Moderated Discussion Areas
ContinuousWave: Post-Classic Whalers
Tow Vehicle for 23 CONQUEST
|Author||Topic: Tow Vehicle for 23 CONQUEST|
posted 11-03-2003 01:22 PM ET (US)
I looked through these postings and found some good information about towing, but I wanted to ask the question to see what anybody thought:
I have a 1999 23' Conquest (2900 lbs) + Merc 225 (1000 lbs) + trailer (1100 lbs) = 5000 lbs without any gas, cargo etc.
I am looking at a couple used vehicles: either a v8 Toyota Land Cruiser or a Chevy Tahoe.
I am leaning towards the Land Cruiser because of the reliability, but it has a lower tow rating of 6500lbs. Its within what the boat+engine+trailer weighs, but not by too much. Its also much more expensive.
The Tahoe is bigger, more towing capacity and cheaper, but I don't want to buy a money pit that breaks down after 100,000 miles.
Any body have any opinions on towing vehicles? We plan on many trips from Cincinnati (home) to Lake Erie (250 miles) frequently during the summer and maybe 1 or 2 trips a year to Florida.
posted 11-03-2003 01:46 PM ET (US)
Neither the Tahoe nor Landcruiser is good in my opinion. You should get something 3/4 ton or larger.
I have a 2001 23 Conquest with twin Merc 135s and it's a heavy load. Approximate total weight of the boat is 5200lbs plus another 2000lbs for my heavy duty trailer. With full gas & fishing gear, I think total weight is around 7500-8000lbs.
I tow using a Ford F250 with 5.4L v8 and feel this is just marginally enough power to move the rig. I only tow 30 miles each time but over hilly terrain. My next truck will be a 3/4 ton diesel.
If you are towing in all flat areas, you might be able get away with the Tahoe but no way the Landcruiser.
posted 11-03-2003 02:49 PM ET (US)
I've got a conquest 23 with hardtop and twin Opti135s. I put it on a scale last summer and came up with 7800 lbs with full fuel and full water tanks. For me at least, this in the realm of a 3/4 ton or better truck. I tow with a diesel and will never go back to a gas engine again with this much weight to tow.
posted 11-03-2003 03:17 PM ET (US)
That 2900 LB number is wrong. They put a sticker on the 2001 catalog covering the original weights and showing the weight at 3650. I would not use less than a 3/4 ton truck.
posted 11-03-2003 03:21 PM ET (US)
With all that long distance towing, you need a minimum of a 3/4 ton with the towing package.
Best towing rig would be the one ton with diesel engine.
You will really put a big load on the Tahoe and the Toyota Land Cruiser towing/stopping on those long hauls.
Expect 15-18mpg with the diesel....probably not much better with the little rigs under tow and no where near as safe as the big rigs.
posted 11-03-2003 03:23 PM ET (US)
According to the catalogs, the weight of the 23 Conquest increased 750 lbs. in 2000. The other specifications stayed the same.
The weight on the 225 looks high. I believe it's more like 500-600 lbs. A full tank of fuel, 125 gallons, will weigh about 750 lbs. While you may normally not trailer with a full tank you will want to fill up before you get to the lake. A pair of batteries adds 100 lbs.
A Chevy Suburban will make a better tow vehicle than the Tahoe due in part to the longer wheel base. I would go with the 6.0L or the 8.1L but they will be harder to find. Remember that the tow ratings usually assume that the tow vehicle is lightly loaded. Adding people and/or gear to the vehicle reduce the rating by that weight.
Barry in Dayton
posted 11-03-2003 03:51 PM ET (US)
I also have a 23 CON w/ hardtop. I don't tow it on a regular basis but when I do I borrow a 95 Chey 1500 4x4(gearing unknown) and it is all it can handle. Guestimates are 6500 lbs.
I move it short distances with 6 cyl 4 Runner(rated for 5K)and of course it over capacity.
I'm a Toyota fan and was thinking of a new Tundra V8 but that isn't enough truck if I step up again.
Of your 2 choices...get the Tahoe. The LC will be marginal but likely more reliable.
Check for re-calls on both vehicles. The GM's are notorious for "eating" brakes....especially towing.
posted 11-03-2003 05:12 PM ET (US)
I tow it now short distances with my Jeep Cherokee. Also overweight, but it handles it to the small lake.
