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Old     (corbin)      Join Date: Jul 2009       08-19-2010, 8:46 PM Reply   
A buddy asked me the other day if I thought his Dodge Nitro (V-6) could pull a 20-21 foot wake boat to the lake during camping trips. I told him I wasn't too sure if it was a good idea because with my F-150 somtimes my transmission temperature climbs above 210 and I have a 5.4 liter. I also brought up the weight difference and the danger with braking and having the boat overtake him. I brought up the chance of a steep, wet boat ramp and the chance that the smaller vehicle might have a tough time pulling the boat out of the water.

His story is that he has a Dodge diesel that he will use most of the time but occasionally they would go camping and use the truck to tow their camp trailer and the Nitro to tow the boat. The truck would then be used to launch and trailer the boat.

I'm still concerned with the weight ratio but I don't know anything about the V-6 Nitro. Does anyone have any experience with these vehicles? Supposedly they can tow up to 4000 lbs.
Old     (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       08-19-2010, 9:22 PM Reply   
Well, most 21' inboard boats with a single axle trailer and a full tank of fuel with be right around 4k. Probably slightly more.

So, with no additional weight in the vehicle, putting every extra ounce of gear that you can remove from the boat in the truck and keeping the fuel tank empty you'd probably be right at, or slightly over the weight rating for the Nitro depending on the specifics of the boat/trailer. It would probably be safe if the trailer had good, working brakes but nowhere near ideal and probably pretty hard on the Nitro to maintain highway speed for extended periods.

I wouldn't hesitate to use a vehicle at/near 100% of its tow rating around town for short distances but I would hesitate before doing a long highway trip.
Old     (gnarslayer)      Join Date: Sep 2008       08-19-2010, 9:40 PM Reply   
i have a 1989 chevy s10 v6 and pulled the supra out of the garage yesterday. (21ft) i towed it to get gas i was struggling and then brought it to the boat ramp steep and long i had to correct myself and struggled to pull the boat back up a little and then put it in... turned out my dad left the ballast full last time he took the boat out 2500 lbs stock lol. we went out rode and came back in, emptied the ballast and the truck pulled it out like butter.

i was suprised with how well it worked
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       08-19-2010, 9:40 PM Reply   
I think it depends on how far his camping area is from his house, how many hills and to what degree the hills are and lastly what 20 to 21 foot boat he is towing. If you are talking about a sanger V210 he may be ok but if you are talking about a Tige 21v or some of the newer 21 foot boats it might be tougher. I think way too many people freak out about the vehicle they tow with. If you are going to tow with an undersized vehicle go slow, leave lots of distance and have good trailer brakes. Just about anything will tow a boat on flat highway. Hills are what will kill the transmission. My family use to tow a 24 foot invader cruiser with a V6 2wd astro van. We didnt' go far or over many hills but it worked from time to time.
Old     (RPM_DLX)      Join Date: Jul 2010       08-19-2010, 10:50 PM Reply   
Capable and safe are two different issues in my opinion. It may have the balls the pull it but there is alot more than just pulling going on when towiing. Just going in a straight line on a flat, it doesnt take much to get it going. Emergency braking and manuevers or just overtaking a turn poorly and well.....may not be safe in my book. The other issue I dont see being discussed often when people talk about if its capable to tow is liability. If you rig is towing over its rated capacity and you do get in an accident (your fault or not), then thats when the trouble really begins. Lawyers prey upon that type of stuff. A good rule of thumb I have always been told is not to tow a trailer setup listed weight within 10 percent of your tow rating. This allows for all the other cargo not accounted for like fuel, people and gear so you arent going beyond the tow rating or the GVWR. I wont even mention the kind of wear & tear that Nitro will see towing that much weight but everyones tollerance for that is different. Personally I wouldnt feel comfortable knowing that my rig wasnt designed to handle my trailer. My guess is the wheelbase length of the Nitro is pretty short for a trailer setup like a 21 foot inboard as well.
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       08-19-2010, 11:29 PM Reply   
DId it. Stopping was never an issue. Going was.... especially up hill.
I have 3 or 4 lakes within about 30 min of me & didn't have any problems towing to them or getting up & down the ramps. But I wouldn't want to go over any small mountain passes or long distances on the freeway.
I never had a warm fuzzy doin it & traded up to a Chevy Avalanche after a year or so.
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Old     (loudsubz)      Join Date: Aug 2001       08-20-2010, 8:06 AM Reply   
We pulled out 2010 Moomba LSV with our 2009 Honda Pilot. No issues but its definately not a good feeling when you hear the car struggling at some points. We only move it 2-3 times a year so it doesn't make sense to get a truck just for that.
Old     (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       08-20-2010, 8:13 AM Reply   
I've towed our x-star with my Honda Ridgeline a few times. Up the dublin grade even. I wouldn;t want to do it all the time, but on occassion, it's up for the challenge. Suspension hurts me more than power.
Old     (cadunkle)      Join Date: Jul 2009       08-20-2010, 8:18 AM Reply   
Nitro is a cheap unibody deisgn, not a truck. I wouldn't tow a heavy boat with a unibody anything. Yeah its been done, but unibodies are flimsy and flexy. Things break. Other issues are trailer sway, especially if you have to stop in a hurry, braking capacity, and trans temp if it's a slushbox. It would suffice to drag the boat a mile down the road to the ramp but that's about it.

You're be better off getting a cheap pickup. I'd personally be a lot more comfortable towing with a S10 or Ranger, or an old full size car or station wagon. Spend $1000 and get something suitable is my thoughts on the matter. An old pickup that's only purpose in life is to tow the boat will be much safer.
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       08-20-2010, 8:22 AM Reply   
BTW, the Nitro with an auto trans is rated for 5000 lbs with an equalizer. I did it with & without the equalizer at various times. For quick trips, it's a PITA to setup & break down. But well worth it if your going very far very fast.
I believe the Vride is about 3000 lbs, and probably 1500 lbs for the tandem trailer. So we were maxed out, especially with any gear, fuel, passengers, etc. The Nitro never had a problem stopping, I'm sure because of the trailer brakes, and it comes with a trans cooler so that was never an issue. And I've never seen any tandem axle trailer sway in the least.
The Av is rated for 7700 lbs & is a better tow rig all the way around.

Last edited by bill_airjunky; 08-20-2010 at 8:26 AM.
Old     (radmattyd)      Join Date: Feb 2010       08-20-2010, 8:29 AM Reply   
I have an FJ Cruiser with a 4.2 V6 and tow a 23.5ft boat all the time. 4WD if the ramp is slick and if I'm still not getting traction I just flip the rear Locker on. As far as braking- Dual axle trailer and trailer brakes are wonderful.

Vehicles have a tow limit rating. This rating is given by the manufacturer of what a safe limit is to tow. Just do what ever you feel safe...
Old     (fernslinger)      Join Date: Jun 2008       08-20-2010, 3:55 PM Reply   
That is all I tow with....granted, our lake is only a few miles away. We use a 2009 Honda Pilot or my 95 4WD Tacoma. If I were doing long distance towing or alot of freeway towing I would consider a full size.
Old     (brichter14)      Join Date: Jul 2010       08-20-2010, 9:41 PM Reply   
I pull my 18 foot sea ray with my ford escape, it has a v6 but only a 3.0.. Lake is only 10 mins away in flat illinois though


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