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Author Topic:   Tow a Montauk with a 97 5 speed Maxima?
Conrad posted 03-22-2002 09:31 AM ET (US)   Profile for Conrad   Send Email to Conrad  
Every once in a while, my wife takes the kids and goes out of town and takes my tow vehicle, an Explorer. With the wife and kids out of town, I have plenty of time, but nothing to tow my Montauk with. I live about 150 yards from a ramp (I prefer to drive 15 miles to another ramp closer to my fishing spots). The question is: If I put a hitch on my 5 speed (man.) 1997 190 hp. Maxima, will it tow the Montauk (without doing damage to the car)? If it will tow the Montauk, can I tow it 15 miles to the other ramp, or should I stay close a pull it only 150 yards?

PS. My wife is against the idea, because she thinks the hitch would look ugly on the car.

Bigshot posted 03-22-2002 10:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Carl, just about every car has a 2000lb towing caopacity. My vette is one oof the exceptions with only 1000lb. The class II hitches are barely visible with the receiver out. If only going 450' I would not bother with lights either.

I towed a 6000lb Baja with a 4cyl Toyota Tacoma and a 5spd. You'll have no issues.

triblet posted 03-22-2002 10:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Look in your owner's manual to see what the
towing capacity of your Maxima is.

MY Vette has zero towing capacity -- "not


Whaletosh posted 03-22-2002 01:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
This is all pure soapbox on my part, so don't take any of it as more than the rambling of squirell headed nut job.

Sell Maxima, get a Ford Crown Victoria or a Mercury Grand Marquis. My 1996 is rated to tow 2000 lbs (1995s and older are rated for 5000 lbs). I get 27-28 MPG on the highway in non-towing mode. they have a nice V8 motor in them. Nothing like a full frame, rear wheel drive vechicle for towing. First time the front wheels spin trying to pull the boat up a launch ramp you will appreciate this.

JimH had one, and may still have it, for towing his 15 sport.

Of course you would need to bet past the "old fogey" bias.

You might also consider a Buick Roadmaster/Chevy Caprice classic, circa 1995/1996. One with the LT-1 engine is the same motor as the Vette. A Caprice with the V-6 would get better gas mileage without sactificing much in the towing capacity.

If you really want a sharp looking (read un-fogey like); Get a 1995 or 1996 Chevy Impala. Same towing capacity as the Roadmaster/Caprice but with a sportier look and suspension.

The Fords are still used as police cruisers and the Chevys were used as them for a reason.

I personally wish that cars like the Roadmaster and Caprice were still available. I don't care that they look old fashioned. A full size wagon beats a minivan all to HEdoubletoothpicks in my book. and they certainly get better gas mileage than most SUVs.

Samars posted 03-22-2002 01:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Samars  Send Email to Samars     
Conrad, I can understand your problem. Just this past weekend the wife used my explorer to do some running around...nice day and I wanted to bring my whaler from the back (about 200 yards) yard into the garage. Got all ready and bang ! ! no vehicle to use. I did what my Father-in-law does as he is close to the water also (250 yards). I installed a ball on the tractor (craftman 17 horse Kolene) and it pulls the boat around the yard just fine.

Bigshot posted 03-22-2002 01:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
My buddy tows with a golf cart at his shop. Thing moves 30+ footers like nothing. No clue as to how it would do on a ramp, horrible in my estimation.
Conrad posted 03-22-2002 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Conrad  Send Email to Conrad     
I have borrowed my parents Grand Marquis for that exact purpose. It pulls the boat nicely, you hardly know its back there. But living here in Florida, I think the law is that you cannot own a Grand Marquis or Crown Victoria until you are at least 55 years of age.

Seriously, I like the way the Maxima drives and I have the Explorer available to pull the boat 95 % of the time. Its that 5% percent of the time, that I don't have the Explorer and need to pull the boat at least 150 yards to the ramp that I am concerned with. Do you think the Maxima can do the job (without damaging the car)? Tow capacity is 1000 lbs, but the ramp is only about 150 yards away from my house. The slope on the ramp is very gentle, almost non-existant.


