robynE

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Yes, there is a button to select gas only, battery only, or hybrid (both) my order went in 12/1 and still no delivery date in sight.

Wrangler is an all around awesome vehicle for towing (within reason) and off-roading (well obviously) and just looking good, haha. I always say I will always have a Wrangler for as long as I can still get up in one!!! Its getting a little tougher every year past 50! 😒





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mchastings

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Question to the Group, I do not have the traditional ball hitch, I have the Rock & Roll hitch, I do have some, not much sag when I load up, does a load distribution system have to have a ball hitch? Would a simple load leveling airbag system suffice?

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TnBlueJLU

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Another great mod for towing with a wrangler.....a removable tongue jack!! So you can open your back door fully. Once you have the trailer hooked to the Jeep, the whole jack can be EASILY removed (by just turning the handle at the base)and just put inside the Jeep. Also alot less cranking up and down on the tongue jack.

https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Jack/Ultimate-Jack/322-RDJ-2K.html
This is brilliant! I have never seen this and didn't think to search for it. By moving my spare to the roof, I was able to just barely open the gate and hatch, but this removable tongue jack seems like a better solution.

I will leave the spare on the roof anyway, since it hits the hitch ball regardless.
 

nU7OuxIx

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Question to the Group, I do not have the traditional ball hitch, I have the Rock & Roll hitch, I do have some, not much sag when I load up, does a load distribution system have to have a ball hitch? Would a simple load leveling airbag system suffice?
I have zero towing experience but have read a lot. I'm wondering if your issue is more of how weight is distributed in your camper. I've been eyeballing a lot of teardrop and smaller sized ones. I don't know your setup, but it looks like there could be a good amount of weight on the tongue, causing it to sag the jeep. I wonder if you put some water in the back of your camper, if it would help out on the sag.
 

robynE

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You have to be careful about adding to much counter weight or it will cause camper to fish tail. I think proper distribution is 60% forward of trailer axle and 40% behind. You can counter it some though.
 

robynE

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Calvin, if you are just towing that little camper in the pic, you do not need a weight distribution hitch. You might benefit from a sway bar. Much less complex to use too!
 

av8or

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Nice setup, could you share your camper specs? Looks about the size we’re looking for. Also, What size tires are you running on your JL?
The trailer is a e-pro 15tb it’s about 2500 lbs empty and was 3200 full of water and our camping stuff. My JL currently has 35s with stock gears. It did so well I have no hesitation about going to light 37s like the bfg even with stock gears. That being said I will be regearing to most likely 5.13s. This summer.
 

Nomod

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The trailer is a e-pro 15tb it’s about 2500 lbs empty and was 3200 full of water and our camping stuff. My JL currently has 35s with stock gears. It did so well I have no hesitation about going to light 37s like the bfg even with stock gears. That being said I will be regearing to most likely 5.13s. This summer.
I'm considering the same travel trailer for my stock 3.6, auto Sport S. I do not have the tow package and would like to know if you do. Also, if anyone else reading this has experience towing approximately 2800 pounds without the tow package.
 

av8or

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I'm considering the same travel trailer for my stock 3.6, auto Sport S. I do not have the tow package and would like to know if you do. Also, if anyone else reading this has experience towing approximately 2800 pounds without the tow package.
I do have the tow package and it is a rubicon with 4.10 gears. But the 3.6 is way better at towing than I expected. If you have the automatic and are stock, I think you will be fine. I usually stay off the freeways because I like to sight see the secondary roads, so I rarely hit even 65 mph.

6% grade with a 3200 lbs trailer at 55 mph= 4th gear(automatic) at about 3800 rpm.

On the flats it’s mostly 6th gear at about 2500 rpm @ 60 mph = 11.5 mpg.

Lots of people get wrapped up in the idea the transmission doesn’t use 7th and 8th gear much when towing. 6th gear in our automatic is “direct” or the 1-1 ratio (1revolution of the engine=1 revolution of the driveshaft) which is the proper gear to select when towing anyway. Few transmission builders recommend towing in overdrive.
 

