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8-Ball

V-6 Van enough to pull a boat?

31 posts in this topic

Hi- With the disgusting gas prices we are considering buying a van w/a V-6 to pull our rig rather than the more gas-guzzling SUV/Truck option (we currently have a V-8 Explorer that gets about 13 MPG...) My question: Would a V-6 van be enough power to pull a 17 1/2 Crestliner w/a 90 HP? Would it burn out the tranny or put too much stress on the engine/tranny? Your thoughts? Thanks in advance.. 8-Ball.

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With out the details I would say your boat is a litte big for one.

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It is a 1750 Sportfish w/a 90hp on the back. What other info do you need?

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I will agree with wanderingeyes that your boat might be too big for a van. I've watched minivans pull 21ft bass boats but it looks ridiculous! I don't think you are going to gain much for MPG because your van is geared differently than your V-8. Different gearing is going to result in your van working harder and using more gas than it's used to. Plus you're not going to have the pulling power for inclines and boat launches. I would much rather have the comfort of a 4WD on a wet access or a sandy one any time. Ultimately it's your decision, but I don't think you'll gain much when you make a pro and a con list.

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Dang, I'm in the same boat (pun intended), what size motor in the Explorer? That's what I was thinking of getting to replace my Ram, but 13mpg is not any better than the Ram.

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If you are buying new, you can choose towing packages that will accomadate your rig. You will want to be sure to check anything used for this. There is a build code on every vehicle made that will tell you if there is a tranny cooler, lower gears, receiver hitch, etc... Sometimes this code list is in the glove box, under the hood, or other locations. I assume your boat does not weigh more than 3000 pounds. If it did, you would likely have electric or surge brakes. A lot of minivans have some impressive towing capacities, just be sure the one you get is built for it. I can't stress a tranny cooler enough, but you will want to have everything designed in for towing. You can do some research on most vehicles by going to the various manufacturers sites.

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It is a 1750 Sportfish w/a 90hp on the back. What other info do you need?
They want the engine size of the van. 3.3,3.8,4.3,4.2,3.4???

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JW-Thanks for info-we are in the infant stages of this decision but I appreciate your info and will post other questions when/if we move forward in the van direction...

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I don't have a van engine size- have not even gotten that far yet...the Explorer we have now is a 5.0 V-8 which is I think a 302 c.i....

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I just looked at towing capacity for a Grand Caravan. Pretty weak, only 1000 pounds. Another thing to consider, while most any vehicle can pull a pretty good size load, it may not be able to safely stop one, and handling and suspension issues can send you in a spin or rollover. For what it's worth, I have a 2005 trailblazer with a tow package, and it gets 16 mpg towing my boat which is comparable to yours. It lacks some power, but does fairly well. Without a trailer, it gets 18-20 mpg. Not too bad, but I use my F150 most of the time for hauling anything. The wife gets the new stuff.

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JW- Thanks for your take. I feel ya on the new stuff for the wife! I think that part is pretty much a given...

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I second the safety factor. Getting a load to stop is far more important than getting it going. A minivan may not be your best option but there are many midsized SUV's that would be more favorable to your situation.

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I agree on the saftey factors to consider and I used to tow a 24 foot pontoon boat with a V6 Dodge conversion van with a 109 short wheel base and I did end up burning the tranny out. It was under warranty so I got it fixed and then traded it in on a V8. I have since downsized my boat to an 18 foot Lund which tows a ton easier. It may actually weigh more than the pontoon but that darn thing used to tow like a sheet of plywood, wind resistance was fierce. Food for thought.

Windy

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Thanks for the viewpoints. We are a family of 5 with three kids who get bigger each day, it seems. So a mid-size SUV is out. Guess I will need to re-consider options on this..

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Ya, I was refering to details on the van you were interested in. Astro vans and aerostars had a higher towing capacity then the front wheel drive vans, but there isnt a ton of them out there any more. With a boat your size, what I would recommend is getting a 2 wheel drive half ton pick up. You should be able to get 20mpg out of it empty, and 15-17 pulling your boat. Plus you wont have any safety issues with pulling or stopping your boat. Or trying to find a astro van or a aerostar van.

Now I see the family of 5, I thought there would have been a reason for the van! I am in the same boat, so to speak. What I am going to do is get a crew cab diesel, fits 5 comfortably and can get good milage.

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I have a Ford Escape with the v-6, it is rated to 3500 pounds. I tow a enclosed 5x8 trailer or my 16 foot Lund with it. Regular mileage is around 23-25, towing I get 18-20. Talk to the dealer about adding a transmission cooler, tell them what you want to use it for and have them look for a vehicle that is suited for your needs. The only difference I notice from towing with it versus my F-150 with a v-6 is it does take a little more distance to stop. But that may be because I am probably sitting at 2000 pounds when the trailer is loaded, the boat is much less.

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Have you considered keeping the Explorer for when you tow and just getting a sedan or a regular minivan for your daily needs? With gas what it is, the trade in or sale price of the Explorer will probably shock you! It might be a more economical option than just moving to something else that wont give you much better mileage than what you have when towing.

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I have a 99 dodge grand caravan with the tranny cooler and pulled a 19 foot travel trailer a few times. The weight rating was just about maxed out. My recommendation, DON'T do it. Even though I was within the weight specs (just barely) I was white knuckled every time I pulled it. If I was on completely flat ground, no problem. Once I added hills to the equation, that is when it got interesting. You just have way better control of your rig if it is built to tow. Also, as stated earlier, unless the ramps you are using are perfect, you will have issues launching your boat. They ride way to low in the back and you will get wet feet every time you launch. At least I did. As far as the fuel economy goes, my van gets better gas mileage than my Chevy Silverado but it is a no brainer when it comes to towing. If you are planning on doing any amount of towing, I would opt for something that is built for towing and just use your foot a little more lightly on the gas pedal for every day use. Hope this helps in your decision. Gas prices have us all hand cuffed. I want to add one thing. By staying off of the peddle when driving the truck, it actually does pretty good on the fuel economy. The best I have gotten with my van is 25 mpg. I average around 18. The truck average is around 16... that includes a lot of towing and town driving. So, do you really save that much by going with a van????

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They did offer the Trailblazer Extended for a few years, they are kind of tough to find, (it has a third seat) you wouldnt sacrifice your room for the kids and you would still have the towing power you need.

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Thanks- but an Escape is not big enough for us, family-wise. Kids are sprouting like the crops (no, not MORE kids-the three we currently have!).

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MAC 55- Yes, we have discussed that option and you are absoloutely right. That is an option that we will also consider... Don't really want to park and insure a 3rd vehicle, but it may indeed come to that.

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58- I will have to check on that some more. I wonder if a V-8 Durango does better with towing as far as fuel economy vs. my V-8 Explorer? They do make a V-8 Durango, I think?

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Most of the Durango get 14 city/19 hwy. They are coming out with a v-8 Hemi hybrid this fall. Now if I had the money I would buy the Toyota Highlander hybrid. Seats up to 7, 27/25 city/hwy, tows up to 5900 pounds.

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