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Towing with a minivan?


dutchtouch

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Hey All,

Just bought a 95 Malibu Echelon. I am planning on pulling it with my 2005 Ford Freestar (4.2L/3500lb towing capacity) I will get a transmission cooler installed. I am not too worried about driving it on straight roads, but pulling it through the Rocky Mountains and/or putting it in the water on steep ramps does worry me. Does anyone have any suggestions, warnings, thoughts, experiences, etc on this topic. Please let me know as it took me long enough to convince the boss (my wife) to let me buy the boat...a truck at this stage is likely out of the question. :lol:

thanks

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No way. Your boat is like 2500 lbs, the trailer will be like 1000 lbs, plus fuel, gear, passengers, etc. You will be over weight in a heartbeat. Add the mountain passes to it & it's a bad idea IMO.

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Hey All,

95 Malibu Echelon...2005 Ford Freestar ...pulling it through the Rocky Mountains...

Good Luck with that...you are going to have your hands full. How often do you plan to make the tow through the Rockies? Is there a more appropriate tow vehicle you could borrow?

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Good Luck with that...you are going to have your hands full. How often do you plan to make the tow through the Rockies? Is there a more appropriate tow vehicle you could borrow?

I don't need to pull it through the Rockies as I can go a different route...if I did go through the Rockies it would be on my yearly visit to the inlaws

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A good friend of mine use to tow his Sportster LX with a MV. Around MI there are not a lot of big hills, but we took it to Cumberland once and it was a struggle. The boat ramp was pretty steep and the van was burning some rubber trying to pull the boat out at the end of the week. We finally had to have 2 guys sit on the front bumper just to give the front wheels enough traction to inch the boat out. It was pretty embarrassing!

I don't think it's a great idea, especially if you are going through the Rockies.

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Cultivate one of your circle of friends who already have a good pickup or substantial suv to get into boating. Let them do the towing to and from the ramp. That way you will not have to deal with more than keeping your boat full of gas , cleaned up, and operating properly. Let your buddy deal with launching and parking the trailer. That is what we do. You will find out soon enough it is a chore to find a dependable third to do spotting. Plus your buddy does not have to buy, store, maintain, or clean a boat. If your families become boat buddies it becomes even better. Pretty soon his kids call you "Uncle Dutch".

Hopefully this chap will have an older dependable pickup and be willing to swap with you when you go to the in-laws. You may have to volunteer to get his oil changed and truck detailed at a detail shop when you return.

If you are a trailer sailor it is only a matter of time until you buy a suitable tow rig.

Boaters make sacrifices to enjoy their sport. My first new car was a 1972 Suburban HD with the big block 402 engine. It would have been more fun to buy a GTO but I wanted to go boating so I needed a suitable tow rig. Since then my driver has always been an HD pickup. The wife gets to drive the nice car with the quiet comfortable ride.

Good Luck "Uncle Dutch" :lol:

Edited by DONTW8
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I used to tow my 04 VLX with my Honda Odyseey (towing package).. No problem pulling on flat road but I faced many problems in the ramp and steep road due to front wheel driven. they keep slipping. I was stuck in middle steep road, I had to back down and accerlated steady and front wheels kept slipping and barely made it. I ended up getting 2000 Suburban. Peace of mind!

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Even if you ignor all the no's what kind of hitch are you going to use. You will have to try to get a class 3 hitch, and that is really going to lower the ball. I think that you are going to realy squat that van. GOOD LUCK if you decide to tow with it. You will get 2 rides one getting there will towing and the other when you get the boat in the water.

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I have a '94 Echelon LX and have always towed with a F-150 4x4 pick-up. I am on my third truck with this boat,each one has a better engine and tow capacity than the last one. You are looking at some problems with that minivan,especially when it comes to pulling out of ramps and even stopping in a panic if needed! good luck...I would look for a used truck maybe :whistle: ....

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I occasionally tow with my 4x4 FJ that has a 5000lb tow rating and I much rather tow with the wife's Armada(9100lbs). The FJ is shorter and the brakes are not as strong as a full size SUV. Your minivan will not only struggle towing the boat but stopping will be unsafe and probably put others in danger. Your tranny and brake life will be reduced significantly if you tow with the minivan, which in turn will cost $$$. Just my $.02.

