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  1. #51
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by indy440 View Post
    One thing I've learned here is that when you ask for towing advice on this forum is everyone will tell you to get a bigger vehicle than you probably need.

    If you take the advice from most of these people too seriously then you'll end up with a 1 ton dually pickup with a diesel to tow a row boat! haha.
    Could not have agree more!!!

    I am all for following the mfg's tow spec. on the tow vehicle. Stay below the max. towing capacity of your mfg's spec, you'll be fine. 4000# for a 18' boat even with gear and trailer included is actually a bit on the heavy side. But, then again, may be some of you own boat that has 1000# ballast

  2. #52
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    So,Whats wrong with a 1 ton dually truck?

    That will be my next tow vehicle...Duramax diesel,6 speed Allison tranny and a Banks kit....ARGH!!!
    Can't beat a tuned up diesel....love the black smoke and burnt rubber!


    1981 ChrisCraft 210 Scorpion K,175 Johnson SeaHorse

  3. #53
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Not sure if your (i.e. OP's) question is answered or if this thread is confusing you more. In all honesty, I'd look into something in the full size class of SUV (Trailblazer, Explorer, etc). They have sufficient wheelbase and will tow a good load. I believe the Honda Pilot fits into that category, but never been crazy about Honda's. Also, look into a V8. Though a V6 is adequate, everyone I've known that bought a V6 to tow a 18-19 foot boat regrets not paying a little more to get a v8. At $20,000, a new vehicle is out of the question.

    For safety, it's generally not recommended to go smaller than that for towing that size of a boat.

    BTW, when considering buying a boat, ask what the total package weight is (Rigged boat, motor, and trailer) and add about 500-700lbs. That will likely be closer to your tow weight. And then consider getting a vehicle that has a tow rating of an additional 1200 lbs or so to take into consideration of passengers and luggage and other gear in the truck.

    Also, tow ratings can be confusing. The "max" tow rating is with a vehicle that has a factory tow package and usually assume brakes on the trailer. Otherwise the "standard" tow rating is generally considerably less.

    EDIT: meant mid size pickup instead of full size. a full size would still be best, but the OP does not seem comfortable with the idea of a full size.

  4. #54
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by asm_ View Post
    Could not have agree more!!!
    4000# for a 18' boat even with gear and trailer included is actually a bit on the heavy side.
    On the four winns site it says the dry weight of the boat is 2400lbs while the trailer weighs 900lbs. Full tank of gas alone puts that up to 3,500lbs.
    1990 Stardust
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  5. #55
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by indy440 View Post
    One thing I've learned here is that when you ask for towing advice on this forum is everyone will tell you to get a bigger vehicle than you probably need.

    If you take the advice from most of these people too seriously then you'll end up with a 1 ton dually pickup with a diesel to tow a row boat! haha.
    The OP came here looking for some real advice. He asked about an 18-19' boat, and general consensus is that he'll weigh in fully loaded at 3500-4000 lbs. I haven't seen a single response that recommended anything as extreme as that. I do however, in nearly every thread, see a comment like that one eventually.

    Legitimate responders generally align themselves to one of 2 groups when it comes to choosing a tow vehicle. There's the group that says anything that has sufficient tow capacity will work, and some claim you can even afford to fudge the numbers a little.

    There's another group that says that isn't enough to do it all safely. You need to consider the total package- weight and length. You need to look at all the capabilities of the tow vehicle- tow capacity, GCWR, weight and wheelbase. My (very) elementary understanding of physics and geometry, along with first-hand experience, tells me that the first group is being too simplistic in their analysis.

    In the case of the 2 boats and tow vehicles I've owned, I took the time to figure out what I was hauling, and what capabilities I needed in the vehicle. Both times paid off. I've never had a white-knuckle ride because the rig was twitchy, and I've never felt afraid that a sudden maneuver or stop would have disastrous results.

    First was a 1/2 ton 4x4 Chevy pulling a 21' W/A cuddy at 4000-4200 lbs.
    Second is the 3/4 ton Dodge in my sig- I pull close to 8000 lbs (and about 27' of rig) with it.

    Overkill? It's possible. Unfortunately, there's only one way to find out that what you're driving is 'underkill', and it may not be pretty.

    Good luck to the OP- I hope you find the boat you want and have a blast with it!

