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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read some of the threads on this subject at SAILNET but did not see my specific question addressed.

I own a 26' Trimaran weighing about 2600 pounds. The trailer weighs about 700 pounds. So, total weight is 3300 pounds.

I live a quarter mile from the boat launch so that is the distance of the tow. I do not tow this boat elsewhere but sail only in local waters.

So, the main stress on the vehicle is in retrieving the boat and trailer from the water. Launch, of course, is easy since the trailer is backed down the ramp and, after the boat is launched, there is only the lightened trailer to pull up the ramp. It is the retrieval that needs a more powerful vehicle. As for the retrieval, the ramp has a moderate grade so much so that the trailer, even with a tongue has to be disattached to get the boat fully in the water to launch.

So, basically, I want the minimum vehicle to do this short tow, launch and retrieve.

Presently, I own a 1995 Ford Explorer which I bought three years ago to tow the boat and trailer here from 1100 miles away. I use the Explorer now only locally for the boat launch and retrieval and would like to get rid of it. I also own a Honda Fit as a passenger vehicle. I am thinking of one vehicle that would do both jobs. I would also consider winching the boat on retrieval but there is no point near the ramp to deploy the winch it would have to be fixed on a vehicle.

One vehicle I am considering is a Hyundai Santa Fe, manual with a 2.7 liter engine.
 

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I have read some of the threads on this subject at SAILNET but did not see my specific question addressed.

I own a 26' Trimaran weighing about 2600 pounds. The trailer weighs about 700 pounds. So, total weight is 3300 pounds.

I live a quarter mile from the boat launch so that is the distance of the tow. I do not tow this boat elsewhere but sail only in local waters.

So, the main stress on the vehicle is in retrieving the boat and trailer from the water. Launch, of course, is easy since the trailer is backed down the ramp and, after the boat is launched, there is only the lightened trailer to pull up the ramp. It is the retrieval that needs a more powerful vehicle. As for the retrieval, the ramp has a moderate grade so much so that the trailer, even with a tongue has to be disattached to get the boat fully in the water to launch.

So, basically, I want the minimum vehicle to do this short tow, launch and retrieve.

Presently, I own a 1995 Ford Explorer which I bought three years ago to tow the boat and trailer here from 1100 miles away. I use the Explorer now only locally for the boat launch and retrieval and would like to get rid of it. I also own a Honda Fit as a passenger vehicle. I am thinking of one vehicle that would do both jobs. I would also consider winching the boat on retrieval but there is no point near the ramp to deploy the winch it would have to be fixed on a vehicle.

One vehicle I am considering is a Hyundai Santa Fe, manual with a 2.7 liter engine.
No, you do not want the 'minimum' vehicle to do this, or one day soon you will be getting a professional to retrieve your 'minimum' vehicle from the water.:( The Explorer is pretty minimum for this. I don't know why you want to get rid of it, unless you just want to go with one vehicle.

Unless you have some experience pulling loads on slopes, you won't enjoy starting a load on an upslope with a manual transmission. As for the size of the engine, it doesn't really matter. Gear ratios are what matter.

I am concerned that you have to unhook the trailer to launch the boat. That has Americas Funniest Home Videos written all over it. Since you have such a short trip to the ramp, I would see about getting a local welding shop to fabricate a longer tongue for the trailer. Long trailers are easier to back, harder to turn around, and harder to store. Best of all, you won't be unhooking the trailer on a slope at the waters edge.

Good luck. I'm sure you will get a lot more advice here, and most of it will be from experience.
 

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My Catalina 22 weighs about the same as your boat, and I tow it just fine with my 1987 Volvo 740 Turbo wagon, but I did a lot of upgrades to the brakes and drivetrain to make it handle the load safely, and I drive it very carefully. I can list the mods I did if you're interested. It still drives like a car and is much more comfortable and fuel efficient than a truck or SUV.

Next week I plan to take it to big bear lake, which involves towing it up a narrow windy mountain road to the 7,000 foot elevation lake.

The most important thing isn't the vehicle itself, but how well maintained it is (especially the brakes) and how you drive it.
 

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I agree with Sarguy; you don't want the minimum tool for the job.
The minimum is a class 2 tow hitch (2000-3500 lbs), go for a class 3, 3500 - 5000lbs. Most truck frame based SUV's have a class 3 tow capability including some Explorers, 4 wheel drive would be nice too when the ramp is wet. Considering your short distance to tow you could get away with minimal but consider that if you went with class 3 you are opening up a whole new realm of choices for sailing since you can safely tow much further to unexplored lakes. You can also load a whole lot more gear, bigger engine, gas and other provisions in the trailer if you have a better tow vehicle. A long wheel base helps too as it prevents the tail from wagging the dog. A 3.73 real axle ratio is also desireable as is an oil cooler or larger oil pan and transmission cooler, but these options generally come factory standard in the better SUV's out there. You can also get swing out tongue extenders for your trailer when launch time comes to keep from looking like the funniest video.
If the plan is to upgrade your vehicle, go for something that opens up more options, you never know if you might want to tow a 4 - 5000# house trailer one day.
 

