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Unread 02-06-2013, 02:41 PM   #1
ttrevino
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Figuring actual towing capacity on a modified XJ?

I'm looking at buying a camper and wasn't quite sure what my actual towing capacity would be, since this '98 XJ isn't stock. I've got a '98 Explorer 8.8" rear end, running 4:10 gears, 4-1/2" lift (if that makes any difference), with Skyjacker shocks. It's the 4.0L motor, stock except for what appears to be a free flowing exhaust manifold.

Any idea how to determine tow weight, tongue weight? Thanks, Tony

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Unread 02-06-2013, 02:56 PM   #2
Pats94
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Trailer rating is determined by frame, axle, motor and brakes. You've uprated everything except the body and you've changed the CG with the lift. In essence you have made it less stable.
I'd be way more careful with your set up at the base rating let alone think I've increased it. IMHO
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Unread 02-06-2013, 04:21 PM   #3
rugsucka
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Tongue weight is determined by the hitch and your suspension.

A stock XJ with a class III hitch is rated for 5000lb towing with 500lb tongue weight.

It can easily pull that, but your tranny would like a cooler to do that and stay out of OD.

You need to consider braking as your weakest link for a stock, let alone lifted XJ with larger tires and wheel weight causing significant rolling mass and unsprung weight.

At 4 1/2" with a stiff set of rear leafs, you should consider 3-4K and possibly electric brakes and a controller on the jeep to help stop a run away train scenario.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 04:38 PM   #4
djb383
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IIRC, the book says the 4.0L, auto tranny, HD cooling AND a auxiliary tranny cooler are ALL required to tow at the 5K max limit. Subtract any of those 4 and I believe the tow rating drops to 3K or less. We have towed 1500 lbs of trailer and load (very little wind resistance) and u can definitely tell 1500 lbs is back there.....can't imagine 5000 lbs behind the XJ......safely, at hi-way speeds and for hundreds of miles anyway.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 08:18 AM   #5
ttrevino
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The XJ appears to have S10 leaf springs under it, from the PO, definitely thicker than stock or lifted springs. I don't have a tranny cooler, but also don't plan on towing anything over about 4000, depending on the camper we get. I think it'll be closer to 3200 lbs.
The Explorer 8.8 upgraded the rear brakes to disc, if that helps with towing/stopping much in this equation. I'm also running 32x11.5x15 tires.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 08:42 AM   #6
SuperSam
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I have a 16' 2500#dry camper that I take camping. I use a sway control friction type stabilizer. The biggest issue I have is power and wind, usually lack there of because of the latter. Get a brake controller ad a tranny cooler if you dont have one. That is about as big as I would pull with the jeep, based on power and control.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 10:18 AM   #7
ttrevino
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What is a "sway control friction type stabilizer"? Thanks for the info on weight, I'm looking for a camper between 16-19'.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 05:41 PM   #8
mnoeltne
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Here are some examples of sway control. You can also get sway control with a weight distribution hitch, which might not be a bad idea.

I've towed 4500 lbs with mine before. I'm at stock height with the 4.0, auto, tranny cooler, and trailer brakes. The only real problem I had was trailer sway, so I plan on installing some sort of sway control before I tow that much again, probably with the weight distribution hitch also.

