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Author Topic:   Tow Ratings of 6-Cylinder Pick-Up Trucks
ocwhaler posted 03-10-2004 06:31 PM ET (US)   Profile for ocwhaler   Send Email to ocwhaler  
I have a 21' ventura with a merc 200hp. Can I tow with a 6 cyl pick-up. Thanks Larry
JBCornwell posted 03-10-2004 06:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Not enough info, ocwhaler.

What make and model pickup, and how is it equipped? Six cylinder pickups can be rated as low as 1,000lb for towing, or as high as 7,500lb.

Your Ventura, powered and loaded for towing, probably weighs 3500-4000lb.

Red sky at night. . .

ocwhaler posted 03-10-2004 06:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for ocwhaler  Send Email to ocwhaler     
I have not bought it yet.I am looking used. What would you recomend? I want to go with a 6cyl as there are some good deals out there. Thanks Larry
Chuck Tribolet posted 03-10-2004 07:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Go with what you like, but make sure you have some tow
capacity to spare. If it's indeed 3500-4000 pounds, you
don't want a truck with a 4000 pound tow capacity. Make sure
the truck is adequate, and the receiver is adequate (some 2"
receivers are 3500, some are 5000, and some trucks (like most
Explorers have a really wimpy 1.25" receiver on a truck that
can pull a lot more than the receiver (I think the Ford factory
is putting these on).

Sweat the details: My '01 stickshift Pathfinder has a 3500
pound capacity, the automatics, even though they have 10 less
HP, are 5000 (Nissan doesn't have a rock crusher manual box,
though maybe with their new V8 they'll come out with one).
With the American trucks, a given model can have a range of
as much as 2.5 or 3 to one, depending on options.

And double check the weights. That 3500-4000 number seems
about right, but you wouldn't want to be unpleasently
surprised. Remember to include boat, motor, trailer, gas,
anchor, beer, bait, ...


greyg8r posted 03-10-2004 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for greyg8r    
Don't forget to add the weight of the trailer. Probably looking at a twin axle that weighs about 800 pounds more. So, you probably need something that can tow close to 5000 pounds, all said.

I don't think you would enjoy towing this rig with a V6, regardless of its allowable towing capacity. Going uphill and accelerating onto freeway ramps would be downright scary.

I tow my 16/17 Katama, which is much lighter than yours, with a Bronco II, when my wife is out shopping with the Land Rover. It works, but I cannot go over 60 mph. For this reason, I am looking to get an F250 4x4.

Just my dos centavos...

Dr T posted 03-10-2004 10:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     
Also, consider the terrain. If you are going to stay down on the coast, a 6 will be ok IF it is set up properly.

My suggestions:

Automatic transmission with a good tranmission cooler.

Limited slip differential (for those slick boat ramps)

4 wheel drive: The low range can be used for towing the boat up the ramp. It greatly eases the strain on the engine and transmission. Once on top, go to 2 wheel drive. However, if the truck has an adequately low gear ratio in the rear end (high numerical), and you have no other reason for a 4x4, this is more of a extra than a necessity.

I am not sure I like the new generation of 6 cyl pickups as I do the generation before last. The old Chevy 292 and Ford 300 with the old style 4 speed truck manual transmissions (with the unsychronized granny gear for first) were real stump pullers.

jimh posted 03-10-2004 11:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For a 21-foot Boston Whaler VENTURA model I would estimate your total towed weight would be in the 6,000 pound range. Therefore I would want a vehicle rated for at least 8,000 pound tow capacity. This is generally at the upper end of the "quarter-ton" truck capacity.

Ask the manufacturer for the tow rating and compare it to your estimated tow load.

Be sure to get a Japanese pick-up truck if you want a reliable engine.

Chuck Tribolet posted 03-11-2004 02:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
I think jimh may be right about the weight: BW's website
says the Ventura hull weighs 3300 pounds, max engine weight
610 pounds, 92 gallons of gas at six pounds per gallong =
552 pounds, 800 pounds of trailer, and we are at 5262. Add
battery, anchor, beer, bait, and you are going to be close
to 6000 pounds.


jimh posted 03-11-2004 09:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
More on the weight calculations:

I figure the trailer for a heavy 21-footer is going to be a tandem axle and will wiegh about 1300 pounds.

