R 22

Rhodes 22


Tow Vehicles

Any of you dry sailing or trailer cruising on a regular basis? What are you using for tow & launch vehicles? Is the vehicle you use comfortably adequate or marginal for over the road use? Do you have trailers with braking systems?

Anybody had their boat and trailer weighed? In SC trailers with gross weight over 3300lbs are required to have brakes. Depending on what it's loaded with the Rhodes would probably fall right at or a little on the high side of that.

Razz the Rhodes Wannabe

Time for a stupid question. You will find that I am full of them. I note that depending on the source of the information, displacement of the Rhodes 22 is between 2500 and 2900 lbs. Is this the dead weight displacement, or is this the sailing displacement - i.e. the weight of the boat rigged for sail with crew. Trying to determine what my tow vehicle will need to be rated for if I intend to trailer the boat. If 2900 is accurate, adding the weight of the trailer will require a tow vehicle capable of towing 3500 lbs. or more. Any feedback is welcome.

Chris Delling

As with a lot of things in life, bigger is better. The boat will be about 4100+/- pounds with the trailer. These are the real issues: pulling, stopping, tongue weight.

1) Pulling: almost anything with a FACTORY TOW PACKAGE rated for 5000 or more will work, bigger the v8 the better. The package will cover the trans cooler, oil cooler, heavy duty flasher, wiring, LOWER GEARED AXLE, heavy duty shocks, etc. 4-wheel drive is a big plus on a wet ramp, front wheel only can get you swimming (the front wheels can be lifted from the boat weight).

2) Stopping: Again bigger is better towing a 4100 pound boat with a 2500 pound car is asking trouble. Trailer brakes are needed (many state laws and your own safety). Remember a lot of the SUVs have a limit Gross Combined vehicle weight in the 10,000-pound area. At 4100# for the boat and 4500# for the SUV the stuff (and your self, spouse, kids, stuff) can put you over the limit. And the issue is your brakes.

3) Tongue weight should be in the 7%-15% area, in the rhodes22 case, about 400 pounds, too light and you will fishtail and the trailer brakes will not engage, too heavy and you will drop the SUV back end down too much (tripping the trailer brakes).

4) Grease the bearings, fix the lights!!


I trailer, though not regularly, with a Jeep Grande Cherokee LTD. The trailer does have brakes, but the condition of them is suspect. The jeep ltd comes equipped for towing with oversized radiator and disk brakes front/back. It has a 302 (Chrysler V-8) that is 220 hp. And that is my idea of the lower end of over the road towing.

Some may disagree, but I think you need at least that kind of power if you're going to haul across interstates. Whereas I can pull my Newport 17 (1,000#) at 75 mph through the Tennessee mountains, I can just about cruise at 65 with the Rhodes on flat and level highway. You definitely know it's back there. Anything over 10 to 15 miles would require a serious tow vehicle. If I had won a part of the lottery, my choice would be the Suburban with the large V8.

Alex Bell

I've towed Dynamic Equilibrium all through the Ozark & Ouchita Mountains of Arkansas with a Ford Aerostar minivan. I believe the manufacturer's rated load specifications for their trailer towing packages.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium

I just got back from towing the boat from one part of Colorado to another with my GMC Jimmy. (4.3V6). Power is rarely a problem; yes, I do slow down going up to the pass at 12,000 feet but never below 45. Biggest problem is weight distribution. When I brought the boat out in the spring I left the Honda 9.9 (heavy) on the mount. This was bad. It amounted to a 110 lb. pendulum on the back of the trailer, lots of fish-tailing over 55.

On this trip I put the outboard in the back of the vehicle. Muuuch better. No fish tailing even down hill. I use the surge brakes a lot by triggering them with more of an initial braking jolt than you would normally use. In short, the biggest thing for me is to have a heavier tow vehicle, not necessarily power.

Peter Douglas

I tow with a Ford Explorer (6 cyl). Power isn't bad, but as others have said weight distribution is critical. I've had trouble getting the boat far enough forward on the trailer. My trailer came without brakes and they are required over 3000 gross in here in CT. Fortunately I am 30 minutes away from Triad Trailers, where the boat and trailer is now getting brakes added.

Mike Orro (Triad) said something cryptic last week about the Rhodes weighing more than Stan will admit. I imagine a boat and trailer weighs out at more than 4000 lbs.

