Show us ya wheels! Float and towing vehicle reviews.

Discussion in 'Horse and Rider Safety' started by GoneRama, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    Rightio. Given the steady amount of threads popping up asking about which float to buy, which vehicle to tow with, angle or straight etc etc I thought it would be an idea to collaborate all this info into one easy to find thread.

    So come on people.......SHOW US YA WHEELS!!!

    Tell us what you've got and why you bought it. If you had the chance to do it again what would you change on your float/car? Any modifications you considered necessary? If you had a bigger budget what would you have got instead? Pros and cons of what you bought. Photos are highly desirable of course.

    For those who are in the wonderful joyous process of researching and purchasing a float or tow vehicle then go ahead, ask your questions whether it be about flooring options, braking systems or what colour you should get. The only stupid question is one not asked so ask away.

  2. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    The Hand Bag and Boot 'n' All!

    Hey GoneRama I had to wait until daylight to take some photos.

    The Hand Bag (I thought they were called Prada's not Prado's!!).


    Boots 'n' All


    My float is a total rebuild. Inside it has thick removable bolts on everything that can be belted out with a hammer to completely gut it should you need to. My husband welded me up the flat bar cradles on the side and front after I complained I needed an extended float to carry feed and water!! I can carry 120litres of water and a compressed bale of oaten hay fit snug in the cradle over the drawbar. The front cradle is also useful for carrying home horsepoo in bags as sometimes we have to take our manure home. Inside it has a welded up mesh 'bed' that is removable that I can put my swag on so I don't have to sleep on the floor of the float.
  3. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    Yay! Go the Prado's!!! Just waiting for photobucket to do it's thing then I'll be uploading pics of mine but in the meantime.....

    The Float!

    At this point in time I haven't got it rather it's in the process of being built. After months of researching I went for a Nandor Barcoo. It's extended to 3.7m internal with a tack box with external access and swing out saddle rack. It has open sides for ventilation which is necessary up here in the tropics. I've upgraded the suspension to rocker roller for the rough roads I have to travel. They are putting the roof they usually put on one of their other floats onto mine because it's taller thus will add height without too much extra weight.

    All Australian made.

    Lifetime warranty on all they manufacture (so would exclude things like suspension and brakes but includes anything they cut and weld themselves).

    CCA Treated Floor
    Nandor use a floor that has been treated with Copper Chromium Arsenate, same stuff which is used to make treated pine posts and extends the life of the wood by about 30 years or so. We've got humungous termite mounds up here. OH has a cage on the back of his ute with a wooden lining in the roof which termites have had the time of their lives in. With this in mind CCA treatment was no longer an option, it was a must and as Nandor are the only company I've come across who use this floor well the decision was easy.

    Anti Scramble Bars
    Not sure if I need these, they weren't a selling factor for me for this float and I may take to them with an angle grinder if I feel they're not necessary. However I'm keen to have a look and see how they go.

    Sunraysia Rims
    I read somewhere that the normal pressed tin rims (I think they call them) which you can put a fancy looking cover over are only rated to about 450kgs weight bearing each. Sunraysias are rated to about 900kgs per rim and with rough roads to travel I need my float to be travelling on the strongest rims possible. A lot of float companies I am very happy to see are including Sunraysias as standard these days. They also look pretty snazzy IMHO.

    High tensile gal steel walls
    I have a tidal river to cross which means my float will be exposed and partially immersed in salt water from time to time. Add some humidity to this mixture and it's the perfect conditions for rust.

    Haven't found too many yet as I haven't seen my float in the flesh (will do in May though :D) but will certainly report back here once I've used it a few times. However one con I have found, which doesn't bother me really, is that they do have a back leg on the centre divider which for some people this can mean the difference between purchasing the float and not. For me, it's not as much of a concern as other structural components such as the floor and ventilation. I'm sure though if you were to get one of these floats custom built you would be able to request to not have the leg at the back of the centre divider.

