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Old 05-02-2016, 06:29 AM
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Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

Hello everyone,

It's been a long time since I have been active on this board and a quick search didn't answer all of my questions.

My wife and I are looking to get into the travel trailer scene and our Eco-Diesel GC Summit is our only towing capable vehicle. My wife wants a trailer that can sleep 8-10 people for when we go to dog shows with a bunch of friends. This has led us to looking at some pretty long trailers....approx. 30' tongue to bumper and approx 5500lb dry with tandem axle.

Does anyone on here tow a trailer this long? Do you have a weight distribution/anti-sway hitch on the trailer? Is that really necessary when our Summits have the auto leveling air suspension and built in anti-sway technology? It seems to add quite a chunk of change to have this hitch work done to the trailer. Is it overkill?

I have towed our boat (approx 4500lb and 25' tongue to bumper) with no issues whatsoever, but the hitch weight on that setup is much lower. I'm just nervous at the prospect of increasing the weight and trailer length.

Any recommendations on brake controllers? I like the look of the Prodigy P3 or Prodigy RF by Tekonsha. Anyone used these in particular?

Any feedback/advice is welcome.
Thanks

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Old 05-02-2016, 08:01 AM
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Re: Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

I'm not a towing expert, but I would consider a weight distributing setup mandatory for a load that heavy and long. You want to prevent the trailer from swaying so that the sway control on your jeep doesn't have to try to correct for an out of control load. It will make your travels much more comfortable, safe, and you'll arrive much less stressed out. Years ago I tried towing a 24x8ft steel enclosed without a weight distributing hitch and it was scary. I was towing with a v8 Dodge Durango with around an 8k tow rating, but felt like the tail was wagging the dog. After I got the WD hitch it was a night and day difference.


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Old 05-02-2016, 08:07 AM
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Re: Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

Thanks for the reply. I've done some more searching and found that a wdh is mandatory above 3500lb trailer weight.

More research on the trailer we fell in love with says that it has tongue weight of 850lbs which exceeds the 720lbs allowed with the GC ecodiesel. Will a wdh enable us to still go with this trailer or is tongue weight simply tongue weight?

The trailer also has more frontal area than recommended in he owners manual (88sqft vs 55sqft). 55sqft doesn't sound like much of an allowance if one is considering a travel trailer.
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Old 05-02-2016, 08:09 AM
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Re: Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

You will need a weight-distributing hitch and some sway control for a trailer that long. I would verify the dry weight of the trailer. Our first RV was listed at 3,800 lbs and by the time you add the weight of the air conditioner, battery, awning, full propane tanks, basic camping gear with some dishes and bedding and we were just under 5,000 lbs before filling the fresh water tank.
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Old 05-02-2016, 10:42 AM
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Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

I would look for a trailer with a more aerodynamic front profile not the squared off type. They seem to pull nicer. You may get away with that tongue weight, I would just try to load the trailer cargo more towards the rear to take some weight off the hitch.


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Old 05-02-2016, 11:42 AM
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Re: Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

Generally, a weight distribution hitch does not change the tongue weight. It just maximizes the capacities of the tow vehicle. What this means is that, for the Jeep, you can go up to about 350 tongue weight without a WDH. If you use a WDH, then you can go up to the maximum tongue weight of 720. A WDH will not allow you to exceed 720. Sorry, but it sounds like your dream TT is too tongue-heavy.

As for the Tekonsha products you mentioned, they are all good. I used the RF myself for a while. But they all still rely on inertial/pendulum systems. I stepped up to the Tucson DirecLink for towing. It's expensive, but it plugs right into the OBDII port and reads data right off the onboard computer. Thus, it's completely agnostic as to how you mount the brain box, which makes it easy to hide, and seamless with the braking system once you get the sensitivity dialed in.


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Old 05-02-2016, 12:31 PM
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Re: Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

JEB1, Thanks for the feedback. I just spoke with the TT dealer and he was surprised to hear the high numbers on the trailer we were looking at. Hmm, maybe I should be talking to a different dealer??

Anyway, we think we've identified a similar TT with a much lower tongue weight of 590lbs. Sleeps 6 instead of 8 but you can't have everything! I really don't want to change tow vehicles given we've only had the jeep 2 years.

I'll look into the Tucson Direclink. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:53 PM
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Re: Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

As long as you stay within specs, you'll find the diesel to be a very capable and fuel efficient tow vehicle.

