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Old    Alain (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       05-24-2012, 11:01 AM Reply   
Hi all,

Any recommendations for a cheap tow vehicle to pull a Sanger V215 or similar? Probably won't be used more than a couple of times per week to tow about 20 miles. I'm also considering enclosed storage at the dock, in which case the tow vehicle would just be transporting bodies and launching.

Can something unglamorous yet reasonably competent be found for around $5K, you think?

TIA!
Old     (saberworks)      Join Date: Sep 2010       05-24-2012, 11:16 AM Reply   
Late 90s/early 2000s Ford Expedition/F150 with the 5.4 will tow it ok. Any half-ton pickup or SUV like a tahoe. I wouldn't go for the smaller suvs/trucks (pathfinder, cherokee, explorer, etc.) with a boat that big. Those older expeditions are cheap now, especially with gas prices going up.
Old    Matt (MattieK27)      Join Date: Mar 2010       05-24-2012, 11:52 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by saberworks View Post
Late 90s/early 2000s Ford Expedition/F150 with the 5.4 will tow it ok. Any half-ton pickup or SUV like a tahoe. I wouldn't go for the smaller suvs/trucks (pathfinder, cherokee, explorer, etc.) with a boat that big.
Huh? The boat weighs 3200 lbs, add a very overzealous 1500lbs for trailer weight, and you're left with 4700 lbs. The Grand Cherokee V-8 I have towed with in the past was rated for up to 6000lbs, and the newer ones (WK, WK2) are rated for over 7000.

I just don't get where the towing mentality comes from with wake boats. I used to be pretty big into the go fast market, now those were boats that required bigger vehicles. Everyone always points to horsepower and brakes. What they don't realize is most small SUVs/Pickups now have v-6s that are way more powerful than their early 2000s V-8 equivalent (even taking into account added vehicle weight), nor do they know the brake size differences or performance characteristics from one vehicle to the next. Just a lot of assumptions. Even better is when people justify a truck that is flat-out not necessary for these smaller boats with the tow rating they think they need; then sacrifice towing performance by adding a lift kit, bigger wheels and tires, etc.

I recently was talking to a co worker who used to have a trucking company that he ran with his dad about this subject. After reading a few threads, he was pretty entertained.
Old    Sheldon (Fiveflat)      Join Date: Sep 2010       05-24-2012, 12:25 PM Reply   
You can pull it just fine with a 4-cyl. as well. But I wouldn't want to be the one trying to stop it...
Old    Tom (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       05-24-2012, 1:35 PM Reply   
I pull my 2900lb Centurion (plus Dual-axle boatmate trailer) with a 2011 Honda Pilot. V8 Half-Ton is not necessary. Having Disc-Surge brakes makes stopping effortless.
Old    Matt (MattieK27)      Join Date: Mar 2010       05-24-2012, 1:45 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiveflat View Post
You can pull it just fine with a 4-cyl. as well. But I wouldn't want to be the one trying to stop it...
Huh?


Quote:
Originally Posted by boardjnky4 View Post
I pull my 2900lb Centurion (plus Dual-axle boatmate trailer) with a 2011 Honda Pilot. V8 Half-Ton is not necessary. Having Disc-Surge brakes makes stopping effortless.
I begin to think the people posting waste all their money on truck upgrades and forget to service their trailer brakes. Your experience mimics mine with the GC, and that was even before the disc surge brakes became popular.
Old     (saberworks)      Join Date: Sep 2010       05-24-2012, 1:45 PM Reply   
OP is asking for "cheap" tow vehicles, I don't think he can get a 2011 Pilot or a recent SUV with a v-6 that has more power than a v-8 for $5k. I sold my 2000 expedition a few months ago for $3,000 and it was in really great condition.

I towed my old mc prostar 190 with a jeep cherokee w/4.0L 6 and while it did it, it wasn't pleasant (esp on hills). Maybe you guys have more tolerance for sway, increased stopping distance, the boat pulling the vehicle backwards down the ramp, lower-than-speed limit hill climbs, etc.
Old    Matt (MattieK27)      Join Date: Mar 2010       05-24-2012, 1:52 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by saberworks View Post
OP is asking for "cheap" tow vehicles, I don't think he can get a 2011 Pilot or a recent SUV with a v-6 that has more power than a v-8 for $5k. I sold my 2000 expedition a few months ago for $3,000 and it was in really great condition.

I towed my old mc prostar 190 with a jeep cherokee w/4.0L 6 and while it did it, it wasn't pleasant (esp on hills). Maybe you guys have more tolerance for sway, increased stopping distance, the boat pulling the vehicle backwards down the ramp, lower-than-speed limit hill climbs, etc.
Wow, towed a similar sized Sea Ray with a 4.0 Cherokee and did not notice your issues. Of course I didn't try to do 85 on the high way either, and admittedly Illinois is not a hilly area. Again with the stopping distances, did you not have surge brakes or have them serviced often?

Yes he was looking for a cheap tow vehicle, and I can find 2000s V-8 Grand Cherokee with a 6k tow limit anywhere for less than 5k. The fact others condemn them for towing is the reason I posted. But hey, keep buying those huge trucks guys, just don't forget to convince yourself and everyone around it was for the tow rating...
Old    kx250frider617            05-24-2012, 2:14 PM Reply   
Has anyone seen a yamaha rhino or kaki tyrex towing a boat to the ramp? That would be a hot ticket if your super close the ramp. If they could even do it.
Old    Max T. (airbeast)      Join Date: Oct 2009       05-24-2012, 2:58 PM Reply   
Have you looked into early Powerstrokes/Cummins? You can find them for under 5k. Fyi last year I bought a nice 2000 f250 for $3000 to resell. My friend just got a 98 extended cab f250 for $1800. 4WD by the way.

