#150813  by stuey
 Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:17 am
Our family is looking at Rockwood caravans for a medium term (i.e. 6 month+) tour of NZ, then to live in for a while as we build.

With four of us, we are looking at potentially a Rockwood 2702WS 32 Foot Bunkhouse.
For a tow vehicle, I'm considering a range of 3500 kg capable vehicles, such as a Holden Colorado 4x4.

Comfort-wise, the Rockwoods are very nice, but I'm worried about the touring/travel aspect.

Problem I see is that we are at 96% of Gross Combined Mass before we even start packing
(i.e. vehicle, caravan, fuel, water, gas ).
While 220 kg may sound ok (my wife will see this gets quickly consumed), riding so close to GCM sounds like asking for trouble.

Here are the specs of the caravan:
https://www.rvusa.com/rv-guide/2016-for ... ws-tr26759

I'm also struggling to fathom the heavy hitch weight of 363 kg ( 802 pounds ) on the tow bar.
Will it bend / break ?!

Would appreciate some feedback to confirm if this is viable (anyone out there doing/done it), or whether I'm paranoid, crazy, naive,...

Is the Dodge Ram the only suitable tow vehicle for these heavy beasts?

My calculations below:

2121 kg - kerb weight - Holden Colorado
245 kg - people weight ( 4 people combined weight )
363 kg - hitch weight

2861 kg - caravan tare ( 6309 pounds )
163 kg - water full
27 kg - gas bottle full
= 5780 kg ( total )

6000 kg - Holden Colorado - Gross Combined Mass

= 220 kg - left for all our gear, food, etc.

Thanks in advance,
 #150816  by mattn
 Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:59 am
You do not add the hitch weight to the GCM, so by those figures you have a bit more to play with, however, with an empty ute tray, a 32 foot van and a six month road trip with the family, I can see a large chunk of that being consumed.

An acquaintance went down that path with an American 32' caravan (Sorry cannot remember brand/model) a bit over a year ago. They now tow with an F250, the 'compact ute' (as the Americans call them) did no live up to his expectations, he has years of experience towing caravans....

I admit the rest below is purely one opinion....
The theory is nice, but its the weight on the scales that counts, the published tare weights of caravans are often 'optimistic' and the marketing has got into a pi'''ing competition over tow limits on utes. There is a good chance you will exceed that GCM of 6000kg in real life. This would also require you to have a class 2 license. If stopped you would get stuck with several tickets and no way continue to drive to you your destinations. Insurance is almost certainly going to be a problem if you need to call on it.

Personally I do not believe those tow rating are a good indication of the suitability of these utes- big difference between a 32 foot rockwood over the south island passes at 90km/h speed limit and a trailer load of builds mix across town. If you insist o going down the 'compact pickup' path, a Ford Ranger is the goto for this sized load, but a Dodge Ram or F250 will do the job infinitely better.

Think carefully if you really need such a large rig, legal and safe are very different things, especially if you are a novice towing large and heavy loads.
 #150818  by Nut17
 Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:40 am
Another consideration is the hitch weight. The current crop of SUV's and double cab utes that claim a 3500 kg tow rating have a maximum hitch weight of 350 kg and with the relatively long distance from the rear axle to the tow ball, exceeding that maximum can have detrimental consequences https://www.google.com/search?q=Bending ... Q3M:&vet=1

F series Ford or Dodge Ram are really your only options with this caravan.

We recently spent 3.5 years full time in a 25' Jayco Silverline Outback caravan which was slightly over the maximum 3500kg when the 250 lt fresh water tank was full and the ball ( hitch) weight was very difficult to keep under the 350 KG maximum. We used a Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD as a tow wagon that has a GCM of 6449 Kg (Although I note that from 2017 this has dropped to 5999 Kg. The Jeep coped admirably and was remarkably frugal averaging around 15.5 Lt / 100 km when towing the van.
 #150821  by Shilo
 Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:36 pm
A couple of handy vids explaining GCM etc & hitch weights that you might find useful: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list= ... G-tfMNpV12. Be careful with going on manufacturers tow weights as you have found with the Colorado some get very close to the GCM without the addition of passengers and luggage (the Ranger also falls short here).
 #151083  by stuey
 Sat May 04, 2019 11:52 pm
Thanks everyone.

I had a closer look at all the models on the NZ Rockwood website, and some other models currently on TradeMe. Most of these exceed either the Hitch or Tare, so looks rather limited for me unless I want to shell out a lot more than $30k for a tow vehicle.

So I'm wondering if people actually tow these with the 3500kg Utes/SUV any more than 20k on a flat motorway.

I really like these Rockwoods, however, it is looking more like a buy-and-park option as opposed to a tour of NZ. I'm unsure how this would go up/down the Haast Pass with a 3500k Ute/SUV with GCM at 90%+.

kg weights below.
Code: Select all
Model	Tare Length	Hitch Payload
2304DS	2539	25.08	299	935
2604WS	2883	29.75	354	1099
2606WS	2793	29.75	411	811
2608BS	2997	29.92	361	992
2609WS	2843	29.75	387	737
2612WS	2825	29.75	334	1138
2702WS	2950	32.25	408	651
2706WS	3057	32.83	382	954
2707WS	3283	32.25	337	683
2902WS	3142	33.75	346	8932
2906WS	3299	33.92	414	743
2906RS	3478	35.17	387	900
2910SB	3562	35.17	367	796
2911BS	3492	35.17	496	996
2912BS	3562	35.17	431	860
 #151140  by Derb
 Mon May 06, 2019 7:34 pm
In all honesty, those large American caravans are designed to be towed by large American Utes/Trucks. Towing them with our "common average range of Asian/Euro Utes" is shear folly whatever their respective sales brochures would have you believe. Years ago I checked out an F150 Crew-cab Truck whilst looking for a replacement tug. This sucker had a factory tow-bar on it rated to tow 10 tonne with a ball weight of "2 tonne" and after checking out the way the truck, chassis and tow-bar were built I truly believe that the unit was quite capable of that claim. Trouble was that it was a high-output 5 litre petrol V8 auto and the fuel costs would have been crippling. Nearly all American horse-floats, trailers and caravans are designed "tow-ball heavy" with their axle groups rearward. This makes them very stable units with good handling characteristics. You will notice many in NZ are towed with light/mid-weight Japanese "trucks" and for very good reason. Good luck.
 #151159  by mattn
 Tue May 07, 2019 9:21 am
Many of the light trucks only have a 2.5 ton tow rating. The Canter is one that comes to mind with a 3.5Ton. That said, I have no doubt a double cab truck will be a better tug on the road than a Jap Ute, no matter what the paperwork says. If going to a big van, a 5th behind a double cab truck is the best option. A 5th behind a Jap ute would be much safer than a traditional caravan.

The other question I ask is do you really need such a big caravan. America culture is "If big is good, bigger is better", however I challenge that in New Zealand with RV's - a number of people on this forum have down sized for various reasons.

Consider out of box options - e.g. mid sized bus conversion towing a mid sized caravan would be versatile and give space when needed.
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