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Towing a 2021 Malibu 24 MXZ


BAC

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I recently purchased a 2021 Malibu 24 MXZ.  It is an amazing boat, but I was very worried about the weight for towing purposes since the dry weight rating went up from 5,500 to 6,000 pounds in the 2021 model.  I wasn't sure if this was "rounding up" or some "safety factor" or if there was any real increase from 2020.  Most of the information I found on the manufacturer and dealer website, forums. etc., all pointed back to the earlier models.  Even my sales rep thought the whole rig would weigh about 6,800 pounds on the trailer.

I was concerned because our tow vehicle is rated at 7,500 lbs in the literature, and 7,700 pounds on the label on the car.  It is a 2017 Mercedes GLS 550, which is very heavy, has tons of torque and is an outstanding tow vehicle due to its airbags and other tow-enhancement capabilities.  It has a width of 84", a touch wider than a bare-bones F150, and the same wheel base at 123".  Of course you quickly get a pickup truck to much longer wheelbases, but it stands up well to a short-bed truck.

I wasn't able to find much information when researching, so I thought I would post what I learned after my first towing experience and a weigh-in at a truck stop.

When I finally got my trailer information in the mail (with my registration) I found it to have a GVWR of 8,200 pounds.  That had me concerned, since it is out of sync with the SUV, but I knew that was a "fully loaded rating".  

I bought a very cool adjustable hitch from Weigh Safe, the CTB6-2-KA 6" Drop Hitch.  It has lots of rise and drop adjustment, and is rated at 8,000 lbs with a 2" ball with a 1" shank.  

I finally trailered the boat for the first time, about 90 miles each way from Lake Lanier to Lake Oconee in Georgia, and here are the results:

1.) I had to put about 3" of rise on the hitch to get the trailer level.  The top of the hitch receiver on the SUV is at 15", so that put the bottom of the ball right at 18" .  

2.) The car's suspension air-leveled very well and did not seem to have any issue with the tongue weight.

3.) Driving was relatively drama free, although you could tell the boat was massive.  Lateral stability was very good, braking was even better.  The surge brakes on the tandem-axle trailer worked great, and I felt that the car barely had to do any extra work.

4.) The SUV easily handled acceleration - in fact I started in sport transmission to keep the gears low, but wound up in normal transmission mode and enjoyed a smoother quieter ride.  It has 516 foot-pounds of torque so no issues.

I took the boat to a truck stop to weight it.  I had about a 60% full tank of gas, which would be about 50-55 gallons on board, so roughly 300-330 pounds of gas.  I also had a large anchor, ropes, fenders, life vests, but no other coolers or gear.  There was likely some water sitting in the ballast tanks (I did not try to repeatedly empty the tanks once on the trailer).  I did pull the center drain plug so there wasn't much water in the hull.

The verdict?  The boat and trailer came in at 7,700 lbs.  The weight with the SUV off the scale and the trailer hitched was 7,200 lbs, so there was about 500 pounds of tongue weight.  The SUV is rated at 600, so plenty of tongue weight for stability, but not too much for the car.

While it is right at the top end of the tow rating for this vehicle and many others in its class, I felt comfortable with the experience and would tow it at reasonable speeds (<70) without concern.  I could also run down the gas a bit farther to take another couple hundred pounds out, especially if going long distances, which I would likely do.  

My two cents.

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You are going to get differing opinions on this depending on who you ask.  Some will be in the “just take it slow and give yourself plenty of distance” crowd and others will tell you that you are crazy if you pull your boat with anything less than a 3/4 ton truck.  my opinion, I would be looking for a larger tow vehicle.  I know you said you went to the scales but that 7,700 scale weight seems low to me.  Also I would expect your tongue weight to be 800-1,000 lbs at the ball.  There have been several members here that are getting 7,300 pound lake ready scale weights from a 23 LSV.  I would expect a figure over 8k for a 24 mxz.    To give perspective, I towed our 2017 T23 with a Lexus GX 460 and it did ok but I could never get comfortable towing it for more than an hour and never over 65 mph.   I now tow our 2019 23LSV with a 2016 Navigator L and it’s night and day difference over the GX towing the Axis.  Feels very stable at 70-75 on the highway.   Another factor to consider that is that your stated towing rating is without passengers and you will need to subtract any people and gear weight in the car from your tow rating.  I am sure the GL will do an ok job but I would want something bigger to give me a bigger margin than being right at the limit.   No worse feeling than backing down a ramp with the brakes locked up and still sliding backwards down toward the water, praying it’s going to stop with the boat hits the water.

