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Author Topic:   Vehicle for Highway Towing of 170 MONTAUK
PJK posted 11-14-2008 02:29 PM ET (US)   Profile for PJK   Send Email to PJK  
I have recently bought a 2005 170 Montauk, Mercury 90-HP FOURSTROKE, and Karavan trailer without brakes. I am in the market for a new car, SUV, or truck, and it needs to be able to tow the boat. I am looking for the most fuel efficient vehicle that will safely tow the boat. What are other 170-Montauk-owner experiences with towing?
Feejer posted 11-14-2008 02:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
I have the same set up as you. I have a 2005 Tundra which will pull it like nothings there. We also have a 2007 RAV4, V6 4x4. The RAV came with the towing package, which enables you to tow 3500lbs. The RAV tows the 170 fine, plenty of power, I keep the OD off and don't go above 60mph. It is a little weak in the brakes, the RAV is also a little short and once in a while it kind of like the tail wagging the dog. I think you'll be fine with any auto that is capable of 3500lbs

It all depends how often and how far to the ramp you'll be towing.

Feejer posted 11-14-2008 02:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
Forgot to add, with our RAV4, V6 4x4 we get 30MPG on the highway and 24 around town. The V6 is very strong. I have no idea what I get the two times I used it for towing, My Tundra gets 14MPG while towing the boat.
PJK posted 11-14-2008 03:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for PJK  Send Email to PJK     
Thank-you for the information. We have been looking at the Rav4 but were not sure if we wanted to trust Toyotas ratings, good to hear that it will work.
Feejer posted 11-14-2008 03:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
How far is your tow? I would not want to use the RAV4 if I was towing 100 miles each way. Unless the road was flat and I had SS disc brakes in the trailer
PJK posted 11-14-2008 03:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for PJK  Send Email to PJK     
We have not decided. We live in NC but have a shared family summer place in Maine. We are going to take the boat to Maine, but could do it with a rented truck then would only need the Rav4 for getting it in at the beginning of the summer and out at the end. If we bring the boat back and forth each year and use in the winter in NC we may need something with more towing capacity. Maybe a Tacoma 4WD v6.
montaukman posted 11-14-2008 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for montaukman  Send Email to montaukman     
I used to have a 170 with the 90 4 stroke and I used a 2005 Nissan Murano to tow it. I never went more than 20 miles in one direction and it towed it fine. It was rated for 3500#'s.

That being said, I did know it was back there and braking suffered slightly.

It worked out nicely and the all wheel drive was very helpful on the ramps.

Good luck,


Feejer posted 11-14-2008 03:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
I had a 2002 Tacoma V6 that I used to pull my Sea Hunt 202. That package was about 4600lbs. The truck did a real good job at it. Their overall MPG stinks though.
PJK posted 11-14-2008 05:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for PJK  Send Email to PJK     
Sounds like the smaller SUvs that are rated for 3500lbs may not work for towing the 170 Montauk more than fairly short distance.
swist posted 11-14-2008 07:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
I tow my 170 with a Ford Escape (3L). Up and down hills. Back roads and 65 mph highway. It's just fine. The fuel economy hit is noticeable, but performance is more than acceptable. I don't see any reason why a similar smaller SUV (RAV4 etc) would not work, BUT I do have a towing package (transmission cooler, etc). I would think that this is a requirement for such a vehicle in this application. You are still ahead of the game in terms of initial cost and running cost when compared to a mid-sized SUV (Explorer, for example).
highanddry posted 11-14-2008 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
The 2002 Tacoma that was mentioned has little in common with the 2006 on Tacomas which are considerably larger, heavier, stronger and have considerably more tow power more on par with the first gen Tundra V8 than the older Tacomas. Since I have owned all of them it iss fact, not supposition. The new Tacoma is your ticket.
Tom Hemphill posted 11-15-2008 08:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom Hemphill    
My 2006 Toyota Tacoma with factory towing package has a towing capacity of 6,500 lbs. Like the full size truck it replaced, it tows my 13 foot Whaler like there's nothing there. The fuel economy, however, isn't much better than the old truck.

