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Reader question – D-Max Towing

Reader question:

I am the person responsible for posting the recent question on the caravan and camping forum. Being new to social media, I had no idea what sort of s##t storm I could create! I have read lots of your articles and viewed your videos…they are EXCELLENT! you put things in simple and easy to understand terms.

I used your towing calculator for a DMax towing a 2980 ATM van….if I looked at the figures correctly, I understood that it would be suitable with a fair margin of flexibility for payload??? yet you noted in the forum exchanges that you would not recommend the DMax for this purpose? Why?

If the van is weighted correctly over the axels and the downball is say 250-300kg, wouldn’t I have reduced my chances of sway significantly?

There are thousands of D-max and BT 50 vehicles towing big vans….are they all over weight? or are they technically legal but not necessarily safe? If I did not wish to (or could afford to) go to a RAM or a truck, is my best option to go to a lighter van? 2500? 2000? what would you consider to be an ideal size?

Why did the towing regulations in NSW change to be far more liberal?? I gather from one of your videos that the vehicle/ trailer weight relationship is actually different outside of Australia?

I presently have an M-UX which is actually heavier than the D-Max…does that make a “better” tow vehicle even though the tow capacity is 500kg less? I was thinking of upgrading it to be “safer”?

One take away message I did get was the value of slowing to 90kmh, even though the Hume Freeway offers more scope

Clearly there is a great deal of confusion out there

OK so some answers – yes caravan forums are notorious for offence taking and misinformation. And, thank you for the compliment!

Yes the D-Max can tow 2980kg. But, you want as light a van as possible…I’d keep it to 2500kg or under towing if possible. This is for safety and to ensure you don’t go over limits. As for going over limits; when checks are done, typically 40% of rigs are overweight, so it’s a very fair chance that many of those D-Max / BT-50s are overweight.

A lighter van is better, or look at a heavier towcar with a shorter overhang and AWD such as a Y62 or LC200. Here’s my recommendations:

The Europeans tow much lighter trailers than we do. The Americans also tow heavy trailers, but have the big trucks to do it.

Adding more ball weight doesn’t necessarily reduce sway. There is an optimum amount. Less ball weight, with good weight distribution is better than a heavy ball weight with poor weight distribution. And a good towcar is a heavy towcar. This video explains why:

The optimum towball mass is specific to your rig and is only really a trial and error process. Hope all that helps!

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