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  1. #1

    Default Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    My tires spin and can hardly pull boat out of water. Don't want to trade for 4WD truck, but may consider getting a front wheel drive car to use. With engine weight on front wheels would I get the necessary traction? Of course the weight on the hitch will tend to lift the front wheels and possibly lower traction, so may not be an improvement. Any comments on this?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    HEY G175 If you have 4x4 what good is fwd maybe a bigger 4x4 truck or a smaller boat

  3. #3
    Admiral smokeonthewater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    no front drive won't be an improvement...... try moving your axle back for more tongue weight..... if your rear tires are old you can try newer better tires..... also try keeping your tires out of the water....... last, a couple big coolers full of water in the rear of your (truck?) or some fat friends can help substantially.

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    It is actually a Gran Marquis, rear wheel drive. I usually have to stand on the trailer tongue and let my wife ease it out. The rear wheels are usually on wet part of ramp and spin easily. With front wheel drive they would usually be on dry concrete, but not always. Engine weight could help with traction it seems.

  5. #5
    Senior Chief Petty Officer boat1010's Avatar
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    I agree with Smokeonthewater. Try a different tread on the tires. Some work quite a bit better than others. And be real light footed when pulling out. But with some ramps I slip with my 4X4 it really depends on the ramp and how slick the concrete is. But weight in the trunk or more tong weight will improve your chances.
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    front wheel drive would not help. its all about weight transfer. you already have a heavy trailer on the back, then the physics of what happens when you hit the gas would cause the front end to be even lighter. your not going to find a front wd car that will handle the trailer better then what you have now.

    saw a guy saturday with a small CC boat behind a fwd ford tarus or something. he was having to push the car to get it up the ramp with an empty trailer. I didnt see him when he loaded to go home.

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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    You can probably have a limited slip/positrak rear end put into that for not a lot of $$$. As well as better tires.

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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    HEY,SORRY MIS READ THE TREAD,Maybe some sand bags in the back of auto will help
    Last edited by 62 ROYAL SCOTT; September 15th, 2011 at 06:49 PM. Reason: correct spelling i do that alot

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    I saw someone that had actually put a hitch the FRONT of the car! Hey,it worked and evidently he didn't mind the aesthetics or the looks he got!!

  10. #10
    Petty Officer 2nd Class kemer1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    I drive a Crown Vic (Same car as the Grand Marquis) every day for work. For some reason Ford in their wisdom didn't think that those cars with all their V8 Power and RWD prowess didn't need traction and stability control. Every time it rains out here, we seem to have a handfull of guys spin out and nail a guard rail or concrete divider or what not. The problem is the car itself my friend. They just can't hook up the power in the wet. You might need to have a limited slip rear end installed to evenly distribute the power between the rear wheels. Or might just want to pick up a cheap little Jeep Cherokee or pickup of some sort for towing duties.
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    Supreme Mariner Frank Acampora's Avatar
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    I beg to differ!

    For years I launched with a FWD Grand Caravan with no problems pulling out an 18 foot fiberglass Renken.

    Also, out of desperation once I used my Chevy Cavalier with the 2.2 four cylinder. This was on a mud coated concrete ramp and it marched the boat right out. I fully expected to get stuck and had no problems--go figure.

    Based on my experience I would say that front drive might be better for you.

    So now you have heard both sides--you decide.

    BTW: Now I use a 2 wheel drive S10 with no positraction. Only one wheel spins and when it does, I GENTLY ride the emergency brake to even out traction while applying power gradually. I can count on one hand the number of times I needed people in the bed.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Acampora View Post
    I beg to differ!

    For years I launched with a FWD Grand Caravan with no problems pulling out an 18 foot fiberglass Renken.

    Also, out of desperation once I used my Chevy Cavalier with the 2.2 four cylinder. This was on a mud coated concrete ramp and it marched the boat right out. I fully expected to get stuck and had no problems--go figure.

    Based on my experience I would say that front drive might be better for you.

    So now you have heard both sides--you decide.

    BTW: Now I use a 2 wheel drive S10 with no positraction. Only one wheel spins and when it does, I GENTLY ride the emergency brake to even out traction while applying power gradually. I can count on one hand the number of times I needed people in the bed.
    I used a Grand Voyager for years. Best launching vehicle I ever had. Lift the tailgate et voila, perfect view of the boat & ramp. Retrieved boats as big as 19' with that rig.

