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Hello all. I've posted a few times in the RRC forum but I bought an 03 Discovery last week. I was a sucker for the OME HD lift, 285/75 KM2s, and a winch bumper, none of which my wife would ever let me buy separately. I'm working my way through the major service list. 113k miles.

I made a mistake and mentioned to my Dad that I thought the Disco could tow a boat. He went out and bought at 19 foot Searay bowrider that he says weighs around 2300 pounds including the trailer. I checked the owner's manual in the Rave and the towing chart confuses me. It says "Max Trailer Weight" for an unbraked trailer is 1,650 pounds, which I think is slightly more than his Chrysler minivan's towing capacity. But then the manual lists 5500 pounds as the "Maximum towing capacity on-road in high range" without mentioning brakes or no brakes.

Does anyone know if I can safely tow about 2300 pounds with an unbraked trailer? I intend to replace the transmission filter, install an Ultra Gauge, and my 180 degree t/s came in the mail today. But frankly I don't even know if I can tow that much... Thanks!
 

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disco biscuit
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Yes it will tow that boat, well. My 04 disc pulls a lot better than my 09 chevy. You will be very surprised I think. Check everything before you put it through all that. Look at Disco Mikes maintenance list. Pay attention to the front driveshaft.
 

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Hello all. I've posted a few times in the RRC forum but I bought an 03 Discovery last week. I was a sucker for the OME HD lift, 285/75 KM2s, and a winch bumper, none of which my wife would ever let me buy separately. I'm working my way through the major service list. 113k miles.

I made a mistake and mentioned to my Dad that I thought the Disco could tow a boat. He went out and bought at 19 foot Searay bowrider that he says weighs around 2300 pounds including the trailer. I checked the owner's manual in the Rave and the towing chart confuses me. It says "Max Trailer Weight" for an unbraked trailer is 1,650 pounds, which I think is slightly more than his Chrysler minivan's towing capacity. But then the manual lists 5500 pounds as the "Maximum towing capacity on-road in high range" without mentioning brakes or no brakes.

Does anyone know if I can safely tow about 2300 pounds with an unbraked trailer? I intend to replace the transmission filter, install an Ultra Gauge, and my 180 degree t/s came in the mail today. But frankly I don't even know if I can tow that much... Thanks!
What they mean to say is that WITHOUT brakes, it's 1650 lbs regardless. WITH brakes, you can bump that up to 5500 lbs. Can you tow 2300 lbs unbraked, sure. Just be damn sure the trucks brakes are in tip-top shape and give yourself plenty of stopping distance. AND, don't get caught if you have an accident. Your also lifted with big tires. That's going to add to the potential problems. That chart refer's to a stock vehicle. Start modifying, and your in no-man's land. Just be careful, either way.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. I guess that was kind of a stupid question. The chart has three examples of "with brakes" and "without brakes" but then lists the max without any reference to braking, which threw me off. I do have the front driveshaft on my list of items. When I bought it I felt a grease zerk which made me think it had been replaced since I thought they were unserviceable. Only after I bought it did I realize that the differential side is greasable; its the other side that isn't.
 

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285 tires on a stock diff with 3:55 gears won't give you any low end toeing torque and it will slowly fry your tranny.
Look seriously at my major service list posted at the top of this section and do it all. You might also look at installing an engine oil cooler, something Rover took off the later D2's, something that will help you run cooler.
 

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2,300 lbs including trailer sounds a bit light for a 19 foot bowrider. I think your Dad's figures are off (I'm guessing that boat is all of 2,300 lbs, plus the trailer).

I tow a 21 foot Chaparral bowrider with my Disco and it does... alright. Not great, I wish it had another 50 horsepower and a 5 speed gearbox. My Chap weighs around 3,500 lbs dry (without fuel, gear, etc.) and I assume the trailer weighs around 1,200 lbs (steel tandem axle setup with surge brakes), so I'm right at the Disco's limit. Hills on the interstate means routine downshifts into third.

I'm sure your Disco will tow the Sea-Ray, but I'd have your Dad double check those weight figures.

When you tow, put the transmission into sport mode - it helps out quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
2,300 lbs including trailer sounds a bit light for a 19 foot bowrider. I think your Dad's figures are off (I'm guessing that boat is all of 2,300 lbs, plus the trailer).
You're right! A little internet research later - 2,700 pounds dry for the boat. Thanks for the note about sport mode. I'm going to send my old man random F-250 ads until he gets the hint.
 

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disco biscuit
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I think your all wrong to stress this guy out with numbers.;) I have a F-350 but when I hook up to a boat I use the disco...I could launch the boat your talking about off a bayou bank with my disco. And on top of that the balance and gear ratio make it drive better than my Chevy truck pulling a boat. Let him buy it, pull it and come back here and tell me about it. I do have ebc rotors and akebono brake pads. It capable enough.
 

