zj becomes a towpig? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-09-2020, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
ThatRedZj
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zj becomes a towpig?

I am pretty new to internals and the technicals I'm looking to increase HP/torque. i have the 5.2 with the stock transmission and axles. i want to pull the engine and transmission and have them gone through. what should i port the heads to and what else can/should i upgrade to maximize the towing potential the 5.2 has. im looking to take it on day trips with a trailer and a side by side so nothing too crazy. its currently lifted 3.5 with 33x12.50 sitting on rusty's suspension. i already plan on downsizing the tire size to 31s and getting more street friendly tires. Budget is anywhere up to 3500-4000. thank you.

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post #2 of 18 Old 02-09-2020, 12:41 PM
222Doc
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towing the big one is the auto. largest cooler you can fit. trans temps should stay under 200. stock tires and as much gear as you can run. engine well just be sure it stays cool runs well. most towing is about torque not top end HP. So im not sure how much porting heads will gain since that tend to be near end of rpm range where you gain the usage of the extra breathing room.


for 4 k you could buy a good used truck that will out tow that heep by far. i needed to tow a heavy heep on a trailer total with everything was like 9k. bought a 1996 f250 7.3 thing will burn rubber towing that much weight on 32s and 4.1 gears. pulls 12% at 55 and 6% 65+. 200k on it and its still like new. only has needed a trans. That was replaced with a very built one that is nothing like the stock. changed that truck so much. even gets second gear chirps now. Huge cooling system that eve nuder the worst conditions. 110 out side, towing close to 10k, at 6% never gets hatter then 167*. though with my tunes i have to watch my EGTs can get near 1200 if you push to hard in the performance tunes. tow tune does best up those hills as it cuts fuel and uses more boost. lowers the EGTs to something under the suns corona.

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post #3 of 18 Old 02-09-2020, 12:50 PM
jtec
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as mentioned - TORQUE - the 5.2 is a good engine for towing, I would consider differential GEARS* - and please pay attention to colleagues TRANSMISSION cooler suggestion.


* What is expected tow weight?

When I see the price of OEM I think aftermarket.
When I see the quality of aftermarket I think OEM.
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-09-2020, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
ThatRedZj
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Originally Posted by jtec View Post
as mentioned - TORQUE - the 5.2 is a good engine for towing, I would consider differential GEARS* - and please pay attention to colleagues TRANSMISSION cooler suggestion.


* What is expected tow weight?
at most it'll be a trailer with a side by side in it. if im not mistaken the zj comes stock with 3.73 gears and the higher ratio the better for towing? sill trying to learn all of this.
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-09-2020, 09:31 PM
kachink
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Stock ZJ brakes on stock tires are adequate at best. Add 31s & a trailer and you'll want to look into the WJ brake upgrade, or Vanco.
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 04:21 AM
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What does a trailer and side by side weigh? 2000-2500lbs or so? I wouldnt get too fired up about that... Make sure you have fresh fluids everywhere and your brakes are in good shape.

I'll add that as long as your engine is somewhat healthy that should be the last of your concerns

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post #7 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 07:04 AM
riverzj
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I have a Ď94 with a 5.2 and 46RH. Iím extremely happy with my motor. I got 5.9 heads, new casts, as well as 25.5lbs/hr bosch 4 hole injectors, Hughes Plenum fix, and a EGR and cat delete.
The trans is fine once youíre rolling, but Iím going to get mine built soon. I think that will help the most. I also have a 1ton dodge cooler on mine.
The brakes are fine as long as youíre in the tow rating and youíre not driving like youíre on fire. Looking for a brake upgrade? Find a HP30 and WJ knuckles and build it on a bench with the bigger dual piston brakes and throw that in.
If youíre seriously towing big weight for long distance, or often I would want to have a better rear driveshaft, which I have, because it really puts the pressure on back there. Make sure your rear end is set up good, ei diff/axle bearings are good and the gear pattern is good.
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riverzj View Post


If youíre seriously towing big weight for long distance, or often I would want to have a better rear driveshaft, which I have, because it really puts the pressure on back there. Make sure your rear end is set up good, ei diff/axle bearings are good and the gear pattern is good.
Curious about this. What driveshaft do you have? One from 5.9 with 1330 u joints?

