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Author Topic:   Tow vehicle for 20' Outrage
ShrimpBurrito posted 04-26-2002 02:12 AM ET (US)   Profile for ShrimpBurrito   Send Email to ShrimpBurrito  

I'm tossing around upgrading to a 20' Outrage, which I've gathered has a tow weight of roughly 3500 lbs. I have a 4.0L 6 cyl Jeep Cherokee, with automatic tranny, and the manual says it can pull 5,000 lbs if equipped with an equalizer bar and tranny cooler. I'd think that much weight would be quite taxing, and that rating also must include all the people and gear in your vehicle. I saw an earlier post of someone who tows a 20' OR with a 6cyl Toyota pick-up. I'll be going through mountains occasionally, and will likely have a back full of camping gear. Any body else have any comments?

whalertim posted 04-26-2002 07:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalertim  Send Email to whalertim     
Hi Shrimp,
As for me, I have 2 Jeeps. Great Vehicals. BUT, I would not consider putting a 20ft behind one of these cars. The Jeeps are now manufactured w/ Crysler Transmissons( I think this began in the mid 90's) These transmissions do not want that kind of weight for a long periods of time. (If anyone else has any thoughts on this, please join in) I have a 1992 and a 1996. As far as Jeeps, the 92 is a much better car than the 96, both with the 4.0 and auto. The 92 does not have the Chrsler Transmission but it has 240000 miles on it too.
Just my 2 cents.
phatwhaler posted 04-26-2002 07:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for phatwhaler  Send Email to phatwhaler     
I tow my 20OR with a 1994 Toyota P/U 3.0L V6.
It does the job around town, but not on the interstate. I have 31" BFG's and so that doesn't help matters. Back when I had the little stock tires on, I towed my 20 Shamrock to Key West and a few other places. Of course I live in Florida so the only inclines here are bridges. You'll want to get something bigger than the Cherokee mainly because the chassis and tranny weren't designed to tow 4500#. The 4.0L six has plenty of balls, but the rest of package is questionable in my mind.

phatwhaler out.

ShrimpBurrito posted 04-26-2002 07:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
Thanks for the info, Tim. I've got a 93 manual tranny and a 97 auto (both Cherokees, both about 85,000 miles), but generally tow with the 97.

So you think the 20 is too big. I assume an 18' Outrage would be no problem, right, especially a pre-1992?

For what it's worth, I installed a K&N high-flow air filter ($55), which supposedly gives an extra 10HP and increases mileage by ~2MPG. I can confirm the increased mileage, and it now rarely shifts out of overdrive going up hills when towing my 1500 lb 15' Super Sport.


B Bear posted 04-26-2002 07:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
ShrimpBurrito here are a couple of threads about tow vehicles that might help;
whalertim posted 04-26-2002 08:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalertim  Send Email to whalertim     
I pulled my Montauk to the coast on a regular basis with the 96 Jeep. this past winter i had to replace the Transmission in the Jeep. $1400.00 OUCH! After conversations with the Transmission Shop, I was told that The Chrysler trans. would end up doing the same again if I continued to pull the boat. I really want an 18ft but frist I am looking into a good tow vehical.
tradition posted 04-26-2002 01:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for tradition  Send Email to tradition     
I also own a 20'Outrage, my tow vehicle is a 2002 Ranger ext cab. 4.0 lt. It has tow rating of 6000lbs and is exhausted after trips. Most always downshifts on highway accerlations and doesn't have enough soft suspension for tongue weight. I will be replacing it this winter with a v8 Tahoe or v8 X5.
acseatsri posted 04-26-2002 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
I have the V8 X5. What an AWESOME tow vehicle. What an awesome vehicle, PERIOD! I just take it easy on the accelerator when towing so as not to beat on the tranny.
Seabrook posted 04-26-2002 02:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Seabrook  Send Email to Seabrook     
I have a '97 Toyota 4-Runner that I use to pull a '91 21' Walkaround and a '83 Montauk. The Montauk is no problem at all. The 21' WA is HEAVY to pull. Short pulls are no problem, but on the highway pulls, I switch over to my wife's Expedition with trailer tow package. It will pull anything, if you don't mind being seen in a Ford.
Dave Murray posted 04-26-2002 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dave Murray  Send Email to Dave Murray     
I towed my 78 20' OR with a CJ7 for ten years- without any issues- this jeep had a 225 6 cylinder and a 3 speed manual transmission- then I towed it with a big Ford v8 wagon and now with a 6 cyl Caravan Van- no problems..the trailer does have surge brakes...good luck...
PMUCCIOLO posted 04-26-2002 04:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    

I'd suggest small block V-8 power with 4-wheel disc brakes. Also, make sure that the hitch is an adequate size. The most important issue for towing on grades is torque and cooling capacity, for both the engine and the transmission. A transmission cooler is essential.