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You are definitely at the limits, but the German SUVs have a lot of things going for them, including great brakes and suspension, and your vehicle has gobs of torque.  As an aside, if you ever feel like its getting the wig-wags at all I'd try and get a little more weight on the tongue.  Does the weigh-safe hitch have a tongue-weight scale built it?  

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15 hours ago, BAC said:

I recently purchased a 2021 Malibu 24 MXZ.  It is an amazing boat, but I was very worried about the weight for towing purposes since the dry weight rating went up from 5,500 to 6,000 pounds in the 2021 model.  I wasn't sure if this was "rounding up" or some "safety factor" or if there was any real increase from 2020.  Most of the information I found on the manufacturer and dealer website, forums. etc., all pointed back to the earlier models.  Even my sales rep thought the whole rig would weigh about 6,800 pounds on the trailer.

I was concerned because our tow vehicle is rated at 7,500 lbs in the literature, and 7,700 pounds on the label on the car.  It is a 2017 Mercedes GLS 550, which is very heavy, has tons of torque and is an outstanding tow vehicle due to its airbags and other tow-enhancement capabilities.  It has a width of 84", a touch wider than a bare-bones F150, and the same wheel base at 123".  Of course you quickly get a pickup truck to much longer wheelbases, but it stands up well to a short-bed truck.

I wasn't able to find much information when researching, so I thought I would post what I learned after my first towing experience and a weigh-in at a truck stop.

When I finally got my trailer information in the mail (with my registration) I found it to have a GVWR of 8,200 pounds.  That had me concerned, since it is out of sync with the SUV, but I knew that was a "fully loaded rating".  

I bought a very cool adjustable hitch from Weigh Safe, the CTB6-2-KA 6" Drop Hitch.  It has lots of rise and drop adjustment, and is rated at 8,000 lbs with a 2" ball with a 1" shank.  

I finally trailered the boat for the first time, about 90 miles each way from Lake Lanier to Lake Oconee in Georgia, and here are the results:

1.) I had to put about 3" of rise on the hitch to get the trailer level.  The top of the hitch receiver on the SUV is at 15", so that put the bottom of the ball right at 18" .  

2.) The car's suspension air-leveled very well and did not seem to have any issue with the tongue weight.

3.) Driving was relatively drama free, although you could tell the boat was massive.  Lateral stability was very good, braking was even better.  The surge brakes on the tandem-axle trailer worked great, and I felt that the car barely had to do any extra work.

4.) The SUV easily handled acceleration - in fact I started in sport transmission to keep the gears low, but wound up in normal transmission mode and enjoyed a smoother quieter ride.  It has 516 foot-pounds of torque so no issues.

I took the boat to a truck stop to weight it.  I had about a 60% full tank of gas, which would be about 50-55 gallons on board, so roughly 300-330 pounds of gas.  I also had a large anchor, ropes, fenders, life vests, but no other coolers or gear.  There was likely some water sitting in the ballast tanks (I did not try to repeatedly empty the tanks once on the trailer).  I did pull the center drain plug so there wasn't much water in the hull.

The verdict?  The boat and trailer came in at 7,700 lbs.  The weight with the SUV off the scale and the trailer hitched was 7,200 lbs, so there was about 500 pounds of tongue weight.  The SUV is rated at 600, so plenty of tongue weight for stability, but not too much for the car.

While it is right at the top end of the tow rating for this vehicle and many others in its class, I felt comfortable with the experience and would tow it at reasonable speeds (<70) without concern.  I could also run down the gas a bit farther to take another couple hundred pounds out, especially if going long distances, which I would likely do.  

My two cents.

Thank you for this information.  I just looked up the hitch you mentioned.  Looks like a great product.  

