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Importance of 4x4 or AWD or Locking Diff at boat launch?
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Chester



Joined: 04 Sep 2006
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C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Chester
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ssobol wrote:
Chester wrote:
My last two tow rigs have been 4wd just in case the ramp is too slick though it has not been needed at there. We have utilized it elsewhere though.
A quick and dirty traction adder is to lightly set the parking brake. This discourages the tire with less traction from spinning freely. Caution is required as you can destroy equipment if your brain is not engaged at the same time.


Parking brake thing won't work on vehicles with FWD.


Obviously. We were discussing pickups.
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Gene Morris



Joined: 28 Sep 2006
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City/Region: Eureka CA
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C-Dory Year: 2007
C-Dory Model: 255 Tomcat
Vessel Name: Reef Madness
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your 25 cruiser is not a light boat. In 2000 I had a 2x2 dodge pickup. And a 17 ft Boston Whaler. No problem launch and retrieve. Then I purchased a 2301 Seaswirl Striper. Launched on its maiden voyage had a great time fishing got back to the ramp to pull the boat. Rear tires w/Locking Diff. just spun and started to slip backwards. Friend had a 4x4 Dodge and pulled me and the striper up the ramp. That week I went to a 4x4 and had to put in 4x4 just about every time. This is why I would recommend 4x4. They cost a little more
to purchase however, the resale value offsets much of the extra cost.

Gene

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BillE



Joined: 09 Jun 2016
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City/Region: Nashville
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C-Dory Year: 2004
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: TBD
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, thanks everybody for telling me what I didn't want to hear! I need a big honkin' 4x4. ; >
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Avidmagnum12



Joined: 23 Mar 2013
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City/Region: Ocklawaha
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C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do own a CD-25 and have yet to use the 4 wheel drive on my Ford F-150 to launch or retrieve it. The ramps I use are mostly concrete but I do use some gravel ramps. May be that the load distribution is good. I do like having 4 wheel drive and would not want to be without it. You never know when you’ll find a slimed up, sharply angled one. I have used my Ford to get other people out of ramp problems. Besides BillE......I love my truck!
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Aurelia



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AWD at least is what we use and it has allowed is to use more launch options than if we had only 2wd. Last summer, we used a steep sand ramp at lake roosevelt with our small Cat and it worked fine. Another small boater with 2wd tried it and nearly got stranded with just the empty trailer.

Greg

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journey on



Joined: 03 Mar 2005
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City/Region: Valley Centre
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C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We must have launched and retrieved Journey On (a 25 C-Dory) and its predecessors at 1000 different launch ramps, all with 2 wheel drive (the rear wheels.) Some ramps have been wonderful (Marina del Rey, etc.) and some have been sketchy (Spanish, Ontario; Ventura, etc.)

A few years ago I bought a new Ford F250 with Judy really, really eager to get something different from the '63 Chevvy. So I could get anything I wanted: diesel, 4 wheel drive, anything. In summary I got a 2 wheel drive because it had worked for me. And I've never been stuck even in Spanish, Ontario, which was dirt. I've had to wait for the tide at Ventura because it's been slippery, though they've now put in a new ramp.

I've also bought a few trucks with limited slip differential. In both cases, the limited slip went away in a couple of years and I found out that if you were slow and gentle, a normal diff worked.

So now I've got a truck that doesn't have a lot of extras such as the transfer case, extra driveshaft and a solid front axle. I've saved on the new price and maintenance. I'm here to testify that 2 wheel drive works. However if you have or want a 4 wheeler, use/get it and God bless you.

As for the diesel, I couldn't see paying $5000 extra for something that gets used for only 3 months out of the year. I got gas and it's a great motor. I do shift down on grades, though.

Boris
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gary f



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill and Sherry, your comment of needing a big honkin 4x4 reminds me of my dad's new at the time 1976 F-250 4x4. I was just a teenager back then but I remember how proud I was for our family to have this truck. It looked like it could pull a house. It was tall, lots of ground clearance and with great off-road tires. As awesome as the truck looked, it had an open rear differential and would spin one of its rear tires on ice or slick snow even when on a flat parking lot. Cars and 2wd truck performed better than my dad's truck unless you put the truck into 4wd. I also remember going to a demolition derby on a dirt track and was amazed to see a 2wd Chevy truck chain up and drag the disabled and non running large and heavy cars off the dirt track. It was obvious the Chevy had a limited-slip rear differential. I could see both of its rear tires spinning and throwing dirt but it easily performed it duty. I am not saying Chevy is better than Ford here but that the performance of a truck is greatly enhanced with a limited-slip rear differential.

I would still recommend that you buy a 4wd for peace of mind. You don't want to regret a purchase, have to sell and do it over again.

