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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through April 21, 2006 » Need a new tow vehicle - CHEAP! « Previous Next »
By Brian Barth (brian1000) on Sunday, April 09, 2006 - 9:03 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I'm going to be spending most of my money on a new boat, but I also need a new tow vehicle with maximum towing capacity. Any suggestions? I need something reliable and stout, would be a plus if it looked good, and I don't want to spend more than 10k. I was thinking about an older Land Cruiser maybe. Any other suggestions?
 
By Cody (loudontn) on Sunday, April 09, 2006 - 9:07 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Oh man, I'd imagine you can get some great towing vehicles for around 10k around the '96-'00, '01 year range. What you towing?
 
By Brian Barth (brian1000) on Sunday, April 09, 2006 - 9:20 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Boat TBD - likely will be one of the following: '06 X2, '06 VLX, or '05 Tige 22i type R. All are going to be around 5500 loaded up with gas and gear, but I want some cushion as well.
 
By matt idoine (theoneandonly) on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 4:05 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
get an older f series in the 95 to 98 range should only be around $6000 at the most and will tow that easy
 
By Dante (hal2814) on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 6:11 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I would suggest looking at an Explorer. The tow capacity should weigh in around the 5000 to 7000 range depedning heavily on options. You could also look at the Grand Cherokee but go ahead and factor in the cost of a new transmission in your purchase. The only reason I'm even throwing these out there though is that your first idea (Land Cruiser) is an SUV so I thought that you might be avoiding pickup trucks for some reason. If that's not the case, I'd second getting an older f-series. You could easily get a mid-90's extended cab f-150 or f-250 that would haul your boat and passengers pretty easily.

I'm about to discuss a van so if you at least would like your vehicle to look nice then I wouldn't entertain the idea seriously, but the GMC Safari is a very nice tow vehicle that haul your boat, your family, your camping equipment, and still have some room to spare. It's the last of the non-mini vans so it's rear-wheel drive and has a very nice towing capacity. It is also very heavy so you don't have to worry about any dog-wagging. If I could ever talk my wife into it, we'd own one.

The biggest problem with the Land Cruiser is that while they are incredibly sweet vehicles, they also hold onto their value for a long time. You're probably going to be dipping back at least ten years to find a Land Cruiser that has dropped below the $10K mark.

 
By Kent Fowlie (kent_fowlie) on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 8:32 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
We just went through looking at tow vehicles and the towing capacity for the Astro/Safari was 5000 pounds. We used to tow a 3500 pound setup with it really comfortably, but I wouldn't try towing over 5 with it.

Also, I'm pretty confident the explorer won't fit the bill either, I think it tops out around 4500. We ended up getting an Expedition for towing our new boat.

My suggestion is with a mid 90's F-series truck.

Hope that helps.

Kent


 
By liquid ryder (pilot_ryder) on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 8:34 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
old ford truck or chev or dodge
 
By Edward J. Sullivan (bigshow) on Tuesday, April 11, 2006 - 4:54 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I had an Astro, and yes it's rated for 5,000 lbs. The first year pulling my inboard at 105,000 miles I lost the transmission. I think you need a 1/2 ton pick up, or similar sized SUV, I wouldn't recommend an Astro.
 
By Matt Huff (djhuff) on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 8:53 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I've got a '94 bronco for sale, engine runs great, it's in good shape, 215K miles (but again, runs like a top) $2500. Pulled my X30 without any problems. Haven't pulled the X2 with it, but I'll take it for a ride and let you know if you're interested. It's in NC
 
By Bob (bob) on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 9:28 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I would stay away from the older grand cherokees, have heard lots of problems with brakes. If you look into explorers (ive got a 96 with v8)stay with a v8 the trans on 6's have problems. Should be able to pick up an explorer for less than 10k and mine is "RATED" (you know how that goes) to 6800 lbs. My boat, gas, and trailer is around 5k. Tows fine with no major hills (same trans and engine as the f's.
 
By Dante (hal2814) on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 9:44 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
My Explorer is rated at 6500 with a V6 but it's the 91. The 95-99 do have tranny problems with the V-6. The 91-94 also had problems with the V-6 tranny but it was a problem Ford corrected so if the car is still on the road, that tranny problem was taken care of long ago. If I remember correctly, the post-2002 Explorers did lose some of their tow capacity.

The brake issues from the grands are that their rotors had a tendency to warp easily. I thought there was a recall on this but if not, just make sure to get new factory calipers installed and the issue will be taken care of.

The Safari had a tow capacity of 5500lbs in the late 90s when we looked at one. That's the only reason I mentioned it. I do happen to know from my uncle's Safari that it will tow 6500lbs pretty easily on flat ground though I certainly wouldn't recommend that. I don't know if Ed's transmission issue is common but I'd certainly look into it before that kind of purchase. I only know one person with a Safari/Astro and they've put 150K on the original tranny so far but two people (including Ed) is hardly a good sampling.