    My .02 and last post in this thread.
    John and Linda
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  6. #56
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by chicy724 View Post
    Way too big!
    No such thing, I pull my 1750lb boat with a hemi ram.
    1987 Glassport 165rx

  7. #57
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by maharg View Post
    No such thing, I pull my 1750lb boat with a hemi ram.
    I wouldn't take her comment out of context. Of course literally there is no such thing as a tow vehicle too big, but I'm assuming she is not comfortable with such a large vehicle, either because she may feel it's too difficult to handle or too impractical as a daily use vehicle or for whatever other reason. It seems that she is new to boat ownership as many people are or new to towing. The question she is asking is about buying a new vehicle as her daily use vehicle and has towing capacity. Her husband is the one who wants it as a tow vehicle. It seems she would be just happy with a regular sedan except for her husband's desire to pull a boat.

    The decision is difficult because you cannot have the best of both worlds. There is always a compromise. The reality is that she's either got to get a tow vehicle that can minimally pull an 18-19 foot boat (which may compromise safety) or get a larger tow vehicle that can "safely" pull the boat (which may compromise personal confidence and daily practicality) or get a smaller boat (giving up some of her desired purpose for the boat).

  8. #58
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    I know, I was being funny.
    1987 Glassport 165rx

  9. #59

    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Most of the time, a particular vehicle will come with several towing packages. I have an Explorer with a 4.6 V8 that has a 3.73 rear end and class 4 towing hitch that has a towing capicity of 7300 lbs. The same engine and model has different ratio rear ends that only have 3500 lbs capacity. You definitely want to look for a vehicle with a towing package. That usually means a transmission cooler, class 3/4 hitch receiver, and often a beefier suspension.

    I have pulled a 3500 lb boat with a v6. Does ok for short trips, but as SUV ages puts more strain on motor and tranny. I hardly notice that same boat is behind the explorer with the V8 and towing package. Can go up hilly terrain and temp gauge doesn't ever move from normal.

    Fishing 56

  10. #60
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Let me chime in on the virtues of the Nissan Pathfinder SUV, anything 2005 model and newer, which has a longer and wider body than previous platforms, with a 4.0 L six that puts out nearly identical HP and torque numbers as the 4.7L Ford,Dodge and Toyota. A 5 speed auto that is NEVER in the wrong gear, a trans cooler, 3 row seating and 21 mpg hwy, 18.5 town.

    Mine has 170K miles.

    I tow a 23.5' Wellcraft, dry weight of 3900#s. Add trailer,gear, gas and I know I'm over 5000#s. I tow in the Texas Hill Country and so far, my Pathfinder tows up the hills and down without any worries (and I'm a worrier).

    It's a helluva little "Mighty Mouse".

  11. #61

    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    I tow my q6 tahoe with a nissan crew cab frontier 4wd v6 does a good job. That said my trips to the lake are about 35 to 40 miles one way curvey and hilly. I wouldn't want anything smaller.

  12. #62
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Full disclosure: I am a car buff and a boat enthusiast. I also used to sell, so I am very aware of the market for these vehicles.

    You have gotten some great advice. You also got some pretty shoddy advice. I won't point out who is right and wrong.

    I am in much the same boat. I sold my 24 foot Bayliner, and recently sold my Suburban 2500. I am looking to go to a 19 or 20 foot bowrider, and have the whole thing weigh around 3500 lbs. I am also looking to purchase a family type vehicle thats SUV-ish, AWD, capable of towing, capable of hauling people, and something not too crazy in fuel usage, size, or expense.

    A word on import vs. domestic: Buy what you want, but don't be foolish, and don't be blind. Hyundai and Ford/GM in particular have made SPECTACULAR strides lately, and don't take a back seat to ANYONE. Ford especially has an almost perfect lineup of appealing cars and trucks, and have made serious inroads in quality and residual value (a measure of percieved quality). Domestics have bigger depreciation - something that will work to your advantage if you buy used. Import truck vehicles are generally not as solid, nor as good, as domestics. Aside from a 4Runner, XTerra, or Pathfinder, I can't think of a single import truck I would have over a Domestic. This is coming from someone who currently has a VW in his garage, but also was a 2X Suburban owner.

    A word on used vehicles: I am aware you prefer import. There is a kernal of truth to what you say about IN GENERAL they are better, more focused vehicles. However, that changes when you look at truck type vehicles, and especially at resale value. I would encourage you to benchmark prices for particular vehicles (a V6 RAV4, for example, with 25K on the clock), and compare those to a domestic truck. YOu may find yourself comparing a RAV4 to, say, a pristine Lincoln Aviator V8 with less miles - and thats a hard decision to make, value wise.

