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Author Topic:   Towing vehicle advice....
here fishy posted 07-08-2000 03:18 AM ET (US)   Profile for here fishy   Send Email to here fishy  
I own a 1978 13' Whaler with a 40 HP Yamaha on a 15 ft. trailer with a 12 gal. tank. I figure the total weight is maximum 1300 lbs. but more like 1000 lbs. I will be launching in Southern California predominantly in salt water. Won't be doing any fresh water fishing so driving into the mountains will be out of the question.

I'll be purchasing a used 1994-1997 truck. I'm leaning towards a V6, however in case I upgrade to a bigger boat I know a V8 would be a wiser purchase even if it's overkill for the 13'. I don't know if 4x4 is necesary even with a slick cement launch ramp and I won't be in beach or mud. Also, the 4x4 components apparently weigh down the vehicle and limit towing as well (that's what I've heard). I suppose a manual 5 speed vehicle would be better than an automatic transmission??

I'm interested on feedback on any of these trucks from towing ability to mechanical reliability etc.

Ford Ranger 4 L V6 160 HP
Toyota Tacoma 3.4L V6 190 HP
Dodge Dakota 3.9L v6 175 HP
Chevy/GMC 4.3L v6 190HP

Any of the 5L and higher v8 trucks should be fine. Trying to stay away from SUV's and vans due to short wheel base. Any comments, experiences and suggestions would be appreciated.

Here Fishy

whalernut posted 07-08-2000 07:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
here fishy, I own a 93` Dodge Dakota with a 318 cid. v8 with automatic transmission, 4-wheel drive, extra cab. optional 3.90 rear axel with posi-traction. Anyway it pulls my 73` `16 Currituck very easily, it will even cruise at 65mph in cruise control with no problem. The motor has 220h.p. So the v6 Dakota(175h.p.) or the very good Chevy v6 Vortec(about 190h.p.) should be fine up to a `17 Whaler. The new Toyota v6 is good to. If you get a Ford, make sure it is the 4.0 litre v6, they make a smaller one. Good luck-Jack Graner.
dfmcintyre posted 07-08-2000 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
H/F -

I'd be willing to bet that the tow weight is even under 1000lbs.

One of the larger 6's w/o 4wd would work fine for you. However your thinking ahead about a larger boat. Here's my experiences:

For the 17 hull, I had no problem with the larger Olds Cutlass sized body with a small V8. Would pull it at freeway speeds all day long.

For the 21' and up to and including the 25' hull, the half ton (1500 series) GMC/Chevy pickup or SUV's work fine, with the 305 or 350cid V8's are fine. Since your not going on any hills or unimproved ramps, you could probably go without 4x4's.

An SUV like the Surburban or the large framed vans would be fine, and have a long enough wheelbase.

A shorter SUV or van will work, provided you equip the trailer and hitch with a load-leveling type setup. Walt Steffens has his 25 Revenge trailer equipped with this type, and having pulled my 25 (without l/l) and his, the difference is _very_ noticable.

I personally think that a l/l system on a 20' and below is overkill, 21' - 22' is worth considering, highly recommended for 25' and above boat trailers.

Best - Don

Dick E posted 07-08-2000 12:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick E  Send Email to Dick E     
Automatics would be better especially if you are going to upgrade one day.
I pull my Montauk on a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 6 cyl . It does fine.
opt for the transmiision cooler or you could get an after market one
sr posted 07-08-2000 07:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for sr  Send Email to sr     
Are you set on a pickup? I live in the mountians and pull our 17' montauk loaded with camping gear and up to 4 adults over 3 ridges with a (small) jeep cherokee our first a 87 with /6 and replaced her with a 99 that has much more power and creature comforts. I agree with the auto. Make sure you get one with the tow pkg. from the factory as you will get h.d. rad. in many cases bigger brakes, tranny cooler and a light system that works. Good luck.
sr posted 07-08-2000 07:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for sr  Send Email to sr     
should have hit I6 for inline six. sorry
triblet posted 07-08-2000 11:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
I tow a 17' Montauk, with two people (me
and Admiral Linda) and 600 pounds of dive
gear with a Nissan Pathfinder. V6, 180HP.
It's about 55 miles to Monterey, about 3/4
freeway, the rest 55 MPH. I do have to down
shift for a couple of the steeper hills.
I've done this 60 times a year for the last
two and a half years.

Works fine.

4WD is real nice on slippery offramps. This
morning I watched a guy with a 2WD pickup,
no limited slip, spin the right rear tire
all the way up the ramp. He left a black
strip all the way up (stank) and got the
tire so hot he left more black stripe out
into the parking even after he got on the
flats and it stopped spinning. And this
is on a GOOD ramp (Monterey breakwater).
On other ramps, (Pt. Lobos comes to mind)
he wouldn't have gotten up.

My Pathfinders have been VERY reliable.
This one has 110K on it, and I've had to
replace a fog light bulb, and have to do
the airconditioning compressor clutch asy.
next week. About $320 in 110K, plus
consumables like filters and oil and brake

The first Pathfinder got 130K, and was
just about as reliable.

Chuck Tribolet

BTW, Consumer Reports had good things to say
about used Pathfinders, except the '96s
(complete resdesign except the drive line
that year).

dave_maggio posted 07-10-2000 08:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for dave_maggio  Send Email to dave_maggio     
Here Fishy,
Unless you are planning on upgrading to a bigger boat any of the vehicles that you have mentioned will tow a 13' Whaler with no problem whatsoever.
In fact, the family car will work just fine. I towed my 13 with my Mustang (3.8L V6 2-Wheel drive) on a couple of long trips and never had any problems. Honestly, it was cake to cruise the highway at 65mph in 5th gear. Also, I never really had any problems getting it up and down ramps. I am actually still towing my 15' with the car (I know, bad long term plan) and although a bit more difficult it works.
russellbailey posted 07-10-2000 12:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for russellbailey  Send Email to russellbailey     
We have a 15 ft Striper, 70 hp Evinrude, 450 lb trailer. Total weight is near 1500 lbs.

My truck is a 95 Chevy 1500 with 4.3L V6 and 5 speed. It easily pulls the boat in 5th in cruise on flat ground and up many hills (north GA area). I have pulled a utility trailer with up to about 5000 lbs. This is hard for the engine in hills, fine on flats - I have the 3.42 gears. Getting the load rolling is easy, maintaining speed on hills is the challenge.

My brother has a Honda Accord (2.2 L four). It also pulls the boat easily. Most any midsize (Taurus, etc) should pull a 13-15 ft Whaler easily.

4WD could be nice, but it costs a lot - more money up front, more maintenance, less power and mileage, etc. I don't have it and have successfully used dirt/gravel launch ramps, but the ramps are not slimy. Limited-slip is recommended - I do wish I had it.

JB posted 07-10-2000 03:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for JB  Send Email to JB     
I pull a 15 GLS w/a Yamaha 70 with a Nissan King Cab and a V-6 with a camper shell. Pulls fine, even up the mountain roads in So. Cal., although I don't overdo it too much. Keep ALL the tires inflated properly - it makes a big difference.
BD posted 07-25-2000 07:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for BD  Send Email to BD     
Ok all you truckers.... I tow a 15'SS w/ 70HP all over new england with an all-wheel drive Subaru Legacy - mountains and all...including sandy beach launches. The fact is, Whaler's are an easy tow...and an easy launch...just get the trailer bunks and rollers set right..

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