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Yeah I just did this tow unbraked, with a tad more weight, and I went through all terrain across the usa. The oil cooler does a lot of work, very happy I had it.

Tranmission on inclines will probably throw you heat warnings so yeah, service it but it may not help on longer hauls with the trans heat light. Shorter treks you may get by

I actually dont advise sport mode personally, just dumps a ton of fuel to pull and heats the engine, oil, and tranny wayyyy too much at least on my D2. The alternative for me was hitting the steeper grades going 20mph over posted speed limits and riding out the inclines without sport because of the heat issues I had with it. I prefer mimicing semis and slowly approaching gears when slow towing to avoid engine issues, high rpms while towing depending on the situation with the sport mode may cause some issues.

I coasted neutral down slopes to let the trans and engine cool withouth gear engagement friction and heat. Those tricks worked. I also dont think cruise control (on inclines) while towing is worth a damn, same heat issues and fuel dumping to make up for it.

all in all if I dont have to tow except for projects I wont be pushing my D2 anywhere near that tow again, she didnt care for it with steep grades. Mike is pretty dead on, it wasnt a healthy thing

my 2 cents
 

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I actually dont advise sport mode personally, just dumps a ton of fuel to pull and heats the engine, oil, and tranny wayyyy too much at least on my D2. The alternative for me was hitting the steeper grades going 20mph over posted speed limits and riding out the inclines without sport because of the heat issues I had with it.
I guess this is where you and I disagree.

I've never had heat issues with my transmission or engine. Sport mode works better on on-ramps and hills for me, otherwise the transmission gets to 4th gear lockup as soon as possible and stays in there as long as possible and then kicks down very hard into third as the engine RPMs sail to 4k+. For some reason, my D2 transmission never likes to stay in 4th with the torque converter unlocked.

Building up a 20 mph advantage isn't an option in town or on busier interstates. Not only are you more prone to a speeding ticket (and if you do get caught, you can be damn sure you'll get the ticket given that you're towing and should know better), but it's also dangerous when hauling a heavy load in the event you need to make an emergency stop. Trailer brakes can only do so much and the Disco's brakes have never been praise worthy.

Coasting down hill with the trans in neutral puts a lot of heat (wear) into the brakes. You're trading off one evil for another.
 

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I have to tow a 22ft 5000 lb travel trailer(loaded roof rack as well)for thousands of miles every year with my D2. While I would not tow anything heavy with an unbraked trailer, this Disco does a great job through all sorts of towing conditions. Also I run 265/75/16s- so far so good(even in triple digit temps) but you have to really keep up with changing the diff fluids, transmission and transfer case. I have an early Disco with the tranny cooler. I drive it in 3rd pretty much the whole time. So much easier on the tranny and much better towing experience.

I don't push the vehicle, just take my time- drive between 55-60 mph. I don't mind the steep mountain passes, it's the headwinds that can be a bugger.

The vehicle was designed to take a 2.5 ton load, but here in the U.S. that number was shaved down to 5500 lbs which the vehicle can easily take. Pound for pound you can't find a stronger vehicle.

I was somewhat interested in an LR3 because of its 7,800 pound towing capacity but I was the disappointed to find out it only has a 550 pound tongue weight max which pretty much eliminates anything over 6000 lbs. You cannot use a weight distribution hitch either.

I have used a weight distribution hitch on my set up for years and works great to offset a heavier tongue weight(within specs) and balances the load so nice.
 

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This a great thread, did any of you upgrade your tires to E load? Also, with 100k miles I need to replace the springs and shocks but Don't want to lift it. I also plan on adding a trans and/or oil cooler.
 

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This a great thread, did any of you upgrade your tires to E load? Also, with 100k miles I need to replace the springs and shocks but Don't want to lift it. I also plan on adding a trans and/or oil cooler.
I thought that the 03/04 Discos had oil and transmission coolers?
 

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I thought that the 03/04 Discos had oil and transmission coolers?
I have an'02 and believe it does, I will be watching the scan gauge.
 

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disco biscuit
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My 04 doesn't have an oil cooler. Not sure when they stopped using it. It does have a transmission cooler. Almost all vehicles do...most try to add an additional cooler when towing more than occasionally, over long distance or close to the weight limit or over.
 

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This a great thread, did any of you upgrade your tires to E load? Also, with 100k miles I need to replace the springs and shocks but Don't want to lift it. I also plan on adding a trans and/or oil cooler.
Never upgraded my tires… But I did stick with air springs in the back. I love watching the back end self level after hitching up to the boat trailer. The truck rides great with a trailer hitched up. However, after 120k, I do notice that my shocks are quite shot, easily made far more apparent with a 5,500 lb boat/trailer combo in tow.
 
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