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Post Info TOPIC: Weights. Unconscionable conduct?


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Weights. Unconscionable conduct?


Recently, at a coffee shop, I met a lady who is full-time travelling Australia in her caravan, and we got chatting.
Like me she had sold her house, and she then had bought a brand new popular model SUV, with its claimed 3500kg tow capacity.

Off she then went to a NSW coastal business that markets new caravans and associated towing equipment, where she was sold a single-axle van with ATM of 2500Kg.

This van had its single axle much closer to the rear of the chassis than most caravans, with an associated increase in towball weight. 
A huge front-boot and lots of storage under the East-West queen bed at the front of the van exacerbated the towball-weight problem.

For some obscure reason this company convinced her to purchase a McHitch, and then sold her airbags to level the now wildly nose-down van.

She was very safety conscious and after chatting about weights she asked me to have a look at her car and van, so off we went to the caravan park she was staying at.

One look told me that all was not well, so I did a few calculations before we headed off to a weighbridge. 

Car has rear axle capacity of only 1650Kg, but was running at over 1800Kg. Bad.

Car has front axle capacity of 1450Kg and was running at 1260kg. OK

GVM is 2800Kg, so way over that. 260Kg over, in fact.

Caravan GTM was 2280Kg. OK.

NOW the fun begins!

Towball weight was 360Kg on a 2500kg ATM van, so van weighed 2640Kg. Overweight.

Why on earth would the axle be so far back on the chassis, thus loading up the towball? 
Anyway, first thing I got rid of was the McHitch, which increases TBO and multiplies weight applied to cars rear axle. Replaced with DO35.

Lots of rearranging of gear in the car and van, with disposal of unnecessary stuff helped me to get it all legal.

Car is now  right on its GVM of 2800kg, with 1650Kg on rear axle and 1150Kg on front. 

Got towball weight down to 285Kg, still bit heavy but little more I could do except tell her to run front water tank only part full. 

Van GTM now is 2250Kg so total weight of van now is 2535Kg, or 35Kg overweight, but Ive done what I could.

If she chooses to drop 35 litres of water out of the front water tank all will be good.

What concerns me about all this is that it was all started by some unscrupulous or ignorant salesman happily selling this lady a van that is totally unsuitable for her small SUV, along with all sorts of unnecessary extras that only made a bad situation worse. 
The fact that this little car has a 3500Kg tow rating is stupidity in the extreme, but good people regularly are fooled by these tow ratings. Cheers

P.S There now is a near-new McHitch lying in the back of my car if anybody wants one. 

90223DB0-AA60-4F69-9024-B409A0AE981C.png



 



-- Edited by yobarr on Monday 5th of June 2023 05:48:17 AM

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I would advise your lady friend to report the South Coast Dealer to ACCC - They're collecting this type of information in order to purge the Caravan Industry of shonks.

Colin Young at Caravan Council and Tracy Leigh at Lemon Caravans would also be a good place for her to contact.

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yobarr wrote:

Recently, at a coffee shop, I met a lady who is full-time travelling Australia in her caravan, and we got chatting.
Like me she had sold her house, and she then had bought a brand new popular model SUV, with its claimed 3500kg tow capacity.

Off she then went to a NSW coastal business that markets new caravans and associated towing equipment, where she was sold a single-axle van with ATM of 2500Kg.

This van had its single axle much closer to the rear of the chassis than most caravans, with an associated increase in towball weight. 
A huge front-boot and lots of storage under the East-West queen bed at the front of the van exacerbated the towball-weight problem.

For some obscure reason this company convinced her to purchase a McHitch, and then sold her airbags to level the now wildly nose-down van.

She was very safety conscious and after chatting about weights she asked me to have a look at her car and van, so off we went to the caravan park she was staying at.

One look told me that all was not well, so I did a few calculations before we headed off to a weighbridge. 

Car has rear axle capacity of only 1650Kg, but was running at over 1800Kg. Bad.

