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Old 05 November 2001, 10:41   #1
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What do you use to tow your RIB?

A rib related subject ..... towcars!

Having just changed jobs and thus in the market for a new motor (as we say in Essex) I am mulling the pro's and cons of various towing vehicles. The RIB is 21ft on single axle trailer and weighs around 1500kg all up.

Used to tow with a Disco (when I worked for Land Rover!) but thats no longer in my budget.

Thoughts? Advice? What do you use?

Alan
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Old 05 November 2001, 15:36   #2
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Tow Cars

I recently had to make the same decission - though there are a number of factors to consider:

Do you ever launch from a Beach? (Do you need a proper 4WD)What milage do you do? (Do you need a Diesel) etc.

I went for a Jeep Cherokee on the basis of it easily tows my boat - even off-road: 4WD, Diff lock and low ratio's.

Is a bit more car like to drive than the bigger 4WD's: my wife uses it as her daily car - I have a SAAB.

Cheaper to buy and appears better built than a Disco: most have air-con, auto and don't suffer from differential corrosion between steel and aluminium. The 4 litre Petrol can be very cheap to buy -as the fuel economy is poor, did not matter to me as it only does 4k miles a year.

Negatives: not too roomy in the back and limited boot space due to the spare.

Prior to this the SAAB was adequate towing on the road, though occasionally struggled on slippy slipways!
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Old 06 November 2001, 02:14   #3
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Alan

For more than 4 years I used a Lada Niva 1.6 L. I gave it away due to some other reasons unrelated to this forum or it's behavior. It's a heavy duty work car continuously 4WD, diff lock, high - low rate. The interior is rather poor to have it as an one and only car, but the capabilities as a towing vehicle are awesome. It's noisy on highways and it can't do more than 140 km/h.
A friend of mine has it for proffesional use in a "rib parking" business for 11 years now. It has launched countless boats so far without any problem (mechanical or oxidation by the salt water).
I sure recommend it.
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Old 06 November 2001, 04:39   #4
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I can recommend a Isuzu trooper if you want to follow the diesel route.

I tried out most of the opposition before I bought and found that they were significantly better value than most of the Japanese and Land Rover opposition and dead reliable.

I had a SWB 1999 year model with the 3.0 Common Rail Diesel engine which pushes out 159bhp which made it no slouch. Fuelwise the average was about 28 mpg in normal daily commuting use, though obviously less when towing.

For less money the pre 97 Turbo diesel models had 125bhp which is still pretty respectable and better than most of its competitors.

My only gripes were:

1) that dealer servicing was quite expensive (much the norm there I guess).

2) I wish I had bought a LWB model as I felt that they were more comfortable when not towing, (the SWB one was a bit bouncy).

3) I suggest you get an insurance quote before you buy if you end up seriously considering one - mine was surprising expensive to insure.

ChrisD.
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Old 06 November 2001, 04:47   #5
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Alan

I would say that your RIB is just a bit too big to comfortably tow and launch with a 2WD saloon. You'd probably get away with it most of the time, but it would be borderline.

A proper 4x4 would be the best bet (if anything not made at Lode Lane can be called a "proper" 4x4 ). How about a turbo diesel Isuzu Trooper, or dare I suggest it, a Frontera?

If you do want to stick with a car shaped vehicle, then maybe a Subaru would do the job? The Lada Niva (a surprisingly good 4x4 actually) would be too small and light for you -- not to mention woefully underpowered with a 1600cc engine.

John
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Old 06 November 2001, 05:16   #6
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What I need John is a Mercedes Sports Utility Vehicle like yours !

I used to tow and launch Yellow Tang with a Mondeo which was fine on the flat but bloody useless on slipways. Got it bogged down on a couple of occasions. So the choice now is definately a 4x4 and after working for Ford/LR for 10yrs its fairly refreshing to think about buying SOMETHING else!!

I test drove the Scooby Legacy Outback at the weekend. Quite a car and has low range. Also looked at the new Jeep Cherokee, used shoguns etc. Too much choice!! I can definately say that it wont be a Lada (capable offroaders though they are)!

Any vehicle has probably got to be diesel and certainly have the right chunky image. I don't think I'm a RAV4 kind of guy........

As I say I have my own thoughts but am curious as to the experiences of others so all thoughts and advice welcome. Don't promise to take it though!

Cheers,
Alan
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Old 06 November 2001, 06:42   #7
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I've sold the Merc SUV now. It was hopelessly gutless when towing, and slightly worse on slipways.

By the way, lest anyone think for a moment that I have ever owned a 50,000 Mercedes off roader, it was a 310D van with 215,000 miles on the clock . . .

John
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Old 06 November 2001, 08:30   #8
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I have used the Monterey (Vauxhall badged Trouper) to tow the RIBs I have had and have not had any problems from it, I have had to replace the exhaust due to corosion but I am not sure if this was age or launching (N reg) It is the long wheel base version and has plenty of space for all the usual boating bits we have to cart about. The only problem that I found was that if I did a very tight turn then the jockey wheel locking handle breaks the light cluster (in the bumper) at a cost of 70 my own stupid fauly though. I have not tried the new version as the one I have is still going strong so cannot justify a new one.

John
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Old 06 November 2001, 09:28   #9
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SWB SHOGUN

I've been using a 2.5 turbo diesel shogun to tow my 7m rib for the last 10 months or so without any problems.
Some of my tows would be over 350 miles. I find the shogun perfect for towing with plenty of power although the 2.8 version would probably be better. The disadvantage with them is that they are thirsty especially when towing! Average about 23mpg with normal driving, was never brave enough to calculate the mpg when towing although I can say that it is quite a bit better on fuel than my 225hp outboard!
I think the biggest down side with having a jeep is that when your not using them for towing they are fairly useless! They're slow, bouncy, poor road holding etc... basically everything that a car isn't!!
I only bought my 4x4 because of the boat and after driving it now for 10 months if I had the same choice to make I would have kept my car and bought a cheap pickup and used it for the tow work and the car for all other driving!
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Old 06 November 2001, 10:13   #10
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Game set and match to the inflatable boat!

Yes, folks see how easy it is for me. Let the air out, squash it up, bung it in the back of the estate car.

Okay so it won't go across the Atlantic, well as it happens I wasn't planning on doing that this year anyway!

Keith (70mph) Hart
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