Commander Towing Experiences -

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post #1 of 6 Old 06-23-2009, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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Commander Towing Experiences

I'm looking for some information from Commander owners about their experiences as using it for a tow vehicle. Long story short, i'm looking to buy something to tow my ZJ with on a flat trailer to take it wheeling. I know a V8 Grand Cherokee can do it, but it's not pretty and lacks in the braking department. I've been looking into diesel trucks but the maintenance costs kinda deter me from them - and my new vehicle will be upgraded to my daily driver status.

I was doing some browsing and it seems Commanders with the Hemi and Class IV (?) package can tow up to 7400 lbs. My ZJ sits in around 5000lbs + 1000 for a trailer + 600 give or take in passengers and gear. It seems like it's up the task, especially with electronic trailer braking. But I want to see if anyone has some real world experiences they'd like to share as to whether or not this is a good route to take.


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post #2 of 6 Old 06-23-2009, 10:08 AM
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You do realize a Grand Cherokee and a Commander are the same vehicle mechanically, right?

If you think a V8 WK lacks in the braking department, you're going to feel the same way about the Commander—it uses the same brakes on a vehicle that's even heavier than the WK.

Doesn't stop some of the wackos at the Commander-specific forums from claiming it's better, but the entire braking system is identical.

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post #3 of 6 Old 06-23-2009, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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I was referring to the older generation of ZJs. I've only driven a few WKs but never paid attention to the braking abilities.

I'm looking more for power and handling. Braking can be done by electronic kits.


1996 Grand Cherokee
2005 Wrangler Rocky Mountain Edition
RIP Troy (bigbluezj94)
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-23-2009, 11:23 AM
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Towing a built ZJ on a trailer is really going to be pushing the safety limits of a WK/XK IMO. First, I think your estimates are a little on the light side as far as weights go. Second, they don't really have the weight or the wheelbase to make for a good tow rig for something that heavy. Personally, I think a 1/2 ton pickup would leave a lot to be desired when pulling a 7000lb trailer, though it would be worlds better than a XK.

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post #5 of 6 Old 06-23-2009, 08:29 PM
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An auto transport at U-haul weighs 2,210 lbs. It's been my experience that towing at the weight limit is adequate for flat terrain but any long inclines are a bear.

I'd even be hesitant to recommend a 1/2 truck since most of those are heavy and don't have a tow rating higher than a Hemi-powered Jeep.
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-23-2009, 08:57 PM
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I'd also recomend you assume the trailer weighs more. The lightest 7000 GVW car trailers I've seen are open-deck models which weigh in ~1650 lbs... Most 7000 lb GVW trailers with a full deck weigh 1900-2200 lbs.

I've been towing my '98 XJ (built for wheeling) a bit with a WK CRD on a 7000 lb GVW trailer... I've taken 1 long trip (~325 mi round trip) with it through fairly hilly country (highways and back roads) and several short trips on local country roads (15-20 mi at a time). I didn't get great mileage (~14 mpg), but I didn't have any problems going up or down hills at 70 mph on the highway either - I was passing other cars / SUVs on the uphills if I wanted to.

I figure the trailer I have (~23' long) is ~2000 lbs with the XJ + gear (tools, camping gear, etc...) the total load probably comes in around 6500 lbs, or a bit more. With a weight distributing hitch the WK + loaded trailer handles really well. With that much weight you need trailer brakes on both axles.

The ZJ is slightly heavier than the XJ, but not a lot... The WK or XK can tow it, but don't plan to be too aggressive driving. I don't know how well the Hemi tows, but the CRD is awesome!


1998 XJ - built for offroading
2007 WK CRD - DashHawk, for towing the XJ
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