Car has front axle capacity of 1450Kg and was running at 1260kg. OK

GVM is 2800Kg, so way over that. 260Kg over, in fact.

Caravan GTM was 2280Kg. OK.

NOW the fun begins!

Towball weight was 360Kg on a 2500kg ATM van, so van weighed 2640Kg. Overweight.

Why on earth would the axle be so far back on the chassis, thus loading up the towball? 
Anyway, first thing I got rid of was the McHitch, which increases TBO and multiplies weight applied to cars rear axle. Replaced with DO35.

Lots of rearranging of gear in the car and van, with disposal of unnecessary stuff helped me to get it all legal.

Car is now  right on its GVM of 2800kg, with 1650Kg on rear axle and 1150Kg on front. 

Got towball weight down to 285Kg, still bit heavy but little more I could do except tell her to run front water tank only part full. 

Van GTM now is 2250Kg so total weight of van now is 2535Kg, or 35Kg overweight, but Ive done what I could.

If she chooses to drop 35 litres of water out of the front water tank all will be good.

What concerns me about all this is that it was all started by some unscrupulous or ignorant salesman happily selling this lady a van that is totally unsuitable for her small SUV, along with all sorts of unnecessary extras that only made a bad situation worse. 
The fact that this little car has a 3500Kg tow rating is stupidity in the extreme, but good people regularly are fooled by these tow ratings. Cheers

P.S There now is a near-new McHitch lying in the back of my car if anybody wants one. 

90223DB0-AA60-4F69-9024-B409A0AE981C.png



 

 

Well done.

I am sure the lady would be appreciative of the practical application of your "weights knowledge".

There are plenty more Rigs out there need the same investigation and rectification - although many would need to change the Tow vehicle or the Van to have a Legal outcome.   KB



-- Edited by yobarr on Monday 5th of June 2023 05:48:17 AM


 



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KB



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Possum3 wrote:

I would advise your lady friend to report the South Coast Dealer to ACCC - They're collecting this type of information in order to purge the Caravan Industry of shonks.

Colin Young at Caravan Council and Tracy Leigh at Lemon Caravans would also be a good place for her to contact.


 Thanks Possum, for this advice which I will relay to the lady concerned. This morning after breakfast we are taking her car and van to have a Cel-Fi Go device fitted and she will then decide what she wants to do. Believe me, she is not the sort of person to be messed with, but she prefers to be perhaps "more discreet" than I am. Cheers



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There is also a part in consumer law referring to "fit por purpose"
If the salesman/saleswoman was aware of her vehicle he/she should never offered that caravan to her.
I believe that she could demand that the sale contract be cancelled and she should get a full refund.


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jegog wrote:

There is also a part in consumer law referring to "fit por purpose"
If the salesman/saleswoman was aware of her vehicle he/she should never offered that caravan to her.
I believe that she could demand that the sale contract be cancelled and she should get a full refund.


 Thanks Dennis. Cheers



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whats missing is whats GCM  max and actual?

 



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It's a wonder you didn't fit a WDH for Chris........smilesmilesmile



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Make it Snappy......Bob

 



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Gundog wrote:

whats missing is whats GCM  max and actual?


 Wasn't going to get too involved in that, but since you've asked I'll tell that maximum allowed GCM is 5900kg while actual GCM is now way lower at 5050kg. 

As always, the low rear axle carrying capacity of these little cars is the problem, but the purpose of the thread was to warn of unscrupulous van sales companies, and the dangers of having axles towards rear of caravans. Cheers



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Bobdown wrote:

It's a wonder you didn't fit a WDH for Chris........smilesmilesmile


Looked at that too, Bob, but as van is already near AGR I decided against it. Extra weight on car's towbar plus increased TBO negated any perceived gain. Cheers

P.S And now I've got a McHitch that I don't want!