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Your boat fully loaded will probably be well over 8K when fully loaded out and lake day ready.  I think Malibu grossly under states real weight.  My fully loaded 2020 23 MXZ weighed about 7800 LBS fully loaded full tank of gas, gear, coolers, food, and whatever else we throw in.  Your boat holds 20 more gallons of fuel.  We tow it with a 16 Escalade.  I put Riderite airbags on it and it does fine, plenty of power and brakes.  But the tranny just wasn't made to tow that kind of weight.  If the drive is more then a couple hours, I drive my Powerstroke.  We live at 4500 feet, and the lakes we have are all in the mountains so we are always going up it seems and my tranny hovers around around 240 up long grades.  I bet if you put a scan tool or monitor on your Benz, you will see high tranny temps. My wife's next car will be F150 with the tow package and big tranny cooler.   Like @Txstoj stated, it sucks backing down the boat ramp and your boat is pulling you down the ramp into the water.  It happened many times with my Escalade and we have good AT tires.  

Edited by dwc032
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If you are a "by the numbers" guy, you need to look at the yellow sticker on the drivers door frame and look at the cargo/payload capacity.  When you add your 500 pounds of tongue weight (which seems low to me) plus all your passengers and gear, that is where you will run out of rating.

My 2014 23LSV is 7000 pounds ready to go to the lake.  I've towed it with both a 2011 Yukon XL Denali as well as a 2019 Expedition MAX.   Transmission temps are my biggest issue.  The Ford does better than the GMC did, but I can get to 250* over passes.  I also have had the boat pull both SUVs down a steep boat ramp for several feet with the SUV brakes locked.  At the end of this year, I switched over to electric brakes so that I don't have to worry about it again.  I would HIGHLY recommend that to anyone towing with an SUV if you have a steep ramp.

I am lucky that my main tow vehicle is a 3500 RAM.  But we also do several camping trips each year where the truck needs to pull the RV.  Hence the need for the SUV (I don't want two HD trucks).

Speaking for me personally, I don't realize how badly my SUVs tow my boat until I tow it with my truck back to back.  There just is no comparison.

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@BAC The weight with the SUV off the scale and the trailer hitched was 7,200 lbs, so there was about 500 pounds of tongue weight. 

I'm surprised at your low tongue weight as my 18 LSV23 ready for lake full of gas, gear and coolers is 800LB.

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16 minutes ago, RyanB said:

If you are a "by the numbers" guy, you need to look at the yellow sticker on the drivers door frame and look at the cargo/payload capacity.  When you add your 500 pounds of tongue weight (which seems low to me) plus all your passengers and gear, that is where you will run out of rating.

My 2014 23LSV is 7000 pounds ready to go to the lake.  I've towed it with both a 2011 Yukon XL Denali as well as a 2019 Expedition MAX.   Transmission temps are my biggest issue.  The Ford does better than the GMC did, but I can get to 250* over passes.  I also have had the boat pull both SUVs down a steep boat ramp for several feet with the SUV brakes locked.  At the end of this year, I switched over to electric brakes so that I don't have to worry about it again.  I would HIGHLY recommend that to anyone towing with an SUV if you have a steep ramp.

I am lucky that my main tow vehicle is a 3500 RAM.  But we also do several camping trips each year where the truck needs to pull the RV.  Hence the need for the SUV (I don't want two HD trucks).

Speaking for me personally, I don't realize how badly my SUVs tow my boat until I tow it with my truck back to back.  There just is no comparison.

We are in the same boat.  I need the truck to pull the camper and the SUV to pull the boat.  

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2 hours ago, dwc032 said:

Your boat fully loaded will probably be well over 8K when fully loaded out and lake day ready.  I think Malibu grossly under states real weight.  My fully loaded 2020 23 MXZ weighed about 7800 LBS fully loaded full tank of gas, gear, coolers, food, and whatever else we throw in.  Your boat holds 20 more gallons of fuel.  We tow it with a 16 Escalade.  I put Riderite airbags on it and it does fine, plenty of power and brakes.  But the tranny just wasn't made to tow that kind of weight.  If the drive is more then a couple hours, I drive my Powerstroke.  We live at 4500 feet, and the lakes we have are all in the mountains so we are always going up it seems and my tranny hovers around around 240 up long grades.  I bet if you put a scan tool or monitor on your Benz, you will see high tranny temps. My wife's next car will be F150 with the tow package and big tranny cooler.   Like @Txstoj stated, it sucks backing down the boat ramp and your boat is pulling you down the ramp into the water.  It happened many times with my Escalade and we have good AT tires.  