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post #9 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 12:06 PM
riverzj
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@1996maroonzjf I have a 242HD tom woods SYE and driveshaft. I believe itís 1310. Helps with angle when lifted so no vibrations and more strength. Double carden instead of the slip yolk garbage.


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post #10 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 12:34 PM
LouC
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To what's been said, I'd add that the ZJ needs some kind of load leveling for towing, the best is a Weight Distributing hitch, but if not a set of Air Lift air bags are easy to install and work great for lighter tongue weights. I installed these over 10 years ago and they work great. That and a B&M trans cooler helped out back when I was using the ZJ to tow the boat, before the WK.
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 12:41 PM
riverzj
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Just bought a ZJ yesterday with a brand new set of those air spring helper things. Sitting in a box in the back, new. Iíll never use them if anyone wants them PM me


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post #12 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 06:54 PM
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Power should be the least of your concern when towing with a ZJ. I've towed an M416 w/ RTT loaded down all through the mountains of CO, I'd guess 1500lbs total. I'm on 35's, 4.56's, and a relatively stock 5.2 (CAI, exhaust, Mopar ECU) and it goes just fine. Stopping and controlling the trailer is a completely different story. I would add an electronic brake controller and make sure your trailer axle has electric brakes to help you slow everything down. Also, thoroughly inspect where the hitch attaches to the unibody to make sure there's no rust down there. And keep the trans happy with a big cooler as previously mentioned.

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post #13 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 09:19 PM
Greg Raber
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I wouldn’t worry too much with your setup. You have lots of power for the weight. I am pulling a 4500lb tall single Axle RV with mine. Jeep looks like a wart in front of it. Stock 95 orvis edition with upcountry package. So has factory 1inch lift over the most models. She runs fairly hot in summer with the load but it pulls fine. Took it through the Rockies from Calgary to Vancouver.
Control and braking is more of a potential issue. Your side by side on a trailer shouldn’t be too bad unless it’s an enclosed trailer. I find any sort of winds and I have to bring the speed right down. (80km/hr when windy, no more than 100km when it’s calm on a good straight freeway) Any sort of taller Enclosed trailer will want push you around.
I have airbags, brake controller and a weight distributing hitch. They help but there is only so much you can do with these short, narrow, soft suspension (and old) vehicles for towing. mine bucks like a bronco without the load. Not any better with the trailer on. Springs are probably shot on mine though.

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post #14 of 18 Old 02-14-2020, 12:02 AM
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As long as you keep the tire size-to-gearing ratio pretty much stock and you have a trailer with brakes, a 5.2 can fairly happily tow 4k-5k loads as long as the trailer isn't too long.
As was mentioned weight distributing hitch and/ or air bags in the rear axle will help leveling things out - stock rear coils are too soft for heavier tongue loads.

The biggest issue with ZJs are the brakes - as has been mentioned they are adequate at best with stock size tires, and going to 32s or 33s you definitely need trailer brakes at anything heavier than around 1500lbs.
I'm on 33s/ 4.56 gears; I have WJ brakes, my built ZJ weighs ~4800lbs - and with an 1800lbs. brakeless trailer & a few hundred pounds of stuff in the back I feel like I'm on the very limit of having enough stopping power.

edit: Oh, I 100% agree with posts above you need a big enough auxiliary transmission fluid cooler.

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post #15 of 18 Old 02-14-2020, 09:55 AM
LouC
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Agreed, if towing with a ZJ your trailer MUST have brakes that work 100% if it weighs over 1500 lbs. I used to tow our boat (20', approx. 3700 lbs on the trailer) and without trailer brakes (when I first picked it up) even with stock size tires, with the ZJ brakes I could barely stop it. I had a new trailer axle made with brake flanges and put a set of surge drum brakes on it that made all the difference. Even with the WK which has much better brakes than the ZJ you still need trailer brakes that work with a load like that. But pulling wise there is no comparison, the 5.7 Hemi and Chrysler 5 speed pulls like a freight train. Stock its 330 hp and 375 ft lbs of torque, with 3.73:1 gears. The ChryCo 5 spd in tow/haul mode works well for an old tech (now vs the new ZF 8 spd) auto trans. They seem to hold up pretty well too.
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