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  1. #1
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    Default How fast do you tow?

    So, how fast do you guys go while towing? The speed limit, under, or over? The speed limit in CA while towing is 55mph. I'd say about 85% of the time I go 55, but sometimes I go 60ish. What speed do you feel comfortable and safe at?

    By the way, I have a 2002 Dodge Dakota Quadcab 4x2 with the 4.7L pulling a 20' Bayliner Capri right around 3500lbs with all my crap in it.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    I pull a SeaRay 18.5' or a 16' Lund behind a GMC 3/4 ton 4x4 with a 6.0L. The usual tow speed is 110 to 120 kph (about 70 to 75 mph).

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    There's no special speed limits for vehicles with trailers here in Alberta, so I do the regular 110 km/h (69 MPH) speed limit on divided highways. On undivided highways the limit is usually 100 km/h (63 MPH), but I usually go a little faster to avoid gathering too big of a following. Lots of people here like to do 120-130 km/h, and they get frustrated and try to make unsafe passes when they get stuck behind people who have the audacity to do the speed limit. 110 km/h is usually fast enough for them to keep their cool and wait their turn though.

    I don't understand the lower limits for trailers. Having large speed differentials on highways is unsafe. When I visited California I found the 55 MPH trailer limit scary. I would be cruising along with traffic at 70-75 MPH and a truck or RV would seem to appear out of nowhere and I would pass them like they were standing still. Traffic was light when I was driving there so it wasn't too bad, but it must get crazy when traffic picks up. During peak traffic hours here a truck doing 110 km/h passing an RV doing 105 km/h might back up 15 cars before pulling back into the right lane. It would be much worse if the truck was doing 55 MPH (88 km/h) and the RV was doing 52 MPH (83 km/h).

    BTW - My boat is a 14.5 ft runabout (~1600 lb) that I tow with a Saturn SL2.

  4. #4
    Lieutenant woosterken's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    df909,
    iam with you,i pull mine at 55 or 60
    (which is the tow speed here in ohio)

    woosterken
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  5. #5
    Admiral smokeonthewater's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    80/20

    whatever speed puts 20% of traffic passing me and 80% getting passed by me.... usually makes a confortable trip without tickets

    interstate limit here is 70 so 78 mph works well
    Kevin

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  6. #6
    Vice Admiral jay_merrill's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    I usually stay a bit under the speed limit, whatever that happens to be where I am at the time. My max limit, no matter where I am, is 60 mph.

    Special circumstances such as rain or heavy traffic, will cause me to back off even more. My van is rated to tow up to 6,300 pounds, but my boat/trailer only weighs about 2,000, so I have a pretty big safety margin in general. Even so, that rating assumes trailer brakes and anti-sway devices, so caution seems to be the better way to go.

    My biggest concern is braking and my van does very well with that. I've had to do panic stops with the boat behind me, and have had no problems, mostly because I am constantly adjusting interval, as people cut in front of me. In heavy traffic, that is hard to do, but just slowing down will usually keep me within a "zone" that enables me to stop easily. The anti-lock braking system also helps quite a bit with controllability.

    Next on the list is tire and/or bearing failures. I've had both occur and the trailer has remained very controllable on each occasion. I had a massive and premature bearing failure on one axle end last Saturday night, while traveling at 60 mph and the trailer did fine. The tire was wobbling all over the place, but it didn't come off and I was able to let off the gas, slow down and get to the shoulder.

    Some moron (me ), forgot to put the outer washer on. before the nut, while replacing the bearings about 6 months ago! I have the axle nuts that don't have the "castle" portion - there is a castle cap that goes over them and the cotter key goes through that. Unfortunately, if you don't put the washer in, the nut tightens down onto the axle too much and the cap fits too far away from the cotter key hole in the axle, to properly prevent the nut from moving. Sooooooooooooo ...... mine did move and the hub moved outward just a little bit, which was enough for the tire to wobble imperceptibly and destroy the bearings, over time.

    Note to self: When you see a little bit of grease on the inside of one of the trailer wheel hubs and the seal is pretty new, ask yourself why!!!!! It just might be the tip that the hub has moved outward, just enough to let the seal get sloppy and sling grease!



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  7. #7

    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    Quote Originally Posted by df909 View Post
    So, how fast do you guys go while towing? The speed limit, under, or over? The speed limit in CA while towing is 55mph. I'd say about 85% of the time I go 55, but sometimes I go 60ish. What speed do you feel comfortable and safe at?

    By the way, I have a 2002 Dodge Dakota Quadcab 4x2 with the 4.7L pulling a 20' Bayliner Capri right around 3500lbs with all my crap in it.
    If I see him coming up the rear I'll do 57ish, and when I'm alone 63 mph, It seems to work good for me here in CA. Just keep an eye on your mirrors.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    Quote Originally Posted by smokeonthewater View Post
    80/20

    whatever speed puts 20% of traffic passing me and 80% getting passed by me.... usually makes a confortable trip without tickets

    interstate limit here is 70 so 78 mph works well
    That's my rule of thumb when my boat isn't behind me. With the boat, I'd have to downshift to 4th gear to maintain that speed and the fuel economy and noise (4500 RPM in 4th at 120 km/h) penalties of going that fast just aren't worth it.

  9. #9
    Master Chief Petty Officer royal0014's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    Towing anything, boat or otherwise, is not about how fast you can go. It's about how fast can you safely STOP.......

