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  1. #1
    Cadet
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    Default Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    I have a question that doesn't really pertain to a boat, but to the vehicle you use to tow your boat. I am in the market for a new truck and am looking for something that will tow a 19 ft Javelin and still get good mileage. Does anyone tow a large boat with a 4 cylinder vehicle successfully? Thanks, John

  2. #2
    Admiral tommays's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    Well


    It would really depend on the total weight of the compeat boat/trailer/stuff package



    If it is safely within the tow rating of what your looking at it will work
    If a dirty bottom slows you down what do think it does to your BOAT

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  3. #3
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    My AWD V6 Escape pulls my 18' boat fine and gets 17-18 mpg while towing. The new Rav 4 and GMC also do quite well and can tow small boat.

    If you consider an Escape without a tow package, have Uhaul put on an aftermarket one...I had bloody knuckles trying to install an aftermarket hitch as it was not easy fishing bolts through the frame rail due to limited access.

  4. #4
    Petty Officer 1st Class sidechoke67's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    I don't know about 4 cylinders for a 19' boat...

    A couple "small" SUVs with 6's and reasonable gas mileage come to mind though:
    The Honda Pilot can tow 4,500 lbs as long as it is a boat (3,500 lbs otherwise).

    Starting in '08, the Toyota Highlander is rated to tow 5,000 lbs. I believe it was rated for 3,500 before '08.

    Saturn's Outlook (new in 2007?) can tow 4,500 lbs.

    I'm not familar with Javelin, but am guessing that for most 19' boats, you want a vehicle that is rated to tow 3,500 - 5,000 lbs., depending on how many passengers you expect to have with you..

  5. #5
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    The only decent one I can think of is the Jeep Liberty with the 4 cylinder diesel. Tons of torque. It had some egr problems that I don't think every got fixed and they are a little hard to find. So I guess I'm saying the vehicle you want doesn't exsist.

    I have never tried towing with a 4 cylinder truck. I had a s10 years ago with a 2.8l v6. (20-28mpg) It did ok with the little boat. But with a 18 ski boat (3k loaded) it was slow. I wouldn't want to put a lot of miles on that way.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    I own a RAV 4 AWD V6 with a towing rating of 3500#, and have no problem towing my boat that weigths around 2200#. The towing capacity is only part of the things to look at.

    If you always go to the same ramp, and it's paved you will be fine with 2 wheel drive, but if it's not the case, a locking diff or AWD is to be considered. In my case AWD was a must.
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  7. #7
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    i have a Mariner, 4 cylinder, i tow small boats, but a 19 footer go with a v 6. i had no problems installing my hitch, 20 minutes by myself.
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  8. #8
    Moderator JB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    Makes a lot of difference if you want a tow vehicle or an all purpose vehicle that you tow with.

    The best all purpose vehicles I ever had were both Mercedes MLs. The ML 320 would get 15-16mpg towing, 21-25 not towing, but it needed premium ga$.


    The best tow-only vehicle I ever had was a 80s F-150 with the 4.9 liter I6 and four speed. I suspect that a new F-150 with the smaller (V6?) engine would do even better.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    Diesel Excursion. Tows a small country with seating for 8......

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    You have a conundrum. You can have a good tow vehicle, or a vehicle that gets good mileage. You probably won't get both. I prefer a good tow vehicle for many reasons. Yes, I give up good mileage for the other benefits.

  11. #11
    Lieutenant Junior Grade JCF350's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    The best tow-only vehicle I ever had was a 80s F-150 with the 4.9 liter I6 and four speed. I suspect that a new F-150 with the smaller (V6?) engine would do even better.
    The 4.2 will pass more gas stations.
    The 4.9 will pass more repair shops
    The 4.9 will pull tons more than 4.2.
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  12. #12
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    I tried and tried to do the same as you; find one vehicle that could do both. I finally gave up and bought a 97 Isuzu Rodeo 4wd for $1200. I kept my 4cyl import for daily use. I know a lot disagree stating the "hidden costs" of owning a second vehicle. I have not seen this math work out in my case. I have driven the Rodeo 3500 miles in just over 1.5 years. It costs me nothing and I could sell it now for what I bought it for. It is also nice for when I do my Home Depot runs...