Anyone had theirs weighed?

Dave Walker

We tow and launch our R22 with a 1989 Chevy S10 Blazer 4X4 with the 4. 3L V6 engine. The trailer has surge brakes that are required in Pennsylvania at 3000 lbs. We launch regularly with it. So far we've only trailered the boat over the road a couple of times: once from NC to PA and once from PA to MD.

It seemed to do quite well but the biggest hill we encountered may have been the bridge over the C&D Canal. The Blazer with the big V6 is probably the minimum package we would want for towing a boat of this weight. We'll probably look at similar vehicles and at some with a bit more heft when it's time for a new one.

Mary Lou Troy

I have purchased a tow vehicle for my current Compac16 and future Rhodes 22: a 1988 Jeep Cherokee with the inline 4.0L six and automatic transmission. Thought I might share the research that resulted in choosing the Jeep. Being more of a sports sedan guy, I loath driving trucks in general and the larger they are the less I like them. So the quest was for the smallest and most economical type of truck that had a serious class III tow rating.

My own experiences slip sliding up and down some rather steep launch ramps with the Compac behind my Audi, plus advice from some fishing buddies (the ones with the 125hp Evinrudes on their Sears jon-boats) suggested that 4wd might not be a bad idea. And I have a personal bias towards something with 4 doors and a tailgate as opposed to a pick-up.

So surveying the medium size SUV (street useless vehicles) market, Blazer II's, Troopers, Rodeos, Toyotas, etc., several things about the Jeep stood out.

1. The drive train is rated to tow 6500lbs. Everything else in this class maxes out at 3500. With the 4.0L six the maximum recommended tow weight is 5000lbs, with either of the V-8's, 6500 lbs.

2. Jeep uses heavier duty drivetrain components: Dana truck axles, Spicer drivelines, and the same GM automatic that Chevy uses in the Suburban sized trucks. There is a transmission fluid cooler built in to the stock radiator and cooling system.

3. Cherokees are common as dirt so one can find a decent used one easily, sometimes at a good price.

4. Parts, including aftermarket upgrades are relatively cheap and easy to find. Mine is currently under going a round of chassis upgrades, premium shocks, suspension bushings, brakes and tires. The mechanic swears it will handle like a sports car when done. I'm still skeptical.

5. If you want one for towing, don't buy the 86 or earlier versions with the GM 2.8L V-6.

6. Mine gets a pretty consistent 18mpg as purchased and before the super-tune. EPA rating is 16 city/20 highway. Not bad for a 4wd that can tow 5000+lbs.

7. It has a full time 4wd mode so it can be driven on paved roads with 4wd engaged.

8. The 4.0L six has more torque than the small 301 V-8 although it has less horsepower.

All in all it should make a pretty decent minimum sized tow vehicle for the future Rhodes as long as I don't plan to haul it over the Rockies.

David Rasberry
AKA: Razz the Rhodes wannabe

I seek the opinions of the Rhodes group on towing vehicles.

At the outset, let me say, I know "more is better," please no giant SUVs. I am looking for "less is better." I have to park on a narrow city street and commute in a city.

The target: a vehicle I can city commute with, park in congestion without hassle, can carry my wife and me and maybe another couple and our gear. No mountains, swamps, etc. to clear, does not use a lot of gas, reasonable cost and looks nice.

To give an idea of the type I am considering, in order of priority:

  • 1. Nissan Frontier Quad Cab 4WD, supposedly pulls 3500 lbs. Anyone had experience? Alt: Nissan Xterra or Pathfinder? I know they are mini-SUVs.
  • 2. Toyota Tundra, part time 4wd, ext cab. I realize this borders on giant SUVs.
  • 3. Ford Crown Victoria, or like Chevy or Dodge. Anyone with experience?
  • 4. Other?
  • 5. Jeeps: What to get and what to avoid?
  • 6. Ford Ranger 4wd, ext cab. Dodge Dakota, same.

Mike O'Keeffe
S/V Change
Madison, WI
05 Nov 2000

Look at the Dodge Dakota or Dodge Durango. 318 CI fuel injected V8 with towing package. Both are built on the same chassis and with optional towing packages will tow in excess of 4000lbs., which is where you want to be without having a LARGE vehicle. Comes with Rummy's 5 star rating. And they look really good too.

