Favorite old towing vehicles? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 37 Old 03-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Favorite old towing vehicles?

Hi, I'm looking at several potential vehicles to tow ~4000lbs of boat and trailer.

Working on a budget, so the cheaper the better, anybody have great luck with an old van or truck? Or have any suggestions about what to avoid?

I know hitches must be on the frame, not the bumper, and I know i should look for something with a trans cooler, but that might not make the budget.
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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

Most any old pickup or van and the trailer MUST HAVE BRAKES THAT WORK

I have done fine with and older G20 van as well as 1500 series trucks

They were all 4.3 powered with 3:15 gears and i just run in third to keep the RPM at about 2600 as the 4.3 needs that to be happy with that much load

Most every truck has enough brakes as the do not change them when going to a V8 package unless you go to a 2500 series truck at which point there is a pretty massive size change in the brakes

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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

Older F250, Ram 2500, or Chevy 2500 would be what I'd go for, 4x4 makes a big difference on a steep and/or slippery ramp, and its nice to have a vehicle that weighs more than what you are towing... I guess I'd rather have "too much" vehicle than just barely enough. (I tow my ~5000 lbs boat and trailer with an F250 Powerstroke).
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post #4 of 37 Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

I had a F150 with the straight 6 two wheel drive. If you go to "improved" launch sites it was OK but dirt backwoods sites could be trouble. I had to push the truck out a few times with the boat (150 Hs P bass boat) to get it all moving. If this is going to be just a boat hauler you can get away with a cheap truck. You won't have gas mileage concerns as much. If this is a twice a year thing a friend hauling or a rental would make more sense.
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post #5 of 37 Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

Any 1/2 ton pickup or van will do just fine. One of the best boat pullers I ever had was a 1984 Ford Econoline van with a straight six engine and automatic transmission. I think the box shape of the van streamlined the whole rig. It would run as fast as I needed it to. Pulled a brand new Renken ski boat from Charleston SC to Dallas TX...non stop. I was younger then. ;-)
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post #6 of 37 Old 03-21-2013
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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

My two favorite "old" tow rigs were my '78 Suburban with 454 ci engine and turbo 400 trans. It was a Trailering Special and didn't even seem to feel most of the things I towed. I also had a '72 Chevy van with a 350 ci engine that was almost as good. My new rig which has towed my 4000 lb. boat from Baytown to Lake Travis here in Texas with no problem is an '08 Jeep Liberty. It has the 3.7 V6 and towing package. It works much better than I expected it would especially with the 4x4 on slippery ramps. I have to put it in tow/haul (locks out overdrive) mode in hilly or very windy driving to keep up speed on the hiway.

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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

I used a 1993 Ford F-150 v8 to tow my Chrysler C-22. the truck didn't even know it was there. I used it to launch and retrive the boat every weekend. I also used it with an old heavy car trailer to haul old cars as far as 600 miles round trips.

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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

I think my Jeep Grand Cherokee is rated to 5000 lb. I'm going to sell it soon up here in Madison. It will be for less than Blue Book due to some hail damage and boat paint I spilled in the back (its a '96). Send me a PM if you are interested.

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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

1990 Suburban, big block 454 w/ 4.11 rear, 10,000lb towing capacity. 160k.
Most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. $2200.
pm me if interested.

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Re: Favorite old towing vehicles?

While not the best choice; i know it works fine. I pulled a verified (wt ticket from truck stop) load of 5600 lbs from ND to NY with zero issues with my 2001 Subaru outback. 2" receiver hitch bolted to frame. It is rated for 2750 lb from the factory. Have pulled and hauled logs out of the woods with them as well. Traded the beast in at 186,000 miles with brakes and tires invested.
Other than the towing vehicle weighing less than the load pulled; i see no reason why a outback couldn't easily pull 3k, possibly 4k. (catalina 22?) I have complete faith in them.
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