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Tow vehicles

SkibumUT

Well-Known Member
My wife and I are trying to decide the best way to haul a 28 ft ski boat with 3 kids from Salt Lake to BF/Halls Crossing. We typically tow the boat with a 1-ton diesel, and while it pulls with seemingly no effort, having the 3 all side by side usually results in Tanya Harding and the Menendez boys showing up in the back seat by about Spanish Fork.

We’ve been looking at a few options, but I was curious to see if anyone has any good recommendations, or anything they’d caution against, in terms of a vehicle that could allow some space in between the kids, but also performs decently in pulling the boat/trailer at 6000 lb combined weight.

I’ve test driven a Nissan NV 3500 and a Nissan Armada while actually pulling the boat around town. Both did surprisingly well, but it wasn’t anything like freeway speeds up US-6 or SR-276 from Hanksville to Ticaboo. The NV almost has too much room, and the leveling kit on the Armada could have come up a bit higher.

The expedition doesn’t offer a leveling kit because of the independent rear suspension. Haven’t looked at suburban or Yukon’s. I’d love to look at sprinter type of vans, but not sure how practical they’d be around town.

Anyway, just curious what has worked for you all. Thanks, guys.
 

Todd

Well-Known Member
After my truck got stolen and totaled I bought another F150 WITH THE V-8 and 6.5’ and put a leveling kit on the front and air bags on the rear. Huge legroom in the back and it towes my small toy hauler with the RZR in it just fine. Loaded up with everything it’s about 7k pounds.
The eco-boost is a gas guzzler as soon as you hook a trailer up FYI
 

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Ryan

Well-Known Member
Are you sure about that 6000 pound weight on a 28' ski boat? Because that sounds WAY light to me. As a point of reference, my Malibu 23LSV is 23', and on the trailer headed to the lake, it is close to 7000 pounds, as verified by a CAT scale.

Anyway, my preferred tow vehicle is my 3500 RAM diesel. But there are times I need more interior room, so we also have a full size SUV. Started with a 2003 2500 Burb with the 8.1. Very stable, pulled adequately, temps stayed down. But my better half didn't like using a 15ish year old vehicle, so we updated to a 2011 Yukon Denali XL with the 6.2. Kept it for 3 years, but I was never in love with it as a tow vehicle. The auto leveling suspension was nice, and the engine had adequate power, but I didn't like the way that it would be turning 5000 RPM going up the passes. The bigger problem was engine and transmission temps got up above 250*. The transmission would run 220 - 230* pulling on relatively flat ground. I went to two different GM dealers, and they told me that was to be expected when you tow that much weight with a 150/1500 platform. It also would "wag", just enough to be noticeable, anytime you went above 70 MPH. Concerned about the transmission temps, I replaced the OEM tranny cooler with a much bigger unit, which solved the temp problems for tranny, at least on flat ground. Two summers ago, we were loaded headed for Powell, and going up the first big hill on I70 in Colorado coming out of Denver (Mount Vernon Canyon for those in the area), and the engine got so hot that I got a warning message that it had to shut down the AC. That was the last straw for me with that vehicle, as I wasn't going to Powell without AC, we turned around, hooked the boat to the truck, and took two vehicles to the lake.

After that trip, we replaced the Yukon with a 2019 Expedition MAX. With the "max tow" package, it has the highest tow capacity of any of the full size SUVs (9200 pounds I think). It will comfortably pull the boat at highway speeds. In the mountains, the EcoBoost is more powerful than anything I've driven short of the HD diesel pickups. The temps stay much cooler on flat ground, although the tranny still gets to 240-245* over Eisenhower and Vail. It gets significantly better MPG while running solo, and worse MPG towing than the Yukon. Overall, I think it was a good upgrade, but I'm still a bit concerned about the temps. I think if you want to stay below 240*, you really need the cooling of something built on a HD platform, which rules out full size SUVs (and probably that van you mentioned as well).

One other thing to keep in mind is that the lighter vehicle can make boat ramps.........interesting. With both the Yukon and the Ex, I've had the Malibu pull me short distances down the boat ramp with the brakes locked in the tow vehicle. And I've heard many other people online complain about the same issue. I ended up changing my trailer brakes over to all electric last year to get rid of that concern.