5 Nov 2000

I plan on using a Toyota Tacoma 4x4. The six cylinder can tow 5000lbs, and it is smaller than the Tundra.

5 Nov 2000

I chose a plain ole Jeep Cherokee (1990 model) for a minimal tow vehicle for a Rhodes sized boat and trailer. Currently I have a Gloucester 22 that is about the same general size but 500lbs. lighter. The Jeep has the 4-liter inline six 170hp and the factory towing package. The tow rating is 5000 lbs. I too use this vehicle as my primary commuter. It drives like a truck, not like a car, but is small and maneuverable enough for city commuting. They are dependable and cheap to maintain.

Mileage is typically in the 15mpg range around town, which is decent for any 4 wheeler with this kind of towing capacity but obviously not econo car territory. Stock highway mileage is in the 18 to 19 range. I towed my Gloucester 250 miles home from purchase with little problem. The tongue weight was a little light so I kept speeds under 60mph to prevent swaying, and the trailer brakes were non-functional, so stopping was not confidence inspiring. Mileage towing was around 13mpg. This trip was with my previous 1988 model that was wrecked last January.

The '90 model that replaced it has a much better braking system. The drive train in the Jeeps is beefier than other similar sized SUV's and the inline 6 has gobs of torque and plenty of power, hence the higher towing capacity. I have done a complete tuneup and added a Jacobs mileage master ignition system to my '90 Jeep. Mileage is now 16 or better around town and consistently around 21 mpg on the road and there is significantly more power and torque. The all-up trailer weight of a Rhodes typically exceeds 4000lbs, so something with at least 5000lbs towing capacity is highly recommended.

Hope this helps.

5 Nov 2000

I would not take the chance using your car, and I would include the launch ramp. (more conservative than MJM) The boat might just outweigh the car, and at a slipery ramp, you might just see the boat pull the car down into the water. It's been witnissed at Action Lake by one of my friends.

You might just want to rent a truck for towing at those selected times you might want to move the boat. As I recall, Dan Hope rented a dual wheel Dodge Ram or something like it to tow his newly acquired boat last summer. Rummy accompanied him on the trip, so there's two sources of info on that subject.

That might be the cheaper way to go as opposed to buying a tow vehicle that's a bit long in the tooth. A 200 mile trip is a really long trip with an inadiquite tow vehicle. It isn't soo much the pulling away and getting up to speed as it is the stopping. Controlling a load like the Rhodes and it's trailer is not to be taken lightly.

08 mar 2001

Actually what I meant is that high speed reduces gas mileage dramatically for both of them. I can get close to 25 mpg in the jeep and 18 in the truck on constant 50mph highways. That goes down to about 19 in the jeep and 14 in the truck if I try to go over 70.

The jeep also gets much worse mileage when towing. depending on terrain, about 10-15. The truck isn't really affected much by towing. Maybe a 1-2 mpg.

Douglas Gardner
06 Mar 2001

The new Jeep Liberty is the replacement for the Cherokee. Jeep was originally planning to produce both the Cherokee and the Liberty as long as demand for the Cherokee was high. But sales dropped last year so they ended production. I've only seen preliminary write ups on the Liberty but it looks like they stuck with the formula that made the Cherokee such a success. Its got a new V-6, but it is a heavy duty truck V-6, not a car V-6. Same extra beefy drive train but with independent front suspension. Better street ride and handling, better interior ergonomics. As with all Jeeps, it has to pass the Rubicon trail test in stock form. Still rated for 5000# towing capacity with more torque and horsepower. Slightly better mileage ratings too. Looks like a good bet. I'll buy a use one in 5 or 6 years when the Cherokee wears out. :o)

06 Mar 2001

Hehe, would you believe twelve mpg by itself on the highway. I usually get about 7 - 8 towing the race trailer (102" wide almost 11' tall, 26 foot long, 10,000 lbs.). I have gotten as low as 4 mpg towing out to Huron, South Dakota in a 40 to 50 mph head wind. It was sure an easy trip back though. I would like to try changing the computer chip to see if I could improve this a little.

Unfortunately, I need a workhorse truck for both racing and work. I would never buy this truck just to tow the Rhodes. I just use it because I already have it, but by god I can go 70 mph straight up if I want too, eh!