  13. #13
    Petty Officer 3rd Class
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    My chrysler mini van pulled my little boats fine. Now with the 20 footer I use a 90 t car. 5.0 engine and rear air ride make for a perfect tow car.Mpg seem to be a little lower when towing but, still cheaper than buying a truck. Once in a while for long tows I have rented u haules.
    Monterey 206 br

  14. #14
    Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    Get a chevy s-10 with the 4.3 V-6, they have lots of power..

  15. #15
    Petty Officer 1st Class orion25's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    1999 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the I6. I get about 19 to 20 MPG's in normal driving. My boat trailer weighs about 4500 lbs. Towing MPG is only about 13 mpg though.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    Pulling is only half the equation, you need to be able to stop too. Stopping on a dry road is pretty easy but when it rains it's not so easy. Your tow vehicle should be heavy enough to easily stop on wet roads when you have a full load.

    Another consideration is wheel base. If your wheel base is too short your boat will be fishtailing and you could lose control. It's also a very tiring and nerve-racking drive.

    Most pickup trucks and SUVs are very suited to the job. Don't worry too much about gas mileage, your life and the lives of your family and friends are more important. The 'experts' at the ramp will have those tow vehicles. The amateurs will have lightweight, undersized ones. You may also see those folk in the ditch or median.

    Choose wisely, have a safe and enjoyable trip.

    Rich

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    Rich is right on the money.

  18. #18
    Petty Officer 1st Class bman1bpm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    the new 1500 chevy/gmc trucks get great mileage around 20 hwy, they run 8 cylendars when they need it, 4 when they don't. Plenty of truck to stop the boat too :-)

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    "1999 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the I6. I get about 19 to 20 MPG's in normal driving. My boat trailer weighs about 4500 lbs. Towing MPG is only about 13 mpg though."

    I have owned a 2000 cheerokee sport, a 2003 grand cherokee both with I-6's. I average 17 mpg's. I now have a 2006 grand cherokee with a v-6 and have about the same mpg's. On long trips I can sometimes get into the 18's. Never checked the mileage while towing but i do turn the od off and or run it a gear lower. My boat/trailer weighs in at just over 3ooo lbs, all 3 previously mentioned jeeps handle it fine, I do lose some speed in the hills and don't try to maintain that speed mainly for gas mileage purposes. If not worried about the mileage i think I could maintain the speed except maybe in long steep hills.

    DOugV>

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    A 19' boat will be best with a good mid-size truck or SUV or a full-size truck or SUV. A minivan that has the capacity for 3000-5000 lbs and AWD will be ok, but remember that you are putting extra weight on the back, which will shift weight off the front of the vehicle. An AWD crossover will be ok with that weight, but probably not a FWD crossover. With a steep, slick boat ramp, you might be in trouble if your tow vehicle doesn't have a good limit-slip differential, enough weight, and AWD or 4wd. Most people that I know with that big a boat do not use a FWD. I have had to put my Titan with my 18' Skeeter in 4wd on one particular boat ramp because of the slope and the slickness, and at the same time, a Z71 with a 19' Ranger had to do the same. The extra power makes for a comfortable pull knowing that you aren't killing your engine and transmission.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    I have a 6 cyl AWD, RAV 4. What's your experience with your RAV4 and boat ramps, any difficult ones?
    thx

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    I DON"T recommend it but I pulled a 19' inboard ski boat and a 20' pontoon every weekend for 5 years with an anaemic 4 cylinder S-10..... 72 miles round trip and most of it on hilly roads. Since I rarely got out of 3rd gear I only got around 15mpg while towing and 26 when not towing. That little truck took a licking and is still ticking at 130k miles! I finally got a v6 blazer which was a major improvement but I abuse it too.....I pulled a race car hauler across NC and it pulled surprisingly well. Be warned that electric trailer brakes are a must!

  23. #23
    Supreme Mariner bruceb58's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    Quote Originally Posted by drspine View Post
    I have a 6 cyl AWD, RAV 4. What's your experience with your RAV4 and boat ramps, any difficult ones?
    thx
    You are posting on a thread that is 3 years old and the person who you are questioning hasn't been logged on in a year.
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  24. #24
    Moderator JB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Vehicle for Towing Boat ?

    Old, dead thread hijacked. drspine, PLEASE start your own thread.

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