You need an additional 2,000 pounds of rating above the 6,000 pounds I am allotting for the boat/motor/trailer because you have to account for you, your passengers, your gear, and fuel in the truck. A couple of big fishing buddies, a full tank of gas, and coolers full of food and drink will add at least 1,000 pounds to the load.

The terrain you anticipate driving will also affect the choice. If you live in Florida where the highest point in the whole state is about ten feet above sea level (at low tide), you won't have a problem. If you want to haul over the mountains in West Virginia and Virginia, you'll need more truck than you might think.

DaveH posted 03-11-2004 09:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for DaveH  Send Email to DaveH     
Jim and Chuck are right. I looked very closely at this model for myself but the tow rating of my vehicle, a 1997 4-Runner, is a 5,000 lb. Class III. You should see how big this boat and trailer is compared to my 4-Runner. Although it states 5,000 lbs, I'd leery of even approaching the limit. It would be scary in any braking situation, even with discs on both axles of the trailer.
BQUICK posted 03-11-2004 10:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for BQUICK  Send Email to BQUICK     
All I can say is look for torque at low rpm.
Most of the Japanese motors' torque, while adequate, is at too high an rpm to make good use of it.

How bout a Cummins, Detroit or Perkins non-turbo diesel, now that would pull!
But not going to find one in a pickup.....


ShrimpBurrito posted 03-11-2004 10:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
And don't forget that the amount of passengers and gear you have in the tow vehicle will also effect your towing capacity. Check the GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating). Your vehicle will not be effectively rated at its maximum towing capacity with 4 passengers, a roof carrier, a few coolers, a bunch of camping gear, a full tank of gas, etc.
ShrimpBurrito posted 03-11-2004 10:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
Oops, I missed jimh's post.
Perry posted 03-11-2004 12:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
BQUICK, I think jimh's comment about Japanese motors and reliability was sarcasm.

I'd get at minimum a 1/2 ton truck with a V8 and a better choice would be a 3/4 ton with a diesel.

Outrage22Cuddy posted 03-11-2004 04:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Outrage22Cuddy    
I used to tow my old 21ft Sea Ray with a 4 cylinder Toyota pickup. I could get it rolling, but stopping was another issue. I had a couple of very close calls even though the trailer brakes worked fine. In my opinion, the engine power is not an issue. The brakes & suspension are. I currently have a Dodge/Cummins diesel 3/4 ton 4x4. It may be something to look at if you have not bought a truck. You can get a used one for about the price of a new mini truck. I average 18 mpg (not towing) of all around driving & the fuel is much less expensive in Southern California than gas. I would not recommend towing a heavy load with a mini truck or other small vehicle. It's possible to do, but not safe.
jimh posted 03-11-2004 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Yes, to be clear, my remarks about Japanese brand pick-up trucks were made in jest. I was born, raised, and currently live in SE Michigan and I have never owned a Japanese brand automobile or truck. I don't have any plans to buy one, either, even if TRAILER BOAT MAGAZINE just named the Toyota Tundra the "Tow Vehicle of the Year" for 2004.


"Oh, no, Joe. Say it isn't so!"

jimh posted 03-11-2004 10:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Oops! Make that the Nissan Titan as Tow Vehicle of the Year!
rwill1 posted 03-11-2004 10:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for rwill1  Send Email to rwill1     
The application requires a V8 powered 1/2 to 3/4 ton pickup.

The upscale homegrown 2004 Ford F150 is more luxurious, most powerful, tows more, and is soon to be made at the uber green, historic Rouge Complex in Dearborn, MI (Now made only at Norfolk VA, and Oakville, Ontario).

Disclaimer: I do work for Ford, but have driven all of the competitive vehicles. The Titan is an amazing product, as are (less so) the Dodge Ram and GM Trucks, but the F150 is the class of the industry. They are pretty much equal in performance, but the F150 takes the segment to a new level for everyday livability. Quiet, and refined.

