Towing a Hustler float or gooseneck is one of the most exciting ways to transport your horse. However, towing any type of trailer involves more than attaching a towbar to your vehicle and hitching up. It adds another dimension to your driving and there are a number of considerations you should take into account. These include:
 

This is a guide only and may help to answer your questions regarding these issues. 
 
According to the Australian Design Rules, all trailers over 750kgs GTM (irrespective of the towing capacity or unladen mass of the tow vehicle) must have an effective brake system fitted. All brakes must be operable from the driver’s seat of the tow vehicle except for over-ride brakes.
 
  • 751-2,000kgs GTM: There must be a braking system on the wheels of at least one axle and over-ride brakes are permitted. However, for trailers exceeding 1000kgs, independent brakes (electric brakes are the most common form) are strongly recommended.
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  • Over 2,000kgs GTM: A brake system operating on all wheels is required. The system must be capable of automatically activating should the trailer become detached from the tow vehicle. Under these circumstances the brakes must remain applied for at least 15 minutes.These ‘break-away’ systems are compulsory on all trailers over 2,000kgs GTM.
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    Towing your Float
    The loaded mass of your trailer must not exceed:
    • the capacity of the towbar; or
    •the maximum towing mass specified by the tow vehicle’s manufacturer; or
    •the maximum ball weight specified by the tow vehicle’s manufacturer.
     
    Towing your Gooseneck
    The towing capacity of a vehicle (truck or ute) towing a 5th Wheeler (gooseneck) is calculated in a different way to that of towing a float. With a 5th wheeler the towball / hitch is located in the tray of the vehicle. Australian Design Rules dictate the type of hitch that must be used, which is required to be fitted by a qualified engineer.
     
    With a hitch in this position the tow vehicle can carry much more weight than it could if a trailer was connected to a tow ball as the fifth wheeler imposes (a great deal more of the mass) some 20% of the mass directly over or slightly in front of the towing vehicle’s rear axle. By so doing, pitching and snaking are all but eliminated.
     
    When calculating the towing capacity of a vehicle for a 5th wheeler the manufacturer’s weight ratings of the tow vehicle must not be exceeded by the trailer, specifically the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) and the Gross Combined Mass (GCM). For example if the GCM is 4.5 tonnes and the tow vehicle weighs 2.0 tonnes, then the maximum weight of the fully laden trailer must not exceed 2.5 tonnes.

    Whilst it is normal practice to have about 20% of the fifth wheeler’s weight carried by the towing vehicle, that weight must not exceed the legal carrying capacity of the tow vehicle, particularly not exceeding the carrying capacity of the tow-vehicles tyres nor the individual axle loading.

    Tare Mass
    The unladen weight of the trailer, this is the net weight of your trailer as delivered from the manufacturer (with no occupants, payload or after-market accessories), without water in the tanks or the gas bottles filled. This is located on the compliance plate for the trailer.
     
    ATM or GTM
    The maximum weight of a trailer is specified as either its Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) or Gross Trailer Mass (GTM).ATM is the combined weight of the trailer and its full load when it is not coupled to a tow vehicle.  GTM is the weight of the fully loaded trailer that is imposed on the trailer’s axle when it is coupled to the tow vehicle. GTM will always be less than ATM as some of the trailer weight is transferred to the tow vehicle when the trailer is coupled to it.
     
    GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass)
    The GVM is the maximum weight that a truck or ute can carry including its own weight. This is the maximum or total weight of a loaded vehicle (including body, payload, fuel and driver). It is a figure set by the manufacturer and is lodged with registration authorities and governs all applications and is stamped on the compliance plate of the vehicle (also referred to as GVW or Gross Vehicle Weight).
     
    GCM (Gross Combined Mass)
    A vehicle's GCM is a specific weight determined by the manufacturer to be the maximum weight of a loaded tow vehicle and its attached loaded trailer. The total combined weight of the tow vehicle and trailer should never exceed the manufacturer's listed GCM.
     
     
    The Driver
    Apart from adding to the driver's legal responsibilities, towing requires a greater degree of knowledge and skill than normal driving. When towing, you should:
    •allow for the extra length and width of the trailer when entering traffic;
    •apply the accelerator, brakes and steering smoothly and gently to avoid sway, especially in wet or slippery conditions;
    •maintain a space of at least 60 metres between you and the vehicle in front to allow for a longer stopping distance;
    • engage a lower gear in both manual and automatic vehicles to increase vehicle control and reduce brake strain when travelling downhill;
    •allow more time and a greater distance in which to overtake. When towing, your vehicle's capacity to accelerate is reduced;
    •if possible, reverse with a person watching the rear of the trailer;
    •where areas are provided, pull off the road to allow traffic building up behind you to overtake;
    •be aware that towing is more stressful than normal driving and is more likely to cause fatigue. Therefore, more rest stops should be planned.
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