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Old     (centralcali)      Join Date: Jan 2005       05-11-2005, 8:00 AM Reply   
Last year I sold our Suburban (before I had my boat) because my wife thought it was to big and didn't like driving it. Now that I have a boat I find myself pulling it with my company truck (a 03 Ford Ranger with a 4.0 V6!). It does ok only because I live 2 miles from the Delta and the streets are flat. I'm wanting to now buy something bigger that I can have my wife drive and also pull my boat with. Here are her conditions: 1. It has to have a 3rd row seat. 2. It has to drive like a car (not a suburban!). I think she wants either a Volvo XC90 or an Acura MDX. Niether of those would be good tow rigs. The only vehicle that I think will meet both of our needs is an older Darango. I was looking last night and found a few 2000-2001 models with 5.9liter V8s. The ones I saw had about 50-60k miles. HERE IS MY QUESTION: Does anyone use an older (smaller body style) Darango to tow there Boat? Do they handle more like a car instead of a truck?

The other thing I like about an older Darango is that I can get one for less than half of an Acura or Volvo. I hope my wife doesn't read this but...any money I save on her vehicle can go to feed my wakeboarding addiction...maybe a SAN in a year or two!

Any feedback on the Darango would be much appreciated. Sorry I am so long Winded!!
Old    jeffsuperstar            05-11-2005, 8:13 AM Reply   
trevor you should be just fine with a older durango, my friend used to tow is pro air with a 2000 durango and it was just fine, even if it was only highway to reach the lake, the car was doing great.. hope it helps
Old    vern            05-11-2005, 8:15 AM Reply   
Transmissions are bad in Dodge trucks. They are weak and don't hold up long. I do know that.
Old     (tyler97217)      Join Date: Aug 2004       05-11-2005, 8:36 AM Reply   
ohhh a car war instead of a boat war.... fun... might have to tune if for it....
My feeling is that any of those vehicles will do fine for your purpose, but you will always want a little more to tow with... I have towed with a grand cherokee before and it did fine. I now have a truck and would never go back... oh yeah it is a dodge.. I am sure you will be fine with anyone of those vehicles though..
Old     (bbeach)      Join Date: Jul 2002       05-11-2005, 8:41 AM Reply   
Nothing tows like a truck... I've owned 2 grand cherokees, both with V8's and they towed my prostar fine, but now that I own a truck there is no comparison to the longer wheelbase and weight.

That being said, the new Jeep have a bit more power as do the dodges. My buddy had a durango and those things just SUCK the gas right out of the tank! He could only go about half as far as my cherokee and the tanks were within 1-2 gal capacity of each other.

I'd look into the Jeeps personally, unless you could talk her into a newer style Chevy/Ford truck maybe in a crew cab! They drive nice!
Old     (wakeme884)      Join Date: Jul 2004       05-11-2005, 8:46 AM Reply   
Used to have an older dodge truck (same drive train/engine). Hauled butt without towing. When I brought my first boat home, the rear end fluid was boiling. It took one tank of gas to go to the dealer-three tanks to get home! Hemi's are even worse on gas. Go with a mid sized suv. Wife will be happy and it will tow the boat fine....jmo
Old     (skibum69)      Join Date: Aug 2004       05-11-2005, 9:10 AM Reply   
The Durango does not drive like a car at all I have used a 5.9L to tow my MC and it doesn't do any better than the V6 Explorers I used to have, it drives like a truck. The only thing you are going to find that rides like a car and still tows are the 2002+ Explorers with the V8.
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       05-11-2005, 9:13 AM Reply   
I'll give you some firsthand feedback, as between my wife and i, we have a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and a 2001 Dodge Durango, both with the 4.7l. Between the two, the Durango definitely rides like a truck. It's built on a truck platform and rides like it. Also, the 4.7l (I realize you're looking at the 5.9) isn't as powerful in the Durango with the extra weight of the truck. The only time it was ever an issue is when we took the boat to Tahoe behind the Durango. On the hills up hwy 80 it struggled so bad we had semi's passing us. Granted, may have had something to do with the altitude.

