My Towing Recommendations - 2014+ Jeep Cherokee Forums
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb My Towing Recommendations

Many people have asked about what to use while towing. Below I will provide links for the items I personally use and would recommend whole heartedly without hesitation. I used to own an RV repair facility where we installed towing equipment and towed trailer for clients.

Make sure when towing to increase air pressure in your tires a little to help take the bounce out of your ride. If you have a 7 foot wide trailer like mine mirror extensions aren't really needed IF you adjust your mirrors so that the inside edge of the mirror can BARELY see the body of the Cherokee. Please when towing keep it under 65 even in 65+ MPH zones like here in Texas. While the cherokee CAN tow that fast I can't recommend it. Weight distribution hitches are required by FCA when towing 3500lbs or more. Personally I'd say if your tongue weight is 250lbs or more it's better safe than sorry. Also, if you are towing a single axle trailer I would go as far as to say anti-sway is a must. Please avoid anti-sway systems you have to disconnect before you backup, it's an accident waiting to happen. If you tow often and you have a 2016 I don't know if this is on 2015's, go into the uconnect and turn OFF the automatic mirror tilt. The setting that points your mirrors down when you put it into reverse.

I want to point out, IF you find yourself in a situation where the trailer is swaying badly you have a few options. Put your foot to the floor and accelerate, trailer weight will determine if this'll work. You can also use the lever on your brake controller and apply the brakes with that, that'll apply the brakes on JUST the trailer causing it to drag bringing it straight. Last and not least will be to simply ease up off the gas and coast. Trust the jeep if you have the factory tow system, the factory anti-sway works beautifully. Whatever you do during sway do NOT hit the brakes, this can and will cause you to swerve off the highway often causing a rollover.

Always pack your trailer tongue heavy, this helps prevent sway. Also if you put it in sport mode that helps hold gears however it turns on the 4wd system. If you find you need to force the transmission into a lower gear, it IS possible. You take the selector lever and move it to the left into the manual mode. Once there, push the selector lever forward and hold it there, this will cause the transmission to shift into the lowest gear available and stay there. You may have to hold it for a few seconds as it takes it sweet time to downshift.

Also, one last tidbit. Make sure you stop by the dealer and pick up a few extra charge line fuses. They are 30 amp fuses and retail for about 9$ a piece. After blowing mine I replaced it with a 40amp which the wiring in the jeep can handle.

If ANYONE has any questions about towing, please contact me directly and I'll answer them personally. Also, if you are having trouble with your trailer you are also welcome to contact me personally. If you are local to me I'll even help out in person.

The information provided in this thread is of my own opinion and is in no way required or associated with JCC in any way. Please follow all of your local laws when towing and most of all slow down and leave yourself plenty of space.

Weight Distribution Hitch WITH Anti-Sway I have: https://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Dist...e/RP66086.html

This is the weight distribution hitch with anti-sway I would recommend due to clearance issues: https://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Dist...e/RP66082.html

This is the brake controller I would recommend: https://www.etrailer.com/multi-produ...3041&hunter=bc

These are the airbags I would recommend: https://www.etrailer.com/Vehicle-Sus...t/AL60751.html

This would be for shear ease of use to be able to make adjustments on the fly and not have to keep checking to see if the airbags are still inflated: https://www.etrailer.com/Vehicle-Sus...t/AL25850.html


From @Rojhan: It's a lot cheaper to buy (good!) safety equipment than to recover from the effects of any kind of accident. There are few things in life scarier than having your trailer "wag the dog"; the trailer does whatever it's going to do and you and the tow vehicle are just along for the ride. Don't spend $40K on a vehicle and $30K on a trailer and turn right around and think that ~$500 for the proper tow setup is expensive...

Something else to do is, at least once, go to a truck scale and weigh the various combinations of tow vehicle and trailer: http://www.learntorv.com/2013/05/how...l-trailer.html. *KNOW* what your weights are. Clothes, tents, etc. aren't very heavy but you may be amazed at how much it all adds up to when you are fully loaded.

Get a tongue scale: https://www.amazon.com/Sherline-LM-1...dp/B007REJTGI/ so you know exactly what your current load will be on the vehicle.

