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Old     (scotthetland)      Join Date: Apr 2002       03-23-2007, 6:57 AM Reply   
I'm finally getting rid of my old civic with 0 towing capacity!!

I need opinions on budget tow vehicles. I am looking for an SUV for under $6k that will not have problems towing a Ski Nautique. Reliability is important to me, as this will be my means of transportation to work/bus stop (only 2 miles to the bus stop) and the lake. It isn't my boat, so I will be making 2 trips each year back to my parents to drop it off (450 miles one-way). We have a new Civic that we use for errands, etc, so it will not be our only car.

I am going to test drive a '99 Tahoe with 130k miles. It is stated to be in great condition, but I have yet to have it checked by a mechanic (is at a dealer right now). His asking price is $5.9k, but I think I can talk it down further.

My 2 questions for any/all of you:

* What other kinds of SUV's should I be looking for?

* Comments, concerns on older Tahoes?

I need criticism/assurance.
Thank you!
Old     (fox)      Join Date: Jul 2002       03-23-2007, 7:20 AM Reply   
I towed my 92 ski nautique 700 miles with a 99 s-10 blazer. That was through the blue ridge mountains too. It did it...not tremendously well, but if you only tow a little, it would be a good choice.
Old     (malibuboarder75)      Join Date: Jan 2004       03-23-2007, 8:01 AM Reply   
Our 96 explorer tows ours pretty well. It is a 4X4 that we got for $6000 with 70k miles.
Old     (etakk7)      Join Date: Apr 2006       03-23-2007, 8:11 AM Reply   
I had a 97 Mountaineer 5.0 V8. First time I towed my Mastercraft 205V, there was terrible sag in the back end. There was plenty of power, but the boat seemed bigger than the car and I felt like the boat pushed me all over the road. Also, the truck, at 130k, started to have things go wrong all over. I just bought a 97 Silverado as a replacement. Do research on the difference between the 98 and 99 Tahoes. Engine, body style, and other things were different. I went with the 5.7L in the older generation instead of the 5.3L in the newer ones. There is "piston slap" (I believe that is the term) in some of those early 5.3's.
Old     (mcwakerider)      Join Date: Dec 2006       03-23-2007, 8:28 AM Reply   
i have a 98 tahoe 4x4 and it does great. It has a lot of miles on it but the guy i bought it from put a new motor in it since the other one blew up. If your gonna get a tahoe i would find one very well taken care of or has had a new motor in it. Mine tows great! Plenty of room inside for everyone and plenty of cargo room. the gas mileage isnt great but, when boating you dont really worry about gas... your gonna spend a lot no matter what u do
Old     (hal2814)      Join Date: Feb 2006       03-23-2007, 9:02 AM Reply   
I SN2001 is 2340 dry weight. You're only looking at 4000lbs at most. You have a lot of options. I'd check out the Jeep Cherokee (NOT Grand). They're rated for 5000lbs. I don't think I'd go that high but I've towed bigger boats than a 2001 with no problems except for the rear end sag. Given their current book values, you can get a 2000 or 2001 with lowish miles, the 4.0L engine (which is quite a monster), 4WD, and still throw some air bags in the rear suspension to get rid of the sag for $4500 or so. Their drive train is also incredibly reliable. I wouldn't pull a much larger boat with it but I've personally seen the Cherokee in action several times as a tow vehicle to older 2001-sized ski boats and smaller I/Os.

Then again, you're just not going to have much issue no matter what decent-sized SUV you go with. Take whatever you can find the best deal on.
Old     (fatsac)      Join Date: Jun 2004       03-23-2007, 9:11 AM Reply   
I had great experience with a '99 Montero Sport. Resale value is horrible, so you could pick one up super cheap with 4 wheel drive, leather, all the goods. 20 hwy / 13 towing w/ 31/11.5 BFG All Terrains. Lousy for a six cylinder but I was towing a Maristar 225 (heavy) so no reason to complain. meZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
Old     (mechmaster)      Join Date: May 2006       03-23-2007, 9:15 AM Reply   
I tow my VLX with a '96 Yukon, it does fine.

96-99 Yukon/Tahoe will have a 5.7 (350) SEFI Vortec. On earlier engines, the intake manifold gaskets would die, causing oil consumption and setting the SES light. Make sure this has been replaced. On mine, this problem caused premature failure of O2 sensors, fouling of the intake, and premature failure of the catylitic converters (both).

Fuel pumps tend to be an issue at that mileage, so check the records. Engine has (4) O2 sensors; they likely will have to be swapped out if original after 130K.

Parts are easy to come by. Mine has been OK once the initial mechanical issues were squared away.


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