    Head divider is not standard. I found this little beauty out when I was at home and checking out a mates new float and she mentioned that she had to get the head divider added as an extra. As soon as I got home I was on the phone to Nandor and for a little bit extra $$$ I had a head divider going in. Not a major issue but something to be aware of if you're going to buy a brand new float.

    They are located in Brisbane and don't have agents all over the country side.
  4. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    Yeah it is such a big thing buying another float. I hunted around for ages and nearly bought an Olympic but got cold feet because it was overkill for what I wanted and what I wanted to spend.

    I prefer a simple kind of rig because I usually travel on my own everywhere so don't want to much complication as such. The big thing for me was being able to take the centre piece etc out on my own if my horse went down. As long as I have a gympie handy I reckon I have the best chance now of dismantling it.

    Being where you are you may need to look at how much water and feed you can carry with two horses on. The other thing for me is I sleep in my float so I got the metal 'bed' welded up. This also means I can have gear loaded on top of it during travel if I only have one horse on. I can take enough feed for over a week which is good for trekking without having an extended float.

    Good idea for you to put the rocker roller in. Good idea for gally walls and anti termite. Mine are gally with marine ply on the inside to try and counteract being wet. Can't say about the scramble bars as I have never used them.

    The other thing is storm doors. Have you got storm doors? I know everyone didn't use their up north. A lot had what I have which is custom made canvas you can roll back. That way you don't have extra weight but can still water tight it up.
  5. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    The Car

    Toyota Landcruiser Prado GX 2003 model, diesel, manual and looks to be the newer version of GTDs wheels. I bought it in March 2009 with 148 000ks on it and it looks something like this after coming off 400ks of corrugated road in the desert (yay, pic taken 5 minutes after completing that b***h of a road for the last time WOOOHOOO)........


    and this...........................
    ..... after I've been having some fun :D

    and it looked like this about 2 minutes after coming into contact with a full grown bull camel in the desert (stupidly lucky we were that day!)

    * I love it, the dogs love it, the OH loves it, my parents love it (bought one of their own after hooning mine around Central Oz for a week!) and anyone that has ever travelled in it has grown to like/love it as well.

    *It is easy to park and you don't feel like you're driving a large car. It is supremely comfortable which is one of the main reasons I bought it as, at the time, we were living 500ks west of Alice Springs with the most horrendous roads to travel on.

    *It handles beautifully both on and off road.

    *We did upgrade the suspension which lifted it another 2 inches and made it soo much better on and off road.

    * It swims rather well through 700mm deep water.

    * I've done one trip to Darwin and back with the float and it handled it brilliantly and it's the vehicle I'll be taking to pick up the new float in Brisbane.

    The bullbar vibrates/rattles like you would not believe! In the first pic you can see the brackets for a set of spotlights which snapped off on my last trip out to Kintore. The HID spotlights I had on it have a RRP of around about $1200 for the pair and the rough road combined with the rattling bull bar took it's toll on these lights and by the time I got to Kintore they were hanging by the wires. We exchanged them for another set which didn't fair much better. We're now looking at an LED light bar for the front of it! Many people can do without spotties but we can't as we need to be able to see as far we can down the road. They saved us one night when we were able to see a paralysed buffalo on the road far enough ahead to give us time to slow down and move around him.

    I can thoroughly recommend the Prado :)*
  6. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    I haven't got storm doors or any sort of closing system on the back or over the open sided ventilation bits because the float was costing me enough as it was without adding those on and it's something I can get made up later the way I want it. I didn't even go for padding on the sides or the centre divider as that too is something that would have added to the final price and something that I can get made up in Darwin if I feel that I need it which I probably won't.

    What I intend on doing with the back and side curtains for the float is getting it double layered with zips. One layer will be sandfly proof mesh and the outer layer will be waterproof vinyl or canvas so that when we do camp in it we can roll the canvas up and still have air flow without the added joy of bugs and mozzies! I'll get this done before next wet season so I can use it as a feed storage area.

