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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i'm looking to tow something 4,500lbs and i need a vehicle to do it. i am a master volvo tech and i've been working at the dealer for 10 years, i know these cars inside and out so naturally a volvo is my first choice. i'm a RWD guy, i have a high horsepower 740 that i race, and i know the new cars in stock form very well but i've never had any experience towing with an xc90.

as a volvo tech i would only buy a 2.5t xc90, working on these all day long i know what's best. all models (except fwd) are rated to tow ~4900lbs with trailer brakes and i just upgraded my trailer to disc brakes with all new components.

does anybody regularly tow something over 4000lbs with their xc90? i don't think it will struggle too hard pulling the boat up a steep ramp as long as i keep the awd in good order.

i'm trying to make sure it's not going to be too much of a stuggle because i have to snatch one of these things from a trade-in, probably without a hitch and i have to buy right away without any way to test the hauling abilities.

i don't want to end up with a great xc90 that still won't tow my boat.
 

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it also depends on the ramp angle, but i have seen people towing the boat and trailer for about 4000 lbs. In some website says xc90 2.5T tow limit is 4999, some others 4000. Send a PM to Mr. P i know he tow a boat.
 

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2021 Volvo S60 T5 AWD
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Mr P towed a pretty big and heavy boat with his 2.5T AWD. He's posted pictures somewhere.

I think dmd towed/tows a similar load.

I towed a pair of wave runners with my 04 XC90 2.5T and 07 XC70 ages ago.
 

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I did not have any real problems towing this boat on the normal highways and gentle hill country secondary roads, but it did struggle on a very steep winding driveway with cutbacks. i got a Bronco 4WD with a low range and 351W to do that job before I broke the XC90 trying. Coming up the boat ramp should not be so tough because it is a single short pull.





On the long driveway with cutbacks the motor could never rev high enough to build any kind of momentum due to the fact that the gearing was not low enough.

On the highway i really had little trouble, just taking it very easy and letting the motor work as little as possible, shifting manually and being very careful and giving plenty of room to stop.

On our steep driveway in low range, the Bronco pulls the hill almost in idle, a very big difference between a highway cruiser with AWD and a true 4WD farm truck.







This boat was around 3,000 pounds with a small block 327 GM inboard and iron risers and transmission, and I figure the trailer must have weighed at least 500 or more pounds, not sure about the trailer weight.

Hope this helps,

P
 

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as a volvo tech i would only buy a 2.5t xc90, working on these all day long i know what's best.
My Volvo mechanic agrees with you. Sorry, I know I'm off topic--just tooting my XC90's horn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I did not have any real problems towing this boat on the normal highways and gentle hill country secondary roads, but it did struggle on a very steep winding driveway with cutbacks. i got a Bronco 4WD with a low range and 351W to do that job before I broke the XC90 trying. Coming up the boat ramp should not be so tough because it is a single short pull.

On the long driveway with cutbacks the motor could never rev high enough to build any kind of momentum due to the fact that the gearing was not low enough.

On the highway i really had little trouble, just taking it very easy and letting the motor work as little as possible, shifting manually and being very careful and giving plenty of room to stop.

On our steep driveway in low range, the Bronco pulls the hill almost in idle, a very big difference between a highway cruiser with AWD and a true 4WD farm truck.

This boat was around 3,000 pounds with a small block 327 GM inboard and iron risers and transmission, and I figure the trailer must have weighed at least 500 or more pounds, not sure about the trailer weight.

Hope this helps,

P
that is helpful. i can't tell from your picture if you have trailer brakes but i'm actually not too worried about stopping. the xc90 is plenty heavy, the brakes are big and i just installed vented disc brakes on my trailer.

what i'm really worried about is the gearing causing a struggle with long distance towing. i need to tow this boat about 180 miles once or twice a year. the route is pretty flat except for a couple bridges including the 4 mile long Chesapeake bay bridge which has a moderate incline before the peak.

i also worry about 1st gear being low enough to pull the boat out of the water on the boat ramp. it's likely that full throttle will be necessary to get moving so the turbo can spool and start making some torque.

my boat weighs 3800lbs, the trailer title states the trailer weight to be 600lbs. that should be safely within the max towing capacity of a 2.5t awd.
 

