Towing a Travel Trailer Cross Country - JeepForum.com
Search  
Sign Up   Today's Posts
User: Pass: Remember?
Advertise Here
Jeep Home Jeep Forum Jeep Classifieds Jeep Registry JeepSpace Jeep Reviews Jeep Gallery Jeep Clubs Jeep Groups Jeep Videos Jeep Events Jeep Articles
Go Back JeepForum.com > General > Trailers & Towing > Towing a Travel Trailer Cross Country

NEW JK WRANGLER GRAB BARS NOW at ROCKRIDGE4WDROCKRIDGE4WD Introduces a NEW Jeep Wrangler JK *led* tail Ruffstuff XJ Unirail Channel Reinforcement....

Reply
Unread 05-15-2013, 07:24 AM   #1
kpoulos5
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: charleston, sc
Posts: 4
Towing a Travel Trailer Cross Country

Hey All,

I'm new to the forums and am hoping someone might be able to help us. We are planning to drive cross country to move. It's me, my husband, our 9 month old daughter, 2 dogs, and a cat. This was the only way we could figure to do it.

We have a 2011 4 Door Unlimited 4WD Automatic JK Sahara (hard top). The tow rating shows as 3500lb with a 350lb tongue weight.

The trailer unloaded weight (but with options) is about 2750. It's the smallest we could find. TW is 291.

We installed a Tekonsha brake controller and added a weight distribution system on the hitch.

We rented a POD to move our belongings, so it's just us for the trip. We are packing as light as possible and will drive with empty water tanks. To keep under the max overall weight for the Jeep + Trailer + us we should stay under 3300 when loading the trailer (but we are trying not to reach this point). We are avoiding mountain passes on the route.

Are we nuts? Is this safe?

kpoulos5 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-15-2013, 07:35 AM   #2
ncb
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Your mom's house, Colorado
Posts: 4,708
I don't think it's completely nuts since you're keeping it at the towing limits or less. Keep plenty of room between other vehicles and be safe. Don't plan on getting good gas mileage.
ncb is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-15-2013, 07:55 AM   #3
Tdog02
Registered User
2002 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Near the heart of TX, Texas
Posts: 332
Sounds like fun, enjoy the journey!
__________________
it is what it is except when its something else
Tdog02 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-15-2013, 08:52 AM   #4
PecosRiver
Registered User
2013 JK Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 17
Just a few tips from a former camper owner and campground owner.
  • Always top off your fresh water tank, if it doesn't put you over the towing limit.
  • Always empty your holding tanks before taking off for the day. Fill the black water tank for about 5 minutes before you drain this to get a good flushing and to help solids move out of the tank.
  • Add a few gallons of water to the black water tank with chemical before you head out for the day and you're set when you get to the next campground.
  • Center your load when traveling. Too much on either end can casue problems.
  • Weight distributing hitch! Must have.
  • Have a great trip!
So many campgrounds are closing due to increased regulations of the waste handling issues and if they're not closing, they're shutting down the sewer connection at sites. Ask what hookups are available at each place.

We closed our campground because the price tag for the new septic system was half a million and would require the removal of 90% of the trees on our property to install.
PecosRiver is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-15-2013, 09:44 AM   #5
Indy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WY
Posts: 3,142
Imo Life would be better ditching the trailer and staying at a hotel. Ive towed with a wrangler near capacity before and it wasnt fun for 2 hours, it would really suck cross country. It would be worse with a high profile trailer. If i decided to go the camper route id be looking for a popup instead of a travel trailer.
__________________
I'm the only gay eskimo.
Indy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-15-2013, 11:27 AM   #6
PecosRiver
Registered User
2013 JK Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indy View Post
Imo Life would be better ditching the trailer and staying at a hotel. Ive towed with a wrangler near capacity before and it wasnt fun for 2 hours, it would really suck cross country. It would be worse with a high profile trailer. If i decided to go the camper route id be looking for a popup instead of a travel trailer.
Yeah, we do the Holiday Inn thing nowadays because the wife insists, but I still tent camp when traveling myself. It's usually one or three nights depending on where my final destination is.

Camping is now accomplished with the help my little trailer.

