Towing 5k? - 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 > Models > Jeep Cherokee & Comanche Forums > XJ Cherokee Technical Forum > Towing 5k?

Introducing MONSTALINER™ UV Permanent DIY Roll On Bed LineSave 17.76% for the 4th of july with ruffstuff specialtiesJuly 4th Sale Event! and Yes, We're Open!

Reply
Unread 06-04-2014, 03:40 PM   #1
bluejunior
Registered User
2001 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 1,098
Towing 5k?

I'm looking at small RV's for the wife, dog and myself. I've towed with the cherokee ('01 XJ sport auto 4x4) before, but never anywhere near the weight of some I've looked at.

So the question is, can a properly equipped XJ Tow a 5,000lb trailer w/trailer brakes safely for a multiple-hour road trip?

Obviously a heavier car would be better, I just want to know if it can be done. Some forums/threads I read guys are saying that they tow 4-5k regularly with no problems. Others seem convinced I'll either destroy the jeep or not be able to stop it and kill someone.

Here's what I've done to prepare the jeep thusfar:
1. Transmission cooler (GC transplant) for my AW4
2. Heavier load springs in the rear
3. Appropriate synthetic gear oil in the differentials

Here's what I'm going to do before towing that much and would love suggestions on:
1. trailer brake controller
2. Helper springs in the rear (reviews and brand suggestions welcome!)
3. Towing bumper that ties it at the bumper mounts, hitch mounts and probably at the shackle mounts.
4. Regear the axles: I'm thinking 4.56, I'm concerned about going higher than that with a D30HP/8.25 combo, because the teeth on the ring get so small, but I'm also worried 4.56 may not be aggressive enough for towing if I go to 32's.
5. Swap to rear discs for the 8.25 and see if there's any other boosts I can give the braking system.
6. Do aftermarket radiators actually improve cooling? I'd consider one if it actually seemed worth it>

__________________
"I just need to do a couple tweaks on my jeep, I'll be done in a couple hours." - gone 3 days
bluejunior is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-04-2014, 07:51 PM   #2
cbenez1
Registered User
1991 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 1,701
Can it be done ? Yes. Should it be ? No. Your towing something that out weighs the vehicle pulling it. It's basic common sense. Now I'll sit back and watch some of the members reply to this and say I don't know what I'm talking about and tell you about how their cousin's uncle's sisters boyfriend used to tow an 18,000 lb travel trailer loaded with "shine" up and down the blue ridge mountains at 80 plus mph without a brake controller with nooooo problem in his stock 85 4cyl XJ with 385k on the clock.
__________________
A nation that "forgets" it's defenders, Will itself be "forgotten". Semper fi
91 XJ 4.0 5spd 5.5 on 32's, flat flares, sand camo'd. "Battle Wagon"
01 XJ 'Up Country' 3.5 on 29's former fire vehicle. Bright red. "Fire Wagon"
cbenez1 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-04-2014, 08:13 PM   #3
chris87xj
JF Admin
 
chris87xj's Avatar
1987 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: 3rd rock from sun
Posts: 8,188
Sunny days and dry roads sans mountains it's doable, but running at max ratings feels so sketchy that it sure takes all the fun out of it. I wouldn't even try w/o a weight distribution hitch. The tongue weight along will pretty much max the capacity of stock leaves before you put any gear in the jeep.
Something about an object in motion tends to remain in motion, and with the trailer weighing more than the XJ it gets a pretty big say in where you're gonna go at any given moment. Big hills, bad weather, blown tires, road deer, and stuff like that can make you wish you left the trailer at home. I guess it all depends on the trip you want to make and how often.
__________________
***Chris***

"You can set my jeep on fire and roll it down a hill,
But I still wouldn't trade it for a Coupe DeVille."

JeepForum.com/IndyORV@Redbird-SRA
COTY 2009


Win a free premium membership HERE.
chris87xj is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-04-2014, 11:35 PM   #4
M35A2
Registered User
1995 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Monrovia, California
Posts: 746
A tent trailer....maybe. A 5k travel trailer, no way. If it holds water, usually 50 gallons, that's another 400 lbs. All the crap you will put in it, 5-700 lbs. Before you know it, your 5k trailer turns into a 7k load. Think of the people next to you on the road. Your over loaded rig might kill the car full of kids next to you. Just throwing that out there, seen it done. Not a good thing. You wana tow, buy a duramax powered big truck.
__________________
Volunteer, American Society of Military History. http://tankland.com/
Just got a 1989 YJ too!
M35A2 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-05-2014, 03:21 AM   #5
Timo_90xj
Web Wheeler
 
Timo_90xj's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland - on the European side of the Atlantic
Posts: 6,417
4.0 XJs are rated for 5500-6500 lbs towing weights here across the ocean. People don't die all over the roads pulling those kind of loads here. I do definitely understand the concept of having a heavier tow truck than the trailer is, and I do agree that the XJ is definitely not the most ideal tow truck with it's relatively short wheelbase and crappy stock rear leafs.

