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Author Topic:   Tow vehicle question 22' BW
MikeG posted 02-27-2002 04:49 PM ET (US)   Profile for MikeG   Send Email to MikeG  
I have a tow vehicle questions also. I tried searching previous strings but I did not come across a setup similar to my own. I am planning on buying a 22' Whaler (Temp. or Revenge) and at first look my current vehicle seemed up to the task... now I'm getting a little concerned. I have a 98 Explorer V6 SOHC with a 5,800lb tow capacity, Class III hitch, trans cooler. No sweat with the Montauk (about 2,000lbs w/trailer) but my calculations for the Temptation weight (assuming Revenge is similar) is:

Boat 88 Temp: 2600
Engines 2x150hp: 740
Fuel 50gal: 350
Trailer 2axl: 1200
Misc (bat,etc): 200
Total: 5090 lbs

1. Is this a fairly accurate estimation based on others with similar setups?
2. Has anyone towed this much weight 500 miles before with a similar vehicle?
3. I believe 500lbs tongue weight is appropriate, will I have to a 5th wheel under my rear bumper? :-)

I figure that I will at least need a weight distributing hitch. Am I getting in over my head? A new vehicle is not an option right now. Any comments?

As always, thanks for the help!

OutrageMan posted 02-27-2002 05:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for OutrageMan  Send Email to OutrageMan     
I towed my 22' Outrage w/WD and a 250 Yamaha once. It was quite an experience. I never felt in control of the rig. Even with the surge brakes, braking was an issue.

On my 86 2wd Suburban though, everything was fine.

I think that you have to think of both stopping and wheelbase.


kingfish posted 02-27-2002 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I have an Outrage 22', single OB, and I am sneaking up on 4900# boat, trailer and all; a little less than you.

First, I don't think you need 500# tongue weight; probably 300# to 350# is plenty. Might even get by with a little less.

I hauled my rig with a Mercury Mountaineer, about a '97 I think, but had a V8, on a 700 mile round trip before I got a Yukon. Had plenty of poop except for long grades where we might struggle to stay above 60 mph or so.

It did always feel in the seat of my pants that what I was pulling would win in a fight with what was pulling it. Never had any trouble, but you always knew you were pulling something maybe a little bigger than you.

My bet is that you could do what you had to do with your rig, might not break any land speed records, but you'd be OK until you got your next vehicle, and it would be bigger.

And yes, especially with your situation, get a weight distributing hitch. It might even help tame the feeling of having something quite so large back there. I didn't hook up with a w.d. hitch until I got the Yukon.


humboldt jim posted 02-27-2002 05:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for humboldt jim  Send Email to humboldt jim     
I upgraded my tow rig this winter from a Toyota T-100 6 cyl. 4x4, to a Tundra V-8 I Force. The T-100 max. tow weight, and my boat, trailer combo. is approximately the same as yours.

The T-100 was fine for pulling around town, and up to 55mph on straight-no gradient highway. But on hills, it died and over a long distance (>60 miles) I felt I was overloading the engine, therefore the upgrade.

Consider these factors: how often, how far, and how big of a hill you plan to tow, in your decision. If you decide to upgrade, check earlier threads on same subject.

David Ratusnik posted 02-27-2002 06:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
MikeG- I have a 22' 86 OR with 225. I tow it all over FLA with a 4.3L V6 1999 Silverado. No hitch, just a 2" ball in the 5K rated bumper. No problem at all. Trailer, dual ax w/o brakes. You're in PA, put brakes on it for the mountains plus an extra strap. My opinion, but, tow ratings are way low- sells more trucks (etc) and reduces liability. David
JBCornwell posted 02-27-2002 06:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Hi, Mike. There is no way I would tow that boat with a pre-'02 Explorer more than a few flat miles.

I have never felt comfortable towing any more than about 65-70% of rated load, even with brakes.

In PA I would want a 4x4 V8 to tow that rig. Depending on your tastes and priorities that would mean a '02 Explorer, V8/5spd auto, 4x4 with tow package (Trailer Boats' Tow vehicle of the Year); Tundra V8 or Sequoia V8 similarly equipped; or something even bigger.

Red sky at night. . .
JB :)

MikeG posted 02-27-2002 06:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for MikeG  Send Email to MikeG     
Thanks for the replies so far. I'm not over-flowing with confidence, yet. I was on the website and there are a lot of posts of people towing 4500 - 5500+ lbs with their explorer. Tough to tell if the truck is doing well with it. Also, a slippery boat ramp is a bit different from a flat highway.

I am planning a number of trips to the Delaware River (40 miles R/T), 5 or 6 trips to the Jersey shore (200 R/T) and one trip a year to Maine (1000 R/T). I wish there was a way to do a "test tow" of the boat.