It is Americas finest truck (for now)... Research and drive one and see.

Sorry for the commercial... Let the Marketplace decide.

kamie posted 03-12-2004 02:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
Looks like I may stick to a 94 Chevy Blazer for the Outrage after all. At least until it goes belly up (the car not the boat).
Outrage22Cuddy posted 03-12-2004 04:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Outrage22Cuddy    
Ford needs a diesel F-150. It would get xlnt mpg & tow moderate loads. One of my friends has the 6.0L PSD & it can fry the tires down the street. Put it in the F-150!
rwill1 posted 03-12-2004 09:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for rwill1  Send Email to rwill1     
It almost came to be (A 6 Cylinder Navistar Powerstroke), but for a variety of reasons, most notably cost and weight, it was cancelled. Look at most of the Ford rumor sites, and they are indicating that something is in the works, but I have no firsthand knowledge.



rwill1 posted 03-12-2004 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for rwill1  Send Email to rwill1     

Knot at Work posted 03-14-2004 08:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Knot at Work  Send Email to Knot at Work     
Jimh, I havent even made a comment about my 5.3L V-8 Chevy yet curiously this would be the place to post a remark?

I refrain further.


gnr posted 03-14-2004 10:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for gnr  Send Email to gnr     
Be careful of the "1/2 ton" and "3/4" ton terminlogy in your shopping.

For instance a Ford F150 1/2 ton pickup can have tow ratings that vary considerably based on the choices of transmission, differential and specific towing related options.

Engine size is one of the least limiting variables.

Although if you don't have enough engine you may still be able to tow but it will be a chore.

I think you will need an eight cyl. to be able to easily tow that much.

Like someone else mentioned...

Be careful of HP and torque specs. The high HP and torque that some manufacturers advertise does you know good if the motor needs to turn 4500 rpm's to put out these numbers.

alkar posted 03-14-2004 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for alkar  Send Email to alkar     
"Can tow", "Should tow", and "Comfortable tow" are often blurred in our discussions of this topic.

As others have previously observed, you "can" tow 3,000 pound boat with a little Subaru wagon. It isn't safe, and it certainly isn't comfortable, but if you hook the two of them together the Subaru will start the package rolling. Some of the folks who put such packages together view themselves as thrifty or utilitarian. I see them as foolhardy and silly, and I resent them for putting the rest of us sharing the highways at risk.

Flame if you must, but I agree with JB. It isn't smart to exceed the manufacturer's recommended tow rating. If you're at or below that rating, you're arguably in the "should tow" range, but that doesn't mean it's going to be comfortable if you're at or near the upper limits of the range.

We bought a 2002 Chevy Tahoe, a wonderful vehicle with GOBS of power, and we occasionally used it to tow my 22' outrage (heavier than typical because of twin Honda 115s at 505 pounds each and, often, a heavy compliment of scuba gear). The Tahoe had adequate power, but it's shorter wheelbase and lighter weight made it noticeably inferior to our big Ford truck as a tow vehicle. After less than a year my wife replaced her Tahoe with a Ford F-150, as she needed another truck for her landscaping business. I occasionally use her F-150 to pull the boat - especially on short trips around town, as the shorter wheelbase makes it easier to back and maneuver the boat, but it isn't much better that the Tahoe. As long as the trailer is properly balanced, it's certainly safe, as was the Tahoe, but it just doesn't pull, track, corner, or brake with the confidence and stability of my big truck. (The big truck is a Ford F-350, 4-door, 4x4 Powerstroke diesel.)

When I drag my boat to the Oregon coast we have some long, fairly steep grades to negotiate. The diesel screams up the hills and, on the way down, she keeps her line without ever feeling like the weight of the trailer wants to lift the bed on bumps, or push the truck out of the corner. It's effortless.

If towing is the primary objective, there is no substitute for power, weight, and a long wheelbase. If you tow a lot of weight, and you do it regularly, the balance shifts more and more in favor of a behemoth like our big Ford. If you tow only moderate weights, you tow infrequently, and you're traveling only shorter distances, the balance shifts back in favor of smaller, more multi-purpose vehicles. I'd give up the big Ford if I lived in a big city and never towed my boat more than ten or fifteen miles.