There have been some good points made by others about gravel ramps, steep ramps and slick algae at low tide. Better safe than sorry.
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BillE



Joined: 09 Jun 2016
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City/Region: Nashville
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C-Dory Year: 2004
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the helpful replies. I have a 2wd Silverado for work and lately found myself unable to get up a steep gravel driveway and often find myself slipping around on wet pavement or wet grass. I do realize that the empty bed plays a big part of this but when sliding backwards on that gravel hill I was very glad that I was not at a boat ramp. I think that I'm nervous enough about launching to want every aid possible.
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robhwa



Joined: 04 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BillE wrote:
OK, thanks everybody for telling me what I didn't want to hear! I need a big honkin' 4x4. ; >


4WD is expensive, close to half of what I paid for my C-Dory22. Resale value aside (I don’t resell), 4WD approaches a $10K difference ($4600 for 4WD vs. 2WD Dodge 1500, $4000 Ford estimates additional fuel costs (can’t find for Dodge), also additional insurance, registration and maintenance) over the life of the vehicle. If being able to retrieve your boat under more adverse conditions is worth it to you, then it is worth It. If you don’t need 4WD for other reasons (I do) and are willing to wait for higher tides and/or launch at better ramps (also carry a $20 tow rope, $30 “come-along”, carry some sand, buy mud and snow tires just in case), then you’ll likely be fine. LSD is usually about a $400 option and can also help. People with boats launched and retrieved long before 4WD was so ubiquitous. That said, pushing a button for 4WD and moving forward when my rear wheels are slipping is definitely a pleasing feeling, something I experienced just yesterday moving up an icy hill.
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starcrafttom



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WEll it all depends. I know its a theme of mine but it does depend. If you are living in the north east or northwest where tide change is 5 to 14 ft in a day then yes you are going to need 4x4 once in a while if pulling on low tides and on steep ramp. If on the other hand you live in fl., where tides are 1 to 2 ft and ramps are not as deep, then you will not need it as much. If you are launching at lakes a lot with no tide then again not so much use for 4x4. And a lot depends on the size of your truck compared to your boat. Small truck or suv is going to need more power. More traction is a good substitute for power, sometimes.

So some of the work arounds in high tide exchange areas are 1) retrieve at high tide 2) 4x4. 3) sling launch.

So I have been towing small to midsize boats most of my life. I have launched on dry flat ramps and I have backed down on the side of a steep ramp in the snow and slip half way. Lots of launching in rivers off the sand or rocky beaches. Lakes with and with out ramps. Some with such shallow slopes you would drive 100 yards in the water to get deep enough to float the boat.

That all said I drive a 4x4. Hell of the 3 vehicles we own right now 3 are 4x4s or AWD. My wife does not believe trucks should be sold with out 4x4 or AWD. A 2 wheel drive truck is a car. That said I hardly use my 4x4 to launch or retrieve boats. When I need it I have it but that is mostly at low tide or steep ramps. My 27 weights a lot. 10k lbs or so. When I had a 22 I used my ford ranger first. 4x4 v6 did the job, which is a example of tration making up for power.. When we got a f350 v10 I do not think I ever used the 4x4 with the 22 cdory. I would use LOW range a lot but not with the hubs locked in. Even today with the 350 v10 I hardly use 4x4, but I have it when I need it.

So what do my ramblings mean to you? your truck has the power to tow your boat with ease if you have traction. What are your every day launch conditions? lakes? river? hard ramps? beaches? You sound like a concrete ramp guy, no shame in that. You live in tenn. right? So lakes and rivers and a few trips to the southern salt water. Maybe a once a year trip to the PNW where you will launch once and retrieve once so you can pick you tides. Sound about right?

So I would stick to your truck for now and spend time and energy learning to tow and launch at you local ramp and not jump the gun on buying a new truck you most likely dont need 99% of the time. I grew up towing stuff. Boats, trailers, low boys etc etc . My wife is the same with camping trailers. If you have not had this type of experience in life I would find some one that has and ask them for lessons. Find a small boat trailer or even a cargo trailer and a empty parking lot and go learn. Or go to a truck driving school and ask for a one or two day class. Telling then what you are looking to do and what your experience is.

Just a little food for thought other then " I have one you should too" . I have 3 4x4s and use them all the time. that has nothing to do with your use.

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Robert H. Wilkinson



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

starcrafttom wrote:
use LOW range a lot but not with the hubs locked in.



Lots of good advise Tom but I have to disagree here. As a mechanic every manufacturer I have dealt with warn you not to do this as it puts a tremendous amount of torque strain on a single drive shaft/set of U joints instead of being divided between front AND rear shafts.


Funny story about locking hubs - not many trucks have them any more but my 1977 Landcruiser had them so one day I decided to be a good maintenance conscious owner and take them apart, clean them, grease them and put back together. Well the next time I needed them was a bitterly cold morning - put it in 4wd, got out and locked the hubs then went to drive away. Only the rear wheels were spinning. Sometimes the truck would have to move a few inches for the hubs to engage, but even rocking back and forth a bit did nothing. Well after pondering the situation in the cold and dark for a while I came to the conclusion that the grease I had put on the inner workings was the culprit. Put a Colman lantern under each hub to warm them up enough for the gears to engage. After work that day I brought my truck in the shop, took hubs apart again, cleaned all the grease off and applied a lighter lubricant! We live and learn from our mistakes(I should be a genius by now!!).