The whole idea of a larger BW started when I saw an '87 Revenge 22 for sale for $10.5K and a $10K Temptation. I figured "I could afford that" how hard could it be to tow? They sold quickly of course but now I have the itch. I usually feel like the small boat on the water in my Montauk and beat my passengers to death at speeds above 27mph or so. Does everyone who has a 22' boat buy a slip or a full-size truck? I may have to put the dream on hold until I get all of the logistics worked out. I would like to hear from others who have made the jump up in boat size.

Thanks again, Mike

David Ratusnik posted 02-27-2002 07:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Mike- Obviously, you are going to get many different opinions on this one. I happen to have a lift, so I distance tow on a very elective basis. Maybe not so with you from what I read above. I know a number of people who have purchased an inexpensive tow vehicle, one that is really used only for towing purposes, e.g. 1970 Olds (455 CI), classic cadillacs, older Suburbans etc. They keep the mechanicals up to snuf not worrying about the cosmetics too much. Keeps costs down. In a couple cases they had to have a ClassIII hitch custom built since the hitches at UHaul etc would not fit the older frames. Just a couple random thoughts. Good Luck. David
kingfish posted 02-27-2002 07:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Started out with a Montauk, just like you - towed it with a Chrysler Town & Country and an Olds Touring Sedan then graduated to the Mercury Mountaineer.

Made the move to an Outrage 22 nearly three years ago and I still can't believe that that is really *my* boat sitting out in the driveway - it knocks me out every day.

As I said earlier, towed the 22 with the Mountaineer, then a Yukon, now a Denali. It never really stops, I don't think. My idea of the perfect towing machine would be a new Yukon XL 2WD fully dressed with the 8.1 litre stump puller. If I were a little more patient than I am and if I hadn't made the mistake of driving the Denali last fall I'd have one now...THEN I could pull some boats-


jimh posted 02-27-2002 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The FORD Explorer used to be built on the same chassis as their little Ranger Truck. It really is not a towing machine.

As for tongue weight, I have towed probably 5,000 miles now with my tandem axle trailer (with 20-Revenge) that probably weighs about 4,500 pounds. The tongue weight is only about 250-pounds. I measured it with one of those fancy tongue weight scales (that cost $300) at the trailer shop that did some work on my trailer.

The rig tows just fine. I have often thought that these high tongue weight recommendations (10% of towed weight) are based on towing travel trailers that:

--have much greater wind area
--much higher center of gravity
--much more symmetrical distribution of weight about the trailer axle.

The typical boat trailer, in comparison, has:

--much less wind area
--much lower center of gravity
--highly assymetrical distribution of weight leading to the axle being placed far off center and to the rear.

These factors tend to reduce the ability of cross winds to induce sway into the trailer, and at the same time increase the ability of the towed vehicle to counteract the sway oscillations.

kingfish posted 02-27-2002 07:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Sidetracked myself---I think your question went to the towability of a 22---eminently towable. There are a bunch of us here who between us tow them all over the country. It in my opinion is a big enough boat, especially as a BW, that you can do some *serious* offshore stuff, but is still of a size that you can and will hook up and tow a couple of miles or a 1000.

Your vehicle is on the small side for really comfortable long hauls, but not terminally. With all due respect to all involved though, don't tow it a block without working brakes.

OK, I'm done now.