    More to the point: I would not consider ANY used Honda, Toyota, or Nissan. THey just hold their value too well to make sense as a used car purchase. Pony up the cash and buy them new and you're golden.

    Knowing what you are looking for, I would take a calculated risk and target vehicles with a 3500 lb tow capacity and up. I generally fall into the "more tow capacity is better" camp, but there is a BIG expense that comes with a more serious tow vehicle, and a lot of people aren't willing to pay it.

    3500 lbs is usually enough to encompass most 18 - 20 foot bowriders, such as a Bayliner 195 Sport, Sea Ray 195 Sport, or a Larson 206 Senza. It won't cover the luxury boats like a Regal 2000 or a CObalt 200. That said, you will be on your limit tow-wise, so you won't want to go long-distance.

    TO that end, here's your list:

    Ford Escape (and any Ford SUV above that)/Mercury Mariner (serious used car bargain since they are shuttering Mercury)
    Ford Explorer (the newer, the better, and stick to midline models - no leather, no AWD, 4WD only, no V8s)
    new gen Chevy Equinox (I think these have a 3500 lb capacity in V6 AWD form)/GMC Terrain
    Toyota RAV4 V6
    Toyota 4Runner
    Nissan XTerra
    Nissan Pathfinder
    Chevy TrailBlazer/GMC Envoy/Olds Bravada/Buick Rainier/Saab 9-7X
    GMT 800s (that is, Chevy Tahoe/Suburban/GMC Yukon/Yukon XLs and all their pickup truck cousins of the 2001 - 2008 vintage)
    Volvo XC90s (these might be able to tow - Volvos tend to have surprising tow ratings)
    Volvo XC70 wagon (ditto)
    Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4 door (3500 lb capacity with a tow package)
    Ford Edge
    Nissan Murano
    Hyundai Santa Fe
    Kia Borrego (Chevy Tahoe competitor that landed on the market with a HUGE thud...which means used car bargains galore!)
    Kia Sorrento (surprising tow capacity on these)

    I wouldn't consider ANY Chrysler product at this point (aside from the Wrangler). The market is too volatile, the residuals are too low, and they have serious quality problems on the Journey CUV.

    All of this depends on your budget, so good luck.

  13. #63
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    A Rav 4 compared to a Lincoln Navigator. Never thought I would have lived to see the day but here we are. I guess the prices may be close but the trucks are on so different I cannot fathom the comparo.
    Would a frugal person who is interested in a Rav 4 go loco and buy a Navigator ?
    Any-ting is possible when it comes to cars I guess.

    Interesting post M Train.
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  14. #64
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    I think you will be hard pressed to find an 18 foot "ski boat" at 2000 lbs. I assume you mean a bowrider with a 4 or 6 cylinder engine or similar. I'd say you will be in the 3300ish lb range loaded with trailer unless you buy a premium boat brand which will put you at or near 4000lbs. We are absolutly adverse to spending money on cars. I have always believed new cars are for people richer than us or don't like to save as we do so I drive a now 10 year old minivan which towed our 4000lb 18 foot bowrider boat for a season ok. We knew we would have to pony up and buy something appropriate for towing if we were to be true boat owners and not be limited to certain boat accesses due to the front wheel drive in the minivan. We sought out the absolute most vehicle for the absolute least amount of money for towing our boat. That puts us in American SUV territory because of the great depreciation in the used market. Tahoes/Yukons and to some extent Suburbans/Yukon XL's were not in play for us because of their popularity and hence their smaller depreciation. My conclusion was that a midsized, American, truck based SUV was going to fit the bill. After looking at a lot of SUV's I discovered the GMT360 made from 2002 to 2009 would be it. Those are as mentioned above the Chevy Trailblazer/GMC Envoy/Buick Rainier/Isuze Ascender/SAAB 9-7x. Each of those models holds a different place in the market space but all are similar with 4wd/awd available, very cheap used though some were over 40k new and pretty widely regarded as non-lemons. We picked the Buick Rainier for its more refined bits and the fact that only Rainier offered a V8 in its 2 rows of seats model up until 2006/2007. It gets poor mileage compared to the crossover/car frame suv's such as the Chevy Traverse but was substantially cheaper and tows more weight better. After owning it for a while now I see why so many are on the road.
    2003 Chaparral 183SS

  15. #65
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by windsors03cobra View Post
    A Rav 4 compared to a Lincoln Navigator. Never thought I would have lived to see the day but here we are. I guess the prices may be close but the trucks are on so different I cannot fathom the comparo.
    Would a frugal person who is interested in a Rav 4 go loco and buy a Navigator ?
    Any-ting is possible when it comes to cars I guess.

