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Author Topic:   High Fuel Mileage Tow Vehicle
whalerajm posted 05-06-2008 02:13 PM ET (US)   Profile for whalerajm   Send Email to whalerajm  
So $4 per gallon has me selling off my Suburbans. Any recommendations for decent primary vehicle (good mileage) that can tow Montauk when needed?

Buckda posted 05-06-2008 02:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Any full-size 6 cylinder car will tow a Montauk around town. It will get great mileage when not towing, and lousy mileage when towing...but since the majority of time you're not towing, it may be a big win.

Personally, I'd stick with an older, very capable tow vehicle and park it - use a smaller vehicle for normal operations and the "Tow vehicle" for family trips and towing.

It is often cheaper to keep a paid for less efficient vehicle than it is to buy a new, fuel efficient vehicle. I realize that gap is shrinking with high fuel costs...but if you can swing it, this is the best way to go. Your local insurance agent should be able to turn the insurance "on" for major trips - you pay for that month, and then go back to "storage insurance" afterwards.

Of course, then you need to build an outbuilding to store the tow vehicle.....


Good luck to you.


Whalerdog posted 05-06-2008 02:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdog  Send Email to Whalerdog     
all the towing capacities are online at company web sites so I would look there to get some ideas also.
jgkmmoore posted 05-06-2008 03:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for jgkmmoore  Send Email to jgkmmoore     
Don't dump the Burb! They will tow and carry anything, and proceed with dignity in air conditioned comfort. At least you can enjoy the leisure time.
Buy an ol' Saab for everyday stuff(it's got a tractor engine dontcha know)for 300 bucks and drive the wheels off it. The air coming out of it's tailpipe is usually cleaner than the air going in the intake.Be sure to get one with a quiet transmission tho......
EIKNIB posted 05-06-2008 03:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for EIKNIB  Send Email to EIKNIB     
I just traded my Town Car on a Pontiac Vibe. Took the advice of PeteB88 and Erik. I know it will tow my 13 footer no problem, and hope it also tows my 18` Bass boat. (same weight as Montauk, 2780lbs.loaded with fuel)
We will see next week. The country is flat where I live. I hope the front wheels don`t break loose going up the ramp.


milehiwhaler posted 05-06-2008 04:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for milehiwhaler  Send Email to milehiwhaler     
I have a Toyota Previa mini van that can pull my Nauset with no problem. Including up I-70 and over the continental divide. You can pick one up for anywhere from $1500 to 4500. They easily go 250k miles. (I have an all wheel drive model) Kind of ugly car but I get 18 around town and 22 on the hwy.
jeffs22outrage posted 05-06-2008 04:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jeffs22outrage  Send Email to jeffs22outrage     
I tow my 17 Newport with my 5spd Subaru Forester XT. It has the 2.5L turbo 4 cylinder motor so it tows the boat with great ease. The standard 2.5L motor will do fine as well. The All Wheel Drive is great to have as well when it comes to wet and nasty ramps.
contender posted 05-06-2008 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
I have two big trucks 2003 Chevy 2500HD 4door Diesel, 2007 Suburban, both paid for. I can not see selling my diesel because I use it for to many things. The truck tows like a champ no matter what I pull. And I always need it for yard or construction work. We use the burb for travel, plenty of room and very comfortable. I'm not far from the ramp so it really does not hurt me, However, I have serious thought about starting a company purchasing used cooking oil and turning it into diesel. I have done a little research and found it to be a lot cheaper (almost half) to make the bio diesel. I could store it in tanks and run my truck at half price. I 'm currently trying to get with the EPA for restrictions and the requirements for a refinery. I'm lucky I can still afford the prices, but I'm not stupid, if I could save half on my fuel bills I can spend the saved funds else were. I think the government (present and future officers), have a crisis whether its there fault or not and the public is/are going to have to take matters in their own hands. People are going to need to get smarter in saving/using fuel. I would even like to see some kind of law now that would allow certain cities/communties the use of gas golf carts for local trips to the store etc. Face it fuel is going up and it not going to stop, until it runs out...good luck to all
whalerajm posted 05-06-2008 05:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerajm  Send Email to whalerajm     
Sounds like the"advice" is hang on to one of the Suburbans and if fuel gets too pricey, get economy vehicle for every day...

