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J Miller
post Aug 5 2010, 08:14 AM
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I hope I'm not pestering you folks with a million questions, but I am just getting into the camping scene and I'm looking for as much information as I can gather smile.gif

I am looking to purchase my first travel trailer here in the near future. Initially, I will be towing this trailer with a 2008 V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a towing capacity of 6500 lbs. The trailer's that I'm looking at are in the 4800 to 5500 lb range in dry weight. Now I don't intend on towing water with me, and I know these weights come in under the towing capacity of the vehicle, but it just seems illogical to me that our little Jeep can tow a 28 to 30 foot trailer. We're looking at ultra light trailers, and I guess I just want to make sure that I'm not getting myself in over my head.

Any info or experiences you veterans have would be greatly appreciated biggrin.gif


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2011 Jayco JayFlight
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Texasrvers
post Aug 5 2010, 02:26 PM
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QUOTE(J Miller @ Aug 5 2010, 09:14 AM) *

I hope I'm not pestering you folks with a million questions, but I am just getting into the camping scene and I'm looking for as much information as I can gather smile.gif

I am looking to purchase my first travel trailer here in the near future. Initially, I will be towing this trailer with a 2008 V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a towing capacity of 6500 lbs. The trailer's that I'm looking at are in the 4800 to 5500 lb range in dry weight. Now I don't intend on towing water with me, and I know these weights come in under the towing capacity of the vehicle, but it just seems illogical to me that our little Jeep can tow a 28 to 30 foot trailer. We're looking at ultra light trailers, and I guess I just want to make sure that I'm not getting myself in over my head.

Any info or experiences you veterans have would be greatly appreciated biggrin.gif


Please feel free to "pester" us all you want to. That's what this site is all about. Unfortunately I'm not the one who can answer your question this time, but I'm sure others will be able to.
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BJMA
post Aug 5 2010, 04:44 PM
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pester all you need....

OK, so I have never towed anything larger than a utility trailer... growing up, mom & dad had FAN brand travel trailers...

Your Jeep MAYBE able to tow 6800 pounds, but I bet your factory installed hitch may be rated at 5000 pounds, and of course, you will need an "equalizing hitch".

A 1979 27' FAN - old stick style construction, was about 4800 pounds. Dad would tow with a Dodge 383 cci or the Dodge 440cci engine... of course, 7mpg was good mileage.

If you use one of the newer "feather weight" TT's, you should not have a problem with your Jeep.


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Denali
post Aug 5 2010, 05:40 PM
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QUOTE(J Miller @ Aug 5 2010, 07:14 AM) *
I am looking to purchase my first travel trailer here in the near future. Initially, I will be towing this trailer with a 2008 V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a towing capacity of 6500 lbs. The trailer's that I'm looking at are in the 4800 to 5500 lb range in dry weight. Now I don't intend on towing water with me, and I know these weights come in under the towing capacity of the vehicle, but it just seems illogical to me that our little Jeep can tow a 28 to 30 foot trailer. We're looking at ultra light trailers, and I guess I just want to make sure that I'm not getting myself in over my head.
I think your instincts are correct.

First, a rule of thumb in RV circles is that you should not tow a trailer that weighs more than 80% of your tow vehicle's official towing capacity. If you do, you will spend all your time trying to keep up with traffic, and it will have a lon-n-n-ng stopping distance.

Second, a short wheelbase vehicle like an SUV is not appropriate for towing a vehicle that long. The tail will wag the dog every time you meet a big truck on the road, and it can easily start the unrecoverable "sway of death" if you change lanes on a downhill grade.

Third, the dry weight of a trailer does not include any of your stuff. No clothes, no food, no pots and pans, no books, no camping gear, etc.

