GVM / BTC Upgrades – what are they and why are ...

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GVM / BTC Upgrades – what are they and why are they important?

GVM / BTC Upgrades – what are they and why are they important?







There has been a lot of talks lately about GVM upgrades and BTC upgrades. 


If you found yourself googling gvm meaning, what is gvm, what does gvm meangvm weight, gcm meaning, gvm weight v tare weight, what is gross vehicle mass and the list can go on forever, well...you are not alone!


Let’s clear up some of the confusion with terminology and explain some of the options we have available here at All Four x 4 Spares



First, let's define them:



GVM: Gross Vehicle Mass

The GVM of a motor vehicle means the maximum loaded mass of the vehicle. This is the most the vehicle is allowed to weigh overall, under any circumstances. This includes everything, so minus your kerb weight from your GVM to find out your payloads.


GCM: Gross Combination Mass

The GCM of a motor vehicle means the greatest possible sum of the maximum loaded mass of the motor vehicle and of any vehicles that may lawfully be towed by it at one time. This is an important one if you’re towing. Aside from the GVM and trailer ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass), GCM sits atop it all.


BTC: Braked Towing Capacity 

The BTC of a vehicle is the maximum loaded mass of a braked trailer/caravan which can be towed by the vehicle


Tare Weight: 

is your vehicle as it rolled off the showroom floor, full of fluids and ten litres of fuel. Sometimes it includes a 75kg driver, sometimes it doesn’t.


Kerb Weight:

This is your real-world weight, as if it’s parked on the kerb and ready to drive. This includes accessories and other inclusions, plus a full tank of fuel. Want to know your kerb weight? Then get yourself to a weighbridge.



Is your 4X4 Overloaded?



Let’s look at two examples,Toyota 150 Series Prado and 200 Series LandCruiser:



  LandCruiser 200 GXL Prado 150 GXL
Tare Weight 2,630kg 2,235kg
Kerb Weight 2,740kg 2,315kg
GVM 3,300kg 3,000kg
Payload 560kg 685kg
Braked Towing Capacity 3,500kg 2,500kg
GCM 6,800kg 5,500kg




So, is your payload always going to be enough? If you’re dawdling around town with a couple of passengers, you’ll be fine. But if you’re going to fit some common modifications and tow some decent loads, then you might run into trouble.




Think about your passengers


Now, don’t go putting everyone on the scales before stepping into the car. You might lose all of your friends. But, this point is worth thinking about. Think about travelling with five adults, which could easily account for up to 500kg of mass. Throw in a few accessories, and you could be teetering on the edge…





Think about your accessories


Everyone wants the tricked-out touring rig that has all of the bells and whistles, but don’t forget they all add kilos.


Your biggest culprits are obviously barwork: bullbars, roof racks and other bolt-on steel all add significant weight. Drawers, fridges and slides are also big ones, plus things like recovery gear, compressors and tools that live in your car full-time. Don’t forget, everything adds up.


On top of this, there are plenty of hidden weights you’ll probably overlook. If you’ve fitted tyres with a light-truck construction, that’s good news. They’re stronger and more puncture-resistant, but they will also weigh a bit more. So will fade-resistant heavy-duty aftermarket springs and shocks.


Our best advice is to take your 4X4 over a weighbridge, to really know what your 4WD weighs. We have got a weighbridge in our Kotara workshop, give us a call on 02 4041 4003 and we can help you out



Some examples of typical weights of accessories include:


Where maximum loaded mass is mentioned above this includes accessories (bullbar, roof racks, long range fuel tanks, recovery gear, custom tradesman rear tray, etc.), tools, passengers, camping gear, food, fuel, water and equipment – everything!





Why do we need to think about these factors?


Most people would understand there are weight limits with regards to how much your vehicle can carry and tow. The average driver in the average situation will not approach these limits. However, it is quite easy to approach or exceed them


Vehicle manufacturers don’t always play it straight when quoting vehicle weights. They are trying to sell cars and so will quote the most favourable numbers they can to sell their vehicles. Often the manufacturers stated unladen weight does not take into account simple things like dealer fitted accessories and a full fuel load which individually may not weigh a great deal, but combined can add up.