I like it! The 1997 is going and the 2000 will stay...

Thanks All!

EIKNIB posted 05-06-2008 05:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for EIKNIB  Send Email to EIKNIB     
contender, It would be great to able to use electric golf carts for local travel, that is, until one of them runs under your Chevy 2500 HD 4 door diesel. My daughter had a friend that converted his Ford SUV diesel to veggie fuel. It costs him about 60cents a gallon, mostly the costs of filters, and an additive, because he get the oil for free, from a few restaurants. That will change when folks like yourself get into the refinery business, and the veggie oil has a value. Right now its a waste item. If more folks get into this business, you will be competing for this "waste" oil, and who knows how much you will have to pay. Anyway this friend spends most of his free time refining "filtering" his oil, and if he got a job at the supermarket working the same amount of time he works on his oil, he could buy all the real diesel he needs at the pump.
EIKNIB posted 05-06-2008 05:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for EIKNIB  Send Email to EIKNIB     
Basically, thats what I have been doing for the past two years, A Town Car to pull my boats, and a Chevy Prizm (Corolla) to drive around in. If you need two cars this will work, but for myself the added costs of the insurance and tags, negated any savings. I traded my Town car and the Prizm will go for sale next week.

A Town Car or a Ford Crown Vic makes a good tow car,(25-19mpg) and a Corolla (35-30mpg) is a bullet proof grocery getter. It would have been a perfect set up if i needed two cars.

BTW don`t expect much for your Burbs. Hey, you can buy a late model big HUMMER for 25K.


PeteB88 posted 05-06-2008 06:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
I agree w/ most of this but I think the sleeper grocery getter, small car, high milage is Toyota Echo. Going pretty cheap around here and I bet you can get a used Echo and something reasonable to tow bigger boats for $10 grand total.
EIKNIB posted 05-06-2008 07:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for EIKNIB  Send Email to EIKNIB     
Pete, My neighbors son from Indiana, (just met him over the weekend) is a Hummer tech, and restores Echos for a hobby. He has 3 of them, says they`re great cars.
Were you referring to the Echo at a grocery getter or a tow car.LOL


lurkynot posted 05-06-2008 07:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for lurkynot  Send Email to lurkynot     
Do the math. Unless I am way off I have looked at it the same scenario from just about all angles. It is far cheaper to keep what you have avoiding sales tax,extra insurance, interest payments,plates and fees, unexpected repairs for a used vehicle without history and the like.

I have even contemplated rack storage however the cost of that and additional expense of fuel at the rack pump has offset any savings. Boat usage would probably increase and that of course would be beneficial.

All these other expenses can buy a whole lot of gas. The cost of boating can not be avoided and trailering in this new uncharted area of rising gas prices is an additional expense for those of us who have been boating/trailering long before this latest debacle.

Ralph Alper posted 05-06-2008 11:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ralph Alper  Send Email to Ralph Alper     
Has anyone had experience with a V-6 Toyota Rav4, pulling a montauk? My calculated load is about 1800 lbs. The specs for the Rav4 V-6 say that 2000 lbs is max without their tow prep package. I'm a bit leery of loading so close to max.

I'd like to get a Rav4 with the tow prep package which specs 3500 lbs as max load, but they don't seem to have them available with the other features I'm interested in.

With an EPA rating of 19 and 27 that makes a great tow vehicle as well as grocery getter.

