Tow capacity not as important as tongue weight?

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Tow capacity not as important as tongue weight?

Postby Derekius » Thu May 10, 2012 9:56 am

I've been around boats all my life, but always behind them on a rope and not driving them. My dad bought a new boat and offered to share his old 2006 Caravelle 186 BR with me, but I'm thinking my 2008 Mustang isn't going to tow it very far. I've also got a 2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS and a 2009 Hyundai Sonata, and I am under the assumption none of these would make a feasible tow vehicle, given the boat and trailer weigh ~3,500 lbs. together. My dad tried to convince me that the tow weight listed for vehicles isn't nearly as important as the tongue weight (new term to me) on the hitch, which won't be that much. He honestly thinks I can tow the boat with any one of my cars.

He's crazy, right?
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Postby buyfire » Thu May 10, 2012 10:14 am

i'd never try to tow anything bigger than a PWC with any car. you'd probably not be able to find someone willing to put a class III hitch on ant of those vehicles anyway.
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Postby Derekius » Thu May 10, 2012 10:19 am

My sister has a 99 Nissan Pathfinder SE, and after some quick Google'ing, it looks like it has a tow capacity of 5,000 lbs. How can you tell what class a hitch is, assuming one is already installed?

Can anyone recommend any books, classes, sites, etc to learn more about owning a boat? I've never backed a trailer down the ramp, loaded/unloaded a boat (well, not by myself anyway), I never know when to use the bilge pump and blower, etc. I'm excited to have a boat, but nervous because I don't know how to properly care for it.
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Postby cerrocat » Thu May 10, 2012 10:59 am

A class III hitch will have a 2"x2" opening, thats the size you want.
Class 2 has a 1.5"x1.5" opening and if I remember right a tow weight of #3500.
As far as backing down the ramp you should go to an empty parking lot and practice practice practice backing up. Thats prob the most important thing to know.
Bilge pump should have an automatic float on it, it will turn on/off on its own. If not you may want to have one installed.
You always want to run the blower for a few mins before you start the boat and any time you are running at idle. I usually leave mine on all the time but thats your choice when up to speed.
Good luck, have fun and be safe!
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Postby twindaddy63 » Thu May 10, 2012 4:39 pm

Don't tow that boat with those vehicles--search my old posts for one of my horror stories. I had a major mishap pulling a 176 with a Crown Vic--it is all in the suspension, vehicle weight, transmission gearing and cooling, tow vehicle wheelbase, yada yada yada. That Mustang, while having enough horsepower to tow the boat, lacks the weight and wheel base--the boat will control the rig--not good. The other vehicles probably don't have the suspension or the wheelbase to control the rig.

Look online, ask specific questions here, use common sense--have fun. Boating is a wonderful memory maker--I have made a bunch of them--some I would like to forget!! :oops: If you are like the rest of us, you will learn most of your lessons in that moment right before you say "oh sh%#", but you will not forget them!
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Re: Tow capacity not as important as tongue weight?

Postby Flyguy242BR » Thu May 10, 2012 5:58 pm

Derekius wrote:I've been around boats all my life, but always behind them on a rope and not driving them. My dad bought a new boat and offered to share his old 2006 Caravelle 186 BR with me, but I'm thinking my 2008 Mustang isn't going to tow it very far. I've also got a 2005 Hyundai Elantra GLS and a 2009 Hyundai Sonata, and I am under the assumption none of these would make a feasible tow vehicle, given the boat and trailer weigh ~3,500 lbs. together. My dad tried to convince me that the tow weight listed for vehicles isn't nearly as important as the tongue weight (new term to me) on the hitch, which won't be that much. He honestly thinks I can tow the boat with any one of my cars.

He's crazy, right?
Yes you CAN tow your boat with vehicle, but as twin wrote they are not manufactured for towing.
Even though you can put class I, II and III hitches on them. You definitley don't want to exceed your gross vehicle weight (GVW) You will know if you have exceeded the vehicles limits when you start backing to boat into the water and you can't stop!!!!