Take off slowly and allow plenty of braking space with that sort of load, even with trailer brakes. The Cherokee has a fairly short wheelbase and that makes it a bit unstable when towing anything very large at all. You might be able to tow 5000 lbs, but doing it safely requires good equipment and very careful driving.
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Unread 02-08-2013, 08:33 AM   #9
ttrevino
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Wow, those are pretty cool, I've never seen one before, but haven't pulled anything other than an old tri-hull and my dad's camper, but that was with my Tahoe. Thanks for the info, I'll definitely add one when we get the trailer, as well as trailer brakes. Thanks everyone for all the help.
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Unread 02-08-2013, 08:50 AM   #10
Timo_90xj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djb383 View Post
IIRC, the book says the 4.0L, auto tranny, HD cooling AND a auxiliary tranny cooler are ALL required to tow at the 5K max limit. Subtract any of those 4 and I believe the tow rating drops to 3K or less. We have towed 1500 lbs of trailer and load (very little wind resistance) and u can definitely tell 1500 lbs is back there.....can't imagine 5000 lbs behind the XJ......safely, at hi-way speeds and for hundreds of miles anyway.
4.0 XJs are rated between 2250kg to as much as 3000kg towing weights (4900-6500lbs) here across the ocean. However, I would probably not want to tow a 6500lbs trailer with an XJ no matter what kind of tranny, cooling or gears it had, but 5k lbs is just fine as long as you don't need to, or want to, go above 55mph (that's the limit here for trailer towing anyways).

IIRC ZJs aren't rated for that much higher towing weight there in the States (5500lbs?), here all V8 versions are rated for 3360kg (7300lbs). I've towed a 6500lbs load behind my ZJ when it still had the stock 3.73 gears, 1.75" lift and 32s. The 5.9 sure did a good job at easily pulling the load, stopping power wasn't too good but I did have trailer brakes (certainly wouldn't have towed that much without 'em). With the WJ brakes I've got now, stopping is no problem at all even with a heavy trailer.

IMO, the biggest downsides towing with an XJ is its relatively short WB, weak stock brakes and weak stock suspension. The rear leafs just can't handle the load like they should, even 300lbs tongue weight makes the rear sag a lot and front aimed sky-high.. Makes the ride quite squirrelly to say the least. Then again, with HD leaf packs and/ or added air suspension, weight distributing hitch and sway control, it's a lot better. Even then, I'd rather get a ZJ if you don't want a full size truck to pull a bigger trailer.
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Unread 02-08-2013, 01:24 PM   #11
Paradise XJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnoeltne View Post
weight distribution hitch
A WDH is almost (read "is") a necessity when towing a larger (travel type) trailer with an XJ. Even then if your trailer has a large water tank and you are taking alot of "stuff"...the weight adds up very quickly.

I've towed a load of river rock in my 5x8 utility trailer with no trailer brakes. I KNOW I exceeded the 5K limit. I would not want to go further than the 3 miles I had to travel with that set-up.

Even towing a 2K lb trailer is a bit hairy going up or down a curvy mountain road (where MOST of us like to go camping), brakes or no brakes. The dang Jeep just is not designed for it.

General rule is not to tow anything heavier than your vehicle
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Unread 10-15-2013, 02:53 PM   #12
VicOfAges
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Originally Posted by djb383 View Post
IIRC, the book says the 4.0L, auto tranny, HD cooling AND a auxiliary tranny cooler are ALL required to tow at the 5K max limit.
Old thread, but I'm in the same boat. I need to get the aux trans cooler. What exactly does the "HD" in HD cooling stand for?
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Unread 10-15-2013, 02:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VicOfAges
Old thread, but I'm in the same boat. I need to get the aux trans cooler. What exactly does the "HD" in HD cooling stand for?
Heavy duty.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 01:57 PM   #14
tamnoz
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Towing

One question is are you talking a popup or a real camper trailer, wind resistance plays a big part when towing. When towing a 6x14 vee nose trailer that ways less than 1000lbs loaded my mpg goes down to about 10-11 mpg. I can hang my open car trailer on the back with a car on it that weighs nearly 4000lbs and get the same mpg. having to use that much of a drop hitch will play into the mess.
Jim
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Unread 10-18-2013, 12:37 PM   #15
NDSU_Bison
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The towing package usually has different axle ratios. In 1998, the tow package had a 3.73 and standard setup was 3.55. (I wish I knew all of this stuff before we bought our first full-sized camper.) I'm assuming you have bigger tires which will offset any towing advantage with the 4.10 axle ratio.
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