EIKNIB posted 05-07-2008 07:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for EIKNIB  Send Email to EIKNIB     
I have pulled my 2800lb bass boat with a Rav4, and it worked well and had no problems. The 2.5 4 cyl is the one I used. No advantage with the V6. Forget the 2000# tow limit it doesn`t mean anything. My Lincoln Town Car also has 2000# limit and that works well also. I`ll see how the 1500# Pont.Vibe(Toyota Matrix) works. I don`t expect problems.


erik selis posted 05-07-2008 07:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
The Toyota RAV 4 will work fine for towing a Montauk. People use them all the time around here for towing Montauk sized boats. They are rated for towing up to 3.300 lbs here in Europe. I have said it before and will say it again. The best investment you guys can do is put brakes on your trailers if you want to tow a Montauk with other-than-overkill vehicles. The trailer brakes will make it safer, more comfortable and will give you some peace of mind. Don't forget to drive defensively, keep your distance and watch your speed. This is standard practice even when towing with larger vehicles.

Rich, good for you! Don't forget about what I said about the brakes. It makes all the difference.


gnr posted 05-07-2008 08:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for gnr    
We have a Rav4 with the 4 cyl.

I suppose it "will" tow a Montauk sized boat.

I would not buy it from you if I knew it had been used to tow a Montauk sized boat though. It will push that drivetrain to it's limits.

I felt the same about the Subaru Forester we replaced with the Rav.

You most certainly want trailer brakes.


The above opinion is based on my towing experience in the hilly terrain of northern Vermont.

Fatherof2 posted 05-07-2008 10:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Fatherof2  Send Email to Fatherof2     
Does anybody know anything about this hydro-cell technology? I just came across it.

Tollyfamily posted 05-07-2008 10:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tollyfamily  Send Email to Tollyfamily     
Trailer brakes can be added for about $300 to most trailers and then you can tow with almost anything. Put on an extra transmission cooler also. Do you know that the maximum weight for towing without trailer brakes is #1500 or 40% of tow vehicle weight in many states? That means a Montauk needs them but few have them.


EIKNIB posted 05-07-2008 10:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for EIKNIB  Send Email to EIKNIB     
If you only live a couple of miles or so from the ramp, and have no use for a tow vehicle except to get your boat to the ramp, consider an old farm tractor. They can be driven on any road in the US, obviously not safe on superhighways or busy roads, and need no insurance or tags, (licence plates).


gnr posted 05-07-2008 11:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for gnr    
Actually that is not entirely true Binkie.

In Vermont you can operate your tractor all day every day with no registration IF you are using it in the operation of your farm.

The minute you take it outside those boundaries you are subject to the same rules of the road that all vehicles are.

David Livingstone posted 05-07-2008 11:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Livingstone  Send Email to David Livingstone     
Ralph Alper, I use a 2007 Rav4 V6 4X4 to tow my Montauk. Put 6000 miles in towing last year. A great rig. I used it in Canada, the Blue Ridge mountains and the Florida Keys. It is the biggest little rig I have ever driven and with 269hp and 240 flb torque the most powerful! It goes like a rocket and with 4X4 it will conquer any launch ramp.


Tohsgib posted 05-07-2008 12:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tohsgib  Send Email to Tohsgib     
You can tow a montauk with a civic hybrid if ya want. Anything will tow 2k even if it says 1000max. My Newtauk, 4 stroke, and alum trailer was just under 2k.
poker13 posted 05-07-2008 12:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for poker13    
Here's what you need:

EIKNIB posted 05-07-2008 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for EIKNIB  Send Email to EIKNIB     
I never checked the laws for myself, but 10 or so years ago, when I lived in Ft. Myers, there was a front page news story about an Ohio farmer, who took his antique restored farm tractor, from Ohio to Ft. Myers. (over a thousand miles. He had a motor home follow him, and he camped in it on the way down. I saw the tractor and the farmer driving it for myself. He didn`t drive across farm fields, he drove on public roads, but of course not busy roads. it took him over two weeks to make the trip. He just wanted to prove it could be done. There was also a movie out a few years ago, I saw it, but don`t remember the name of it. It was about an old guy, in the Midwest, who lost his licence, for health reasons but wanted to visit his brother 150 miles away. He was too stubborn to take a bus so he made the trip on his garden tractor. It was based on a true story that I read in a magazine (Readers Digest?) a few years before the movie, and the magazine stated that farm tractors were exempt from licence and tags and insurance, but needed running lights to operate on public roads. The reasoning was that many farmers have pastures that are not connected, and must drive from field to field on a public road. The old guy and the Ohio farmer used this loophole in the law to make the trip. When I get older and can`t drive anymore due to health or eyesight or have run out of money, whatever, I plan to use my lawn tractor in this fashion to get my 13` Whaler and race boat to the ramp. Who would hassle an old guy with a shotgun anyway.