 

3F9FAFB3-8F67-449B-8685-343CC2E1A001.png



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What sort of McHitch is that? Looks like the tow head off a WDH. The McHitch wasn't causing her issues, nor the caravan axle position. Her problem was overloading like so many others. She needs to learn to travel light and the art of correct loading. That van loaded correctly should be able to be towed legally with the vehicle you describe so the only thing the salesperson failed in was proper instruction on weights before she left the yard. It is very hard to stay under your legal maximums as various things accumulate in the van and car and before you know it you are over the allowed weight. I have a habit of going through our van before the next trip and turfing anything we didn't use on the last trip. The only exception to that is my emergency tool kit. If I took everything including the kitchen sink and what my wife wants to take, I would be vastly overweight too. Mind you, single axle vans of that size are going to be a moral to be pushing the limits on ball weight and rear axle loads. You need to be extra diligent in checking what you are putting in the rig. One of the big reasons I don't like single axle vans over about 16'.

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Greg O'Brien



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yobarr wrote:
Gundog wrote:

whats missing is whats GCM  max and actual?


 Wasn't going to get too involved in that, but since you've asked I'll tell that maximum allowed GCM is 5900kg while actual GCM is now way lower at 5050kg. 

As always, the low rear axle carrying capacity of these little cars is the problem, but the purpose of the thread was to warn of unscrupulous van sales companies, and the dangers of having axles towards rear of caravans. Cheers


 It's an easy reason, one that you should know.

The further back axle they become safer to tow, but then internal layout and weight position becomes critical. Hence a big front tunnel would encourage to much load foward, perhaps if the front water tank was moved behind the axle, and maybe 2 x 3.5kg gas bottles would shave some forward weight.

 



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Greg 1 wrote:

What sort of McHitch is that? Looks like the tow head off a WDH.

Greg, it is indeed the head off a WDH which was the topic being discussed, so probably relevant?

The McHitch wasn't causing her issues, nor the caravan axle position.

Greg,, Im not interested in having to justify my actions to any onlooker. We ALL know that a McHitch increases TBO with an associated increase in both weight applied to cars rear axle, and yaw, so definitely "causing her issues".

Her problem was overloading like so many others. She needs to learn to travel light and the art of correct loading. That van loaded correctly should be able to be towed legally with the vehicle you describe so the only thing the salesperson failed in was proper instruction on weights before she left the yard. It is very hard to stay under your legal maximums as various things accumulate in the van and car and before you know it you are over the allowed weight. I have a habit of going through our van before the next trip and turfing anything we didn't use on the last trip. The only exception to that is my emergency tool kit. If I took everything including the kitchen sink and what my wife wants to take, I would be vastly overweight too. Mind you, single axle vans of that size are going to be a moral to be pushing the limits on ball weight and rear axle loads. You need to be extra diligent in checking what you are putting in the rig. One of the big reasons I don't like single axle vans over about 16'.

Thankyou for your concern, and your well compiled advice on loading procedures, but as youve said, getting rid of unnecessary freight is the secret.

Had you seen what was being carried before I intervened youd understand, but surely youd also understand that the further back the axle is, the more weight is applied to the towball?
As you can see the van has a huge front boot, as well as an East-West Queensize bed at the very front, begging to have rubbish stashed under it.

Asking for trouble. Simply poor design, and asking for trouble in the hands of the gullible and uninformed, blindingly led (misled?) by unscrupulous sales staff. 

Unfortunately, there are few people who understand weights, and even fewer who are van salesmen willing to risk their sales commission by pointing out the truth to unsuspecting buyers. 
Regarding your comments on single axle vans, this lady wanted a 16 dual axle van, but was informed that they were not being built.

Once again, thanks for your thoughts, but with weights I know what Im talking about.

Just today I have spent much time trying to help a chap who sent me a PM asking for advice on towing a 3320kg van with a short wheelbase lightweight monocoque construction car that has GVM under 3000Kg, GCM under 6100Kg, and rear axle capacity under 1700kg. Cant be done safely. Cheers


 



-- Edited by yobarr on Monday 5th of June 2023 05:43:14 PM

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Gundog wrote:
yobarr wrote:
Gundog wrote:

whats missing is whats GCM  max and actual?