You are just the person I needed to hear from.  About to upgrade to a 23 MXZ and wondering about weight.  Your 7,800 number, is that your towing weight with a double axel trailer (1,300 lb or so) or is that what the boat lift would have to pull up?  Depending on your answer how was trailer tongue weight factored.  Both questions are relevant.  We have two tow options, 2017 LS-570 and a 2003 Sequoia which has been doing fine with our 22 LSV and would be preferred for a couple of reasons.  Also working out a deal for a place with a boat lift but thinking that a 6,500 lb lift might not be a good idea.  Thanks in advance.  

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39 minutes ago, RyanB said:

If you are a "by the numbers" guy, you need to look at the yellow sticker on the drivers door frame and look at the cargo/payload capacity.  When you add your 500 pounds of tongue weight (which seems low to me) plus all your passengers and gear, that is where you will run out of rating.

My 2014 23LSV is 7000 pounds ready to go to the lake.  I've towed it with both a 2011 Yukon XL Denali as well as a 2019 Expedition MAX.   Transmission temps are my biggest issue.  The Ford does better than the GMC did, but I can get to 250* over passes.  I also have had the boat pull both SUVs down a steep boat ramp for several feet with the SUV brakes locked.  At the end of this year, I switched over to electric brakes so that I don't have to worry about it again.  I would HIGHLY recommend that to anyone towing with an SUV if you have a steep ramp.

I am lucky that my main tow vehicle is a 3500 RAM.  But we also do several camping trips each year where the truck needs to pull the RV.  Hence the need for the SUV (I don't want two HD trucks).

Speaking for me personally, I don't realize how badly my SUVs tow my boat until I tow it with my truck back to back.  There just is no comparison.

I'm with RyanB, The 3500 Ram.    One and Done.

 Ryan, Nice rig by the way   Saw it on  " show us your rig thread".

 

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1 hour ago, dalt1 said:

@BAC The weight with the SUV off the scale and the trailer hitched was 7,200 lbs, so there was about 500 pounds of tongue weight. 

I'm surprised at your low tongue weight as my 18 LSV23 ready for lake full of gas, gear and coolers is 800LB.

Maybe he’s got a triple axle trailer? 

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2 hours ago, Surf4FamFun said:

You are just the person I needed to hear from.  About to upgrade to a 23 MXZ and wondering about weight.  Your 7,800 number, is that your towing weight with a double axel trailer (1,300 lb or so) or is that what the boat lift would have to pull up?  Depending on your answer how was trailer tongue weight factored.  Both questions are relevant.  We have two tow options, 2017 LS-570 and a 2003 Sequoia which has been doing fine with our 22 LSV and would be preferred for a couple of reasons.  Also working out a deal for a place with a boat lift but thinking that a 6,500 lb lift might not be a good idea.  Thanks in advance.  

7800 is fully loaded. Without trailer you can knock off 1500 or so. 

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I remember back when I was a teenager getting sent by the boss to go pick up 25' center console boats with twin V6 outboards.  Go hook up the shop trailer, drive 20 miles, load the boat, drive it back.  All with the crappy 1/2 ton Chevy pickup with bad brakes and just a bumper hitch.  No brakes on trailers, ever.  Times have changed....

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9 hours ago, justgary said:

I remember back when I was a teenager getting sent by the boss to go pick up 25' center console boats with twin V6 outboards.  Go hook up the shop trailer, drive 20 miles, load the boat, drive it back.  All with the crappy 1/2 ton Chevy pickup with bad brakes and just a bumper hitch.  No brakes on trailers, ever.  Times have changed....

Sounds like we were working for brothers.  When I was sent to do something like that it was made clear that if I hit what was in front of me it would not be because the load was too heavy or there brakes bad, it would be because I did not plan my stops and watch my distance.  

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Anecdotally I have seen people claim that trip-axles require less tongue weight than tandems (which makes some visual sense to me), but when I was shopping trip-axle equipment trailers all the equipment trailer manufacturers I was looking at still recommended loading them with 10% or more on the tongue for towing stability.  I have not yet seen any evidence that significantly less than 10% would be desirable on a big heavy boat trailer with three axles rather than two.  If there is any such evidence, I would be open to it, but I just haven't seen any.  