Like we discovered, try and add a couple of aftermarket accessories like a winch, long range fuel tank, roof rack etc., plus five adults and you can very quickly approach or even exceed the GVM


Trade vehicles can also be particularly susceptible to this when adding things like custom cabinet style tray backs on a cab chassis vehicle, and tools – they can add up very quickly. Throw some building supplies in the mix (a couple of bags of sand and cement wouldn’t hurt, would it?) and again you could easily find yourself exceeding GVM


Add these factors together, and you would be surprised by how many vehicles driving on the road today that would be very close to, or exceeding, their GVM





So what?


Well, there are good reasons GVM limits exist, and just as good a reasons to have it increased on your vehicle OFFICIALLY!


Most important is safe and controllable vehicle handling, especially in emergency situations. Ever tried to change lanes in a hurry with a loaded-up vehicle? Especially if you have something on the roof, the lurch and sway can range from scary to outright dangerous


While investigating a claim, insurance companies often look at vehicle loading to determine if there have been any breaches of legislation. If it means they won’t need to pay out a claim, they are going to examine it closely, and they do!


Manage a fleet of vehicles for your company? To protect businesses and managers from breaches of occupational health and safety a GVM increase can provide that bit of extra cover for situations that otherwise maybe pushing the limits.


Some employees don’t always do the right thing, so again having a margin of error to allow for instances of overloading can provide a safety factor which wouldn’t ordinarily exist.


The RMS (here in NSW) and State Police actively monitor our roads and highways, and overloaded vehicles are on their radar. There are stories doing the rounds which describe holidaymakers being pulled over for a weight check only to find their vehicle is over the manufacturers GVM limit and are unable to continue their journey unless a tow is arranged or if they leave some heavier possessions on the side of the road to reduce weight




Our GVM upgrade partner - Lovells Springs - holds Compliance Plate Approvals as a Second Stage Manufacturer (SSM) of GVM upgrades for several makes of vehicle including:


  • Toyota 
  • Nissan 
  • Ford 
  • Isuzu 
  • Mazda


They are steadily expanding the range of vehicles for which they offer this upgrade.


But a comprehensive vehicle list can be found in our Lovell Spring promotional page, take a look at it here


Lovells Springs logo






All Four x 4 Spares has been assessed by the SSM, and we have been registered with the Federal Department of Transport and Regional Services as a Production Facility.


This allows us to supply, fit, obtain engineering approval and submit paperwork to the relevant agencies to have your vehicles GVM officially increased. 


Do you need help on your vehicle? 


CALL US on: 02 4041 4001 




EMAIL US at: new.parts@allfourx4.com.au





The following table shows the vehicles we can currently install GVM upgrade kits to. This list is ever growing, so if your vehicle is not shown, please contact us as something may have recently become available




Original GVM (kg)

New GVM (kg)

New GCM (kg)



Toyota Landcruiser VDJ76 Wagon 2007 to 2016


3000 3660 7160 Pre 5 Star ANCAP


Toyota Landcruiser VDJ78 Troop Carrier 2007 to 2016


3300 3900 7400 Pre 5 Star ANCAP


Toyota Landcruiser VDJ79 Cab Chassis / Ute 2007 on


3300 3900 7400 Pre 5 Star ANCAP


Toyota Landcruiser VDJ79 Cab Chassis Single Cab / Ute 2016 on


3400 4200 7700 5 Star ANCAP


Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series all (3.8T & 4T kits)

3.8Tons Kit includes Roadsafe Diff Drop kit Supplied & Fitted

4Tons Kit includes Roadsafe Diff Drop kit Supplied & Fitted and HD Profender 4x4 Shock Absorbers

Note* 200 Series 4000KG Towing upgrade only compatible with 3800KG GVM kit



(3.8T kit)


(4T kit)



(3.8T kit)


(4T kit)




(3.8T kit)


(4T kit)




Toyota Prado 150 Series (KDJ/GDJ/GRJ) 10/2009 on


3000 3500 6000  


Toyota Hilux 150 Series (KUN/GGN) 3/2005 to 6/2015


from 2710 to 2835 3300   State Compliance Only


Toyota Hilux GUN126 10/2015 on


3000 3500 7000  


Nissan Patrol ZD30 GU/Y61 Ute Leaf Spring 2007 on


3400 3900   State Compliance Only


Ford Ranger PX 2011 on


3200 3500 7000 4x4


Ford Ranger PXII 2015 on


3200 3500 7000 2WD Hi-Rider


Mazda BT50 UP/UR 2011 on


3200 3500 7000 4x4


Isuzu D Max 6/2012 on


2950 3500 7000 4x4





Apart from the compliance plate, placards/decals and paperwork each Lovells suspension kit consist of a set of heavy-duty springs and long travel gas shock absorbers. Additional components vary from vehicle to vehicle
















Some vehicles require additional parts to comply with various ADR’s – like mudflaps or a handbrake cable extension bracket – which will be included in the kit if required.


