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My Towing Recommendations

28129 Views 43 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Dbax
Many people have asked about what to use while towing. Below I will provide links for the items I personally use and would recommend whole heartedly without hesitation. I used to own an RV repair facility where we installed towing equipment and towed trailer for clients.

Make sure when towing to increase air pressure in your tires a little to help take the bounce out of your ride. If you have a 7 foot wide trailer like mine mirror extensions aren't really needed IF you adjust your mirrors so that the inside edge of the mirror can BARELY see the body of the Cherokee. Please when towing keep it under 65 even in 65+ MPH zones like here in Texas. While the cherokee CAN tow that fast I can't recommend it. Weight distribution hitches are required by FCA when towing 3500lbs or more. Personally I'd say if your tongue weight is 250lbs or more it's better safe than sorry. Also, if you are towing a single axle trailer I would go as far as to say anti-sway is a must. Please avoid anti-sway systems you have to disconnect before you backup, it's an accident waiting to happen. If you tow often and you have a 2016 I don't know if this is on 2015's, go into the uconnect and turn OFF the automatic mirror tilt. The setting that points your mirrors down when you put it into reverse.

I want to point out, IF you find yourself in a situation where the trailer is swaying badly you have a few options. Put your foot to the floor and accelerate, trailer weight will determine if this'll work. You can also use the lever on your brake controller and apply the brakes with that, that'll apply the brakes on JUST the trailer causing it to drag bringing it straight. Last and not least will be to simply ease up off the gas and coast. Trust the jeep if you have the factory tow system, the factory anti-sway works beautifully. Whatever you do during sway do NOT hit the brakes, this can and will cause you to swerve off the highway often causing a rollover.

Always pack your trailer tongue heavy, this helps prevent sway. Also if you put it in sport mode that helps hold gears however it turns on the 4wd system. If you find you need to force the transmission into a lower gear, it IS possible. You take the selector lever and move it to the left into the manual mode. Once there, push the selector lever forward and hold it there, this will cause the transmission to shift into the lowest gear available and stay there. You may have to hold it for a few seconds as it takes it sweet time to downshift.

Also, one last tidbit. Make sure you stop by the dealer and pick up a few extra charge line fuses. They are 30 amp fuses and retail for about 9$ a piece. After blowing mine I replaced it with a 40amp which the wiring in the jeep can handle.

If ANYONE has any questions about towing, please contact me directly and I'll answer them personally. Also, if you are having trouble with your trailer you are also welcome to contact me personally. If you are local to me I'll even help out in person.

The information provided in this thread is of my own opinion and is in no way required or associated with JCC in any way. Please follow all of your local laws when towing and most of all slow down and leave yourself plenty of space.

Weight Distribution Hitch WITH Anti-Sway I have: https://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Distribution/Reese/RP66086.html

This is the weight distribution hitch with anti-sway I would recommend due to clearance issues: https://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Distribution/Reese/RP66082.html

This is the brake controller I would recommend: https://www.etrailer.com/multi-prod...kee&hhyear=2016&vehicleid=201633041&hunter=bc

These are the airbags I would recommend: https://www.etrailer.com/Vehicle-Suspension/Air-Lift/AL60751.html

This would be for shear ease of use to be able to make adjustments on the fly and not have to keep checking to see if the airbags are still inflated: https://www.etrailer.com/Vehicle-Suspension/Air-Lift/AL25850.html

From @Rojhan: It's a lot cheaper to buy (good!) safety equipment than to recover from the effects of any kind of accident. There are few things in life scarier than having your trailer "wag the dog"; the trailer does whatever it's going to do and you and the tow vehicle are just along for the ride. Don't spend $40K on a vehicle and $30K on a trailer and turn right around and think that ~$500 for the proper tow setup is expensive...

Something else to do is, at least once, go to a truck scale and weigh the various combinations of tow vehicle and trailer: http://www.learntorv.com/2013/05/how...l-trailer.html. *KNOW* what your weights are. Clothes, tents, etc. aren't very heavy but you may be amazed at how much it all adds up to when you are fully loaded.

Get a tongue scale: https://www.amazon.com/Sherline-LM-1...dp/B007REJTGI/ so you know exactly what your current load will be on the vehicle.

