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Tim B

tow vehicle downsizing

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I'm in the process of downsizing my tow vehicle. I'm a bit spoiled as I was pulling my 20' Wellcraft V-20 with a Nissan Titan. Well it's time for the Nissan to go so onto something else...

 

I'm considering a used midsized SUV (ie 6 cyl Jeep Cherokee or Ford Explorer). I have a few questions:

 

Is that enough of a vehicle to pull my boat? I don't know the boat/trailer weight or tongue weight, but I've heard it's around 3500lbs.

 

My second question is that many of these vehicles have a bumper style hitch (where you put a ball). Is that strong (and safe) enough to pull my boat? Does anyone have similar towing experience pulling a 20' older fiberglass boat? I know a Class III receiver is the way to go, but can I get away with the bumper ball setup?

 

V6- I know a V8 is the way to go, but I'm leaning towards the 6 for better day to day mileage. My towing needs are only a couple of time a year. Any thoughts?

 

Any help on this would be appreciated.

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The best advice I can give you is to hang on to that Titan. You're going to blow any savings on gas(which will be minimal) trading vehicles. The Titan is as close to a 3/4T as you can get w/out actually being one. You have a much safer tow package now.......your asking for trouble where you have none now.

 

I've towed boats that class for about 10 years w 4rnrs, 1/2T pick ups, 3/4T suburbans, and yes a Titan.

 

You need a Class III hitch.

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Tim,

Whatever you do, never tow anything with a bumper hitch. All those vehicles you listed will have different towing capacities. You will need to know the gross weight of the package being towed (boat, fuel, equipment) to properly pick you next truck.

Cabo

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Depending on the exact models and years of SUV you're talking about, there is a wide range of tow capabilities there. For example, the pre-2002 Jeep Cherokee's towed all right, but their brakes were horribly undersized. They had a maximum tow rating of 5klbs. The newer Jeep Liberty is also rated for 5klbs but the towing capability is far superior to the older Cherokee. The Grand Cherokee is a much different and larger vehicle, especially newer models. They are rated for up to 7200lbs. The older, smaller Explorers got poor mileage, handled rather poorly and are nothing like the newer, larger Explorers. The newer Explorers handle loads better and can handle larger loads than the older smaller ones. Maximum tow ratings for the newer models are around 7100lbs.

 

Your 20' boat/trailer combo could weigh anywhere from about 4-5klbs loaded. That's a pretty wide range. If you really want to get it right when you downsize it may be a good idea to get it weighed.

 

Ken

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There are so many unanswered questions......

 

single axle or duel?

Gross weight= Boat, trailer, engine, extras-like bow rails, tee top & extra seating are usually not included, Your gear and your passengers gear, passengers in the tow veh., gear in the tow veh. extras, fuel @ 6.5 lbs per gallon and then add an extra 300LBS.

 

Towing and launching are two different things- the tow rating of these used veh often are rated i.e. as towing a popup camper on level road, not boats going up a steep and slippery ramp.

 

Towing & Braking are two different things too.

 

Tow vehicles should also have transmission cooler, possible power steering cooler, class 3 hitch and more. Most of this included in a vehicle like a Titan, but now in smaller pick ups or sport SUV like cherokee.

 

Most tow Vehicles, fall into a 3500 tow capacity, 5000, 7500 and 10,000- you really need to get the total gross before you can proceed.

 

Good luck but don't short change yourself, transmissions can be expensive, a lot more than the money you might save.

 

Safety needs to be paramount for you and us. I would strongly recommend, even if it's not required by law in your state a trailer with brakes on it- you just never know when you'll need it and nice to know you have when you do.

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I agree you definitely need a class III hitch.

 

I would also be surprised if trading down makes a ton of financial sense. With gas @ $2.00/gal it takes a lot of miles to make up what is probably not a great difference in MPG between the Titan V8 and a V6 SUV. I tow a 20' Jones Brothers that is about 4000lbs on the trailer loaded with gear and fuel. I used to use a V6 Tacoma. It did the job for 4 years but it was stressful towing. I now run an '08 Sierra and would never go back to a V6. Just for the peace of mind alone.