SG19JLUR

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Over the past 2 years I have driven over 9000 miles towing 2 different travel trailers behind my daily driver JLU. My family of 2 adults, 2 kids has camped in a range of campgrounds in nearly 20 states. This has turned out to be a great way for us to travel cross-country and visit some amazing places. I haven't read a lot of detailed towing info on this forum. I hope this info is helpful to someone.

20200624_131252.jpg


Vehicle:

2018 JLU Sport S, Hardtop, 3.6L, 8spd Auto trans
w/ tow package, limited slip rear end, std headlights (not LED)
now ~44,000 miles
BFG K02 A/T tires on JK Rubicon wheels
JL Rubicon takeoff suspension (shocks/springs only), no extra lift

Elec brake controller: Tekonsha 90195 P3
Weight Distributing Hitch: Eaz-Lift 48051 Elite 600lb
Roof Rack: Rhino Rack Pioneer platform on Backbone mount

Travel Trailers:

2018 Forest River Clipper Cadet 16CBH
Dry weight ~2700 lbs
~3200 lbs loaded

2020 Rockwood GeoPro G19BH (removed elec tongue jack & moved battery to rear)
w/ TPMS, “off-road package” (mud tires!?)
Dry weight 3150 lbs
3500 lbs loaded

My experience:

The Jeep was an absolute MVP on these trips. It was completely reliable and predictable, and the drivetrain performance was flawless. Thermal management was perfect, including in some very hot (desert) and demanding (long, steep grades) conditions. I watched coolant, oil, and trans temps and they NEVER budged out of mid-range. The thoroughly modern, fully throttle-by-wire fuel management delivered an average 9.5 mpg while towing. In my opinion a mostly-stock JLU makes for a fine travel-trailer tow vehicle. Super flexible and easy to get in/out of campgrounds and fuel stops etc. It is a great travel/vacation platform when you consider the benefits of having your Jeep available as soon as you drop the trailer.

Handling while towing is predictable at max gross. At 3500 lbs you will never say ‘I can’t even tell it’s back there’, but it was never scary. Handling in a panic stop felt stable and predictable, but this only happened a few times and always straight ahead.

With 400lbs on the tongue, the headlights are no longer aimed correctly and this will not be appreciated by oncoming cars at night. Your WD hitch helps reduce this. Adding helper springs in the rear (like airbags) helps more. When I towed the 2700lb camper in 2019, I installed the Rubicon springs on the back of the Jeep only (which created a slight down-in-the-front stance without trailer). This worked pretty well and along with the WD hitch, kept the headlights aimed in a good place. In 2020 I had the Rubi springs in front too, and used the airbags to level the vehicle. This worked great since it could be adjusted to sit flat with or without trailer. However after 3500 miles a bag split at the seam and failed. Getting the Jeep to sit flat with the trailer did not seem to improve handling, but it looks better.

Towing performance (power) varies based on elevation and speed varies with headwind. Typically on flat ground I could sustain 75mph at sea level, while 68mph was more typical near 5k ft elevation. At sea level the 3.6L can pull a 3500lb trailer up an interstate grade at 70mph in 4th. In general I drove the speed limit or less until I was very comfortable with road and traffic. In any sort of weather or unfamiliar location I do not exceed any posted warning speeds.

I used cruise control a lot, and found that using the transmission lever as a manual gear ‘hold’, or manual shift (M5/M4 most typically), worked very well. Keeping the rpm below ~4300 helps reduce any sense of drama, as well as stress on driver and passengers.

Due to the narrow width of the Jeep mirrors, I recommend a rear view camera on the trailer. With this added, I have never felt the need for tow mirrors (which would have to stick WAY out to see around the camper). I mounted the screen to my rear view mirror in such a way that it is quickly removable when I drop the trailer. I have been very pleased with the AMTIFO FHD 1080p 7in unit, on Amazon for ~$180.

20200616_195941.jpg


General thoughts:

I feel that exceeding the 3500lb max JLU tow weight for cross-country travel is not wise. I believe that this max tow rating is reasonable for the JLU for interstate driving. I would not choose to tow more than that on the interstate.

