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Old 10-19-2017, 01:14 PM   #1
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Non-Stock Wrangler: 4-Down vs. Trailer Towing

I am a fulltimer and have been towing a Wrangler since 2007. First one remained stock, the next one was lifted slightly, and the latest one has undergone the knife a few times and is kind of a beast as an only vehicle. But, I love it.

Towing 4-down has never really been a problem. However, with my current Jeep, I have noticed that my motorhome is breathing a bit heavier when towing. I saw a slight MPG decrease in the motorhome when I went from stock tires to 35" tires, and even more when I went up to 37" tires.

I am looking for feedback on experience if it is better to stay 4-down, or to put the Jeep up on a trailer for towing.

Motorhome - ISC330 with 10K towing capacity
Jeep - 5400 pounds, tires: 37" x 12.50 = ~135 pounds per tire/wheel

Towing 4-down is super easy. I use a Blue Ox Aventa with tabs welded onto my bumper, and a raised hitch on the MH. However, the MH works hard, and I put a lot of wear on expensive tires.

Would a trailer be an easier load for my MH to tow? There is much less tire contact with the road, but there is the extra weight of the trailer. Do those two things wash out, and it would be the same as flat towing?

I would stick to flat towing if the only thing I was going to save on was tire wear. A bit of tire wear can be justified for not having to hassle with parking a trailer. If I can save on fuel/power as well, then will consider an aluminum 20' trailer.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Here is what my current tow setup looks like.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:51 PM   #2
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I think that adding a trailer is only going to add weight and cause your coach to breathe even harder.

I used to tow my Jeep on a car hauler and I’ve recently converted over to flat towing. I’ve found that both have their advantages/disadvantages.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankcj View Post
I think that adding a trailer is only going to add weight and cause your coach to breathe even harder...
This is why I asked here, as I don't know that to be true. I know there is a difference in the rotational mass of 4- 37" x 12.50 tire vs. 4-trailer tires. But, does the offset of sprung/unspring weight remove any benefit of a smaller contact patch on the road?

I don't think it is as easy as thinking there will just be more weight. I have to think the difference in rotational mass would make a change - small or negligible is the question I suppose.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:31 PM   #4
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When you find a trailer that can carry a Jeep you will see that the added weight is considerable. If your MH is breather hard now, kit will be gasping with the added weight of the trailer.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digNbubbs View Post
This is why I asked here, as I don't know that to be true. I know there is a difference in the rotational mass of 4- 37" x 12.50 tire vs. 4-trailer tires. But, does the offset of sprung/unspring weight remove any benefit of a smaller contact patch on the road?

I don't think it is as easy as thinking there will just be more weight. I have to think the difference in rotational mass would make a change - small or negligible is the question I suppose.
You're definitely correct about the rotational mass but I can tell you that towing my jeep with 35s on a steel car hauler (1800 lbs) behind my Ram is more noticeable than if I just flat tow it. Behind my coach is not noticeable. Will your JKU on an aluminum car hauler be less drag than flat towing it? Maybe someone that has done exactly what you are wanting to do can chime in.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:40 PM   #6
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In looking at the photo and reading the description, it seems that you have downsized your motorhome from a 40 to 33 footer?? Did the engine size decrease also while the Jeep that your were towing increased in weight? Were you towing a 2 door before and then went to a 4 door (weight difference about 1000 pounds, about)?? If I am reading and seeing all these facts correctly, you may have answered your own question. I tow a JK 2door Sahara with my MBS Sprinter and mileage runs about 11 - 13 mpg, so far. JK is just under 4000 pounds. I think that staying with the flat tow is the answer as (others have said) trailer only adds more weight, compounding the problem.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digNbubbs View Post
I am a fulltimer and have been towing a Wrangler since 2007. First one remained stock, the next one was lifted slightly, and the latest one has undergone the knife a few times and is kind of a beast as an only vehicle. But, I love it.

Towing 4-down has never really been a problem. However, with my current Jeep, I have noticed that my motorhome is breathing a bit heavier when towing. I saw a slight MPG decrease in the motorhome when I went from stock tires to 35" tires, and even more when I went up to 37" tires.

I am looking for feedback on experience if it is better to stay 4-down, or to put the Jeep up on a trailer for towing.