    And remember, any vehicle's stopping ability will change depending on several factors: brake condition, heat, cold, road conditions, driver mentality, etc. In other words, don't let the right foot do the thinking for you
    ><(((>

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  10. #10
    Chief Petty Officer Subliminal's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    I tow with a pretty big truck these days, and the boat has brakes, so i just make myself comfortable. I'd say 75 on the interstate...but my speedo isn't exactly correct, so it's hard to say.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    Illinois tow laws are 55mph, but no one follows them. If you do, you'll get some nasty looks by drivers for going too slow. Personally, I try to go no faster than 65mph.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Subliminal View Post
    I tow with a pretty big truck these days, and the boat has brakes, so i just make myself comfortable. I'd say 75 on the interstate...but my speedo isn't exactly correct, so it's hard to say.
    Really? When did they offer that option and on what model?

    <JK>

    To the OP, there really isn't a hard and fast "limit" , or rather if there is one it changes from road to road. I'd guess that Smoke's advice is pretty close although my percentages might vary
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  13. #13
    Rear Admiral lncoop's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    I usually keep it around 60. I have no trouble safely going faster than that, but that seems to be the speed at which my GMC pickemup is happiest with the barge behind. Less searching.
    Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    As Titanium48 pointed out, we don't have special speed limits for trailers in western Canada (not sure about B.C.) It used to be that people drove 10 km over the limit but now the norm is closer to 20 km over the limit. Driving much slower than that just disrupts the traffic flow and can cause deadly accidents.

    The RCMP does not seem to have a quota system for giving tickets. And unless a driver does something obviously stupid or dangerous, they let the traffic move along. Of course, having well maintained equipment is the key; one does not want wheels falling off at higher speeds.

  15. #15
    Lieutenant Commander redone4x4's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    i drive trucks in cali and i do 61 during the day, 65 at night. towing the boat only gets up to about 50-55 because of the park speed limits and i tow mostly local. otherwise in nevada you can legally tow up to 70 on the highways.
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  16. #16
    Fleet Admiral Mark42's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    In heavy traffic I follow the speed limits or less, depending on conditions. If I have the highway to myself or traffic is very, very light, I have reached 65mph for a stretch. But faster is harder on the vehicle, slower is safer and stopping is better.
    1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<


  17. #17
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    It does not matter what the posted speed limit is. ST tires are speed rated to 65 mph. Anything over 65 mph and you have exceeded your tires performance standards. Probably the reason why some people report tire problems as a rarity while others seem to have one tire failure after another
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  18. #18
    Vice Admiral jay_merrill's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    Quote Originally Posted by dingbat View Post
    It does not matter what the posted speed limit is. ST tires are speed rated to 65 mph. Anything over 65 mph and you have exceeded your tires performance standards. Probably the reason why some people report tire problems as a rarity while others seem to have one tire failure after another
    Very good post and worthy of being shown again!



    Please don't PM me on advice issues - let's keep that in the forums, so that everyone can benefit. Please note that I do not email PDFs, etc. I have a bandwidth limited aircard for internet access. My avatar does not mean I have any offical link to iboats. I just like it!

  19. #19
    Senior Chief Petty Officer BTMCB's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    Generally speaking, I tow faster GOING to the lake to get her on the water and slower COMING BACK to clean her up! Actually with the boat behind me I am a speed limit sorta guy - then without the boat and in the Infiniti I am a what speed limit sorta guy!


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  20. #20
    Master Chief Petty Officer F14CRAZY's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    With my '74 LeSabre conv. I usually do 65, same with my mom's Hemi Durango. I feel safe going faster but I keep it down for fuel economy reasons (durango gets aroundn 15-16 mpg, LeSabre is in the single digits).

    With my Jet Ski and my Forester I'll do 70-77 mph
    197133' Chris Craft Coho/Catalina Sedan, twin CC 327QA's, Paragon V drives. Restoration in progress1985 Bayliner Capri 1952 (19' cuddy),OMC 3.0L. Restored with the knowledge here on iBoats'70 (circa) Amphicat 6x6 AATV, future Coho tender'87 Kawasaki 650SX, '90

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    Don't get in a hurry towing. I have a 16ft fishing boat and a 23 ft cruiser with a tandem axel trailer with disc brakes on both axels. I tow with a Ford F250 Super Duty with the V10. I tow both boats between 60 & 65. It is a comfortable relaxing speed-everybody is passing me.

    Royal has it right. It is how fast you can stop.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    I have to say that road conditions dictate my speed for the most part, then tire size, weight, and how far I have to go play a part too. To just run the boat down to the lake, with things just tossed in the boat, obviously I'm taking it easy and not going to fast, but on long trips, over the highway, if the road is smooth and the boat is secured and everything tied down, I'll run with traffic if it feels comfortable. I ran down to FL last summer and averaged just over 80mph the whole way down, but the truck, trailer and everything in the boat were well secured and handled it just fine. Any slower and I'd have gotten run over.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    I tow at 55 mph but do not travel the interstate. For years all I had were jon boats with 8" tires and NEVER went over 55 in fear of heating the bearings up. Now my Tracker has 12" tires and wouldn't be afraid of going 65 but all my fishing holes are local so haven't tried it.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    55-65 if I'm pulling my boat or not. No need to go any faster!

  25. #25
    Rear Admiral oldjeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: How fast do you tow?

    Depends on the speed of traffic. My boat doesn't get towed at more than 75 because of how it feels behind the truck. I run trailer tires that are good for more than double the load that is on them.

    My car dolly gets pulled at up to 80 depending on what is on it.
    16 foor car trailer gets pulled at whatever speed I like.
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