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Old 07-28-2021, 07:25 AM   #1
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Setting up a Jeep for Towing

Hi all,
I am new here. Bought a new Airstream Atlas and a 2021 Jeep Wrangler Sport for towing. How do you go about getting the jeep set up for towing? I have studied the various towbars and watched a ton of videos about installation and use but I cannot find out where to go in order to get the Jeep configured for the tow. I am in Houston, TX area and wondered if anyone could provide guidance.
Thanks in advance for any help,
Smez
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Old 07-28-2021, 07:38 AM   #2
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Any/most of the major RV dealers can set the Jeep up for $$$$. Does the Atlas have a towing capacity of 4500#? Do you have the cargo capacity, difference between GVWR and GCVWR to tow the 4500#? Why 4500#? The 2021 Wrangler lists a curb weight of 3948-4449# and that doesn't consider the weight of baseplate, tow bars, braking systems and gears added to the Jeep.
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Old 07-28-2021, 07:47 AM   #3
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First determine what tow bar you want to use, there are a lot of them. I went with BlueOx because I was happy with their WDHs. After you determine which tow bar, order and install the matching baseplate. Set up the receiver hitch to level the tow bar. Decide how you want to add lights and brakes. I use a Brake Buddy in ours, but motorhomes have more options. I also use a 4 flat light connector and the magnetic lights from Harbor Freight. I went that route mostly to make the wiring easier. Most RV dealers will have a recommendation on shops for installers in your area if you are not a DIY type.
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Old 07-28-2021, 08:01 AM   #4
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Call around to the local RV dealers and/or trailer dealers and tell them what you have and what you want to do. Get some prices and compare. You're on a Sprinter chassis and have it's usual 5,000lb/500lb towing capacity with a 7 pin connector so it should be pretty common, since Wranglers are one of the more popular towed vehicles. There's not a lot of wiggle room in the Atlas for weight shifting between it and the Wrangler, your OCCC is under 1000lbs, but with a little ingenuity, you should be OK to tow. Just make sure you get both vehicles loaded for travel (everything you plan on taking with you on the road), and get them weighed to see where you might need to shift some weight, or run with tanks less than full. You'll always have a full diesel tank in the Atlas at fillup, so that number will be static. The rest of it, less gas in the Jeep, fresh tank less full, leave some stuff behind, and so on, will be where you'll need to do some homework.
Yes, Blue Ox stuff is good, I use it.
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Old 07-28-2021, 08:02 AM   #5
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Instead of a baseplate I chose to install a RockHard aluminum bumper with blueox adaptors installed. Works great and is very easy to install bumper compared to a baseplate. I installed a baseplate on my wife's Sahara to keep the look of the original and it is much harder to install.

The bumper comes ready for installing a winch if you want and they can also ship that to you as well.
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Old 07-28-2021, 08:46 AM   #6
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Setting up a Jeep for Towing

Blue Ox baseplate. Easy install. Tail light wiring kit from eTrailer. Only hard part was routing the wires under the Jeep to the rear. Lastly, I chose Ready Brake system. Guess the engineer in me prefers the most reliable systems, which are always the most simple as well.
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winterbagoal View Post
Call around to the local RV dealers and/or trailer dealers and tell them what you have and what you want to do. Get some prices and compare. You're on a Sprinter chassis and have it's usual 5,000lb/500lb towing capacity with a 7 pin connector so it should be pretty common, since Wranglers are one of the more popular towed vehicles. There's not a lot of wiggle room in the Atlas for weight shifting between it and the Wrangler, your OCCC is under 1000lbs, but with a little ingenuity, you should be OK to tow. Just make sure you get both vehicles loaded for travel (everything you plan on taking with you on the road), and get them weighed to see where you might need to shift some weight, or run with tanks less than full. You'll always have a full diesel tank in the Atlas at fillup, so that number will be static. The rest of it, less gas in the Jeep, fresh tank less full, leave some stuff behind, and so on, will be where you'll need to do some homework.
Yes, Blue Ox stuff is good, I use it.
While the tow rating is listed as 5K that's the hitch capacity. Specifications for the Atlas list GVWR and GCVWR as 11,030 and 15,250 for a difference of 4220. The only way to get 5K towing is not load the motorhome to GVWR which would be a rarity especially with vehicles that have low OCCC. For a sprinter based vehicle, a much lighter toad would be a better choice. But it appears the OP has already bought the vehicles so they will have to do some serious planning and compromises.

