IsDons articles and blog

A new truck and new method of connecting to the van

Category: My second slide-on campervan. Published: 10 Apr 2011

A change is needed

After some time I found that the van was too heavy for the truck. Once again I had to make a decision about the type of van that would best suit my lifestyle. The options were:

  • New van
  • New truck
  • New truck and van
  • Get the truck 'adjusted' so that it will handle the weight.

After lots of Internet research and phone calls I finally decided the best option was to have an extra axle installed under the van. There were several options for doing this and I decided the best was the Quick Hitch System.

A new truck

Truck before conversion.

Truck before conversion.

I found that the land cruiser could not be converted because of its age so I also needed to purchase a new vehicle. More investigations into the different makes and models and petrol versus diesel.

Toyota seems to be the most popular, for a number of reasons, including availability of parts in remote areas.

Petrol and diesel seem to both have their advantages and disadvantages, but on balance diesel seems to be the best option.

I eventually decided on a 2007 Toyota Hilux.

Three configurations

With this conversion I now have three options, or configurations for the van and vehicle.

A six-wheel motorhome.

A six-wheel motorhome.

Configuration 1

Van on the back of the truck and I have a six-wheel motorhome. This is how it will be when I'm actually travelling.  The extra set of wheels makes the whole thing significantly more stable. This combination also provides me with more power than I had before - the truck sits comfortably on a higher speed than the land cruiser did.

Separate van from truck.

Separate van from truck.

Truck separated from van.

Truck separated from van.

Configuration 2

Separate the truck and leave the van on the extra axle.

Having the set of wheels under the van also provides extra support for the floor of the van. The only disadvantage to this is that I can't lower the van all the way to the ground, but this is only a very minor problem - although it does become an issue in some caravan parks that have raised concrete slabs on their sites.

With a short tray this provides the freedom to drive around in what is basically a car. Being able to have a dual cab is also an advantage.

Van completely separated.

Van completely separated.

The full length truck.

The full length truck.

Configuration 3

Take the van off completely and lower it to the ground. The truck becomes a long-tray, six-wheeler.  It's unlikely that I'll ever use this option, but it's there if I want or need it.

Quick Hitch System

The Quick Hitch System is not towing like a caravan and not carrying the load like with a slide on - it is something in between.

There are two sections:

  • A male section with two guide rails and a locking latch, which is connected to the chassis of the vehicle.
  • A female taper system, which is attached to the base of the detachable tray unit.

To connect, the vehicle is reversed under the unit, once the unit reaches the first stage a key is turned which activates the locking system. The vehicle is put into neutral and is pulled under the connecting unit guided by the male and female tapers until the two are firmly coupled. The jacks are then raised, the electrical plug is connected and the motorhome can be driven away.

This system increases the load capacity of the vehicle by about 1000 kg and is currently only done in Tasmania.

More information is at external link - this system was also on the ABC's New Inventors external link.

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