dauntlass 18 posted 02-27-2002 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for dauntlass 18  Send Email to dauntlass 18     
David R is right on with a older vehicle for towing, Ford Crown Vics from the eightys Chevy Ford and Dodge trucks 1975 to1990 are priced right for use as a tow vehicle and work very well.When I needed a larger truck to tow my 21 ft ConquestI purchased a 1987 Dodge Tk with small block v/8 only mod.I did was add a trans cooler cost 30.00 dollars from Pep Boys.I tow boat most every weekend in summer, most trips 100 miles average.I have had no problems yet or hills in Pa.,or MD.that the truck could not handle with ease.
Also repairs cost have been none.I drive truck app.2000 mi per yr.
DIVE 1 posted 02-27-2002 10:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
Is your engine weight correct? It seems a little light to me. I think that the fuel tank capacity is 70 gallons.
tflyer posted 02-27-2002 11:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for tflyer  Send Email to tflyer     
Just another opinion from an old truck driver, 30yrs with an 18 wheeler, I also tow a 25' Whaler for kicks! Forget the cars and suv's, bite the bullet and buy a good truck! 3/4 ton, 4x4 (launch ramps are slick and sometimes steep). For my money the Ford F-250, with the power-stroke diesel is a good choice, No "sweat" and plenty of muscle. Now your set-up for that next, bigger boat! What ever you decide on, if it has an automatic, do add an aux. cooler. The transmission will always be the weak link in the power train and in time it will fail under load... My 2cts....Tom
lpaton posted 02-28-2002 06:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for lpaton  Send Email to lpaton     
My Outrage III with motor,gas ,trailer etc runs about 4500 lbs. Trailer is tandem with surge brakes.Towed 1500 miles last summer with a Durango,318-V8. Was never very happy. Truck was forcing. Possibly the rear end ratio had a lot to do with it ( 3.55 I think). Tow capacity is slightly over 5000#.With that rear end the truck was rated the same as the V6 Durango therefore similar to yours I imagine.Its OK for short hauls but that's it IMHO. Should have taken the Ram 2500 with the Cummins but space for kids dictated otherwise.
I don't have a load distributing hitch and run about 200# on the ball.
I side with tflyer's feelings.
SWarren posted 02-28-2002 09:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for SWarren  Send Email to SWarren     
I had the same problem you are having. I towed a montauk with a 98 ford explorer and then bought the revenge 22. While the explorer did fine around town to and from the landing as far as power, you could really feel the boat behind you. I would use my fathers z71 to tow out of town. I have since upgraded to an expedition and it pulls the boat great. Bottom line keep the explorer to tow short distances, and use a friends truck if you go out of town.
fireball posted 02-28-2002 10:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for fireball  Send Email to fireball     
I have a 22 Outrage-pulling is not the problem-the rice wagons as well as the conventional trucks can handle the boat as far as taking off. Stopping is the matter. The towing vehicle needs to weigh more than the towed boat for stopping. Simple engineering theory. g
BOB KEMMLER JR posted 02-28-2002 10:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for BOB KEMMLER JR    
I agree with the majority of the replies.There is no replacement for displacement,im also going out on a limb and will probably catch some flak for this.All these new ohc V8s and multicam,multivalve engines make excellant hp figures on paper for advertising and sales,but when it comes time to hook the boat up they just dont make enough low end torque which is what really matters for towing.Upper rpm power is useless unless you plan on towing in 2nd gear or towing 75mph.I wouldnt want to tow anything over 3000lbs with that toyota tundra,i test drove one and was unimpressed with the performance.I ended up buying a 1995 caprice wagon with the LT-1 engine and have towed a friends 25 foot grady white up and down steep hills and valleys over long distances and didnt feel like it was even back there,also got around 23mpg to boot.
triblet posted 02-28-2002 12:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Fireball: if the tow vehicle has to weigh more
than the towed trailer, how come a Kenworth
T2000 cab weighs about 15,000 pounds, and can
tow a 65,000 pound trailer? (Max GVW in
California is 80,000 pounds, IIRC).

Ans: Trailer brakes.

JimH: "rice wagon" is a term which is probably
not appropriate here.


lhg posted 03-05-2002 05:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
A boating companion has towed his 21 Walkaround (about same weight as 22 Revenge) on long trips for many years with a V-6 Ford Explorer, 2 wheel drive, and using a weight distributing hitch. His only complaint was it could use a little more power. After 8 years, he just solved this HP problem by getting a V-8 Ford Explorer 2-wheel drive, Eddie Bauer edition with the 16" wheels. He says it handles his rig beautifully.

Many are not aware that for towing, all of the manufacturers recommend 2-wheel drive, not 4 wheel. The tow ratings are higher on the 2-wheel drive vehicles, since the lower center of gravity makes a difference. Traction at the ramp is rarely a concern.

I'm not going to tell you what vehicle I use to tow my 25 Outrage around, over 80,000 miles in the last 12 years!

Drisney posted 03-05-2002 11:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Drisney  Send Email to Drisney     
LGH....don't you tow with an older Cadillac??
I towed my 17' for years with an old 2wd Toyota did fine on the flats and was slow on the hills. Since I wanted a bigger boat (typical guy) I purchased a used 1990 Dodge LE250 2wd with Cummings turbo gets 21+MPG !!! This weekend I pick up the 22 foot Revenge. I'll let you know how it handles (storm comming in)
lhg posted 03-06-2002 09:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Yes, my tow vehicle is a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, with 7000lb tow package and Chevy 350 cube engine, and 3.70 Positraction rear end. The long wheelbase and low center of gravity makes it a real sleeper as a tow vehicle. A weight distributing hitch is mandatory to handle the 700# tongue weight. My Caddy mechanic tells me that, except for the softer suspension, it's a Suburban in disguise - same drivetrain. Gets 7 miles to the gallon towing the 25 around in 3rd gear. 24 mpg without boat, in overdrive!
PMUCCIOLO posted 03-07-2002 05:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    
How does Bob Kemmler, Jr. get 23MPG while LGH gets 7MPG while towing? Both have 350 CI GM engines, similar chassis configurations, and are towing similar loads (25 foot boats). Was the 25MPG figure without a boat in tow?