Physics is a harsh mistress that doesn't cut you any slack. Keep in mind that you are likely upwards of 8,500lbs of combined weight when you are towing. The vehicle is going to handle differently. Stopping distance is going to be affected, even with trailer brakes. Other drivers are "blind" to larger vehicles and seem to think they can all stop on a dime. Give yourself plenty of room to maneuver. That includes reducing speed, if necessary. Plenty of videos on Youtube of RV/trailer/truck accidents; when they go south, they go south *really* quick. The best response is to prevent, not react.

Keep an eye on tire inflation and wear on both the trailer and the KL. Same rationale; you are in a much more precarious balance of forces when towing. It takes a lot less to upset the balance and have bad things happen.

Don't take the listed tow capacity of the KL as an attempt at a high score or take it just as "bah, FCA is just being paranoid." Exceeding the GVWR/GCWR is a recipe for disaster; human, insurance, civil, and criminal. If you want to tow something bigger than the tow vehicle is spec'd for, get a tow vehicle with more capacity. Helper springs, air bags, etc. help control the ride and the loading, but they do NOT *add* capacity.

Adding an additional resource: http://changingears.com/rv-sec-tow-v...derstand.shtml

Short version: "Don't exceed any individual rating, even if the total is within limits. Actual weighing with a scale is the only way to know your numbers for sure. Don't trust printed or spoken information."

GVW: Gross Vehicle Weight
Your "all-in" weight. Vehicle/Trailer. People. Contents. Fluids. Everything.

GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.
The max allowed GVW.

GCW: Gross Combination Weight
Total all-in weight of both towing vehicle and towed (trailer).

GCWR: Gross Combination Weight Rating
The max allowed GCW

GAW: Gross Axle Weight
Measured on each axle; the actual weight each axle is supporting.

The max allowed GAW.

Tongue Weight
The amount of weight transferred from the trailer and supported by the hitch. Should be 10-12% of trailer weight.
Too light or too heavy and vehicle/trailer handling will be affected.
A weight-distributing hitch transfers the same amount of weight to the vehicle, but the lever action moves some of the weight to the front axle rather than "all" on the rear axle. A WDH is also significantly heavier than a drawbar and needs to be part of your tongue weight calculation.

Curb Weight: "Unladen" vehicle weight.
Total vehicle weight with standard options/equipment, fluids, fuel, etc. No people or cargo.

Dry Weight: Similar to Curb weight, but without fluids, batteries, propane, accessories. etc. "Fresh from the factory without any dealer prep." Rarely used, other than by RV sellers to tell you "Sure, your car can handle that! (as long as you don't bring any water or personal items with you or actually want it to be useful. )" :p

Cargo weight:
All the extra stuff you add, including people.

Once you add a trailer, you are going to affect GAW, GVW and GCW. Tongue weight will transfer from the trailer to the vehicle. Note, you can have a negative tongue weight if poorly loaded. This will actually lift the rear of the tow vehicle.
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Great advice @Rojhan

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While it disables traction control if you reach over and hit the traction control button it should turn it right back on.

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@Mark_ between owning my own business, the army and driving tractor trailer I've seen a lot. It doesn't matter if you are towing 800lbs or 80,000. It's all a matter of towing properly and within the limits of someone's ability. I've seen more people hurt and killed by sway than anything else. I've also seen overloaded trailers have the hubs get so hot the lugs break off and send a trailer and tire in two different directions so I can't stress towing safety enough.

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The Cherokee is equipped with a ton of warning lights and safety systems. If it's not giving you any warnings you should be fine. But understand if you are starting to hit a limit and you have the ac on the Cherokee will turn off the AC so that may be an early warning system of sorts. I have almost 6000 miles towing my trailer all over the US now and have not had a single problem. Even down here in Texas with a winch up front blocking part of the radiator.

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Oh, the Cherokee doesn't take kindly to towing a trailer 800 miles in the snow even at 15 degree outdoor temps I managed to overheat my 4wd. But I'm fairly certain I was pushing it beyond its design limits.