My Jeep/camper combo did best with ~400lbs tongue weight. In general I would try not to exceed this without some help for the rear springs.
Wind is a factor for handling on the highway. Both crosswind and turbulence from other vehicles can push the JLU around more than I have experienced with other vehicles. Stay alert and focused. Slow down in crosswinds.

Unloading the front axle (due to tongue weight acting behind the rear axle) is reducing traction at the front tires. This could affect cornering ability, especially in rain. A WD hitch reduces this effect, but helper springs in the rear do not. In any case leave yourself extra margin. Beware of increased tendency to hydroplane in front.

Watch for high Weight Distributing hitch loads causing excessive torsion on the rear frame crossmember. (The WD hitch helps level your tow vehicle by transmitting a “twisting” force through the hitch, and the frame has to handle this torsion.) Look at the clearance between the hitch and rear bumper to observe this torsion while tensioning the WD hitch bars. This load can increase significantly when the road surface is uneven.

Beware clearance between the front of the trailer (especially the trailer tongue jack) and spare tire, especially if you plan to go offroad. I swapped the power jack that came with my camper with a manual crank jack to gain clearance. I ended up also moving my spare tire to the roof so that I didn’t have to worry about contact. That also allows me to open the back gate enough to open the glass while the trailer is attached. Not possible with the spare in its normal place on the gate.

20200618_180157.jpg
Awesome write up, thanks. What does something like this cost? Trailer, supporting mods to Jeep, etc.
 

Nomod

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I do have the tow package and it is a rubicon with 4.10 gears. But the 3.6 is way better at towing than I expected. If you have the automatic and are stock, I think you will be fine. I usually stay off the freeways because I like to sight see the secondary roads, so I rarely hit even 65 mph.

6% grade with a 3200 lbs trailer at 55 mph= 4th gear(automatic) at about 3800 rpm.

On the flats it’s mostly 6th gear at about 2500 rpm @ 60 mph = 11.5 mpg.

Lots of people get wrapped up in the idea the transmission doesn’t use 7th and 8th gear much when towing. 6th gear in our automatic is “direct” or the 1-1 ratio (1revolution of the engine=1 revolution of the driveshaft) which is the proper gear to select when towing anyway. Few transmission builders recommend towing in overdrive.
Thanks - that is useful information. Is a weight distribution hitch necessary with that trailer?
 

mchastings

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I have zero towing experience but have read a lot. I'm wondering if your issue is more of how weight is distributed in your camper. I've been eyeballing a lot of teardrop and smaller sized ones. I don't know your setup, but it looks like there could be a good amount of weight on the tongue, causing it to sag the jeep. I wonder if you put some water in the back of your camper, if it would help out on the sag.
It could be, I have a 37 gallon water tank aft of the trailer axles and I always fill it before a trip, The cargo box on the front of the trailer is a decent size, always got to pack something else. I really need to get off my duff and take the jeep and trailer to a weigh station and get the measurements.
 

mchastings

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Calvin, if you are just towing that little camper in the pic, you do not need a weight distribution hitch. You might benefit from a sway bar. Much less complex to use too!
Thanks Robyn, I will look into a sway bar, just to be clear, I have no issues towing, no side to side sway with the trailer, just looks a little off if you know what I mean. I did buy and install the MOPAR Brake controller, the trailer has electric brakes, not for the highway but more for off road. Have not used it yet.
 

robynE

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I think the biggest benefit of the sway bar is when a big truck blows past you it will keep you steady.
 

uawho

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Great write up and information here everyone.
We bought our Mean Bean teardrop last year and have been dragging it around camping. It's only 1800lbs dry, probably 2100lbs loaded. I get a little more sag than I would have hoped, but the way it's designed the wheels are far back on the camper and it's tough to balance it out.

It is light though, and relatively aerodynamic. We typically will get 14-15mpg on a trip. (11mpg going up into the mountains, 16-17mpg coming back down)

After reading everything here, I think I'll weight out the tongue weight next time we head out. See what we can do to improve things.

20201114_173515.jpg
 

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