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Old 06-23-2012, 10:48 AM
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Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

New Jeep owner! I just came over from Audi and have been reading and searching the forum, but didn't find my answer.

For some background, I have been 'patiently' waiting for a White V6 Limited with light frost beige/black and two weeks ago, a 2012 hit the dealer and I purchased it. It had all of the options I wanted (4x4 QTII, 730N, 20" wheels, Luxury Package), except it didn't have a tow hitch.

Prior to purchase, I looked under the vehicle and noticed it was pre-wired for the harness and because I wanted the OEM look, I had the dealer add the OEM hitch, as well as the chrome side steps and chrome fog bezels. In the end, I really like the way the vehicle looks/drives. Now, for my question.

The way I read the user's guide, because I added this at the dealer and not when the vehicle was made, I am assuming I can only tow 3500 pounds with a 350 pound tongue weight. But, I wanted to confirm it with the forum.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:19 AM
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Re: Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

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Originally Posted by newtoncd8 View Post
New Jeep owner! I just came over from Audi and have been reading and searching the forum, but didn't find my answer.

For some background, I have been 'patiently' waiting for a White V6 Limited with light frost beige/black and two weeks ago, a 2012 hit the dealer and I purchased it. It had all of the options I wanted (4x4 QTII, 730N, 20" wheels, Luxury Package), except it didn't have a tow hitch.

Prior to purchase, I looked under the vehicle and noticed it was pre-wired for the harness and because I wanted the OEM look, I had the dealer add the OEM hitch, as well as the chrome side steps and chrome fog bezels. In the end, I really like the way the vehicle looks/drives. Now, for my question.

The way I read the user's guide, because I added this at the dealer and not when the vehicle was made, I am assuming I can only tow 3500 pounds with a 350 pound tongue weight. But, I wanted to confirm it with the forum.

Thanks for any help.
Not sure where you got the 3500lb info from. You should be able to tow a max of 5000lbs, although I would never go to the max. You will need a class 3 hitch to get the 5000lb rating. I would also add a trans cooler since its not a factory tow install. Your tongue weight max is 10% of the towed load.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:21 AM
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Re: Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

From the user's guide: "NOTE: Vehicles not factory equipped with trailer tow package are limited to 3,500 lbs (350 lbs tongue weight)."
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:34 AM
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Re: Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

My advice would be to have a trailer towing company look at your setup and advise you. I would not go by what "Skippy" tells you at the dealer. Most dealers have no clue about towing. A good trailer vendor can see if you have the necessary equip to safely tow and at what load. You need to have the proper brakes, trans cooling, anti sway, and wiring to tow safely. Its more than just trailer lights and a hitch.
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:37 PM
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Re: Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

Agree, unlike the V6 4x2 towing package, with a 4x4 and Hemi there are a lot of changes made (load levellers, alternator, etc) and is rated at 7k lbs. Of course the factory hitch goes into the "frame" channel rather than being slung under it and uses four bolts on each side so would expect it to hadle a greater load.

OTOH any aftermarket hitch/receiver should be stamped with the maximum load it can take.

That said refer to page 523 & sub. in the Owners Manual 5th ed. (not the Users Guide) to figure out what the factory recommends. Note that for any trailer over 1k, brakes are recommended.
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Old 06-23-2012, 05:17 PM
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Re: Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

I had an OEM hitch added on to my Laredo V6 by the dealer. I tow close to 5k without issue. The only thing missing from my setup vs the factory installed version is the self leveling rear shocks. Not air shocks, not the load leveling system, just typical heavy duty leveling shocks you can buy aftermarket if you like. I have a tandem wheel trailer so my toungue weight is actually pretty light, no sagging at all. 25 years of towing with numerous vehicles. This isnt the best, but it is far from the worst. Many naysayers wouldnt be satisfied with anything less than a freightliner. Or.... a Hemi.....(which, before I get flamed, is appropriate if you will exceed the 5k) Unless you tow for a living, hundreds of miles at a time, the setup is fine.
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:05 PM
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Re: Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

Thanks all. I should have stated up front, I am simply looking at hauling landscaping river rock, mulch, etc (once a year) in a U-Haul and potentially a trip once every year or two between Denver and Kansas City with a 6x12 U-Haul trailer. In the end, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't planning on doing something that would be too much for the new vehicle. Again, thanks to all on the forum, I now feel much more comfortable about towing things occasionally.

p.s. I did look up in the owner's manual and it does say 5,000 pounds. I guess I don't understand why the "Users Guide" and the "Owners Manual" don't say the same thing, but no longer a concern.
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:16 AM
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Re: Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

The UG (4th R1) does say under the table on page 90 "NOTE: Vehicles not factory equipped with trailer tow package are limited to 3,500 lbs (350 lbs tongue weight".

What the OM says is "If the gross trailer weight is 3,500 lbs (1 587 kg) or more, it is mandatory to use a weight-distributing hitch to ensure stable handling of your vehicle." (page 526) and "Your vehicle may be factory equipped for safe towing of trailers weighing over 3,500 lbs (1 587 kg) with the optional Trailer Tow Prep Package." (page 531).

Frankly, I do not understand how the factory hitch is considered "weight-distributing" but could have to do with the way it is installed in the "frame" rails rather than underslung.

Add in the table on page 531 and what I see is "a class II hitch is linited to 3,500 lbs but with a class III, 5,000 lbs. Classes are defined by SAE J684 (section 3) and weight distributing is a seperate part of the spec (para 2.1.1 & 2.1.2).