So, I guess in answer to your question...yes, the Durango definitely drives like a truck.
Old     (ethomass)      Join Date: Apr 2005       05-11-2005, 10:04 AM Reply   
I second KStateAlumni with looking into a jeep over a durango. I had a 1996 Grand Cherokee with the V8, towed just fine. Then i got a Silverado, night and day difference. But the jeep rode smoother than the truck, obviously. My friend has a 2000 Durango v8 to tow an I/O and it just eats gas like said before. Def look at jeeps over durango, and if the wife lets you get a truck DO IT
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       05-11-2005, 10:17 AM Reply   
I'd stay away from both if it was me. I like the Durango better just because there's not crap going wrong with it all the time, like with my Jeep. I've owned the Jeep since brand new, have taken excellent care of it (synthetic oil changes every 4,500 miles, etc), and had nothing but problems. The worst is with the brakes, which obviously makes a difference when towing the boat. I just picked up my truck this week after my FOURTH brake job since new (with 93k miles). My first was done after 14k miles, they wouldn't cover it under warranty (brakes only to 12k). Every time I've had the rotors resurfaced or replaced, only to have the steering wheel start its shimmy again w/i a few thousand miles.

This past week, somebody came shooting out at me from a side street and i had to slam on my brakes. My check engine light went on. ?

The jeep does definitely drive more "car-like", that is true. I'm shopping for a new car right now. Let me know if you want a good deal on a 2000 JGC, fully loaded, 93k miles, just serviced with new brakes. I won't buy one again...
Old     (h20jnky)      Join Date: Mar 2003       05-11-2005, 10:50 AM Reply   
our durango was a rat trap! can you say tranny issues! not to mention all the electrical and numerous other problems... that thing never ran correctly and it only had 60k or so when we finally got rid of it. the fuel pump went out at 55k and the gas guage quit working before that! save the headaches get a truck designed to haul...
Old     (norcalmalibu)      Join Date: Jun 2004       05-11-2005, 11:08 AM Reply   
Working in the automotive industry I see what vehicles are problem childs and the durango is one of them. The late 1990s and early 2000's dodge trucks and durangos are plagued with tranny problems. At one time our local dealership was backed up two months on replacment trannys due to back order! Also I have used my buddies durango to pull my boat to berressa and I felt it did horrible I mostly had my foot to the floor just to keep up with traffic. He has the 5.2 motor and it was a super dog.
Old     (mastercraft1995)      Join Date: Nov 2002       05-11-2005, 12:36 PM Reply   
What about a Tahoe, Expedition both have 3 seats. The last time I was car shopping trucks didn't have 3 rows of seats like you asked. Stay away from the Durango.
Old     (salty87)      Join Date: Jul 2002       05-11-2005, 12:48 PM Reply   
how many vehicles...that handle like cars...have 3 rows of seats? that seems like a really tough requirement, i guess there are mini vans or something, wagons.

i went from a silverado to a suburban and the difference in driving was huge. the suburban is like driving a cave around.
Old    masterwake            05-11-2005, 1:15 PM Reply   
Go test drive a tahoe or yukon. You can get the third row and it actually handles very well for a sport utility. Get the shorter wheelbase (not yukon xl or suburban)and it really drives and parks well along with a pretty good turning radious for a "truck." The 5.3 v8 is ample power for the boat.
Old     (ryanbush11)      Join Date: May 2003       05-11-2005, 1:56 PM Reply   
salty 87,
unless you had a regular cab short bed silverado, your suburban is shorter that your silverado was.
Old    ryde4life            05-11-2005, 2:08 PM Reply   
I have never had a problem with any of the three Dodge's I have towed with in the past. I have had Durangos and Ram 1500's. They are great!
Old    00prostar205v            05-11-2005, 4:00 PM Reply   
I'd look for a 3-4 year old Sequoia
Old     (bbeach)      Join Date: Jul 2002       05-12-2005, 9:16 AM Reply   
Tommy G