Bob Kemmler, Jr: Have you ever towed anything with a Tundra, or is your concern over towing anthing in excess of the 3000# you state totally arbitrary? Is the dual overhead cam valvetrain or the transmission and rear-end gearing responsible for the bulk of the towing capacity? It is my understanding that, if maximum torque is desired at a low RPM (below 2000) a diesel powerplant (DuraMax or PowerStroke) should be employed.

Otherwise, with few exceptions, gasoline truck engines of similar displacements and configurations have similar torque curves (based on the manufacturer's graphic data as posted on their websites). Unfortunately, there is little to no published data of this nature available for automobiles.

I think that, rather than resorting to subjective opinions, objective data is necessary for a boat owner to make a decision regarding his tow vehicle. The factors, it would seem, of importance are: (1)Horsepower, (2)Torque, (3)Transmission, (4)Rear-end gear, (4)Tongue weight, (5)Wheelbase, and (6)Braking capacity. Furthermore, auxiliary transmission coolers and enhanced engine radiator capacities are highly recommended in the manufacturer's literature.

The biggest problem I see is not getting the boat out of the ramp or rolling down the road, but stopping the rig when an emergency maneuver arises. This is where a properly equipped car (with a lower center of gravity) would seem to have an advantage.


kingfish posted 03-07-2002 09:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I agree with you at least to the extent that stopping ability is a major consideration, especially in emergency situations.

I am also resolved (here I don't know if I'm agreeing with you or not), the heavier the load being trailered the more so, that there needs to be more than adequate braking on the trailer itself; at least enough to manage the weight being towed. The tow vehicle can easily be in a situation in which it has all it can handle (or more) just with it's own weight and momentum.


lhg posted 03-07-2002 12:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I would not tow any 22 or 25 Whaler without 4 wheel brakes, preferably disc.

There is one difference between the GM 350 cube engine installed in a passenger car vs truck. The car will get less MPG, and have less usable power, because of the pollution controls which the trucks don't have. This is about to change, however.

MikeG posted 03-08-2002 05:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for MikeG  Send Email to MikeG     
Again, thanks for everyone's replies. I am suprised that most of the concern is with braking while driving. I have terrible visions of putting the car in gear to pull the boat out and the weight pulling me into the water at the bottom of the ramp only to swim back to shore to the applause of the other boaters. The Whaler could probably float the trailer and the car until the tow truck arrives though :-) Seriously though, it is tough to make a good decision on paper. I want to try to do a "test tow" with the Explorer. I can live with being uncomfortably nervous towing as long as the rig is safe. My back-up plan might be sitting in a neighbor's driveway: 1990 GMC K1500 with $110K+ miles for about $4500. The only problem is the tow vehicle will have to come from the boat budget. Maybe I could live a few months w/o food, electricity or water... a good boat is worth it, right? ;-)

PS: The main issue with the "test tow" plan is finding out the hard way that it was "unsafe". I'll think this one through a little :-)

Tom W Clark posted 03-08-2002 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Your decision comes down to using a vehicle you already have and going out and buying something else. In this situation it seems obvious that you should try it with the Explorer and if it works [n]to your satisfaction[/b] then there you go, you're set. If it is not satisfactory, then you can buy something else. Budget? Come on, that's not what boats are about...

You needn't fear being pulled into the drink, the boat will float (even with the trailer attached) long before your tow vehicle reaches the water. Besides, you would have to have a huge boat for it to get dragged backwards. I agree with most here, it is controllability more than pulling power that is important.

I truly think you will be just fine with your Explorer.

lhg posted 03-08-2002 05:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I have seen a lot of rigs slide down steep ramps when launching a boat, particularly if it's loaded with fuel. Sometime the vehicle wheels just can't get enough braking traction, and the boat pulls the vehicle, causing it to slide. I've even seen the big "dually" pickups do it!

Here's a trick to prevent this from happening to you. Once the boat is on the sloping ramp, and there is enough gravity to pull the vehicle and boat downhill, switch the vehicle from reverse gear to forward gear. Now work the brake pedal with your left foot. Let your rig continue to roll downhill while in forward gear. If you feel your vehicle loosing traction, give it a little gas as necessary. You will be able to prevent an out-of-control downhill slide.

For some reason, the rear wheels get more traction with gas applied in "drive" than they do in braking.

All this applies to auto transmission, obviously.

Drisney posted 03-10-2002 02:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Drisney  Send Email to Drisney     
Hi ! I just walked in the door after towing home my "new" 22' Revenge...The Dodge LE250 1990.w/cummings turbo diesel pulled it like a dream !!! 200 miles was a good shake down and it tows extremely well.

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