Bigshot posted 03-22-2002 02:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
You'll be fine. Heck 2 guys and a sheephound could pull that thing 150 yards.
Bigshot posted 03-22-2002 02:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
You coming to our rendezvous in Tampa in april Conrad......only 3+ hours away.
Landlocked posted 03-22-2002 02:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     

My first "tow vehicle" was a 1980 baby blue 4-cyl mustang, 4 - speed. At times it had trouble pulling itself up steep hills but on gradual stuff would tow a 14' fishing boat just fine. Your Maxima has head and shoulders more HP than what I had.

I currently tow my montauk with either an explorer or a full size Bronco.

I think you would be fine on back roads at slow speeds for short trips. Just keep your head on and don't let folks push you. Keep it slow enough you know you can get it stopped and don't follow anyone too close. Definately take the time to install lights if your going to go the 15 miles.

Perhaps not the best advice but If I were in your situation, I can assure you I'd do it.


Whalerdan posted 03-22-2002 02:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
My dad used a Chevy Chevette to pull his 17 foot bass boat from Central Indiana to our cabin in Southern Michigan all the time. Launched it on the ramps and everything. It was even a manual transmission Chevette! When he was done with the car he gave it to me when I got out of college. I drove it, with everything I owned in it, to California when I moved there. Kept it in Cali for about a year when I bought a real Vette. The old car was still in great shape but I thought I needed something cooler.

Point is I don't think you need a very big vehicle to pull a montauk around. I physically pull mine around our long driveway all the time, no problem.

Conrad posted 03-22-2002 02:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Conrad  Send Email to Conrad     
Thanks for the replies,
I think I was just looking for some support. The next time I know I will be without the Explorer (and want to use the boat), I will buy and install the hitch.

I will have to see if I can plan a trip to Tampa on the 13th. My best friend has a townhouse and boat slip on Tiera Verde. I usually make a trip or two a year to the area to fish with him. I have a 2 month old girl (and 3 year old boy), so I will have to get my wifes cooperation to make the trip.


triblet posted 03-22-2002 03:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
FWIW, Neither Reese nor DrawTite makes a class II
for the '97 Altima.


fireball posted 03-22-2002 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for fireball  Send Email to fireball     
I have a friend who put a hitch on a Maxima and pulled his Montauk like it wasn't there-they are powerful cars-I think tongue weight would be the controlling factor...g
tabasco posted 03-22-2002 08:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for tabasco  Send Email to tabasco     
I couldn't find anyone who made a type two for my Mercedes S Class. Finally went to a local welder who specialized in making hitchs. He built one (Class 2 hitch) for me and I am very happy with it. The cost was approxiately $300 and then UHaul wired it for another $75 plus another $50 for a unit that protects the computer.
dchris2 posted 03-23-2002 09:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for dchris2  Send Email to dchris2     
I'm more or less in the same situation. 13' sport and '97 civic. Not rated to tow anything in US, but same car in Australia is rated for 1200 lbs. I thought I could depend on friends and family, but it's amazing how they're unavailable. I installed a hitch last fall. Look on the internet. Find one that's easy to install. After buying one from etrailer, I found a different model(easy installation) that would have come with a hitch bar for the same price. This would have saved me $20. Jacking up one side of the car made installation easy. This 45 min job only took me 3hrs. This is a good excuse to buy some big wrenches, even a torque wrench. Have picture wire available. I haven't had the boat to the ramp yet. The boat tows well, but it's very noticable when I hit the brakes. I'll be towing over flat land about a mile 3 to 4 times per year. I have a slip. I never new you needed a new car and a new house (2 or 3 bay garage) for a whaler. Things just kinda build on themselves. Good luck. It's a piece of cake.
Eric posted 03-23-2002 03:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eric  Send Email to Eric     
I bought my first Crown Vic when I was 30, and single. Great tow vehicles, and when they're police equipped, they really go. I'm on my third one, a 95 Police Interceptor, good performance and gets 27 mpg.
That said, this one hasn't got a hitch; I tow with a supercharged 6 cyl tacoma.
triblet posted 03-23-2002 07:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
dchris2, what's the picture wire for?