Another point to make is even though you may purchase a "tow" vehicle there are somethings you need:
- Transmission cooler . These are extremely easy to install and a must......
- Don't pull your boat in over-drive. This is vehicle dependant so check your owners manual. If you are in over-drive and the trans keeps going from OD to 3rd gear than place the trans in 3rd gear and carry on...
- Never exceed 10% of your boats weight on the tongue. This will keep your boat or whatever you are towing, dtraight behind you vehicle.

About books, classes etc.... I would say start with your Dad since he seems to have some experience with boating.
We ALL started with NO experience. I was 17 when I got my first boat (1978 18ft Cane Cutter with 115 evinrude) I went to the boat ramp with my friend when there was no one there and got-after-it.......
Being out there in the public you will learn and experience aspects of boating that you won't find in a book.......

And by all means, LEARN BASIC NAVIGATION!!!!! You have to know and be familiar with bouys, markers, when and how to over take a boat etc....

Here's a link to get you started: http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/wor ... ns/486.PDF

Good Luck..
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Postby Muncie6spd » Thu May 10, 2012 8:05 pm

I'm not sure what state you are in but it may have a boating course as well as the Coast Guard course Flyguy242 suggested. Indiana has an online course: http://www.boat-ed.com/Indiana/index.html; maybe your state has one as well.
Hopefully your dad can help you with the initial trip to the boat ramp, if not I would suggest you seek help from someone with experience; it might save you some grief.

Good luck and have fun!

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Postby Derekius » Thu May 24, 2012 1:57 pm

I'm in OH and already planned on checking out the Coast Guard course. I had already decided before posting that my Mustang wasn't getting a hitch, but I was curious whether my dad was crazy or not. Anyway, I'm considering trading in the Mustang for an SUV, but the majority of the SUVs I have looked at have a max tow capacity of 3,500 lbs and optional Class II hitch (but not class III). Considering the boat is a healthy 2,700 and I expect the trailer to be 700-800 (not sure on model, so I am just guesstimating), would an SUV be a bad call? If I am driving an SUV that says it will two 3,500 lbs and I am towing exactly 3,500 lbs, is that a recipe for disaster or is it not that big of a deal?

I've helped my dad get the boat in and out of the water and driven his trucks with boats behind them over the years, but I would really prefer a nice SUV over a truck.
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Postby Flyguy242BR » Thu May 24, 2012 2:47 pm

If you want to stick with an SUV, look at Toyota's. I have a two wheel drive 4-runner and it has a 5000lb towing capacity, class III hitch and trans cooler. The 4-wheel drive has a 5500lb capacity. Regardless of what you get, make sure you have a transmisson cooler. Most of the vehicles with the "towing package" have the hitch, wiring and trans cooler.
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Postby buyfire » Fri May 25, 2012 12:02 pm

if you want a 5000+ lb tow capacity, you're going to need to shop for an ACTUAL body on frame SUV. most CUV's are unibody & not typically well suited to boat hauling.
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Postby sdk » Fri May 25, 2012 9:30 pm

Look for a good used GMC Envoy or Chevy Trailblazer.
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Postby Kimmel » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:00 am

We have a 2006 187BR. From what I looked up last year the combined weight of trailor and boat was just under 3000 lbs. We have the 4.3 L Volvo Penta. V-8 would weight more.

My wife had an Infiniti QX4. We installed a Class III hitch and pulled the boat all summer. The 3.2 liter 6 cylinder engine handled the job but by the end of the summer, we decided we needed bigger vechicle. I don't know if pulling the boat or the 200k miles was the biggest factor but you could tell a difference in the vechicle after just one summer.

I was also told that you're best to not even get close the towing the max weight on a regular basis. Figure 60-70% of what manufacturer says is max towing capicity.
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