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Looking for some opinions on exceeding the maximum towing capacity. I'm wondering if I should use my MDX to tow my 7000 lbs. boat to my local marina. The marina is located just 2 miles from my home.
On another note, what about backing the boat down the launch ramp and pulling it back up at the end of the season. I don't plan on towing it regularly, just 2 or 3 times a season to have the boat cleaned. Any thoughts or similar past experiences with execeeding towing capacity would be sincerely appreciated.
 

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I do a lot of boat towing with my Toyota 4-Runner. My boat/trailer combination weighs (3,500 pounds) nearly double what the 4-Runner is rated to tow (2,000 pounds) and I have had no problems other than I don't have nearly enough power (140 hp) to tow at highway speed. I can't believe that towing only 2-3 miles at low speed over flat land can harm your MDX's drive train. Your vehicle would have the power and traction (use "VTM-4 lock" just to get moving) to pull your boat out of the water without any problem on a concrete or asphalt ramp. Braking is really the most important consideration here; make sure you have really good trailer brakes or forget about towing. One other concern is excessive tongue weight, if your boat weighs 7,000 pounds, your trailer must weigh at least another 1,000 pounds unless it is aluminum. If your boat/trailer combination weighs, say, 8,000 pounds, that's going to translate into a lot of tongue weight - likely around 1,000 pounds all on the rear axle. Check your manual to determine if you would be exceeding your weight allowance on the rear axle. If so, have a friend with a more suitable vehicle move your boat.

P.S. - when towing, never use 5 th gear. Keeping you engine r.p.m. up will make it easier on the transmission.
 

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Tow Slowly....

I work in the marine industry, and I see a number of boat manufacturers using underpowered vehicles to tow their boats to marina's and dealerships.

But, there are major limitations. You are really compromising the braking system and the transmission of your MDX.

The boat mfg./dealers that I know generally use them as a "convenience" only. In most occasions, they don't have one of their regular tow vehicles available.

You need to be really careful if you are going to tow your Rinker Fiesta Vee (nice boat!). Based on towing only 2-3 times per year, traveling on flat land and only going a couple of miles should not overtax the transmission and the vehicle. I wouldn't fill the gas tank until you get to the marina. You might even be able to launch the boat, and then fill the tank while on the water at the marina if you have that available. That will reduce some major tow weight.

If you have another vehicle with a bigger engine, and higher towing capacity, by all means....use it.

But, if its your primary vehicle and don't have an option....then, go very, very slowly, and allow the weight/momentum to work for you and not against you. When you reach the boat ramp, make sure the ramp is concrete and doesn't have a significant drop off that could catch the trailer tires. That could be a big, big problem for you.

-Mark

p.s. - don't even consider any long trips on any occasion. Especially on hilly terrain. It could become a nightmare for you.
 

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Don't do it! Everyone here has mentioned how it can affect the braking system and transmission, but no one here has mentioned how it can damage the frame of your vehicle. Remember that with a unibody vehicle, there is no separate frame and everytime you tow, you're putting stress on all of the joints, etc. That's why unibody vehicles are not as suitable for towing as body-on-frame vehicles. You could bend the frame by attempting to tow that much weight.
 

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I agree with Drew. That much tongue weight could cause some serious problems for the unibody. I know several people with large boats who invest $1000 in old Pick-ups or Suburbans just for towing back and forth to the marina.

If you do get an old pick-up for towing make sure it was never a plow truck. It will probably already have tranny problems.
 

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The issue of tongue weight...

As I mentioned in my original post on this subject, tongue weight is a concern. I looked under my MDX (has the tow package from Acura) and saw how the hitch was bolted to the MDX. Acura's hitch looks excellent and I like the way it's attached to the car (very strong looking). But the "semi-frame" of the car looks much lighter than the frame on my 4-Runner. Information on the driver's side door jam indicates that the GAWR (gross axle weight rating) for the rear is 1325 Kg. (2915 pounds). The MDX weighs about 4400 pounds, with about 50 % of the weight on the rear axle to start with - that's about 2200 pounds. So you can add about 700 pounds to the rear axle without problems. Generally, the tongue weight should be 10-15 % of the weight of the boat/trailer combination. If you are at the low end of this range (and had the MDX empty), you may be okay, but if you are at the high end of the range, there could be a real problem. You really need to know what the tongue weight is. The GCWR (gross combined weight rating) for the MDX is 9700 pounds. This is the allowable total weight for the MDX plus the boat/trailer combination. If the boat/trailer weighs 8,000 pounds, your combined weight would be 12,400 pounds. That's 28 % over the limit. However, if you had really good trailer brakes, braking would not be an issue in my mind, especially since you will be driving only at low speed for 2 miles to the marina. The engine/transmission should also not be any problem just to tow that distance to the marina at the very modest elevation that you are at in Ontario (elevation can become an issue also). I wouldn't try to go up any hills though!
 
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