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Dare i ask... Towing a boat with a small 4 cyl front wheel drive


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Hey guys,
I recently purchased a 12ft tinny with 15hp Mariner. 

As the title implies I am looking for opinions on towing and putting a boat in with a 1989 Holden Barina. Braked towing capacity in the manual states 700kg. Un-braked to be confirmed but based on similar models i'd say around the 450kg mark. The boat itself should weigh about 100kg and the motor probably around the 40kg mark. Tare weight of the trailer is 120kg. 
I've spoken to a few people who say they've towed and put in tinnys of similar size with similar vehicles. I would only ever be towing to my local ramp about 25-30 mins away. I really would like to not have to buy another car just to tow this thing. Also don't want to have to always rely on mates to put me in. 

I do have a V8 chevy el camino which would handle the job but it's on historic registration and is only used taken on rare occasions, definitely not something i want to take any where near a boat ramp. Or maybe my 1951 Harley Davidson Panhead could handle the job, this dudes got it down haha. 

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The car would probably handle the boat OK . The problem might occur with retrieving the boat  IF the ramp is a bit dodgy , leave yourself more breaking space ( will need a couple of tows to get used to the slow stopping pace ) .

With most cases of limited tow power the problems happen with the stopping rather than the pulling.

Frank

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Hey Frank, 
Yeah I would definitely be driving very carefully towing it with something like that. Especially un-braked. The ramp I am referring to is in pretty decent shape, I guess coming out of the water front wheel drive could of benefit if it's slippery/wet further down the ramp. 

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I know you say your boat motor trailer combo are 260 kg however I think you may get a shock if you put it on the weighbridge . By the time you include all the safety gear , fishing gear and fuel I don't know how much she would weigh then.

Legalities aside you say 89 Barina, if that's so, it is a Suzuki swift 1.3 lt and more than likely manual.

You shouldn't have any problems towing but be careful taking off uphills and on the boat ramp your clutch may not last very long. Slightly better if auto.

Front drives are not better than rear drives at the boat ramp because when you take off uphill the weight shifts to the rear.

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42 minutes ago, wrxhoon1 said:

Front drives are not better than rear drives at the boat ramp because when you take off uphill the weight shifts to the rear.

I hear where your saying but the actual traction is where it counts which is above the most slippery part of the ramp which is usually at the lowest part close to the low tide water line.

I have owned many front wheel drive vehicles & driven them in a lot of different conditions including heavy snow areas & they pull above their weight over rear wheel drives.

Towing the boat will be no issue, the biggest factor to me is ramp incline angle.

I have an unbraked trailer with a 14Ft tinny with a 25hp motor plus the gear & towing with a Triton 4x4 & even with that weight I prefer to use 4 wheel drive on any ramp that has a very steepish incline.

So imo there is no one answer, it's totally ramp dependant in my eyes so you need to assess any ramps you use & the biggest factor will be exiting the ramp so I would be pulling as much weight out of is as possible beforehand.

Power to weight ratio/incline is also the other factor which can again also be reduced by reducing the weight in the tinny before extracting.

Edited by kingie chaser
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Just be cautious, I used to tow 500kg or so total with a KH Laser, towbar was rated to 750kg, but it killed the car. Had trouble stopping, taking off, up hills. But it did the job, for a while.

I used to tow racing simulator to markets and shows.

 

Failing all that. Just go buy an old AU falcon. ūüėĀ.

 

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I tow my tinny 550kg as per weighbridge loaded to fish with a 1.8L  4cyl auto car.

   My trips are over an hour each way sometimes 2hrs going up and down steep hills like Mount Ousley.

   Car does it easy and have never had ramp issues hauling out.Mines auto and I pull it out in second gear.

     Drive accordingly allowing plenty of stopping distance, use gearing to slow down, stay out of overdrive and use chocks behind your rear wheels at the ramp or have someone in the car applying the brakes when launching and retrieving.

  If manual leave it in first on ramp with handbrake applied,motor off. If auto in park,handbrake on motor running.

  Good luck.

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I've been towing boats with small fwd cars for years. I have never had any issues at all. 

All my boats have been right on the limit of unbraked, and I often would take my boat from Sydney to Port kembla. Never have I cooked the brakes on mount ousley. 

I have never ever had slippage issues pulling the boat out, and I don't shy from any ramp. Being front wheel drive, like others have said - your drive wheels are further up the ramp. 

My current boat is a 4.3 savage kestral mk2 with a 30hp - being a deep wide body (similar to a quintrex dory). I was towing it with a 2005 lancer auto (the gutless engine too, not that mivec). It's most recent trip was 3 weeks ago to Port macq with the boat filled with things for a house move. No issues. I've since sold this car. 

Here is a picture of my current tow car, with my previous boat. A regular 12 foot tinny with a 25hp on it. This car (95 excel) tows my new setup just fine, better than the auto lancer did - probably because the lancer was auto. 

I always get a lot of strange looks at ramps by skeptics, but remember in the 50 - 70s people were towing large caravans with 70hp cars and drum brakes all round. You'll be fine. 

 

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@JayGee , I get funny looks and comments when I turn up to "richer" boat ramps, in my old falcon towing the fibreglass runabout. Ive even had comments from people suggesting I get a 4 x 4 for towing, when I can out pace a 4 x 4. Lol.

people will pick on anything, as long as it does the job, safely, then its not a problem.

 

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@motiondaveAU Falcons are legendary, I know because I follow the FB page "AU Falcons doing incredible things". You're keeping a legend on the road. 

Ramps in wealthy areas are the worst ! My experience is people telling me I need to back my trailer in further  - I always say "you just wait mate, this will blow your mind". And then I pull the pin for the hinge on my tilt trailer. I give them my best cheshire cat grin and they shut-up right away, 

I do agree, do what is sensible and safe - one only needs to read the cars book and note the towbar's capacity. 

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@JayGee¬†, I find the most amusing part is firing up a grumpy two stroke in a four stroke areaūüėĀ

My falcon towbar is rated to 1.6 t, but I've had 1.4 behind it, in traffic, aircon full blast on a 43 deg C day no problem.

Not sure what the ol' pongrass weighs.....

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