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Old 07-18-2015, 10:27 AM   #1
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Need Jeep Owners Opinions

Ok Jeep guys I need some input. I have been towing a Ford Cmax for a couple years now and I am getting tired of dragging the hitch and the car has experienced some minor issues. Enough that I am almost ready to trade on a new vehicle. My son wants me to buy a Jeep. He has worked for Chrysler for 22 yrs and I can use his Employee Pricing on a new vehicle
So we went yesterday to look at the Jeep Cherokees. The salesman wants me to buy the Trailhawk version and I'm not sure if I want to.The Latitude is less money as is the Limited. I do want leather interior but Im not sure if I need all options.
My questions to you Jeep guys are:

1} What options and/or what packages did you buy and are they worth it?The Navigation app on my Ford is solubly I am usually throwing things at it and my wife goes to her iPhone for navigation.
2} Is the Trailhawk worth the extra money and does the extra clearance make a huge difference off road. Would you think the resale would be better.
3} Do you think the "death wobble" situation has been remedied by Chrysler.
4} I have a Blue Ox Adventa tow bar and I use a Brakemaster braking system by Roadmaster do you see a problem with appearance issues on the front of the vehicle using the Blue Ox baseplate.
5} can you get the Trailhawk without the deal on the hood.
6} what about the actual towing hookup experience and getting it ready to tow.Do you still get gear grinding and parking brake problems. I watched a fellow tow a Cherokee about 200 yards with the brake on and when I got him stopped he was cussing the auto parking brake.

Thanks for any input.
Dan
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:37 AM   #2
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We've only towed CJs or Wranglers so I can't offer any direct experience with the Cherokee, with one exception.

If it's an option, do not waste your money on the in-dash navigation system. It's expensive to update and even when I broke down last year and did so (at a cost of $160) it still lacked information on roads and facilities that I knew had been there a long time (in other words, were not new since the last update was programed). For a fraction you can buy a much more RV traveler friendly portable that typically will come with free lifetime updates, done much more frequently, done by simply plugging it into your computer. (to update the in-dash unit they shipped a disc). Plus, as the technology continues to improve you can easily replace the portable with a new one and still have far less invested than the in-dash unit would have cost.

My guess is that the Trailhawk resale value will be higher, representative of the higher price you par for it in the first place. That "thing on the hood" is, I suspect, a vinyl "sticker" and could easily be removed by the dealer before delivery (just as ours did with an ugly hood stripe on our Wrangler) if it can't be deleted at the time you order it.
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakrism View Post
Do you think the "death wobble" situation has been remedied by Chrysler.
"Death wobble" only occurs on vehicles with solid front axles. Modern Cherokees like the Grands are unibody with full independent suspension front and rear. This makes them ride much better than the old ones with solid axles and has basically zero chance of "death wobble". The downside being they are not as capable off-road as a Wrangler which still has the solid axles. Modern Wranglers still have the possibility of death wobble but usually due to lifted aftermarket suspension or worn factory suspension.
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Old 07-18-2015, 12:16 PM   #4
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We also had a CMax SEL . Unfortunately 2013 CMax 's had some type of parasitic battery drain in 12V system that Ford Engr seemed never able to resolve. We found CMax (even general use, not only toad) was just too unreliable (our opinion).

We chose a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. The newest 'Cherokee' wasn't out yet when we bought the JGC, but since we had hitch rating and DP capable of towing JGC (~5k weight) we wanted the extra cargo / interior space the JGC provides.

As for in-dash navigation, our JGC is a Garmin based software I believe. The previous post re: cost for update is correct, but we will only "purchase" these figure every 2-3 yrs. and feel this will do fine for our needs. FYI - we do not love the in-dash MH nav system on our MH, and instead bought a Garmin RV760 LMT. Again, as prev posted said, the portable 760 has RV and Auto modes, and should you choose could be used in any vehicle & free updates. Our observation are that any nav system may have a blip w routing that you may not choose to follow. Nav system preference seem to be whatever your individual preference.


Our Overland has added "collision avoidance package.". And the break-away switch mounted on front grill does NOT interfere at all w the collision "eye" which is centered in JGC grill.

We have Blue Ox Aventa LX tow bar, BO base plate, and use Air Force One supplemental brake. Very happy with all of these. BTW - on the JGC BO baseplate, the OEM chrome tow hooks on front of JGC remove and that is where the BO baseplate uses/removable pins for attach point of Aventa tow bar. If we were to cease toad use and remove baseplate someday, the chrome tow hooks go right back on JGC as they looked OEM.