Before we retired we had a 5,000# (fully loaded) 19-foot trailer that we camped with on weekends. We didn't dare drive over 55 MPH when towing it with either our Ford Explorer or our Ford Expedition. I could feel it want to start swaying if we drove faster. Fortunately, we lived in Alaska, where there weren't many places to drive that fast. smile.gif


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J Miller
post Aug 6 2010, 07:20 AM
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QUOTE(Denali @ Aug 5 2010, 07:40 PM) *

I think your instincts are correct.

First, a rule of thumb in RV circles is that you should not tow a trailer that weighs more than 80% of your tow vehicle's official towing capacity. If you do, you will spend all your time trying to keep up with traffic, and it will have a lon-n-n-ng stopping distance.

Second, a short wheelbase vehicle like an SUV is not appropriate for towing a vehicle that long. The tail will wag the dog every time you meet a big truck on the road, and it can easily start the unrecoverable "sway of death" if you change lanes on a downhill grade.

Third, the dry weight of a trailer does not include any of your stuff. No clothes, no food, no pots and pans, no books, no camping gear, etc.

Before we retired we had a 5,000# (fully loaded) 19-foot trailer that we camped with on weekends. We didn't dare drive over 55 MPH when towing it with either our Ford Explorer or our Ford Expedition. I could feel it want to start swaying if we drove faster. Fortunately, we lived in Alaska, where there weren't many places to drive that fast. smile.gif



This is exactly what I was afraid of. I definitely don't want to be overturned on the side of I-75. So what do you suppose a good length to two with an SUV would be? Is 25 Ft still too long, or should we look 20' and under. I'm all about safety here, and it won't be MY car that I'm towing this trailer with, it's a relatives. We plan on getting a truck next year, so we may only tow the trailer a handful of times this year. But we are planning a trip up north that's about 250 miles away, so I don't want to take any chances. Thanks again for the input!


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Warren, Michigan
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Denali
post Aug 6 2010, 03:33 PM
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QUOTE(J Miller @ Aug 6 2010, 06:20 AM) *

This is exactly what I was afraid of. I definitely don't want to be overturned on the side of I-75. So what do you suppose a good length to two with an SUV would be? Is 25 Ft still too long, or should we look 20' and under. I'm all about safety here, and it won't be MY car that I'm towing this trailer with, it's a relatives. We plan on getting a truck next year, so we may only tow the trailer a handful of times this year. But we are planning a trip up north that's about 250 miles away, so I don't want to take any chances. Thanks again for the input!
I'm sorry, but I can't tell you what a good max length would be. Without spending a lot of money on either an equalizing hitch or, better yet, a Hensley hitch, I wouldn't tow anything longer than about 20' with an SUV.

Remember, I have no experience with that particular SUV. I would certainly look for input from folks who have actually towed a trailer with that model. Only they can tell you what feels safe. If you drive around RV parks and campgrounds, you will quickly get an idea of what other folks are towing with different tow vehicles.

Don't forget that you will need to buy a brake controller from any tow vehicle you use.


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Sylvie
post Aug 10 2010, 12:56 AM
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QUOTE(Denali @ Aug 6 2010, 05:33 PM) *

I'm sorry, but I can't tell you what a good max length would be. Without spending a lot of money on either an equalizing hitch or, better yet, a Hensley hitch, I wouldn't tow anything longer than about 20' with an SUV.

Remember, I have no experience with that particular SUV. I would certainly look for input from folks who have actually towed a trailer with that model. Only they can tell you what feels safe. If you drive around RV parks and campgrounds, you will quickly get an idea of what other folks are towing with different tow vehicles.

Don't forget that you will need to buy a brake controller from any tow vehicle you use.



I totally agree with "Denali". We drive a 2007 Chevy Tahoe LTZ 4WD with a towing capacity of 7700 lbs. In April we bought a 32' 6" Keystone Cougar Xlite 29FKS with a dry weight of 6159 lbs and a carrying capacity of 1641 lbs (total 7800 lbs). We had a HUSKY CENTER LINE™ Towing System installed. It includes the Center Line Torsion Weight Distribution Hitch and Active Sway Control System. Here's a link that explains how it works:

http://www.huskytow.com/FTP/PDF/P01045_HTCH_CenterLine.pdf

We also have the Hensley Tru-Control Gold Brake Controller and are extremely pleased with it. Smooth braking always!

