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Unread 06-23-2009, 08:05 AM   #1
_Kyle_
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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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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Unread 06-23-2009, 11:08 AM   #2
colinzj
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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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Unread 06-23-2009, 11:23 AM   #3
_Kyle_
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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.
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1996 Grand Cherokee

RIP Troy (bigbluezj94)

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Unread 06-23-2009, 12:23 PM   #4
RyanZJ
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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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Unread 06-23-2009, 09:29 PM   #5
NDSU_Bison
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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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Unread 06-23-2009, 09:57 PM   #6
nostaw22
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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!

JW
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