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Towing a boat with 4 cylinder?

6/13/20 @ 7:32 PM
USER SINCE 1/30/18

Hey guys, I own a 2017 Honda CRV, and the towing capacity is only 1500 pounds.  I really want to buy a fishing boat, but i'm concerned the CRV isn't strong enough.  I would only be looking at 14-16 foot aluminum boats (like a Smokercraft) with maybe 40-50hp motor.  

Have you ever towed a boat with a 4 cylinder?  Any issues with this?  My main concerns would be very slow accelerating (especially on the highway), too much stress on the engine and body of the CRV, or having to pull the boat/trailer out of a lumpy/crappy landing which would add to the force on the trailer hitch.  


7/30/21 @ 5:21 PM
USER SINCE 2/28/07

Might want to think of braking with a light weight undersized vehicle. Way more important

7/30/21 @ 7:07 AM
USER SINCE 3/23/20

Not safe unless it a small boat plus vehicle like a pick up are made for the added weight. Buddy of mine had a 1999 dodge Dakota with a 3.7 V6 pulling a 17 ft deep v with a 50 hp and on our 10 hr trip every hill he couldn't go over 50 mph going up kind of annoying cause we had wait for him but a 4 cylinder forget it.

7/29/21 @ 4:38 PM
Fish Hound
USER SINCE 1/29/02

A 14' with an 85hp engine..... yeah, the guy had no clue for sure, you probably saved somebodies life either on the road or in the water. Lol

7/29/21 @ 8:51 AM
USER SINCE 8/24/07

When he mentioned it, I panicked and thought he was looking at the ad for my 14' I recently sold. But he was looking at the right one that said 18' and had pics lol.  Prior to learning that I was kind of excited about the prospect of getting a kid his first boat, and if they had a capable vehicle, I honestly probably would have taken an offer that at least met the offer from the day before. 

There must be some karma involved in trying to keep the kid safe, though, because I sold it yesterday for my full asking price (after two price cuts lol) and will be used as a family. Didn't even need to launch it; he was good with running it in the yard. At least I got to take the guy on Tuesday out on it for one last ride!

7/29/21 @ 7:51 AM
USER SINCE 7/20/09

Kind of amazing that the guy thought it was a 14', found out it was 18', and still was trying to go forward.  Maybe its just me, but if I'm looking for a 14' 18' is drastically different.  Especially for a new driver.

No way you are an a-hole.  It reminds me of when I was working at a store in high school and a guy bought a chest freezer.  Said he had a truck and showed up with a small SUV.  Some people just don't understand what they are getting into.

7/29/21 @ 7:36 AM
USER SINCE 7/19/03

I read back and see you have upgraded to Pilot.  I have owned 2 pilots and have towed boats from 14 to 19.5 ft.   First....The length of boat is not the only factor.  A 16 ft basic 20 hp rear tiller aluminum bench style boat weighs no where close to what an (ex) 16ft alumacraft trophy model with 90 hp motor on heavy trailer.  Those could be 1500 lb difference.   Weight is the big factor.  I think your pilot should work fine for up to 17 ft aluminum boats.  

Saying that.  My pilots were 6 cylinders with oil coolers and strong stable hitches.  The pilot towed the 14 ft and 16 ft aluminum boats easily.  The 14ft was basic bench rear tiller,  the 16 ft decked with side console 50 hp 4 stroke.  19.5 boat was glass, dual wind shield, 130 hp outboard with 9.9 kicker on trailer with brakes.  I estimate tow weight of 19.5 ft around 4,000 lbs.  I felt like I was pushing the limit for towing.

The tow capacity of awd pilot with oil cooler was 5000 lbs.  I felt I could move glass boat easily and with trailer brakes stopping was good but not perfect.  Weak spot was suspension stiffness of pilot.  Big semis's when blowing by would set up a good push against pilot and boat.  240 hp motor on pilot was a little weak for accelerating up hills or on ramps.  Awd never failed at pulling out boat at ramp.

I have since sold glass boat and pilots.  I have purchased 18.5 alumacraft tournament on trailer with brakes. Approximately 3600lbs.   My new vehicle is highlander.  5,000 lb tow capacity with 300 hp, 6 cylinder.  Highlander tows this boat easily and stops quickly with trailer brakes.  Average 17.5 mpg at 69 mph.    Could use a little stiffer suspension but works well for up to this size boat.   Take the time and set up your trailer and vehicle to tow smoothly and balanced correctly.  

7/28/21 @ 9:43 PM
USER SINCE 8/28/03

We have a 2020 explorer that I have towed our 20' crestliner short distances. It is supposed to have I think a 5500 pound tow capacity. It does handle okay.

I do agree braking you need room and the weight ratio scares me. A new driver I would agree there could be issues. 

7/28/21 @ 6:19 PM
USER SINCE 10/3/12

why would be the ahole for having concerns. If they disagreed they could alwasy come over and still look at the boat.

7/28/21 @ 5:01 PM
USER SINCE 7/28/21

Many years ago I bought a 1982 Bass Tracker project boat with a 40hp Merc, and towed it home with a early 80's Honda Prelude. It was able to pull it the 30 mi. to my house, but stopping safely  was beyond scary! I later bought a truck and was able to tow it with no trouble. To answer you question, I would recommend buying a smaller and lighter boat and motor, or buy a larger tow vehicle. 

7/28/21 @ 12:40 PM

Totally agree with you Hockeyguy39 , I was in a similar situation myself last year , I sold my 15 bass boat which I pulled with a variety of vehicles over the years and got a 18 foot glass fish and ski. During the trip home from the dealership I bought it from , I found out pretty quick that my minivan at the time didn't like it one bit . The van did have a  3600 pound tow rating and the boat was close to that weight . So I switched to a half ton truck and never looked back. In my opinion,  you made the best decision,  if they would have came back with a more suitable tow vehicle that yeah sure , it's yours.  But with a little SUV with a four cylinder,  No. My Equinox currently is only rated at 1500 to 2000 pounds if I remember and wont be towing anything with that. 

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