Tips for towing total 5000 lb boat and trailer? -
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-18-2019, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Tips for towing total 5000 lb boat and trailer?

My '00 wj has the 4.0 with tow package. I was reading threads on here that say to keep overdrive off. But for a 4 hr ride is it risky using my wj to tow this much weight? Do i only want to keep overdrive off when im not doing 55mph? We drove this thing 900 miles through the rockies once from nebraska and it blew a head gasket while towing a 2000lb uhaul which is why im nervous.once this drive is over itll be towing the boat 10 miles each way to the boat dock

The boat is 2500lb curb weight, single axle trailer 21' so i may be over estimating the weight some. The drive will be from atlanta to charlotte. About 3.5 hrs of interstate. No mountains

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post #2 of 7 Old 06-18-2019, 08:43 PM
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My first concern would be safety and the overall condition of the frame and suspension on a truck that old, I see your in the South but around here that load would be the end to most of the WJ's still on the road simply due to frame rot in critical areas like control arm mounts.

I've been pulling boats in that load range almost daily with WJ's since they came out, is 5000lb out of the question? Not for a few miles, I have a few offsite storage facilities about 4 miles away but that's to much load to even consider for interstate travel even if your Jeep in is excellent condition you'll learn what the pucker factor feels like with that much load at highway speeds when you need to change lanes or traffic gets tight that will be a case of the tail wagging the dog.

If your really only 2500lb / single axle you'll still know it's back there but it will handle that fine so long as the truck is still solid where it matters.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-18-2019, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Oh boy. Yeah the control arm mounts are still very solid. I was tboned on my b pillar a couple years ago but no real chassis damage besides the pillar. I may need to rethink this and rent a pickup or something instead.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-19-2019, 06:24 AM
Double E
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I had the 4.7 in my '00 and I have teh 4.7HO now. I tow a heavy A$$ 25ft Cobalt w/ 454ci block all over. Towed to Ft Lauderdale, towed to Houston both trips there and back. Not too many mountains but it was getting a work out, no question.

I started this boat-thing back when I joined JF. You can see how long I've been here. The first boat was an even heavier '81 Formula, then the Cobalt. I'm easily bumping up against the tow weight limit. I "might" have 10% to spare. Point is that I've also upgraded everything I possibly can, brakes, radiator, rear sway, trans cooler and them I over-maintain it with trans flushes, fresh plugs, coolant changes, rear diff changes,etc. You get the idea.

That head popping on your 4.slow may have been an inherent issue with the head. I think the 0331 head is prone to cracking and then the HG lets go. If you got the revised head in the fix, all else is in good shape and it is in good working order, I think you'll be fine on I-85 for 3 hours. The critical point will be your braking needs and keeping temps down. I've made that trip many times towing, in the heat and it's fine....just make sure brakes & cooling are all good or better than good. If the trailer does not have supplemental braking, dramatically increase your following distance.

If at above 60mph, at ANY point above that, the trailer begins to wag the back of the jeep around, just move the boat forward on the front mounting point to increase the weight on the tongue. You will see that where the bow eye attaches to the trailer there is adjusatability by moving some u-bolts forward and winching it forward some. That wag is a very uncomfortable feeling,trust me.

For OD, you will find that you can get into a rhythm for when to lock it out and when to use it. Coasting downhill, engage OD if you want, flat and uphill, lock it out. Anticipate when to engage/disengage before the transmission has to downshift for you.

If you want to pay more attention to driving, no problem, keep it locked out. Sacrifice a little fuel mileage, sure, but keep your transmission happier and lasting longer by locking out OD when towing.

The last thing is to never "get behind" in your steering such that you've lost the attention it takes to keep the jeep & trailer exactly where you want it to be on the road.

You can do this by being careful and being prepared. That engine can do it, it just won't be as happy as the 4.7.
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'04 Freedom Edition HO & '04 Overland HO (previous '00 Laredo 4.7)
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-19-2019, 09:41 AM
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Use a Truck!

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post #6 of 7 Old 06-19-2019, 12:03 PM
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My son moved to SoCal about 6 years ago hauling a 3,000lb GTW (gross trailer weight) 2,800 miles with his 96 4.0 XJ. Know this XJ is a completely different animal than your WJ but I sure learned a lot from the XJ forum members more familiar with towing heavy loads.

I wouldn't be guessing on the GTW and take your trailer loaded with boat along with anything you'll have in it to a truck stop, DOT weigh station, feed mill, etc, then disconnect it while having it weighed.

Mod chris87xj was a big help over there and below are a couple good links in his post on measuring tongue weight on your hitch which should be 10-15% of GTW.

You'll also have to consider how much you're going to have packed in your WJ since you don't want it squatting too bad.

Some say you should have trailer brakes and a controller if hauling more than 2,500lb GTW but my son didn't have any for about 3K lbs GTW.

I know you aren't moving across country but preventative maintenance helps and your OE auxiliary trans cooler may not be big enough if hauling heavy loads. Before my son left I installed a large cooler, installed new front brakes, made sure his ebrake was working, installed new trailer bearings, etc.. He did make it although his trans was spitting ATF out of the filler tube while driving through the Rockies. I'm sure you won't be running into anything like that on a much shorter/flatter trip but plan on some hills.

Below is some info from wjjeeps on towing and good luck.

96 4.0 ZJ Laredo, 2004 4.7L WJ Limited, 96 4.0 XJ (son's)

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post #7 of 7 Old 06-20-2019, 11:32 AM
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I have my hands full with a 3000 lbs trailer and I have the factory trailer pkg with the heavier coils. It is squirrely and does fish tail when lane changing.

I like to run up to 55 mph before switching into OD (4th). A good thing is that the torque converter will lock up in both 3rd (with OD off) and 4th which will allow these old transmissions to run cooler.

2001 WJ, 4.0, 242TC, tow, 93K, Akebonos, rusty fender arches & brushcover
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