I test trailered it with the Jeep and thought it would do OK and going by the advertised weight I thought I could get by with a mid to large SUV. I guess I am going to have to reconsider- does it irk anyone else that they mis-quoted weight by so much?
I work for Toyota, so I have a little bias. They are supposed to be coming out with a more beefed up v8 soon (like Nissan just did), so maybe I'll get an interim vehicle and wait. New is so expensive, so I'll see what happens.
posted 11-03-2003 10:17 PM ET (US)
Diesel is way to go to tow this type of load any distance. I tow my 255 Conquest,5500 lbs, twim Ymahas 1000 lbs,trailer 1500 lbs fuel 1000 lbs, water 120 lbs, misc 500 lbs, 650 miles to fla and up to hilton head with the 03 Sierra Crew cab and Duramax/Allison I don't even know it's back there.
posted 11-03-2003 10:36 PM ET (US)
I tow my 170 with a 03' Chevrolet Suburban 3/4 ton with the 8.1/Allison. I also pull a 28 foot travel trailer with it. The travel trailer weighs in at roughly 6800 to 7000 lbs. I used to pull it with an 02' GMC Yukon with a 5.1 and it was marginal for braking and overall handeling. The 8.1 towing package also gives you GM's auto-lift feature. This levels the vehicle automatically when towing. The gas engine is also quieter and easier to find fuel for while running the late hours on the highway because around WI a lot of service stations do not sell diesel fuel, only gasoline. Don't know if you will be using the vehicle in cold weather, but the diesels are tough to start around WI if the correct fuel isn't used. Just another viewpoint.
posted 11-04-2003 11:22 AM ET (US)
I have a 23 outrage that has the same basic weight as the 23 Conquest. With a full tank, gear and trailer weight included, this package can weigh up to 8,000 lbs. I tow with a three quarter ton Chevy with the 6.0 liter 4.10 rear end rated at 10,000 lb. This truck is the minimum I would go with that 23 Conquest, especially with the distances you want to travel. I was originally told that my previous half-ton rated at 8,000 lbs. could handle my boat. After towing it a couple of times, I quickly realized that my half-ton wasn’t cutting it and got the three-quarter ton.
Although my current truck tows fine, if I had it to do over again I might even go bigger (meaning big block or diesel) for added up-hill performance.
Added side note: I routinely tow my boat between 90 to 120 miles one way to dip it in the ocean. It is easy if you have the proper tow vehicle.
posted 11-05-2003 12:01 AM ET (US)
I agree with the guys above. I tow my 22' Outrage with a Ford F-350 crew cab with a Powerstroke diesel and it's a delight to drive.
On longer trips we often carry a camper that weighs well over 3500 pounds. When the truck is carrying the camper AND towing the boat we're STILL getting fuel economy comparable to my wife's 2002 Tahoe. (Which we sold after less than a year).
I think a 3/4 ton would be the minimum for the job you've described.
I've seen some good bargains out there on the Ford Excursions with Powerstrokes.
And now we'll hear from somebody who tows a 27' Outrage with a Pinto or a Subaru wagon... :)
posted 11-05-2003 09:05 AM ET (US)
LOL! How 'bout from someone towing a 150 Sport with a Ford Superduty 4X4 PSD extended cab/long bed? It's my daily commuter, getting 14 mpg on city streets, 20 mpg on the highway.
It also tows our 35' 10,000 lb triple-axle Airstream. :)
posted 11-05-2003 01:03 PM ET (US)
I tow our 25'Revenge W/T with twin 200HP Merc's with a GMC 3/4 Suburban 454 V-8. This vehicle handle's the towing and braking of the boat comfortably. I had considered a 1/2 ton Suburban orginally however I'm glad I went with the 3/4 ton model. The brakes and added towing capacity make a big difference. I'd suggest a late model 3/4 ton Suburban w/454V8 or it's equal or higher displacement, the 1999 GMC model I believe gives you the best value. Low mileage models in the Midwest $18500-$19900.00
posted 11-05-2003 06:35 PM ET (US)
I have a 22 Outrage with twin 130s.
If I am on a trip I tow it with my wife's 03 Toyota Sequoia.
Normally I tow it with my '03 Toyota Tundra 4x4 with a 4.7l V8.