My feeling (IANAL) is that if the hitch manuufacturer rates the hitch when installed as intended on the correct vehicle as a class III then it could be treated as such. The rating should be stamped on the hitch.

BTW usually a class II hitch will have an 1 1/4 receiver and a class 3 a 2"

All that said, one of my few criteria was that my GC have the factory towing package. I do feel it is somewhat overpriced on a 3.6 with 2WD since it does not include the load levellers, HD cooling, or HD alternator but JeepCares sent a email saying that is fine.

ps I have had a gooseneck break off a car trailer with car at speed on an Interstate. It is an "interesting" experience.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:22 AM
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Re: Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

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Originally Posted by padgett View Post
The UG (4th R1) does say under the table on page 90 "NOTE: Vehicles not factory equipped with trailer tow package are limited to 3,500 lbs (350 lbs tongue weight".

What the OM says is "If the gross trailer weight is 3,500 lbs (1 587 kg) or more, it is mandatory to use a weight-distributing hitch to ensure stable handling of your vehicle." (page 526) and "Your vehicle may be factory equipped for safe towing of trailers weighing over 3,500 lbs (1 587 kg) with the optional Trailer Tow Prep Package." (page 531).

Frankly, I do not understand how the factory hitch is considered "weight-distributing" but could have to do with the way it is installed in the "frame" rails rather than underslung.

Add in the table on page 531 and what I see is "a class II hitch is linited to 3,500 lbs but with a class III, 5,000 lbs. Classes are defined by SAE J684 (section 3) and weight distributing is a seperate part of the spec (para 2.1.1 & 2.1.2).

My feeling (IANAL) is that if the hitch manuufacturer rates the hitch when installed as intended on the correct vehicle as a class III then it could be treated as such. The rating should be stamped on the hitch.

BTW usually a class II hitch will have an 1 1/4 receiver and a class 3 a 2"

All that said, one of my few criteria was that my GC have the factory towing package. I do feel it is somewhat overpriced on a 3.6 with 2WD since it does not include the load levellers, HD cooling, or HD alternator but JeepCares sent a email saying that is fine.

ps I have had a gooseneck break off a car trailer with car at speed on an Interstate. It is an "interesting" experience.
Your experience is why I suggested that the OP take their setup to a qualified trailer vendor to have it checked out and told what is needed to tow safely. In my years of towing I have seen some "homemade" setups that are downright dangerous. I too have had my share of scares including a blowout of my trailer tire doing 65mph and pulling that load safely to the roadside was a bit of fun. I never play around with towing because it can haunt you if you cut corners. The Jeep manuals suck. They have a lot of mistakes and contradictions in them. I just add them to the list along with the transmission, of areas that Jeep needs to address.
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:02 PM
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Re: Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

I just returned from my first significant towing trip with my V6. I bought the base package without the towing group and had the hitch and wiring added by the dealer. So there was no additional cooling or suspension changes at all. 200 ish miles later, towing 4500 lb tandem axle boat trailer, drive 65mph interstate, launch, retrieve, drive home. Absolutely no problems at all. Tranny temp never exceeded 165 with outdoor temps pushing 90. 16 MPG! I never expected that. I get 22 combined most days through the first 5k miles, so 16 was a great suprise while towing a load nearly equal to the vehicle weight. I have towed this same rig with a 99 WJ with the straight 6, it struggled. I then towed it for years with a Ford Expy 5.4L. I would be hard pressed to pick a winner in pulling, but in gas mileage, its the jeep hands down. Bottom line is the V6 can handle a 5k load as advertised.
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:49 PM
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Re: Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

Look, the OP added the OEM class IV receiver and ball hitch, so his receiver is the same part as if it came from the factory as well as capacity. At the risk of over simplifying, when the manual says load equalizing hitch, they are talking more about the trailer hitch side, not the Jeep receiver side. The trailer side hitch will have a device that transfers more trailer weight to the Jeep's front axle. The same jeep receiver is used regardless. The trailer hitch will attach to the jeep somewhat differently than a typical ball hitch.

According to WK2Jeeps.com, the trailer tow group for the Limited V6 adds the following (Rated for class III towing):

Class IV Receiver Hitch
Full Size Spare Tire, Steel Spare Wheel
Rear Load Leveling Suspension
7 And 4 Pin Wiring Harness
5000 Lb. towing capacity

It deletes the Rear Tow Hook

So the only thing the OP is lacking from the factory package is the load leveling suspension (rear shocks and mount) and perhaps a full size spare tire. The absence of the load leveling suspension could be grounds for reducing the towing capacity, especially tongue weight, but if your jeep rides level with your trailer, not too much of a worry. (you will have less shock and possibly more risk of bouncing out of control on rough roads). If you are also using a load leveling hitch on your trailer, I would not have any concern.

Notice that for the V6 Limited tow package, the factory does not add bigger brakes, transmission coolers, bigger alternators as some other vehicles may have. These pieces go on the 7400 lb capacity V8 models which is rated class IV.

Its a good idea to monitor transmission temperature when towing large regardless.

I have found towing/trailering companies much more clueless than a dealer about what capabilities a specific vehicle has.... unless the company rep also owns the vehicle.
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:04 PM
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Re: Added a tow hitch at dealer, question on towing capacity

Sorry Charlie but unless the Limited is a 4x4 (optional) it doesn't get the load levelling shocks and there is no reduction in towing capacity. Is what I meant by there are four different towing packages but only two prices.
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