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Old 07-14-2016, 06:44 PM   #1
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Specific "Which Toad" question?

Lots of "which toad" threads already, but I have specific questions.

First of all, it looks like VW is going to buy back my Jetta TDI which our son drives. He is going to get DW's subaru for college. DW get's something new (or new to her). The other night at dinner I broached the idea of getting her something flat towable. I pulled up the 2016 Dinghy list and went through them with her. Regardless of how much I would like to have a 370z, she keyed in on the jeeps. As a home health nurse, she is often going into washed out driveways during rainstorms. The subaru has been great, and she wants to stay with something 4x4.

So now the question, Which Jeep? I think it will be a wrangler, but it is really up to her. I am not a Jeep fan from the reliability standpoint, but I know wranglers are made to be tinkered with and upgraded with lots of aftermarket.

How important is a hardtop for a toad? Is there a trimline which is better than others? Smaller (stock) tires better than bigger tires?

Here is your chance to educate me.
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Old 07-14-2016, 06:53 PM   #2
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I have two jeep wranglers and off road one hard and they have been drop dead reliable.

For flat towing they are made for it with the transfer case in neutral and when you are going around the country if you get into areas that a car can not go you have a jeep and can enjoy the scenery.

I used to tow my small TT with my 2 door Rubicon Jeep and now I have a larger TT that I need my pickup to tow and I am already missing my Jeep when we go camping. So for a toad to me its a no brainer, they easily can be flat towed plus the fun you can have with them compared to anything else you choose. Top down, or panels removed plus high ground clearance and two speed transfer case. I can go on an on.

Our 4 door Wrangler is my wife's Jeep and its her winter vehicle and she can always get to work when others can not when we get heavy snow in Michigan.
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Old 07-14-2016, 07:03 PM   #3
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If buying used, watch out for rusty frames on the Wrangler. They had issues when they went to the square tube frames. I suckered and mine has rust, but not yet a death sentence. The rust settles where the skid plate is that holds up the Transfer Case and if the bolts let go, the whole Jeep disembowels itself.

I love the Jeep though. I have a 2" lift and 31" tires and it tows fine. Make sure it doesn't have the "death wobble" which is caused by too high of a lift and worn front end parts - because that wobble will go unnoticed when being towed and it will self destruct back there. The wobble typically occurs when you hit a bump and the steering wheel and whole front end starts to wobble violently and wont stop until the vehicle is stopped. I started to get it when I had too high of a lift and removed it.

I have a hardtop, but tow with a softtop because I like to remove it when I get there. I have soft doors by Bestop, and in the last rainstorm it did get wet inside from being towed. My daughter was following me and said she could see my MH top marker lights but the Jeep disappeared in the spray from the MH, so I guess I can forgive the doors for leaking a bit.

I keep talking about getting a new Wrangler, but when I get where I'm going and look back at the stuff that MH throws on that Jeep, I smile and I'm happy with the hail damaged old Jeep I have.

After all that, I know it sounds like its not a great vehicle for a toad, but "It's a Jeep Thing, and not Everyone Understands"
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Old 07-14-2016, 08:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montyhp View Post
Lots of "which toad" threads already, but I have specific questions.

First of all, it looks like VW is going to buy back my Jetta TDI which our son drives. He is going to get DW's subaru for college. DW get's something new (or new to her). The other night at dinner I broached the idea of getting her something flat towable. I pulled up the 2016 Dinghy list and went through them with her. Regardless of how much I would like to have a 370z, she keyed in on the jeeps. As a home health nurse, she is often going into washed out driveways during rainstorms. The subaru has been great, and she wants to stay with something 4x4.

So now the question, Which Jeep? I think it will be a wrangler, but it is really up to her. I am not a Jeep fan from the reliability standpoint, but I know wranglers are made to be tinkered with and upgraded with lots of aftermarket.

How important is a hardtop for a toad? Is there a trimline which is better than others? Smaller (stock) tires better than bigger tires?

Here is your chance to educate me.
MontyHP,
Well Sir, first off, the Jeep Wrangler, has been a flat towable toad for many, many years, through various models and trimlines. As long as it's the 4x4 version (about 99.9999999% of the production models ARE 4x4). There are zillions of RV folks out there that have towed Jeeps for decades, including yours truly. We've had EIGHT of them, not including two Grand Cherokee Overlands.

