Fourtrak for towing - help!


Hi Folks, I'm totally new to 4x4 things and have been jolly pleased to read so much helpful stuff here. I need to buy a cheap (sub£2.5k) vehicle to tow a 3.5 tonne exhibition trailer that is 7m long. This is a drawbar trailer with four wheels and will have an actual weight quite close to 3.5 tonnes when loaded. I have researched carefully all the VOSA and DVLA regulations and I'll be using a tacho etc. Question is: what vehicle? All the exhibition people say go for Landrover Discovery, but reading up tells me that these are full of issues. The Fourtrak, on the other hand looks like a really good vehicle - but is it really capable of towing such a large trailer? I have seen posts referring to wobbling about at speeds above 30mph, with other people saying that the short wheelbase is too short. I will never need to go offroad and will not need to drive huge distances (typical run might be 40-50 miles on main roads). Any advice or thoughts would be very much appreciated - especially as I may have to source and buy one before Xmas!

Belive the Disco has a

Belive the Disco has a towing rating of 2.5 tonn? The Fourtrak will do the job no bother. The long wheel base will do a slightly better job of towing. For some reason Daihatsu 4x4's seem to like being loaded with the weight towards the front of the trailer. More so than most cars. Loaded wrong they will let go big time at about 40mph. If you only want it for towing I would suggest finding a van with the requiset towing waight. I love my Daihatsu's, but if I only wanted it for towing I would not bye any 4x4 due to running costs. Towing a trailer of that size will bring your fuel consumption well down into the teens, if not lower...

Any veiws expresed in this thread by me are purely from my own experience, and (sometimes) falible memory. Hope my comments help, but please don't take them as gospel.

Any veiws expresed in this thread by me are purely from my own experience, and (sometimes) falible memory. Hope my comments help, but please don't take them as gospel.

currently i run a f reg

currently i run a f reg fourtrak and a h reg 200tdi disco, in the past ive towed with transit sized vans... the 4x4 are easier to reverse with... you can see where the trailer is going cos youve got rear windows, its virtually immpossible to reverse into an opening on the left with a van and trailer, i also use low range for reversing .. going slower without riding the clutch makes it a lot easier.

our fourtrak has leafsprings so is a harsher ride than the disco... disco has more interior space and ours has four doors , which passengers prefer and its got advantages when using the loadspace with the seats folded... disco also has the optional roofrails and easily fitted/removed crossbars, which normally live under the rear the disco is a bit wider you can see better past a wide trailer with the standard wing mirrors
old discos rust... the later ones (later 300 tdi and esp td5 )suffer from electrical gremlins, if you beleive what you read on the forums...
.theres a lot of discos out there so long term parts availability is likely to be better.
the missus prefers to drive the fourtrack cos it appears to be "less of a tank"..... but if i had to tow a trailer any distance id take the disco rather than the leaf sprung fourtrak. but ive never been in a later coil sprung fourtrak.
i dont think fuel consumption is an issue, whatever you tow that size of trailer with... 4x4 or large van your looking at 2 to 3 litre diesel and what 5 tonnes or so non is going to be getting economy records

disco towing limits

just looked in the landrover disco 200tdi manual
towing limit for a normal overrun braked trailer is 3500 kg
(i beleive later models are the same..300tdi certainly is)
so same as a fourtrak

just looked at ebay ... there are 15 fourtraks listed... over 1000 discos...... does look like fourtraks are fast becoming extinct

Land Rover have many

Land Rover have many reliability problems and dealers unwilling to help in resolving them, this is why people are moving to other manufacturers.

Daihatsu Fourtraks will eat this weight for towing, many i know often tow considerably more off road. As with any vehicle it is pretty down to how you load the trailer and spread the load, all vehicles vary, so it will invlve a little trial and error.

Fourtraks great strengths are their strength, durability, and reliability, something many others do not posess, this makes them a favourite as working vehicles. You will sacrifice comfort and gadgets when you compare them to a newer or more upmarket vehicle, so it is a matter of balancing your needs and requirements. Buying a good Fourtrak is essential, they are much cheaper to run then most, considerably reliable, but are getting on in years now. If you do go for a Fourtrak i would suggest spending a little money on it to ensure it is well serviced, and the body and underside are cleaned and well protected. It will lastfor many years with nothing more than routine servicing.

Many thanks

Thanks all for some helpful comments. Yes the Discoveries are all rated as 3,500kg towing capacity, same as the Fourtrak. I'm considering a 2.8 TDL Independent, 1999, long wheelbase - quite tempted to go for it. I'm sure that there will be mechanical issues eventually, I'm just not sure I want to pay for the Landrover badge as much as the vehicle!

Drawbar trailer.

when you say 'dawbar trailer with four wheels' do you mean the trailer has axles either end with a steering front axle on an A frame? If so does this trailer put any weight on the towball? What sort of brakes does it have, over run or air actuated. The Indy will easily pull a 3.5 ton trailer but if the trailer doesn't load the towbar I would seriously consider carrying at least a couple of hundred Kilos of ballast over the rear axle to help with handling and especially braking. under braking a conventional trailer will load the rear axle due to the dynamic forces of the deceleration as the weight will move forward around the central axles and compress the back of the car, with a drawbar trailer the front axle will carry all this force applying none of it to the car. A true drawbar trailer will tow with much less tendancy to wag if loaded badly as this is generally caused by the majority of the weight being behind the central axles and causing a pendulem effect in the trailer. Over the last 3 years I have towed my 6.5 metre twin axle flatbed trailer all over the country with stuff on it ranging from several fourtraks and Sportraks to a Hilux and 2 tons of crated motorcycles without any problem behind my short wheelbase soft top non turbo '90 fourtrak, not overly quickly but even loaded it will hold 50 on a motorway and with a well loaded trailer has never felt at all unstable. The ultimate towing machine if you can find one for the price with a service history however would be the 80 series Toyota landcruiser, at well over 2 tons and with the 4.2 turbo diesel and permanant four wheel drive it will play with your trailer and be way more reliable and therefore in the long term more economical than a typical disco.
Best regards

Ah, some mechanics...

Thanks Dogsboss - I think this is a drawbar trailer but I will check ( I haven't yet bought it). It has two axles, front and rear, with the front axle turnable and on an A frame. I'm not sure if there is much weight loaded on this axle and one other issue might be that if the trailer itself is close to 3.5 tonnes I'll have to be careful to add any of my extra load towards the rear. I'm grateful for this head up though and I'll start checking about the physics/mechanics of loading and braking. My understanding is that it has overrun brakes and that in its previous life with a professional exhibition company it was always towed by a Landrover Discovery.