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2021 Volvo S60 T5 AWD
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When I tow, I like to stay within 80% of the stated limits.

If the Volvo's limit is 4500 pounds, I would rather stay at 3600 pounds.

Now, that may sound like me being conservative, but you need to factor in the weight of fluids (oil, water, gas), paraphernalia, etc.

Also, be aware that if (god forbid) you're in an accident in an overloaded vehicle, your insurance company most likely will deny the claim.
 

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that is helpful. i can't tell from your picture if you have trailer brakes but i'm actually not too worried about stopping. the xc90 is plenty heavy, the brakes are big and i just installed vented disc brakes on my trailer.

what i'm really worried about is the gearing causing a struggle with long distance towing. i need to tow this boat about 180 miles once or twice a year. the route is pretty flat except for a couple bridges including the 4 mile long Chesapeake bay bridge which has a moderate incline before the peak.

i also worry about 1st gear being low enough to pull the boat out of the water on the boat ramp. it's likely that full throttle will be necessary to get moving so the turbo can spool and start making some torque.

my boat weighs 3800lbs, the trailer title states the trailer weight to be 600lbs. that should be safely within the max towing capacity of a 2.5t awd.

My trailer did not have surge brakes, it was just a roller. On the ramp I actually don't think it would be all that tough for you because it is a short pull. If it puts a strain on the system it will only be for a moment and just apply power slowly until you get things done. Don't count on the turbo helping much for that, because you will never get into enough rpm to see your torque numbers or get the turbo to do much.

The over-the-road rolling did not seem to put any stress on the system, but I would caution about pulling in overdrive up any kind of an incline even if the torque converter will let you do it. I am generally very good to my machinery, use synthetic oil, give it the proper care it needs most of the time, don't use a K&N air filter lol, and I would keep the rpm up gently by shifting manually into 4th gear when I thought the motor would be lugging unnecessarily just to be safe. Also, realize that if you do have any really long grades, you will be heating up that entire turbocharger circuit too if you keep your foot in it for a long time, and it is always better to generate less heat in that situation by slowing down and selecting a lower gear and just taking your time. There is one long hill on my route as i live in hill country (rolling hills) and I would speed up as I hit the bottom of the hill but always had to eventually shift down and ease off the throttle. It is better to use half throttle in a lower gear than 3/4 throttle in a higher gear when pulling up a long hill. Even when I haul with the Bronco over this same stretch of road I know the engine is making a lot more heat because i can smell the heat coming off the exhaust pipes.

Once rolling on the interstate the 2.5 did well, but because this was an expensive car we wanted to keep for the long term I aways took it easy with it. We really pushed it hard, however, on that climb up our driveway, as it was all low end grunt and the XC90 does not do well for that. For a short pull up the ramp, I don't think I would worry too much, yeah it may take full throttle but its a snatch rather than a red hot turbo trying to maintain speed up a long interstate hill. The Bronco is geared so low it is around 10-miles per gal when towing and I am not kidding, it is a total joke, but thankfully the haul is short for us. If I were going to a boat show or something I would take the Volvo, but would use the Bronco on that last pull up the driveway to our ridgetop.

If your route is mostly interstate and flat, I think you can do it okay if you realize you have a max load and drive accordingly. Natually any time you have a trailer load back there you must be extra alert anyway, and it is never a very relaxed ride for the driver if you are doing it right, no matter what the tow vehicle is.

Good luck,

P
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
The manual for my 06 has ratings based on occupancy etc. I would also take your rig as you would be towing it to a truck scale and determine the weight. I think my 06 starts at 5,000lbs towing capacity but drops to 0 if there are 7 passengers. Here is a link to the US owner manuals: http://www.volvocars.com/us/top/yourvolvo/volvo-vehicle-information-library/Pages/default.aspx.
you know, it doesn't say any of that in the actual owners manual for earlier models (just checked). that's something they added in 2005. they probably found that so many t6 transmissions were being replaced that they would pro-rate the towing capacity based on occupants even though T6 production was stopping soon.

it should say "t6 models not recommended for towing"

i plan to put a massive trans cooler on it in addition to keeping all the services up to date.

2004 just says 4960lbs with trailer brakes, no occupancy table.
 