This will be our exclusive tow vehicle now. We just traded the Tahoe in on a VW bug. Sandy likes it (she likes little cars anyway) and to tell the truth I have been pretty impressed with it so far. It's a heck of a fun car to drive. Sticks to the road like a little Porsche. But, a face only a mother could love.

Later, Rik
06 mar 2001

Gas milage goes down dramatically? Mine goes down about 45%. The Jeep Grande Cherokee V8 normally gets 17- 17.5 on the road. Our trip to Ky lake last summer was monitored over the 3,000 plus miles and we averaged 10.1 mpg towing. Our trip hit right at the height of the gas price adjustment and over that distance made a big difference in available funds after the trip.

06 Mar 2001

Our Tahoe w/350 (now somebody else's) towed this boat, NO PROBLEM. Could have easily used a smaller truck. own there in IL where you are, it's pretty flat. I would have to believe that a good V-6, like a 4. 3 Chevy, would do the job quite adequately. If you could find a long bed or an extra cab S-10 pickup or an Astro Van, these should work well for you. Yes, you ain't gonna burn rubber at the stop lights, but once you are rolling, you'll go along just fine. Oh yeah, the big V-8 is nice, but it ain't near as owner friendly at the gas station in between tows.

Of course this is all written by a guy who tows with a GMC 1 ton 4X4 4 door dually w/454 V-8 (talk about gas). But, seriously, this boat isn't that hard to tow.

Rik Sandberg
S/V Country Rhodes

I think the tow vehicle question always brings up lots of personal prefreences from folks that trailer in one area. It seels that the east coast is so flat that just about any vehicle that's close to the proper rating would work. On the other hand, we just moved east from Colorado, and out there, you need all the muscle you can get in your tow vehicle.

I have a 95 Grande Cherokee LTD with V8 and tow package. I consider it to be absolute minimum for where we lived. The mountains were tough towing. In the Mid-West you might have some hilly terain that would slow you down, but not prevent you from pulling the boat. However, if you intend to travel to areas that have serious grades, you might want a more heavy duty tow vehicle.

BTW, there are a lot of folks in St Louis that keep their boat at Kentucky Lake. It's a great lake for your gunk holing trips.

Alex Bell
06 Mar 2001

I have towed the R22 locally with a '80 Volvo V6 (I replaced the tranny). Then moved to a V8 Merc Mountaineer 2wd and then to the 4wd V8 Grand Chorokee. Towed the boat to and from Edenton with the Jeep. It hardly worked up a sweat. Like the 4wd for getting up of a wet ramp.

Also like your advise on using/storing the boat. Trailer sailoring every weekend (launch and recover) is a lot of work unless you have a lot of time (i.e., retired, won the lottery, etc.) and don't have a M- F job.

Bob on the "NoKaOi"

I agree with everything you said about the cherokee. Great vehicle. I'm sorry to see it go. (Chrysler has decided to eliminate the Cherokee model and will only produce the Grand Cherokee in the future). I have the command trak 4wd. Part time only. It is unreal how sure-footed the thing is in snow, mud, or whatever. I have no idea what I will do when mine wears out in 10-15 years. Grand Cherokee owners seem to be pleased with their choice, too. I just thought at the time that the Cherokee was a better value at $10K less (oh, and it has better clearance than the grand cherokee, too).

My only complaint for towing the boat is its light weight and corresponding reduction in stopping power. It is SUPERB for manuvering around the ramp. I can back the trailer almost anywhere with it.

An interesting side note... the full ton ram turbodiesel gets between 16 and 18 mpg... not much worse than the cherokee (actually better than the cherokee when towing) and better than most SUVs. But, the diesel was an expensive option. It will take many years for the efficiency to be paid back in fuel savings. We bought it to pull the camper, not the boat.

Mileage on both goes down dramatically if I try to go faster than 70. That is the price I pay for low gearing.

Douglas Gardner
06 Mar 2001

I have been happy with my 1990 Jeep Cherokee as a minimum tow vehicle (5000# rating with factory towing package) and a reasonably economical daily commuter. Mileage is 2-3 mpg better than most other trucks with this towing capacity. It gets around 16mpg in town and 21mpg on the highway (not towing ). The 4.0L six has enough power and more torque than a lot of small V-8s, a longer wheelbase would be nice. The transmission and drive train in general are beefier than anything in its weight class, they use the same 4-speed automatic that is used in the 1/2 ton class chevy trucks rather than the lighter 1/4 ton drive train that others use.

