A low hp hauler, but Isuzu FVD up to the task

By: Steve Skinner

Paul Carrier’s 2005 Isuzu FVD 950 carries boats and other bulky gear all over Australia


In the current age of highway power up to 700 horses or so, Paul Carrier’s medium size rigid Isuzu seems positively small to be working interstate.

At only 275hp (202kW) the FVD 950 Long has only the same amount of grunt as long-distance trucks from decades ago.

But the Isuzu doesn’t need much power for its specialised role – carrying bulky but relatively lightweight boats, on its single-axle body tray with a single-axle trailer behind.

Other cargo includes other trailers, jet skis, cars, light trucks, caravans and farm machinery – freight which takes up a lot of space but doesn’t necessarily weigh a lot.

"This one’s probably a bit low on horsepower these days, mostly our game is 300, 350, but it’s adequate," says Carrier, the F-series truck’s owner, who also owns Gold Coast-based Express Boat Transport.

So how does the relatively small truck go uphill with full loads?

"Fairly good," Carrier says.

"You’ve got to go back a gear or two, like everyone else."

There are nine of those gears in the Eaton synchromesh box, in a H-pattern with a splitter.

Fuel economy is about 3km to the litre, which Carrier reckons is pretty standard for this type of work, regardless of engine size. In this Isuzu the engine is 9.8 litres.

Gross combination mass (GCM) is 32 tonnes: "I wouldn’t like to pull 32 tonnes though."

The key thing in Carrier's game is length, hence the long six-metre wheelbase but short tray.

"You chop the back of the tray on the truck as short as possible so you can get the longest trailer on the back, because we cart big boats, 32-foot boats on the trailer," he says.

So what does Carrier think of his lightweight packhorse? "It’s a very good truck. Reliable and simple."

All the running gear is standard: "It’s pretty basic," Carrier says.

"There’s not a lot of high-tech electronics so you don’t have that many problems when you’re away".

A new clutch, radiator and water pump have been installed on the Isuzu, which has racked up 800,000km.

Check out the feature on Paul Carrier’s Isuzu in the next issue of Owner//Driver magazine. Subscribe now to receive your copy.

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