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I have a 3,700 lb boat that I tow a few times a year. Trailer is made by Eagle and has tandem axles with surge brakes. I estimate the total package is a little over 5,000 lbs. I have towed this with both a 2.5T AWD and a V8 Sport. The 2.5T towed OK, but got poor fuel mileage (9 - 11 MPG). The V8 tows much better and gets much better fuel economy (13-18). I upgraded to the V8 Sport just for towing - the upgraded tires, brakes, transmission and suspension really help with towing.

My biggest concerns with towing are control and braking. Both XC90s were able to control the trailer and maintain composure at all times, but the V8 Sport is clearly better. I have been thru several panic stops while towing with the V8, and it did great - came to a stop quicly and with control.

Neither of my XC90s strugglesd pulling a boat out of the water, but the V8 does it w/o even breaking a sweat.

Bottom Line: I am really happy with the XC90 as a tow vehicle.
 

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I would never recommend towing at a vehicles max rating unless it is a heavy duty vehicle (the xc90 is not). We have towed 3500lbs for a few hours, I doubt I would
go any more than that for anything extended. I suggest getting a vehicle designed more for towing.

Of course it is your call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have a 3,700 lb boat that I tow a few times a year. Trailer is made by Eagle and has tandem axles with surge brakes. I estimate the total package is a little over 5,000 lbs. I have towed this with both a 2.5T AWD and a V8 Sport. The 2.5T towed OK, but got poor fuel mileage (9 - 11 MPG). The V8 tows much better and gets much better fuel economy (13-18). I upgraded to the V8 Sport just for towing - the upgraded tires, brakes, transmission and suspension really help with towing.

My biggest concerns with towing are control and braking. Both XC90s were able to control the trailer and maintain composure at all times, but the V8 Sport is clearly better. I have been thru several panic stops while towing with the V8, and it did great - came to a stop quicly and with control.

Neither of my XC90s strugglesd pulling a boat out of the water, but the V8 does it w/o even breaking a sweat.

Bottom Line: I am really happy with the XC90 as a tow vehicle.
well, that's good because here's the '05 2.5t awd we just got with the boat it's going to have to tow.

 

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Nice looking rig (both xc90 & boat). The 2.5T is definitely the most reliable engine in the XC90 line-up, but I couldn't say how well they tow. The last thing I towed was my daughter's horse trailer with a 1997 5.4L V8 Ford Expedition.
 

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Baby it and you should be fine. Use the manual shifting to keep in 4th gear when the rig may want to shift into 5th just to keep from over-lugging with a load. If you come to a long hill, you can pick up some speed as you approach the bottom of the hill, let up slightly as the hill starts to take over, and be prepared to shift down manually to keep from overl-lugging the rig. That is what I cal babying the vehicle in the name of longevity.

You may even want to put on your flashers on a long hill just to keep from keeping the blowtorch off those pistons. She should roll easily on the flats, just don't push it on the hills, you should be fine.

Good luck, have fun,

best,

P


Oh and BTW, nice looking XC90 you got, and nice looking boat too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
thanks, i put a hitch on the xc90 yesterday and did the wiring, tested it out today.

drove around locally with the boat, going up a few steep hills and such. it fusses a little bit with all the weight back there but the job gets done. i stopped on a steep hill and made sure it had enough torque to pull the boat from a stop on sharp incline. it pulled up the hill which is steeper than your typical boat ramp.

as much as i can personally vouch for the strength of the AW50-55SN trans, i really hope it stays together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just an update here, it's about 2 years later and come to find out my boat/trailer combination is close to 5500lbs..

I have been towing it just fine with the xc90. It stops and pulls it fine, the only issue is that I get some sway over 60mph, especially if the fuel tank on the boat is half full. I towed it 300 miles earlier this month and I just keep it under 60mph.



 

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Ive been towing this trailer and in two weeks I will tow it back to Texas from Illinois.



A couple of weeks ago I towed another Volvo on a Uhaul auto transport trailer. The XC90 may not be a heavy duty pick up truck, but it definitely gets the job done.

 

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what are you planning for the old(er) volvo being towed ?
 

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Going to make it a daily driver for now. Later on I will do a major face-lift with paint job, turbo, interior, and whatever else needed.
 
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