gnr posted 05-07-2008 02:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for gnr    
They closed that loophole in Vermont because people were taking advantage of it to drive their tractors to the pub after they lost their drivers license for DWI.

It is still OK to travel the roads to access your remote fields, valid license or not.

I have a 1953 Ford NAA that I sometimes make the five mile drive to the store with. Yes, illegally. ;-)

towboater posted 05-07-2008 02:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for towboater  Send Email to towboater     
Whatever you get, if it is a little lighter and a little underpowered compared to your guzzler, make sure it has ABS brakes and your trailer brakes and switch are up to snuff.

A lot of smaller rigs can get a tow rolling down a straight flat stretch, getting stopped is more important.


swist posted 05-07-2008 02:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
I tow with a Ford Escape, which is in the same class as the RAV-4 and various other small SUVs. No problem going anywhere. You absolutely don't need anything the size of a Suburban/Expedition/Excursion, and you don't even need anything as big as a mid-size SUV, like an Explorer.

It's time everyone started unloading those pigs, unless they have a real need for them (like 8 kids or a business need). But most of the time you see one person driving around at 15 mpg (less in town).

jf_halloran posted 05-07-2008 03:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for jf_halloran  Send Email to jf_halloran     
I bought a Grand Cherokee V8 in the fall figuring that since I don't drive that much (I take the train to work) it would be OK. I love the truck but am now considering a Nissan Altima 4 cyl. I know it will tow the 11' Whaler, but am not sure about the 17' Key West.
SailingGeorge posted 05-07-2008 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for SailingGeorge  Send Email to SailingGeorge     
I tow my 68 Eastport with a Subaru Forester XT. Around 30 mph without the tow and bad news with but no surprise.

Good things to do:
> Get a transmission cooler installed. It will pay for itself by preventing the transmission rebuild.
> If you tow a lot in areas with a lot of ups and downs, look hard at electronic brakes for the trailer. I'm in mostly a flat area but I have found emergency stops are pretty thrilling so I'm going for the add.
> Be aware you have A LOT of weight out in the tail. With a lighter tow vehicle, a fast lane change can wag the dog pretty impressively. Not something that can't be managed but the first time you do it, it'll focus your attention fairly completely.

So, the moral is it's not the pulling that's a possible issue, it's the stopping. Plan accordingly, look further ahead than you're used to and pay attention and you're probably OK with a lighter vehicle.

Good luck

contender posted 05-07-2008 04:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
EIKNIB, You need to get a gas golf cart, test have been done and it is found that gas golf carts are far more efficient than battery ones. Like I said depending on the areas were you live, Were I live there are horse paths, over size side walks, and side roads were there is no traffic. These paths can well accommodate these vehicles. They were old dirt roads that were used as farm roads and you can go from one end of town to the other without traveling on main streets. I lived in a small community were everyone uses them to travel to neighbors homes for visits. The carts are limited to about 20 mph and get about 40 plus miles to the gallon (maybe more). And accidents are going to happen no matter what you drive....good luck
Feejer posted 05-07-2008 08:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
We have an 07 RAV 4, 4x4 with the V6 with tow package. We love it, on the highway we get 30-32mpg at 65mph and about 24 around town. I have not gotten the factory hitch yet because of the insane price. It rated at 3500lbs. I would not have any problem towing my Montauk with it. The only thing I might do is add trailer brakes. The little car has a lot of balls, I believe its 269hp

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