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Just got a 19 ft Nitro with a 200 outboard. I was towing a smaller boat with my 2007 jeep grand cherokee (rated for 3500 lbs towing capacity). 

 

This pulls the new boat decently but I can definitely feel it a lot more than my last smaller boat. The car is also just getting old so I'm looking to get a better (used) tow vehicle, but I'm not experienced in the exact specs that I need to look at besides max tow capacity when looking to buy a tow vehicle. 

 

So my questions are:

 

What else is important (behinds max tow capacity) to look at when buying a tow vehicle? 6 vs. 8 cylinder engine, Liter engine size, tires? 

 

 

In regards to buying a used SUV for towing...how big of a deal is it for it to already have a hitch on it? For example, if I get a used 2018 jeep grand cherokee rated for 6200 lbs max towing, but it doesn't have a hitch...should I still expect it to effectively tow at this rating if I get the dealer to install the trailer hitch when I buy it? 

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Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR):

The GCVWR is defined as the maximum weight of a loaded vehicle and its attached loaded trailer. And like the other weight ratings, the vehicle’s manufacturer calculates this number. Let’s say a truck’s GCVWR is 15,000 pounds and it has a base curb weight of 6,000 pounds. That means the vehicle can safely handle an extra 9,000 pounds of cargo and trailer weight. However, it doesn’t matter (to a certain point) where that cargo is placed. If a passenger weighing 150 pounds sits inside the truck, that 150 pounds have to be subtracted from the truck’s then-available GCVWR. Owners must still be mindful not to exceed the GVRW with in-vehicle cargo and trailer tongue weight. 

 

The GCVWR is how automakers list the maximum allowable weight a vehicle can tow. By subtracting a vehicle’s base curb weight from its GCVWR, the automaker determines the available tow rating. Automakers usually publish tow ratings that account for a driver and one passenger, each weighing 150 pounds, and a full tank of fuel. So, if you’re going to tow a trailer that weights exactly what your vehicle is rated to pull, you’d better leave the family and their luggage behind. Continuing with the example, if a truck has a 15,000-pound GCVWR and it weighs 6,000 pounds empty, plus it’s loaded with 4,000 pounds of cargo and passengers in the bed and cab, it can pull a trailer weighing no more than 5,000 pounds.

 

A-Jay

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I just bought a mid sized suv to tow a boat and trailer that weighs 1200 lbs. This isn't much but while my wife's camry will tow it, I have zero faith it will tow it safely.

 

I am guessing your boat has trailer brakes? This will be something to consider when getting a tow vehicle with a class III hitch. Buying a hitch is not a problem for whatever vehicle you choose, but the 7 pin wiring may be an issue if you got to wire it up yourself. Don't think hitch only, think wiring and type of hitch.

 

Also - do you need 4 wheel drive? A lot of the places I launched at were miserable - i had to move the boat on the trailer back and forth in the water to sink it into the muck to get it to float off - nobody likes getting stuck to to start off your day on the water.

 

As for engine size, big believer in "no replacement for displacement." Sure technology has come a long way but think torque vs. horsepower.

 

Of course all this means nothing if you tow occasionally and your daily gas mileage suffers and eventually costs.

 

 

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I'm way overpowered for towing. My 2001 Silverado has the optional towing package and is capable of towing up to 11,000 lbs. So what will I be towing? An 84lb canoe with trolling motor, battery and fishing gear on a 220lb trailer. Whoopee.

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The major considerations have been mentioned.  GVCWR as A-Jay said is your first consideration.  Many times the question is not "will it pull it" but more "will it stop it".  There's a big difference between the 2 and even more if you add in an "emergency stop" or stopping on wet or otherwise slick pavement.  Trailer brakes help but are not the only consideration.  Whatever you get make sure it has a "towing package" if available or at a minimum add a heavy duty transmission cooler and consider upsizing the brakes.  I have towed 20 and 21 foot boats with an Explorer(V8), a 3/4 ton Silverado and my current truck a 1/2 ton Silverado with a 5.3 and 8 speed transmission.  The only thing my 2004 3/4 ton did better than my current truck was stop because of the larger brakes.  I am thinking about upsizing my rotors and pads when my current truck (2016) needs brakes.  Remember that 4wd actually drops the towing rating but if you need it, then you need it.  

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My thoughts on a tow package vs just a trailer hitch. A trailer hitch is just that but a complete tow package is a system of components. A tow package include a hitch of course, brake controller, and most importantly an upgraded transmission oil cooler. No matter the weight of the load it is extra weight the vehicle is not normally moving. Extra weight causes extra heat. Check your vehicle manufacture to see what they include in a tow package. Some may offer more than others like mirrors. 

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Normally, a brake controller isn't included.  That's for electric brakes and ours are all surge.  My o4 was the HD package with a tow package (locking rear differential, 4.10 gearing, oil cooler, transmission cooler, oversize brakes, Class 4 hitch) but no electric brake control box.  I had to add it because our horse trailer had electric brakes.  My 2016 has the electric control box but it is the "High Country" package as well as the towing package.  Just used the controller the other day on a horse trailer.  

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As long as your current vehicle is working I suggest that you keep on using it.  Stopping is the major factor.  My wife has a Jeep Cherokee Trail Hawk rated for 3500#.  She has been towing my Nitro Z20 for nearly 3 years with absolutely no problems.  It has a 6 cly engine and has plenty of power.  We do have trailer brakes which I'm sure is a benefit.

 

I also have a friend who tows his 19' Nitro with a 6 cyl Ford F150 with Ecoboost.  He has no pulling problems at all.

 

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