Physics is a harsh mistress that doesn't cut you any slack. Keep in mind that you are likely upwards of 8,500lbs of combined weight when you are towing. The vehicle is going to handle differently. Stopping distance is going to be affected, even with trailer brakes. Other drivers are "blind" to larger vehicles and seem to think they can all stop on a dime. Give yourself plenty of room to maneuver. That includes reducing speed, if necessary. Plenty of videos on Youtube of RV/trailer/truck accidents; when they go south, they go south *really* quick. The best response is to prevent, not react.

Keep an eye on tire inflation and wear on both the trailer and the KL. Same rationale; you are in a much more precarious balance of forces when towing. It takes a lot less to upset the balance and have bad things happen.

Don't take the listed tow capacity of the KL as an attempt at a high score or take it just as "bah, FCA is just being paranoid." Exceeding the GVWR/GCWR is a recipe for disaster; human, insurance, civil, and criminal. If you want to tow something bigger than the tow vehicle is spec'd for, get a tow vehicle with more capacity. Helper springs, air bags, etc. help control the ride and the loading, but they do NOT *add* capacity.

Adding an additional resource: http://changingears.com/rv-sec-tow-v...derstand.shtml

Short version: "Don't exceed any individual rating, even if the total is within limits. Actual weighing with a scale is the only way to know your numbers for sure. Don't trust printed or spoken information."

GVW: Gross Vehicle Weight
Your "all-in" weight. Vehicle/Trailer. People. Contents. Fluids. Everything.

GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.
The max allowed GVW.

GCW: Gross Combination Weight
Total all-in weight of both towing vehicle and towed (trailer).

GCWR: Gross Combination Weight Rating
The max allowed GCW

GAW: Gross Axle Weight
Measured on each axle; the actual weight each axle is supporting.

GAWR:
The max allowed GAW.

Tongue Weight
The amount of weight transferred from the trailer and supported by the hitch. Should be 10-12% of trailer weight.
Too light or too heavy and vehicle/trailer handling will be affected.
A weight-distributing hitch transfers the same amount of weight to the vehicle, but the lever action moves some of the weight to the front axle rather than "all" on the rear axle. A WDH is also significantly heavier than a drawbar and needs to be part of your tongue weight calculation.

Curb Weight: "Unladen" vehicle weight.
Total vehicle weight with standard options/equipment, fluids, fuel, etc. No people or cargo.

Dry Weight: Similar to Curb weight, but without fluids, batteries, propane, accessories. etc. "Fresh from the factory without any dealer prep." Rarely used, other than by RV sellers to tell you "Sure, your car can handle that! (as long as you don't bring any water or personal items with you or actually want it to be useful. )" :P

Cargo weight:
All the extra stuff you add, including people.

Once you add a trailer, you are going to affect GAW, GVW and GCW. Tongue weight will transfer from the trailer to the vehicle. Note, you can have a negative tongue weight if poorly loaded. This will actually lift the rear of the tow vehicle.
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Last edited by Len1304; 08-01-2016 at 03:41 PM. Reason: Adding helpful info
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 07:56 AM
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+1 to everything @Len1304 has said. It's a lot cheaper to buy (good!) safety equipment than to recover from the effects of any kind of accident. There are few things in life scarier than having your trailer "wag the dog"; the trailer does whatever it's going to do and you and the tow vehicle are just along for the ride. Don't spend $40K on a vehicle and $30K on a trailer and turn right around and think that ~$500 for the proper tow setup is expensive...

Something else to do is, at least once, go to a truck scale and weigh the various combinations of tow vehicle and trailer: http://www.learntorv.com/2013/05/how...l-trailer.html. *KNOW* what your weights are. Clothes, tents, etc. aren't very heavy but you may be amazed at how much it all adds up to when you are fully loaded.

Get a tongue scale: https://www.amazon.com/Sherline-LM-1...dp/B007REJTGI/ so you know exactly what your current load will be on the vehicle.

Physics is a harsh mistress that doesn't cut you any slack. Keep in mind that you are likely upwards of 8,500lbs of combined weight when you are towing. The vehicle is going to handle differently. Stopping distance is going to be affected, even with trailer brakes. Other drivers are "blind" to larger vehicles and seem to think they can all stop on a dime. Give yourself plenty of room to maneuver. That includes reducing speed, if necessary. Plenty of videos on Youtube of RV/trailer/truck accidents; when they go south, they go south *really* quick. The best response is to prevent, not react.

Keep an eye on tire inflation and wear on both the trailer and the KL. Same rationale; you are in a much more precarious balance of forces when towing. It takes a lot less to upset the balance and have bad things happen.