Both vehicles tow the boat beautifully. I even try to drag race people from the stoplight sometimes to show off my vehicles towing power! With my boat I really do not need any more towing power than what I have. I am extremely satisfied with these toyotas. Their reputation for the best reliability and quality is true.
posted 11-05-2003 08:32 PM ET (US)
I can't offer much on the towing capacity of either the Toy or the Chevy. They're both probably very capable vehicles, but...
I have a 23 Conquest w/HT and I/O. I also tow with a (Cummins) diesel and wouldn't attempt it with anything less.
You will want to pay particular attention to the the hitch installed on these (or any other) vehicle. Most manufacturers will happily put a class II or III hitch on a vehicle with Class IV or better tow ratings. You will need a Class IV or V. I went with the V on my last truck, just for the piece of mind.
Your ball mount and ball should be 8000/800lbs or better also.
posted 11-05-2003 08:56 PM ET (US)
I'm on my third Powerstroke diesel in ten years. After 4 years and 60,000 miles, the one I have now is my favorite. It does everything but wash the dog :-)
Before I became addicted to the powerstrokes we used to do a lot of towing with Chevy Suburbans; they were great too, and they were much less "truck-like".
There are lots of wonderful tow rigs out there. Whatever you get, if you're going to be hauling long distances and pulling long grades, it's worth getting an auxilary tranny cooler. They're not much money and they'll save you big bucks in the long run by extending the life of your transmission.
posted 11-06-2003 07:46 AM ET (US)
your not pulling my leg are you? Everyone else is saying 3/4 ton or better! We are looking at some 3/4 ton Chevys right now, but am keeping the toyota in the back of my mind. I may wait for the beefed up v8.
Is that 22' outrage about the same weight as the 23' conquest? I would think it would be close to mine- especially with the dual 130s.
The last thing I want to do is underbuy, but we have a 1 car garage near the city, so I can't buy a f350 crew cab with an 8ft bed.
posted 11-06-2003 09:24 AM ET (US)
IMHO...The Toyota's wil be "OK" but the larger Chevy's will be safer and more comfortable.
posted 11-06-2003 10:58 AM ET (US)
BBrunner: Another point to ponder. It’s not just the engine power that should be considered when towing. The structure of the vehicle itself is just as important. I don’t know about your area, but where I live, the roads and freeways are terrible. My tow vehicle takes a tremendous beating. A ¾ and 1 ton vehicles are made for the purpose. They have heavier suspension, wheels, brakes and drive train in most cases. When Toyota comes out with a ¾ ton, jump on it. Until then though, I wouldn’t consider a Toyota for the 23 Conquest and the distances you want to tow.
posted 11-06-2003 11:30 AM ET (US)
thanks for the info...
posted 11-06-2003 12:38 PM ET (US)
I have a 23 Outrage that I tow with a 1/2 ton Dodge 2wd Ram. Really not a problem, until you try to stop it. I'm looking at 3/4 ton deisels right now. Probably opt for an 04' Power Stroke. If I was going to buy used, it would be a GMC or the 7 ltr Ford.
posted 11-06-2003 02:18 PM ET (US)
Look for a diesel, 1 ton, 4x4, and limit slip.
I currently tow my 21 Outrage with Ford F350 PowerStroke Diesel , 4x4, crew cab, disc brake, limited slip and I am very happy with it because truck does it job right.
I you are to buy a new diesel truck get a F350 because
F250 and 350 is not much different in prices but F350 gives
you more payload.
I heard some people after bought 250 they regreted that they
should have bought 350.
posted 11-06-2003 11:44 PM ET (US)
As we were slowly ascending some 6-percent grades out west this summer with our 5.7L V-8 Gasoline Suburban 1500, basically nursing it along with our 5000 pounds of boat and trailer in tow, we were often passed by very large Recreational Vehicles, often towing mid-sized sedans behind them. I am certain those were diesel or turbo-diesel powered vehicles.
If you have a serious boat and trailer and want to do serious long distance towing, the diesel option is probably the way to go.
My next Suburban will be a 2500, definitely!
posted 11-16-2003 11:57 AM ET (US)
This is a follow up with some information on the outcome of this thread...
I took my 23' Conquest, hardtop, 2 batteries, trailer, 225 Merc BlueWater Optimax, 1/4 tank of gas to a feed store and had it weighed...