Regards,

Rob

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Gulfcoastjohn



Joined: 03 Oct 2017
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City/Region: Pensacola
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C-Dory Year: 2010
C-Dory Model: 255 Tomcat
Vessel Name: CAT 'O MINE
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bill and Sherry!
As always, you are getting a lot of very thoughtful and sensible advice on this forum from folks who have ‘been there, done that’ on the subject of trailering/launching your CD25.

Although I don’t disagree with a single poster, overall I fear our tone here might implant a fear in you guys that hauling around and launching/loading a 25 ft boat might be more challenging and scary than it really is.

Highlight the POSITIVES:
You can trailer your boat very conservatively at 60MPH from TN anywhere in the continent without a state permit, 24/7.

With a single driver, you can easily trailer 500 miles a day, stay in state parks for $30 a night (or less at RV friendly WalMarts etc). Under 3 days you will drive and launch at Key West, $40/night at 4-star resort marina with heated pool (for stays over 28 nights). 2 days to the Chesapeake for a month exploring there. 2 days to the Erie Canal system and Lake Champlain, or the Trent-Severn (or better yet, Inner Small Craft Passage of Georgian Bay and the 30,000 Islands). 2 days to explore the lower St John, 3 to the Everglades. 6 days trailering to the San Juans.

A very competent used truck is very cheap and easy to find compared to a good used CD25…our 2005 GMC Sierra 2500HD Duramax diesel NADA value with 87,000 miles is now only worth $12,000 (but way overkill for your purposes). 4WD was not available that year with that tow package, but it has Limited Slip Diff and we have scooted up marginal ramps with just a bit of drama with the TomCat in Heavy Cruise mode (always with an audience).

So, I’m posting that we load a TC255 on slippery (but not dirt or gravel or Pacific) ramps with a ¾ ton diesel pickup with Limited Slip Diff but not 4WD with no real problems to date. I defer to Harvey re the Left Coast.

And we have launched at an unknown ramp in TN that was the steepest we have ever seen in the black of night where I got so twisted I broke the centering cage board, and broke my own rule of never yelling at your spouse when boating. In retrospect, it’s only a 2x4 with carpet on it, and I still haven’t replaced it yet.

A good Float-On trailer with aluminum I-beams and EOH brakes was our BEST MOD EVER. Pay the upgrade for Goodyear Endurance ST trailer tires. I don’t remember whether you guys already have a trailer.

You NEVER need to fool with tire pressure to launch or recover a properly loaded trailer and tow truck. Those are urban legends. A Heavy Load (over 8,000#) deserves a wireless trailer tire monitoring system ($250 or less) which will pay for itself the very first time need it, or you pick up a nail (happened to us and C-Otter).

We fear you guys are over-worrying about what you are capable of doing…and learning to do. Almost all boaters are like you…helpful, friendly, willing to help in any way possible, willing to give you a ride to the nearest West Marine or diesel stop, loan you a gas filter, back it down the ramp if the spouse gets twisted, etc etc.

An older F150 with the specs for a 9200# tow rating exceeds your needs (and you all thought I was a GMC guy).
Continue your careful research. But you’re not getting younger, and you can’t know how many ‘good’ years of life you have left now. So listen to all on this most wonderful forum, but don’t wait too long. You have a great trailer boat to trailer to the ends of the continent…then launch and you won’t care if you’re only getting 3MPG, BECAUSE THE TRUCK WAS GETTING 14MPG!

See you at Hontoon, you are always welcome on Cat O’ Mine!

PS the Nashville BBQ and welcome you gave our group on the Cumberland/Tennessee river adventure is the kind of stuff lifelong memories are made of…we’ll never forget it!

John

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Dreamer



Joined: 01 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right on Harvey, Simple answer here. 4X4, Even here in the Desert, Subaru 4X4 and a F-350 4X4 makes things so much easier.

Really helpful in the Sequim Snow Eh?

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ssobol



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

starcrafttom wrote:
... If you are launching at lakes a lot with no tide then again not so much use for 4x4...


Some of the inland lakes that I have boated on have the steepest ramps I have experienced. Also, even if you have a strap and a come along, there may not be anyone/thing around for you to hook it to.

Where I got into trouble was a marina ramp. But it was Oct and the "season" was over. There was no one around the whole time we were there, so we had to sort out our problem on our own.
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thataway



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quick address ref the added costs for a 4 x 4. I doubt that they are all that much. We have seen as much as 22 mpg on the Yukon XL. on the highway. Our average since purchase 90,000 miles ago is over 16 mpg. Today, I had the first service on both differentials, and the transfer case, plus the first set of brakes--total bill was $1000. Actually the truck has been towed another 20,000 miles behind the RV---There it had a proportionate braking system. So over 100,000 miles on brakes, and gear case services.

I do often carry a come- a-long--and the rope is always in a truck. As is an axe, shovel and in season a chain saw. along with survival gear, food and water for a couple of days at least--usually water for a week. ..

Real trucks have tow eyes in the front, so you can pull them out!

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