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shellback91

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Question for you guys specific to towing with the Jeep. What are your thoughts on towing at the factory Tongue Weight rating?

 

The vast majority of trailers we’re looking at that will accommodate our family of 4 are sitting right at our max Tongue Weight of 350lbs. And I’m assuming those weights are before propane, batteries, and water are added. We’d also need to be careful in how we load up the trailer.

 

Its my understanding the factory receiver (Class II) on the JL is not directly frame mounted, but is mounted to a rear cross member on the frame. My concern here is the torque and twisting introduced by a weight distribution hitch.

 

I’ve found a lot of great options that are under our max gross weight rating, but the Tongue Weight is giving me fits.

 

A possible idea is to find a rear steel frame-mounted bumper That has an integrated receiver, which I would assume would have a higher tongue capacity than the factory Class II Receiver.

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5 hours ago, 4x4tographer said:

Question for you guys specific to towing with the Jeep. What are your thoughts on towing at the factory Tongue Weight rating?

 

The vast majority of trailers we’re looking at that will accommodate our family of 4 are sitting right at our max Tongue Weight of 350lbs. And I’m assuming those weights are before propane, batteries, and water are added. We’d also need to be careful in how we load up the trailer.

 

Its my understanding the factory receiver (Class II) on the JL is not directly frame mounted, but is mounted to a rear cross member on the frame. My concern here is the torque and twisting introduced by a weight distribution hitch.

 

I’ve found a lot of great options that are under our max gross weight rating, but the Tongue Weight is giving me fits.

 

A possible idea is to find a rear steel frame-mounted bumper That has an integrated receiver, which I would assume would have a higher tongue capacity than the factory Class II Receiver.

My thoughts are that any trailer you find that is at or under the tow rating of the hitch on the vehicle will be fine.

 

Here's the reasoning behind my thoughts/opinions:

1-  I would not be concerned about any issues with the rear frame crossmember mounted tow hitch, as it's been rated by Jeep to handle the loads they specify as max rated.   My experience with thier testing protocols, gives me confidence that they have tested this design, and confirmed it capable of the rating they indicate.

 

2-   While I am no longer "in the loop" regarding the reasoning for the class II rating, as opposed to a higher rating, I am of the opinion that it has more to do with the drivetrain, and or lack of larger trailer vehicle dynamics testing, than the structural integrity of the hitch system.

 

3-  While I haven't seen the specifications on materials used, nor seen the two pieces side-by side for comparison purposes, CURT mfg. offers a class III hitch for the JL, that appears in the photographs of thier product, and the installation video they've produced, to be identical in mounting methods, and at least nearly so in component shape and design, and physical size to the OEM "Mopar" unit that is rated as a class II.   CURT is a major player in the towing products industry, with a solid reputation, who does durability and reliability testing of thier products.   If they felt their design, using the OEM c/mbr was not up to the task of a class III rating, I have ZERO doubts that they would have designed a different mounting system.

 

4-  I would not assume that one of the "HD" steel bumpers with an intergral hitch tube to automatically be superior to the OEM hitch, as most are simply an open "C"-channel with only the rear face "enclosed", making them weaker in torsion that a fully enclosed tube, such as what the OEM rear crossmember is... ;)

 

Hope this is helpful Ryan... ;)

Edited by ob1jeeper
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This article may have been posted here before or you may have seen it already.

 

https://jalopnik.com/the-engineering-behind-the-jeep-gladiators-tow-rating-1833657453

 

After reading this article it would be reasonable to assume that the JL trailer tow ratings had more to do with cooling capacity than anything structural.

 

Just an FYI:  I’ve never participated in trailer hitch testing for any Wrangler model.   I have however been heavily involved with both Grand Cherokee and full size pick up testing  of trailer hitches and mounting structure.
 Trust me is very through.  I find it hard to believe that any bumper manufacture spends the $ and time required to duplicate the manufactures methods.  

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On 6/14/2020 at 7:51 AM, 4x4tographer said:

Question for you guys specific to towing with the Jeep. What are your thoughts on towing at the factory Tongue Weight rating?

 

The vast majority of trailers we’re looking at that will accommodate our family of 4 are sitting right at our max Tongue Weight of 350lbs. And I’m assuming those weights are before propane, batteries, and water are added. We’d also need to be careful in how we load up the trailer.