590 is within specs, but it's still a lot of weight. Because tongue weight can vary depending on how you load it, you might want to consider a scale for the tongue just to double check. If you're at 10% of a 6000 pound trailer, all is well. If you're at 15% with the same trailer, you have a problem. Also remember that tongue weight counts as cargo, so you will need to limit how much cargo you carry in the Jeep's tailgate area. 1050, minus the weight of passengers, minus tongue weight is all the cargo you can carry.

Happy trails.


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Old 05-02-2016, 02:56 PM
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Re: Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

My strong advice after half century of towing is that is too much trailer!.

I am considering "downsizing" from a truck to a JGC with the hemi. A major stopping point is the max payload of the JGC. 1100 pounds. That has to cover me, my wife, the dog,(650#) the hitch, WD bars (100#) and the hitch weight of my 5000# loaded trailer (650#) plus anything else in the GGC. It doesn't fit. I have no doubt the can pull my trailer, but I can't abide exceeding the payload by a bunch. The WD hitch will transfer maybe a third of the hitch weight to the trailer tires. But at a best case I am still well over the 1100#. Max payload is often neglected in our calculations of towing capacity. The good rule is to have some margin under rated capacities. I also heard that the maximum hitch weight rating for the JGC is 720#.

This youtube video
You Tube


of the 3.0 turbo diesel JGC towing 5700# up and down hill in the Rockies was helpful. At the beginning the "payload" issue was touched on.

All that said you can tow almost anything with anything. I remember a VW bug with a custom transmission towing a good size Airstream
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Old 05-02-2016, 03:08 PM
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Re: Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

Thanks for the feedback.

While I should be working I've been looking at various pickup options out there. I can get supplier pricing at any of the big three but getting my wife to leave behind her beloved GC will be an uphill battle!

I am now very aware of the total payload issue. If the trailer weighs 590# without distribution (let's assume that makes no difference for now), my wife and I plus two of our dogs total 435#. That means no room for the added weight of the wdh. All luggage would have to be in the rear of the trailer and anyone joining us for a weekend away would have to drive separately. At least they could all bundle into one other vehicle pulling a utility trailer with all the other crap we seem to need to take with us!!

There is a solution in there somewhere!

Maybe now just isn't the right time for us to enter this market.

Thanks to everyone for the replies. I appreciate it!
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Old 05-02-2016, 03:16 PM
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Re: Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerhall View Post
My strong advice after half century of towing is that is too much trailer!.

I am considering "downsizing" from a truck to a JGC with the hemi. A major stopping point is the max payload of the JGC. 1100 pounds. That has to cover me, my wife, the dog,(650#) the hitch, WD bars (100#) and the hitch weight of my 5000# loaded trailer (650#) plus anything else in the GGC. It doesn't fit. I have no doubt the can pull my trailer, but I can't abide exceeding the payload by a bunch. The WD hitch will transfer maybe a third of the hitch weight to the trailer tires. But at a best case I am still well over the 1100#. Max payload is often neglected in our calculations of towing capacity. The good rule is to have some margin under rated capacities. I also heard that the maximum hitch weight rating for the JGC is 720#.

This youtube video
You Tube


of the 3.0 turbo diesel JGC towing 5700# up and down hill in the Rockies was helpful. At the beginning the "payload" issue was touched on.

All that said you can tow almost anything with anything. I remember a VW bug with a custom transmission towing a good size Airstream

I'm with jerhall, I think that is too much trailer for the Jeep. You could probably do it, but would be playing the "weakest link" game. The biggest thing to remember is that you will never be at the "dry weight for your camper. You will put food/clothes/sleeping bags/dutch ovens/camp chairs/etc inside and then hundreds of pounds of water.

Assuming you still want to get into the RV scene, but want it to be more manageable, I would look at some of the hybrid trailers. They generally have a smaller box (like 18'-24') with 2-4 tip outs. Each tip out has a queen bed and is a tent top. These trailers are much lighter/easier to pull, and end up giving you the same kind of usable area.
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Old 05-02-2016, 03:23 PM
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Re: Towing / Travel Trailer Advice Needed

Thanks for the feedback.

While I should be working I've been looking at various pickup options out there. I can get supplier pricing at any of the big three but getting my wife to leave behind her beloved GC will be an uphill battle!

I am now very aware of the total payload issue. If the trailer weighs 590# without distribution (let's assume that makes no difference for now), my wife and I plus two of our dogs total 435#. That means no room for the added weight of the wdh. All luggage would have to be in the rear of the trailer and anyone joining us for a weekend away would have to drive separately. At least they could all bundle into one other vehicle pulling a utility trailer with all the other crap we seem to need to take with us!!

There is a solution in there somewhere!

Maybe now just isn't the right time for us to enter this market.

Thanks to everyone for the replies. I appreciate it!
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