    Interesting post M Train.
    First, I said Aviator, not Navigator. Google it, there's a big difference.

    Two, value is king and the crux of my argument is opportunity cost. It's the same argument as a 10 year old Honda Accord and a 1 year old 10k mile Taurus being the same price. The Taurus has more life left in it. My point is you're going to pay a premium for an import name and in a truck (that is to be used as a towing tool) it's not justified. If he's buying used, take advantage of depreciation and see what else is out there for the same price. There could be a model out there that may be newer with less miles that's the same price or cheaper. Especially when you look at oddballs like the Lincoln riffs on Ford trucks, or the Isuzu Ascender (great example, by the way....even **I** forgot about it!).



    Lastly, (and this is not aimed at you) the attitude on new cars is appreciated, but narrow minded. Each purchase is different, and some cars make more sense to buy (or lease) new rather than used. I'll leave it there for now.

  16. #66
    Petty Officer 1st Class JimKW's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    I am going to comment on Volvos only here. The XC70 would not be my choice at all. It's only rated at 3300 lbs and the V70 would do the same amount and give you better gas mileage.

    The XC90 V8 would be my choice and is my choice. It's rated at 5,000 lbs and the V8 in that vehicle is made by Yamaha. The same engine that was used in the Ford Taurus SHO. The real good news is they didn't hold their value well at all (common for Volvos) and you can get one for well under $20K.

    Anybody looking for an SUV tow vehicle should test drive one. You got nothing to lose. I drove my first Volvo in 1985 and have owned at least one and as many as three every since. Right now I have a 1995 Yellow 850 T5R, one of only 185 imported into the USA. I also have a white 97 850 R.

    My son has two 98's, my one daughter has a 99 S80 T6 and my mother in law has an 01 V70. As I said in a previous post I know Volvos.

    I knew a lady a few years ago who was test driving Acuras and Lexus. I said just go test drive a Volvo, you got nothing to lose. She bought the Volvo.


    2000 Crownline 180BR - Lil Red

  17. #67

    Exclamation Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    My recommendation is to be safe than sorry. I have a 21' boat. When I bought the boat I had a ford explorer that hardly pulled the boat. My maximum speed up the hill was 35 mph. Forget about acceleration, and breaking distance. It was totally unsafe to tow the boat. After the first season I bought a ford expedition, what a difference. Now I don't fell the boat behind the car and I am in total control of the trailer and boat behind me. The dry weight for my boat is 3200lbs and the trailer weights about 1200lbs. By the time you consider the weight of the fuel (50 gallons, boats gas tanks are much larger than cars) skis, drinks towels and so on you will be adding additional 500 lbs to your load. Now you have to consider how many passengers you are taking boating with you. Ford explorer towing capacity is rated at 5000 lbs, and ford expedition at 9000lbs. I would recommend chose a vehicle with 20 to 25% higher towing capacity than weight of you boat, trailer, and additional load combined. It will increase the mpg but is much safer.

  18. #68
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Argh. I cant believe I mistook the Aviator for the Navigator but my mistake on that I like both those vehicles and the Rav 4 to me is useless.

    Isuzu Ascender ! Whew, I do not know where you pulled dat der out of but props ahoy on that. That nameplate has to be virtually worthless and possibly kind of rare. 7 names on that platform. I think GM did it for the LulZ.

    I agree on the domestic used car values, new car depreciation sucks. Amazing how the premium Asian cars retain that value.
    1977 Starcraft American 18' 165 Mercruiser.
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  19. #69
    Petty Officer 1st Class jbing81's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Pull a 2,000 lbs+ boat on a regular basis w/o an accelerated maintence program and you will see how "reliable" your honda or toyota is...

    Personally being from Detroit I would never consider driving let alone buying a forgien car...

