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Old 10-07-2012, 09:35 AM   #1
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Towing TT with a Grand Cherokee diesel

Hello All,
Been lurking around for some time. I have posted this question on a few pop up forums, as that is what we play with presently, but have not received a responce fully answering my question. We presently tow a Fleetwood high wall Arcadia with our 2008 Grand Cherokee diesel. Loaded towed weight is pushing 4000 pounds. Towed length from bumper to hitch is 20 feet. Tows like a dream. It takes a fairly big hill for the Jeep to downshift or even burp under load. Ok, so we are considering moving to a travel trailer. I have no intentions of replacing the Jeep until Chrysler brings out the next generation GC diesel perhaps somewhere in the next year or so and even then will not do anything untill we see how the new engine is holding up for at least a year. The unit we are looking at or considering is the Viewfinder SD24. 26.5 towed length weighing, I suspect, somewhere around 5500 pounds loaded behind my Jeep. Tongue weight is heavy at somewhere around 720 pounds. I would certainly use A WDH and anti-sway. The Jeep is rated to tow 7400 pounds with 740 pound tongue weight.
My question to the experts is can I tow this thing safely. Certainly not interested in white knuckling any trips up the hwy. Our trips are all between 2-4 hours from home and 5-6 times per summer.
As well, I would appreciate hearing anyone who has experience with the Viewfinders TT`s and their thoughts on the units.
Thank you.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuley View Post
The unit we are looking at or considering is the Viewfinder SD24. 26.5 towed length weighing, I suspect, somewhere around 5500 pounds loaded behind my Jeep. Tongue weight is heavy at somewhere around 720 pounds.
GVWR is 6395, and dry tongue weight is 19% of dry trailer weight. So you'd better count on a least 15% wet and loaded tongue weight of 959 pounds. I doubt the GVWR of your Jeep can handle 959 pounds of hitch weight without exceeding the GVWR of the Jeep.

Quote:
The Jeep is rated to tow 7400 pounds with 740 pound tongue weight.
The tow rating is overstated, and the hitch weight is understated. Use the GVWR of the trailer as the likely actual weight of the wet and loaded RV, and use 15% of the GVWR of the trailer as the likely actual weight of the wet and loaded tongue weight.

The tow rating indicates the weight of trailer you can pull without overheating anything in the drivetrain - provided the Jeep has no options other than the engine, and absolutely nothing in it but a skinny driver. And if you have the normal people and stuff in the Jeep, then the tow rating gets reduced by the weight of those people and things. But the tow rating ignores the weight you can haul on the Jeep's tires and suspension.

Quote:
My question to the experts is can I tow this thing safely.
Probably not, if your definition of "safely" includes not exceeding any of Jeep's weight ratings. Not enough info for me to give a definite answer, but you can gather the additional info and do the numbers yourself.

Load the Jeep down with everything that will be in it when towing, including passengers, pets, cooler, tools, gear, and anything on the roofrack such as lawn chairs or a luggage carrier full of luggage . Include the shank, ball mount and ball for the weight-distributing hitch. Go to a truckstop that has a CAT scale, fill up with gas, and weigh the wet and loaded tow vehicle.

Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded Jeep from the GVWR of the Jeep. The answer is the max hitch weight you can have without being overloaded. If that max hitch weight is less than about 950 pounds, then you're probably going to be overloaded with that trailer.

If your Jeep passes the GVWR test, then next subtract the weight of the wet and loaded Jeep from the GCWR of the Jeep. (The GCWR is in your Owner's Guide, probably in the trailer towing section.) The answer is your real-world tow rating. If your real world tow rating is less than the 6395 wet and loaded weight of the TT, then you'll be overloaded with that trailer.

(Jeep's tow rating of 7400 pounds is the GCWR minus the unloaded shipping weight of the Jeep with a 150 pound driver. That's why it's overstated for real-world towing. But all vehicle manufacturers have the same flaw in their tow ratings.)

Exceeding the GCWR of the Jeep is not as serious as exceeding the GVWR. It just means that you'll be the slow-poke blocking traffic when climbing steep grades, and you'll probably burn up the tranny or the differential or something in the drivetrain of the Jeep if you try to drag that trailer over the Rockies in Colorado, Wyoming or Montana. Or even so-called mountains on I-68 in the panhandle of Maryland.

With the actual weight of the wet and loaded tow vehicle, plus the GVWR and GCWR of the tow vehicle, plus the GVWR of the RV, you'll have everything you need to see where you stand. Do not use something less than the GVWR of the RV as your estimate of the wet and loaded weight of the trailer. You'll just be fooling yourself if you do.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:40 AM   #3
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Thank you SmokeyWren. I will certainly take into consideration what you have said and play with some numbers. Lucky for us we really do not need to upgrade. This is a want much more than a need. And as always, if I give myself long enough I can usually talk myself out of anything.
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:13 PM   #4
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We tow with a Grand Cherokee Diesel

I just thought I would give some insight from someone who tows a travel trailer with a Grand Cherokee Diesel. We have a 2007 Limited, and we pull a Heartland North Trail 21FBS, which is 26' 6" long, 4450 pounds dry weight, hitch weight 390 pounds. Pretty similar to the View Finder except for the much lighter hitch weight. We've had no issues pulling the trailer. I pass semis going up hills, and it takes a pretty decent size hill to make it downshift. We pulled with it this summer during the heat wave at over 100 degrees, and the temp gauge barely moved higher. I don't think your weight would be too much for your Jeep, but I can't comment on that heavy hitch weight. I hope that helps.


Carl Engelhardt
Blue Springs, MO
2007 Grand Cherokee 3.0 Diesel
2011 Heartland North Trail 21 RBS.
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