Motorhome - ISC330 with 10K towing capacity
Jeep - 5400 pounds, tires: 37" x 12.50 = ~135 pounds per tire/wheel

Towing 4-down is super easy. I use a Blue Ox Aventa with tabs welded onto my bumper, and a raised hitch on the MH. However, the MH works hard, and I put a lot of wear on expensive tires.

Would a trailer be an easier load for my MH to tow? There is much less tire contact with the road, but there is the extra weight of the trailer. Do those two things wash out, and it would be the same as flat towing?

I would stick to flat towing if the only thing I was going to save on was tire wear. A bit of tire wear can be justified for not having to hassle with parking a trailer. If I can save on fuel/power as well, then will consider an aluminum 20' trailer.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Here is what my current tow setup looks like.
DiggNbubbs
Well sir, I don't know if you've ever been to Moab or not with any of your Jeeps but, we have, for 15 years we did the Easter Jeep Safari. And, we would camp at Slick Rock campground which is in the northern section of town. During the event, we'd see every kind of camper, motorhome, pickup, and more, FLAT TOWING every kind of Jeep that was ever made and, phenomenally altered. Yes, there were (and still are) quite a few on trailers too. This is a matter of choice. Your jeep will tow just fine the way it's looking.

We've towed 9 different Jeeps over a 35+ year period and, ALL of them lifted with all kinds of other mods. The last three were rolling on 35s. You must be pretty penachi to notice the "slight" differences in fuel mileage on your coach when going from one size of Jeep tires to another. Every motor home we had when going to Moab from San Diego, while towing Jeeps, SUCKED (litterally) in gas mileage. Why bother keeping track? You're going to have fun and do things the the normal humanoids don't have a clue. Don't worry about mileage in your coach.

A hint to you that may help. When we plan on long distance towing of our Jeeps, as in from San Diego or, where we live now, Lake Havasu City AZ, I pump the Jeep tires to 50 psi. There's considerably less drag when I do that. Not that it helps our coach in mileage. I get between 6 and 8, no matter whether I'm towing or not, up hill, down hill, head wind, no head wind, dropped from an C-5A Galaxy, no matter. Having a trailer might be good if you break your Jeep out on the trail and can't get it fixed before going home but, the logistics of a trailer while traveling is something we've never wanted to deal with. Our Jeeps always have been and always will be, flat towed to the area of use and, back home. Your choice.
Scott
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:15 PM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback. Anecdotally, it is sounding like the consensus is that putting the Jeep on a trailer won't save me much - other than tire wear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighDesert View Post
In looking at the photo and reading the description, it seems that you have downsized your motorhome from a 40 to 33 footer?? Did the engine size decrease also while the Jeep that your were towing increased in weight? ...
No, still have the same 40 footer as I started with 11 years ago. It is a Monaco with an ISC330 Cummins engine. Only the Jeep has changed. I had a 2-door in 2007, then went to a 4-door in 2008, and got the current 4-door in 2011. Engine has stayed the same, only the load has gotten more. As mentioned, my Jeep is right at 5400 pounds as it sits today.
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:24 PM   #9
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DiggNbubbs
Well sir, I don't know if you've ever been to Moab or not with any of your Jeeps but, we have, for 15 years we did the Easter Jeep Safari. And, we would camp at Slick Rock campground which is in the northern section of town. During the event, we'd see every kind of camper, motorhome, pickup, and more, FLAT TOWING every kind of Jeep that was ever made and, phenomenally altered. Yes, there were (and still are) quite a few on trailers too. This is a matter of choice. Your jeep will tow just fine the way it's looking.

We've towed 9 different Jeeps over a 35+ year period and, ALL of them lifted with all kinds of other mods. The last three were rolling on 35s. You must be pretty penachi to notice the "slight" differences in fuel mileage on your coach when going from one size of Jeep tires to another. Every motor home we had when going to Moab from San Diego, while towing Jeeps, SUCKED (litterally) in gas mileage. Why bother keeping track? You're going to have fun and do things the the normal humanoids don't have a clue. Don't worry about mileage in your coach.

A hint to you that may help. When we plan on long distance towing of our Jeeps, as in from San Diego or, where we live now, Lake Havasu City AZ, I pump the Jeep tires to 50 psi. There's considerably less drag when I do that. Not that it helps our coach in mileage. I get between 6 and 8, no matter whether I'm towing or not, up hill, down hill, head wind, no head wind, dropped from an C-5A Galaxy, no matter. Having a trailer might be good if you break your Jeep out on the trail and can't get it fixed before going home but, the logistics of a trailer while traveling is something we've never wanted to deal with. Our Jeeps always have been and always will be, flat towed to the area of use and, back home. Your choice.
Scott
I have spent quite a bit of time in Moab. I am originally from NorCal, so I spend most of my time in the western US. We have probably been to a couple of Safaris together I usually stay south of town at Spanish Valley RV, but have stayed at Portal and a few others.