Some folks regard my big truck as "overkill". They see it's enormous size as an example of "American over-indulgence". Those folks are not bothered by the facts - like the fact that my HUGE truck gets substantially better fuel economy (like 50% better) than my dad's old Toyota Landcruiser. For that matter, the my truck burns less fuel than our Tahoe and many of the other, smaller, "trendy" SUVs which are relatively weak as tow vehicles. My diesel whistles along effortlessly dragging a load that made the Tahoe groan - and it burns MUCH less fuel while doing it.

Lastly, I've had several 6-cylinder engines that provided lousy fuel economy (including Dad's Landcruiser) and several eights that were pretty fair, including our last Chevy Suburban. I don't think it's ever worth going to a 6 if the fuel economy is close to the 8-cylinder engine in the same vehicle.

DaveH posted 03-15-2004 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for DaveH  Send Email to DaveH     

I agree with all of your statements. I would never trailer anywhere near my 4-Runners supposed 5,000 lb rating for the reasons you cited.

I learned many things from this site about trailering over the years. Since we lived on the water, we never trailered the boat. Long ago, the members here had a discussion about trailering follies. It was quite comical and sad at the same time to hear these horror stories of poor planning, inappropriate vehicle choice, fights at the ramp, etc.

Some of the best advice given at the time by a few trailer sages here was to go to the busy ramps near you, have lunch and just watch. You can learn a few things about trailering in a short time. I did that very thing at Port Canaveral, FL one day when I was driving by. My education came at the expense of others, thank goodness.

I would advise those who have questions about vehicles strike up a conversation with those at the ramp. You will get all the advice you need.

jimh posted 03-15-2004 09:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
One of the biggest factors affecting how often you will use your trailer-boat is the ease with which it can be trailered, launched, and recovered. Make these as painless as possible and you will use and enjoy your boat.
AZdave posted 03-22-2004 01:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for AZdave  Send Email to AZdave     
It looks like you are near the ocean in relatively flat terrain. That means that you have a lot of choices, and they will probably be fine. I would agree with ALKAR that you want wheelbase, length, and weight to maximize the probability of a safe trip. I have seen heavy but short wheelbase SUV's being pushed around by their trailers while driving mountain grades. It was frightening to watch, and I hope that it got the driver's attention. Horsepower is less important than torque. I'm not sure if Ford still makes their straight six. It has been a reliable torque producer for many years. The Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee came with a straight six that had an excellent reputation as a puller. You probably don't want anything made in the USA in the 1980's if it has a carb. A lot of compromises were made to meet emission requirements - often at the expense of performance. Newer models mostly have fuel injection and perform much better. Dave
Yiddil posted 03-27-2004 08:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
Hi Getting a new Nantucket190..wondering if my 6 cyl. Grand Cherokee 1990s will do the job trailering this puppy about 76 miles to ST. Clements Island in Maryland off the Potomac...or am I in trouble??? Please respond here or to my email,,, thanks Nervous:)
CHRISWEIGHT posted 03-31-2004 03:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for CHRISWEIGHT  Send Email to CHRISWEIGHT     
we have experience towing with a 98 cherokee a 1.5 ton rig with no problems, 22-23mpg imperial gallons no stability problems and fine on the brakes, trailer is braked.

A friend tows a round trip of 240 miles to the same slip with a similar rig with a 1998 grand cherokee with ease.

just take it easy give yourself plenty of time for the other idiots on the road and you will be a pro in no time.

both cars are rated at 3500kgs here in the UK.

regards chris.

Barney posted 03-31-2004 08:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barney  Send Email to Barney     
What about a 4 Cylinder. My boat is on a lift, so I tow very seldom.

1. Backing up the angled drive works the clutch.
2. Pulls the boat out ok at the ramp.
3. I am not towing on the interstate. NOPE.
4. Tows it fine.
5. Tows and pushes alot better than my old 1995 F-150 with straight six, 5-speed and 3.08 rear.
6. Does not stop it better than the old F-150.

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