If you'd like advice, I will simply say this. Price is what governs many folks in purchase of a Jeep toad. And that means the lower the price, the older, and quite possibly, the more worn out, a Jeep toad will be. The year models that are the most prevalent out there are the "TJ" models and, the "JK" models. The TJ models started production in '97 and ended in '06. The JK took over from there.

The JK models from '07 to 2011, have the junk, under powered, low gas mileage, existing in the Chrysler lineup, V-6 3.8L motor. But, in 2012, Jeep got a lot smarter and created the 3.6 version that's 285 HP and, get's way better mileage with a lot more power. The TJ models were using an existing 4.0L in line 6 cyl that proved to be a good motor but, it too was/is under powered for most street, long grade driving. Flat ground it does fine.

The smartest thing you could do for her would be to pick up a 2012 or newer version. As far as trim lines, well, in the basics, there's three. The lowest ranking one is the Sport. It's a Jeep, but that's about all that you can say about it. The second one up is the Sahara. It's much better equipped and way more ergonomically friendly. Lot's of stuff you'd see in some very nice pickups and mid line cars. You get an enhanced rear differential in that model too.

The best model is, the Rubicon. Let's put it this way. It's the best equipped, factory setup, off road machine available. There's all kinds of enhancements and improvements over the other two models. Those models have some serious off road capabilities. There are slightly various models of the Rubicon too but, no need to go into that here.

But, you're going to pay seriously too for that model. Expect to pay upwards of around $35K or more, for a two door model. Expect around $40-$47K for a four door model with top-of-the-line trim packages. But, in all reality, the Rubicon is built and marketed for the folks that have some serious off roading in mind. If she, or you, only have low to moderate off road adventures in your future, a Sahara will do just fine.

The Jeep JK, especially the Sahara and up, are not your "Grand fathers old Jeep", not by any stretch. They are LIGHT YEARS advanced. The new version 3.6L V-6 is quite fast and powerful. I did an inquiry on a Jeep forum about fuel mileage lately and, the general consensus is, it hovers close to the 15-19 range, depending on a few zillion parameters.

My advice, take her out to a local Jeep dealer and, just take a test drive in either a recent trade in '12 or newer or, take a test drive in at least a new Sahara. We just did that about 3-4 days ago and man, I've owned Jeeps for well over 35 years and, without a doubt, those are millenniums ahead of what I've owned. At present, we own an '03 Rubicon and, are getting ready to sell it because it's going to be replaced by at least a '14 or newer. Good luck.
Scott

P.S. As far as a soft top or hard top is concerned, go hard top. For one, it's much, much quieter than the old "Rag top". Second, it's SERIOUSLY easier to gain access to the rear of the Jeep with only a hatch to open instead of zippers, then flipping the plastic back glass up and out of the way. And, there is absolutely ZERO gas mileage difference in the Jeep sporting a hard top or soft top. As for weight, neither one effects the Jeep at all. And, your statement of: Jeeps are made to be tinkered with". Well, yes and no. You tinker with them if you want to, not because you have to. There's a bazillion of them behind motorhomes that are bone stock and have not been touched, aside from regular maintenance.

Without a doubt, I'd bet she'd be real happy with a Sahara, 4-door. Good luck.
Scott
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great info. I guess we will look at 2012 and later 4d hard tops.
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Old 07-15-2016, 01:17 PM   #6
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I have been towing the 2016 Cherokee (Trailhawk) but my wife's 2015 Cherokee Latitude with AD2 is also flat towable, and a lot more comfortable than the 2013 Wrangler. Both the Wrangler and the Trailhawk have towed without problems and I have about 6K mikes towing with each. Mileage is a little better (2-3 MPG) with the Trailhawk than the Wrangler. I am on Jeep # 9 and 10 and have had no reliability issues.
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:39 AM   #7
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I get that she wants a 4x4, but why does it have to be a Jeep? Especially since you aren't enamored with their reliability stats? There are plenty of 4WD and AWD vehicles out there, many of which are 4-down towable as well. I'm not knocking Wranglers, but your opening message reads as though it's your only choice. There is nothing else on the Dinghy List that she likes?

