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Unread 10-10-2015, 01:27 PM   #1
BronKitis
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20ft and 2800lbs?

Hello all! New member here. My wife and I purchased a 2012 JKU Sahara last spring and spent the summer topless and doorless going on countless adventures like we've always dreamed! Problem is that finding hotels became quite a chore and rather expensive on our careless escapades and we've decided to purchase a trailer. I know the Jeep has a measly 3500# tow rating and a 350# tongue rating and I know the RV we are looking at falls under each. My concern is that the RV IS 20 ft long and rides on a single axle. I've only ever towed with my Superduty or other full size trucks and am concerned about wind and a bouncy ride especially since she would like to tow it herself. I plan to add trailer brakes, weight distribution hutch along with a sway bar and coil spring airbags. The Jeep is stock. Can I get some tried and true opinions on the matter? Thanks!

AJ

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Unread 10-11-2015, 08:03 AM   #2
smccollamjr
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Based on towing a 23' camper with my XJ, weight distribution, sway control, and trailer brakes are a must, but make sure the hitch on your JKU will handle a weight distribution setup. I would also try to find one with dual axles.
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Unread 10-11-2015, 08:46 AM   #3
mtb98
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You can do this but make sure you have a good quality weight distribution hitch, electric brake controller and sway control. I use a Reese Dual Cam WDH to pull our 19' hybrid with '12 JKU. Does a fine job just keep your speed reasonable. As far as dual axle, that adds a lot of weight. I haven't see a tandem axle that fits the tow rating of a JKU.
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Unread 10-11-2015, 12:00 PM   #4
MPond
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Be sure to take into account that the 3500 lb towing capacity assumes an empty Jeep with only a driver and a full tank of gas. Your passenger and any gear you load into the Jeep comes off the top of that, as does the weight of any parts you add to the Jeep. Also, the gear you add to trailer adds up quickly. A trailer with a 2800 lb dry weight will quickly become 3800 lbs or more...

For example:
40 gallons of fresh water adds 330 lbs
WDH hitch, trunion bars & sway control - 75-100 lbs, depending on model
Kitchen gear (pans, dishes, utensils, etc...) can add 50-100 lbs depending on what you load
Tool box 50 lbs (could be a lot more)
Sleeping gear, clothes, etc - 50-100 lbs
Food for a week - 50-100 lbs
Cooler full of drinks and ice - 50 lbs
Much more - people pack all kinds of stuff into their trailers over time without realizing it.

All these numbers are just estimates - everyone packs differently. But you can see that RV weights go up very quickly when you load them. Based on those examples and a 150 lb passenger, your 3500 lb rating drops to 3350 (after subtracting the passenger) and the trailer and gear adds up to 3630 lbs with gear.

Can you do it with your JKU? Yes, with all the equipment you listed, it can be done. But it's not going to be anything like towing with your Super Duty. Wranglers weren't designed with towing in mind. They were designed for the trail - light weight, soft suspension, high ground clearance and flexibility rather than low center of gravity and stability, etc...

Also - do you plan to lift or modify your Jeep? Keep in mind that many modifications will actually reduce towing capacity.

Could you consider a small class-C motorhome instead, and flat-tow the JKU behind it?
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Unread 10-11-2015, 07:41 PM   #5
mtb98
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Usually inside a cabinet door of the camper will have dry weight listed as well as shipped weight. A single axle more than likely has a 3500 LB max gross trailer weight rating. I always tow ours with all the holding tanks empty. You can also shift the load inside the trailer to reduce tongue weight by loading more behind the axle. Check your owners manual for GCVWR, that's the maximum the Jeep and trailer can weigh together. It won't tow a small trailer like a Super Duty would, but then again the Super Duty is designed to tow much heavier loads. I would say both would perform similarly when towards the max of their tow ratings.
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Unread 10-12-2015, 02:48 AM   #6
MPond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtb98
... I would say both would perform similarly when towards the max of their tow ratings.
This is where I would respectfully disagree...