all: I saw the ultimate disparity in tow
vehicle and trailer today at the Monterey
Breakwater, but it went the other way. The
truck was a long wheelbase Kenworth with
a huge sleeper box (small motorhome sized),
and a BIG diesel generator for filling scuba
tanks behind that. The trailer, well the bed
started life on a mini-pickup. ;-)


Conrad posted 03-23-2002 10:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Conrad  Send Email to Conrad     
I just happens that I swapped cars with my parents for the next 2 weeks, So I am driving their Grand Marquis and they are driving my Maxima. I have caught hell from my buddies at work for the last week. Comments like "Hey does your grandma know that you are driving he car?" , "How's the action at Century Village?" (retirement village). I can't imagine if I drove this car all of the time. It pulls, but my ego cannot take the abuse.


Taylor posted 03-24-2002 08:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
I put a class I reciever hitch (1 1/4") which is rated at 2000 lbs on my 1987 BMW 325, car weighs 2900, engine is 169hp stock and not rated for towing at all. What do you expect from BMW? I believe that's enough for the short haul, and I've used it to get my boat from Seattle the Whidbey, and around on the island. Power is fine, handling is fine and stopping is just fine. The only problem I've run into is a sort of bouncing motion at certain speeds, I think because the trailer and car weights are close. So I would say, yes, put a little hitch on the Maxima, and drive 15 miles to the ramp.
Whaletosh posted 03-25-2002 08:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
I now have a 96 Crown Vic. It was one of the many decisions that my wife and I made to trim our budget so that we could keep our Whaler. The funny thing is I really like this car now that I have it. I get great mileage compared to the truck I used to drive. It is loaded, power locks/windows/drivers seat, cruise, climate control, power/heated mirrors, cloth interior, etc. We got ours for $7500.

My point is that if you need to tow a Montauk, Dauntless 13/14/15/16, 13 Sport, Sport 13, 15 Sport, 11 foot, or Impact then a Crown Vic/Grand marquis or Roadmaster/Caprice/Impala would be a good alternative to a truck.

For an older Outrage 17/18/22 a Roadmaster/Caprice/Impala or a 1995 or older Crown Vic/Grand Marquis (with tow kit) would be a good bet.

I can live with the snickers and comments all the way to my ever increasing bank account (actually 403B account). When I am gone ain't nobody of consequence going to worry about my choice of cars.

gregwhaler posted 03-25-2002 02:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for gregwhaler  Send Email to gregwhaler     
I used to tow my Nauset with a 1985 5spd Maxima, 150 hp & it did fine. No trouble whatsoever pulling up ramps, although slipped the clutch a bit.
The weak point is the suspension. After 2 years of towing, the rear springs (coil) needed to be replaced, but for your purposes, no problem.
knothead posted 03-25-2002 04:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for knothead  Send Email to knothead     
I tow my montauk with a 1994 Chevrolet Caprice Classic. It has a 5.7 liter (350) engine with a tall rear end. In it's previous life it was an ALE (Alcohol Law Enforcement) car, boy is that a hoot.

I bought it at a state auction for $6200 with 74,000 mi. I bought it just to pile the kids in and tow the boat. Everything is heavy duty being built to police specifications and will tow the montauk all day long at 75-80 mph with kids, coolers, dogs, etc. Now has 185,000 mi. with no repairs to speak of. It works great on the ramps, in the mountains, on long trips to the beach.

I've got my eye on some 1999 Crown Vic's at the state auction yard, around $6500. In my opinion you can't beat a rear wheel drive big car when it comes to towing. BTW, I also owned a F350 diesel dually, but preferred to tow with the Chevy, quieter, better ride, better mileage.

regards, knothead

where2 posted 03-25-2002 05:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Bigshot, an electric golf cart has amazing towing capacity. Low end torque is awesome, only problem is the belt drive on the one my dad has. Mine has direct drive. I used to pull my '80 VW Scirocco around the yard with dad's golf cart. 1800lbs of dead weight. I've seen the 20' Edgewater behind one of our carts in the yard... They're work horses. 36vDC

By the way: 1-800-Hitch-It has a Draw-Tite made for the '97 Maxima Sedan. If it's anything like 1-1/4" receiver on the back of my VW Corrado, you won't even notice it being there without the draw bar in it!

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