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  1. #1
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default 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. #2
    DJ
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    Default 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.

  3. #3
    Moderator JB's Avatar
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    Default 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.

  4. #4
    Commander
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    Default 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

  5. #5
    DJ
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    Default 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.

  6. #6
    Lieutenant Commander
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    Default 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.

  7. #7
    Petty Officer 3rd Class
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    Default 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.

  8. #8
    Moderator JB's Avatar
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    Default 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.

  9. #9
    Lieutenant Commander
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    Default 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.

  10. #10
    Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    Default 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

  11. #11
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default 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.

  12. #12
    Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    Default 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

  13. #13
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default 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.

  14. #14
    Seaman
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    Default 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#.

  15. #15
    Cadet
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    Default 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

  16. #16
    Seaman
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    Default Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    Let me give you my $.02. I used to tow my 85 18' dixie (120 Johnson) with a 1994 Volvo 850. The car was rated to tow 3500# and I only had trouble one time getting the boat out of the water (steep ramp & gravel). The real problem started after towing it for about a year. The transmision went bad and after replacing it the engine blow a head gasket!! I now us a Ford 1 ton van for towing and have never had a problem since (and the van is rwd ONLY). The ramp I use most of the time is all gravel and with all terrain tires it works great.

  17. #17
    Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    Don't try this at home, kids, but I used to pull a 2,700 lb. rig with a Cavalier Z24 with a 1,000 rating.Now, the ramp was 4 miles away on back roads, and I was hyper-careful to stay away from other cars. Actually, those 225X16 tires on the 150 hp Z24 really had great traction at the ramp. Police finally had a talk with me because the rig was soooo much longer than the car. Consequently, I bought a better matched vehicle and boat.I'm not encouraging you to be irresponsible, but, as the Cavalier example shows, FWD can be surprisely effective at the ramps.

  18. #18
    Master Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    i have a small rig(12 foot aluminum v-hull) but i have never had a problem with my 1991 lumina (3.1 v-6)coupe towing it even does well on the boat ramps.never spun a tire on a wet ramp yet. i know i know i am not really pulling that much weight hahah

  19. #19
    Admiral
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    Default Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    I carry a long heavy chain for those times when the ramp has a lot of sea weed or traction is poor. Plenty of people at the ramp are more than willing to help.

  20. #20
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    Thank you all for the replies. I finally went and got the rig weighed: 2400 Lb. with a full tank of fuel. We scrapped the idea of the Vue, and are now looking into a KIA Sorrento RWD (3500 Lb. Towing Capacity). Also, the KIA Sedona Van has a 3500 Lb. Tow Cap'y., but now we're back on the front wheel drive issue. We'll also check out the 4WD Escapes/Tributes.

  21. #21
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    I towed my 17' for a couple of years with a Chevy Venture. Overall it did a fairly impressive job. It had no shortage of power and handeled well with the boat. The only time I ran into touble was when the owner of a resort I was staying at insisted loading the boat back on the trailer from his sand beach wouldn't be a problem. Needless to say the tires dug in etc. So, I unloaded the boat and decided to use a gravel launch about a mile away. While the Venture did a decent towing job, the following year (being highly influenced by the sand incident)I purchased a Grand Cherokee 4x4. Nonetheless, used with some common sense (something I was lacking when I tried to load in the sand) a front wheel drive vehicle can be an acceptable tow vehicle as long a you are using reasonably well kept launches.

  22. #22
    Lieutenant Commander
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    Default Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    I used to tow with a few vehicles, a 69 Country Squire (390 Interceptor) was my favorite, it had air conditioning, lolmy 76 E 150 Van was purpose modified to withstand the rigors of the SeaCraft, trans cooler, super heavy duty sway bars, rear helper spring, stainless fan, gas shocks, heavy duty pads and shoes - the van was a Tow Beast, cornered flat, went straight down the road, and stopped that behemoth bad brakes on the trailer boat with no problem - of course, at 6500 pounds with an empty gas tank, Big Green was a juggernaut all by itself - but she handled like a slot car, except for no AC far and away my fav vehicle(needless to say, the tow truck would tow any boat on this board with ease, but it was like driving a tank - fun, but after a while the roar of the engine wore you down)but now, lemme tell ya something ...I had a Vega GT, 2.3L four banger, four speed, towed an 18 foot Glaspar with a 25 Johnson for a few years - no problem, no sweat, I should mention that used to love tinkering with cars, always tuned, aligned, good brakes, etc etc, and did have gas shocks and front and rear sway bars, and those manual brakes had to stop that rig fast a few times, no problem ... yes, it was too small for the job, but it never felt too small for the job, pulled the boat getting 25 MPG at 55 - 60(of course, the time I towed my buddys 67 Impala convertible with a ton of bondo on it **** near killed the lil guy, lol, regretted selling the Squire for that one, but once it got rolling, was ok)am I insane? yeah ... I am ... but I know that even tho you shouldnt bring a knife to a gunfight, if all you have is the knife, use it carefully and youll carve a nice bat to bash the other guys brains in when he aint lookin, lolsame thing with these short pulls to local lakes, be careful, go slow, and let the guy thats pulling two clydesdales cross country buy the one ton dually with fifth wheel attachment!

  23. #23
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    I used to pull my 18' Mark Twain with an i/o (strait 6) all the time. I even pulled the boat out of the ramp with three adults still on the boat. And all this with a 1991 Aerostar 3.0. True, this is a rear wheel drive vehicle. But i've seen many other front wheel drive mini vans pulling out some big rigs out of the water. The important thing is to use your low gears on the ramp and be concious of what you are towing along the WHOLE time you are towing.Now I use an E-350 (15 pass.) van and can't even tell my boat is there most of the time, but the reason for the van was not the boat. Simply that I have a family of 8. So I needed the extra space.

  24. #24
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    Towing any thing increases everything. Do you think you would have problems towing a trailer if you were the only car onthe road? I bet that you could tow a million miles with a car that was towing 3000 pounds over what it is rated and not have a problem if there was no one on the road and the roads were smooth. Now come on.. can you really expect this to happen.. perfect conditions all the time? I am a very defencive driver I give tons of room in from of me . humm but that guy saw all my room and he wants it. That kid playing just over the hill was not there the last time I went this way. I have never seen a deer this time of the day. Wow I cant believe the roads are this slick after the first rain in 3 weeks. I read another post that said semimatallic brakes "never" fade .. this is a very very false statement. They are much better than standard brakes but they will go away.All this being said, I must admit that I have towed stuff way over towing capacitys too. If I have to do it, I try to cut the risk. Dont try it at 5:00pm on friday. Take routes that you can drive at a speed that is as safe as possible. Now if you are gonna tow something every couple of weeks you are entitled to join the SUV club or drive a truck ,, or that 1979 chevy station wagon. Front wheel drive on a boat ramp.. front tires stay dry ???? yea right there is water 50 feet from the boat ramps I use all day. Any one seen a picture of a Semi Jackknifed, thats a good idea of what can happen to FWD trying to brake a trailer. Hey I have been there done that towed a 15 ft boat with a 65 hp Merc on the back with a VW Scirocco. Would I do it again ?? No way.

  25. #25
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Front Wheel Drive Tow Vehicle

    Yea Maximerc:Finally someone stood up and told it like it is! Why is it that people want to get by with the least posable tow vwhicle and put other peoples lives in danger?? Man I see it all the time!! Lets use our heads for something other than a hat rack!! Buy bigger than you need if anything!! If you get in a wreck and it is your fault because you were towing over your tow limit you better beieive some one is going to own you! Pay now or pay later!!HasbeenHasbeen

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