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Old    Josh B (joshugan)      Join Date: Apr 2005       02-18-2014, 10:35 AM Reply   
Anyone have any experience towing with front wheel drive? I'm making a decision on a vehicle in the next few days and most that I'm looking at are front wheel drive.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Old    RB (boardman74)      Join Date: Jul 2012       02-18-2014, 10:42 AM Reply   
The issue you might have wth front wheel in traction at the ramp. If you use good ramps all the time probably not be an issue if you stay within the proper weight range. Most of these boats have a decent amount of tongue weight and that puts pressure on the rear of the vehicle hence taking it off the front.

What front wheel drive vehicle are you considering that has enough tow capacity to handle a ski/ wake boat?
Old     (pprior)      Join Date: Jan 2012       02-18-2014, 11:53 AM Reply   
tow capacity - are you SURE you are where you need to be here?
Old    Cory D (cadunkle)      Join Date: Jul 2009       02-18-2014, 12:00 PM Reply   
Most front wheel drive vehicles that I'm aware of don't have a frame, that would be a serious concern for me. I would also be very concerned about killing transmissions especially if automatic, small clutches and bands on those transmissions and will slip or overheat quickly. With a manual I'd want to upgrade to a real good clutch because you'll probably be slipping it a lot and front wheel drive clutches are usually a tiny diameter because there simply isn't room for a proper size clutch and the engines used for FWD typically don't make any appreciable torque.

Ramp traction may also be an issue unless you have a light boat and use fairly low angle ramps. How heavy of a boat are you planning to tow? Old trucks are cheap, you can find F-150s or Broncos for $500-$1000 that'll get the job done and are fine for either a daily driver or cheap enough to use just to pull the boat or whenever else you need a truck.
Old    Bryce (brycejb328)      Join Date: Aug 2009       02-18-2014, 12:02 PM Reply   
I'd consider a diesel
Old    Surf Addict (Desi) (phathom)      Join Date: Jun 2013       02-18-2014, 12:04 PM Reply   
I believe that would be the Honda Ridgeline or Honda Pilot. They use the VTM-4 system. It's primarily FWD, but shifts torque to the back wheels when needed. You can also hit the VTM-4 lock at low speeds(up to 6mph) to engage all 4 wheels at will, when you get up to 18mph it disengages the lock.
I used to have a Pilot and my buddy has a Ridgeline. He pulls his 92 Sunsport around with no issues with the Ridgeline.
I typically do the trailering around the parking lot and ramp when we go out. It doesn't even feel like it's straining at all. Typically I will lock the VTM-4 when I am pulling the boat out of the water. It seems like it helps some, but works fine without it as well, possibly due to the extra tongue weight making it automatically engage.
Old    Tom (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       02-18-2014, 12:34 PM Reply   
I tow with a Pilot with VTM-4. Does a fine job. I don't typically travel very far but even for short bursts on the highway it does pretty well.

The tow capacity on the FWD model is terrible. To get the higher tow capacity of 4500 you need to be in the 4WD model.
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       02-18-2014, 1:41 PM Reply   
I towed our old X-Star short distances with a Ridgeline. It's rated up there with most half ton trucks. It did fine. And the VTM locker worked excellent.
Old    Jamie Corvin (Bumpass1)      Join Date: Oct 2010       02-18-2014, 2:59 PM Reply   
When I was a kid in high school a girlfriend of mine family had a small (16'-18') runabout that they would take out on the weekends. I remember going with them a few times. They would tow it with a manual mid to late 80s Honda Civic wagon. It was the funniest thing at the ramp watching her father teach her older brother how to pull the boat up the ramp. I remember the front wheels spinning the tread off of the tires and all of the other people at the ramp watching and laughing the same way I was. I guess at that point of my life I was or at least with the Wallys of the water.
Old    Art (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       02-19-2014, 8:47 AM Reply   
I have towed my D215 with a Venture van up the ramp and on prairie roads. It was well beyond the rated tow capacity of the van but it was fine. I would not recommend overloading the vehicles rated capacity though. You do not want to tow with a FWD on loose surface roads as the trailer will push the back of the tow vehicle around under braking. You also need to check on the load capacity of the rear suspension. (perhaps air bags would help)
Old     (pprior)      Join Date: Jan 2012       02-19-2014, 9:25 AM Reply   
I don't think they make a 2wd ridge line. what vehicle are we talking about? Again, almost anything that is FWD is not going to be built to handle the load, it's not the wheels driving, it's the rest of the vehicle.
Old    Surf Addict (Desi) (phathom)      Join Date: Jun 2013       02-19-2014, 10:32 AM Reply   
You're right, they don't make a FWD Ridgeline. Those come as 4WD standard. The Pilot, which is essentially the Ridgeline with the truck bed swapped for a third row and cargo area, does come in FWD or 4WD.
The FWD on the Pilot only can tow 2500lbs, while the 4WD option on the Pilot can tow 4500lbs.
In his other thread he was asking about a Toyota Highlander. Both the Highlander and the Pilot/Ridgeline 4WD/AWD models run as FWD the majority of the time until a need for power to the rear wheels is detected. They then put power there automatically. They also have an option to lock it at low speeds.
They operate in pretty much the same way, where they are FWD unless needed. I believe that is what he was asking about, vehicles like this as opposed to typical trucks that are RWD until you lock the front hubs up and make it 4WD.

Also, any of these that are the FWD version instead of the AWD/4WD versions, would not be a wise or safe thing to tow with.

Last edited by phathom; 02-19-2014 at 10:36 AM.
Old    DC (durty_curt)      Join Date: Apr 2008       02-19-2014, 11:02 PM Reply   
My uncle used to tow his 16 ft four winns with his late 90s dodge caravan. It did fine even at AZ canyon lakes steep boat ramp. But it kinda struggled thru the hills. Note: this is a small boat that had an inline 4 cylinder as it's engine, aka it was a pretty light boat. It's not comparable to your 02 SAN 210
Old     (nitrousbird)      Join Date: Sep 2008       02-20-2014, 12:45 AM Reply   
What are you trying to tow?

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