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Do I need 4 wheel drive?

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Tom Gruenauer
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Do I need 4 wheel drive?

Post by Tom Gruenauer » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:50 am

Thinking about replacing my Chevy Silverado 1500 5.3 with locking rear differential 2 wheel drive pick up.
For the last 10 years I have launched /towed my 21' glass inboard (4000 lbs) with no problems.
Hoping to finish my 1928 24' flat deck triple (5000 lbs) in the next few years. The question is do I need 4 wheel drive?
My hull is very narrow and the bow of the boat will be about 3' back of the hitch ball. I 'm concerned about how far I will have to back in the water at the ramp when launching / retrieving. Any advise would b great! Just don't tell me to buy any thing other than a Chevy.

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Bilge Rat
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Re: Do I need 4 wheel drive?

Post by Bilge Rat » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:39 pm

Not sure what part of the country you live in, but I tow my 3900 pound Lyman on a 1400 pound trailer with a Chevy Tahoe 5.3 liter 4 wheel drive. I live in upstate NY, so the 4 wheel drive is a necessity in the winter months. This engine/transmission combo has the power needed and the 4 wheel drive is extremely nice on slippery ramps. I usually have to back way down the ramp so that the rear wheels are in the water, hopefully not too far that I'm off the concrete!
1966 Lyman Cruisette 25 foot "Serenity Now!"
1953 Chris Craft Sportsman 22 foot "Summerwind"

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Captain Nemo
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Location: Lyons, NY

Re: Do I need 4 wheel drive?

Post by Captain Nemo » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:23 pm

I would go with 4wd. Retrieving a boat that size up a slippery ramp will require it. On very steep ones, it’s good to have the option of using the low range in 4wd too. Yes, go w/ the Chevy. I don’t know about the new ones but, my ‘05 has served me well. :wink:
Boats are to be made of wood, otherwise, God would have grown fiberglass trees.

Greg Wallace
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Location: Indian Lake, Ohio

Re: Do I need 4 wheel drive?

Post by Greg Wallace » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:23 am

I currently own 4wd Suburban and 2wd Chevy PU (with 5.3 and locking diff). Over many years towing, launching and retrieving I have never needed 4wd and I prefer driving the 2wd. The 2wd with "winter" tires will out perform the 4wd (without) in snow and ice conditions. I always carry a tow strap but only needed it to help others. 2wd will net you reduction in weight, fuel consumption, and cost. In most cases a lower ride height and better performance. If none of these are a significant factor then get the 4wd and be prepared for any possibility no matter how remote.
Greg Wallace 23 Custom 22166 former Chris-Craft dealer Russells Point, Oh.

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Re: Do I need 4 wheel drive?

Post by tkhersom » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:17 pm

In most cases you should not need the 4wd, but that one time that you are on a steep slippery ramp and can't pull your boat out without having someone with a tow strap hooking up to your truck to pull you up the ramp it will be worth whatever you have to pay for it. Of course these situations always happen when other things are going on like the boat won't start, or the tide is coming in..... :oops:
Troy in ANE - Former President CCABC

1957 CC 21' Continental "Yorktown" (Mom's boat)
1985 Formula 242LS "Gottago"
1991 Formula 36PC "Band Aids"

Life Is Too Short To Own An Ugly Boat

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Re: Do I need 4 wheel drive?

Post by collinscd » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:49 am

I have been on ramps with various size boats over the years and most of the time I did not need 4-wheel drive. But on some occasions with low tides or steep ramps, I would need 4-wheel drive to stop rear wheel spin and also help with added torque and power.

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