I use a 2001 V8 Toyota Tundra Limited. It is smooth, very strong, and quite. If that's on your list of possibilities, I'd give it strong consideration.


andygere posted 04-26-2002 05:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I tow my Montauk with a '93 Wrangler 4.0L/5spd with no problem. My dad used to tow a 19.5 ft Bayliner (ouch- he's got a Dauntless now)with a '92 4.0L Cherokee w/towing package. The trans cooler is critical, as is the gearing in the axles. Bottom line, it will work but be less than ideal. The engine is stong and can hanedle the load, but if you don't have brakes on the trailer, get them. Even if you shorten the life of the trans, its still a lot cheaper than going out and dropping the big bux for an "ideal" tow rig. Just drive a little slower, stop to let things cool down once in a while, and be meticulous with preventative maintenance and you'll be ok.
phatwhaler posted 04-26-2002 09:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for phatwhaler  Send Email to phatwhaler     
Andygere has a good point. A new tranny in the Jeep is a heck of a lot cheaper than the ideal tow rig. Heck, $1400 probably won't even get you out of the tax collector's office. According to the Jeep has only a 2000# tow rating. My suggestion, buy a old Dodge P/U for towing, and drive something economical daily. Or just buy a Suburban!

phatwhaler out.

B Bear posted 04-26-2002 10:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
Everyone is right, a transmission cooler is essential. A external engine oil cooler would not be a bad idea ethier, both of these can be bought and installed on your Jeep. This would be the most cost effective way to address towing over a period of time. What you would lack is a large capciity raditor found on most "tow packages". You would just have to take it easy on those hot days on those long grades.

Hey Seabrook, I switched from a Chevy Tahoe to a Ford (first one, Lincoln Nav)after a starter every 18 months (3 total) and an alternator, my tow vechicle was getting towed more often than I cared for. Come to think of it I went through a few starters and an alternator with my full sized Blazer before the Tahoe. Quite honestly, so far, I am pretty impressed with Ford concerning the tow package and tow set up on this truck. The tolal cooling capicity is tremendous for the engine and tranny.

Consider a used Suburban, Expedition/Navagator, 3/4 ton crew cab diesel pickup (most likey the best) if you are going to do alot of towing.

B Bear posted 04-26-2002 10:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
P.S. If you decide to buy a used truck for towing make sure it has the tow package. Transmission cooler, external engine oil cooler, large cap raditor, proper gearing, and at least a class III hitch.
B Bear posted 04-26-2002 10:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
Just an after thought - you can install an electric cooling fan for your raditor, that would help alot, rather than depending on the engine rpm to turn the cooling fan which will slow down when you would most need it, pulling up a grade.
jimh posted 04-27-2002 07:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
We tow our 20-foot Whaler (REVENGE) with a 5.7L V-8 GMC Suburban 1500 2-WD. This has a tow rating of 7000#.

The have hauled the boat 750 miles in a day with this set up. It has no problem pulling and stopping the trailer.

The Suburban has two things in its favor (as compared to your Jeep Cheeroke): wheelbase and cubic-inch displacement.

An important consideration is the rear axle differential gear ratio. For example, in the Suburban line you normally get a 3.23:1 rear axle. This gives better highway gas mileage for Soccer Moms driving to practice, but it cuts 1000# off the tow ratings.

If you get the "tow package" the rear axle goes to 3.73:1, and the tow rating goes up 1000#. Your gas mileage suffers a bit.

You can special order a 4.11:1 rear axle, and it is included on some of the really monster-tow rating Suburbans (like those with 8000-10,000# ratings).

Our Suburban is only 2-wheel drive. This also increases the tow rating 500#. We only use the truck in summer, and we generally use paved ramps, so lack of 4-WD is not a problem.

Thus two small variations (rear axle ratio and 2WD/4WD) have a 1500# swing on the vehicle's tow rating.

The tow package also adds a bigger radiator and a bigger transmission cooler, as well as another cooler for engine oil. These are important additions which can be expensive to retro-fit.

The Class III draw bar is rated for a tongue weight of 500#, so we don't need a weight distributing hitch.

I have not accurately weighed the trailer with boat, but I estimate it to be about 4500#. Thus we are typically towing at about 65% of the maximum rating of our truck. I think this is a good place to operate if you want long-distance hassle-free towing.

Also, having some reserve towing capacity makes us more likely to buy a bigger boat. We won't have to immediately buy a bigger truck to tow it!

Eric posted 05-01-2002 01:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eric  Send Email to Eric     
I had a 93 Cherokee, towed my Montauk with it. The 4.0 (225 ci) engine has lots of torque, and it had an excellent transmission, but the cooling system was terribly inadequate. If I'd kept it, it would have needed oil/transmission cooler, electric fan, and possibly even a bigger radiator. Found it a new home instead. That's also a short wheel base, which means a less stable tow vehicle as the trailer gets longer.
andygere posted 05-01-2002 01:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
With my Wrangler, adding the A/C option included an upgrade to the higher capacity radiator. I'm not sure that's the case with the Cherokee, but it's worth a look. If not, adding an extra core or two to the radiator may be possible, and an electric fan is also a great idea. It will hold you over until budget allows you to get a more substantial tow vehicle. If you are worried about extra load from passengers and camping gear, you can always take two vehicles on those longer trips, loading the other one with the extra people and equipment.
ShrimpBurrito posted 05-01-2002 02:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
Thanks for the advice everyone. My 97 Cherokee does have a factory-installed electric cooling fan, but no tranny cooler. I'll add one though, and will later get something with a V8. Jeep's in-line 6's are great engines though.....

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