There is a lot of talk in regard to GVM upgrades, but often some confusion about how it all translates in the real world.
I think that this story might put it all into context for some people. It’s all about staying legal!
The weights that we run around at can be extraordinary, especially when we are towing. The cost of all of our toys is also very expensive.
You add the cost of the 4WD we purchase, and then the van we are towing and in most cases it can easily be over $200,000, possibly even around the $300,000 range.
Imagine if you have an accident and swipe out a few cars, or even just wreck your own set up. The insurance cost alone can easily reach the $400,000 mark. The insurance companies are looking for ways to not pay out.
If you don’t know your weights and you find yourself over the limit, you could quite easily find your insurance claim denied.
Travelling on a whim, thinking and guessing that you are OK is just not responsible.
There are places that you can go to get your set up weighed. A customer of mine, Alistair, recently had his done because he is about to embark on a trip around Australia.
Alistair has a 200 Series LandCruiser, which is modified with a Lovell GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) upgrade, the 3,800kg version, which is also stamped on his Victorian registration, upgrading his GCM (Gross Combined Mass) to a new weight of 7,300kg.
When Alistair decided to go for the 3,800kg GVM, he was concerned about sacrificing the ride quality, so he chose the 3,800kg GVM instead of the 4,000kg GVM, which was also available at the time.
As it is at the moment, I believe that Lovell will be stopping the 4,000kg GVM, as they have an upgraded 4,200kg GVM which will be offered instead of the 4,000kg moving forwards.
Alistair tows a Bruder caravan, so before setting out on his trip he booked into a weight station to check his weights and make sure he was OK.
The 200 Series GVM came in at 3,384.50kg, which gives him plenty of breathing room. The Gross Combination Mass has weighed in at 6,084.50kg. With the suspension upgrade, he’s allowed up to 7,300kg, so this also comes in with heaps of spare weight.
The scary one is the Gross Vehicle Mass in combination. This is the GVM with the tow ball capacity added to it.
The Bruder measured it with a Tow Ball Mass of 346.5kg, which is fine, as the 200 Series can tow 3,500kg braked.
But when you add the Tow Ball Mass with the GVM, it only leaves 69kg of weight before Alistair is not legal.
Now yes, of course if Alistair had a van that had a lower ball weight, then it would give him more room. Or if he ups the GVM again, he will be fine. But this is actually workable by moving around some of the weight in the van to the rear and playing with position he will be able to adjust the weight off the tow ball.
He will also be able to reduce some of the weight in the 200 Series, as there are things in the rear, like his toolbox, that he can put in the van.
At the weight station, Alistair was told that he was one of the lucky ones. Apparently 8 out of 10 setups that are weighed are failing. He was told a story of one guy that had just spent around $400,000 on his 4WD set up and van to then go through the weigh station and fail.
He was meant to be leaving on his trip in a few weeks and was reduced to tears when he was told he would be travelling illegally.
Like I have always said, know what you want to do with your set up, and know how you want to use it. Then seek advice on how to set it up before you get to this stage.
It is very important to be legal when driving around this country of ours, and it’s very important to be responsible and to know you weights.