    All that aside, your needs would require a full size SUV or truck to safely pull/stop that load. And when I say safely I dont mean because your vehical might break down but so you dont cause an accident and injure another driver.
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  20. #70
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by windsors03cobra View Post
    Isuzu Ascender ! Whew, I do not know where you pulled dat der out of but props ahoy on that. That nameplate has to be virtually worthless and possibly kind of rare. 7 names on that platform. I think GM did it for the LulZ.
    Whenever I see an Ascender or a 9-7x for that matter I do a double take since I see so few. The Ascender must be the worst depreciating car ever. It was really modeled after the Envoy interior-wise. The 9-7x held up a little better resale wise. The 9-7x is probably the most refined/luxurious and you can get it with the LS Vette engine as you could the Trailblazer. I wouldn't mind a 9-7x.
    2003 Chaparral 183SS

  21. #71
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    I tow my 1998 Monterey 180 I/O with a 2005 Kia Sportage 4x4 V6 its rated at 1500 in the US but 3500 in Europe. Go figure that one out. They say it the diesel engine but the torque numbers are the same. Considering we used to tow with a 1977 Ford F150 with drum breaks I feel we have stepped up. Granted we only go 8 miles to the lake but it tows it very well. I just take it easy. I would'nt recommend this as a real option for going any sort of distance but for our short trip it has done very well. That being said we are looking at a 2005 Nissan Armada with some miles and a 3rd row seat its about 20k and can tow 9100 lbs. Should cover us for a 20 ft upgrade.
    1998 Monterey 180 3.0l (The best $500.00 I ever spent)

  22. #72

    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by lncoop View Post
    Welcome to iboats. You've come to the right place for advice. However, you should know (and have probably discovered by now) that nothing ignites posters' passions more quickly than a towing thread. More than one has been closed by the mods for that reason. I won't jump into the fray except to say this. You really need to ask yourself some searching questions regarding your vehicle preferences. For instance, you're prejudiced against full sized SUVs and trucks, which is certainly your prerogative, but you need to determine exactly why, and in order to do that you need the benefit of experience.
    Thank you! It's been a while since I've viewed this thread. Oops. Ok, so I know why I do not prefer a full size SUV. My parents had always had trucks and SUVs. I grew up in their Expeditions, and Chevy Silverado 2500HD.. and drove them frequently. For an occasional drive, they were fine. For my primary vehicle, it is just too big. And, in addition to this, they are too big for my garage.

  23. #73
    Petty Officer 1st Class Prophammer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Go American!
    Bring rain gear !

  24. #74
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by jbing81 View Post
    Pull a 2,000 lbs+ boat on a regular basis w/o an accelerated maintence program and you will see how "reliable" your honda or toyota is...

    Personally being from Detroit I would never consider driving let alone buying a forgien car...
    I'd like to agree with you but my experience tells me otherwise. My 2002 Tacoma just towed my boat (about 2,000lbs including gear) on a 1,000+ mile trip just fine. It has 155K on it and except changing a belt, I haven't had to do any maintenance that I can't do myself in the backyard.

    On the other hand, I rented a 2011 Dodge Nitro with less than 1K two weeks ago and the power door locks didn't work and the radio cut out every time I went over a bump. With QC like that, I can't see buying American (possibly with the exception of a Ford) anytime soon.

  25. #75
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    Default Re: Smallest vehicle to pull 18-19' boat?

    Quote Originally Posted by jbing81 View Post
    Personally being from Detroit I would never consider driving let alone buying a forgien car...
    Quote Originally Posted by Parlay View Post
    Go American!
    So what vehicle is american?

    Here is an eye-opener...

    http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story....=&aff=national

    So those ford F150's and chevy silverado's? Not even eligible to be considered for the made-in-america list. Need at least 70% US sourced parts, both of those trucks fall well below that (55% and 65%, respectively) The quad and crew cab dodge 1500's are the ONLY domestic truck that is even close to being made in america, at #7. (#1 and #2 made in america vehicles? Toyota and Honda)


    My last vehicle was a ford. It had a sticker on the door jam proclaiming "Proudly made in <some town i can't pronounce>, Mexico" I've got a subaru now, japanese, which is made in Kentucky. My other vehicle is a kia, made in Georgia. So by my count, I can either support the american worker and the japanese CEO. (who earns less than a well paid union employee in the states!), or a fat american CEO and the mexican worker... Tough choice!

    Given the QC issues I've seen in domestic automakers, i'm not going to be buying a ford or chevy for many years. And this is coming from a die-hard ford person, at least up until my last 3 vehicles.

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