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Old 09-13-2015, 12:30 PM
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Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

Used this forum when I was looking to buy a Jeep, so thought I would share my thoughts on my towing experience.

I have a 2014 Grand Cherokee Summit, which has the towing package. The truck just had it's second oil change at about 14,000.

I was towing a fishing boat, dual axle. I had taken it into a weigh station, so the weights were: 2,780 front axle, 3,720 back axle on truck, 4,360 boat trailer axle, for a total weight of 10,860. Note that this was also after I had dropped off 2 passengers and their luggage. My estimate, based on a previous weighing, is that the boat/trailer alone weighed about 4,900.

The thing to note is that although I was way below the towing capacity (4,900 vs 7,200) I was probably at (or above with the passengers) the GVW of 6,800 (6,500 without the additional passengers). So if you are pulling a heavier boat, closer to the max amount, you probably can't have many passengers or luggage).

We drove from southern Wis. to Lake of the Woods Canada. The total miles were 1,323. The driving time was 24 1/2 hours. This works out to be about 54 mph, on average. Most of the time was spent at about 65 mph (the max for trailer wheels). The truck calculated 17.6 miles per gallon (sounds right based on a quick manual calc) , which I was very happy with. (Does anyone else think the MPG calculation changes too much? I've had over a thousand miles on the MPG calc, then I drive a couple of miles, and then have the MPG change quite a bit, which would imply a ridiculous MPG the last couple of miles) The drive is fairly flat (one major hill in Duluth, water temp did rise, but stayed ok).

I spent a lot of the time with the cruise control on ( I know they say you shouldn't, but I think that is because it might have trouble finding the right gear. As you can see, not an issue). The truck did a nice job of changing gears when we came to minor hills. It automatically down shifted to keep the RPM's between 2,500 and 3,000 and then slowly shifted up as needed. I only had to manually change gears once or twice. I don't remember any major problems with it having trouble finding the right gear or going to really high RPMs.

There was no sway from the boat (probably because of the dual axle). I just have the normal tow package, no additional load leveling gear.

The ride was great. Very pleased with the truck on the trip and very happy with the truck overall. No problems (except getting used to the diesel/turbo lag when going from a stop ) to report so far.

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  #2  
Old 09-20-2015, 08:52 PM
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Re: Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

Have you tried towing anything bigger as of yet? Also have you towed into a hilly area, now that you have had the Jeep a little longer?
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Old 09-21-2015, 12:31 AM
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Re: Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

Towing a 4900# Airstream trailer, I consider this Jeep to be (more or less) an ideal towing vehicle. And I generally overload: the back of the Jeep is full, and I carry a RocketBox and BasketCase on top...

My overall towing MPG stat is probably around 17.0 MPG; I've seen as low as 15.5 and as high as 20.5 for various legs of different trips.

I wish the cooling system were better, but overall I like this Jeep for towing.

And Adaptive Cruise Control while towing in the mountains is priceless...
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:24 AM
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Re: Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

Did you notice your temperture rising when you hit the hills. My coolant temperature guage seems to climb to the upper part of the third quadrant consistently when I hhit a hill or a good head wind. I'm only towing 2500lbs. Other members have seen the same thing. I feel the cooling system is undersized.
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:38 AM
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Re: Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

Add a bottle of motormax or water wetter to your coolant (does not hurt the system but makes water more adherent to hotter surfaces and makes the system more efficient). This makes a difference in 100% water system (like in a track car where coolant is banned) or 50/50 mixtures for normal cars. It should drop the temps by 10-20 degrees across the board.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:39 PM
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Re: Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

We pulled a ~5000 lbs RV trailer in Utah between the Salt lake city and the national parks . The coolant temperature rose close to the orange area driving uphill, but we could manage that by reducing the speed and going to lower gear.
Initially we thought that this would harm the car, but based on the feed back that I got from this forum, it is OK to tow in such conditions.
We are planning to buy an RV trailer next year.
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:00 PM
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Re: Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

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Originally Posted by jaje View Post
Add a bottle of motormax or water wetter to your coolant (does not hurt the system but makes water more adherent to hotter surfaces and makes the system more efficient). This makes a difference in 100% water system (like in a track car where coolant is banned) or 50/50 mixtures for normal cars. It should drop the temps by 10-20 degrees across the board.
Is that safe to use with OAT antifreeze?
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Old 09-23-2015, 03:05 PM
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Re: Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

I certainly wouldn't use any additive in the coolant during the warranty period. Then again, that's me.....

