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Old 07-28-2021, 08:28 AM   #1
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New Grand Cherokee L - Flat Tow???

We are looking at new 4 x 4 Jeep Grand Cherokee L (three row seating) which dealers are now getting. If buying, we would prefer the regular size, two row seating version, but we’re told that those vehicles won’t even be able to be order until the end of August with expected delivery by the end of October.

I have been burned by the “death wobble” issue before - and decided to sell a perfectly good brand new 2018 GC Summit when FCA had no GC fix for the new EPS system which changed without our realizing it in model year 2016. This change, of course, resulted in the dynamic of the death wobble when FCA changed from a hydraulic steering system - which allowed the GC to properly track with the motor home - to the current electronic steering system - which opens the door to the death wobble when the computer bus shuts down the EPS after the car is shut off and does not allow seamless tracking of the tow vehicle with the motor home - especially in slow driving turning situations and uneven pavement.

Have always loved the Grand Cherokee Summit (a 2015 model I had and flat towed with my Dutch Star 4369 was the hands down best SUV I have ever owned), but could not and would not tolerate the uncertainty of the death wobble risk in a new vehicle that expensive. In my humble opinion, FCA never, ever treated this issue with the seriousness it requires - and despite the wiring harness “fix”, I am not persuaded enough to buy the exiting model.

Fast forward to now. FCA is releasing the stretched “L” model and dealers are getting them. We test drove an Overland model with 4 x 4 yesterday. OMG, what a ride! A whopping 62K price tag, with absolutely zero incentives right now, but, crazily, worth the entire price!

Allowing ourselves to get just a wee bit excited about the possibility that the new Grand Cherokee L could possibly have the death wobble issue fixed - assuming FCA would pay some attention to the RV market for its vehicles, especially with their direct knowledge of the many death wobble reports that have been given to them by GC owners and the NTSB - I am wondering if, by chance, the death wobble problem is somehow fixed in the new GC.

For this kind of money, I asked the sales manager to run the issue up the line to see what they could advise on this question. Response, given this morning, is that the EPS system on the new Grand Cherokee L is “completely different from the older vehicle”. I asked specifically how it’s different and does this mean that FCA, knowing about the past death wobble problems, has, in fact, finally and definitively resolved the death wobble in the new GC.

As you can imagine, that information is unknown by the reps that were contacted.

So I’m wondering what our Forum might be able to tell us on this. Does anyone have any info out there that would help to shed light on this inquiry.

All answers, comments, information will be greatly appreciated for all of us.

Thanks!

Deek
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Old 07-28-2021, 06:38 PM   #2
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Old 07-29-2021, 08:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Massparanoia View Post
Thanks for that reference, Massparanoia. I’ve been all over it many times. It does not cover the new Grand Cherokee L which has been recently released by FCA and is arriving in dealerships now.

The good news on this issue is that the new GC L Owners’ Manual specifically omits the language contained in current GC Owners’ Manual that wiring harness equipment is available from Chrysler to “assist” with flat towing applications. The omission, I suspect, was intentional on FCA’s part and would seem to lead to a reasonable guess that death wobble in GC L is not a problem.

This tracks with info I received from dealer where I test drove GC L that the electronic steering system on GC L is completely different than existing GC and that there now may no longer be death wobble worry with new gen Grand Cherokee, starting with L model.

Still trying to suss this out more fully.

Deek
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Old 07-29-2021, 03:40 PM   #4
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Deek, I’m following your journey. How about another email to Steve Stander for status.
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:32 AM   #5
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Wonder if he’s still there.

FCA has taken a definite laissez faire attitude about all of it. Stander included. It’s amazing to me. You’d think that the RV market for them for towed vehicles would be lucrative enough that they’d have sufficient incentive to engineer a careful solution to the death wobble problem - and make sure it would be publicly pointed to so that future customers could be put at ease that they have nothing to worry about - but they don’t. What did your Summit cost that you had to rid of? I know how much mine cost - and how much I lost when I had to sell it to avoid the death wobble exposure.

Should we do it again with GC L?