    I most certainly did purchase it with camping away with horses in mind. Every time I use the float I'll be overnighting somewhere hence why I wanted/needed the tack box in the front. I can put all my horsey stuff in the float and keep it out of the car so that if we're in Darwin we can unhook the float and drive away without having to worry about moving saddlery. It is also going to be my tack room down at the station so I can get the horsey stuff out of the house and don't have to worry about loading and unloading the car every time I want to go for a ride.

    If I need to go anywhere for an extended period of time then I'll take the ute so I can put feed in the back of that. At this point in time I don't need to worry about taking two horses with me but if I did, well yeah, I'll take the ute. We can't take hay through Kakadu National Park so I use hay cubes which come in bags and take up less room than hay so I'll be able to put a bag or two in the tack box anyway.

    By the way... what is a gympie?!
  7. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    A gympie hahahaha!!! It is like a girls version of a sledge hammer handy for all sorts of things from knocking star pickets into the ground to euthansing small badly injured animals, you may have accidently run over, in the middle of nowhere:(. That and my big fencing wirecutters are always in the back of my car. You probably have one but call it something different.

    By the way I am really pleased with my Prado too. Mine gets nowhere near a hiding like yours but it pulls the float well and I haven't got bogged in it camping so far. It was a really big thing for me to buy another car too so I am pleased it worked out well. I hate buying new anything I get set so much in my ways. I cried when I handed over my old ute to the salesman to trade it in on the Prado. Poor guy, he thought I was nuts. My old commodore ute had been all over the norwest and had never let me down, I had her for six years and we had the best fun together. From jumping cattle grids in her out at Gascoyne, we did circle work on the Derby marsh and going places we should never have got into with a two wheel drive. I still miss her.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
  8. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    Ahhhh ha! Yes, hammers are rather useful little devises as are pliers and a good sharp knife. A basic tool kit is also a must, we are chicks but doesn't mean we can't learn basic mechanical procedures.

    Yes, your Prado probably gets looked after! Don't get me wrong so does mine (it gets oil in it that costs about $50 for 10 litres!) but I bought it for a purpose and it does that like a charm. Hehehe I was going to sell it when it got to 180 000 ks which it's just clocked up but it's got stories now, just like your Commodore and I reckon I'd cry if I had to part with it :eek:
  9. MINTY

    MINTY Active Member

    We have a 2010 200 series Toyota Landcruiser V8 diesel love love love it :) towes well is very economical and best of all it's comfortable (we bought this car to tow our boat which weight 3.2t). We also have a 2004 100 series Toyota Landcruiser slow 4ltr diesel towes well but chews through the fuel.
    My float is a 2 horse angle Imperial bought this in 2008 I went with the angle because my big boy travels better and there is more room to put feed and water etc when we travel.
  10. cleo

    cleo Well-known Member

    Do you Prado owners have a problem with not being able to open the back door(on the car) once the float is hooked up?
  11. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    Depends upon the float and length of the drawbar. The PBL that I took to Darwin I didn't have any dramas with. I haven't towed enough with my Prado yet but give me a few months and I'll be able to answer that one a bit better after I have towed my float 3500ks back from Brisbane with the Prado.
  12. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    Here's ours
    2007 Holden Rodeo, manual diesel and a refurbished from the ground up Kalpakoff straight load double.
    Love being able to stash a HUGE amount of stuff in the ute (extended chassis, tray and canopy are huge). The tray is long enough for me to sleep in it when I go away to rides on my own. The kids sleep in it when we all go and OH and I have a little tent.
    We extended the float at the front and added the HUGE front door. Like GTD I needed extra stuff but didn't want to spend the $$$ in buying a new one with fancy bits I didn't need.
    The horses love the float as it is so light, it tiws really well (OH was very keen to get independent suspension and now I can see why).
    What would I do different?
    In an ideal world we'd tow with an F250 dual cab! Just have to win lotto first. And the float could be 1500mm longer at the front. All a moot point now though as we have to figure out a way of upgrading to tow 4 horses without bankrupting ourselves!
  13. RustyRidge Clydesdales