Also, diesels work better HOT and the cooling system on our VM diesels appears to work very well. When towing our TT and climbing steep grades in hot weather, I've seen it climb up to the edge of the orange and stay there without causing issues. IIRC, the ECM would either put the Jeep in "limp mode" and/or shut it down if it was severely overheating. A simple check of the oil temps would give you peace of mind. As you know, we run synthetic oil in our engines and it can easily handle 300F temps. I've seen mine hit 260 on steep grades in the mountains with air temps in the mid 90's but it (and the coolant temp gauge) rapidly return to normal.
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Old 09-24-2015, 12:33 AM
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Re: Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

There have been plenty of people look at the honest temperature gauge and presume the deflection above the middle means that it's overheating, when, in fact, it is just telling you the temperature. It's not dumbed down to stay in the middle until it *has* overheated, like some others I've seen.

Just before the needle hits the red part of the gauge, your thermostat fully opens up and lets the coolant flow unrestricted. If the temperature continues to climb into the danger zone (note: not *near* the danger zone, but *in* the danger zone), the engine will defuel and temperatures will fall. People towing heavy loads with the RAM 1500s and the same engine see that on long steep grades. It's just not going to overheat.

Most people who worry about this are just barking at the moon.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:29 AM
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Re: Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel Dan View Post
Is that safe to use with OAT antifreeze?
I've used it for years on various vehicles with or without anti freeze.

Here's the products specs for the Redline Water Wetter (Satisfies ASTM D2570 and ASTM D1384 corrosion tests for glycol-based antifreezes) and can be used in Dexcool systems.
Red Line Synthetic Oil - WaterWetter® Coolant Additives - WaterWetter®

It is based on a plant additive that makes water less prone to bubbling and stick longer to hot surfaces providing better heat transfer from metal to fluids. Your thermostat will work around the lower temps and can help the engine run hotter under normal loads but when you are towing and heat build up cannot be handled by a fully open system (especially on hot days) this makes a big difference.
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Old 09-24-2015, 04:23 PM
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Re: Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

Quote:
Originally Posted by philbytx View Post
A simple check of the oil temps would give you peace of mind. As you know, we run synthetic oil in our engines and it can easily handle 300F temps. I've seen mine hit 260 on steep grades in the mountains with air temps in the mid 90's but it (and the coolant temp gauge) rapidly return to normal.
Thanks for this info, Phil. I've never strained my JGC CRD and oil temps have only seen 190s, maybe low 200s. When I towed, the weather was cool and the mountains weren't that high, the passes not too long.


Also, agree with you about not using water wetter during the warranty period.
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:43 PM
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Re: Towing with Grand Cherokee Diesel

This summer we used our 2014 diesel GC Limited to tow a 21 foot travel trailer, 5000 lbs fully loaded, all the way to and back from Alaska. We drove 11,000 miles round trip, when you add in all of the side trips from the Alaska Highway. An Anchorage Jeep dealer changed the oil, refilled the DEF and rotated the tires. That was it for maintenance. The Jeep was a joy to tow with, smooth, powerful, and trouble-free. I used the paddle shifters when pulling up and down steep grades (as steep as 11% for 11 miles on the road into Skagway). As everyone says, the temp gauge pushes to near the red zone on long steep inclines, but I have learned to ignore that because it has never overheated, even pulling the trailer over various Rocky Mountain passes in the summer of 2014. We met another couple using the diesel GC to pull a 24 foot travel trailer weighing closer to 6500 pounds, with no issues whatsoever. This car is a fabulous tow machine for our needs!

PS -- we got the infamous P20ee code about a month after we returned from Alaska, at 37,000 miles. The dealer downloaded the flash, and when the code came back a week later, they replaced the cat, no questions asked. We have since put on 2500 miles with no return of that code or any other problems.
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