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Old 23-05-2013, 07:23   #1
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Buying and Towing a boat?

I plan on purchasing a sailboat in Canada and bring it to the US.

The round trip will be about 1,500 miles.

The boat is on a 2 axle trailer that has electric brakes.

The total weight of the boat and trailer is probably 7,500 pounds.

The boat is 27 feet long.

We own a Ford Excursion (6.0 L Diesel- and you think boats are expensive to repair?!)

The Excursion has a brake controller (for my utility trailer).

Now the question-

What would you recommend for getting the boat back to the US?

Tow it with the Excursion?

Rent a pickup truck? (note- Enterprise will not rent a pickup for towing to non-business accounts). (Budget will not allow you to tow with their pickup trucks).

Rent a pickup truck- from whom?

Sailing and dropping the mast while transiting the Erie canal, then raising it again gets expensive. So will the motoring the boat through the canal.

Any other ideas? I'm trying to do this as inexpensively as possible.

Any help from those that have first hand experience in doing this sort of thing is most appreciated.
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Old 23-05-2013, 07:34   #2
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Re: Buying and Towing a boat?

If the Excursion, and your hitch installation are both rated for at least 7500 lb towing, I would use it. You'll only be towing the boat for half the 1500 miles, right? Take it easy, don't speed, use secondary highways maybe, do the return trip in two days... should be fine. This would be the lowest cost option.

Key thing will be the condition of the trailer. Are the tires OK? At a minimum, give it a good visual inspection and push some grease into the bearings. You might even want to get it serviced in Canada before the return trip.

When we bought our boat and towed it home, I made stops at 10 miles, then 50 miles to check how much the bearings were heating up.

If you have the time, doing the Erie Canal trip would be fun, but you don't yet know if the boat is dependable enough for such a trip, and you'd still need to fetch the trailer at some point. So, not the most efficient way.

[edit - is the boat wider than 8' 4"? If so you might need permits ]
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Old 23-05-2013, 07:50   #3
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Re: Buying and Towing a boat?

The hitch (not the bumper) on the Excursion reads;

Weight Distributing- 12,500

Weight carrying- 5,000

I don't know how those figures are applied to the weight of the boat and trailer I'll be carrying. Can you explain that?

Yes, you're correct- we'd be only towing it about 650 miles or so.

The boat beam is less than 8 feet.

The other problem is the bureacrats and bureacratic mess I'll have to deal with in "importing" the boat at the border. What a pain!!!!
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Old 23-05-2013, 08:10   #4
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Re: Buying and Towing a boat?

Check vehicle specs for towing capacities, and pay attention to tongue weight...the actual weight on the hitch. To much tongue weight, you hit a bump, and the front wheels lift and lose steerage. Do you have a brake controller for the vehicle? You may have to simply visit a dealer to make sure you have a proper towing package and rating for your trip.
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Old 23-05-2013, 09:19   #5
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Re: Buying and Towing a boat?

I agree with Lake Effect. I think your rig assuming in proper working order is up to the task. The weak link is definitely the trailer hubs/tires for towing that distance. Do your maintenance on them before you leave. Make sure that you have a spare tire, hub, grease and tools in case you need to do roadside replacement. Most trailer tires rot from disuse not wear, so make sure that you are starting out with good tires and appropriate tire pressure.

I once towed a 30' cruiser 12,500 lbs on the trailer with my F350 dually from SC to the Keys and back, total 1500 miles. That distance generates a lot of heat/friction and if you have any deficiencies, it will become evident...

Edit: Don't forget a jack that will work for your trailer.

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Old 23-05-2013, 09:31   #6
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Re: Buying and Towing a boat?

Your Excursion is ideal for towing the boat... You should have no problems at all.... IT IS ABSOLUTELY imperative that you make sure that your trailer brakes and controller are working perfectly.... Have the trailer brakes inspected before you start your tow...
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Old 23-05-2013, 09:44   #7
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Re: Buying and Towing a boat?

Your diesel Excursion should easily handle that load. As others stated, the tongue weight needs to be considered and it should be at least 10% of load towed, in this case 750#. According to your numbers, the hitch is rated to tow 12k lbs with a hitch weight of 5k lbs. I routinely tow 12k # with a hitch weight of 1500# and no lift bars with a Tundra with no problem. I would not hesitate to try that boat with the Excursion, provided the trailer brakes work and the tires and bearings are good and you keep the speed down to 65 or less.You can also go to trailerlifeforums.com, then the towing section to ask this question. Several RV'rs with Excursions there and lots of great towing advice. A spare trailer tire, a jack, 4 way lug wrench and set of trailer wheel bearings would not be a bad idea, either.
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Old 24-05-2013, 01:50   #8
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Re: Buying and Towing a boat?

Unless your trailer has a weight distibuting hitch, then no, your truck hitch won't carry the load. Your truck hitch is rated for only 5000 lbs if it is carrying the weight of the trailer's front end. If the trailer has the distribution bars then you are okay to 12,500 lbs.

If you decide to rent, I have found U-haul trucks to be good tow vehicles. Just dont tell them you are towing, say you are moving furniture.

Follow all previous advice about checking bearings, tires, stopping often, etc.
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Old 24-05-2013, 02:18   #9
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Re: Buying and Towing a boat?

You can rent from enterprise. Just don't say you are going to tow anything. You will have to buy the appropriate receiver. BUT, the truck must be capable. It sounds as if your excursion is up to it. BUT as mentioned the trailer is the weak point here.
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Old 24-05-2013, 04:28   #10
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Re: Buying and Towing a boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDA1 View Post
The other problem is the bureacrats and bureacratic mess I'll have to deal with in "importing" the boat at the border. What a pain!!!!
There is no bureaucratic mess with the boat.... show up at the border, declare the boat, show your bill of sale, pay your taxes .... done.

The trailer however is another matter. It is treated like a vehicle and must have all the appropriate paperwork, V.I.N. , license, title, etc.
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Old 24-05-2013, 08:39   #11
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One more thing to consider is the weight of the trailer. I have a 4400 lb boat, on a 3000 lb trailer. So my total tow is 7400 lbs.
Which I pull with my Expedition 5.4l gas. I think your truck could do it, just have to get load distribution for the trailer. I *think* you can add them on.
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Old 24-05-2013, 09:20   #12
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Re: Buying and Towing a boat?

Havent done any major towing in US/Canada, but Ive towed a boat recently of that weight ( 3.5 tons) behind a range rover for over 900 miles. ( and did this three time in two years )

As some have said the hubs/bearings on the trailer are the big issue, especially if the trailer is at or near its weights limits. I trashed one bearing on one journey, so I resorted to carrying a complete tire/rim and bearing/brake drum on subsequent journeys. Also make sure you have a suitable hydraulic bottle jack that can handle the all up weight of the rig and trailer. its a bummer changing wheels otherwise

If the trailer has been exposed to salt water , ensure its structurally sound.

If you have regularly towed youll have no issue ( i used work on farms as a kid) , watch you speed and watch for brake over heats. Its also hard work on the automatic.( The RR has an additional oil cooler fitted) .

The other thing is to plan your routes so that you dont get into places where its hard to turn the rig. ( or end up on one way streets etc !) .

I understand the Ford is well within its capacity

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