A thing I’ve learned that does provide a hint of good news: The Owners’ Manual for the GC L avoids all mention of the wiring harness recommendation for “ease of flat towing” Grand Cherokee. I think the omission is significant. But, like Reagan said: “ Trust but verify”.

I am working my way up the food chain at FCA to see if I can get something definitive as to whether they believe GC L is really different than GC and can be flat towed safely and without risk of death wobble. I’ll be sure to post anything of substance I find out.

Deek
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:43 AM   #6
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Try calling Blue Ox to see if they have a tow kit and if they know the info you’re looking for.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:28 PM   #7
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Thanks very much for the suggestion. I did this already and Blue Ox doesn’t have fitment of base plate as of yet. I’m sure they will soon. They would, I’m certain, see this vehicle as flat towable per the Owner’s Manual - because the OM says it is - but I’m equally confident that Blue Ox would neither know about, nor care about, the death wobble issue. Us RV folks are the ones who lie awake at night worrying about this, not them.

I want to be sure they have addressed - and eliminated - the death wobble risk on GC L before pulling the trigger.

I did take the suggestion made by Lass, and wrote to FCA to see what they say. Lass and I both have been in touch with this guy before and found him to be responsive - so … fingers are crossed.

Deek
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Old 08-01-2021, 02:21 PM   #8
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Following this intently. Currently working a deal on an L Model Overland.
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:11 PM   #9
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New Grand Cherokee L - Flat Tow???

Deek. We know that FCA incorporated the anti wobble harness into the production of the 2019 Cherokee and now, the hope is that they did the same for the new GC L, but I can’t see FCA saying anything other than that it’s towable. The Cherokee problem is solved and keep our fingers crossed for the GC L.

Ignoring the financial loss, our disappointment of getting rid of brand new Summits has left a void for both of us but for now, I’m staying with the JLUR.

If I were in the market today, here’s what I would do. Go back to the dealer and sit in any of the towable Cherokees. Get a feel for the steering in the normal drive condition. Shut it off, use the manual and go through the steps for towing. How does the steering feel? It should be the same for both of the conditions. It I understand the intent of harness correctly, the Cherokee harness was to maintain the EPS system and keep it active.

Now go through the exact same process in the GC L. Does the steering feel the same? If so, you are one step closer to a decision.

Not telling you to drop $60K but this should add a level of confidence-or disappointment.

You know that I spent way to many hour on the phone with FCA and FMCA, and way to many email to Steve Stander, but I’m glad to read the new forum discussion about the addition of the GC harness. Even though it didn’t help me , it was worth the effort.

Best of luck with you journey and keep us posted. If you need, I’ll take a run to my dealer and talk to the service mgr. She was very cooperative about my Summit and I know that she’ll be willing to contact FCA engineering for us.

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Old 08-02-2021, 05:24 AM   #10
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GCL Towable

My wife has decided that a GCL Summit Reserve is to be our next toad. We’ve been towing Wranglers for years which is one of the easiest to outfit for towing as we all know. I recently set up a friends 2019 GC with base plate, lighting and braking and it went fine, much less room to work though.

I have a great dealer that’s RV aware and he’s allowed me to climb in, under and around a GCL. The following is a list of things I know, don’t know, speculate and wish for.

Things I know
Tow base plate:
Blue Ox offered me a free tow bar and base if they could have the vehicle for 5 days to invent the baseplate.
Road Master said basically the same thing.

Lighting adapters:
Hopkins (I use these whenever I can, no cutting) they don’t know anything yet.
Curt - nothing yet.
Road Master - nothing yet.

Braking systems:
This may be the greatest challenge.
Demco AF1 - not yet
Road Master - no news

It appears(not factory verified) that the GCL has electric assist braking with no vacuum assist. If this is the case, how will the two common permanent mount braking systems work when they need vacuum assist?

The GCL SR has emergency braking for things it sees in front of it. How will a towing setup work with, disable or bypass this system? No answers from my calls yet.

Wish list:
As an engineer, I speculate that Jeep engineers know this vehicle will be towed, the Quadra Trak II is flat towable. Wouldn’t it be great if they already make a connection under the hood where a towing harness could be installed that would handle lighting, braking and charging? And, and, and, what if we could use a trailer brake controller to activate the electric brakes in the toad just like the bumper pull and 5th wheel guys do. It wouldn’t have been hard or expensive the engineer this in from the beginning.

