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Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

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  • Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    I have a 17' center console with a 90hp Yamaha on a single axle trailer. I am looking at buying a Saturn Vue with a 6Cyl. and 2500Lb. tow capacity. At this time, I do not actually know the weight of the rig fully loaded(but my guess is about 2000Lb.). If I find out the weight is 2K Lb. or thereabout, will the front wheel drive vehicle be adequate for the job?


  • #2
    Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    waterbill,Most folks tend to grossly underestimate the weight of their rigs.If the boat is fibergalss, it's probably somewhere around 1200-1500 pounds. Add another 350 for the engine. Another 500 for the trailer.You are now very near 2000 without putting drop one of fuel and/or gear in it. Fuel is slightly over six lbs./gallon.The issue with front drives is with the launch ramp.Tongue weight unloads the front wheels. A condition that is worsened by the angle of the ramp. Thus, traction is lost.You will be on the edge.

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    • #3
      Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

      I agree completely with DJ, Bill. You would be flirting with disaster on two counts: 1. Towing too close or over the rating of the vehicle.2. Launching and loading at or over the tow rating limit with a front drive vehicle.Spend a few more bux and get a rear or 4W drive vehicle rated for at least 3500lb, better 5,000lb.Good luck.
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      • #4
        Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

        what are the towing specs on the saturn vu? i guess in your area, the ramps are on a slow slope?have you asked the locals? i know the 2 posts above are from some seriously experienced guys, but i used to dunk my 17.6' bassrig with my ole 2.4l 4cyl stickshift ranger... i just happened to have a ramp that was very 'flat' and the lake was high during those yrs...you will learn that the most important issue is in stopping a boat- or trailer or whatever. how is the area? is it safe to tow & can you stop it quickly with your vehicle? -just a thought

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        • #5
          Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

          ebb,Your Ranger was rear wheel drive. No drive wheels "unload" with the grade of a ramp.Also, that was a a truck, albeit, small. It had a full frame and brakes engineered to carry a good deal of payload.Engine size/power really has little to do with safely and comfortably pulling a trailer. The chassis is the most important aspect.

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          • #6
            Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

            Have to agree against FWD. Here, in Europe, it is hard to get anything but FWD. 4WD and Mercedes Benz + BMW is about it (+ some older Volvo's etc.)Many are experiencing problems as described and even worse when the ramp is not clean/dry.It is common to see public, mechanical winches on the top of ramps. Extra benefit from a 4WD if you get one with a low range gearbox.Manual 4WD's, preferably diesels, are popular among serious trailer-boaters here.

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            • #7
              Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

              Look into a Ford Escape or Mazda Tribute instead of the Vue. All wheel drive at the touch of a button, 200 HP/200 Ft Lbs, factory towing package with oil cooler is rated at 3500 lbs, 20 MPG is normal, (IMO) a nicer vehicle.I tow an aluminum bass boat and can hardly even tell it is on there, I have even forgot to disengage the OD because it rarely kick out of it.I don't dislike the Vue, just think the Trib/Escape is more "truck-like"Check out escape-central.com for more info.

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              • #8
                Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

                I agree with DocCAD on a good vehicle for your rig.The Escape/Tribute is a great vehicle.If you consider it, be CERTAIN to get the V6, 4X4, towing package and automatic.The entry level, FWD 4 banger would offer the same problems as the Vue.
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                • #9
                  Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

                  I have an '03 Escape and have to agree that it is an excellent tow vehicle. Much better than my '98 Explorer which had a much larger engine. Rides and handles much better without a tow, too.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

                    The Tow Rating is just that..... how much you can safely tow. If your vehicle is rated at 2,000 lbs, you can tow up to 2,000 lbs. Look in any vehicle manual, do not EXCEED tow rating, it says nothing about comming close to it.If they didnt want you near a certain rating they wouldnt put it on a vehicle, simple as that.Sure, you might not want your village idiot driving his vehicle around at his tow rating, but any common minded person with an ounce of common sense will be fine.Some will say not to exceed 1/2 of what your tow rating is..... but a little common sense goes a long way.-John

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                    • #11
                      Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

                      Ok a vehicle can tow up to its tow rating but remember when they are comming up with the tow rating they cont consider. Rain, crazy drivers, steap inclines, Any number of things that could come up in a second. I own a 01 dakota with a v8 and would not want to tow much more of a boat than what was posted.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

                        I own a '97 Dakota reg cab 5 speed and have had no problems towing 2,000 lbs through the western mountains of maine. A lot of people feel they need a 1 ton dually to tow anything over 1,000 lbs, again use common sense.-J

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                        • #13
                          Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

                          I couldn't DISAGREE more with the above posts!One exception however, you did underestimate the weight. I have a 17' DC aluminum with 8' beam and 90 HP Honda. It was 2300# with no gas, equipment, seats or trolling motor (took it over the scales just before winter). Anyway, I pull this thing with a 1996 Honda Acoord 4cyl (145 hp, 3000#). Trailer brakes are a necessity as much as a responsibilty in this case. Anyway, I know that kind of weight is hard on my car, but I would rather do the extra maintenance than spend all the extra bucks on gas with a truck or SUV when I am not pulling the boat. Just a personal choice.As far as launching is concerned, I can think of at least 5 times where I pulled a buddy's boat or strangers boat out because their RWD TRUCK kept spinning the tires. With FWD, you're far more likely to have dry wheels as opposed to RWD. If it's a steep ramp where traction is crucial, the tongue weight of the trailer taking the weight off the front of the car becomes a moot point (simple mechanics). I've had two occasions where I could not pull my boat out - both were steep ramps and both were gravel and it was both lack of traction and power. We took the boat off the trailer, pulled the trailer out and hooked it up to a Chevy 1500 W/T. what a mistake. not only could he not get my boat out, he couldn't get just the trailer out! Finally backed into the water too much until it covered the exhaust and engine quit. Luckily there was a front end loader on the site!Nothing beats 4wd however and if i had the money (boat consumes most of it), I wouldn't hesitate. Unless it's on a Ferrari, RWD is useless!Oh, one other point. If you are on a gravel ramp, you never have to worry about throwing rocks at your boat with FWD.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

                            Never had a problem with my 3.3 litre FWD Dodge Caravan and my 1964 16 Foot Grew w/65 HP. Well under the tow rating of 3800# though. Boat only weighs 500#, motor 220#.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

                              majbach: that accord is ratedto tow <1000lbs. And for a reason.Again I state, up hill, starting or accelerating forces, marginal conditions, 3 things a FWD CANNOT do well and never will

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