Flat Tow vs. Trailer Tow - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-20-2007, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
nonnaca
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Flat Tow vs. Trailer Tow

I will be towing my 98 tj to Moab in April and just purchased an 06 Titan to do the job. In the past I have always driven my jeep there but it's just to brutal to do one more year (from San Diego). Having said that, the question now becomes do I flat tow or trailor tow. I know virtually zip about both and I am sure everyone will have a different opinion on which and why. Let me have it fellas!
The TJ has a 3" lift with 33" tires and the original dana 33 and 35 diffs. No lockers. Im not sure if that's important but something tells me it is.
I am not looking to purchase a trailor at this time but if trailoring is truly the way to go I would prolly rent one for the trip.

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post #2 of 18 Old 02-20-2007, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnaca
I will be towing my 98 tj to Moab in April and just purchased an 06 Titan to do the job. In the past I have always driven my jeep there but it's just to brutal to do one more year (from San Diego). Having said that, the question now becomes do I flat tow or trailor tow. I know virtually zip about both and I am sure everyone will have a different opinion on which and why. Let me have it fellas!
The TJ has a 3" lift with 33" tires and the original dana 33 and 35 diffs. No lockers. Im not sure if that's important but something tells me it is.
I am not looking to purchase a trailor at this time but if trailoring is truly the way to go I would prolly rent one for the trip.

Well I am in the same boat as you. I too am tired of driving my Jeep to Moab, so I am purchasing a tow vehicle in the next week or two. However, I won't have a full size truck like the Titan. I will have a Jeep Commander. So I will be flat towing my jeep.

Since your truck is more than capable of easily towing a trailer I would go that route because if you severely damage your drivetrain you can always load the jeep up on the trailer and take it home versus the flat tow where that potentially wouldn't be an option.

However, flat towing is much cheaper, because renting or buying a trailer isn't necessary.

So I know I didn't give you any technical data, but hopefully this helps a little.

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post #3 of 18 Old 02-20-2007, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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And that my friend is the crux of the issue. I don't want to buy/rent a trailer. We only go to moab once a year and everything around here I can just drive to. On the other foot, most people are suggesting that a trailer is simply the easiest way to do it. Or is it? I still have to disconnect the drive shaft, no?
Hope to see you in Moab!
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-20-2007, 05:45 PM
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I've done a lot of both, and, of course, flat towing is a lot easier. And, you don't have to worry about trailer security or parking at your destination. Recently, I was unable to get my Jeep front wheels to stay straight while flat towing. May be a camber problem made worse by 37" Krawlers, I just don't know. It was pretty disconcerting.

Check and be sure that loads over 3000lb do not require braking on the towed vehicle in CA. I doubt there is a requirement in UT, but many states require braking on loads over 3000lb. The RV web sites are all over this.

Have a great time in Moab and post a lot of photos!

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post #5 of 18 Old 02-20-2007, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnaca
I still have to disconnect the drive shaft, no?

To trailer it?! What logical reason would make you have to take the driveshaft out?

Charlie


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post #6 of 18 Old 02-20-2007, 06:23 PM
wilson1010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anticrombie
To trailer it?! What logical reason would make you have to take the driveshaft out?
Yea, or to flat tow it! You just put the transfer case in Neutral, put the gearshift in Park, turn the ket to the first stop (unlock the streering), take off the brake and off you go. I've done it over and over. You only need to disconnect when you don't have neutral in your transfer case.

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post #7 of 18 Old 02-20-2007, 08:57 PM
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I have flat towed my YJ with a Durango and a beat to ***** old Suburban and never had any trouble. The Titan will do fine. Using my wife's LJ proved to be an interesting challenge, won't do that again if I can avoid it.

I shift the t-case with the motor off just to make sure I don't engage the vacuum lines on the D30 disconnect. Don't know if it makes a difference, but it makes me feel better.

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post #8 of 18 Old 02-21-2007, 11:24 AM
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If you can afford it I vouch for trailer. You will get trailer brakes, will tow better and like previously stated if you trash your jeep all you need to do is get it to the trailer and you can go home, much less stress when trail issues arise.
Trailers are worth the money, you can lend it out to friends for cheap and recoup a little bit of cash.