Large trucks (like a SuperDuty) are built for towing, and while some have 4-wheel drive, they're never going to perform off-road like a JKU does. They're a large tow-vehicle first, and a 4x4 a distant second. The Jeep is just the opposite - an agile, light-weight 4x4 first, and a tow vehicle a distant second. They were just designed with different purposes In mind. The Jeep may be able to tow up to 3500 lbs, but it isn't going to excel at it.

I'd gladly tow with my 3500 Duramax at max tow rating, long before I tow with my Wrangler at max tow rating. In fact, I do just that, and it's far more comfortable and composed with nearly 18,000 lbs behind it than a Wrangler running at even 1/2 capacity.
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Unread 10-12-2015, 07:09 AM   #7
mtb98
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Don't disagree with what you're saying about a heavy duty truck at all. However, many people just hitch up a trailer to their jeep that is near or over the max rating without electric brakes or weight distribution and have a bad experience. A properly setup system will provide satisfactory results. If I towed a heavy trailer a few times per week I would not suggest using the JKU. Pulling my camper or Utilty trailer to Lowes once every few weeks it does fine. Don't forget mirror extensions for safe towing either!
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Unread 10-12-2015, 09:30 AM   #8
BronKitis
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Thank you for the responses. As I stated previously, I plan to run all necessary equipment to ensure the safest tow possible with the rig along with staying in its recommended parameters. I don't think the Jeep will have an issue moving 3K lbs and it shouldn't have an issue stopping it with brakes. My main concern in towing with the JKU is how it will handle wind/blow by caused by other traffic. I live in Washington state so hills and mountainous regions are a given and I don't expect her to take Snoqualmie Pass at 75 like my truck and I've no shame in 4-ways and safety. I am curious to hear how your Jeeps have handled similar loads and lengths! I know it will move it. I hope it should stop it. I'm just ensuring I should do it.

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Unread 10-12-2015, 09:44 AM   #9
BronKitis
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I would use my truck but the doors and roof are so much harder to take off :-)

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Unread 10-12-2015, 11:28 AM   #10
mtb98
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If you're concerned with sway due to wind and passing trucks do some research on hitches that have built in sway control. Personally I use a Reese dual cam setup and it keeps the Jeep and trailer locked together really well. Some friends have a Hensley and are very happy with it. I would try to stay away from the friction pad types. I have towed through the Midwest where it's really windy and through Chicago tollway traffic without any problems.
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Unread 10-12-2015, 12:19 PM   #11
MPond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtb98 View Post
Don't disagree with what you're saying about a heavy duty truck at all. However, many people just hitch up a trailer to their jeep that is near or over the max rating without electric brakes or weight distribution and have a bad experience. A properly setup system will provide satisfactory results. If I towed a heavy trailer a few times per week I would not suggest using the JKU. Pulling my camper or Utilty trailer to Lowes once every few weeks it does fine. Don't forget mirror extensions for safe towing either!
Excellent point.

Clearly this wouldn't be my first choice, but if you're going to do it, all the safety equipment is a must.
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Unread 10-12-2015, 12:27 PM   #12
MPond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BronKitis View Post
I would use my truck but the doors and roof are so much harder to take off :-)
Off isn't that hard... it's putting them back on that gets complicated...
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Unread 10-12-2015, 12:32 PM   #13
BronKitis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtb98 View Post
If you're concerned with sway due to wind and passing trucks do some research on hitches that have built in sway control. Personally I use a Reese dual cam setup and it keeps the Jeep and trailer locked together really well. Some friends have a Hensley and are very happy with it. I would try to stay away from the friction pad types. I have towed through the Midwest where it's really windy and through Chicago tollway traffic without any problems.
Thank you for the suggestions! I wasn't sure which way to go with the sway controls and was researching the friction style. I will turn a cheek and look into the setup you've mentioned!

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Unread 10-13-2015, 05:02 PM   #14
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I hear you about hotels as that certainly increases the cost of trips, especially for anything decent. I remember years ago an old guy telling me about his TT and how he always slept in his own bed.

Someday I'll have an RV of some sort myself (like a pickup with a camper top and tow my TJ). Let us know what you end up doing...
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