However, saying that pulling a 5000lbs trailer with an XJ is dangerous, is pure crap. People safely tow those kinds of loads everywhere else in the world with vehicles sized like XJs - apart from USA/ Canada. Towing a heavier trailer with an XJ certainly requires well- functioning trailer brakes (surge or electric), aux tranny cooler (on automatics), weight-distributing hitch and/ or upgrades on the rear suspension - and keeping the speed at no higher than 55-60mph.


That being said, I would avoid long-term max. load/ close to max. load towing with pretty much any vehicle except for full size diesel trucks/ big rigs. Normal vehicles are not designed for that kind of abuse, and it is not fun in long term torturing the driver and the vehicle like that. I would not hesitate for a second to tow at max. load with an XJ for a couple hundred miles every now and then, but I probably would not take an XJ to a 2000 mile roadtrip with a 5-6k lbs. trailer.
__________________
1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/d...s-etc-1222317/


1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
Timo_90xj is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-05-2014, 08:00 AM   #6
Millermagic
Registered User
2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Syracuse, New York
Posts: 1,977
Around here ... most XJs don't have the structural integrity to tow any more.

Engine/trans will handle it just fine - especially with 4.56 gears. You'll need a transmission cooler, make sure the cooling system is new/refreshed. I'd run 85w-140 gear oil, conventional.

You *WILL* neeeeeed to do something about the brakes. I have dragged a few Jeeps with mine (Wrangler and Cherokee) and a towbar. Going isn't a problem, even with 3.55s and 31s. Stopping was interesting - at the time, I had all new brake hardware too.
__________________
2000 XJ - 3.5'' Lift & Skinny Mudders.
Previous: A CJ, Few TJs and JK.
Millermagic is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-05-2014, 08:36 AM   #7
Timo_90xj
Web Wheeler
 
Timo_90xj's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland - on the European side of the Atlantic
Posts: 6,417
Towing anything that weighs more than ~1500lbs with a vehicle sized like an XJ, I would always use a trailer that has brakes. Even if I had a full size truck (something in the one ton size range, 2500 Dodge, etc..), I would not feel comfortable towing a brakeless trailer if it exceeds something like 3000lbs weight. It just doesn't feel safe to me.

I don't know the regulations over there regarding trailer brakes, but across here it is requirement on trailers exceeding 750kg weight to have brakes if being towed with a passenger car/ suv/ van that has gross vehicle weight less than 3500kg.
__________________
1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/d...s-etc-1222317/


1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
Timo_90xj is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-05-2014, 08:37 AM   #8
mikeyc1821
Registered User
2004 WJ 
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: durham, me
Posts: 96
Trailer brakes provide all the braking the trailer needs... if they work properly you shouldn't be using any extra breaking effort then normal..

Now I'm in the same boat. I just picked up an. 03 we with the 4.7 ho and plan to tow 7k. Around 100 mile radius to heal my built xj.. I have out fitted the trailer with wdh. And have good electric brake control... and air bags.. and it is still sketchy... I only dare to go 45.. it stops easy gets moving easy but at highway speed it sways and is scary
mikeyc1821 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-05-2014, 08:44 AM   #9
bluejunior
Registered User
2001 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 1,098
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbenez1 View Post
Can it be done ? Yes. Should it be ? No. Your towing something that out weighs the vehicle pulling it. It's basic common sense. Now I'll sit back and watch some of the members reply to this and say I don't know what I'm talking about and tell you about how their cousin's uncle's sisters boyfriend used to tow an 18,000 lb travel trailer loaded with "shine" up and down the blue ridge mountains at 80 plus mph without a brake controller with nooooo problem in his stock 85 4cyl XJ with 385k on the clock.
I see what you're saying. I would disagree that in a towing vehicle you should stay under the weight of the vehicle, but there's a big difference between a vehicle built for towing doing so an an XJ. Thanks for the input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris87xj View Post
Sunny days and dry roads sans mountains it's doable, but running at max ratings feels so sketchy that it sure takes all the fun out of it. I wouldn't even try w/o a weight distribution hitch. The tongue weight along will pretty much max the capacity of stock leaves before you put any gear in the jeep.
Something about an object in motion tends to remain in motion, and with the trailer weighing more than the XJ it gets a pretty big say in where you're gonna go at any given moment. Big hills, bad weather, blown tires, road deer, and stuff like that can make you wish you left the trailer at home. I guess it all depends on the trip you want to make and how often.
Central Texas mostly, so no mountains, but occasional steep hills and definitely deer. Thanks for the input, I will be using heavier than stock springs with helpers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M35A2 View Post
A tent trailer....maybe. A 5k travel trailer, no way. If it holds water, usually 50 gallons, that's another 400 lbs. All the crap you will put in it, 5-700 lbs. Before you know it, your 5k trailer turns into a 7k load. Think of the people next to you on the road. Your over loaded rig might kill the car full of kids next to you. Just throwing that out there, seen it done. Not a good thing. You wana tow, buy a duramax powered big truck.
I'm talking about 5k gross weight. I've done the research, and a 17-21' hard side trailer doesn't actually weigh much different loaded than a pop-up does. Some even weigh less, depending on brand and model. I would never consider loading up a trailer that weighs 5k empty on an XJ. I'm looking at something in the 3-4k range empty, closer to 3 the better.
__________________
"I just need to do a couple tweaks on my jeep, I'll be done in a couple hours." - gone 3 days
bluejunior is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-05-2014, 08:58 AM   #10
bluejunior
Registered User
2001 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 1,098
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo_90xj View Post
4.0 XJs are rated for 5500-6500 lbs towing weights here across the ocean. People don't die all over the roads pulling those kind of loads here. I do definitely understand the concept of having a heavier tow truck than the trailer is, and I do agree that the XJ is definitely not the most ideal tow truck with it's relatively short wheelbase and crappy stock rear leafs.

