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Discussion Starter #1
So I towed a pontoon boat with the Pac last night. Weight estimate of the load was around 3000lbs, but I'm not 100% sure. Anyway, the van handled very well, felt stable, at no time did I feel that the load was dictating the tow.

However, this is the biggie... The engine seemed to struggle mightily. A lot of 3500 and 4500 RPM time trying to keep it at speed (~60MPH). And of course, fuel mileage was in the gutter. For those who have towed fairly heavy loads, is the engine supposed to be revving that high regularly? While I had no handling issues with the tow, I'm not very confident of the Pac's ability to drag this thing around with people and cargo in the passenger compartment as well. It sort of felt like it was already trying to punch above its' weight. Do I need to be concerned?
 

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I have a similar pontoon boat, and my experience towing it with the Pacifica was the same as yours. It can certainly do it without damage, but the engine doesn't sound happy about it. For what it's worth, my Cherokee was rated to tow 4500 lbs and it sounded exactly the same as the Pacifica while towing the same boat.
 

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It is not just the weight of the trailer to consider although, as you describe, your trailer weight likely exceeds the Pacifica's ratings (refer to other posts regarding actual tow capacity. Hint: it is not #3500 lb even with tow package).

The other big factor is the frontal area of the trailer. The max trailer frontal area for the Pacifica is 40 sq ft. Hard to calculate with all the different surfaces but the pontoon boat has a lot of frontal surface area. Likely exceeds 40. I think wind drag is causing your Pacifica to struggle.

I don't see them in the photo but I hope you use mirror extenders when towing the boat.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have a similar pontoon boat, and my experience towing it with the Pacifica was the same as yours. It can certainly do it without damage, but the engine doesn't sound happy about it. For what it's worth, my Cherokee was rated to tow 4500 lbs and it sounded exactly the same as the Pacifica while towing the same boat.
I didn't know I was going to get a pontoon boat when we got the Pac, but I intentionally got the tow package for any "in case" future needs. So to see how the engine performed is a concern and a letdown. I have a 96 E-350 with a 460 that could easily handle towing duties, but we got the Pac specifically to tow something like this, and like I said, now I'm worried it isn't up to the task.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It is not just the weight of the trailer to consider although, as you describe, your trailer weight likely exceeds the Pacifica's ratings (refer to other posts regarding actual tow capacity. Hint: it is not #3500 lb even with tow package).

The other big factor is the frontal area of the trailer. The max trailer frontal area for the Pacifica is 40 sq ft. Hard to calculate with all the different surfaces but the pontoon boat has a lot of frontal surface area. Likely exceeds 40. I think wind drag is causing your Pacifica to struggle.

I don't see them in the photo but I hope you use mirror extenders when towing the boat.
I didn't see your post, sorry.

I did not have extenders but will definitely get them if the Pac ends up being the tow vehicle. I could see fine but I'm not 'that guy' and will have the right equipment.

The 3k lb estimate was just that, calculated off the intertubes based on the model and equipment. I fudged another 15% or so in the estimate, and really I won;t know until I get an actual weight measured. Probably wasn't actually that heavy.

I think your point about the wind-facing-brick-wall front of the pontoon boat is the biggest issue. As I've never towed a pontoon previously, anyone have any tips for helping reduce the drag? Surprisingly the interwebs aren't long on information. If I can't help ease the strain on the Pac, I will just use the older beasts instead, but that's so not what I would prefer.
 

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I didn't see your post, sorry.

I did not have extenders but will definitely get them if the Pac ends up being the tow vehicle. I could see fine but I'm not 'that guy' and will have the right equipment.

The 3k lb estimate was just that, calculated off the intertubes based on the model and equipment. I fudged another 15% or so in the estimate, and really I won;t know until I get an actual weight measured. Probably wasn't actually that heavy.

I think your point about the wind-facing-brick-wall front of the pontoon boat is the biggest issue. As I've never towed a pontoon previously, anyone have any tips for helping reduce the drag? Surprisingly the interwebs aren't long on information. If I can't help ease the strain on the Pac, I will just use the older beasts instead, but that's so not what I would prefer.
With regards to reducing the drag, a cover may help.
 

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I would never tow a boat like that with the Pacifica...
 

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I don't think that boat weighs 3,000 lbs; pontoons are pretty light for their size. I'd say something that size would be in the 2,500-lb range. If you drive by a truck stop with a scale, it may be worth spending $10 to get it weighed so you know for sure.

It's all about wind resistance, and you see just how much of an effect that can have. On the downside, there aren't many ways to mitigate that other than slowing down. As long as your transmission and engine temperatures stay reasonable you shouldn't hurt anything, but you're going to drink a lot of gas pulling that wind sail down the highway.