We took an extended test drive of a 1999 Chevrolet K1500 LS extended cab short bed, 5.7L v8, 3.73 rear end, towing package, rated at 6500 lbs towing (including 2 passengers and minimal gear).
It handled pretty well, had it up to 70 mph, cruised at low RPMs, I felt the boat behind me, but didn't seem unreasonable. We went on the windy southern ohio roads, it was wet and it all seemed pretty good.
The only way I would get more towing capacity with a 3/4 ton would be with the 7.4L gas or diesel. Because we're only towing 6-7 times a year and only 1 long trip...
I think we're going with the Chevy 1/2 ton!
Thanks for all the posts.
posted 11-17-2003 10:15 PM ET (US)
Couple of questions here to help me understand the big weight difference between your rig and mine. My Conquest 23 is a 97' and had twin Opti135s and I came up with 7800 lbs.
Is your 5800 lb weight just for the trailer axles? Or, did you unhitch the rig and weigh the trailer axles together with the tongue jack all on the scale platform? Also, what model year is your Conquest? One last one, is your trailer steel or aluminum? Mine is steel.
posted 11-18-2003 10:34 AM ET (US)
Some info for Happytime and others. Ford publishes VERY detailed specifications of its trucks and they are available at:
Starting in late-2001 production, the F250 and single rear-wheel (SRW) F350 became the same truck with different ratings, to save on production costs. Comparing a 2002 SRW F350 and an F250, with camper package (to ensure computer selection of the 5200 lb front springs standard on the dually, as well as its standard rear anti-sway bar) and LT265/75 tires:
Go to page 59 and find out the F250 and SRW F350 have the same frame as a 11,500 lb GVWR F-350 dually.
Go to page 56 and find out the F250 and SRW F350 have the same brakes as a 11,500 lb GVWR F-350 dually.
While on page 56 note that the 8800 lb GVWR F250 has the same rear axle as a 9900 lb GVWR F350 SRW.
Go to page 55 and find out the F250 and SRW F350 have the same front axle as a 11,500 lb GVWR F-350 dually.
Go to page 52 and find out the 8800 lb GVWR F250 has the same front and rear springs as a 9900 lb GVWR F350 SRW.
The 4WD models have blocks between the rear axle and springs to raise the rear to match the front, which is higher due to the front differential. On the F250 and F350 dually, these are 2" tall. Ford uses 4" blocks on the SRW F350, to make it look less loaded down than the F250. As a result, many towing a fifth wheel have to have that truck lowered with the 2" blocks to keep the tailgate from hitting the trailer.
posted 11-18-2003 11:10 AM ET (US)
go with the diesel, either a 3/4 to 1 ton truck. 4X4, Crew cab is nice. Extended cab will do. Regular cab ok.
posted 11-18-2003 11:45 AM ET (US)
The details on my 1999 Conquest are:
-23' Conquest, hardtop, single 1999 Merc Optimax 225
The scale was not "certified", but I can' imagine it would be off by that much. The 5870 lbs is almost inline with what I was told (using the revised Whaler specs) of
That makes 5300 lbs and leaves almost 600 for batteries, gas and hardtop.
Not sure why yours weighs so much. I don't have outriggers, downriggers or other weights (remember I just bought this thing and it didn't come with all the extras that you get sometimes.)
I haven't sealed the deal on the truck yet, the salesman is trying to make me pay asking price for a used vehicle, I must look stupid or something. So I am continuing to look and understand the benefits of the larger ones. I will look at that ford site that was posted above me.
posted 11-19-2003 12:46 AM ET (US)
posted 11-19-2003 09:15 AM ET (US)
Before buying a late model Ford truck, do a GOGGLE search on
Ford Truck spark plug heads
You will find many tales of woe.
I also recommend visiting some travel trailer towing websites and reading their forums. The comments you will find there will be quite informative.
posted 11-19-2003 09:40 AM ET (US)
Spark plugs are for outboards, not trucks. :)
posted 11-19-2003 12:59 PM ET (US)
Yea, Ford has had spark plugs blow out of some of their triton V8 heads but when their truck is the best selling vehicle on the road, there are millions of them out there and the percentage of these motors with the spark plug problem is just a fraction of the total.
