Toyota Landcruiser 200 series Braked Towing Upgrade 4000kg
Get your 200 series doing what an F-Truck or Chev can do
Toyota Landcruiser 200 series Braked Towing Upgrade to 4000kg
The factory braked tow capacity on the 200 series Landcruiser can be upgraded from 3500kg to 4000kg. There are two kits available from Lovells - Stage 1 kit & Stage 2 kit. Both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 kit will infact upgrade your Braked Towing Capacity to 4000kg. Each kit has different components and different advantages / disadvantages. The first step that you will need to take to make this possible is to upgrade your GVM to 3800kg with the Lovells Toyota Landcruiser 200 series GVM upgrade. The next most important step is to choose which 4000kg Braked Towing Capacity kit you want - the Stage 1, or Stage 2. It must be firmly noted that the Lovells Braked Towing Capacity upgrade to 4000kg is a selection between Stage 1 or Stage 2 - financial implications will apply to reverse a Stage 1 kit and change to a Stage 2 kit, it is imperative that the right decision is made in relation to this. See below for more information on Stage 1 and Stage 2 BTC ugprade.
*Important* - A Lovells Braked Towing Capacity (BTC) upgrade can only be fitted to a vehicle in conjunction with a Lovells 3800kg GVM upgrade. The newly released Lovells 4000kg GVM upgrade cannot be used. The only option to fit a 4000kg BTC upgrade to a Landcruiser 200 series requires it must be a Lovells 3800kg upgrade.
Next, Choose Stage 1 BTC upgrade or Stage 2 BTC upgrade
Stage 2 BTC Kit- 4000kg towing/400kg ball weight
The Stage 2 Braked Towing Compliance Upgrade for the Toyota Landcruiser 200 series is without doubt the better of the two kits. The Stage 2 kit includes a 1200lb Weight Distribution Hitch sytem (WDH), a 95mm height adjustment drop shank, and a cast head assembly and Lovells Hitch (Hitch Ezy). The Stage 2 kit is rated to 4000kg braked towing capacity with and the ball weight must not exceed 400kg. The beauty of the Stage 2 kit is being able to setup your towing apparatus to be level when connected to the vehicle.
Firstly we measure and adjust the chassis of the caravan so that it is sitting level. We will then measure from the bottom of the upgraded towing coupling to the ground. Using this measurement we are able to position the tow ball on the drop shank of the vehicle so ideal weight distribution height is achieved. This is half of the battle – and it’s so simple. After this is setup we will connect & adjust weight distribution bars as necessary. The end goal will be the vehicle & caravan sitting as close to level as possible (we will allow a 10% tolerance for vehicle front & rear height loaded vs. unloaded). For caravans that do in fact have a tow ball weight of up to 400kg this is brilliant for fuel economy, safety and handling.
Stage 1 BTC Kit- 4000kg towing/350kg ball weight
The Stage 1 Braked Towing Compliance Upgrade for the Toyota Landcruiser 200 series is a more cost effective solution, however it does come with limitations. The Stage 1 kit includes a dual height adjustable fabricated tongue and Lovells Hitch (Hitch Ezy). The Stage 1 kit is rated to 4000kg braked towing capacity and the ball weight must not exceed 350kg. Do note that due to the design of the tongue the Stage 1 kit is not compatible with most weight distribution systems.
Generally speaking the Stage 1 kit is used for towing a 3500kg-3700kg apparatus, with low ball weight to avoid excessive sagging of the rear. However if towing frequently with higher ball weight i.e. up to 350kg, when upgrading to the Stage 1 kit we recommend fitting the heavier optioned rear GVM spring (Lovells extra heavy duty part number TRR-122HDAV instead of the standard loaded rear GVM spring TRR-122HD).
Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series Wagon- Braked Towing Compliance UPGRADE 4000kg
STAGE 2 KIT - ADVANTAGES / DISADVANTAGES
- Allows attachment of and includes weight distribution bars
- Stability and fuel economy are improved with the use of the drop shank / WDH allowing the vehicle & tow apparatus to drive level & horiztonal
- Comes with two types of adjustable cast drop shanks to ensure no matter what you are towing it is likely to be compatible
- You have the peace of mind knowing that when/if you upgrade your caravan that your vehicle ball weight is rated to 400kg (instead of the Stage 1 350kg)
- The upgrade is SSM approved
- The setup is approximately $1000.00 more expensive then the Stage 1
- If you already have weight distribution bars unfortunately you will own a second set. The weight distribution bars can not be excluded from the order.
