Jeep Garage  - Jeep Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
2014 JGC
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone else out there tow with their Grand Cherokee? Looking for some advice...

Let's start with a bit of background. We have a 1989 Sunline T-2000 20.5ft 3000# (empty weight) travel trailer that we've had since 2007. Prior to that had a 1983 Prowler Lite 18ft (even narrower and shorter and lighter). Towed the older trailer a few times with a 94 Isuzu Trooper, then bought a new 2002 Trooper in early 2003 and used it tow up until it got totaled in July of 2018. Wild guess, probably towed 10k miles with the Trooper. Did a great job, only thing more I could have asked for was a little more horsepower under the hood.

Spent a lot of time shopping for a replacement, struggled to find something I really liked. Kinda liked the Ford Expedition, but couldn't justify the high price tag. Kinda liked the Dodge Durango, but for some reason, most of those don't come with a tow package, and not that many around to begin with. Settled on our 2014 Grand Cherokee Laredo, just shy of 5 years old with 36k miles at the time. Base model with v6. Power-wise, it is awesome for towing. Unfortunately, stability leaves a little (some might say a lot) to be desired. In all those miles towing with the Trooper, I never felt concerned about stability. It would bounce pretty good with the weight behind it as expected, but handled well. I would routinely set the cruise control at 65 on the highway, and other than minor sway from passing tractor trailers which would straighten right out, it was fine. Took the trailer to the beach last summer, about 350 miles one way, and at highway speeds, just never really got comfy with it. It was better on regular highways running 45-55, but it still just left me a bit on edge the whole time. Not like dangerous or out of control or routinely swaying, just on edge that it just didn't feel as stable as I would like, or was used to. Only one time for a brief moment in the whole trip did it really worry me (just over the top of a mountain on the interstate going around a bit of a turn with a tractor trailer blowing past).

The hitch on the Trooper was low enough to the ground that I had an old Reese weight distributing hitch that had no drop, and no sway control bar. The hitch was also tucked up under the trooper a bit, so nice and tight up against the trailer since the hitch was short. It did ride just a bit high on the front of the trailer, but not bad. The Jeep of course requires a pretty healthy drop for the trailer to be level. I bought a used weight distributing hitch and that part seems to work well, but it is longer (as is required to get the drop), and the hitch on the Jeep sticks out a bit further in the back too. The Jeep is pretty similar in all dimensions and weight to the Trooper, though as I recall, slightly longer and heavier, which I would have thought to be an advantage for stability. But...as mentioned, the hitch is longer, giving the trailer more leverage to potentially move things around. The suspension on the Jeep also seems to be much softer and cushier, maybe with a longer travel...enough so that a couple of times driving solo I have felt it be a little less stable than I would really like.

So...that whole novel written, hopefully you're still with me...does anyone have any suggestions? Is there anything that can be done to tighten up the suspension? I kinda feel like maybe that is the biggest issue. The new hitch has provision for a sway control bar, but doesn't have the bar, nor does the trailer have the attachment...and certainly seems like it ought to handle the trailer well without having to resort to that. I've seen photos of people using their WK2's to tow bigger and taller trailers than mine with no apparent problems...

Thanks in advance,

Wesley
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,616 Posts
The JGC is a very popular tow vehicle...as long as you have the Factory Towing Option. With factory towing, if you have a V6, your weight limit is 6200 lbs with 620 lbs tongue weight. If you have the V8, your weight limit is 7200 lbs with 720 lbs tongue weight. In both cases, a WDH is require if the tongue weight is above 350 lbs to insure proper weight balance between the front and rear axles of the JGC. Within these limits, you do need to be careful around length because you have a relatively short wheel base vehicle (114") and stability can be a challenge if you go too long, especially in wind. You do NOT want to get into a "tail wagging the dog" problem on the highway. If you do not have Factory Towing, a travel trailer isn't likely going to be the best idea...
 

·
Registered
2014 JGC
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I have the v6 with the tow package and am using a weight distributing hitch. According to Wikipedia, the 2002 Trooper I previously towed with had a 108.7" wheelbase and was more stable. That's why I'm trying to figure out the difference...at 114", seems like it should as stable or more so.

Thanks,

Wesley
 

·
Registered
2014 Grand Cheroker Overland ATG ORAII
Joined
·
1,328 Posts
We towed our Lance 1685 and have the Factory tow package, using an Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch with sway control. It worked wonderfully well with no tail wagging dog or porpoising.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
I've pulled my 5K Tritoon with a big motor on the back. It certainly CAN do it, but it makes me nervous back there... It will buck and push you whenever the road conditions dictate it, especially on back roads....That's mainly why my 2500 Cummins hangs around still. Always helps the pucker factor to have substantially more than you need when towing....
 

·
Registered
2014 JGC
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
We towed our Lance 1685 and have the Factory tow package, using an Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch with sway control. It worked wonderfully well with no tail wagging dog or porpoising.
Interesting...I've not seen the Andersen system before - looks very different than the trunion bar type like I'm used to. May have to take a closer look at that setup. I like that the trailer part bolts on and doesn't require drilling and screwing into the trailer tongue to mount a sway control. Have you ever towed it with a different hitch that doesn't include the sway control? Obviously weight distribution is pretty much necessary...

Could be I'm just a bit of a nervous Nellie or not enough used to how the combination handles...it's not terrible for the most part, but just leaves me feeling like it's not as stable as I'd like it to be...or as stable as I'm used to feeling!

Thanks,

Wesley
 

·
Registered
2014 Grand Cheroker Overland ATG ORAII
Joined
·
1,328 Posts
After doing some research, we went with the Andersen. We had 5 years and over 40k miles of towing with zero issues. It is also lighter, cleaner and easier to disengage than most other hitches.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,616 Posts
If you are feeling instability, be sure you carefully check your weight balance in the trailer to insure that you have 10-15% of the total weight as tongue weight. You actually need to measure tongue weight. Having weight shifted too far back on the trailer can actually be dangerous if it goes too far. There is no way that the JGC should feel less stable than that old Trooper which was not the 5000 lb vehicle that the JGC is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
617 Posts
We just used a friction sway bar when we towed a 23-ft camper. RV sites have good info on how to adjust your hitch. I just started by adjusting the ball height on our hitch mount and then some trial and error for how many chain links to connect the bars.
 

·
Registered
2014 Summit 5.7 4wd 20" tires swapped to 18", added all skid plates
Joined
·
1,622 Posts
I pulled 19' 5000# dual axle camping type trailer with weight distributing hitch, no sway control and had no stability problems at all at any speed. Almost like nothing was back there. I'd be inclined to think you have a weight distribution problem. I have pulled trailers with very bad sway issues that were solved by relatively small readjustments of load.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top