If you are going to single out Ford trucks you should also mention Dodge and GM too. They also have had problems with their late model trucks.
posted 11-19-2003 01:02 PM ET (US)
You mean like piston slap in GM V8 engines?
posted 11-19-2003 01:12 PM ET (US)
Mine had full gas, so thats about 600 lbs. Plus 6 years of accumlated junk and about 50 lbs of sinkers, and we're not so far off.
posted 11-19-2003 09:01 PM ET (US)
Re Ford Triton engines and their spark plug problems:
I don't have an agenda here, but let me tell you how I came to discover this problem: Ford's own advertising led me to it!
With the introduction of the 2004 F-150, Ford placed advertisements which drew attention to a new spark plug design in the engine. They showed the spark plug in the advertisements, and made quite a fuss about it. At the time, I knew nothing about any problem with previous models and their spark plugs.
The new plug is a very radical design change from the traditional plug. The appearance of this plug is very unusual. It looks more futuristic than many of the props used on STAR TREK. I was curious how much it cost. My guess is that the plugs must be priced around $25 or more. With a V-8 engine, this makes a simple spark plug change cost $200.
I used google.com to search for more information about the plug, but I never found any. Instead I found many stories from owners who had to have $4,000 engine repairs when spark plugs blew out of their cylinder heads.
If the occurrence of this failure were statistically insignificant, perhaps one could make the case that the re-design of the cylinder head and the introduction of the new spark plugs were completely unrelated to previous problems. On the other hand, it does not seem unreasonable to infer there might have been some connection between the two.
posted 11-20-2003 04:41 PM ET (US)
It seems like the towing sites are biased towards GM products. Not sure why- maybe some of these Ford problems are a reason.
I started looking at the posts for Toyota Tundras. they are rated at towing 7200 lbs. I figured that was inflated, but their HP and Torque are the same or more than the Chevy 1/2 ton. I thought they were smaller, but I looked at one in the parking lot and it had the same wheelbase and was longer than a Tahoe.
I am still thinking Chevy, but I am wondering if the Tundras could do the job, like another guy said on this site.
Remember, I am just looking for occasional trips with the Boat- i test trailered it with a 1999 K-1500 5.7L with a 6500lb towing capacity and it seemed to do fine. I realize I am pushing the limit, but I am going to have to stay with a smaller (1/2 ton) truck at first. We'll only tow 5-6 times a year. and only 1 trip through the mountains of Tenessee.
The latest truck that I put an offer on was a 2000 Chevy K-1500 with an extended cab, 5.3L v8 rated at 7500 lbs (8000 with a 4.10 rear end), but the dealer wants $19K for it, so I am going to wait a little. We have a "fleet sale" at Toyota where I can get 1-2 year old manager cars cheap- that's why I started considering the Tundra.
posted 11-21-2003 12:46 AM ET (US)
bbruner, have you considered a diesel?
Any of the more recent diesel options will out-perform the rigs you are considering. They'll get better fuel economy too - much better fuel economy than that rig you just described with the 4.10 rear end.
Also, why look exclusively at half ton trucks? The chevy 3/4 ton trucks drive like cars - why not have the heavier-duty components and higher tow rating?
posted 11-21-2003 12:28 PM ET (US)
I have been stuck on the 1/2 tons because of price and availability. I can't afford a new truck- especially a 3/4 ton diesel. I would like to keep it around $15K, but am going up to $18K.
There aren't too many 3/4 tons available so its hard to find one that is right for the job.
Unless I get the larger engine, the 1/2 tons are rated higher than the 3/4 tons with the same engine.
posted 11-21-2003 12:39 PM ET (US)
I'm not sure about the pricing now, but when I bought my Dodge Ram Cummins diesel a few years back, 3/4 tons cost about the same or less than some of the fancy 1/2 tons. Especially now with end of year and 2004s coming out, you might find a good deal on 3/4 ton trucks.
posted 11-21-2003 10:23 PM ET (US)
There also used to be a significant tax incentive for buying a diesel. I can't remember how much it was, as it's been four years since I bought my last diesel, but every little bit helps.
posted 11-22-2003 07:36 AM ET (US)
bbrunner… For what it’s worth… We have towed a 21 Conquest with a Tundra for 3 1/2 years now. We’re talking 2 feet less boat but we tow from Virginia to Florida with enough “stuff” for four months in Florida so our weight is probably very similar. The trip is 900 miles each way and we have no problem at 70-75 mph on the Interstate. We’ll be leaving for our fourth trip in a couple of weeks. Oil changes have been the only maintenance to date.
posted 11-26-2003 03:22 PM ET (US)
This is turning into a bit of a soap opera...
