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Old 08-25-2012, 01:14 PM   #1
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What can we tow?

We have a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee 6cyl. 290hp, with a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. What type/brand of travel trailer can we realistically pull?

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Old 08-25-2012, 01:29 PM   #2
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A rarely mentioned limit is the frontal area of what you tow. Check the manual. My Ranger had a 50 sq foot limit which is about 6' x 8'. Not enough for a conventional TT.
Find the GCWR for the Jeep too.
The tow rating may include a full tank of fuel and ONE 150 lb driver.

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Old 08-25-2012, 06:20 PM   #3
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Since your Cherokee is only suitable for towing some sort of travel trailer, I moved your inquiry to the Travel trailer forum for best results.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:21 PM   #4
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Hi and welcome to iRV2!

Best of luck.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 08-26-2012, 10:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by dlake View Post
We have a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee 6cyl. 290hp, with a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. What type/brand of travel trailer can we realistically pull?
The tow rating of 5,000 pounds is a myth. It assumes nothing is in the Jeep but a skinny driver. No passengers, pets, luggage, coolers, tools, nothing. My guess is your actual tow rating is closer to 4,000 pounds.

To determine your actual tow rating, load the Jeep with everything that will be in it when towing. People, pets, tools, spares, and the heavy shank and ball mount from your weight-distributing hitch. Go to a truckstop that has a CAT scale, fill up with gas, and weigh the wet and loaded Jeep. Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded Jeep from the GCWR of the Jeep and the answer is the max trailer weight of any trailer you can tow without being overloaded over the GCWR of the tow vehiccle

Assuming an actual tow rating of 4,000 pounds, then you'll be better off with a folding (pop up) camping trailer. My family went all over the USA with an 8' camper trailer for more than a dozen years when my two kids were still home, and we had a great time and have some wonderful memories. (Such as setting up during a rainstorm in Sequoa National Park. ) Today I'd probably choose a 10' or maybe even 12' camper trailer (inside floor length). Some of the current camper trailers have a GVWR of more than 4,000 pounds, so if your actual tow rating is 4,000 pounds, then choose one with a GVWR less than 4,000 pounds. Here's a link to some of the current campers on the market with GVWR of less than 3,000 pounds to over 6,000 pounds:
Rockwood Pop Up Campers by Forest River

So far, we've worried about the GCWR of the Jeep, and ignored the hauling capacity, which is limited by the GVWR of the Jeep. You can haul a Jeep full of folks, or tow a 4,000 pound trailer, but not both at the same time without exceeding the GVWR of the Jeep. So subtract the wet and loaded weight of the Jeep from the GVWR of the Jeep to determine max hitch weight you can have.

The properly-loaded camper trailer should have a hitch weight around 12% of the loaded trailer weight. So figure on 12% of 4,000 pounds, or 480 pounds. If you have more than 480 pounds of unused payload available for hitch weight, then you can go with the 4,000 pound trailer. But if you have less than 480 pounds of unused payload available for hitch weight, then you need to buy a lighter-weight trailer.

The GCWR of the Jeep is in your Owner's Manual. The GVWR is on the driver's doorpost or door.
Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:57 PM   #6
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Pop up and not a huge one either. I went through this with a Liberty that had factory tow package and 5000lb limit. Pulled a pop up fine but when we bought a hybrid that weighed 3300lb fully loaded, the Liberty struggled badly, especially on highways and long inclines. Pulling that big front wall was just too much and I hated seeing the tach going over 4000 all the time. Upgraded to a Ram 1500 with the 5.7l Hemi and that solved the problem, except then the wife wanted a bigger camper! LOL
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:13 PM   #7
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Yes KJ touched on a big issue I'm thinking off. Having owned 3 grand Cherokees, and two Dodge Durango's, I can comment on this.... Durango's use to share a lot of drivetrain similarities with Grand Cherokees but heavy frame and stiffer suspension (leaf rear, IFS front) Vs. grand Cherokee is unibody with coil springs front and rear. Durango's handle the load a lot better but totally different vehicle. I think a 2012 Grand Cherokee is independent front and rear which will be better when towing. Anyway the small footprint and lightweight suspension of the jeep can't take pulling a travel trailer on a windy day. You'll be all over the road and it will be dangerous. I've seen Jeeps pulling larger loads before but it's not safe. I'd rather pull 6,000 lbs worth of utility/car trailer & load than pull a 4,000 lb travel trailer. The wind drag and push is a lot to consider. It'll take a lot of power to pull and a large heavy tow vehicle to keep the trailer under control in the wind. The wind will push on a travel trailer like a sail whether it is pushing you or blowing against you or shoving you sideways. Also, your 290 or whatever horsepower is useless if it is geared too tall. My '00 Grand Cherokee had the 4.7 V8, 5 speed auto and 3.73 gears. It was a powerhouse hot rod suv until I lifted it and installed 34x10.50 super swampers. Not a big tire for the power or gear ratio, just not a low end torque engine. If I put 4.10 gears in it I would have restored most of my power to the ground. My taller tires made the equivalent gearing much taller. In other words, your jeep may have a big engine but it will probably fall on its face towing 4,000 lbs because it's geared somewhat high for fuel economy, not low for towing. Stick with a 3,000 lb tent camper as suggested. Or upgrade tow vehicle. Safety first!!! Also if your trailer is over 1500 lbs please look into making sure it has trailer brakes and that you get a brake controller installed in your Jeep. This will make the whole thing much safer as well as easier on the jeep.

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