 

Its my understanding the factory receiver (Class II) on the JL is not directly frame mounted, but is mounted to a rear cross member on the frame. My concern here is the torque and twisting introduced by a weight distribution hitch.

 

I’ve found a lot of great options that are under our max gross weight rating, but the Tongue Weight is giving me fits.

 

A possible idea is to find a rear steel frame-mounted bumper That has an integrated receiver, which I would assume would have a higher tongue capacity than the factory Class II Receiver.

I will try not to add to the fits here Ryan but I am also having brain lock on this on certain points.  😬 Figuring this out was easier when I was a truck driver I swear!

 

This and a few other weight related things are making my head hurt. I think I have figure those out, I think. As long as I stay around 2900 lbs. Dry Weight and around 900-1000 lbs., of which 350 lbs. or so is the hitch weight, I should be good to go.

That would leave about 600 lbs. Cargo Carrying Capacity which should work. I doubt i would ever put that much weight in there. If I am not boondocking there would be no need to load up fresh water tank, that saves about 300 or  pounds.

 

I am down to looking at 2 Forest River models. One model I like has a hitch weight of 390 lbs the other is around 332 lbs. Any thoughts from anyone on either of those, yay or nay or good to go? Maybe a new hitch receiver? I am sure it has been said but in Europe these are rated for higher weights which is a little frustrating too.

 

Edited by shellback91
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5 hours ago, shellback91 said:

I am down to looking at 2 Forest River models. One model I like has a hitch weight of 390 lbs the other is around 332 lbs. Any thoughts from anyone on either of those, yay or nay or good to go? Maybe a new hitch receiver? I am sure it has been said but in Europe these are rated for higher weights which is a little frustrating too.

 

I have not seen the currently designed hitch system for Europe, so cannot comment specifically to it, and/or how it might relate to the hitch design currently available "OEM" on the US versions of the JL's from FCA.   However, during my working years with these systems, the European hitch's were of a significantly differing design, as required by their standards.

 

The obvious choice to fit within the OEM specifications is the lighter tongue weight trailer.   A tongue load of 390 lbs, is slightly more than 10% higher than the hitch is rated for by FCA/Jeep.

 

With a clear conscience, I cannot recommend any trailer in excess of the manuf. specified maximums.   That said, I believe that with a properly installed load-equalizing hitch, and a light-to-moderate towing style (IE: no regular uses of W.O.T. {wide open throttle}, heavy braking, towing long stretches of washboarded unpaved roads at "non-trailering speeds", etc.), you may be able to make this work to your satisfaction.

 

Should you chose to go with the larger tongue-load trailer, I would HIGHLY recommend more frequent "close up" inspections of the hitch mounting and attachment AND the crossmember-to-frame side rails for cracking, fastener loosening, etc.     As an example, I would suggest inspections (at least for the first couple thousand miles or so), each time you stop for fuel, or lunch, etc..      And I would also recommend a thorough "crawl under it with a bright light" inspection, each time you return home, with hopes of catching any impending issues BEFORE they become large ones while towing.

 

FWIW:  The above suggested inspections, are a good idea with ANY hitch system and size trailer you choose, but perhaps less frequently with smaller sized trailers that fit within the manufacturer's specifications.

 

JMHO...  YMMV

Edited by ob1jeeper
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@ob1jeeper Thanks for the information I appreciate a ton.  I have been leaning towards the lighter for a lot of reasons, mainly because it is lighter and within specs.  The other is a bunch of Jeppers pull them safely.  I am safety conscious and could not  agree more about the inspections. They are a must. Thanks again!

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Been working on finding as many possible options that are feasible or borderline-feasible for a JKU/JLU with max tow equipped, assuming the specs of 350 tongue / 3,500 GVWR.

 

My focus, of course, is a lot more narrow as I'm looking at it from the perspective of a family of 4. Our requirements are:

 

  • Toilet (dry bath preferred, wet bath in a pinch)
  • Dedicated master bed
  • Extra sleeping space to comfortable accommodate 2 growing children (no 30" dinettes will support 2 teen agers)
  • Safe weight rating

 

Here's my research so far. I've hyperlinked each trailer.