As calls get returned to me or I continue to pester them for answers, I’ll post updates if anyone other than my wife is interested.
Fingers crossed.
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Old 08-02-2021, 06:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microlan View Post
My wife has decided that a GCL Summit Reserve is to be our next toad. We’ve been towing Wranglers for years which is one of the easiest to outfit for towing as we all know. I recently set up a friends 2019 GC with base plate, lighting and braking and it went fine, much less room to work though.

I have a great dealer that’s RV aware and he’s allowed me to climb in, under and around a GCL. The following is a list of things I know, don’t know, speculate and wish for.

Things I know
Tow base plate:
Blue Ox offered me a free tow bar and base if they could have the vehicle for 5 days to invent the baseplate.
Road Master said basically the same thing.

Lighting adapters:
Hopkins (I use these whenever I can, no cutting) they don’t know anything yet.
Curt - nothing yet.
Road Master - nothing yet.

Braking systems:
This may be the greatest challenge.
Demco AF1 - not yet
Road Master - no news

It appears(not factory verified) that the GCL has electric assist braking with no vacuum assist. If this is the case, how will the two common permanent mount braking systems work when they need vacuum assist?

The GCL SR has emergency braking for things it sees in front of it. How will a towing setup work with, disable or bypass this system? No answers from my calls yet.

Wish list:
As an engineer, I speculate that Jeep engineers know this vehicle will be towed, the Quadra Trak II is flat towable. Wouldn’t it be great if they already make a connection under the hood where a towing harness could be installed that would handle lighting, braking and charging? And, and, and, what if we could use a trailer brake controller to activate the electric brakes in the toad just like the bumper pull and 5th wheel guys do. It wouldn’t have been hard or expensive the engineer this in from the beginning.

As calls get returned to me or I continue to pester them for answers, I’ll post updates if anyone other than my wife is interested.
Fingers crossed.
Microlan -

Thanks for this post. I have so often wondered why a vehicle manufacture intent on making money would not pull the stops out and manufacture a car that RV folks would be wild about - a vehicle that would be engineered with all the things you say. No one has done this. Each and every one thus far has issues - even the Wrangler with reports of death wobble from the solid axle.

Where do we go, what do we do? We are certainly willing to spend the money but there’s no really reliable product out there to purchase.

Burned big once, I really don’t want to get a car again that, after purchase, I find cannot be towed without risk of death wobbke. Once was enough for me.

I hope your speculation is correct and Stellantis has incorporated a fix for death wobble in GC L. It’s the car I want. But how I wish I had never sold my 2015 Summit before the change in steering.

Yes, let’s be sure, all of us, to post any updates. There’s a lot riding on this.

Lass, thanks for your analysis too. I think talk with your reliable service rep would be an excellent and very helpful idea. Microlan the same. I’ll post if I hear from Stander.

Deek
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Old 08-02-2021, 12:13 PM   #12
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I just got off of the phone with Demco. The guy I spoke with sounded like he did not know anything about this car yet. However, after speaking with him he sounded very confident that once they could get their hands on one of these cars they would start engineering the products for it. I did not read the post above before I called so I did not realize I needed to ask anything about the brakes. I think this L model will replace the current Grand Cherokee after the 2 row L models come out later this year so I am pretty confident that the different companies will start making the products we need. I am lucky (kind of) in the fact that I am 1.5 years out from retirement and will not have a motorhome until then. So I have time for Demco and company to catch up. I am at work but my wife is test diving an Overland model GCL as I am typing this. If she likes it I think I am going to move forward trying to purchase one. Keep your fingers crossed for me. LOL
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Old 08-03-2021, 05:54 AM   #13
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Following because I purchased a GCL Overland and plan to flat tow...eventually
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Old 08-03-2021, 07:52 AM   #14
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Confirmed, electric steering works with engine off and 2-speed transfer case in neutral.

To be clear, I have a new 2021 Grand Cherokee "L" Overland 4x4.
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