 Wasn't going to get too involved in that, but since you've asked I'll tell that maximum allowed GCM is 5900kg while actual GCM is now way lower at 5050kg. 

As always, the low rear axle carrying capacity of these little cars is the problem, but the purpose of the thread was to warn of unscrupulous van sales companies, and the dangers of having axles towards rear of caravans. Cheers


 It's an easy reason, one that you should know.

The further back axle they become safer to tow, but then internal layout and weight position becomes critical. Hence a big front tunnel would encourage too much load foward, perhaps if the front water tank was moved behind the axle, and maybe 2 x 3.5Kg gas bottles would shave some forward weight.


Thanks Graham. As I said in my reply to Greg, having a huge front  boot AND a Queen sized E/W front bed is simply asking for trouble. 

Poor design was the problem with this van, the ensuite and part of the dining area being the only things behind the axle, along with one water tank.

Suggested smaller gas bottles to her too, but might do that again as doing so would save maybe 15Kg? 

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. Cheers



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yobarr wrote:
Greg 1 wrote:

What sort of McHitch is that? Looks like the tow head off a WDH.

Bob, it is indeed the head off a WDH which was the topic being discussed, so probably relevant?

The McHitch wasn't causing her issues, nor the caravan axle position.

Bob, Im not interested in having to justify my actions to any onlooker. We ALL know that a McHitch increases TBO with an associated increase in both weight applied to cars rear axle, and yaw, so definitely "causing her issues".

Her problem was overloading like so many others. She needs to learn to travel light and the art of correct loading. That van loaded correctly should be able to be towed legally with the vehicle you describe so the only thing the salesperson failed in was proper instruction on weights before she left the yard. It is very hard to stay under your legal maximums as various things accumulate in the van and car and before you know it you are over the allowed weight. I have a habit of going through our van before the next trip and turfing anything we didn't use on the last trip. The only exception to that is my emergency tool kit. If I took everything including the kitchen sink and what my wife wants to take, I would be vastly overweight too. Mind you, single axle vans of that size are going to be a moral to be pushing the limits on ball weight and rear axle loads. You need to be extra diligent in checking what you are putting in the rig. One of the big reasons I don't like single axle vans over about 16'.

Thankyou for your concern, and your well compiled advice on loading procedures, but as youve said, getting rid of unnecessary freight is the secret.

Had you seen what was being carried before I intervened youd understand, but surely youd also understand that the further back the axle is, the more weight is applied to the towball?
As you can see the van has a huge front boot, as well as an East-West Queensize bed at the very front, begging to have rubbish stashed under it.

Asking for trouble. Simply poor design, and asking for trouble in the hands of the gullible and uninformed, blindingly led (misled?) by unscrupulous sales staff. 

Unfortunately, there are few people who understand weights, and even fewer who are van salesmen willing to risk their sales commission by pointing out the truth to unsuspecting buyers. 
Regarding your comments on single axle vans, this lady wanted a 16 dual axle van, but was informed that they were not being built.

Once again, thanks for your thoughts, but with weights I know what Im talking about.

Just today I have spent much time trying to help a chap who sent me a PM asking for advice on towing a 3320kg van with a short wheelbase lightweight monocoque construction car that has GVM under 3000Kg, GCM under 6100Kg, and rear axle capacity under 1700kg. Cant be done safely. Cheers


 


 I'll accept your apology for calling me Greg and posting the wrong picture, just don't do it again Peter...........



-- Edited by Bobdown on Monday 5th of June 2023 05:20:54 PM

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Bobdown wrote:
 I'll accept your apology for calling me Greg and posting the wrong picture, just don't do it again Peter...........

 Hi Bob. Indeed, I must apologize for mistakingly using your name when replying to a post from Greg. Derrrr.  Sorry.

