Why can't the LJ tow as much as the XJ...? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
PDX-TJ
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Why can't the LJ tow as much as the XJ...?

I am boat shopping. I want to buy a Mastercraft X1. It's a 21' wakeboard boat with a relatively narrow beam (90").

The weight breaks down like this:
  • Boat - 3,200 lbs.
  • Trailer - 860 lbs. (trailer has surge brakes)
  • Gas - 275 lbs. (33 gallons x 8.33lbs ea.)
  • Gear - 100 lbs. (aprox.)
  • TOTAL - 4,435 lbs.
Now let's compare the towing variables of my 2004 LJ to a 2002 XJ:
  • Engine - both have 4.0L (tie)
  • Transmission - both have 4-speed automatic (tie)
  • Wheelbase - LJ is 2" longer (advantage LJ)
  • Curb weight - LJ is 366 lbs. heavier (advantage LJ)
  • Limited slip - LJ yes, XJ no (advantage LJ)
  • Brakes - LJ has 4-wheel disc, does the XJ?? (advantage LJ??)
  • Towing capacity - LJ is 3,500 lbs. XJ is 5,000 lbs. WTF???
I would also argue that with my LJ's lift (and lack of heavy bumpers, skids, etc.) the tongue weight of the boat will not sag my rear end much at all. In fact, it may level out my rake

Also, with my siped MT/Rs and 4WD my LJ is less likely to slip on a steep, slippery boat ramp. The stock XJ has street tires and is only 2WD, so slippage is more likely on a slick ramp.

Nobody would worry about towing this boat with an XJ and it's 5,000 towing capacity. Why can't I do it with my LJ which appears to be every bit as capable as the XJ (if not more capable). I wouldn't use either vehicle to tow that boat across state lines, but for day trips (up to 1 hour each way), why not??

Your thoughts please...








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post #2 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 12:02 PM
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Could it simply be the rating of the factory hitch itself? Do they mount differently to the frame?
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post #3 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 12:12 PM
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Are you arguing for the tow rating to be changed, or asking whether you should ignore the tow rating and go at it?

If the former, you make a good case; but there could be more.

If the latter, that is a liability issue. If something breaks and you are over the tow rating, the negligence suit is not going to be against the manufacturer (at least not with a good likliehood of success); rather, it will be directed at you, and you will have little defense. Really up to you if you want to take that risk.

The 1 hour trip component is neither here nor there. You are just as likely to have something happen within an hour of your house as you are in a different state.

The D35: 60% of the time, it breaks every time.

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post #4 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Tarmac
Could it simply be the rating of the factory hitch itself? Do they mount differently to the frame?
The LJ didn't come from the factory with a hitch (it was optional on the XJ). I am sure there is some crappy Mopar hitch for the Wrangler. But if the reason is because of the hitch, this is not a problem because I'd be adding an aftermarket class III hitch to my LJ if I buy the boat.

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post #5 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 12:34 PM
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It could be because the XJ is lighter then your Wrangler. Maybe the motor/trans is rated at so much weight? One huge factor would be the wheelbase. Shorter wheelbases are significantly more unstable then longer wheelbase vehicles, especially on the highway.

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post #6 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vrrooom
One huge factor would be the wheelbase. Shorter wheelbases are significantly more unstable then longer wheelbase vehicles, especially on the highway.
The OP stated above that the LJ is 2" longer...
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post #7 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 12:52 PM
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Wheel base? The short w/b on the Wrangler make for terrible towing. A boat that big begs for a real tow vehicle. A big V8, long wheel base and such make that a much easier tow.

For safety's sake never exceed the tow rating the engineers and lawyers put on your vehicles. They stated it for a reason.
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post #8 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 12:59 PM
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Is it that the xj has leaf springs in the rear, and the wrangler has springs?

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post #9 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 12:59 PM
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Tow rating is also largly based upon braking performance. You might want to think about the Vanco brake upgrade with the LJ.

Also, how many times are you going to get into a boat ramp situation that is so steep that you won't be able to get out without 4x4? Seems like you'll take that boat to a nice lake with a nice ramp, not some bass pond with a mud slide for a ramp. Those street tires on the XJ will have a lot of grip because of their large contact patch.

Does it matter what vehicle you tow with? It would seem that the XJ would carry more people and more gear and be a bit more user friendly (getting in/out, tailgate up with boat attached, no swingout tire, etc).

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post #10 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 12:59 PM
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I would say, given the comparrisons that you should be good to go with the LJ. Its not like you are towing a 50ft yacht or something.

And with the class III hitch you should be fine. Dude Ive seen small cars tow small boats and jetski's here in florida.

Tow it down the street, watch your rpms and listen to your engine and trans. If you take it easy you will be fine.
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post #11 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 01:04 PM
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I'd never want to tow anything that big with a Wrangler, LJ or not.

I have an 18' ski boat that I won't tow with anything smaller than my 1500 series GMC pickup.

At highway speeds, that boat will push the Wrangler around at will ... and forget panic stops or quick lane changes, or stiff winds ... I wouldn't wanna' be anywhere NEAR that setup.

Just IMO of course, I have no evidence to back up my opinion, just years and years of trailering a boat on the highway.

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post #12 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 01:05 PM
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I would think it's just weight.
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post #13 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 01:18 PM
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I have towed my 17.5' boat with my 2000 TJ and it was pretty scary. My boat is about 4000 or so lbs. I pretty much only tow it with my truck.

Maybe, If you live close to the ramp, with little hills on the way and the ramp was not to steep.

My boat pulled my jeep down the ramp and it only stopped when it started to float the rear of the boat. I had to put it in 4 lo to pull it out.

Just my experience.
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post #14 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDX-TJ
I'd be adding an aftermarket class III hitch to my LJ if I buy the boat.
The Mopar hitch for the Unlimited is a class III hitch. This is only a guess on my part, the difference may be related to the higher COG of the Wrangler???

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post #15 of 33 Old 03-01-2007, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackJeephunter
Wheel base? The short w/b on the Wrangler make for terrible towing. A boat that big begs for a real tow vehicle. A big V8, long wheel base and such make that a much easier tow.

For safety's sake never exceed the tow rating the engineers and lawyers put on your vehicles. They stated it for a reason.
You must not have read the original post very carefully. This is not a normal Wrangler. This is an Unlimited and the wheelbase is 2" longer than a Cherokee; which is rated for 5,000 lbs. of towing.

There should be a real reason for the difference in towing capacity... not simply "the engineers and lawyers know best."

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