PecosRiver is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-15-2013, 02:21 PM   #7
kpoulos5
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: charleston, sc
Posts: 4
Indy did it feel unsafe?

Hotels won't really work for us, our daughter can't tolerate the car for very long so we are going to be making a LOT of stops and probably won't get more than a few hours each day. The trailer lets us have a place to hang out. Paying all the extra for pet deposits each night would be a pain too. We'll stop driving before dark so we want to enjoy the campgrounds in our own space.

We just haven't come across anything real helpful to make us feel like we're being safe about it. The dealers know nothing, and camping world hasn't a clue about jeeps. We're doing our best to do this right, I don't think we'd be worried about a quick trip with it... this is just a long drive!
kpoulos5 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-15-2013, 02:54 PM   #8
PrinceBondar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Saudi
Posts: 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpoulos5 View Post
I'm new to the forums and am hoping someone might be able to help us. We are planning to drive cross country to move. It's me, my husband, our 9 month old daughter, 2 dogs, and a cat. This was the only way we could figure to do it.
You can save some weight by leaving the cat at the animal shelter.

Quote:
The trailer unloaded weight (but with options) is about 2750. It's the smallest we could find. TW is 291. We installed a Tekonsha brake controller and added a weight distribution system on the hitch.
In two weeks, I will be driving my 2007 JK Unlimited from Alaska to Pennsylvania. I will be pulling a cargo trailer that, empty, weighs 1730 lbs. The trailer is rated for 3500 pounds max (same as the Jeep). I suspect I will be close to the max by the time I am loaded. The transmission cooler was $281 for the parts and shipping and $195 to get it installed.

To better deal with this situation, I installed a Tekonsha brake controller and Mopar Axillary transmission cooler (highly recommend!!) and beefed up the suspension with an OME 2.5" heavy lift kit. The difference the suspension makes is VERY noticeable in my around-the-town-with-trailer test driving. I recommend you seriously look into doing something with the suspension. The kit I got, with JKS adjustable trackbar, was $1000 in parts and $275 in shipping.

Good luck.
PrinceBondar is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-17-2013, 12:48 AM   #9
Indy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WY
Posts: 3,142
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpoulos5 View Post
Indy did it feel unsafe?
Only when i was going downhill, trying to slow down, or turn. And sometimes when i was driving at a steady speed on flat ground. Or when the wind was blowing.

Towing a small boat with a yj, 2k rating and load was 1800-1900 pounds. Every time i was going downhill the boat would start pushing. I ended up slowing at the tops of hills so i could accelerate down, keep the jeep pulling instead of being pushed into a ditcj.

Trying to stop was the same, hit the brakes and the rear end would go where it wanted, took concentration to keep it under control. A panic stop would be jackknifed carnage.

Cross winds and the rear end would again get squirrly, and the boat has nowhere near the profile of a camper.

I ended up buying a beater 1/2 ton truck, towed without a problem.

The jk has a bit more weight, a bit longer wheelbase, but your camper has likewise plus the high profile. With brakes, sway control etc, it will be better but still wouldnt be my choice. If i couldnt change the rig,id still be looking for a popup camper to use. Solves several problems,one of the reasons i have one. Behind the f250, really dont know its back there. Although i did have a few interesting seconds last year trying to keep under control while i locked up the brakes and did several lane changes because of a suicidal deer.

It didnt matter where i went, that thing was determined to test out my winch bumper.

Good luck with the trip, go slower than you think you need to and remember that as soon as you think its towing ok and you can let your guard down, some ******* deer is going to remind you that youre wrong Pretty much my rules for towing anything with anything.
__________________
I'm the only gay eskimo.
Indy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-17-2013, 03:18 PM   #10
MPond
Web Wheeler
 
MPond's Avatar
2006 LJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Newbury Park, CA
Posts: 1,429
kpoulos5 - You mentioned the weight distribution hitch, which is a must have, in my opinion. Does your WDH setup include a sway control? If not, you should seriously consider adding one. That will make a night & day difference when towing a high-profile trailer.

I always prefer larger tow vehicles, but if your JK is stock (not lifted) and you plan to go slow and take your time, it can be done safely. Be sure to get your WDH system adjusted properly.