All that said, my personal opinion is that my boat is at the edge of what I would pull with my Ex, especially over the passes. Engine power, braking, stability are all fine. But the temps still would concern me over the long term.

7FA49144-AD6F-4233-9728-3263056F6785_1_201_a.jpeg
 

Grant2

Well-Known Member
The GM Tahoes and Yukon's are now available with the Duramax diesel with impressive tow rating. The longer wheel base models are three row seating to keep Tanya and the boys in seperate rows! I would lean toward the longer wheel base after having the Yukon Denali short wheel base fr better tracking while trailering. Compared to my long bed Powerstroke, the Yukon tended to wander a lot with a trailer.
 

SkibumUT

Well-Known Member
After my truck got stolen and totaled I bought another F150 WITH THE V-8 and 6.5’ and put a leveling kit on the front and air bags on the rear. Huge legroom in the back and it towes my small toy hauler with the RZR in it just fine. Loaded up with everything it’s about 7k pounds.
The eco-boost is a gas guzzler as soon as you hook a trailer up FYI
That’s interesting. My work truck is a ‘16 F-150 and I put on a 2” level up front and bags in the back. I got the V8 after hearing about a few mechanical issues with the ecoboost, but the guys I know with the ecoboost all make it sound like it’s a no brainer regardless of the situation.

I’ve tried loading all my kids in the back, and it pulls fairly well, just the same problem as the F-350.

Maybe they’ll just have to learn how to fight it out and get along. I guess a set of headphones would be cheaper than replacing my wife’s car. 😀
 

JTJ

Member
I like to have a margin on the tow rating. I want to be able to stop if the trailer brakes fail. My current tow vehicle, a Nissan Pathfinder has a 6K tow rating and I am looking at possibly buying a small travel trailer with a max GVWR of 4.5K. Basically a 25% margin. I would not rate my vehicle as good enough to tow a 6K load despite the rating.
 

SkibumUT

Well-Known Member
The GM Tahoes and Yukon's are now available with the Duramax diesel with impressive tow rating. The longer wheel base models are three row seating to keep Tanya and the boys in seperate rows! I would lean toward the longer wheel base after having the Yukon Denali short wheel base fr better tracking while trailering. Compared to my long bed Powerstroke, the Yukon tended to wander a lot with a trailer.
I didn’t know they had reintroduced a diesel option to the full size GM SUV’s. I just looked briefly, and it’s a smaller 3 liter, but it still has over 450 lb-ft of torque. I think our old 7.3 liter power stroke only had just above 520 lb-ft. Still a far cry from the +1,000 lb-ft on HD diesels, but still impressive.

I’m curious to read more about the platform. Thanks, @Grant2
 

Todd

Well-Known Member
If your having transmission temp problems they make OEM coolers that fit in the same bracket at least on fords. They dont put them on in the USA but every shipped to the Middle East they do because of the heat so do some digging
 

SkibumUT

Well-Known Member
Are you sure about that 6000 pound weight on a 28' ski boat? Because that sounds WAY light to me. As a point of reference, my Malibu 23LSV is 23', and on the trailer headed to the lake, it is close to 7000 pounds, as verified by a CAT scale.

Anyway, my preferred tow vehicle is my 3500 RAM diesel. But there are times I need more interior room, so we also have a full size SUV. Started with a 2003 2500 Burb with the 8.1. Very stable, pulled adequately, temps stayed down. But my better half didn't like using a 15ish year old vehicle, so we updated to a 2011 Yukon Denali XL with the 6.2. Kept it for 3 years, but I was never in love with it as a tow vehicle. The auto leveling suspension was nice, and the engine had adequate power, but I didn't like the way that it would be turning 5000 RPM going up the passes. The bigger problem was engine and transmission temps got up above 250*. The transmission would run 220 - 230* pulling on relatively flat ground. I went to two different GM dealers, and they told me that was to be expected when you tow that much weight with a 150/1500 platform. It also would "wag", just enough to be noticeable, anytime you went above 70 MPH. Concerned about the transmission temps, I replaced the OEM tranny cooler with a much bigger unit, which solved the temp problems for tranny, at least on flat ground. Two summers ago, we were loaded headed for Powell, and going up the first big hill on I70 in Colorado coming out of Denver (Mount Vernon Canyon for those in the area), and the engine got so hot that I got a warning message that it had to shut down the AC. That was the last straw for me with that vehicle, as I wasn't going to Powell without AC, we turned around, hooked the boat to the truck, and took two vehicles to the lake.