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I also agree with others that stated min is not the way to go.
Personally I would not do any launching retreiving with out 4WD.
Ramps are slippery slimely messes and very often your rear wheels are in the water with little or no traction. And don't fool yourself into thinking that retreiving is the only concern. Launching can be just as if no more of a concern. Lets face it, your not always lined up and in a good position the first time around. (yes I have experience at launching boats, that is how I know you may have to be ready to pull her out on the launch) Brakes have to be in good condition as well (as was previously stated).

How do you detach the trailer from the vehicle to launch it?
I would be concerned about detaching a 3300# load like this.
Do you have an extension on the trailer?
 

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I also agree with others that stated min is not the way to go.
Personally I would not do any launching retreiving with out 4WD.
With my RWD Volvo, I installed a locking rear axle (Eaton G80) which cost $100 used, and are made to fit most any vehicle with a solid rear axle. The tires have never slipped at all pulling up a ramp, even with the back tires down in the water on algae or sand.

4WD costs a lot more, hurts fuel economy, and adds weight to the vehicle over a locking axle. Of course, locking axles coupled with 4WD is the best of both worlds, but for me the locking axle alone permanently eliminates any and all traction issues at the boat ramp.
 

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Thanks for the info.
I guess my statements come from launching heavier loads, I think my buddies boat that I launched and retrieved on a regular basis was more in the 7500# area.
My personal experince.
 

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A lot of the "WHAT RIG" will work depends upon the boat launch too! If it is reasonably flat, you do not need as big an engine, or low gears in the trans, axel or a 4lo to get out with the boat! My step dad had an old IHC with a 3 in the tree, 230I 6 that barely had 120HP if that, and it pulled a 21' trailer sailer just fine, granted at times a bit slow........

I would think for your purpose a Kia would work. I personally would prefer something a bit larger, ie wt of the TV, wheel base etc, but the Kia should work.

Make sure the hitch reciever is a 2" sq tube, and not smaller. The smaller variety would work, but not as easy to find ball mounts etc later on.

If you do go with a smaller motor/chassis rig, make sure you do have a 4lo or equal option, as on steeper ramps you will want the lower gears to make sure you can pull out.

Smaller motors ie in displacement and HP can get the job done, if they are geared correctly. My dumptruck with half the HP and torque as my Dmax pickup, will go up a steeper grade at 50% more wt than the pickup, before they stall out, all due to the 45-1 overall low vs 17-1 in my pickup! Gears help. Altho in 4lo, the pickup might give the dumptruck a run for its money.....

Good luck,

Marty
 

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You can get away with a lighter vehicle if your ramp is flat at the top. Leave the car on the flat disconnect the trailor and use a rope to lower it into the water. On recovery tie off the rope and the car will have an easier job starting off on the level. WARNING the rope will wear out PDQ. I always meant to get a pulley but just kept an eye on the wear. I did this whenever I was faced with a steep ramp OR a slippery one. Choose rear wheel drive as the weight transfer is favourable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the replies.

I should mention that I launch on a tidal ramp, that is the water level can range from 0' to 6' depending on time of the month.

sailortjk1 asked:

"How do you detach the trailer from the vehicle to launch it?
I would be concerned about detaching a 3300# load like this.
Do you have an extension on the trailer?"

As mentioned, the grade on the ramp is very moderate. In this connection, my tri only draws 18" and so I can launch/retrieve in about 4' of water. When, I retrieve or launch, I move the trailer down to the bottom of the ramp where it is almost flat. I disconnect the trailer from the vehicle and push into the water further. For retrieval, the vehicle is beyond the top of the ramp on a flat surface and I pull the loaded trailer out with a line attached from the towing ball on the vehicle to the bottom of the trailer tongue. I've done this numerous times with no problems. I had a smaller 23' trimaran and did that the same way. (More or less as described in the post of TQA.)

There is a tongue extender on the trailer which I do use to get the trailer as far in the water as possible. But it cannot be used to put it fully in the water nor to retrieve the trailer without submerging the rear end of the vehicle significantly.