By far the biggest pain of a trailer is the fact that it needs a place to live when you aren't using it. As far as I am concerned flat tow is a last resort.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-21-2007, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
nonnaca
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. The biggest problem with the trailer, as previously stated, is that I don't have anywhere for it to live in the offseason. That is why I was thinking of renting. But what a tremendous pain in the wallet. And then there are the issues of "how do I secure it to the trailer". I was thinking of doing 2 up and 2 down on a half trailer but someone else on this forum stated that was a horrible idea.....he/she just didn't state why it was a horrible idea. If you flat tow it is there a way to get around the braking on the towed vehicle issue? As you can tell, I am a total neophyte.
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-21-2007, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnaca
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. The biggest problem with the trailer, as previously stated, is that I don't have anywhere for it to live in the offseason. That is why I was thinking of renting. But what a tremendous pain in the wallet. And then there are the issues of "how do I secure it to the trailer". I was thinking of doing 2 up and 2 down on a half trailer but someone else on this forum stated that was a horrible idea.....he/she just didn't state why it was a horrible idea. If you flat tow it is there a way to get around the braking on the towed vehicle issue? As you can tell, I am a total neophyte.
If you go to a place that rents Bobcats and ditch cutters and big stuff, you can rent an equipment trailer. Here, i get a 16ft 10k trailer with surge brakes for $35/day. You can't own one for that unless you use it often.

03 Rubicon; 99 xj with too much stuff to list; Unimog 406 (gone)
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-22-2007, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilson1010
If you go to a place that rents Bobcats and ditch cutters and big stuff, you can rent an equipment trailer. Here, i get a 16ft 10k trailer with surge brakes for $35/day. You can't own one for that unless you use it often.

I paid $1200 for mine...new tires, brakes on both axles...

less than five weeks of rental pays for it...


personally, I wouldn't even consider flat-tow...trailer all the way...

shoot...buy one, and then rent it out...that's how I recover some of my costs...

Greg

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post #12 of 18 Old 02-27-2007, 12:04 PM
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I flat tow behind my RV. 38 ft, 10 ton class A motorhome. As you may suspect, without the rear view camera, you would not even know it is there. (I check just to make sure, get paranoid) Many states are requiring brake systems in flat towed vehicles these days. I have not gotten one for myself yet since my travel the last few years has been limited to Michigan. My parents have one for thier KJ. The system runs about 1k. What they bought was a remote system, box that sits on the floor with an actuator attached to the brake pedal. Radio signal activates it. Yes, it does have fail safes and indicators. I have not seen it work, but my dad is not one to buy crap.

A tow dolly is a waste of money (2up, 2down mentioned above) in my opinion. It gains you nothing, still can not back it up, still have 4 tires on the ground (Jeep and dolly). Not sure if Dolly's have brakes. And I have been told that putting it on backwards, with the steering wheels on the ground is not a good idea. I could imagine people doing this if there is a rear axle problem.

I played around with flat towing my TJ behind my 07 Commander this past December. I did not like it. To much tail wagging the dog. Just taking my foot off the gas from 60 mph on a gentle curve left an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I will be borrowing a trailer for an upcoming trip and have another lined up for other trips this year. I will be taken my maiden drive with the TJ on a trailer behind the XK this coming weekend. I will report my experiences. The towing capacity of an XK with a 4.7, factory tow package and electronic brake contoller is 6500 pounds. The Jeep and the trailer together weigh in at about 5500 pounds. Should be fine. I intend on using straps to the frame to avoid load shifting.

I have flat towed my TJ with 2 different Durango's the past 2 years. This past December was a little scarey, but then I was doing this during a sleet and ice storm. I really should have waited a day.

Have trailered the TJ on the same trailer behind an 05 Durango, 99 Ram 2500 v10 and an 06 Ram diesel. Give me a trailer anyday.

Anyway, just my experiences and opinions. Flat towing will cause a vehicle to handle differently than trailering. Practice before you go, get used to what ever way you do it.

I will be buying a trailer soon, in the meantime I have sources that I can rely on when I need one.

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'10 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad 4x4. Daily driver and tow rig
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post #13 of 18 Old 02-27-2007, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you

This is exactly what I am looking for. Experience to help me make my decision. Thank you.
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post #14 of 18 Old 02-27-2007, 12:48 PM
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The list of things you could break and still trailer your jeep home is practically endless.

The list of things you could break and still flat tow your jeep home is a MUCH shorter list. Crack your domelight or bend a wiper blade and you're in good shape, otherwise...maybe not so much. Just rent (or buy) a trailer if you can.

92 YJ

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post #15 of 18 Old 02-28-2007, 08:41 PM
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aux brake

I flat towed my LJ to and back from Minnesota last year, 1,700 miles one way. I used a Stay and Play brake system like the one described in the previous post. The brake system worked great and you can leave it in the Jeep if you want. I put a second set of lights in the rear light housing rather than tap into the harness with diods. I also disconnect the buzzer in the receiver in the tow vehicle ( I still had the led) The tow bar was a Falcon All terrain. Brake system was $700 off of eBay (best deal I found.) and tow bar was $ 500 approx. The only thing I didn't like was not being able to back up when some assh#$% pulled in front of me in a gas station. This year I'm going try it on a trailer because the trailer will just sit at the cabin all summer till I need to come back. Jeff
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