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13 hours ago, justgary said:

I remember back when I was a teenager getting sent by the boss to go pick up 25' center console boats with twin V6 outboards.  Go hook up the shop trailer, drive 20 miles, load the boat, drive it back.  All with the crappy 1/2 ton Chevy pickup with bad brakes and just a bumper hitch.  No brakes on trailers, ever.  Times have changed....

 

4 hours ago, Surf4FamFun said:

Sounds like we were working for brothers.  When I was sent to do something like that it was made clear that if I hit what was in front of me it would not be because the load was too heavy or there brakes bad, it would be because I did not plan my stops and watch my distance.  

When I was in my early 20's, I would load up my folks 21' Larson, and pull it with my short bed regular cab Dakota - and have two motorcycles in the bed of the truck.  I remember running WOT in 2nd gear up Rabbit Ears Pass, engine screaming.

I did a lot of stupid things when I was younger.  Doesn't mean I would do them the same way today.......

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2 hours ago, RyanB said:

I did a lot of stupid things when I was younger.  Doesn't mean I would do them the same way today.......

You now have what is called “wisdom”

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On 11/12/2020 at 6:57 PM, Pnwrider said:

Maybe he’s got a triple axle trailer? 

He said Tandem.  Did not read every response, but what stood out to me was tandem.  I thought the trailers had 3500lbs rated axles with tandem, 7k would be trailer max for axles.  Do they sell tandems with heavier axles or just over their weight rating.  Seems like you could be pretty over weight pretty quick for the trailer.

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10 hours ago, RyanB said:

 

When I was in my early 20's, I would load up my folks 21' Larson, and pull it with my short bed regular cab Dakota - and have two motorcycles in the bed of the truck.  I remember running WOT in 2nd gear up Rabbit Ears Pass, engine screaming.

I did a lot of stupid things when I was younger.  Doesn't mean I would do them the same way today.......

I remember shifting into 5th getting pulled over doing 95mph in my SHO and telling the cops if you would have caught me in another 0.5 miles it would have been 120mph.  #verystupid

What he said above...wisdom!  

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20 hours ago, RyanB said:

I did a lot of stupid things when I was younger.  Doesn't mean I would do them the same way today.......

Life just isn't as fun as it used to be back before I learned what could hurt me.

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3 hours ago, justgary said:

Life just isn't as fun as it used to be back before I learned what could hurt me.

Once pain levels exceed testosterone levels you start learning.   

Edited by Bozboat
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  • 3 months later...

I checked back in and read some of the comments and questions to my original post.  I added a few thoughts below:

1.) @RyanB is right about the GVRW of the GLS550.  You have about 1600# of capacity remaining to handle the stuff in the SUV (fuel, people, gear) and the tongue weight, which actually measured around 550# (by subtraction).  For this reason, I do not have any passengers in the car when towing, nor do I have gear.  This is a two-SUV caravan with wife, daughter and gear in the other car.

2.) @jjackkrash also makes a good point.  I'm right at the limit BUT don't underestimate the German SUV!  It actually handled the tow very well, very stable, no shimmies, etc.  That said, I would not use this SUV as the tow vehicle if I was making a weekend habit out of it.  I will likely use this to occasionally move the boat from our dock to a service appointment or nearby lake.  Maybe a once-a-year trek of over 60 miles.  As an aside, I used to tow our old boat (a Regal at 5500# on a single-axle trailer) with a Ford Expedition 4x4.  I switched to a BMW X5 4.4i Sport, and the BMW towing experience was significantly better from a braking, acceleration, steering and mileage perspective.  

3.) And to @Surf4FamFun I posted a photo to clear up the trailer questions.  It is a tandem axle trailer and it is big; it probably weights 1400#-1500# and has the extended pivoting tongue because of the pickle fork bow on the MXZ.  I really believe the boat is around 6200# in this photo, half full of gas and with no gear inside. 

4.) And finally for @dwc032 I have no doubt you could load this puppy up to 8000# or more which is why the trailer GVRW is 8200# - but I wouldn't ever be comfortable doing so and that's why I am essentially only towing an empty boat, with an empty SUV, on an occasional basis.  If I was taking the whole family to distant lakes all summer long I would get a big pickup!

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