 
By patrick mcconville (jetskiprosx) on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 10:33 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Stay away from the v6 expoloders. We havea 1999 and it was slow when pulling our old jet skis. I wouldn't even think about hooking up our boat to it! I once towed my friends 18ft I/O and the explorer was a dog and couldn't stop if its life depended on it...get an older full size truck!
 
By Psyclone (cyclonecj) on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 10:43 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
My '96 Bronco tows 7500lbs easy with the air on and has 229K miles on the original motor and trans. Seats at least five and was CHEAP. Bought it on ebay for 4500 three years ago. Had to change out the carpet and clean the seats to get rid of some stank but all is good now.

You definitely want a V8 and auto trans, 4wd is nice too.

 
By Dante (hal2814) on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 11:22 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
To further qualify what Patrick is saying, stay away from the 95 and later V6. The 91-94 V6 is the biggest engine they offered back then but it was the pushrod V6 and since it was the biggest engine offered, Ford did a good job of gearing it to tow well. I'd pull my 19' I/O behind my V6 Explorer long before I'd attach the same boat to my aunt's 98 V6 Explorer.
 
By Chris (crghou) on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 11:38 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I would stick to something a little bigger. My friend just got an 00 expedition for 12. Loaded leather and all and has 90k on it. Or look for an older tahoe w/ the 5.7. Those are strong engines. You can always go w/ an old Silverado, f-150 or 250. I wouldn't want to pull a boat w/ an explorer. Yes it could do it but I would want a little more weight in my tow rig.
 
By FoxrepDC (foxrepdc) on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 11:51 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I'd stay away from a V-6. I know they say towing capacities are up there, but my Ford Explorer Sport Trac pulled my old Sea Ray and the family pontoon great, but threw up with my Tige behind it! I swapped it for a 2005 Expedition. Find yourself a '97 or so Ford F 250 with the Powerstroke engine.....that'll do it for pretty cheap.

DC

 
By entrust clothing (entrustclothing) on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 12:14 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
expedition is the way to go! as said you can get a loaded eddie bauer expedition for like $12k or less
 
By trace (trace) on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 - 12:46 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I can't believe this is even a debate - unless you really need the interior room, forget the SUV and get an older half-ton American pickup. they are set up from the factory for hauling weight in the back - much better for towing. also more useful as a second / utility vehicle for yard stuff, hauling junk, picking up furniture, etc.
 
By Bob (bob) on Thursday, April 13, 2006 - 12:51 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Chris ive been pulling my 20' i/o for the past 5 years with the original engine and trans. As far as the weight that is what trailer brakes are for also manufacturers tow ratings. Yes the 5.7 is bigger but youll definitely need it cause the tahoe weighs more to begin with. I only mention these because they are vehicles that are old enough now that you could get one for "UNDER $10K entrust", isnt that what he posted above? Im sure my explorer weighs close to and tows just as well as a vehicle with a box on the back. It has the SAME engine and transmission the F has. I want to know why people keep recommending vehicles capable of towing a 12000 lb fifth wheel trailer when we are only towing boats in the 3-5k lb range?? YOUR VEHICLE DOES NOT NEED TO BE DOUBLE THE WEIGHT OF WHAT YOUR TOWING After watching my buddy have trouble with his 23' i/o and a 2wd tahoe im thinking 4wd is more and more a better idea with heavier boats. Why buy a big fat heavy vehicle with gas prices the way they are now? Oh and dont forget diesel is running higher then regular gas.
 
By Bad Dan (boomerang) on Thursday, April 13, 2006 - 2:52 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Brian,
I would try to stay with a full size truck.

I would also stay with a V-8.
I have towed people up boat ramps that had 6 cylinders and could not get back up the ramp. Once because the tow vehicle weighed less than the boat. (jeep)

A little secret that some might not know about, is that Ford Motor co. around the 2000 - 2001 reduced the springs in their rear suspensions (I assume they did this for a smoother ride) But if you count the leaf springs under a 1999 F-150 you will find it has 2-3 more springs than a newer one. Which might not help with the towing but it will help with the stability under loaded conditions.

The company that I work for owns over 2000 F-150ís and the pre 2000 models are a much better truck than the newer ones (Or so im told by our drivers and mechanics)

We tow our boats and bobcat with a full size Silverado or our Tahoe without ever any problem.

Hope this helps,
Danny

 
By trace (trace) on Thursday, April 13, 2006 - 4:10 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
interesting info on the 00+ F150's.

the stiffer rear springs won't make much difference towing a boat. boats are light on tongue weight, and tow very easily due to their generally aerodynamic shape. if you tow anything like a flatbed or travel trailer with an SUV, you'll need airbags.

pickups often get better mileage too (lighter curb weight). i have an ext cab chevy, and we just sold a Tahoe that had the exact same drivetrain. my pickup gets about 16.5 mpg, but the 'hoe was lucky to get 15.

 
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