Expeditions/f150s are ok price wise, but are totally gutless and half the MPG compared to diesel. Also they are a royal pain to work on with how their engine is tucked under. The 5.4s do have issues with their plugs blowing out, pistons cracking, head gaskets. I really hate them after that.
Old    Kevin Douty (Kemikal)      Join Date: Jun 2011       05-24-2012, 3:35 PM Reply   
I picked up a 1998 Ford F250 extracab last year to pull my Sanger V215. I paid $5500 for it. It has 145,000 miles it works like a charm.

a V8 Grand cherokee would also be good, but not sure you could find one in that price range.
Old    Tom (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       05-24-2012, 4:37 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by saberworks View Post
OP is asking for "cheap" tow vehicles, I don't think he can get a 2011 Pilot or a recent SUV with a v-6 that has more power than a v-8 for $5k. I sold my 2000 expedition a few months ago for $3,000 and it was in really great condition.

I towed my old mc prostar 190 with a jeep cherokee w/4.0L 6 and while it did it, it wasn't pleasant (esp on hills). Maybe you guys have more tolerance for sway, increased stopping distance, the boat pulling the vehicle backwards down the ramp, lower-than-speed limit hill climbs, etc.
1. I experience none of what you are experiencing. Even when I was towing a similar load with a less capable vehicle. Maybe your tongue weights were too heavy or something.

2. My point was that a half-ton truck necessarily a must have, not that the OP should buy a 2011 pilot. There are plenty of smaller SUVs out there that might be in better shape than a comparable ford expedition.

Last edited by boardjnky4; 05-24-2012 at 4:40 PM.
Old    Cory D (cadunkle)      Join Date: Jul 2009       05-24-2012, 7:04 PM Reply   
'80-'97 F-350 with either a 460 or 6.9/7.3. Earlier years you couldn't get a 1 ton in a Supercab but you could get it crew cab. Later years you could get either Supercab or crew cab in a 1 ton. F-250 would do, but has IFS and no reason to get an IFS truck. Prices for something decent start around $1k for rusty and reliable. $5k should get you something pretty nice and plenty good for a tow pig. They're very simple and reliable trucks, and cheap to maintain. '80-'97 was identical so far as chassis, only changes were fuel injection which was '86 for 302 and low output 351w, '87 for 351w HO, and '88 for 460. My preference is carb for simplicity and reliability.

Don't get anything with a small block, you'll regret it. You're either beating the snot out of it to get it rolling or gearing the hell out of it and spinning it to the moon... Which may not matter if you have a short drive but no reason to go small block when big blocks are out there for the same price and diesels not much more.
Old    Benjamin Oates (Bolo)      Join Date: May 2011       05-24-2012, 8:31 PM Reply   
Might want to check out mid 80's to early 90's Suburbans. I was recently looking at them and was shocked at the low prices. Found a few in perfect running condition with low 100,xxx miles for under 2k. Don't know much about them other than they look cool and fit a bunch of people but might be worth checking out.
Old    Alain (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       06-11-2012, 10:36 PM Reply   
Thanks everyone, super helpful. After much searching and test driving, it's come down to:

1. 98 Suburban 2500
2. 95 GMC Sierra 2500

Both under $5K, the GMC is $700 less than the Suburban, but 60K more miles. Both have tow packages rated up to 10K lbs and 7L 454 V8 motors. Switching between 2WD and 4WD is much easier with the Suburban (a button press), whereas the GMC needs the engine off, ignition on, in park (or neutral, forget which) to switch. I guess if I'm stuck on a slippery ramp a button press is better.

Which would you choose? I'm leaning toward the Suburban because it felt a bit more maneuverable, but I also like the GMC because it's a truck (I don't have a truck now) and it's $700 less. I guess the Suburban is better in that I can through gear in the back and don't have to worry about stuff walking off quite as easily.
Old    Bu Coo (brett564)      Join Date: Jul 2006       06-11-2012, 11:13 PM Reply   
Alain, you may be squabbling over pennies right now. To put things in perspective you're trying to decide over a 98 Chevy and a 95 GMC in 2012. At this point you have two obtainable solutions to your dilemma. Which one looks the best, which one feels the best, which one is the most shiny? Go with your gut feeling on this one!
Old    Ralph (89nauti2001)      Join Date: May 2012       06-12-2012, 6:44 AM Reply   
The 98 has the fuel injected vortec engine. The 95 should still have a throttle body if I remember correctly. The vortec will tow MUCH better. As far as the 4wd I've never trusted a button to get me out of a jam. I would much rather put it in neutral an manually put it in 4wd. Both are great trucks just check on the engines if the 98 has the vortec I would go that route. The older throttle body engines had intake issues.... I've owned a few and changed the intakes on all of them. The only other issues is the front ends. They love to eat idler arms, pitman arms, and other front end parts. That being said you should be able to put over 300k on them no problems.
Old    DRA-Doug (load)      Join Date: Jul 2003       06-12-2012, 8:29 AM Reply   
Alain, did you buy a boat?
Old    Alain (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       06-12-2012, 10:13 AM Reply   
Hey Doug! No boat yet, but looking to get one this year. Hope all is well with you and the fam! :-)
Old    DRA-Doug (load)      Join Date: Jul 2003       06-12-2012, 10:27 AM Reply   
Cool! We are well. I'm selling mine, but might be too big for you.
Old    Alain (ak4life)      Join Date: Nov 2003       06-12-2012, 10:33 AM Reply   
Yeah, I think a 215 is what I'm after. But how much is the 230 going for?
Old    DRA-Doug (load)      Join Date: Jul 2003       06-12-2012, 11:42 AM Reply   
Not completely sure, 209-839-7250.

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