FWIW I also like the Blue Ox stuff and had it on my Jeep and now Ram. Self installed.
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:34 AM   #8
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Pretty much right at the capacity for the MH. You may not be happy with the combination though.
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chunker View Post
While the tow rating is listed as 5K that's the hitch capacity. Specifications for the Atlas list GVWR and GCVWR as 11,030 and 15,250 for a difference of 4220. The only way to get 5K towing is not load the motorhome to GVWR which would be a rarity especially with vehicles that have low OCCC. For a sprinter based vehicle, a much lighter toad would be a better choice. But it appears the OP has already bought the vehicles so they will have to do some serious planning and compromises.

FWIW I also like the Blue Ox stuff and had it on my Jeep and now Ram. Self installed.
That's what I told him. Get them weighed, and do the math to rebalance the weight under the GCWR/GVWR numbers. It's how I tow my 4500lb Wrangler with the same specced Sprinter cab chassis. It's doable, you just have to do the math. I run the Jeep at 1/4 tank of fuel, which keeps it at 4500lbs, and keep the Navion's weight under the GVWR 11,030lbs by around 500lbs, 1/3 fresh water, empty black/gray, and so on, which gets partially used by the Wrangler. It all comes in at around 15,100lbs, towing, which is under the 15,250lb GCWR.
If he has any specific questions on how to do it, he can PM me.
btw, many people use that 4220lbs difference between the GCWR - GVWR as the max weight of a towed, and it's wrong.
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:13 AM   #10
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Going to be right at max capacity but load the MH light and carry as little water as possible you might slide by.
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:37 AM   #11
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Agree with those saying you are right at or possibly over the max tow weight with a wrangler. I would also direct you to the Airstream specific site, airforums dot com where you might be more likely to find people who have done what you are attempting. Good luck
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:12 PM   #12
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I have a 2021 JL Sport unlimited and set up for tow weighs 4407 lbs. Just a FYI the JL is the easiest vehicle I've set up so far for tow. If you are the slightest bit handy it is not a difficult job. But you need to decide on a base plate, or replacement bumper, or tow loops for the JL. Any tow bar will do they are all good. I use the NSA ReadyBrute that has the built in aux brake and that was a very easy install also.
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:41 PM   #13
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Smez --

I agree with others that a two door Jeep Sport JL pushes the towing capacity of your Airstream Atlas. The other posters have offered suggestions for how to manage the total combined weight of the Atlas / Wrangler.

Regarding towing "set-up" I opted for the Roadmaster All Terrain tow bar and base plate plus the Roadmaster Invisibrake supplemental brake system for my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. I purchased these items and had them installed at Camping World west of Katy (Camping World provides good service for new purchases, not so great service for maintenance/ repairs).

Smitty's RV & Welding in Houston provides good service for Blue Ox tow bars/base plates and various types of supplemental brake systems (primarily focused on systems using air pressure from a large motorhome) --> https://www.smittysrvwelding.net/ . I didn't choose Smitty's simply because I had a concern about tapping into my motorhome's air system creating one more spot for a potential leak.

Given my busy career in the energy I chose to have my Jeep towing work performed by a "turn key" provider as I don't have the time for a several hours DIY effort.

Hope this info is useful !
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:43 PM   #14
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Smez --

I agree with others that a two door Jeep Sport JL pushes the towing capacity of your Airstream Atlas. The other posters have offered suggestions for how to manage the total combined weight of the Atlas / Wrangler.

Regarding towing "set-up" I opted for the Roadmaster All Terrain tow bar and base plate plus the Roadmaster Invisibrake supplemental brake system for my Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. I purchased these items and had them installed at Camping World west of Katy (Camping World provides good service for new purchases, not so great service for maintenance/ repairs).

Smitty's RV & Welding in Houston provides good service for Blue Ox tow bars/base plates and various types of supplemental brake systems (primarily focused on systems using air pressure from a large motorhome) --> https://www.smittysrvwelding.net/ . I didn't choose Smitty's simply because I had a concern about tapping into my motorhome's air system creating one more spot for a potential leak.

Given my busy career in the energy I chose to have my Jeep towing work performed by a "turn key" provider as I don't have the time for a several hours DIY effort.

Hope this info is useful !
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