Components may include polyurethane suspension bush kit, hi-tensile u-bolts, greaseable shackles, greaseable shackle pins, brake load proportioning valve spacer, handbrake cable extension bracket, ABS spacer kit and mudflaps


Of course, all of the load ratings above apply equally to the towed vehicle (trailer, caravan etc.) too, which leads to…..




BTC Upgrades


A Braked Towing Capacity upgrade is what you need if you have a large caravan or trailer.


Small vans can weigh 1000-2000kg. When towed with an appropriate vehicle you have a reasonable amount of wiggle room for loading.


Large vans even when empty can weigh 2000-3000kg, some even more. Even with a large 4x4, you will be approaching the limit with only a minimal amount of equipment on board


Think again about the amount of gear to be loaded – food, cooking utensils, sleeping gear, clothes, camping equipment, batteries, generator, gas cylinders, air conditioner. Got water tanks? 1L of water weighs 1kg, so a couple of 100L tanks…


In January 2017 - Victorian Police conducted Operation Roadhouse, part of which involved pulling over and weighing caravans. 41 of the 70 caravans weighed were found to be overweight in some respect. This was treated by the police as an educational exercise, and no fines were issued about weight, but the figures tell a story


As a side note, there were two fines issued although both were for unsuitable towing mirrors. This is also something we can help with our accessories department @ All Four x 4 Offroad




Federal V’s State Compliance


Are you about to purchase a brand-new vehicle and are planning on a caravan road trip of a lifetime?


Are you a tradesman about to renew your work truck with something shiny off the showroom floor?




Make sure you read this:


This is the time to seriously consider applying either a GVM or a GVM & BTC upgrade BEFORE registration


Once a vehicle has it VIN recorded in a state motor registry computer system you can only have the upgrade certified at a state level.


While most states allow vehicles complied in another state to be legally driven as complied in their state, if the vehicle is ever to be re-registered in another state the whole certification process needs to be started again


For a vehicle to be certified at a national level (Federal Certification) the upgrade needs to be completed before registration.


This is only available for new vehicles – hence why the Toyota Hilux KUN/GGN and Nissan Patrol GU can only attain state-level certification (see Table 1 above) as they are no longer being built


Federal certification has several benefits:


  • Federal certification does not require an engineering certificate, and so has a reduced overall cost
  • Federal certification carries on regardless of which state/territory the vehicle is registered in
  • Federally certified vehicles can fall in and out of registration, be sold or transferred interstate and it will indefinitely be certified with the GVM and BTC upgrades applied since new


You can imagine that this can quite significantly affect the resale value!


Definitely worth thinking about, especially considering the capital investment and depreciation of a new vehicle





Could I, or my mechanic fit the upgrade?


No. A competently trained person theoretically could install the components, but to achieve certification, the upgrade must be fitted by a Production Facility approved by the Second Stage Manufacturer (SSM). 


We work to supplied quality systems documents and are regularly audited. The installation process also involves organising the required paperwork, booking time with an engineer, booking time in the Production Facility workshop and completing / submitting paperwork to the relevant agencies





What about my new car warranty? 


The fitting of a GVM upgrade does not affect new car warranty.


During the design phase extensive testing and analysis, procedures are conducted by an authorised Automotive Engineer Consultant to ensure original equipment components are not compromised.


The SSM is responsible for documenting these tests and take responsibility for the GVM upgrade compliance.


The SSM will honour any component warranty which has a failure associated with the GVM upgrade providing written proof and testing by an independent body has been submitted





A Video is worth a Million Words...


Watch the videos below on Lovells GVM upgrades we have fitted:










Want to know more?

If your vehicle is not included in the list above, or if you would like to speak to one of our suspension specialists you can:




CALL US on: 02 4041 4001





EMAIL US at new.parts@allfourx4.com.au






If you are ready to make a Booking, Contact us at one of the above or simply


and we'll get back to you within four business hours





Some of our Happy Customers who had a GVM upgrade done



Steve_Jacques_GVM_testimonial Steve J.