For comparison, I put my 18' bowrider on a scale a few years ago, and it's right at 3,500 lbs. My towing experience is very different from what you describe; I spend most of my time between 6th and 7th gear on the highway, which keeps my engine around 2,100 RPMs or 2,700 RPMs at 65 MPH. I very rarely tach over 3K unless I'm accelerating.
 

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Lol. You might as well be towing a parachute. :D I bet it behaved pretty well in the 0-20mph range though.

I've towed 3600+ pounds through the Rockies and thought it behaved amazingly. Very impressed. But my load was a tow dolly + aerodynamic compact car.
 

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So I towed a pontoon boat with the Pac last night. Weight estimate of the load was around 3000lbs, but I'm not 100% sure. Anyway, the van handled very well, felt stable, at no time did I feel that the load was dictating the tow.

However, this is the biggie... The engine seemed to struggle mightily. A lot of 3500 and 4500 RPM time trying to keep it at speed (~60MPH). And of course, fuel mileage was in the gutter. For those who have towed fairly heavy loads, is the engine supposed to be revving that high regularly? While I had no handling issues with the tow, I'm not very confident of the Pac's ability to drag this thing around with people and cargo in the passenger compartment as well. It sort of felt like it was already trying to punch above its' weight. Do I need to be concerned?
1. Moderator: this thread might best be moved to the Towing sub-forum.
2. Unbelievable. Even my wife said "Oh my God!" when I showed her the pic.
3. Hope thread-starter has good insurance and a good lawyer. His financial future could be toast otherwise.
 

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It always amaze me how much the Towing Police patrol these waters. I suspect most of them don't have much experience with a trailer.

Some seem to think you need a Freightliner to pull a wheelbarrow...I've never understood it.
 

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Sounds like the Pacifica performed as designed. The Pontoon boat in the pictures creates a lot of air drag.The 3.6 Pentatstar does not start making good power and torque till around 3000 rpm. Torque peak is around 4200 Rpm. When I tow a 6x12 enclosed utility trailer, with my 2015 Caravan, I can hold 5th (2500-2600 rpms) on the straight and level, but hilly country requires running in fourth (3100- 3500 rpms). I tow 3000 lbs all day long at 3100 - 3500 rpms.

Foot Note: I towed a 6000# 7x14 Haulmark enclosed trailer with 2012 Dodge Durango with 3.6 pentastar and Mercedes 5 speed trans. Same story as our vans, needed to run around 3000-3500 rpms. I towed mostly in 3rd gear. 4th would pull engine rpms down to 2500 rpm and any kind of hill, or wind, would force a downshift. I stayed in 3rd all the time, to prevent constant shifting. I towed that combo for two years, and many thousands of miles. Nothing every got too hot, and we averaged 9 mpg.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the reply. It just seems wrong somehow (not a design flaw, just odd to me) to see the engine running at those RPM's, and without the extra weight of all the passengers and gear that will actually be along for these trips normally. Just hard for me to fathom that it will handle the full load without expiring. I'm just used to chunky V8's in big beasts that really have no problem towing at all.
 

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Thanks for the reply. It just seems wrong somehow (not a design flaw, just odd to me) to see the engine running at those RPM's, and without the extra weight of all the passengers and gear that will actually be along for these trips normally. Just hard for me to fathom that it will handle the full load without expiring. I'm just used to chunky V8's in big beasts that really have no problem towing at all.
Remember that adding weight to the van is going to mean very little to your engine on the highway. The overwhelming majority of power used to go down the road is used to push the van and trailer through the air. Some extra frictional losses due to the added weight will be tiny in comparison.

Remember that these engines are rated for as much as 6,200 lbs towing capacity in the heavier Durango. As long as your engine and transmission temps stay in range, you won't hurt it.
 

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So you don't think I'm committing a felony towing with it? :laugh: OK, I'll let the RPM's do what they please then. Either that or the old-school 11,000lb rated Econoline I guess. (Gross Combined Wt Rating (lbs):22,000)
 

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So you don't think I'm committing a felony towing with it? :laugh: OK, I'll let the RPM's do what they please then. Either that or the old-school 11,000lb rated Econoline I guess. (Gross Combined Wt Rating (lbs):22,000)
No felony as long as you use those mirror extenders:grin2: Just monitor you oil, coolant and transmission temps. Fortunately the Pacifica makes all these readily available. I think the transmission will probably be the weak link relative to towing. Keep it in the right temperature range.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
No felony as long as you use those mirror extenders:grin2: Just monitor you oil, coolant and transmission temps. Fortunately the Pacifica makes all these readily available. I think the transmission will probably be the weak link relative to towing. Keep it in the right temperature range.
No doubt it won't roll again without them.
 
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