Some other dinghy towable 4WD/AWD models include: Buick Enclave, GMC Terrain & Acadia & Yukon, Chevy Equinox & Traverse & Suburban, Dodge Durango, Ford Edge, Flex and Explorer. Plus a raft of 4WD half-ton pick-ups that make nice daily drivers if configured with crew cab and short bed.
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:25 AM   #8
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Ya, if you are going with a 4 dr Hardtop you might as well get a Buick
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:46 AM   #9
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Just be sure to check the owner's manual to be SURE it is flat towable. There are some on the list that the manual says they are not towable. We were looking for an automatic so the list pares down quickly. We checked out the '16 Cadillac XTS, it is towable but uncomfortable seating. It is replaced for '17 by the XT5, very comfortable seating, but no longer towable (according to the manual). We selected a Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, extremely comfortable, flat towable, automatic and we are getting over 19 mpg with under 500 miles so far, hopefully that goes up as it breaks in.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:21 AM   #10
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Why is everyone so down on the Wrangler? The 4.0L inline 6 is perhaps the most reliable engine Jeep had. I stayed with stock rims, Toyo ATII off road rubber same size as the factory tires only better tread design and still quiet on the road. New shocks, and had em go through the front end. Uphill, downhill and all around town it works just fine. No power door locks, no power windows, or seats. Everything else to make for a pleasurable ride though. I went with a hardtop due to noise reduction and it rains a lot in the NW. We're dry, have a nice stereo, wipers front and rear, air conditioning, and light weight. What's not to like? We flat tow and it has served us well for quite some time now. The Wrangler TJ is a good machine IMHO.
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Old 07-18-2016, 08:18 AM   #11
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Why is everyone so down on the Wrangler? The 4.0L inline 6 is perhaps the most reliable engine Jeep had. I stayed with stock rims, Toyo ATII off road rubber same size as the factory tires only better tread design and still quiet on the road. New shocks, and had em go through the front end. Uphill, downhill and all around town it works just fine. No power door locks, no power windows, or seats. Everything else to make for a pleasurable ride though. I went with a hardtop due to noise reduction and it rains a lot in the NW. We're dry, have a nice stereo, wipers front and rear, air conditioning, and light weight. What's not to like? We flat tow and it has served us well for quite some time now. The Wrangler TJ is a good machine IMHO.
I love my TJ Wrangler and hate to give it up. I just know I will need to eventually because of the frame rust (spent some years in Ohio). It was a huge step up from a CJ! Actually has defrosters and air conditioning.

For many of our trips, the Wrangler is the activity, and the MH is just a place to sleep, so I would hate to give it up, but the DW thinks maybe a more comfortable toad would be nice for those cross country trips that don't involve jeeping. Originally I thought a new Wrangler, but now I'm thinking a nice Grand Cherokee or an F150 as an alternate toad, and keep the TJ for as long as it holds together.
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Old 07-18-2016, 08:30 AM   #12
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I love my TJ Wrangler and hate to give it up. I just know I will need to eventually because of the frame rust (spent some years in Ohio). It was a huge step up from a CJ! Actually has defrosters and air conditioning.

For many of our trips, the Wrangler is the activity, and the MH is just a place to sleep, so I would hate to give it up, but the DW thinks maybe a more comfortable toad would be nice for those cross country trips that don't involve jeeping. Originally I thought a new Wrangler, but now I'm thinking a nice Grand Cherokee or an F150 as an alternate toad, and keep the TJ for as long as it holds together.

The GC ride is much nicer than the F150. You can always use the Wrangler when you want the activity.
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Old 07-18-2016, 08:39 AM   #13
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Watchout for the Cherokee with the new 9 speed trans and Electric power steering.

The software is not up to par for the trans.

And Jeep just released a Flat Tow cable which is needed to keep the power steering turned on while towing to prevent a severe wobble that can happen on very bumpy roads (several threads on this).
The Wrangle is Tried and True, my son just got one and tows it with his coach.

Regards,

Dan
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Old 07-18-2016, 08:54 AM   #14
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Watchout for the Cherokee with the new 9 speed trans and Electric power steering.

The software is not up to par for the trans.

And Jeep just released a Flat Tow cable which is needed to keep the power steering turned on while towing to prevent a severe wobble that can happen on very bumpy roads (several threads on this).
The Wrangle is Tried and True, my son just got one and tows it with his coach.

Regards,

Dan
I didn't see a 9sp on the GC, just 8. Is that the one you are talking about?
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