In my state, brakes are required on trailers with a GVWR of 3,000 lbs. or more. Even if it's not required in your case, trailer brakes may provide greater safety if towing with a passenger vehicle.

chuck21401 posted 11-15-2008 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for chuck21401  Send Email to chuck21401     
I tow my 170 Montauk with a Nissan Xterra. Great truck, poor gas mileage (15mpg), so can cross that one off your list :). The good news is that you can buy a new or slightly used Xterra at a great price.
Tobias posted 11-16-2008 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tobias  Send Email to Tobias     
I towed my 170 with a Honda Ridgeline ~140 mi round trip each weekend last year, mostly highway miles. I did not have brakes on my trailer either and the Ridgeline did a fine job of controlling the weight of the 170. I upgraded to a Montauk 190 earlier this year and while the Ridgeline was adequate the additional 1k plus pounds and bulk were very noticeable. I've since moved on to a 22' GW cuddy and Tundra pickup, but miss some of the versitility of the Ridgeline (trunk in the pickup bed, power rear slider, manageable size, car like ride). I was getting 19 - 21 mpg.
sapple posted 11-17-2008 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for sapple  Send Email to sapple     
I tow my 2007 170 Montauk (no trailer brakes) with a 2003 Tundra. The truck tows well, always in control. But I only get about 13 mpg with the boat, two full fuel tanks, and truck loaded with spare trailer tire, tools, etc., and gear for a 10-day vacation.
Buckda posted 11-17-2008 04:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
If you're towing long distances, I'd suggest making a few modifications to ensure a greater margin of safety. I think that a properly equipped small SUV (3,500 lb tow rating) will be adequate.

Here is what I would do:
Ensure the tow vehicle has aggressive maintenance when towing (transmission fluid changes on schedule for severe duty), regular oil changes (you might consider a premium synthetic oil), and regular brake inspections. Make sure the vehicle is equipped with an auxiliary transmission cooler. If one is not available from the factory, you may be able to have an after market cooler installed. Check the cooling system regularly as well, as you will lose coolant under hot summer towing (been there, done that).

Also, I'd upgrade the trailer to include brakes to steady the rig and assist the vehicle's brake system.

At 40K miles, when it is time to replace the brakes anyway on the tow vehicle, see if there is an upgrade for vented discs you can buy.

Finally, I'd consider an aftermarket air filter. K&N makes one for just about every vehicle, and this will provide additional capacity for your truck (more air means more power).

Don't tow above 65MPH. On a long tow, this is hard to do - but speed generates more resistance and more heat - and heat is the enemy of all tow vehicles.

So - for about $1,000 in premium upgrades and some aggressive maintenance, you can save the $8,000 upcharge to a bigger vehicle, and save more than that in annual fuel costs when you are NOT towing with the vehicle.

Whalerdog posted 11-17-2008 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdog  Send Email to Whalerdog     
I would not want to tow something that heavy with no brakes, especially with a smaller tow vehicle. Brakes in your tow vehicle will go fast with much towing.
WT posted 11-17-2008 08:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for WT  Send Email to WT     
I tow my 170 Montauk with a 2006 Toyota Tundra V8 and I used to tow with a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8. Both get about 12 mpg while towing my 170 Montauk from Sacramento to Bodega Bay, a 250 mile round-trip tow including a climb over a mountain range.

It's pretty easy to have your 170 Montauk loaded up to weigh 3000 pounds so be careful if your tow vehicle's max tow rating is near 3,000 pounds.

Good luck,


PJK posted 11-17-2008 10:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for PJK  Send Email to PJK     
Thanks everyone for replying. Yesterday we bought a toyota tacoma, V6 with 4WD. It is rated to tow 6500lbs. and looks to be a very safe vehicle that should tow the 170 safely. It isn't great with gas mileage (rated 16-20 mpg) but the 4WD can be turned off when not needed which will help some. My husband likes it a lot, it even has a little backup camera to see when backing up to the hitch. Thanks for helping out some first time boat owners.
Feejer posted 11-18-2008 07:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
Your going to love your new Tacoma.
Tom Hemphill posted 11-18-2008 06:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom Hemphill    
Congratulations! Having a tow vehicle which you are confident in reduces stress and improves the overall experience. Unlike a vehicle with all wheel drive, this one has traditional four wheel drive, which is only engaged under certain circumstances. When I got my 4WD Tacoma, I found the owner's manual to be a good source of advise in its proper use.
swist posted 11-20-2008 07:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
A Tacoma is a regular ("midsized") SUV, right? I thought we were supposed to be avoiding buying these things :-)

I agree with Dave, a 170 Montauk is very towable with a small SUV given proper equipment, and the improved gas mileasge, particularly when not towing, makes more economic sense.