I brought home a 2000 Silverado Z71, rated at 7500 lbs towing. Thought I heard a noise when it started, but it went away after a little bit. I thought it was the oil pump, so I called the service department (I SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS PRIOR TO BUYING THE TRUCK!). They told me it was normal. I started searching on the internet for this problem. Then I find out its the infamous piston slap problem with Chevy Vortec 1999-2002 engines. GM claims its not a problem, but anytime there is something that does not perform normally, i think its a problem. If the pistons don't fit properly in the cylinders and some do this and others don't- this is definately a problem.
GM probably made a <business>, not a quality, decision to ignore the problem.
I think some of you have mentioned this problem on this post, but I did not put 2 + 2 together. Anyways, I called the dealer and he said he would take it back -$400. I planned on having this truck for a long time and don't want to have problems down the road. I also think it will be harder to sell this thing when it sounds like a diesel on startup.
The search goes on...
posted 11-26-2003 03:52 PM ET (US)
Check around for a 1 ton diesel.
Construction companies trade vehicles for tax incentives and a real deal can be found with a little research.
Most people shy away from 1 ton trucks because it seems like too much truck.
My truck was a show horse trailer rig and saw 93,000 miles of highway use over 3 years. That is barely broke in for a diesel.
I stole it for $17,500 including all(6) new tires and 25,000 lb tags and taxes and it's a crew cab to boot!
posted 11-26-2003 07:36 PM ET (US)
Some members here suggested Ford trucks. Then our moderator said to beware of Ford's V8 because of spark plug issues. Seems like you listened to him and not Moe and me who said other trucks out there have some serious problems too. My advice is to do lots of research before you make your selection.
Good luck in your search...
posted 11-28-2003 08:31 PM ET (US)
Is your truck within the 3/36 factory warranty still or past? If it is still in ask if any TSB's are issued for the piston slap concern. Also make sure someone at the dealer has heard and verified that is what the noise is. This may not apply but if you bought it at a non GM dealer make sure an oem oil filter is installed and not causing oil to drain and starve at cold start- I haven't worked in a GM service dept since '99 but the older gm v-8's were bad for cold knocking with incorrect filters installed until they switched from the old PF35 AC filters to PF1218 filters with backflow valves installed.
If you plan on keeping the truck a long time definitely get an ext. warranty (prob. contrary to what anyone else may say) and let them worry about it if it goes boom down the road. As long as you keep good maint records there should be no questions as to repair or not if anything should go wrong. Ask if the dealer will provide you with at least a powertrain coverage rather than taking the truck back. Any truck or vehicle you buy will have it's own problems or "characteristics". I have been a service advisor since 1995 and have seen enough problems with all makes and models to put question in any buying decision. I just started with Ford recently and don't know about the spark plug issues but so far no problems with my 2003 F-150 although it is a v6. Also no major problems with my previous 6 Chevrolet trucks since 1993 (5 s-10's and a c-1500).
As to the comments on diesels, I think GM and Ford have at least a 5/100 engine coverage with $100 deductible on the engines. As HAPPYJIM says, most seem to be just 'breaking in' at about 100k miles and I've seen many at the 250000 mile mark still going strong. My next door neighbor just bought a '92 F-250 diesel with 180,000+ miles. He works for Velocity Powerboats and tows his own 22 footer plus 2-3 boats a week ranging from 22-41 feet all over Fl. and has had no problems so far.
If you are worried about the diesel noise just put some Duramax badges on the sides and trade it in somewhere alse for more money! =)~
posted 12-07-2003 07:34 PM ET (US)
Moe is right.
Spark plugs are for outboards.
Glow plugs are for trucks.
I love the smell of diesel in the morning. Smells like ECONOMY. :)
You just cannot beat the power (torque). Besides, there is nothing more satifying than smoking some fool (such as a tailgater) who acts inappropriately on the road. Punch it and hope they have their window or vents open.
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.