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    I had a Lincoln Town Car that I towed my boats with. Fairly similar to the Merc you are using. Put in a limited slip rear differential, and problem solved. The best LSD is an all gear unit made by Eaton called Truetrac (sometimes called a Detroit Truetrac). They are silent, smooth, no chatter or grabby stuff. And no clutches to ever wear out. Have one in my Firebird, and its the best street LSD I have ever owned.

    I now have about 45,000 miles on my Eaton Truetrac in the Firebird. Running 3.73 gears, it gets a good amount of torque fed into it. Nonetheless, it performs BETTER today than it did when brand new. At about $400 from Summit Racing, (install at your own cost) it makes the tail wagging firebird behave much better, especially in rain, snow, and even WOT on dry surfaces. When the unit locks (and it will lock up after a certain amount of torque is fed into it) its just as fun as the classic Detroit Locker.

    Now, the Town Car did not have the Eaton Truetrac, it got the standard Ford factory clutch posi, and after about 60K it was time for new clutches. But for pulling a boat up a wet slippery ramp, the Town Car (which has the same engine, trans and rear axle as your Merc) never spun a tire once a LSD was installed.

    So if you are going to put in a LSD, go with the Eaton Truetrac. And only use pure synthetic gear lube. (its a small price, less than $20 to drain and fill the differential on your own).

    Here is a cool video that shows the inner workings of the differential.

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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    i use a 2003 chevy venture van FWD to pull my 18" starcraft and it pulls out just fine and the weight on the back makes the front raise causing less traction but i never spin at all and pull out just fine.
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    Admiral smokeonthewater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    tires can be HUGE..... Until recently I had a set of (dammit I cant remember the brand) tires on my dually and they pulled my 28'er out without a slip in all sorts of weather up to the point that one rear had worn to the point of blowing out (sometimes that happens fast with a dually).... I still launched the boat a couple times with 3 badly worn tires and a blowout on the rear...... Never a slip in 2wd........ Recently I put on a set of NEW geotrac (chinese junk) tires on the dually and now I absolutely can't pull the boat out without using 4x4.... And this is a 10k lb truck that made it halfway up the ramp and just spinning 4 tires on the back in 2wd on BONE DRY concrete....... I actually thought my transmission had burned up on me till I put it in park and took my foot off the brake.... It actually started sliding down the ramp backwards...... popped her in 4x4 and drove right out.... UGH!
    Kevin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinnie
    But, where are the reevets?
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    I've used a FWD, a RWD and an AWD and not had a problem with any of them. Now, I live in fresh water, with no tide, so the only wet part of the ramp is maybe 3 feet above water level, and that's due to waves.

    Since I'm also in a snow climate, I only chose all weather tires that have a high snow rating. I know that some OEM tires I had were awful under all conditions, but as soon as I replaced them with a good set of Goodyears the traction improved quite a bit.

    My motto is always keep the tires above the water. My trailers are equipped for easy launching so I don't have to back in very far anyway. I see a lot of people spinning tires and hauling crooked boats. Backing in too far is preverbial. I never saw anybody have a problem because they didn't back in far enough!
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    For a whole season, I pulled my 4000 lb Chaparral/Trailer with my fwd, low power, 100,000+ mile, minivan. Everything else inappropriate about that aside, only the slickest of ramps or the most popular lakes with their highly used conditions were a problem. Just shut the traction control off as the old-school version I have just brakes the wheels and stops your momentum and put some good tires on it. I was and most were amazed at what an inappropriate tow vehicle could accomplish. By the way, I have a roller trailer which means only the trailer wheels get wet never the vehicle wheels. The roller trailer plus the air bag suspension helps mask the wrong vehicle as well. For that season I simply learned to avoid certain lakes as the trade off for not having an appropriate tow vehicle. As quick as I could the next season, I had a full fledged SUV in the garage. Boating and trailering can be stressful enough without worrying about the most fundamental issues such as will my vehicle pull the boat out this time.
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  18. #18
    Captain Philster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    Could a weight dist. hitch help get more onto the front axle?
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  19. #19
    Supreme Mariner bruceb58's Avatar
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by Philster View Post
    Could a weight dist. hitch help get more onto the front axle?
    He has a RWD vehicle. That would make situation worse. I understand why you suggested that because of the title of the thread.
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    Lieutenant Commander NSBCraig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Towing with front wheel drive vehicle

    FWD works great at the ramp. I don't know why someone would think different, cause they work great for the reasons your thinking.
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