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Unread 01-17-2014, 08:36 PM   #1
86mcss
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jk towing capacity...why isnt it more?

not trying to start a flame war.

the only thing really holding my back from buying a jk is being able to tow with it(i would sell my truck to buy the jk). the tow rating is around 3500 lbs. why is it so low? the jk unlimited is comparable in size to a chevy tahoe now which has a tow capacity of 8500 lbs. heck the cherokee has a tow rating of 7500 lbs i believe.

i understand its to do with frame and suspension. why is the frame on the jk so tiny? the tahoe gets better gas mileage and has more power and tows a ton more than the jk. i honestly wish the jk could at least tow 5500 lbs. i would be satisfied with that. i just need it to tow my camper trailer and dirt bikes on my hunting trips and nothing more.

who thinks jeep should beef up the frame a smidge more to allow better towing capacity?

and im in before the "real" jeepers chime in and say its a jeep its meant for trail use only.

well times have changed and we demand more from our jeeps.

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Unread 01-17-2014, 08:45 PM   #2
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First I'm pretty sure they are a good bit smaller than a Tahoe. And Aren't tahoes built on a Silverado based platform still?

But the tow rating is low for something it's size. I don't doubt that the very soft/flexible suspension plays a part in a jku's lack of tow ability. They are geared towards the off road so it's fair to say compromises have to be made.

Mine with 35s and 4.10s towed 3,500 lbs pretty easy.
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Unread 01-17-2014, 08:45 PM   #3
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In all the threads devoted to JK tow capacity, no one has come up with an answer known to be correct.
Only the people who were involved in the rating decision can tell you for sure.
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Unread 01-17-2014, 08:52 PM   #4
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People have pondered if it is a weak chassis, tow point, rear axle, lack of engine power, weak drivetrain, lack of vehicle mass, selection of stock tires, small brakes, etc. Nobody has the real answers. I'd say that it is a combination of those that I mentioned and probably a few more.
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Unread 01-17-2014, 09:15 PM   #5
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Tow ratings are based on numerous things, and any one thing could knock down a rating. The specific reason we won't even know for sure. The established ratings are pretty light. While I don't condone it, I've towed much more than 3500 with mine.

Some common (non exhaustive) things that influence towing ratings: Braking ability, suspension roll, convertible, width and length of vehicle, engine power, transmission rating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86mcss View Post
...and im in before the "real" jeepers chime in and say its a jeep its meant for trail use only.

well times have changed and we demand more from our jeeps.
Comparing the Wrangler Unlimited to a Tahoe is a pretty far throw, they are built to accomplish different things. You won't see a stock tahoe do anything near what a stock wrangler can. I would debate a built up Tahoe would still pale compared to a similarly invested Wrangler.

Times might have changed, but mechanics and physics haven't :P
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Unread 01-17-2014, 09:37 PM   #6
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My hunch would be the power train has a lot to do with it. This was the conclusion over on the Nissan boards when the V8 Pathfinders first came out. Everything was equal between the V6 and the V8 except the engine (& maybe the tranny). But the V8 was rated for about 1,000 lbs more towing capacity.
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Unread 01-17-2014, 10:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krawler510 View Post
First I'm pretty sure they are a good bit smaller than a Tahoe. And Aren't tahoes built on a Silverado based platform still?

But the tow rating is low for something it's size. I don't doubt that the very soft/flexible suspension plays a part in a jku's lack of tow ability. They are geared towards the off road so it's fair to say compromises have to be made.

Mine with 35s and 4.10s towed 3,500 lbs pretty easy.
they are not a good bit smaller any more. maybe a little bit smaller but it is not a significant difference anymore(im terms of the unlimited jeep).

i tow in windy conditions and also tow about 5500 lbs from 3k ft elevation to 9k ft elevation with a very steep incline. i am sure the jk can tow over 3500lbs on a flat non-windy surface very easily but i would be worried about the conditions i would possibly town in. i wouldnt want the jeep to jack knife in the wind.
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Unread 01-17-2014, 11:02 PM   #8
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It's a Jeep thing, no one will ever understand.
Prime example, sitting out in my driveway are 4 Jeep vehicles: '77 J-10, '88 XJ, '90 XJ, and '09 JKUR. Guess which has the highest advertised tow rating?
If you said J-10, you would be wrong. The '88 XJ is rated for 5000lbs, the '90 for 2000, the '09 for 3500 and I can not find any definitive rating on the '77, but it's max GCWR is only 6250 or there abouts so it won't take much tongue weight.
Nobody will ever figure it out.
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Unread 01-17-2014, 11:12 PM   #9
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quite simply stability and liability. Jeeps have a long history of being dangerous without towing, let alone with something on the back.
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Unread 01-18-2014, 03:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86mcss
they are not a good bit smaller any more. maybe a little bit smaller but it is not a significant difference anymore(im terms of the unlimited jeep). .
28" longer, 5" wider and 1,200 lbs heavier is pretty substantial.

I didn't even think about the hitch mount on a jk. Puts a lot of torque on a small crossmember.
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Unread 01-18-2014, 06:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krawler510 View Post
28" longer, 5" wider and 1,200 lbs heavier is pretty substantial.

I didn't even think about the hitch mount on a jk. Puts a lot of torque on a small crossmember.
A damn Tahoe is only 1200 lbs heavier than a JKU? wowser
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Unread 01-18-2014, 08:30 AM   #12
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I think a Liberty has greater towing capacity than a JKU.

I think a lot of the tow rating has to do with lawyers.

There are things you can do to improve how well it performs when towing but not a whole lot you can do to save you from legal liabilities in the event of an accident in which you were exceeding the rating.

The most common mods are regearing, big brake kit, auxiliary transmission cooler, and a better towing system such as a weight distributing / load stabilizing system. These won't increase your legal limit, but will make it easier and safer to tow.
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Unread 01-18-2014, 08:41 AM   #13
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If you want to tow heavy loads buy a truck. If you want to crawl rocks, mud or malls...topless....buy a Jeep
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Unread 01-18-2014, 08:43 AM   #14
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Because a cuddy cabin doesn't like the rocks
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Unread 01-18-2014, 09:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho-X-Jeep View Post
My hunch would be the power train has a lot to do with it. This was the conclusion over on the Nissan boards when the V8 Pathfinders first came out. Everything was equal between the V6 and the V8 except the engine (& maybe the tranny). But the V8 was rated for about 1,000 lbs more towing capacity.
....but the tow rating didn't increase when the motor picked up 80+ hp with the pentastar motor.
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