My only experience towing with it over distance was a 450 mile round trip to pick up my Gloucester 22 which is the same size as a Rhodes but about 500lbs lighter. Most comfortable towing speed was in the 55-60 mph range. My tongue weight was too light, so the tail had a tendency to wag the dog at higher speeds. Mileage towing was around 13mpg. Launching and recovering a boat the size of a Rhodes is no problem at all. The 4WD is helpful on steep or slick ramps.

The Cherokee is a utilitarian truck through and through, relatively noisy, rough riding, and not car like in its handling characteristics compared to its more modern counterparts. But they are readily available and very good ones can be bought for $5-7K. They are also reliable and relatively cheap to maintain. I like the Limited and Wagoneer Limited models with the Selectrac drive train which has both a full time on pavement and part time off pavement 4WD setting along with the 2WD. I installed a Jacobs ignition package on mine which increased both mileage and horsepower by about 10%.

I did not want to be doing the daily commute in a 12mpg vehicle and towing the boat is typically only done 3 or 4 times a season, with maybe one 500 mile round trip to the coast and back. For me the Jeep seemed the most economical compromise, both for purchase price and operating cost. I would not want to tow a Rhodes any significant distance with anything lighter, shorter, or less capable.


First, understand that every vehicle, new or used has a designed towing ability built into it. The manufacturers sticker either located in the engine compartment or the glove box on on the drivers side door jam will tell you how the vehicle is equipped. They are listed in numerical code, but the codes are available from a dealer or on the internet at various sites.

Towing ability takes into many factors. Engine size, brakes, wheel size and tire ratings, transmission and cooling are all a part of this. Getting a vehicle not sized for the job is VERY dangerous. Stopping becomes a nightmare, transmissions over heat, engines over heat or worse, excessive tire wear and blowouts.

Know the difference between GVW, GVWR and towing capacity. They are all different and salespeople can really confuse (translation: take advantage of) you with these.

06 Mar 2001

There is always a debate on tow vehicles. Anything with a 5000lb tow capacity would probably do fine, but some things are better than others. As with everything, there are trade offs to consider. I'll suggest a few:

1) Wheel base: shorter wheelbase will give better manuverability around the ramp or driveway. Longer will give better stability on the road.

2) Weight: The heavier the vehicle, the less affected by sway. Also, the worse the fuel mileage and the weight of the vehicle counts against your GVW. Don't assume a big vehicle can tow it. Vans, in particular, are frequently geared to be efficient at highway speed and don't have much reserve power for towing. But, if the van was initially set up for towing, it may be about the perfect vehicle for the task!

3) Engine size and type: this depends on the overall weight of the package, and interacts with gearing. We have a 4.0L Jeep Cherokee that will out accelerate a friend's full sized van when both are towing the Rhodes. Why? It is a much lighter vehicle and is geared much lower. Target: If you get a large vehicle (pickup or van) shoot for 5.9L V8 or better, and 3.73 rear end or better. Gas engine is fine. Diesel can't be beat for torque or longevity, or fuel mileage, however.

4) Make: Although some people swear by one manufacturer or another, this is frankly a non-issue today (as far as capability). Assuming you have considered the other things. If you are talking pickup trucks, Dodge, Ford, or GM each make half-ton pickups perfectly suited to the job. Even the Toyota Tundra could do it, if set up for towing. If you get one of them with a 5.9L V8, 3.73 rear end or better, and factory tow package, you will be fine. These can be found by the dozen in the used car section of the newspaper.

Some people used to tow with a big Cadillac. This is not a good idea today. Suspension and drivetrain just aren't designed for it, anymore. That means that your choices are basically a pickup truck, full sized van, or some of the SUVs.

Price to performance ratio: I would bet that you will have the best tow vehicle for the money if you can find a used full sized van that is set up for towing. Look for 3/4 ton vans (250 or 2500 series). They are probably more likely than 1/2 ton vans to have a tow package and 3.73 or greater differential.

Your next bet is to find a used 1/2 ton pickup with a factory tow package. Look on the plate under the hood for gearing, engine displacement, and aux transmission cooler.