All day Ive been trying to sort various problems for various people, both on and off the forum, topped off by giving $30k to a friend in need. 
They say that what goes around comes around, so if ever I need help I might be also be lucky? Cheers



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Your hatred of WDH's and McHitches is well known Chris and because of that you have probably cost the lady the cost of another hitch without real reason other than the usual nonsense you spout about them. The axle positioning is about what I would be looking for to produce a good stable towing platform. Yes you do know about weights, but you aren't the only one on this forum that does. The lady in question had severely overloaded her rig, most probably through ignorance, which having had a discussion with yourself, now has a better understanding of what she must do. Given she is a permanent resident in her van, it could be argued that the van is not the right van for her and that a slightly larger van on tandems with a little bit better tow vehicle would have been a wiser choice, but unfortunately those that have not had the experience of van life like the rest of us often make these sorts of mistakes. I have had a number of vans and am still searching for the ultimate perfect one. I have come close but there are always some things that could be better.

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jegog wrote:

There is also a part in consumer law referring to "fit por purpose"
If the salesman/saleswoman was aware of her vehicle he/she should never offered that caravan to her.
I believe that she could demand that the sale contract be cancelled and she should get a full refund.

 

If the van is "not fit for purpose" and evidence can be produced to support this a consumer can lodge a claim through the relevant Tribunal in their State. VCat, QCat, NCat etc are the relevant authorities that can make enforcable orders under the ACA in the event of a successful claim. There are other "toothless" bodies who can offer "advice" but unfortunately cannot achieve an outcome because they cannot enforce their decisions.


 



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montie wrote:
jegog wrote:

There is also a part in consumer law referring to "fit por purpose"
If the salesman/saleswoman was aware of her vehicle he/she should never offered that caravan to her.
I believe that she could demand that the sale contract be cancelled and she should get a full refund.

 

If the van is "not fit for purpose" and evidence can be produced to support this a consumer can lodge a claim through the relevant Tribunal in their State. VCat, QCat, NCat etc are the relevant authorities that can make enforcable orders under the ACA in the event of a successful claim. There are other "toothless" bodies who can offer "advice" but unfortunately cannot achieve an outcome because they cannot enforce their decisions.


 Thanks Montie, for your help but the lady concerned has now moved on as we were simply "ships in the night".

She did, however, send me a text exulting at the improved handling of her van, and thanking me profusely for my help.That's enough for me.

As far as lodging a claim "not fit for purpose", which I did mention to her, like so many others she simply accepts such things,  which does nothing to discourage unscrupulous dealers.

Considering her career history, which I will not elaborate on, I must say that I was somewhat surprised at her stance on this. Cheers

P.S Interesting that I got no response to my comment that "There now is a near-new McHitch lying in the back of my car if anybody wants one."
Perhaps people are beginning to understand?

Bit late now but perhaps I should have given it to Bob (Bobdown) when I passed his house a couple of weeks ago. Oh well.



-- Edited by yobarr on Tuesday 8th of August 2023 08:02:47 PM

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I would be happy to take the hitch off your hands but the postage is probably more than the original cost of the hitch.

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Greg O'Brien



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Greg 1 wrote:

I would be happy to take the hitch off your hands but the postage is probably more than the original cost of the hitch.


 You never know, Greg, but I may pass your address some time soon, as I am just wandering around the state. 

 Be warned though that Ive lost one of the 4 mounting bolts, but the rest is there!

Just dead weight to me but possibly too good to simply throw away. Cheers



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There is often comments made here pointing at SUV's even sedans with monocoque chassis or not proper 4X4 as being unsuitable tow vehicles. Can I remind everyone that such vehicles are more than suitable to tow than 4X4 vehicles when they tow caravans suitable to their towing capacity and/or tow ball capacity. These caravan forums have slowly become an over 2500kg group biased against SUV's whereas many vans can be more suitable for some caravanners that are under 2400kg ATM towed by an SUV.

 

This lady you spoke to (and it was good of you to help her) was definitely sold the wrong type of van. We own a Jurgens sungazer J1901 5m van but the slightly larger skygazer would have suited her perfectly imo at a ATM of less than 2000kg. Even the Lunagazer dual axle might have been the way to go. Jurgens arent in business now but many aren't and many spares are generic but they are lightweight vans built well. And why is this lady towing a semi off road van? Looks like it to me. I dont want to sound sexist but lets state facts- a lot less single women go off the beaten track.