I also think the post about the Power Wheel by Sailmachine is very germane to my situation. To repeat, I am not concerned about TOWING but about RETRIEVING. So my need is for a power source that will permit me to retrieve 3300# boat/trailer in the water (added resistance) and bring it up to a level surface. As mentioned the ramp is a moderate grade. This power source, for example, might be a winch mounted on the towing vehicle.

I note at the Power Wheel site there is a method used to calculate grade as it affects retrieval power needed:

PowerWheel USA, LLC - Trailer Tips

So, as stated, towing is different than launch/retrieval. A car rated to tow 2000# would seem then to need more power to retrieve a boat from a boat ramp since the grade will increase the resistance of the trailer/boat.

The minimum vehicle must also, of course, be able to tow the flat .25 mile to my house. But it would be overkill, I think, to have a vehicle with transmission cooler, larger engine, beefed up suspension and any other options to tow long distances. Granted the vehicle used must have a suspension and engine adequate to tow the .25 flat mile needed. I really do not want to be driving around an oversized vehicle when I only need it twice a year to launch and retrieve. In actual terms, I would be carrying the additional cost of that vehicle for .5 mile usage per year out of total mileage of 10,000. That does not seem too efficient to me.

I also note that in looking into this, I see that the Ford Ranger pickup has a very high towing capacity for its size and price. Here is some info on that vehicle which may be of interest:

"At the moment, the Ford Ranger and its Mazda sibling, the B-Series, are the smallest pickups available on the market – most of their compact competitors from Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota and Nissan have morphed into mid-size trucks over the years.

Aside from some minor styling differences and different options, the Mazda B-Series is the same truck as the Ford Ranger and is built in the same plant in Twin Cities, Minnesota. Whether you choose Ford or Mazda will probably come down to the price you can negotiate, since both companies are now offering discounts and financing incentives on their versions....

The B4000’s 4.0-litre SOHC V6 engine makes 207 horsepower at 5,250 r.p.m. and maximum torque of 238 lb-ft at 3000 r.p.m. Equipped with the optional automatic transmission the B4000 4X4 has a payload capacity of 572 kg (1260 lbs) and a maximum towing capacity of 2540 kg (5600 lbs). Surprisingly, a B4000 4X4 equipped with a manual transmission has a maximum towing capacity of just 1406 kg (3100 lbs) – a good reason to opt for the automatic transmission."

CanadianDriver » Mazda » Test Drive: 2009 Mazda B4000 Cab Plus SE 4X4 pickup

That 3100# is pretty good capacity even with the manual transmission. I do wonder why the towing capacity increases 2500# to 5600# with the use of an automatic over the manual transmission. Is towing capacity generally greater with an automatic?

Gear ratio has been also mentioned, what gear ratio would be suitable? I can check this against the manufacturer specs.
 

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Is towing capacity generally greater with an automatic?
Yes. I've been driving standards for over 40 years and I hate automatics..... slushboxes :puke But..... when it comes to Towing or Plowing.... an automatic is the only way to go. The slow steady build up of torque from an automatic is exactly what you need. Not the slipping/burning or popping of the manual clutch. My first couple light boats were towed with light standards but when I got up to the 3,000# area, and also started plowing my own driveway, when specking out a new truck it became obvious that an automatic was a necessity.
 

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If you had mentioned that you only launch and retrieve once a year, I would have had a completely different picture. You don't need to get a tow vehicle at all. You need a neighbor with a vehicle that will do the job that would enjoy sailing. Then, you can get whatever vehicle suits your lifestyle and makes you happy.:cool:
 

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The reason the manual is rated less than an auto, is warranty in most cases. In many cases, while harder to do unless you figure it out, the auto is easier to take off on steep hills. BUT< if you have a manual with a deep low, the manual will be better and can go up steeper hills before stalling out. I have a formula that figures out max grades a rig can pull before stalling. I'll figure out the differences between the two rigs later today.

Then getting a 4x will give you the 4lo for more traction, along with the lower gearing, for better hill climbing ability yet. Reality is, either rig will work fine for you needs.

I did drive a friends Ranger the other day, I believe it is a 3.0L v6 vs the 4.0, a manual that was geared a bit on the tall side IMHO for towing too much, but it would tow what you have too.

Marty
 

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If you are considering the Ranger as a tow vehicle, you would be farther ahead to stay with the explorer, which has a slightly stronger driveline than the ranger. Most of the added strength is in the rear axle,on the explorer it's the exact same axle as the one on the F150, which has larger diameter 31 spline shafts and larger bearings when compared to the 28 spline rear axle of the ranger. If the ranger is equipped with the 4.0, they will both have the same transmission as the f150

either one should have a frame mount reese type hitch. bumper mounts on trucks are not that great for launching boats because they are generally higher than wanted and make launch and retreival harder than needed.

