An Update As Of 11 June 2018
As of the 1st of June, 2018, 1 day after my visit to Bam Garage, all GCM upgrades have been put on hold. This means that Pre and Post registration GCM upgrades are, at this stage, no longer available. This does not effect a GVM upgrade. These are still available. Any GCM upgrades that have been completed or started before this date are still ok and won’t be affected, and your upgraded GCM will be recognised. It seems that the hold will be upgraded to “no longer available” on the 1st of July. Graeme from Bam Garage is going to ring with any news as he gets it, so we can keep you all in the loop.
We have been thinking about getting a GVM and GCM Upgrade for our BT50 for quite awhile now. With the arrival of our new NextGen caravan fast approaching, it has become more apparent that we need to upgrade the OEM (Original Equipment from Manufacturer) suspension system under our BT50.
In its standard form it really doesn’t cope very well with the 6000kg GCM (Gross Combination Mass) that it is rated at. It rides fantastically when empty. We have a constant load now of about 600kg. This has settled the BT down a bit and you can certainly notice the difference when it sits next to a standard BT50 in a car park. So we have decided that it is definitely time for a GVM and GCM Upgrade.
So Where Do We Start??
After a few months of research and phone calls a thread popped up in our Facebook group, Planning a Lap of Australia with quite a few good comments about Bam Garage here in Brisbane. I did the usual thing and Googled them to find out what services they had to offer in the way of a GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) upgrade for our 4X4. They use the Lovells Springs GVM upgrade package as it is the only one currently set up to offer a GCM upgrade. The package allows us to combine the upgraded 3500kg GVM and the BT’s 3500kg towing capacity to give us a 7000kg GCM.
WOW!! I Need To Visit Bam Garage
Better go for a drive. I spent an hour or so with Graeme at BAM Garage and learnt a bit more about the GCM upgrade service they offer utilising the Lovells Springs components. I was very impressed by the facilities and Graeme’s willingness to help me with my knowledge search. He walked me through the whole process as we wandered around a Ford Ranger that had just been kitted out for the GCM upgrade.
So! How Do We Do This??
They like to have your vehicle for 2 days. He explained that the whole process can be done in a day, but they would rather do it over 2 so as the job isn’t rushed and if they come across a worn out part, they have the time to source and replace the item. We had a look at the 4 new plates and stickers to be attached to the vehicle and what they were all for. He also stressed the importance of a follow up visit about 500 – 1000k’s after picking up your vehicle. This allows the boys to re-tension the U-Bolts over the diff. They also run over every other nut and bolt that they loosened and tightened during the upgrade.
OK, So How Much and What Do We Get??
* New modification plate for GVM upgrade fitted to vehicle.
* Sticker stating vehicles new Max Axle Load rating.
* All paperwork associated with the upgrade, and paperwork for Qld Transport to alter your Rego papers.
When Should We Get This Done??
When is the ideal time to get this done? It is before you register your new car. If this whole process is completed pre-rego then it is recognised nationally. This means there is no hassle if you need to register the vehicle in another state. If the upgrade is done post first rego then it is only state based. The GVM modification plate is only state issued, so you lose your GVM upgrade if you move states. This means that the GVM and GCM return to standard. If you want to register the vehicle in another state, and keep your new GVM then you will need another engineers certificate and modification plate for that state. When you have a state modification plate for the upgraded GVM, then you get the GCM upgrade back with it. The modification plate from your last state is left on the vehicle.
Do I Need a Brake Upgrade??
With todays late model vehicles, a brake upgrade is your choice. The guys at Bam Garage will do it for you if you would like it done. Graeme did say that brakes on our tow vehicles these days are quite capable up to the GVM upgrade. As for the 7000kg GCM, your van/trailers brakes should be capable of braking the trailers mass. So with the two sets of brakes working together through a well set up brake controller, there really is no need for a brake upgrade. They do offer this service, and they will do a brake inertia test before the GVM upgrade. This will give an indication of the capabilities of the tow vehicles braking system.
The tyres fitted to your vehicle need to have a Load Index of at least 110 for this GVM upgrade to be fitted to your vehicle. Graeme pointed out that the Ford Ranger Wildtrak with its 18inch wheels has a Load Index lower than 110. This means that you may also need a new set of tyres to be able to fit this upgrade.
If you think your vehicle might need a GVM and GCM Upgrade, give the guys at Bam Garage a call. You will find them super helpful and very knowledgeable. Don’t forget to tell them All Around Oz sent you!
If you’re not sure why your vehicle might need a GVM and GCM Upgrade or are un-familiar with these terms read our post on Weight Abbreviations and what they mean when towing.