I am sure it sounds silly, but I have logged every drop of fuel I have put into the motorhome since I bought it in 2006. I mostly track the mileage so that I know if something is wrong and needs to be attended to. That is how I found that I had a warped exhaust manifold a couple of years ago - drastic changes in mileage. I don't worry about the fuel I am burning, because I am going to go where I want to go anyway, but it is just something I monitor.

The biggest change was going to 37s on the Jeep. Before I made the change, I was on 35s. Just before I got the 37s and beadlocks, I got rid of the hard top and full doors, and went soft top and half doors. That saved a bunch of weight and was noticeable when driving the Jeep.

I usually go up to about 32PSI in the tires before I travel. Normal running pressure is 26PSI. I may try to go a little higher than 32, but I'm not sure I will accomplish much.

Maybe I am just destined to spend $1800 on tires every few years

Thanks again to all that have given feedback on my question.
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:28 PM   #10
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Flat towing a 4 door JK on 37's. Definitely easier than when I towed it on the trailer, so my experience affirms the consensus.

X2 on inflating the tires. I run them at 40 when towing a long distance.

I like Canyonlands RV...I can walk to town
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Old 10-20-2017, 10:02 AM   #11
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I towed a 2006 rubicon lifted big tires about 6k miles
It towed really hard, I mean all the gearing and big tires
going through kansas the front u joint came apart, the front drive shaft hit the pavement, trashed the transmission and transfer case, big bucks 6 weeks to fix in pueblo, co.
I would never tow another rubicon 4 down only on a trailer
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:36 AM   #12
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DiggNbubbs,
Yep, quite possible we did the Easter Jeep Safari together and didn't know it. As you well know, there's only a few jeeps there during that event, as in oh, around 2,000-2,500 at last estimate. That's a lot of Jeeps for small town like Moab. But, they handle it quite well. The popularity of Moab and Jeeps too has grown tremendously in the last 10-20 years. We don't go to the safari any more 'cause it's just too darn crowded.

Anyway, even your 37s will lose a pretty fair amount of rolling resistance if you jack them up to 50 psi. just for towing. NO, you won't wear the centers out because of that. We've towed Jeeps all over the planet and with that kind of high pressure in the tires and have never, ever worn the centers out or even any noticeable extra wear in the center. You'd not be doing it for the entire life of the tires, just while you're towing the Jeep.

I also see that you've owned three JKs. All of them before the new Pentastar 3.6L was introduced in 2012. Man, running a four door pre-'12 on 37s, wow, that's asking a lot from that 3.8L. What gears you runn'n? I kind-a presume that with 37s on that motor, maybe a minimum of 4.56s, 4.88s or even better, 5.13s.

I'm running 315 Hancook Dynapro A/Ts and did have factory 3.73s but, last week I just installed 4.56s. Waaaaaaaaaaaay better.
Scott
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Old 10-20-2017, 06:55 PM   #13
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I do not want to hijack this thread but have a quick question. Why does my '14 Wrangler Sport have me disco the battery for flat tow? Can I pull brake light fuse instead? PM me if possible to not derail OP's thread. Thanks.
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Old 10-20-2017, 11:29 PM   #14
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I do not want to hijack this thread but have a quick question. Why does my '14 Wrangler Sport have me disco the battery for flat tow? Can I pull brake light fuse instead? PM me if possible to not derail OP's thread. Thanks.
Duoglide1,
I may have communicated with you before on Jeep stuff but, can't remember. In any case, Jeep has screwed up in the printing of it's owners manuals for at least the '14 model year. When another member here asked about the very same issue, I answered with excerpts from the '13, '14 and '15 owners manuals where it's all laid out in the sequence of events pertaining to prepping for towing behind a motor home.

There is zero differences in the Jeep engineering, i.e. drive train, electronics and more between all three. So, there is NO NEED to disconnect the battery when prepping for towing. Jeep knows about this and has printed addendums to the original manuals.
So, it's your choice but, there really is no need to disconnect the negative cable.
Scott
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