I personally prefer a manual trans. Reasons are that coupled with the right gearing and at least a limited slip differential they will pull a boat out of any ramp. Plus if the manual has issues, it's normally the clutch which is normally a quick easy fix (and cheaper) when compared to an auto that WILL need a rebuild if problems show up.

Ken.
 

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Just rent a truck allready.

I really do not want to be driving around an oversized vehicle when I only need it twice a year to launch and retrieve.
 

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The minimum vehicle must also, of course, be able to tow the flat .25 mile to my house. But it would be overkill, I think, to have a vehicle with transmission cooler, larger engine, beefed up suspension and any other options to tow long distances. Granted the vehicle used must have a suspension and engine adequate to tow the .25 flat mile needed. I really do not want to be driving around an oversized vehicle when I only need it twice a year to launch and retrieve. In actual terms, I would be carrying the additional cost of that vehicle for .5 mile usage per year out of total mileage of 10,000. That does not seem too efficient to me.
If you're only towing a flat 1/4 mile you'd be hard pressed to find ANY vehicle that couldn't tow a 3,300 lb load that far with a good hitch installed- the only issue is climbing the ramp.

Nearly any passenger car with RWD, a proper 2" frame mounted hitch, and a locking or limited slip differential would do this just fine.

Most of the 90s Volvo 940 Turbos or 960s have rear wheel drive, a locking rear axle, a very low 1st gear, and a rated towing capacity of 3,300lbs without any modifications. They'll effortlessly pull a boat of that weight up any ramp you can find, even if the rear tires are wet. You can also find them in great condition for under $2000, and they're all around excellent cars- safe, quiet, comfortable, reliable, and fuel efficient. Upgrades are only needed if you plan to tow the boat long distances and over mountain passes with it.

Edit: You might look into a Subaru Outback wagon also. I don't think they'd have any problem doing this job either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A bit more on this subject.

I found this post at trailersailor.com as regards manual v auto for towing. It indicates that the major problem is that you cannot cool a manual transmission:

"I'm pretty much stuck with my 2000 Ford Ranger due to its color (mandarin orange; what was I thinkin'?), high miles, and manual transmission. If I had the auto tranny, I'd be five hundred pounds under the manufacturer's rating of 9500 pounds for hauling my boat. I've found out the reason that tow ratings on domestic trucks with manuals are way lower than their automatic brethren for the same engine and rear end: the manuals are underbuilt, which results in overheating and boiling off of the fluid (you know what happens after that). So I figure I'll be OK if I can rig up some kind tranny cooler and keep a frequent eye on the fluid level. Trouble is, I checked J.C. Whitney and they only have the kind of coolers to assist automatics. There are no pumps associated with the available kits. I would think a manual transmission cooler would need a pump to move fluid through the cooler and back to the tranny. Am I dreaming? Thanks."

I spoke to a Ford salesperson as to why the automatic Ford Ranger would tow over 2000# more than the manual and he did not know. I assume it is because "the manuals are underbuilt, which results in overheating and boiling off of the fluid (you know what happens after that)." as stated above.

Yes, I do realize neighbors have trucks and there are rental possibilities. One problem though is scheduling as I have tide and weather considerations when I launch. And as stated in the original post, I would like to combine my passenger and towing vehicles.

So, as I see it, Retrieval and Towing, in my case at least, and, I suspect, for many others are two different problems. In researching this, I also note I saw some ramps where there are launch and retrieval services offered by private companies. That seems like a good idea as it would help some sailors to save some money by having just a tow vehicle and then having a stronger vehicle/power source do the launch/retrieval.

And this seems to be a pretty big problem So much so that two patents have been filed for systems to help with launch/retrieval:

Apparatus for simplifying the launching and retrieval of a boat from its trailer - Patent # 4679812 - PatentGenius

Traction enhancing system for boat launching and retrieval - Patent # 6739623 - PatentGenius

There's probably a few other ideas out there that folks are using to solve the launch/retrieval problem in their own fashion.
 

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Lmao!!

:laugher :laugher :laugher :laugher :laugher :laugher :laugher :laugher :laugher :laugher :laugher

OK, fess up. What do you really want??;)

TOW? :rolleyes:

1300 feet is just moving the boat son.:eek:

A ramp so flat a trailer with a tunge extension won't work is called a driveway.:eek:

A 20 HP garden tractor will do what you need and a lot more.:D

So now confess, what do you really want a tow vechical for???:rolleyes:
 
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