I agree with the comment above about adding a auxiliary transmission cooler. It will save you from a lot of headaches. You'll definitely want to use your transmission to control your downhill speed, and that builds up a lot of heat. An auxiliary transmission cooler will certainly help with that.
__________________
2006 Black Unlimited 6-speed, Rubicon Express 5.5" Long Arm Kit
MPond is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-18-2013, 10:03 AM   #11
kpoulos5
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: charleston, sc
Posts: 4
Do any of you have more info on the auxiliary cooler? Did you have a factory system installed? I'm guessing doing it ourselves would void the warranty on the transmission...?

Indy, did you have a brake controller for your trailer?

The sway control wasn't in stock, but we'll get it when it gets in.
kpoulos5 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-18-2013, 05:58 PM   #12
MossGreen97
Registered User
1997 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Lacombe, LA
Posts: 250
I have towed a 5000 lb. travel trailer with my XJ, through hills of Mississippi and Arkansas. Not a pleasant experience for several reasons. The travel trailer is wider than an XJ and possibly your JK. Mirror extensions are a must, as well as sway control and electric brake controller. I had no problems stopping with this setup and the trailer handled well. Big rigs tend to cause a pushing effect when they are passing you, so keep an eye out for that. Adjust the brake controller so as to have a controlled stop as opposed to the dropped anchor feeling. Aux. trans cooler is a must as well as towing in one gear down from OD. My trailer dry was around 3500 lbs., but was loaded down (though not by choice) with evacuation goods for Hurricane Katrina. Do not keep your pets in the trailer, the heat and the swaying will get them sick at the very least. Hills were a pain, I can't imagine mountains with the trailer. Good luck, and have something for your nerves....you will need it.
__________________
'97 XJ Moss Green Metallic. 2DR. 2WD AW4 factory tow. General Grabber AT2 255/70x15.
MossGreen97 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-18-2013, 10:12 PM   #13
Indy
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WY
Posts: 3,142
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpoulos5 View Post
Do any of you have more info on the auxiliary cooler? Did you have a factory system installed? I'm guessing doing it ourselves would void the warranty on the transmission...?

Indy, did you have a brake controller for your trailer?

The sway control wasn't in stock, but we'll get it when it gets in.
Boat trailer, so surge brakes not electrics.

Adding a tranny cooler shoildnt void anything. Theyre basically like a mini radiator, easy install.
__________________
I'm the only gay eskimo.
Indy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-19-2013, 07:11 AM   #14
wilson1010
Registered User
1999 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Cincinnati Ohio
Posts: 1,763
I'm very confused. Did you buy a travel trailer to drive your family cross country and avoid pet deposits and motel fees? Why wouldn't you get on a plane with the daughter and have your husband take the Jeep and the dogs and cat and meet you in Seattle or whatever? A Jeep with a travel trailer is the definition of torture. And a cheapo trailer is no place to spend the night. Better than a park bench, but not close to a motel.

Maybe I misunderstand your situation, but it seems to me like a very odd plan.
__________________
03 Rubicon; 99 xj with too much stuff to list; Unimog 406
wilson1010 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-19-2013, 04:51 PM   #15
grogie
M-F: Cell Block #4533
 
grogie's Avatar
2006 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Indy
Posts: 7,425
I have experience with the Tekonsha brake controller... turn it up that it's extra sensitive. Glad you have that as it's very nice.

I'd also say that's a heavy trailer for even a four-door JK. I was shopping trailers in that weight range and mentioned a Commander for towing (as I was at the time thinking of getting one), and two different dealers told me to go lighter. There are decent TTs with less weight, or go for a pop-up.

Plus, if your daughter can't stand more then a few hours in a car at a time, I would think crossing the country will be challenging, or it's just a good opportunity to break her!

Best of luck...
__________________

Red Jeep Club #345
2006 TJ Sport
2004 KJ Limited
2013 Off-Road Trailer

grogie is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the JeepForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.
Note: All free e-mails have been banned due to mis-use. (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.)
Don't have a non-free e-mail address? Click here for a solution: Manual Account Creation
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Thread Tools






Jeep, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and other models are copyrighted and trademarked to Jeep/Chrysler Corporation. JeepForum.com is not in any way associated with Jeep or the Chrysler Corp.