I will agree that the Jeeps have brake problems. Both my Grand Cherokee's had brake problems UNTIL on my second Jeep after the first time having the rotors turned and new pads I went ahead and spent the $400 and bought HD rotors and HD pads.. The problem isn't the Jeep design of brakes, its just that from the factory they don't use heavy duty rotors or pads to deal with the heat. Once I changed I ran the brakes forever pulling my boat, with no problems, no shimmy anymore, and nice braking! If I ever bought another Jeep today, I would immediately upgrade the brake pads and rotors! This IMO is an easy solution rather than dealing with the Durango. I have no opinion on the explorer because I have never towed a boat with one... Although I think their wheelbase is a bit shorter which wouldn't help the towing.
Old     (supralaunch21v)      Join Date: Dec 2004       05-12-2005, 1:00 PM Reply   
I have a 1999 Dodge Durango and can atest to the tranny problems. Had to replace it last year after 50K miles - of course it was out of warranty by then. Back then the warranty was 3/36 - now I think it is 7/70. Also had to replace ball joints - Year 2000 and up had recall but I think I convinced Dodge to re-imburse, and I had to replace head gasket. $$$! I like the Dodge Durango in terms of how it drives, size, etc. but when something does go wrong it is usually pretty major. I have put so much $ into it now that I am going to hang on to it. I just started towing a boat with it a couple of months ago and it does fine. Not great but does the job. I haven't gone on any long hauls or over passes yet but am curious and concerned about it. I keep my boat on a lift so I won't be towing that often. In terms of towing, I would give it a 7 out of 10.
Old     (salty87)      Join Date: Jul 2002       05-12-2005, 1:07 PM Reply   
ryan bush-

very true, i had extended cab. but, the difference is the back glass in the pickup is about 3 feet the suburban it's like 10 feet away with lots of blind spots. there's a big difference between driving the 2. a pickup is easier to drive than a sub is all i'm saying.
Old     (skibum69)      Join Date: Aug 2004       05-12-2005, 1:25 PM Reply   
I always felt my Sierra extended cab was harder to drive than the XL Denali. The Denali turns sharper, has smoother ride and fit in the garage better.
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       05-12-2005, 3:14 PM Reply   
Kstate, good to know. Unfortunately, it's one of a number of issues that i've had with mine, and i'm done. My favorite is the f#$%$d up stereo controls that sometimes increase the volume on the stereo when no one touches it to the point where we've almost had eardrums blown out when putting in a cd.

Funny thing is that we've never had any mechanical issues with my wife's Durango. That's not to say i like it, we're also looking to possibly trade that in on a Sequoia.
Old     (tommyg)      Join Date: Apr 2002       05-12-2005, 3:22 PM Reply   
KState, unfortunately the brakes are just one of a number of issues i've had, though I guess I should be happy that most of the other issues have centered around small annoying stuff falling apart on me.

Then again, to Trevor's question, my feedback is: Durango sucks, Jeep sucks. And I'm lucky enough to own one of!

We're looking at a Sequoia and a Volvo S60R this time around to replace both...
Old     (centralcali)      Join Date: Jan 2005       05-12-2005, 3:53 PM Reply   
Thanks for all of the feedback! I have to admit, you guys have burst my bubble! I went ahead and test drove a 2002 today with 50k miles just for the fun of it and actually liked the way it drove. When I talk to dealers or look on line at sites that review vehicles I am finding a lot of bad stuff (mostly transmission trouble) with the models around 98 to 99, even a couple 00s. I was told that Dodge changed some things in 01. Does anyone know if this is true? On line, I didn't find many complaints about the 02, 03 - maybe they haven't had time to break down yet? Any feedback on an 02,03 would be great. I can't help but still think it is the best truck for my wife and I. She still thinks the Tahoe is a little big and harder to park than the Durango, and the other smaller SUVs with a third row seat all have 6 cylinders. I'm so confused!
Old     (skibum69)      Join Date: Aug 2004       05-13-2005, 5:12 AM Reply   
Not to sound like a broken record but the Explorer has a V8 and 3 rows of seats. Has she driven a Tahoe/Yukon? Have her take a 24 hour test drive with one. I can't verify or deny that Dodge changed the transmissions, but most of the trany probs happen around 80,000. Maybe thats why they have a 7/70000 warrenty?
Old     (npcain1)      Join Date: Feb 2005       05-13-2005, 5:58 AM Reply   
Chrysler had lots of problems with 98, 99, 00 series SUV's, specifically tranny's (Durango, Jeep GC). Post 01 vehicles have had much better reliability (I owned a '02 Jeep GC and never had any trouble). My buddy has a 04 Explorer limited 40th aniversary and has had electrical problem for a while, I think it is pretty much a crap shoot, sometimes you get a bunk car.
Old    zboomer            05-13-2005, 11:10 AM Reply   
Put 100k miles on my '01 Durango with the 4.7L engine, and 5spd auto tranny, no problems at all. Loved it. Towed my MC Prostar all over the place.

50k miles on my '03 Dodge RAM Cummins 3500 so far, love it even more. :-)

My first two Dodges, and I doubt I'll ever get anything else now after the good experience both have been.


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