, reports from Owners, and so on.

Prado? Pajero? Navara? For smaller Bushtracker vans: Like the Hybrid Lite that you can read about in the Category WHAT SIZE OR TYPE OF BUSHTRACKER this Hybrid Lite was developed in 17' and 18' specifically for the Prado and Pajero vehicles, as well as the Nissan Navara and other tow vehicles that are limiited in towing capacity. The most common tow vehicle in this class, for the Hybrid lite in 17' and better yet done in 18', is the Toyota Prado. We did all of our testing, across the Outback with the Hybrid Lite, in DVD #2 with the Prado, as that is one of the most common choices in the city. Mind you, I think the full sized Landcruiser is a better choice as it is stronger, tows more, and when towing believe me it gets better fuel economy with the larger engine. Anyway, we did design the Hybrid Lite with the Prado in mind, and so did our testing in the Outback with the Prado pulling it...

For larger Bushtracker vans over 21': We have about 45 Silverados, and 120 Fords, and a dozen or so Dodge Cummins towing, and they are safer with a longer wheelbase, more comfortable, twice the power, more brakes, more torque, and they get better fuel economy than a lot of smaller diesels as the larger diesel is not working as hard! What’s more is they are twice the truck safety and control on the highway with the longer wheelbase and control... Not to mention huge payload capacities..

If you are not bringing it home to the inner city living, and making serious travel plans with a van over 21’ say, then you owe it to yourself to have a look at the larger Luxury Trucks like Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC.. There are Topics in the Category on the two current leaders of the 200 Series (Utes and Workmates included), and the new trucks like the Silverado and GMC and for more payload the Full Import F-250 and F-350 with higher GVMs. It is not about the power, but more an issue of safety and wheelbase length for high speed accident avoidance on the highway. The larger tow vehicles also can be loaded up more, with a huge 4500 kg towing capacity and 450 ball weight, but the main issue is safety.

Safety Considerations: I have owned an F-350 for three years and went all over out Bush with it… I still own two Cruisers… And I currently own a Ford and in recent years have travelled with "Duallies" (DRW Dual Rear Wheels). I have also owned two Silverados an 08 2500 HD 4x4 and an 09 3500 HD CC DRW Dually 4x4, and I still own a 200 Series so I can report accurate R&D for you. This is not just opinion, I actually own the vehicles to report real R&D for you, in all sizes, new and used. In the case of the Fords and Chevrolets, I have owned the Single Rear Wheel SRW and the Dual Rear Wheel (DRW) in both, and towed with both SRW and DRW. My point, is you can take my advice as just a little more than just an average opinion, OK? Now, at 20', even 21', Toyota is still in the running as a first place first choice Contender.... OK so far? But over about 21' behind a Landcruiser and you have a potential problem if something happens to cause you to do an extreme swerv on the highway, the leverage of longer wheelbase is your safety margin to recover from that extreme swerve..

IN THIS STUDY, REAL TIME OWNERSHIP AND TOWING, THIS IS A REAL SAFETY CONSIDERATION FOR LARGER VANS: The real issue in towing a van larger than 21' with a Toyota sized vehicle, brings up the buzz words of wheelbase length and control at high speed when you have to make a radical move to avoid an accident on the Highway.. It is not about off-road, all four wheel drives are a tractor in low range gear off the road. It is more of a safety concern on the main roads. [/b]The Toyota is not a full sized tow vehicle for larger vans, on the global perspective, only here... It is an issue of the length of wheelbase for leverage on the van at high speed, when you have to make a radical manoeuvre to avoid an accident or a spilled load or something... The wheelbase of the Landcruiser runs out of safety margin somewhere around 21’... Even my own 100 Series or 200 Series Landcruiser is up on its maximum limit with my 22’ van. It is just not safe if something happens to cause radical evasive action and recovery at 100 kph.. Anyone can do a radical swerve, it is the recovery that can be tricky with a shorter wheelbase vehicle. There is just not enough leverage to do it safely with the wheelbase of a Landcruiser, and that is where the Silverado, F-250 or F-350 Ford trucks really shine. Each 10% increase in wheelbase gives about 100% more leverage on the caravan due to the fulcrum effect… Incidentally, the overall reports are that they get better mileage when towing as well. So, with your best interests in mind, you should consider the larger American tow vehicles for the long wheelbase issue, for vans from about 21’ and up. While Toyota will do it, up to 21’ with caution, Silverados and Fords will just do it safer, and with more comfort, more power, more brakes, more room, and better fuel economy. Yes, Toyota is better if one is returning to life in the city, for parking. But if one is making a Lifestyle change out of the city, you would have to consider the larger tow vehicles. The new Fords and Silverado are in first place for new, and Ford F-250 or F-350 for second hand, or a fully imported Silverado or Ford for the top of the line new for larger vans over 21'.