Anyway, we've weighed our trailer fully loaded at a CAT Scale, on our way to the campground, and we were nowhere near the full carrying capacity. We've never had a problem pulling, accelerating, passing or climbing hills, etc...

Go talk to a dealer whose trailers you might be interested in, and let them explain to you what you can reasonably pull. Numbers are there as a guideline, but every case is different as there can be so many variables.

Hope you find what you want soon and start enjoying RV'ing!

Good luck!

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Sylvie
post Aug 10 2010, 01:11 AM
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QUOTE(Sylvie @ Aug 10 2010, 02:56 AM) *

I totally agree with "Denali". We drive a 2007 Chevy Tahoe LTZ 4WD with a towing capacity of 7700 lbs. In April we bought a 32' 6" Keystone Cougar Xlite 29FKS with a dry weight of 6159 lbs and a carrying capacity of 1641 lbs (total 7800 lbs). We had a HUSKY CENTER LINE™ Towing System installed. It includes the Center Line Torsion Weight Distribution Hitch and Active Sway Control System. Here's a link that explains how it works:

http://www.huskytow.com/FTP/PDF/P01045_HTCH_CenterLine.pdf

We also have the Hensley Tru-Control Gold Brake Controller and are extremely pleased with it. Smooth braking always!

Anyway, we've weighed our trailer fully loaded at a CAT Scale, on our way to the campground, and we were nowhere near the full carrying capacity. We've never had a problem pulling, accelerating, passing or climbing hills, etc...

Go talk to a dealer whose trailers you might be interested in, and let them explain to you what you can reasonably pull. Numbers are there as a guideline, but every case is different as there can be so many variables.

Hope you find what you want soon and start enjoying RV'ing!

Good luck!



Just a quick correction to my statement of "I totally agree with Denali". I agree with his statements regarding the hitch and the brake controller, but I do not agree with the statement: "if you drive an SUV you shouldn't pull anything longer than 20 feet. We have never heard or read that statement anywhere, so........????? As per my post, we drive an SUV and pull a 32' 6" lightweight TT with no problems. And we've seen many SUV's pulling long TT's. Just a thought.


Good luck in your search!
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J Miller
post Aug 10 2010, 07:21 AM
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All good stuff, thank you everyone for your comments! We are currently considering a 26' Jayco JayFlight whose dry weight is about 4100 lbs. After several lengthy conversations with several people at the RV dealership, I feel relatively comfortable towing this trailer.

We're having a Blue Ox Anti-Sway hitch installed as well as a brake controller, so I'm thinking I should be able to keep it under control. The majority of the camping we do is only about 50 miles from home with very little highway driving.

Thanks again for all of your comments and happy camping!


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meatwagon45
post Aug 12 2010, 10:50 PM
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I dont think it is fair to compare a Jeep Grand Cherokee to a Chevy Tahoe in this sense. They are 2 totally different types of SUV. The Jeep is built on a smaller chassis with shorter wheel base and narrower width. The Tahoe is built on a 1/2 ton Chevy pickup frame. Wider, longer, and more heavy duty.

I had a '97 Grand Cherokee and only towed my jet skis with it. 2 jet skis were very noticable behind that truck. Breaking, acceleration, and changing lanes was a huge concern for me. I've pulled a Bobcat Skid Steer on a utility trailer with a 1/2 ton Suburban and never felt it behind me.

I would suggest that if you are serious about buying a camper but do not have the vehicle to tow it with, consider waiting. There are great deals to be found at the pre season camper shows. Dealers have leftover inventory that they need to move and will sell very close to cost. Some dealers may even throw in the the hitch as an incentive.