Don't take the listed tow capacity of the KL as an attempt at a high score or take it just as "bah, FCA is just being paranoid." Exceeding the GVWR/GCWR is a recipe for disaster; human, insurance, civil, and criminal. If you want to tow something bigger than the tow vehicle is spec'd for, get a tow vehicle with more capacity. Helper springs, air bags, etc. help control the ride and the loading, but they do NOT *add* capacity.


// "get off my lawn" mode off. Towing/trailers/RV can be fun. It's both easy for it to be a disaster and also easy to prevent disaster.
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Last edited by Rojhan; 06-28-2016 at 09:39 AM.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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My Towing Recommendations

Great advice @Rojhan


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Last edited by Len1304; 06-28-2016 at 09:48 AM.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 10:28 PM
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Another suggestion is a GPS unit with good graphics and mounted for easy viewing. Not so important on known roads, but can improve safety significantly on unknown roads when trying to pre-position your rig into the correct lane for the next turn.

2015 White/Black Limited | 3.2-L V6 | Active Drive II | Tech Grp | Lux Grp | Trailer Tow Grp | SafetyTec | Uconect 8.4AN | 9 Speakers | Tonneau Cover | Born 09-06-14 : (( (( (( (( (( (( (( :
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 10:20 AM
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One note for discussion: Sport mode. I thought about the added advantage of keeping the tranny in a gear longer BUT in my '16 Sport, Sport mode disables traction control. So maybe using the manual selector would be better if towing in inclement weather/poor road conditions. (?)

I've never towed but have been rolled into a Canadian ditch as a kid when Dad lost control of a 24' travel trailer on a gravel road, think pre-paved AL-CAN. The trailer ended up flipping it and Suburban down a 20' embankment.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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While it disables traction control if you reach over and hit the traction control button it should turn it right back on.


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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 10:30 AM
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Thanks, good to know!
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 11:39 AM
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Great info, thanks! I'm currently rebuilding a large (7' x 12.5' box) single axle pop-up camper that from the factory weighs in at 1800 lbs. It may be a bit heavier when I'm done. I bought my Trailhawk w/tow group largely to be able to comfortably tow this.

I have no towing experience and know nothing about brake controllers. Can you help explain what the advantages are of your recommended $160 Tekonsha controller are over the $60 version?

Thanks!
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rojhan View Post
+1 to everything @Len1304 has said. It's a lot cheaper to buy (good!) safety equipment than to recover from the effects of any kind of accident. There are few things in life scarier than having your trailer "wag the dog"; the trailer does whatever it's going to do and you and the tow vehicle are just along for the ride. Don't spend $40K on a vehicle and $30K on a trailer and turn right around and think that ~$500 for the proper tow setup is expensive...
<snip>

Physics is a harsh mistress that doesn't cut you any slack. <snip>
I was almost caught by a wagging trailer, on a narrow two-lane with a 5' soft gravel shoulder and a nasty ditch. I was driving an 8.000lbs Ford Econoline with a patient and nurse in the back (inter-hospital transport). Oncoming pick-up truck towing a small backhoe, long stretch of road, I noticed the trailer began to sway, more and more into my lane. I made some quick mental calculations to time the pendulum vs our meeting point, slowing down and trying to ride on as much shoulder as I could. I got lucky and drove by while the trailer had swung the other way. Pick-up truck driver decided to slam on the brakes ; I know this because there was rubber smoke rising (and later confirmed by tire marks). I was barely able to control bodily functions at this point, it is one of the most unreal/scary thing I have ever faced as a driver...
Once I had made it by him and hopped back on the road, I looked in the rearview and saw... the trailer unpin and take off into the field, jumping up and down over ruts and whatnot. There was a house in the path but luckily far enough that the trailer eventually came to stop before it got there.

I could have had that backhoe in my face, literally. Unpinned runaway trailer could have killed someone else.

From that day forward, I was less interested in towing heavy loads. I never have, but really have no interest... So yeah, make sure everything is secure and set up correctly. And within spec.

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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@Mark_ between owning my own business, the army and driving tractor trailer I've seen a lot. It doesn't matter if you are towing 800lbs or 80,000. It's all a matter of towing properly and within the limits of someone's ability. I've seen more people hurt and killed by sway than anything else. I've also seen overloaded trailers have the hubs get so hot the lugs break off and send a trailer and tire in two different directions so I can't stress towing safety enough.


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