However, saying that pulling a 5000lbs trailer with an XJ is dangerous, is pure crap. People safely tow those kinds of loads everywhere else in the world with vehicles sized like XJs - apart from USA/ Canada. Towing a heavier trailer with an XJ certainly requires well- functioning trailer brakes (surge or electric), aux tranny cooler (on automatics), weight-distributing hitch and/ or upgrades on the rear suspension - and keeping the speed at no higher than 55-60mph.


That being said, I would avoid long-term max. load/ close to max. load towing with pretty much any vehicle except for full size diesel trucks/ big rigs. Normal vehicles are not designed for that kind of abuse, and it is not fun in long term torturing the driver and the vehicle like that. I would not hesitate for a second to tow at max. load with an XJ for a couple hundred miles every now and then, but I probably would not take an XJ to a 2000 mile roadtrip with a 5-6k lbs. trailer.
Thanks for the input. I'm talking about 150-300 miles 2-3 times a year, and I've looked at everything you mentioned except a weight distributing hitch. I'll have to look into that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Millermagic View Post
Around here ... most XJs don't have the structural integrity to tow any more.

Engine/trans will handle it just fine - especially with 4.56 gears. You'll need a transmission cooler, make sure the cooling system is new/refreshed. I'd run 85w-140 gear oil, conventional.

You *WILL* neeeeeed to do something about the brakes. I have dragged a few Jeeps with mine (Wrangler and Cherokee) and a towbar. Going isn't a problem, even with 3.55s and 31s. Stopping was interesting - at the time, I had all new brake hardware too.
Yeah, I've towed 3k-3.5k before and that was definitely the limit without trailer brakes, even well adjusted. I'll be doing a disc brake swap (ZJ or KJ) and looking into what I can do with boosters/prop valves/etc... to make sure everything's dialed in as well as I can get it. I'm hoping the tongue weight will give enough traction to the back to make all that worth it. I'm also going to be running street tires instead of the usual A/T's to get every bit of traction I can muster. Even 1% helps when pushing limits right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo_90xj View Post
I don't know the regulations over there regarding trailer brakes, but across here it is requirement on trailers exceeding 750kg weight to have brakes if being towed with a passenger car/ suv/ van that has gross vehicle weight less than 3500kg.
Hadn't occurred to me to look actually. I have a bunch of friends that "camp" in RV's regularly, but they all have dedicated towing vehicles built to handle it and they never really worried about stuff like that. I don't have the budget or storage space to add a trailer and a full size truck unfortunately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyc1821 View Post
Trailer brakes provide all the braking the trailer needs... if they work properly you shouldn't be using any extra breaking effort then normal..

Now I'm in the same boat. I just picked up an. 03 we with the 4.7 ho and plan to tow 7k. Around 100 mile radius to heal my built xj.. I have out fitted the trailer with wdh. And have good electric brake control... and air bags.. and it is still sketchy... I only dare to go 45.. it stops easy gets moving easy but at highway speed it sways and is scary
Thanks for the input there. Honestly I've been at least as worried about towing a big sail with a small vehicle as I have about the ability of the cherokee to start and stop it once it's properly outfitted. I really wish I could like, test tow something for a road trip and see. I know pop-ups are way lower profile and the small ones are less weight, but frankly I've borrowed one before and I'd rather just pack the jeep with a good tent and related gear and forget the trailer entirely if I'm going to have to mess with setting up canvas walls and have a space too small to do anything in anyway. Even with the dogs in the car I can have as pleasant of a camp with just a hitch cargo rack as I can with a pop-up.
__________________
"I just need to do a couple tweaks on my jeep, I'll be done in a couple hours." - gone 3 days
bluejunior is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-05-2014, 09:05 AM   #11
bluejunior
Registered User
2001 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 1,098
Thanks everyone for your input, I've by no means decided to do this for sure yet. I'm just kind of feeling out what others have done, what equipment is needed IF it's practical, etc... so I can start building up the jeep to handle it IF it's worth even trying.
__________________
"I just need to do a couple tweaks on my jeep, I'll be done in a couple hours." - gone 3 days
bluejunior is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-05-2014, 10:50 AM   #12
Timo_90xj
Web Wheeler
 