    RustyRidge Clydesdales Well-known Member

    We have a F250 which we bought in Sept from QLD and drove home it is dark blue and just lovely!! And the float is a Titan Avalanche 3 horse step up which I love and the horses love being able to step in rather than the ramps. And all set up for camping :D
  14. Dashbabe

    Dashbabe Well-known Member

    We have a 2 horse wide body extended imperial, since october 2009 :)
    In our search we tried to contact alot of float companys but alot didnt get back to us, including rowville/tender deluxe which we would have loved. We are happy with the imperial even if it was terribly hard to attatch decent yards too! Glad we went for the big float because my horse only just fits in haha and hes not massive at 16.2h. Curently having a few diffuculties attatching a water pump and tank to it, and the pegs on the person access doors are always loosening


    We tow it will a v8 2005 jeep cherokee laredo and love it, besides when it has a hissy about us getting it up at 5am to tow a float. Otherwise it has been good
  15. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    **Drool** Sounds sooooooo nice but with Clydies you would need an F250 minimum to tow even one of them.

    Funny how this post popped up after AnnaE said she would ideally love an F250 but they'd have to win lotto first :p

    Yes I think my ultimate tow rig would be an F250, mate of ours in Alice Springs has one that he hooks a 3 horse gooseneck up to and flies up the Stuart Highway to Katherine for events. Apparently it does 120kmph fully loaded no worries and the fuel usage isn't any different to what it is when it's empty. One day my pretties I will have one!
  16. GoneRama

    GoneRama Gold Member

    By the way AnnaE I love that big front door on your float! Any particular reason to putting that in?

    I daresay if you've got a bit of a problem horse you can always walk them forward out the front of it or open it up to encourage a nervous horse into it when you're loading.
  17. RubyLou

    RubyLou Active Member

    Well I have got a Olympic Regal Float a 2006 model that I picked up second hand mid way through last year. I love it and my horse travels well in it. There are some modifications I want to make to it like putting in a roof vent and getting some yards made for it. But hoping my dad will do all that for me he is pretty clever with a welder!! :D It is a basic model but it has everything I need and it is very safe for my horse to travel in it. But if I had a couple more thousand I would have got an extended front one.
    But not to worry cause I tow it with a 2007 Mazda BT50 diesel manual dual cab ute and that has more than enough room for me and my stuff!!
    The ute tows the float really well and has plenty of guts to get up the hills and is quite economical when towing. I love my little outfit and it is very adequate for me and my one horse. As I go everywhere by myself it is reliable and I feel safe driving and towing it. :D

    Here is a pic of my wheels when me and a friend went for a long weekend trail ride down south last year. Slept in the float and had a couple of really good sleeps in it!! Ignore the idiot on the horse!!! :p

  18. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    Yeah I do Cleo but I have cable tied foam over the float hitch to protect my car. It doesn't particularly bother me with how I pack my car for events. Rubylou I recognise that rig and I think I know where you took the photo!!

    AnnaE is the big door new since Wagin? I can't remember it being like that. It looks fantastic.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
  19. RubyLou

    RubyLou Active Member

    [ Rubylou I recognise that rig and I think I know where you took the photo!!

    Haha I hope you recognise where the photo was taken since I met you that weekend!! We are hoping to go down again this year as well. Hope to see ya there and maybe at the Wagin endurance ride if you are going to either of those :)

    Just on the prado question. I use to own a 2007 prado and I towed a float with it a few times and I had no trouble with the back door banging on the tow hitch. I loved loved my prado it was a lovely vehicle but as it was petrol it wasn't much good for towing chewed through the juice. I miss it but the BT 50 is a bit easier on the hip pocket when I go travelling!! Would definately get a diesel Prado though :)*
  20. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    Rubylou I am going to Western Ranches campover in May and will probably do Wagin so I definately hope to catch up! Can't wait to see your gorgeous girl again.

    My Prado is the Deisel Turbo and it seems OK on fuel but I am hopeless with working out fuel economy after living up North and paying megabucks for fuel. It always seems cheap to me down here!

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