Why the larger vans say over 21'? This is a Lifestyle Choice like a vacation home for many Bushtracker Owners. For larger vans from about 21' or 22' and up, the Chevrolet Silverado is a common choice for a new vehicle, for luxury car features and a ute body to put drawer systems and a canopy on and there is a Topic on the Silverado in this Category. It is safer than the 200 Series, has more payload, the luxury features and price of a Sahara, and it has more GVM and carrying capacity than the 200 Series and is a very good choice..

Some people want to travel with larger canopies and drawer systems and lots of toys and equipment, even boats on top on loaders. If this sounds like you, then you need to look at the new Super Duty Fords in the Full Import models. They have the same luxury, if not more User Friendly towing features, but the also have more GVM and towing capacity and are coming on strong.. The Ford F-350 in a Single Rear Wheel (SRW) Super Duty, has nearly the same capacities as the Chevrolet Silverado in a Dual Rear Wheel (DRW). If you really want to load one up, boats on top, boat loaders, fridges and freezers, solar and more on a bed mount or chassis mount custom body, this is your truck... There is a Topic on them, even one back seat model that is only 80 cm longer than a 200 Series, but with twice the power and safety in wheelbase control. If this is you and you want to really load up with toys, you should look the Full Import Super Duty Fords, as they have a higher GVM and capacity in each category.

And like I was saying they are not all huge in size: If you do not need a full sized back seat, and can live with a shorter bench seat, as I was saying there are some shorter options in Fords and Chevrolet trucks as well. Money no object, these are the top of the crop in power and control, at 350 Horsepower and the SWB (Short Wheel Base) model with the shorter back seat and suicide door is only 80 to 90 cms larger than a 200 Series Landcruiser. The main advantage besides power and control is the very large payload capacity of these SWB American trucks, and if you want to load one up with a big gull wing canopy, boat, motor, and the rest that is way to go. A Silverado 2500 HD goes up to 4177 kg, which is not really enough to do this, but the Full Import Ford F-250 goes up to 4536 kg and the F-350 in a Single Rear Wheel (SRW) goes up to 5170 kg, made for the job and worth a look. There is a new Topic on this: SWB F-350, Super Duty GVM and Only 80 cm longer than Toyota


As to second hand tow vehicles: The 100 Series Turbo Landcruiser, is still number one as a the most common second hand option. There has also been a great deal of success in turbo charging the Toyota standard diesel… I mean we know of hundreds.. ARB put Safari Turbo kits on them for ten years!!! The only ones we have heard of having problems were people problems in not feeding the engines enough oil and water!!! Everyone that said something bad about after market turbo on a 1HZ motor, which is really rare to hear something bad anyways; when questioned, really had to admit to not checking oil or water and that is not the turbos fault!!! The only problems seemed to be the Factory Turbo engines that had a fault in the lower ends in the mid 90's.

The GXL with the naturally aspirated 1HZ engine, looks just like a Factory Turbo, but no engine electronics, no independent front suspension that some have had trouble with, same body style and all but very user friendly and easy to work on and the most common part available in the Bush... Which leads me to say I wonder if it is not a reliable vehicle in that it does not need a computer to fix it, and a GXL has the standard Monobeam front suspension.... To me this makes it simple and more reliable, and I own two of them in my Family..

More on: Second hand: Toyota is still in the lead, with Ford coming up strong and certainly in first place for larger Bushtracker vans over 20'and 21', and then the Discovery 3 and Nissan Patrol 4.2 Turbo, being the next most common. But the Nissan 3 litre automatic is not in the running…. No one is reporting that they are happy towing with it. There must be a reason it has a lower tow rating and is far cheaper.. The larger Nissan has a larger tow rating and good track record and good reports as a tow vehicle, but is not available in an automatic… If you want an second hand and automatic you are back to the new IFS 100 Series Cruiser, or a Standard 100 Series and add a turbo. Or for larger vans over 20'-21' mabe go see the new Fords and Silverados and possibly fall in love….

