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Discussion Starter #1
I realize there are a bunch of towing threads but I'm curious to find out the largest boat anyone tows. I'm currently looking for about a 20 foot cuddy cabin or 22 foot center console. I recently came across a Mako 210 Walkaround. The dry weight of the boat is 2620lb. After adding the 200HP Evinrude (415lb), tandem axle trailer (~1300lb), fuel (75 gal x 6.5lb/gal = 488lb), boat gear (300lb) I'm at a total weight of 5,123lb. That weight is 81% of my trucks 6300lb capacity (4x4 pro4x KC 6 spd). I would not expect to be carrying any more cargo than one extra passenger and a few light bags. I would also make sure the trailer brakes were fully functional.

Based on the above, I feel good on paper that I'm within towing, payload, and GCWR. However, it seems a lot of people would not recommend towing over 5000lb. I would not be towing serious distances. Maybe an hour or two max on relatively flat highway terrain less than 5 times per season. Given the above info, my questions would be:

1. Should I use a weight distributing hitch? I know the manual requires one over 5,000lb so I would lean towards yes. However, I've also read that some trailer manufacturers recommend against it because having a heavier tongue weight reduces the chance of the trailer "whipping" side to side. On the other hand, I realize too much tongue weight puts excessive wear on the rear end and reduces control of the front wheels. Any advice on managing this balancing act?

2. Am I missing any key items to look out for? Should I not even bother attempting to tow this beast?

I'm a recent n00b to the forums and look forward to any advice people have. Thanks.
 

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If any towing at night, then airbags will help keep headlights aimed down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Much appreciated. Never head of airbags recommended for that application but makes perfect sense. I'll definitely look into getting some.
 

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Boat manufacturers tend to give less than accurate weights so be careful.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good point on that as well. Manufacturer says "about 2500" on their website. I got the 2620lb from NADA. I guess if I'm really serious I'll have to take it to a scale.
 

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I've never towed a boat, but weight wise, the most I've ever towed long distance in the Frontier was pushing 7k pounds with passengers and gear for about 300 miles. Engine pulled the weight no problem but considering I didn't use a weight distributing hitch or trailer brake controller...I'd highly recommend those plus the air bags unless you want to go grey and bald very quickly...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yea I would say that is fully loaded. I'm assuming your trailer had surge brakes if you had no controller? I'm surprised your hands didn't get bonded to the steering wheel on that trip. Is there a range for when a trailer brake controller will become necessary vs surge brakes?
 

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Yeah the trailer had surge brakes. My hands were glued to the steering wheel while I was passing through Baton Rouge. It's more or a weight thing opposed to a distance thing, surge brakes are ok but a controller makes a ton of difference. That one trip was an emergency situation or else I would have waited till the next weekend and taken the F350. I think it wouldn't have been nearly as stressful if I had the WDH.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Looks like Baton Rouge has some nasty turns and interchanges on the main highway. Hopefully I can avoid towing through Boston and Providence. As of now I'm 100% on the WDH. I see the airbags as supplemental to the required WDH. Obviously things could change fast once I get a feel for the boat behind the truck. Right now I would like to leave the boat in the water once I get one and only tow occasionally. I got my frontier knowing it's not meant as a full time tow truck but could handle a decent sized trailer once in a while. We will see what happens. Appreciate all the advice. This is a great forum!
 

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I towed a 20 foot Malibu Wakesetter with mine. It was ok, I wouldn't want to drive through mountains but it never felt dangerous and the truck never complained. You can't use a weight distributing hitch with surge brakes, which most boat trailers have. Look into that before you spend money.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thankfully I haven't spent any money yet! Thanks for the heads up as well. I went to the Curt website and they had some vague statement about WDH's possibly interfering with surge breaks. I looked up the same Curt hitch on autoanything and they had a noticeable disclaimer that all WDH's are not compatible with surge brakes. At this point, as long as I'm safely within the limits for towing, tongue weight, payload, and GCWR, I just have to give it a shot. Of course that's assuming I buy a boat, which then will open up an entirely different set of fun stuff to deal with (BOAT = Bust Out Another Thousand). Oh well, a man's gotta live right?
 

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Boats are generally very good about being towed. Where a box trailer or travel trailer of the same weight and tongue load really need a weight distributing hitch, boats generally do just fine without. I think a lot of that has to do with the axles on the trailer are much more rearward to balance out a boat. That makes for a much longer effective tongue length and minimal inertia length behind the trailer's axles.

As for brakes, most every boat trailer with brakes will be surge. It is a sealed hydraulic system that is much more tolerant of being submerged. Electric brakes, dunked several feet underwater, there is a reason they don't do it. I have heard of a few higher end boat trailers with electric over hydraulic. So the part that goes underwater is still hydraulic, but they are controlled with an electronic box (something like an ABS unit) that is mounted high up at the front of the trailer to keep it dry.
 

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found this thread while searching. can ya`ll post some pics of your boats, and how well your frontier towed them?
in recent years we towed a SeaDoo Challenger 1800, and a SeaHunt Triton 172 with no issues other than the first fronty was 2wd and would loose traction at times on the slippery ramps. Better tires helped with that. both boats were around 3000# . I`m also looking to see what length and weight boat can the frontier pull safely. perhaps a 21 to 23ft walkaround. if not I`ll have to rethink my plans.
 
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