STAGE 1 KIT - ADVANTAGES / DISADVANTAGES
- The setup is approximately $1000.00 cheaper then the Stage 2
- It does work fine and still does what you need it to do, tow 4000kg when braked
- The upgrade is SSM approved
- The maximum ball weight allowed is 350kg (instead of the Stage 2 400kg)
- The tongue is not compatible with most weight distribution systems
- The vehicle if towing frequently and has a high ball weight (i.e. up to 350kg) then the rear springs will likely need upgrading to the extra heavy duty GVM spring
- The vehicle when loaded is likely to sag in the rear causing the need for airbags - which airbags have advantages and disadvantages in itself
- The caravan when loaded to the vehicle is likely to hang down in the front
- The tongue is only adjustable on two levels making it difficult to achieve optimum loaded coupling height
PRE-REGISTRATION OR POST-REGISTRATION
Pre-registration - Federal Compliance plates
- Upgrading your GVM / BTC pre-registration must be done to a brand new vehicle where the dealer transports the vehicle to our Facility for the upgrade to be undertaken prior to registration / delivery
- Pre-registration upgrades mean your vehicle will have an additional compliance plate (Federal compliance plate) outlining the details of the upgrade, which is issued by the Australian Government.
- If the vehicle has been registered atleast once (in any state) you are not eligible for a pre-registration upgrade. Even if you were to buy an ex-demo that was only 1 month old, if the ex-demo had been registered it cannot be done - even if the vehicle was then de-registered. Essentially as soon as a transport deptartments paper trail has started for the vehicle (in any state) you are not eligible for a pre-registration upgrade.
- You can drive anywhere in Australia with a Federal Compliance plate
- You can de-register the vehicle from Queensland, move interstate, re-register the vehicle in NSW and the upgrades are still active automatically.
- Your GVM / BTC upgrades become cheaper as you do not have to pay a State Mechanical Engineer to certify the upgrades to your vehicle. Certification costs do change from state-to-state, in Queensland pre-registration upgrades save you a total of $770.00
Post-registration - State Compliance plates
- In Queensland, post-registration / State Compliance upgrades are carried out with a blue Queensland Transport modification plate.
- Just like a Federal compliance plate, with a Queensland State Compliance plate you can still drive anywhere in Australia completely legal and insured - with the exception the vehicle must remain registered in Queensland.
- If you were to move interstate after carrying out the upgrade, deregister the vehicle from QLD and re-register in NSW you would have to pay a State Mechanical Engineer of NSW $770 to become legal again. From here you can still drive anywhere in Australia providing the now NSW registration plate remains on the vehicle.
- Nothing on the vehicle would need to be changed. As this upgrade is Federally approved the job criteria & fitting instructions are the same in every state.
- If QLD changed the regulation to say GVM upgrades are no longer allowed this would not affect you. Although we are using a Queensland modification plate when we submit the paperwork to main roads we are stating that the upgrade has been carried out as per Second Stage Manufacturer (SSM) Federal approval number ####. This is basically us directing main roads to update their records with no questions asked.
- Post-registration certification costs are an additional $770.00 then pre-registration upgrades. This is the fee that a State Queensland Mechanical Engineer will charge for this. Do note that although it is only a blue modification plate the costs are substantially higher then any other modifications that you would do (for example a Long Range Fuel Tank plate). However the mechanical engineer must travel to site and physically inspect the upgraded vehicle (it cannot be done remotely anymore). There is also an inch of documents to be filled out!
- There is a very limited number of engineers that can certify these upgrades due to the extensive criteria that must be met
WHY DO VEHICLES REQUIRE BTC (BRAKED TOWING CAPACITY) UPGRADES?
The solution for owners/managers of Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series Wagon vehicles who have a need to tow to 4000kg (up from 3500kg standard Braked Towing Capacity), while at the same time meeting the practical and documentary compliance requirements of Work Safety, Police Licensing, Insurance, Lessors and Fleet Managers. This kit is complianced by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government and Federal Compliance kits come complete with a Second Stage Manufacturers compliance plate.
- Federal Compliance (pre-registration) and State Compliance (post-registration) BTC Upgrades can only be fitted to vehicles fitted with a Lovells 3800kg GVM Upgrade.
- Lovells BTC Upgrade tongue/hitch receiver/drop shank can only be attached to the Toyota OE Towbar and is not compliant for aftermarket tow bars.
I WANT TO ORDER A NEW CARAVAN - HOW DO I APPROACH THIS?