Now there is one disadvantage to the Ford Australia Brazilian built Fords second hand: It is about the only one besides city parking which you can get used to, and that is that the Brazilian built Ford has a terrible turning radius.... But again, it is just an adjustment phase of six months, and you are so used to doing three point turns that you do not even think about it... You do not do a u-turn on an average street, you would back into a driveway and do a three point turn. At a big light, you swing a little left and wide to do a u-turn... You can get used to it. And when you drive one, it will feel big, but you get used to that and it is now your accepted norm... One more thing, I sure know which one I would want to get in an accident with... With my Toyota, if they pull out in front of me I am in trouble... With a Silverado or Ford, if they pull out in front of me they are in trouble... is the feeling... Wink

On the Fords: Ford Australia has done the wrong thing in my opinion, by only importing the lower grade Brazilian built Fords with obsolete equipment.. I have had a full import F-350 for years and the difference between them and the Brazilian built Ford is striking: Besides reportedly the best transmission in a midsize American Truck and the number one selling mid sized truck, it has A MUCH TIGHTER TURNING RADIUS AND COIL FRONT END and all the latest luxury features… Money no object? On larger vans over 21’ you should have a look at the American Luxury tow vehicles…

One other concern on the second hand Brazilian built Ford F-250, the transmission does not seem to really be designed for heavy towing. The 4R100 transmission has about an 8 or 9% failure rate in heavy towing, and you should upgrade the transmission to run on full synthetic oil, and a bigger cooler, and run to a transmission temperature gauge. There are Topics in this Category, on upgrading the older Ford transmissions.. The full Import Super Duty Fords, have had far better transmission, the 5R110, and it the highest rated transmission in this class of truck.


In Summary: 21’ Bushtracker and under? Landcruiser is still King. Hope this has been a help as a general outline. Other Topics get specific to each tow vehicle I have mentioned.. I own or have owned all of the top position tow vehicles so I can do hands on testing for you. I do not offer opinions as much as research and empirical evidence based on hands on testing doing my own towing and servicing. In Research and Development, I currently own two 100 Series, a 200 Series, and a new Full Import F-450, and I have owned 3 Fords in past years and two Silverados doing this testing... Just know, we do not offer opinions as much as the hand on empirical evidence of actually owning them, towing with them, testing them, servicing them and so on.. Opinions are most offered by people that have not even owned the vehicles. Just know that we do real time hands on testing for you, and that is my job! Wink

It is horses for courses. And there are Topics on the new Full Import Fords, and the Chevrolets, and the 100 Series and 200 Series vehicles in this Category. Figure out your budget, and the real load you want to travel with, and those Topics should help to sort it out for you.. As I have said, I have owned them all, towed Bushtrackers extensively with all, and I offer more extensive unbiased reporting and research than you are likely to get anywhere as we do not sell them or have any commercial interest. We are unbiased, and try to give you an honest appraisal of our results and concerns..

Kind Regards, lone Ranger, Inventer and Horseman at Bushtracker
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Michael Boemelburg

Joined: 14 Jul 2008
Posts: 40
Location: gold coast
State:: queensland
Current Bushtracker owner:: Ordered
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 5:31 pm    Post subject: tow vehicles Reply with quote

Here are my two cents worth.
We are the proud owners of a 21 ft bt. prior to picking up the van we had the nice people from ARb upgrade the suspension. With the WDH you don't even know the van is there. After the first trip to Victoria via sydeny, we lacked some power from the 100 series td.
Come in the chip and new exhaust.
Fitted 2 weeks ago, and OMG. Now we go up hill with virtually no slowing, the auto changes smoother, it stays in gear longer without manually changing down.
All i can say, anyone with a 100 series td cruiser, have a look at the chip and exhaust upgrade.
Mike and Julie
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Joined: 31 Dec 2009
Posts: 5
Location: South Perth
State:: WA
Current Bushtracker owner:: No
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 7:56 pm    Post subject: Landcruiser 100 series T/D chip and exhaust upgrade Reply with quote

Apologies if I am getting a bit off-topic, but I am interested to hear from Mike and Julie (Avatar) who noted the difference in towing capability of their 100 Series Landcruiser after fitting a chip and new exhaust (presumably, larger diameter). Michael, what year is your vehicle, is it a manual or auto, and what brand of chip was fitted at what approx cost?