After that trip, we replaced the Yukon with a 2019 Expedition MAX. With the "max tow" package, it has the highest tow capacity of any of the full size SUVs (9200 pounds I think). It will comfortably pull the boat at highway speeds. In the mountains, the EcoBoost is more powerful than anything I've driven short of the HD diesel pickups. The temps stay much cooler on flat ground, although the tranny still gets to 240-245* over Eisenhower and Vail. It gets significantly better MPG while running solo, and worse MPG towing than the Yukon. Overall, I think it was a good upgrade, but I'm still a bit concerned about the temps. I think if you want to stay below 240*, you really need the cooling of something built on a HD platform, which rules out full size SUVs (and probably that van you mentioned as well).

One other thing to keep in mind is that the lighter vehicle can make boat ramps.........interesting. With both the Yukon and the Ex, I've had the Malibu pull me short distances down the boat ramp with the brakes locked in the tow vehicle. And I've heard many other people online complain about the same issue. I ended up changing my trailer brakes over to all electric last year to get rid of that concern.

All that said, my personal opinion is that my boat is at the edge of what I would pull with my Ex, especially over the passes. Engine power, braking, stability are all fine. But the temps still would concern me over the long term.

View attachment 11904
6,000 is what I showed on a scale. 5 ft of the 28 ft total is just a really long back cushion above the swim deck, so the boat interior feels more like a 23 or 24 footer. However, that weight was without a full tank, without a tower and with nothing inside the boat.

My BIL had a 2016 expedition and when he pulled his 5,500 lb chaparral, the rear end looked like it was going to contact the pavement. Does the expedition tow package beef up the springs in the rear, or have you done anything to yours to avoid sag?
 

jrph20

New Member
Are you sure about that 6000 pound weight on a 28' ski boat? Because that sounds WAY light to me. As a point of reference, my Malibu 23LSV is 23', and on the trailer headed to the lake, it is close to 7000 pounds, as verified by a CAT scale.

Anyway, my preferred tow vehicle is my 3500 RAM diesel. But there are times I need more interior room, so we also have a full size SUV. Started with a 2003 2500 Burb with the 8.1. Very stable, pulled adequately, temps stayed down. But my better half didn't like using a 15ish year old vehicle, so we updated to a 2011 Yukon Denali XL with the 6.2. Kept it for 3 years, but I was never in love with it as a tow vehicle. The auto leveling suspension was nice, and the engine had adequate power, but I didn't like the way that it would be turning 5000 RPM going up the passes. The bigger problem was engine and transmission temps got up above 250*. The transmission would run 220 - 230* pulling on relatively flat ground. I went to two different GM dealers, and they told me that was to be expected when you tow that much weight with a 150/1500 platform. It also would "wag", just enough to be noticeable, anytime you went above 70 MPH. Concerned about the transmission temps, I replaced the OEM tranny cooler with a much bigger unit, which solved the temp problems for tranny, at least on flat ground. Two summers ago, we were loaded headed for Powell, and going up the first big hill on I70 in Colorado coming out of Denver (Mount Vernon Canyon for those in the area), and the engine got so hot that I got a warning message that it had to shut down the AC. That was the last straw for me with that vehicle, as I wasn't going to Powell without AC, we turned around, hooked the boat to the truck, and took two vehicles to the lake.

After that trip, we replaced the Yukon with a 2019 Expedition MAX. With the "max tow" package, it has the highest tow capacity of any of the full size SUVs (9200 pounds I think). It will comfortably pull the boat at highway speeds. In the mountains, the EcoBoost is more powerful than anything I've driven short of the HD diesel pickups. The temps stay much cooler on flat ground, although the tranny still gets to 240-245* over Eisenhower and Vail. It gets significantly better MPG while running solo, and worse MPG towing than the Yukon. Overall, I think it was a good upgrade, but I'm still a bit concerned about the temps. I think if you want to stay below 240*, you really need the cooling of something built on a HD platform, which rules out full size SUVs (and probably that van you mentioned as well).

One other thing to keep in mind is that the lighter vehicle can make boat ramps.........interesting. With both the Yukon and the Ex, I've had the Malibu pull me short distances down the boat ramp with the brakes locked in the tow vehicle. And I've heard many other people online complain about the same issue. I ended up changing my trailer brakes over to all electric last year to get rid of that concern.