 

Many SUV's can tow under 2400kg ATM and for the life of me I cant see anything wrong with vans under that many of which have ensuite. But the bonus of an SUV is usually the economy when not towing which is a side benefit. They are also available with AWD which is sufficient for muddy free camps etc. Some SUV's are limited with their tow ball weight so have to keep an eye on that but they can do their job and should not be shamed because they are less suitable for towing over 2400kg where its 4X4 territory

 

 



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I do agree Eaglemax. Unitary construction is stiffer and in many ways stronger than body on frame construction. There is nothing wrong with that style of construction for towing a van provided the manufacturer of both the vehicle and the towbar have designed the attachment points properly. However, for load carrying, it is generally accepted that the old body on frame type vehicle is generally more suited to that task and also suspension systems in that type of vehicle are more designed for load carrying than those in vehicles of unitary construction. So given all of that, manufacturers generally do not build vehicles in unitary construction that are designed to cart heavy loads but certainly there are vehicles of that type that are eminently suitable to tow upto around 2500kgs, the Pajero being a case in point. I also agree that the van that this particular lady was sold certainly doesn't appear on the surface to be one that is really suitable for what her intended use is.

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Just arrived back from a caravan park on the north coast of NSW. I was parked next to a big rig and a couple in their sixties, nice people. Got talking to him about his towing all up weight. The tow vehicle was a Dmax duel cab, older model about 2016. Canopy bullbar, roof racks, a 12f tinny, 15hp two stroke, fold up trailer. and loaded to the hilt in the back, fridge and all the fruit. His van was about the same age Jayco Silverline slider. He knew he was over weight, not sure exactly how much. But he said the Dmax is going in to have about $9000 spent on the suspension and I think he said brakes as well. He said when the upgrade has been done I will be legal. but did'nt know why exactly. What I would like to know that if he spent 9k on an upgrade, how is that going to be legal? Did'nt say who was the mechanic though.




Wazza..

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I think in Queensland at least, you can get both GVM and GCM upgrades which might get him there. Mind you, with a dingy, trailer and a Silverline he still might be struggling and I don't think I would want to be the buyer of that D Max when he sells it despite them being a good vehicle. In WA, you can only get a GVM upgrade and the reasons for the lack of a GCM upgrade are a few, but mostly come down to a lack of appropriate testing standards so that authorities can determine if the whole of vehicle can deal with the increase in total mass.

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Greg 1 wrote:

I think in Queensland at least, you can get both GVM and GCM upgrades which might get him there. Mind you, with a dingy, trailer and a Silverline he still might be struggling and I don't think I would want to be the buyer of that D Max when he sells it despite them being a good vehicle. In WA, you can only get a GVM upgrade and the reasons for the lack of a GCM upgrade are a few, but mostly come down to a lack of appropriate testing standards so that authorities can determine if the whole of vehicle can deal with the increase in total mass.


 

He lives in NSW and vehicle reregistered in NSW.

 

 

Wazza..



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Mind you he had a WDH, and probably think it helps. Maybe.


Wazza..


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NSW can only get gvm upgrade on such a vehicle, ie 2nd hand. $9k would have to be a rip off, or gold plated brake lines maybe.

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Craig1 wrote:

NSW can only get gvm upgrade on such a vehicle, ie 2nd hand. $9k would have to be a rip off, or gold plated brake lines maybe.


 

 

Yeah, thats what I thought $9k wow, a lot to spend on a 7 odd year old Dmax. with 12000k on the clock. The funny thing is the owner didn't quite know the full extent of what will be done. But he did say I should be hopefully Legal.



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A copper I was talking to told me that when they are out doing roadside caravan checks, the ones they really look for are the ones with a dingy on top towing a reasonable sized van He said that they are invariably over weight by a country mile.

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