 

Sean

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Unless there are other reasons to downsize, its going to take a long time to make up the depreciation that you've already paid on the Titan and what you will pay on the new vehicle.

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If you want to stick with Nissan you can get a used 2005+ Xterra or Frontier that has plenty of power and can easily tow 5,000lbs. I should add that if it doesnt have the tow package you can easily add the Class III hitch, Harness and Brake controller. Plus it does have a transmission cooler. I know plenty of people that have towed cross country with 3-4K lbs with no problems going up hills or overheating.

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These guys have all posted good advice. Did you see the part about DO NOT TOW A BOAT TRAILER WITH A BUMPER HITCH!!wink.gif

 

There are many variables as posted above. If you are unsure about a particular vehicle take it for a test drive with your boat attached.

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I should also add that I think the Grand Cherokees 7,200 rating is not for all models as their specs dont add up. The laredo and others without the upgraded engine are underpowered and their GVWR is lower than comparable SUVS showing 3,500-5,000 tow rating. So I think the 7,200 is for their v8 diesel with a special tow package or something.confused.gif

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View PostI'm in the process of downsizing my tow vehicle. I'm a bit spoiled as I was pulling my 20' Wellcraft V-20 with a Nissan Titan. Well it's time for the Nissan to go so onto something else...

 

I'm considering a used midsized SUV (ie 6 cyl Jeep Cherokee or Ford Explorer). I have a few questions:

 

Is that enough of a vehicle to pull my boat? I don't know the boat/trailer weight or tongue weight, but I've heard it's around 3500lbs.

 

My second question is that many of these vehicles have a bumper style hitch (where you put a ball). Is that strong (and safe) enough to pull my boat? Does anyone have similar towing experience pulling a 20' older fiberglass boat? I know a Class III receiver is the way to go, but can I get away with the bumper ball setup?

 

V6- I know a V8 is the way to go, but I'm leaning towards the 6 for better day to day mileage. My towing needs are only a couple of time a year. Any thoughts?

 

Any help on this would be appreciated.

 

Last I checked - couple was two times. Are you just going to do it spring and fall? And if you are not going too far - maybe OK. (never use the bumper hitch) Maybe you have a fishing buddy with a real truck, that won't mind twice/year.

 

Check the mileage, assuming that is what is driving you. Some of those smaller trucks are not much better. When I stopped trailering I got rid of my 10 year old Chevy Silverado for a smaller truck (Colorado series). Went from a 5.7 liter V8, to a 3.7 liter 5-cyl, and I get a big 1mpg better mileage.mad.gif

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I dumped a Cherokee last year to get an F150 to tow a 20 foot boat. No regrets. I've been riding shotgun when a 2000 lb boat/trailer pushed a Dodge 1500 through an intersection on wet roads.

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Although I like the F150s way more than the Ram's, I bet it had more to do with the driver goign to fast or not breaking in time than it did the truck, I have a feeling if the same driver was driving the F150 it would have done the same thing. beers.gif

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Emergency stop from abt 35 with somewhat worn tires. Not intending to compare F150 with the Dodge, more that even full size tow vehicles have limitations. Smaller is less IMHO.

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View PostI should also add that I think the Grand Cherokees 7,200 rating is not for all models as their specs dont add up. The laredo and others without the upgraded engine are underpowered and their GVWR is lower than comparable SUVS showing 3,500-5,000 tow rating. So I think the 7,200 is for their v8 diesel with a special tow package or something.confused.gif

 

I gave the max rating available for the vehicles I quoted. Just for the record, the Grand Cherokee 7200lb tow rating is for vehicles equipped with either the 3.0 V6 diesel (there is no V8 diesel for those) or the 5.7 hemi AND the factory tow package. This sort of thing is no different than for any other vehicle in that tow ratings are based on certain setups of engine, transmission, diff gears, tow package, 2wd/4wd, etc. No matter what you get you need to read the specs for THAT vehicle - the way it is equipped to find out what it is actually rated to tow.

 

Ken

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