Mike & Helen (Newbies)
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Pat 'n Roger

Joined: 05 May 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Karnup
State:: Western Australia
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:23 pm    Post subject: Landcruiser Towing Suitability Reply with quote

Hi, this is my first post, so if I'm in the wrong place or it's not of interest...........!

I've been towing a Trailcraft 640 (to be replaced with a Bushtracker as soon as possible), for a couple of years, with a 2007 V8 Troopie.

The van is 2250kg unladen, so with water, jerry cans, generator, wine, etc. it would be very close or over the 2500kg. The troopie is fitted with air bags which we find work very well. The van tows very well up to 100kph, which is the top end of our preferred cruising speed range. In the early days before we had got used to the rig we (accidentally) got up to around 110, there were still no indications of sway.

On the basis that the BT is a better vehicle all round I think we would be comfortable towing a slightly heavier vehicle.

Out of interest, my overall average fuel consumption over the two years is 14.88 l/100ks. The figure for towing only (mix of tar and reasonable dirt roads ), is 17.56 l/100ks. The interesting point which may support Steve's comment below, is that on bitumen, my figures indicate that the most economical towing speed (for our rig), around 95 kph. We recently did a 500k trip at around this speed and the fuel consumption was 16.02 l/100k. Previously we had done a fuel check over a similar distance, trying to stay between 80-85kph and the figure was 17.69 l/100ks.

Has anyone got any other figures for V8 troopies and BT weights?


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Joined: 25 Jul 2007
Posts: 333
Location: Safety Bay
State:: WA
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Roger,

A bit early for me to give you fuel figures, we recently changed vehicles from a F250 to a V8 Toyota ute, i have just gone through the state rego change and had to put the ute over the weighbridge, a new cab chassis has a tare of 2050 and our Hamburger with the works with full alloy canopy, Drawers, ARB Bar & Winch, 2nd Battery & dual spare wheels weighed 2560kg with one 90lt fuel tank full, i was happy with that as we still have 740kg in payload.

Our 19' BT is one of the heavier one's apparently, tare of 2620, i did put it over a weigh bridge once when it was fully loaded and straight away decided to put it on a diet Laughing with what we have taken off and left home it should comfortably be under the 3.5t with all 4 tanks full.
Mick & Vickie
07' 19' BushTracker
2015 VX 200, 3800kg GVM Upgrade
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Joined: 03 Dec 2009
Posts: 62
Location: Alice Springs
State:: NT
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

G'day Roger
Our V8 Troopy tows our 18' BT with ease, returning similar fuel figures to yours.
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Site Admin

Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 5051
Location: Kunda Park
State:: Queensland
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Roger,

And WELCOME TO THE FORUM, post Number One...

Yes it would have been better in a Topic like TOYOTA WORKMATE TOP PICK BUDGET/ FULL SIZED NEW TOW VEHICLE in this Category. Why? Because it will get lost and buried here in the General Discussion area.

The most common tow vehicle is still the Toyota 100 Series with hundreds of them over the years... And the most common size that people stick with is the 19'-21'...

These are reporting in the range of 20 litres per hundred or some a little less, towing a larger van. The new V-8 Diesel in the Toyotas, maybe 50 or so 200 Series and maybe 25-30 of the Troop Carrier or smaller version the Workmate four door models, are reporting a little better fuel economy. An average might be in the 5 to 5.5 kms per litre with a big van. Keep in mind, some get better that do not use all the power, as the economy comes with a light foot.. Laughing

Here is a V-8 Diesel Toyota Ute that just left yesterday for W.A.

You are battling more windage than what you are towing now. Some that travel with a light foot, and slower speeds, get better economy up in the 16 ltres per hundred or around 6 km per litre.

Anyway, the reason to put the questions in relative topics is to help others to be able to find them. No worries, and again Welcome to the Forum. When you do get around to Ordering, there is a whole WORLD of help for you in the Owners Section, travel guides, proprietary Research and Development, picture step by step maintenance and fixes and troubleshooting and the rest.. On going support forever, and it is FREE ! Wink

Regards, Steven Gibbs, Director, aka lone Ranger cuz I travel with horses (crazy)
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