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It was a mix of both, if the ground was white I was in snow mode because the traction control and stability control systems are more aggressive if it appeared dry I was in auto. My 4wd overheated JUST as I got to Moab and the roads cleared up. Within prolly 30 minutes it was back to working normally and I didn't have a problem again the rest of the 3200 miles. It was hard pack snow and ice. Tricky to tow the trailer through but nothing I couldn't handle. Wyoming on the other hand with 65 mph cross winds and blowing -30 was interesting but the anti sway system in the Cherokee and the anti sway on the trailer worked like a champ. But I was traveling at only 35 mph or so for nearly 200 miles to get through the storm on highway 80. Nasty stretch of road.

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The 2016 4wd when it overheats doesn't fully shutdown like it did on the 2014. It severely limits it but doesn't completely turn it off like it did on my 2014. https://youtu.be/qo1QAViZWY0

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I noticed that you mounted the brake controller on the compartment door under the dash. How does that work for you. I also have the P3 and was planning on mounting it more to center, but I also have an under-dash holster that I like to use as well, so that door was another thought. Do you find that you hit it with your knee when you get in and out?


I've got my seat set so that when the ignition turns off it slides back. That helps greatly not hit it. But when I'm hooking up a trailer or I'm getting in and out while the engine is running I do find myself hitting it from time to time. I'm 5' 7" tall and about 220. The problem with more in the center or to the right is the knee airbag located under the steering wheel. If you screw into that plastic you could accidentally detonate the airbag or tear it. Also in the event of a collision whatever is mounted to that plastic can become a bullet. So I'd recommend against mounting it in the center. Personally I would have liked it in the center console on on the dash where it's easy to get to, but with where it's at its easy. And it comes with everything you need to just pop it off really quick. It's all quick disconnect anyways.

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I didn't think about the airbag, but thanks for pointing that out. I'm 6'1" and don't have the easy exit seats, and have been driving an F-150 for the past 4 years. The smaller vehicle is still an adjustment, but I'll get used to it. Thanks, Jim.

No problem Jim. I'm happy to help. Thanks @ptrudel.

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@Rojhan, dry weight is also without batteries, water, propane or accessories. Dry weight is typically the weight of the of the trailer as it ships from the factory before the dealer does any prep.

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Thank you for sharing your expertise with us.

The wife and I retired this year and purchased a 2016 Cherokee V6 4wd Limited edition with the tow package with the intention of purchasing a travel trailer to realize a shared dream of camping along the Pacific Coast and probably beyond. After much research and dealer visits, we set our sights on Gulfstream's Vista Cruiser 19erd. With the options we want, the 19erd has an UVW of 3300 lbs, a GVWR of 4150 lbs, and a hitch weight of 380 lbs. All within the limits of our Cherokee.

However, while doing research and reading your article/post, I read the following: "A WDH is also significantly heavier than a drawbar and needs to be part of your tongue weight calculation." Doh! After reading your recommendations, I am committed to purchase and install everything; I want all the safety and prevention I can get. But when I look at your recommended WDH on trailer.com, I see a shipping weight of over 100 lbs. If I add that to the listed tongue weight of the 19erd, we will be 30 lbs over the Cherokee's 450 lb max. Please tell me that we can work out a WDH with a sway prevention feature and remain within the Cherokee towing limits.

One thought is, since the going in tongue weight of the 19erd is well over 10% of the GVWR, is it possible to load the trailer in a way that the weight of the WDH can be offset so the tongue weight can be maintained below 450 lbs?

Are there any other solutions you can recommend other than buying a different TT? We've looked long and hard to find a TT with a walk around bed, an interior height that doesn't require hunching over (I'm a tall one), and a dinette that can sleep a couple of grandkids in sleeping bags; all within reasonable Cherokee weight limits. The 19erd is uniquely qualified in this regard... or at least we hope it is.

Thanks again for providing such a valuable service to this community.

You should be just fine in the case of the tongue weight. I figure I'm pushing close to 500lbs of tongue weight before the hitch because of all the weight I've added. In addition I haul a power hair which is 550lbs before you calculate the hanging weight. So the hitch can handle it. To help, you install the WDH and airbags. All this helps shift the weight to the front axle and back onto the trailer axles, making the tongue "feel" lighter.

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Thank you. Ill set a reminder in my phone to add it to the post.

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