All that said, my personal opinion is that my boat is at the edge of what I would pull with my Ex, especially over the passes. Engine power, braking, stability are all fine. But the temps still would concern me over the long term.

View attachment 11904
Can confirm, Expedition with max towing pulls incredibly well. We pull a 7200 lb trailer from WA State to Powell in heat of summer and all over WA as well as up to Lake McCall in ID and no problem going any speed posted including on the steepest uphill. While pulling they are thirsty, but considering % of time spent pulling that kind of distance it really isn't a factor overall. Never had any issues with over-heating even in 100 plus temps. When pulling 4,500 lb boat you almost forget it's on.
 

SkibumUT

Well-Known Member
Are you sure about that 6000 pound weight on a 28' ski boat? Because that sounds WAY light to me. As a point of reference, my Malibu 23LSV is 23', and on the trailer headed to the lake, it is close to 7000 pounds, as verified by a CAT scale.

Anyway, my preferred tow vehicle is my 3500 RAM diesel. But there are times I need more interior room, so we also have a full size SUV. Started with a 2003 2500 Burb with the 8.1. Very stable, pulled adequately, temps stayed down. But my better half didn't like using a 15ish year old vehicle, so we updated to a 2011 Yukon Denali XL with the 6.2. Kept it for 3 years, but I was never in love with it as a tow vehicle. The auto leveling suspension was nice, and the engine had adequate power, but I didn't like the way that it would be turning 5000 RPM going up the passes. The bigger problem was engine and transmission temps got up above 250*. The transmission would run 220 - 230* pulling on relatively flat ground. I went to two different GM dealers, and they told me that was to be expected when you tow that much weight with a 150/1500 platform. It also would "wag", just enough to be noticeable, anytime you went above 70 MPH. Concerned about the transmission temps, I replaced the OEM tranny cooler with a much bigger unit, which solved the temp problems for tranny, at least on flat ground. Two summers ago, we were loaded headed for Powell, and going up the first big hill on I70 in Colorado coming out of Denver (Mount Vernon Canyon for those in the area), and the engine got so hot that I got a warning message that it had to shut down the AC. That was the last straw for me with that vehicle, as I wasn't going to Powell without AC, we turned around, hooked the boat to the truck, and took two vehicles to the lake.

After that trip, we replaced the Yukon with a 2019 Expedition MAX. With the "max tow" package, it has the highest tow capacity of any of the full size SUVs (9200 pounds I think). It will comfortably pull the boat at highway speeds. In the mountains, the EcoBoost is more powerful than anything I've driven short of the HD diesel pickups. The temps stay much cooler on flat ground, although the tranny still gets to 240-245* over Eisenhower and Vail. It gets significantly better MPG while running solo, and worse MPG towing than the Yukon. Overall, I think it was a good upgrade, but I'm still a bit concerned about the temps. I think if you want to stay below 240*, you really need the cooling of something built on a HD platform, which rules out full size SUVs (and probably that van you mentioned as well).

One other thing to keep in mind is that the lighter vehicle can make boat ramps.........interesting. With both the Yukon and the Ex, I've had the Malibu pull me short distances down the boat ramp with the brakes locked in the tow vehicle. And I've heard many other people online complain about the same issue. I ended up changing my trailer brakes over to all electric last year to get rid of that concern.

All that said, my personal opinion is that my boat is at the edge of what I would pull with my Ex, especially over the passes. Engine power, braking, stability are all fine. But the temps still would concern me over the long term.

View attachment 11904
Does the expedition have a dedicated tranny temp gauge, or is it one of the options you can cycle through on the dash?
 

Big_BobberII

Well-Known Member
My daughter has one of those sprinter vans. Definitely saves her 3 kids from fighting with each other (ages 5, 7 9) and can bring all the cousins (ages 5,7, 9) along for their Colorado adventures. However the ride for us grandparents was a bit bumpy in the back seats.
 