If you are considering purchasing a new caravan that you are intending on towing with your 200 series 4000kg BTC upgrade then here is some useful information: We often are emailing and contacting caravan manufacturers on behalf of our clients for this situation. We can liaise with your caravan manufacturer to provide them with all of the information & parts that they require to make the build a success straight out of the box. It is important to plan your build based around the vehicle BTC upgrade – else you may end up having to modify the caravan, recertify the caravan and you may end up with two sets of hitches, two sets of weight distribution bars etc.
I WANT TO TOW 4000KG BUT MY CARAVAN IS NOT RATED TO 4000KG
This should not be a problem and is a common request. Fair enough most people upgrade their towing capacity on the 200 series for insurance purposes to ensure all if above board. But what if your caravan is rated only to 3500kg? Most people have to upgrade the brake towing capacity on the Landcruiser 200 to 4000kg because the carvan is overloaded - often there is no solution but the brake towing upgrade as some caravans empty have been seen to weigh up to 3400kg. So why not see if you can maximise this investment? Upgrading the braked towing capacity is a sizable investment and it is a consideration made by many to upgrade the Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) to 4000kg also - in fact this is more of a recommendation rather then something to be considered. This generally speaking is possible. More information relating to Caravan ATM increase is available here.
I UPGRADED MY CARAVAN TO ATM 4000KG, BUT WHAT IF I WANT TO SELL IT ONE DAY?
If for example you have upgraded your caravan from 3500kg ATM to 4000kg then de-rating it back to 3500kg is not a problem at all. Unlike the upgrade there is much less work involved (some upgrades require suspension, axle and chassis changes. Essentially a QLD Transport modification plate stating the de-rate from 4000kg to 3500kg is all that is required. No further changes to the towing apparatus are needed – having over-rated components does not cause an issue to de-rate the ATM. Ofcourse the theory around doing this would be to increase the sales market - there are more vehicles that can tow 3500kg then 4000kg.
CARAVAN & CHASSIS MANUFACTUER INFORMATION
- The weight distribution bars are 30”
- The weight distribution bars are trunnion style / ‘t’ bars
- The weight distributions bars rated to 400kg tow ball weight
- The hitch is CNC machined by Yann Engineering and in the retail sector is known as the Hitch Ezy. It is important to note that the Lovells version of the Hitch Ezy is exclusively made for Lovells only.
- The hitch does not have a handbrake built it however it does come optioned with a handbrake lever that can be bolted under the back of the hitch. The handbrake labour to route cable etc is subject to be additional costs.
- Stage 1 kit maximum towing capacity is 4000kg with a ball weight of 350kg - manufactuers be sure to certify this as your build weights
- Stage 2 kit maximum towing capacity is 4000kg with a ball weight of 400kg - manufactuers be sure to certify this as your build weights
As every caravan and towing application is different it is advised to note the following - (the below points should only be possible if your towing apparatus has a standard coupling i.e. non-4x4/off-road);
Coupling mounting - Sometimes (our statistics show approximately 20% of the market) only four bolts of the new coupling will line up. All six bolts are required to be installed. The front two and rear two bolts will always line up as the bolt hole foot pattern is industry standard. However the two middle bolts may be different to what you currently have (if you have any at all). More than often the middle holes will just need to be drilled. However depending on your chassis setup will depend if any additional installation costs are involved. For example if the coupling mount has an upper and lower level the installation and welding of tube nuts will be required. Another example is if the middle holes obstruct with the inner section of the chassis on the a-frame.
Handbrake cable routing – Sometimes (our statistics show approximately 10% of the market) depending on where your old handbrake lever is positioned will depend on whether further modifications are required. For example the new lever may be higher than where your old lever was causing the cable to rub hard against the a-frame front support. If this occurs additional installation costs may be involved to weld an extension onto the cable mount.
Weight distribution hitch – Sometimes (our statistics show approximately 10% of the market) if where the clamp for the WDH cannot be installed due to something being in the way i.e. chassis design, jerry can holder, toolbox etc than additional costs may be involved. Additionally if your chassis is very tall, and the coupling mounting point is right up on top of the chassis (rather than sunk down between the a-frame) the weight distribution bars may foul on the chassis on full lock. This being said the general industry standard knowledge is that the WDH is recommended to be disconnected when going heavily lock-to-lock as this can bend the WDH clamps and WDH clamp chains.
Warranty – Lovells Suspension and Towing Kits
Coil Springs 5 year unlimited km
Leaf Springs 5 year unlimited km
Shock Absorbers 3 year/70.000km whichever occurs first
Suspension Components 2 year/40,000km whichever occurs first
Towing Components 2 year/40,000km whichever occurs first