SUV: Any suburban ever made will tow it, as well as many others if they meet the criteria. One surprising note, though, is that the Ford Expedition is generally a poor tow vehicle considering its size (no flames... this is a generalization and doesn't apply to YOUR Expedition! ;^). The Excursion corrected this flaw. It is an excellent tow vehicle. Many Explorers, Cherokees, Durangos, etc. make good tow vehicles. Keep in mind what happens to stability and stopping power as the weight of the tow vehicle decreases, however! My Cherokee has the power and the rating to tow the Rhodes just fine. Stopping can be a bit unnerving, however! I'd much rather tow the thing with my Dodge Ram 3500 dually turbodiesel with a 6 speed manual transmission. But then again, look at the ratings. The Cherokee is rated for 5,000lbs. The Ram is rated (conservatively) at 13,000. That is a big difference.

Good luck,

Doug Gardner
s/v Fretnaught
03 Mar 2001

Reccomend nothing less then a V-8. the extra power is a LOT when trying to get up to speed out of a traffic light and going up hill/ launch ramp. Vehicle in partiular-General Motors line up of SUV's or Pick-Ups. If you need the back seat, but like the bed of the truck the Pick-Up is for you. It isn't a straight verticle back on the rear seat in the cab. Made for comfort. As for SUV's-We have the Yukon XL becuz we like to have the 3 rows of seating along with extra space behind the 3rd for travel bags. Maybe the short wheel base would be better for your needs. Your call there.


towing for 4 hours to sail is not fun every weekend, you might want to see if a marina will let you dry store the boat on the trailer on land fully rigged, very cheap and only takes 20+- minutes to be on the water, also a lot less wear and tear on the boat / family. Will use it more often, maybe move it around during the session. BTW the house on the lake might be a better investment.

I would get something that you like for everyday that also tows, 4 hours each way is not local towing so I would be tempted to go with the bigger van's, bigger pickup's or midsize or bigger SUV, most likely a V8, Explorer size or lager with the factory tow package (i.e the rear axial, tran cooler, oil cooler etc...)

So what is the rest of the group thoughts.


A lot will depend on how far you want to go and what conditions (mountains, hills, level ground) you have. I towed mine adequately with a Chevy Blazer (4WD) to and from the harbor twice a year (45 minutes over level terrain). I would have been reluctant to take a much longer trip, but am told it could be done. This year I upgraded to a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Paul Grandholm

I will have the boat based at Lake Carlyle in ILL.. It is great for sailing, only 1 hour from my home in St. Louis, but is no good for cruising. However with in a 4 hour drive is 5 excellent lakes for gung holing. Realistically we will take about 4 to 5 trips a year, weekends mostly. The problem is that what ever vehicle we choose will be the primary vehicle for one of us. A junker (light pickup - old van) is fine for me or an SUV for the wife. I have owned 3 other boats w/o a tow vehicle and could stand to do it for the first year of ownership. My wife agreed to the boat as a compromise to a lake house. "Lake house on wheels" will only work with a boat that can be single handedly set up and sailed w/ "real" head. Well, that is my criteria any wisdom is appreciated.

Bob Weber
06 Mar 2001

the Rhodes on the trailer should come in around 4200+- pounds, so you need something in the 5000 range, the SUV's are a little pricey for what you get, A used Full size van or used pickup can be found at a good price, as a rule of thumb a "car" looses half it price every 4 years so after 8 years it only 1/4 the new price. Also depending what you are up to, renting a local uhaul for the haul in/out for the session is a way to go. A little background on what type of trailing (dream Vs, what will really happen), how offend and where you will be trailing will lead to a more focused answer.


This question goes to those who trailer their Rhodes frequently and for longer distances:

What do you currently use to tow your Rhodes? Please include engine size and any other pertinent details.