Look around during the next few months to find a vehicle you can afford to own before buying a trailer suited to someone elses truck. Nothing would be worse than having a trailer payment and no way to move it if your loaner vehicle is traded in or becomes unavailable.

I dont want to turn anyone off to camping, but it sounds like you are need to get some things in line before making the big commitment. Almost like furnishing a house off the blueprint.
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dog bone
post Aug 13 2010, 08:45 AM
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We had a 97 Grand Cherokee with a v8 in it, but we only towed a pop up with it. It towed fine, but what you are looking to get might be pushing it. The numbers look good as far as the weight and towing capacity. The problem is being able to control it.
The wheel base means a lot. A car or truck going down the road with a long wheel base will ride better than a shorter wheel base vehicle. One of the engineers will have to help as to why. It will be the same when towing.
As meatwagon pointed out there is a distinct difference between a full size Tahoe and a jeep Cherokee. My only hands on experience was with a freinds chevy blazer. It was one of the old ones big and square, anyway we took his 28' tt to cherrystone one year and that thing was all over the road. He had no problem towing it with his pickup using the same hitch. The Blazer, if you remember, had a short wheel base and did sit kinda high. That also is also different than a Cherokee.
If you are bound and determined to get this combination, try it out on your short trips. If you feel comfortable with it, take it on your 250 mile trek. If not, either put off the big trip til you get another tow vehicle or find an alternate means of doing it. You said you where going to get a different tv next year.
You are not pestering anyone here. Feel free to ask away. The bottom line it will be your decision on what you feel is the best route to take. We have just given you a few different answers and opinions.
Happy Camping.


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Trailer Park Casanova
post Aug 24 2010, 08:31 AM
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Jeep rates their vehicles to tow half what the engineers think they really can.
You'll be fine.

6500 lbs cap means they think it'll do twice that.

We towed 6000 lb trailer with our Grand Cherokee for years and it was excellent.
It's a very good combination.

Chryslers (builder of Jeep) aren't known for strong automatic transmissions was our only concern.
Our dealer assured us Jeeps with the factory towing option (read that; FACTORY) have the strong Borg Warner/Toyota designed towing tranny and don't sweat it.
He was right.

Use a quality brake controller, and test it per the instructions every time you roll.

Have fun!!
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meatwagon45
post Aug 24 2010, 11:26 AM
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13,000 lbs on a jeep sounds alittle high. Im sure a V8 Grand Cherokee can get that weight moving, but keeping it straight and stopping may be a different story.
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J Miller
post Aug 25 2010, 08:50 AM
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Again, I want to thank all of you folks for your comments. You all obviously know way more about this stuff than I do smile.gif

Well, I was unable to talk my wife out of purchasing the 26' TT. Don't get me wrong, I wanted it as well, but I had my concerns. We took it on its maiden voyage this past weekend, and it was about what I expected. We initially were going to take it about 75 miles up into the thumb of Michigan, but once on the highway, I discovered it definitely likes to pull you around a bit. Nothing I couldn't control, but it certainly made me a bit nervous. Sway didn't seem to be the issue, moreso the wind. It was a breezy day, and traveling 60 mph on the highway in wind gusts made for an interesting drive.

I have never towed anything of this size, so it's difficult for me to know how much movement is normal. I never felt like I was going to lose it and fly off the highway, but in the interest of safety, we decided to find an rv park a bit closer to home and we had a wonderful time. I felt much better on the trip home, as I knew what to expect. We have decided that for the time being, we're going to schedule trips a little closer to home, which is fine with us, it's just nice to get out in the woods smile.gif We're looking at purchasing a truck next spring, so the short trips will do us just fine through the end of this season.

Thank you all again for the knowledge, you have all been most helpful. Happy camping to one and all!


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dog bone
post Aug 25 2010, 09:53 AM
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Glad you had a good time, first of many.


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