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Hey All,

Just bought a 95 Malibu Echelon. I am planning on pulling it with my 2005 Ford Freestar (4.2L/3500lb towing capacity) I will get a transmission cooler installed. I am not too worried about driving it on straight roads, but pulling it through the Rocky Mountains and/or putting it in the water on steep ramps does worry me. Does anyone have any suggestions, warnings, thoughts, experiences, etc on this topic. Please let me know as it took me long enough to convince the boss (my wife) to let me buy the boat...a truck at this stage is likely out of the question. :lol:

thanks

I would say if that is the issue, let her drive that van the first trip (option 1). You'll have a more suitable tow rig in no time. That boat is too much for that van.

And don't buckle your seatbelt on the boat ramp. You may need a quick getaway as it sinks (option 2).

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I would say if that is the issue, let her drive that van the first trip (option 1). You'll have a more suitable tow rig in no time. That boat is too much for that van.

And don't buckle your seatbelt on the boat ramp. You may need a quick getaway as it sinks (option 2).

And don't have the kids or anyone else in the car with you either (there have been stories of kids drowning because they were strapped in the car seat when the car went back into the drink). Mention that to her in all seriousness & I'd bet that she'll give you the go-ahead to look at a better tow-rig. Almost any mid-sized SUV would be better than what you have.

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A couple mile trip to/from the lake might be acceptable but a road trip is not only dangerous for you but for others on the road. I would look for something used .. Grand Cherokee, maybe.

/Steve

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And don't have the kids or anyone else in the car with you either (there have been stories of kids drowning because they were strapped in the car seat when the car went back into the drink). Mention that to her in all seriousness & I'd bet that she'll give you the go-ahead to look at a better tow-rig. Almost any mid-sized SUV would be better than what you have.

Excellent point. I overlooked it because it is one of our rules. If the trailer is going in the water, everybody out of the truck but the driver. Every time.

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I like the "let the wife drive" on the first trip and then have her drive it with a friends pickup or SUV, you'll have a new tow vehicle in no time.

-Chris

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You're probably fine for local trips, but over the rockies, you shoudl just skip taking the boat. rally that is a bad idea. I towed a Ski Nautique for years with a V6 S10 blazer 4x4. I got passed by a tandem UPS truck going uphill in the Blue Ridge mountains. It did a fine job on average, but it also was not a FWD and had 4x4 low for steep or challenging ramps. Currently I use a Land Rover to pull a VTX. Not fast, but I won't get stuck with it anywhere. It is pushing the tow weight limits though. I think a new truck is in the works in the next 2 years though.

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And don't let the wife see any of this thread...... or she might turn back into the boss & make you sell the boat!

Every boat owner needs at least 1 or 2 good boat sluts. And many times that person has the tow rig. :rockon:

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I used to tow by Reinell I/O with a Toyota Sienna. It also had a 3500# tow limit and the boat and trailer were very close to that weight. It was sketchy coming to a stop, accelerating from a stop, and pulling the boat out of the water at the ramp. I finally burned out the transmission. We had the tranny rebuilt, traded it in for my wife's Acura TL and I bought a Chevy Tahoe. What a world of difference when it comes to towing. I must have been nuts to be using the Sienna as a tow vehicle for the boat. Just because what you are towing is within the rating doesn't mean you should do it.

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It's a Ford, of course it can handle it!!! :ford:

I would tend to agree that the brakes and issues at the ramp will be your limiting factors.

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I used to tow by Reinell I/O with a Toyota Sienna. It also had a 3500# tow limit and the boat and trailer were very close to that weight. It was sketchy coming to a stop, accelerating from a stop, and pulling the boat out of the water at the ramp. I finally burned out the transmission. We had the tranny rebuilt, traded it in for my wife's Acura TL and I bought a Chevy Tahoe. What a world of difference when it comes to towing. I must have been nuts to be using the Sienna as a tow vehicle for the boat. Just because what you are towing is within the rating doesn't mean you should do it.

And Sienna brakes are already under engineered. There are about 4 teachers that bring their siennas in to me about every 25K for front brakes. The warp rotors also and even the calipers seem to seize.

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Thanks everyone for your feedback. Talked to the wife (Boss) and it turns out she's always wanted a truck. I guess with her growing up on a farm I should have known. So the problem is solved...we are now looking for a used truck!

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