Julie Thorndycraft
13 Oct 2002

Last year I traded the 1 ton GMC 4x4 4 dr. 454 cu. in. dually pickup that had been my all around, perfect for everything, over kill for most, tow vehicle, for an S-10 4x4, extended cab, 4.3L V6, 5 spd.. I loved the 1 ton for towing, but since one only tows a very small percentage of total miles driven, I got very tired of stopping at every other gas station (11, 12 MPG, 6-8 MPG towing) and dropping $50 with this big truck, when I wasn't towing. With the S-10 I get around 20 MPG when not towing and 13-14 when towing in 4th gear (we never tow in overdrive). We have now towed our R 22 on a single axle trailer to the gathering at Kentucky Lake (875 one way) for the second time with the S-10 and I have been very happy with the performance of this truck. With the boat properly loaded, this took a little experimenting, we can cruise down the highway 60-65 and feel pretty comfortable. When going very far, I take the outboard and the rudder (1 bolt) off and store them in the cabin. This gets about 100 lbs. off the transom (my motor is small) and over the trailer axles and makes the trailer much more stable without adding a lot of tongue weight.

As towed loads go, the R22 is not that big a load. Tongue weight need only be between 2 and 3 hundred pounds and the total loaded trailer weight is only between 4 and 5 thousand depending on your gear, etc. There are many folks on the list who tow with Jeep Cherokees, Chevy (GMC) Blazers and Astro Vans, Ford Explorers and other makes of like size. I like a 4x4 because they are generally available with a little heavier suspension, and a 2 speed transfer case. The low range is very nice for towing up a steep ramp. I don't think the 4 wheel drive is really necessary, but the 2 speed transfer case is not a possibility in a 2 wheel drive truck.

The over kill of the 3/4 or 1 ton truck is very nice, but remember that, if not properly loaded, your trailer can still want to sway at highway speeds. Believe me, I have learned this the hard way. The only difference between a big truck and a small truck as far as loading is concerned is; With the big truck you can have as much tongue weight as you want or you can get. With the small truck you have to watch not to get too much. Either way though, you have to have ENOUGH tongue weight, for the trailer to track properly. When this is just right for your truck is something you kinda have to learn by experience. Personally, I would rather have a smaller vehicle, that I can afford to operate the rest of the time, that lets me know right away when things aren't going just right rather than a large truck where I can't feel the problem till it's too late to do something about it.

There's my 2 or maybe even 3 cents worth.

13 Oct 2002

You can get by with a vehicle that has a V-6 engine, automatic transmission with auxiliary cooling. The vehicle MUST be properly equipped to tow the weight of the Rhodes. They are rated by GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) which is different from GVW (gross vehicle weight). GVWR includes the vehicle, occupants, a full tank of gas and the vehicle to be towed. The higher the GVWR, you get additional things like better brakes, tires, engine cooling and a rear axle ratio for towing.

A good truck (SUV) salesman can tell you what type of vehicle you need. There are differences in V-6 engines in horsepower and torque. I tow with a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup with a V-6 and automatic. The transmission has a lockout (electric button) for overdrive for towing. I have a class 3 hitch. I also recently put new Michelin tires on with a Class E weight and temperature rating. Tires with additional weight on them such as pulling a trailer generate more heat.

13 Oct 2002

We tow with a 1995 AWD Chevy Astro minivan with the factory HD trailer towing package. The engine is the 4.2 liter,195 bhp, GM V-6 with a 3 speed + OD automatic transmission. There is a lockout on the steering column to prevent the transmission from shifting into OD while towing. The factory HD trailer towing package includes a transmission oil cooler. We get about 18 mpg in daily use & about 8 - 10 mpg while pulling the boat. I've also towed our R-22 with a RWD Aerostar minivan with the factory HD trailer towing package & a 4WD AMC Eagle station wagon with a 5-speed manual transmission & an aftermarket HD trailer towing package.

Even if your trailer has brakes (now reqd by law in most states for boat trailers of the size we are talking about for hauling an R-22), antilock brakes on the tow vehicle are REALLY nice. Our Aerostar & Eagle did not have them, but our Astro does. I also prefer a tow vehicle with 4WD or AWD. There's just nothing like having all 4 wheels pulling to get you up a wet, slimy launch ramp, but you can get by with only RWD. Do not buy a tow vehicle with front wheel drive, although you probably couldn't even find one with a sufficiently high GVWR.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
13 Oct 2002

2000 GMC yukon xl V8. Previously a Dodge Dakota 4x4 V6 short bed with back seat. The dodge was a little underpowered for the distance we tow, but the Yukon tows like a dream. We tow over 3500 miles every season, so tow vehicle and dual axle trailer are important to us. If you won't be doing any significant towing, such a tow vehicle isn't as important. You'd do fine with a V6.

Will Barry
S/V bulldog
13 Oct 2002

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