Feejer posted 11-20-2008 07:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
Considering I've towed my 170 with our RAV4 and my Tundra, I feel much safer towing with the Tundra.
highanddry posted 11-20-2008 09:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     

"A Tacoma is a regular ("midsized") SUV, right? I thought we were supposed to be avoiding buying these things :-)
I agree with Dave, a 170 Montauk is very towable with a small SUV given proper equipment, and the improved gas mileasge, particularly when not towing, makes more economic sense."

??, no, it is a midsize pick up truck. A pick up truck is not a SUV. Besides, why exactly are "we" supposed to avoid these "things" if you have any logical reason? For people who live in the country, have snow, live down dirt roads that are not plowed, have need for 4WD, explore the great outdoors beyond the pavement, tow boats and other equipment I seriously doubt any Smart Car would suffice. For those who need a truck then a midsize truck can be an answer, my Tacoma get 2 MPG greater city and as much as 4 MPG greater than the full size Tundra it replaces.

Or are you saying we should purchase fullsize SUVs and trucks?

Tohsgib posted 11-21-2008 12:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tohsgib  Send Email to Tohsgib     
Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel.
GreatBayNH posted 11-21-2008 12:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
I tow my 2006 Montauk 170 with a 2001 Ford Windstar.
If I'm going to be exposing the underbody of my tow vehicle to the salty North Atlantic waters, I don't want to care too much it if you know what I mean. Kind of like naming a farm animal you know the kids will later eat. Not a good idea.
CHRISWEIGHT posted 11-23-2008 04:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for CHRISWEIGHT  Send Email to CHRISWEIGHT     
Ive just been through this whole mess of can I buy a small suv/large car to tow both the boston and our caravan and in the end the thought of ending up on the roof with the family in the car because Id bought an undersized truck due to environmental pressure just did not make sense, how much is it going to cost to fix up (if were that lucky) my bunch and whoever else is involved.
when you look at loadings for these smaller cars/SUV they can barely take a full compliment of crew plus luggage let alone 1300kgs of boat/trailer fuel.

For what its worth I ended up with a Grand Cherokee Diesel which seems to give very good mileage 30+ for an imperial gallon on the motorway and 18 round town. plenty of power when you need it, and enough weight to keep it all under control especially as you guy's seem to run these things without trailer brakes, here anything over 750kg must have brakes.

swist posted 11-23-2008 07:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
"environmental pressure" to buy a certain size vehicle is a real thing these days. In the past, one might have bought a larger vehicle than necessary to eliminate any possible margin of error, or more likely, just because it felt more comfortable (hard to argue that).

You have to do the math based on how far and how often your vehicle is actually towing something. And perhaps you will indeed decide that a larger vechile is right for you, but my philosophy these days would be to get the minimum vehicle rated to do the job. Obviously not everyone would be comfortable with this.

highanddry posted 11-23-2008 01:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
I don't let others decide how I should spend my money, like a boat is not an eco-eyesore to begin with. Maybe you should just get out of boating and sell it so as not to offend your neighbors.
GreatBayNH posted 11-23-2008 02:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
Truthfully it all boils down to, once again, the "Me vs We" debate. Meaning one either makes choices based on what is best for themselves in the here and now or they do what is best for everyone for the now and/or future.

Myself? My choices are never perfect but hopefully I've taken the time to consider how I could do it better for myself, my neighbor and my children. Even if that choice is not always available thinking beyond yourself is a good habit to get into in my opinion.

That said...

"Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure."

Jane Austen

How do I get down from this high horse?

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