Setup for JGC to tow has been easy, no worry about "allowable tow speed, distance, or hours.". CMax had limits in all these categories, as you probably are aware. Some Jeep models have different transmissions, be sure to read manual for "recreational towing" on whatever Jeep model you decide to buy. JGC for flat towing must have either Quadra-Trac II (R) / Quadra-Drive II (R) on a four wheel drive model. (Presume smaller "Cherokee" models will, too?) Have your salesperson demo the "flat towing steps" before you sign to buy .. we did that just to make sure it was as easy to set for towing & return to normal driving mode as manual described. It is! Steps to set up / return to driving take about 1-2 minutes...EZ-PZ

The Overland JGC 4x4 has hydraulic height lower/raise settings/normal ride height, and an aero height for fuel eco mode highway driving (~52 mph +) ? I would suppose similar on Trailhawk? However, we haven't used ours for off-road, so cannot comment on that for your questions there. Maybe others who enjoy off-roading in their Jeep toads will chime in w more info.

FWIW - will also say that our Overland JGC has a digital dash instrument panel with "modes" that will let you see the 4 wheel / independent suspension articulation views in real time. Would suppose this visual is also part of Trailhawk OEM equipment.

BTW, we love the simplicity of AF1 for aux toad braking. Pricey, but so worth it! (On CMax we 'tried' BO Patriot brake, hated having the whole put in, setup, take out, and 'alarm for extended braking time' if Patriot tipped applying brake on toad after a bump on road or other ). With AF1, to get ready to tow: connect the air line to DP then toad, connect break-away line, then push on DP brake pedal a couple times, ....easy, quick, and also proportional braking. When you arrive, disconnect lines, and nothing has to be removed / find place to store when you want to drive the toad

We also have Pressure Pro TPMS on DP and use TPMS sensors on JGC. (JGC has its OEM tire monitoring system, works well when we drive Jeep. But, we wanted Pressure Pro TPMS sensors on JGC external valve stems so we are also able to monitor toad tires while driving DP w Jeep as toad. Fyi- Press. Pro sensors do not interfere w the JGC's OEM internal tire monitoring system. )

As for the starting out in "tow" (reference dragging w parking brake on in your post Q), we always "double check" all toad connections/settings before pulling out. Basically, after all connected, DH goes to DP, DW stays by toad for visual check turn, brake lights working. But also, DW opens driver side door of toad to visually "check toad brake pedal IS depressing when MH brake pedal applied." Then, DW closes dr door, gives thumbs up signal to DH, who begins to slowly pull forward a few feet. During this part, DW's job is to observe first Dr side, then walk behind toad to pass side and observe ...checking that all 4 wheels are turning freely. DW gives hand signal to DH all good, DW takes last look on tow bar & air line all look good to go. Last step, DW gives a quick tug on all basement doors to double check all bays locked before driving away. Can tell you last step avoids interstate surprise opening bay doors while doing 60 mph... Don't ask me how we know. (Yes! We really do this every time, only takes 1-2 minutes and worth the peace of mind that two sets of eyes may avoid "dragging" the toad instead of towing in neutral.) YMMV

As an aside, recently in cg, saw new Cherokee in tow. Owners had added a decal/script above the Cherokee chrome on doors: "Baby Grand!". . We loved that touch, too!

We LOVE our JGC

Best wishes for your toad shopping. Enjoy the ride!

Safe Travels to All
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Old 07-18-2015, 05:29 PM   #5
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Sounds like a question for a Jeep Forum.
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Old 07-18-2015, 05:46 PM   #6
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We own 2014 Trailhawk and had some minor issues with transfer case but a software update has solved that. You need Active Drive II transmission if you want to tow 4 down. This vehicle tows great and easy to shift transfer case into neutral with tranmission updates. We have towed 4 down 2002 Honda accord and towdolly with 2013 Chevy Malibu, having done both we prefer the Jeep Trailhawk. Can't help with off road, haven't done that yet, it doesn't have the clearance of our Chevey Tahoe Z71, also depens on "off road" you like to do, we wouldn't consider taking the Tahoe off roading where we took a Toyota 4 Runner, not enough clearance. There is a trail from Silvan Lake, CO to Leadville, CO we wouldn't take the Tahoe or Trailhawk but the 4Runner did just fine.
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Old 07-18-2015, 09:22 PM   #7
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We have the Cherokee TrailHawk pretty much loaded (we did not get the technology package). We really like the ride, the MPG, the power, the sure-footedness in ice and snow, and the low roof (easier for us oldsters to get the kayaks on top of the Cherokee than on top of the Wrangler). We have driven it off-road and it does very well, though we have not tested it on anything we would take the Wrangler on. The TrailHawk has some skid plates on the belly as well as rear lockers (which make an amazing difference).

