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236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Page 536 of the owners manual contains the following:

"Towing Tips

Before setting out on a trip, practice turning, stopping,
and backing the trailer in an area located away from
heavy traffic.

Automatic Transmission — If Equipped

The DRIVE range can be selected when towing. The
transmission controls include a drive strategy to avoid
frequent shifting when towing. However, if frequent shifting
does occur while in DRIVE, use the Electronic Range
Select (ERS) shift control to select a lower gear range.

NOTE: Using a lower gear range while operating the
vehicle under heavy operating conditions will improve
performance and extend transmission life by reducing
excessive shifting and heat build up. This action will also
provide better engine braking."

My question is, what to you think a good gear range is for towing? I am guessing the weight of the load being towed and condtions would influence but do you think there is a general rule of thumb? (see page 429 and 430 for Electronic Range Select (ERS) Operation)

· Registered
2,757 Posts
Really there is no way to say the best gear is X for towing. It all depends on multiple factors. Traffic, terrain, wind, weight and sail area.

traffic - self explanatory
terrain - flat, hilly, mountains?
wind - A head wind can cause a huge amount of drag on the object being towed affecting shifting. But A tailwind can actually help you.
weight - again self explanatory
sail area - frontal area of the object being towed. My 5'x4' teardrop trailer has much less sail area then a 7'x8' travel trailer. So it will put less load on the vehicle even if the weights are the same.

Really the only way to know, what gear to use, is to start locking out. I figure I will start limiting it to 7th or 6th. If the transmission is still hunting around then drop it to 5th. Another thing to watch is the transmission temperature which is available in the cluster display. If the temp gets high you can lock out gears as well to keep it cooler.

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861 Posts
I agree with John above. My boat weight is 3530 pounds and I envision originally locking out top 3 (7-8-9) gears but when I get on level sections of 401 in s/w Ontario where only hills are 401 overpasses (LOL) I may try to use higher gears depending on what tach is telling me. Experience will soon indicate if more/different action is required.

I still haven't made up my mind as to which transmission mode will be best for towing.

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353 Posts
6, 7, 8, and 9 are all overdrive ratios in the Cherokee.
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