I used to routinely tow a 17' Glastron fiberglass tri-hull w/ a Johnson 50 HP outboard plus a long weekend's worth of equipment and stuff w/ my '99 XL Sport w/ the 2.5L I4 and a manual trans. The thing did just fine, even up in the foothills of the White Mountians. By 'did just fine' I mean it made it up the hills and was usually able to keep highway speeds, although it often required downshifting. OD (aka 5th) was often moderately useless, and my MPG figures droped quite a bit, but it did the job.
This is partly why I was so surprised to see the towing specs on my brand new 4.0L V6 powered 4x4. A lot of folks tell me that Ford is overly cautious w/ the specs and the truck will gladly tow more, as long as it isn't every day and you take it easy. All I ask is it be able to tow up to a 18-19' fiberglass inboard (like the one my dad just bought).
Hell, I used to tow that same Glastron outboard w/ a 1986 VW Jetta 1.8L I4!
Like John said, ramps are the biggest problem. I used to get lots of 'looks' from people at the ramp when I pulled in w/ my lowly Ranger. Once I even got aproached by a guy who insisted I'd never be able to get the boat out of the water. He volunteered to use his Chevy full-size to yank it out, then we'd transfer the trailer on level ground. I almost took him up on it, but then decided to give it a shot. W/ a little fancy clutch work and some white nuckles the boat came up the ramp though, which is more than I can say w/ some other setups I saw that day.
The worst combo I ever saw was a guy w/ a Dodge conversion van. I'm pretty sure the thing was a V8, and it was definitely RWD, but he just had too much boat. It was a 2x' cabin cruiser type w/ god knows what for an inboard. He probably had the power to tow it, but just couldn't get traction on the slippery ramp. He had his entire family standing on the trailer neck and back bumper of the van trying to put weight on the rear axle, but it wasn't happening. He just ended up spinning tires and making noise.. Traction is a similar problem for us w/ pickups as well. I for one am excited to have 4x4 as a backup plan. 4x4 plus the big gripy AT tires should make ramps cake.
Originally Posted by Mnemonic
Well the sticker doesn't help, at first glance I thought you were 4x4 too!
Me too! I was half excited as I expected to hear a towing report from someone w/ an FX4 or LII. My father has a new boat (18' inboard) and I'm planning to tow it this summer. I'm a bit skeptical about how my trusty LII will hold up..