I really like the U-Connect 8.4 system. It's one of the best touch screen setups I have seen in a car. I also don't mind the Nav system -- my 2015 came with 2013 maps on it, however.

I am sure you can peel off the decal; I understand that it is no longer optional when you buy the TrailHawlk.

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Old 07-19-2015, 08:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasFoodGuy View Post
Sounds like a question for a Jeep Forum.
Suitability for flat towing is a common and legitimate topic for discussion here at IRV2.
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Old 07-19-2015, 08:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMonroe View Post
Suitability for flat towing is a common and legitimate topic for discussion here at IRV2.
Thanks! I thought it was a valid post also.

Also thanks to those who have given opinions. I appreciate the input!!
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Old 07-19-2015, 03:42 PM   #10
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I climbed the Jeep ladder almost to the top! Like you, I started with the Cherokee Laredo with ADII. Then decided that I might want to go off road as I travel around the mountain west, so I looked at the Trailhawk. I became concerned about issues with the new Cherokee platform (transmission) and decided upon the Grand Cherokee Laredo with the Off Road 1 package. And then I needed a few more features and decided upon the Grand Cherokee Limited with the Off Road II package. Found a good deal on the JGC limited and made the purchase before I could take another step up that ladder!


I installed the Blue Ox towbar and the AF1 brake system. I have towed the Jeep about 30 miles so far and all is well.
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Old 07-20-2015, 07:14 AM   #11
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I have towed my Cherokee Limited 70 time for a total of just over 12K miles and driven it another 25K speedometer miles with no problems

I have about every option you can get on it - I love the Garmin Navigation system and I have used the off road feature on it got get back out of a area that is not on the maps - I am actually surprised how many so called off road areas are in the data base.

recommend the V6 - love the power

I highly recommend the technology group and the safety features it includes - we are not getting any younger and it gives more tools

the luxury group includes ventilated front seats that my wife says are the best option ever in a car

Note with the Active Drive II you get the added one inch in height on the limited that a trail hawk does -

I have no grinding when I get it ready to tow but with the electric break if you bump it - it can come on easily - also there is a setting in the car that ( I Think I got this right ) if the door is open and the engine on the break sets automatically - I would have to break out the book on that one
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:28 AM   #12
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Only the ActiveDriveII versions are towable in the new Cherokee platform.
As a former Jeep owner and 'afficianado', though, I tow a more practical, less expensive, and easier to tow Ford Fiesta. I just put it in neutral and pull.
23k miles towed, no problems.
I would suggest either new, or a certified used from a Ford dealer. No gps nav needed.
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Old 07-21-2015, 07:45 AM   #13
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We really like our Trailhawk, which replaced a very low mileage Mercedes GLK 350 4Matic which could not be towed. Thought we would miss the GLK, but do not feel like we lost anything with the Jeep.

Just a couple notes.

No problem / grind putting into tow mode once I learned here not to pause in R on the N to P shift.

Hate the electronic parking brake..... Bad call by Jeep to have it on this type of vehicle (personally, I don't think they are a good idea on any vehicle.......)

Follow basically the process outlined by BeHappy when we hook up, and pull away to ensure everything is rolling smoothly.

We did a 20 mile Forrest service road in the Smokies for our first off road adventure. Hardly a challenge (a Subaru Outback would have had no problem either) but it was fun. I did buy some large D shackles at an off road shop that will fit though the safety chain holes on our base plates so that if we ever need to be pulled have an option; not ideal by any means, but better than being stuck off road someplace.
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Old 07-21-2015, 04:32 PM   #14
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We have a 2015 Trailhawk towing behind a 2014 Newmar Vantana LE(340 hp/700 torq) and don't even know its there. Very nice vehicle, slightly stiff ride, good mileage. Yes, the electric parking brake is a PITA. Just check for the little yellow light after putting transfer case into neutral which is also easy. Traded my Grand Cherokee in on it and am very happy. We now live in NE PA with lots of snow and it does very well. Had a 2005 Rubicon and this does as well but has creature comforts for my old (75) bones. Goes anywhere I would take the Rubicon.
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