Thanks to the boys at Allfourx4 for fitting my Lovells GVM upgrade to my Dmax, the car is so much better to ride in, more sure-footed and the extra payload is amazing,not to mention the extra ground clearance and the vehicle sits nicely now, easy compliance certification and a bunch of friendly guys who like a chat. The fit was completed before time quoted, will use them again for more accessories for my 4x4.Thanks, Steve Jaques.”



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We are one of the largest 4wd parts and Offroad Accessories Online Stores in Australia, and we can reach you wherever you live.

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(Update as per June 29th 2018)

Despite social media rumours in previous weeks we can confirm that there is no change to existing SSM Approvals. Any vehicles (as stated in current SSM Approvals and as noted on current RVDs) can still be plated with GVM Upgrades and Towing Capacity Upgrades (BTC upgrades) under the approved RVD. Thus Lovells SSM Approved kits can continue to be supplied. Please refer to rvcs.infrastructure.gov.au what's new page



The implementation of Administrator’s Circular 0-4-6 is effective for all future IPA Approvals. That is, any SSM Approvals applied for beyond the current valid and active SSM Approvals.


Lovells GVM/GCM/Towing Capacity or variants of these modifications remain 100% legal in all States and Territories for all vehicles:

  • in service/previously modified
  • when modified prior to first registration (Federal Compliance).
  • when modified after first registration/in-service vehicles (State Compliance).State based GCM modifications are governed by the State Authority and their individual Type Approvals or Modification Codes.

The whole point of GVM/GCM/towing upgrades is to ensure the ongoing compliance and safety of vehicles and occupants when carrying/towing heavy loads and thus ensuring the safety of other road users. SSM Approval holders can attest to and advise categorically that there is no evidence of any safety issues, accidents or fatalities due to or related to any GVM/GCM/Towing Upgrade.


Unfortunately, all of the SSM Approval Holders who nominate a revised GCM and/or Towing Capacity increase will be affected by these changes in the future, as will any road user who wishes to tow a caravan, boat, horse float etc.


In Summary

PRE REGO there is no change in plating vehicles with GVM & Towing Upgrades. GCM as defined by the SSM manufacturer

POST REGO vehicles can be plated with GVM upgrade. The Towing and GCM upgrade would be supported and approved via State Authorities and state-based signatories.
The implementation of 0-4-6 is for all future SSM approvals



Comments: 7
More about: Understanding Vehicle Weights

Comments: 7

John |
RE: GVM / BTC Upgrades – what are they and why are they important?

All Four x 4 Spares can only fit GVM or BTC upgrades to new or NSW registered vehicles
Guest |
RE: GVM / BTC Upgrades – what are they and why are they important?
what about BTC upgrades?? are you still doing them??
Guest |
RE: GVM / BTC Upgrades – what are they and why are they important?
cost of a gvm upgrade?
John |
RE: GVM / BTC Upgrades – what are they and why are they important?
Please give us a call on 02 4041 4001 and we can give you a quote based on your vehicle
Guest |
RE: GVM / BTC Upgrades – what are they and why are they important?
Read where GVM upgrades are now illegal all throughout this country from 1/July from a number of sources including a Qld mod plate engineer.

Not wanting to sound harsh, and I see that this was written last year, but I f this is correct, this entire blurb is nearly a pointless advert now isn't it?
John |
RE: GVM / BTC Upgrades – what are they and why are they important?
Sorry for the late reply but we wanted to wait for the official update from the RVCS website (Federal Dept of Transport and Infrastructure) on Friday 29th June. Despite all social media rumours, it's now official that there is no change to existing SSM Approvals. Any vehicles (as stated in current SSM Approvals and as noted on current RVDs) can still be plated with GVM Upgrades and Towing Capacity Upgrades (BTC upgrades) under the approved RVD. Thus Lovells SSM Approved kits can continue to be supplied. • PRE REGO there is no change in plating vehicles with GVM & Towing Upgrades. GCM as defined by the SSM manufacturer
• POST REGO vehicles can be plated with GVM upgrade. The Towing and GCM upgrade would be supported and approved via State Authorities and state based signatories. We hope that can clear some confusion
Guest |
RE: GVM / BTC Upgrades – what are they and why are they important?
This articles just hook me in with just the first <a href="http://nwatowcompany.com/"> paragraph </a>! So informative and helpful.
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