Ryan

Well-Known Member
If your having transmission temp problems they make OEM coolers that fit in the same bracket at least on fords.
That's what I did with my Yukon. Solved the tranny temp problems, but the cooler blocked more of the radiator, and exacerbated the engine temp problem.
Does the expedition tow package beef up the springs in the rear, or have you done anything to yours to avoid sag?
They redesigned the Ex (2019 I think). Not sure if they did anything to the suspension, but what you see in the photo is the truck as stock. It does sag some, but my Malibu has a lot of tongue weight (courtesy of an extra 300 pounds of lead under the front seats in the bow).

I've thought about adding air bags, and might eventually, but I don't think it is urgent.
Does the expedition have a dedicated tranny temp gauge, or is it one of the options you can cycle through on the dash?
Both. Ford lets you configure some of the dash screens. I have mine set to see a bar gauge that shows tranny temp, and you also have the ability to to cycle through and leave the actual temp in degrees up for display.

I'm not a Ford fanboy, but they really have the towing package set up well. Some pretty cool features for towing, you have the ability to save multiple trailers with different settings, great dash views of gauges, (even the back up assist that I'll rarely use). Other new vehicles might be similar, but I am impressed with many of the features of the Ford.
 

Ryan

Well-Known Member
The GM Tahoes and Yukon's are now available with the Duramax diesel with impressive tow rating.
I didn’t know they had reintroduced a diesel option to the full size GM SUV’s. I just looked briefly, and it’s a smaller 3 liter, but it still has over 450 lb-ft of torque. I think our old 7.3 liter power stroke only had just above 520 lb-ft.
I'm a big fan of the 3.0 diesels. I have an EcoDiesel Grand Cherokee. It is one of my favorite vehicles I have had. It does tow pretty well, and compares favorably to the old 7.3 Stroke, and the 1st/2nd gen Cummins, plus you have more than twice the number of gears to take advantage of the power.

That said, the old diesels are pretty anemic by todays standards, and the 3.0 diesels are really made more for MPG than towing power. You're giving up more than 100 HP to the higher end gas engines in the 150/1500's, so they still don't pull quite as well.

In my mind, the biggest downside to the 3.0 diesel (or the 6.2 option) in the GM SUVs, is they require you to go with the top trim lines to get them. Which is fine if you want all the other options that goes with them. But that means you also end up spending $70k + on a tow vehicle. That was the reason we didn't even consider another GM when I replaced the Yukon. My wife doesn't appreciate all the options on a vehicle (it is her DD), and I didn't want a 5.3 because I just don't think it is powerful enough to meet my standards pulling the boat.
 

TR.

Well-Known Member
That’s interesting. My work truck is a ‘16 F-150 and I put on a 2” level up front and bags in the back. I got the V8 after hearing about a few mechanical issues with the ecoboost, but the guys I know with the ecoboost all make it sound like it’s a no brainer regardless of the situation.

I’ve tried loading all my kids in the back, and it pulls fairly well, just the same problem as the F-350.

Maybe they’ll just have to learn how to fight it out and get along. I guess a set of headphones would be cheaper than replacing my wife’s car. 😀
I dropped one of my boys off on the side of the road in the Rez in Arizona one time for fighting with his siblings despite all warnings. He was laughing till I pulled away. I pulled up about a mile and watched him run....fast. He was good the rest of the trip lol.

TR
 

jrph20

New Member
Does the expedition have a dedicated tranny temp gauge, or is it one of the options you can cycle through on the dash?
Yes, the trans temp is easily found by alternating the view on dash, digital readout. Never saw anything above normal pulling in 100 degree heat as the max tow package includes a trans cooler. Should have clarified on first post, mine is a 2018 Expedition Max which was the first year of the current generation.
 

Dungee

Well-Known Member
I dropped one of my boys off on the side of the road in the Rez in Arizona one time for fighting with his siblings despite all warnings. He was laughing till I pulled away. I pulled up about a mile and watched him run....fast. He was good the rest of the trip lol.

TR
Lol...
A couple years ago we were fishing near the escalante around Memorial Day. Nixon wouldn’t stop bugging Blake... until I decided to just toss him in the lake. He was better after that, and they still get a kick out of it now.
 

Rivergoer

Well-Known Member
Hard to beat the 1-Ton diesel for towing.

A camper shell or a cab over camper might provide the occasional needed room for fewer $$$ than a new vehicle. With a sliding rear glass, smaller kids could pass through/communicate with cab as needed.

Your truck is more than capable of handling the weight and if things get rowdy back there just close the slider.

(Not my rig, for ideas only)

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