 

Trailer Sleep Setup Bathroom Tongue UVW (Dry) CCC (Capacity) GVWR (Dry+Cargo) Length
Jayco Jay Flight SLX 7 174BH Bed + Bunk Dry 270 2,945 850 3,750 21' 6"
Rpod RP-190 Bed + Large Dinette Dry 307 2,979 838 3,817 20' 4"
KZ Sportsmen Classic 160RBT Dual Foldout Beds Dry 320 2,790 710 3,500 18' 11"
KZ Sportsmen Classic SE 180BHSE Bed + Bunk Dry 320 2,580 920 3,500 20' 9"
Coachmen Viking Ultra-Lite 17BH Bed + Bunk Dry 340 3,014 826 3,840 20' 5"
Coachmen Apex Nano 185BH Bed + Bunk Dry 350 2,870 930 3,800 20' 6"
Shasta 18BH Bed + Bunk Dry 350 3,229 1821 5,050 22' 5"
Rockwood Geo Pro G19BH Bed + Bunk Dry 360 3,088 772 3,860 20'
Flagstaff E-Pro E19BH Bed + Bunk Dry 360 3,088 772 3,860 20'
Coachmen Apex Nano 15X Dual Foldout Beds Dry 360 2,940 860 3,800 18' 7"
2021 Winnibago Micro Minnie 1700BH Bed + Bunk Dry 380 3,280 420 3,700 20' 9"
2019 Winnibago Micro Minnie 1700BH Bed + Bunk Dry 380 3,100 600 3,700 20' 9"
Coachmen Viking Saga Ultra-Lite 17SBH Bed + Bunk Dry 383 2,959 924 3,883 20' 4"

 

So this gives me about 4-6 possibilities that I'd feel comfortable with.

 

Notably, all of these options are absent a slide-out with the exception of the R-Pod.

 

I really like the Geo-Pro/E-Pro twins, especially for their solar and water saving systems for extended dry camping. But they're probably just too heavy. 😢

Water by itself will push me right up to the edge of my 3,500lb capacity. And I'd like to be able to dry camp when we need, which is likely the majority of what we'll do in it.

 

I'm going to look a little harder at more of the "fold out tent bed" options as they seem to be a good compromise and can be pretty spacious.

Edited by 4x4tographer
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11 hours ago, shellback91 said:

I will try not to add to the fits here Ryan but I am also having brain lock on this on certain points.  😬 Figuring this out was easier when I was a truck driver I swear!

 

This and a few other weight related things are making my head hurt. I think I have figure those out, I think. As long as I stay around 2900 lbs. Dry Weight and around 900-1000 lbs., of which 350 lbs. or so is the hitch weight, I should be good to go.

That would leave about 600 lbs. Cargo Carrying Capacity which should work. I doubt i would ever put that much weight in there. If I am not boondocking there would be no need to load up fresh water tank, that saves about 300 or  pounds.

 

I am down to looking at 2 Forest River models. One model I like has a hitch weight of 390 lbs the other is around 332 lbs. Any thoughts from anyone on either of those, yay or nay or good to go? Maybe a new hitch receiver? I am sure it has been said but in Europe these are rated for higher weights which is a little frustrating too.

 

 

I'm with ya man - which Forest River models are you looking at? I LOVE the E-Pro, but with the kids, there's really only 1 model that is borderline feasible for me. If it wasn't for the kids, their smaller models with the jackknife sofa/beds would be perfect. Just gotta wait 13 more years for them to both be out of the house!

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10 minutes ago, 4x4tographer said:

 

I'm with ya man - which Forest River models are you looking at? I LOVE the E-Pro, but with the kids, there's really only 1 model that is borderline feasible for me. If it wasn't for the kids, their smaller models with the jackknife sofa/beds would be perfect. Just gotta wait 13 more years for them to both be out of the house!

I am looking at, and leaning heavily towards, the R-Pod 180 Hood River Edition. I believe they are prepped for solar which would be good. It has the slide out and a dry bath(My better half's only request) and is in the best weight range. I don't need a ton of space, it is just the wife and I and our Dachshunds, they will sleep anywhere! 😂

 

I love the Geo  & E Pro's too but they are pushing it weight wise.  I also found the Jayco Hummingbird 17RD which is Jayco's version, a rip off some say because it's the same layout, of the R-Pod 180. Mostly the same weight ratings, tongue weight is a little less though. Forest River's lines seem to be well built based everything I have read. Still researching Jayco's a little more.

 

 

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