Timo_90xj's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland - on the European side of the Atlantic
Posts: 6,417
If it's only a couple times year, few hundred miles and you buy a trailer that has brakes, don't hesitate. Although it's not gonna feel like you're towing with a full size, there's no reason why your XJ couldn't do it.

The biggest issue IMO on the XJ is the bad brakes (= you must have a trailer with good brakes), and the relatively short wheelbase which can make the ride a bit squirrelly, depending on the length/ height of the trailer towed.



People all over Europe tow these kind of (and larger, tandem axle versions) camper trailers legally and safely with vehicles like 500- series BMWs, E- series Mercs, V70 Volvos, or any of the midsize SUVs/ SUTs (Rav4, X5, ML- class, Range Rover/ Discovery, XC90, Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, etc..). These normally weigh around 3500-5500lbs depending on the size of the RV trailer.

I know the rules concerning towing are quite a bit more strict there in the States, what I'm trying to say is that a 5k lbs trailer isn't exactly a huge trailer which requires a full size truck to safely tow it






__________________
1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/d...s-etc-1222317/


1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
Timo_90xj is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-05-2014, 11:09 AM   #13
bluejunior
Registered User
2001 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 1,098
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo_90xj View Post
If it's only a couple times year, few hundred miles and you buy a trailer that has brakes, don't hesitate. Although it's not gonna feel like you're towing with a full size, there's no reason why your XJ couldn't do it.

The biggest issue IMO on the XJ is the bad brakes (= you must have a trailer with good brakes), and the relatively short wheelbase which can make the ride a bit squirrelly, depending on the length/ height of the trailer towed.



People all over Europe tow these kind of (and larger, tandem axle versions) camper trailers legally and safely with vehicles like 500- series BMWs, E- series Mercs, V70 Volvos, or any of the midsize SUVs/ SUTs (Rav4, X5, ML- class, Range Rover/ Discovery, XC90, Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, etc..). These normally weigh around 3500-5500lbs depending on the size of the RV trailer.

I know the rules concerning towing are quite a bit more strict there in the States, what I'm trying to say is that a 5k lbs trailer isn't exactly a huge trailer which requires a full size truck to safely tow it
Thanks Timo. Although..ironically the german sedans probably have a significantly stronger frame and a wider wheelbase than the cherokees now that I think about it...
__________________
"I just need to do a couple tweaks on my jeep, I'll be done in a couple hours." - gone 3 days
bluejunior is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-05-2014, 11:09 AM   #14
bluejunior
Registered User
2001 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 1,098
I just found a Disc brake conversion kit for a 35 on Craigslist for $150. I have a the C8.25, but I should be able to grind it out to fit. So it looks like at least that mod is going through.

Anyone have any particularly good or bad experiences with helper springs?
__________________
"I just need to do a couple tweaks on my jeep, I'll be done in a couple hours." - gone 3 days
bluejunior is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 06-05-2014, 11:28 AM   #15
Timo_90xj
Web Wheeler
 
Timo_90xj's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Helsinki, Finland - on the European side of the Atlantic
Posts: 6,417
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluejunior View Post
Thanks Timo. Although..ironically the german sedans probably have a significantly stronger frame and a wider wheelbase than the cherokees now that I think about it...
The newer ones maybe, but I wouldn't say so for the slightly older (late 90s) ones. But their advantage is independent suspension and good handling compared to the XJ

I've towed up to 7k loads with my ZJ (rated for 7500lbs across here), and that load with a proper tongue weight didn't feel bad at all. I do have WJ brakes & steering, which helps in handling and stopping. The heaviest trailers I towed with my XJ were around 5k range, and I can't say they felt bad at all. There is a clear difference to the ZJ anyways, the longer WB on the ZJ does help.


If I towed more often than I do now, I'd probably add helper springs in the rear in the form of airbags between the axle and uniframe. I don't know if there are bolt-on kits available for the XJ (or ZJ), but piecing together a kit shouldn't be too bad. I'd stay away from "airlift" shock absorbers, the mounts on the XJ are not designed to handle extra loads.
__________________
1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/d...s-etc-1222317/


1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
Timo_90xj 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.