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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2008, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Towing

OK, the wife and I bought a 32' camper trailer and I plan on towing it every few weekends for about 50-60 miles. It is 6600lbs dry and maxes out at 8200lbs. I see that a couple of you tow some major trailers with your Commanders so I have to ask some advise.
First we also have a 1995 G20 conversion van and I need to figure out which one will do a better job dragging the trailer around.

Both vehicles have 5.7L engines but the jeep has 100HP more than the van.
Jeep is 11 years younger.
Jeep is factory rated to tow 7200lbs.
Don't have a clear spec for max trailer weight on the van, but did have 2 extra leafs installed a few years back.

Any tips or pointers on vehicle selection, brake controllers, or weight distributing hitches would be greatly appreciated!

Black 2006 Limited 5.7
Rocky Road 2.25" Lift,
Spidertrax 1.5" Wheel Spacers,
265/70R17 Bridgestone Dueler A/T RH-S
Gibson 3" SS Exhaust
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2008, 09:33 AM
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you need to buy a real truck to pull that around. its going to kill both vehicles.

my father-in-law has a 32' with the same dimensions. and he is pulling it with a 2002 ford crew cab 4x4 1/2 ton. he has the 5.4L V8. it barely gets the job done. next year he's selling the truck for a 3/4 ton with a larger gas motor. he hates diesels.

i would say to follow the manufactures ratings on towing. the suspension on the commander is not up to pulling that kind of weight without some upgrades. pulling that kind of weight is also very hard on the transmission. i would add a cooler if you are dead set on using the commander.

just my advise and opinion. i've done a lot of towning, from campers, dump trailers, and towing a bobcat around. you need a heavy duty suspension, transmission, frame, and motor.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2008, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Your probably right. If I was't a idiot I could be cautious about what I loaded i the trailer to keep it close to 7200# rating on the Commander.
If I hook up the jeep with a weight distributing hitch and it still sags to much I was thinking about using your idea and taking out my rocky road spacers and replacing the rear springs with something longer/stronger and possibly with a progressive rate to them to maintain a halfway decent ride when not loaded.

Black 2006 Limited 5.7
Rocky Road 2.25" Lift,
Spidertrax 1.5" Wheel Spacers,
265/70R17 Bridgestone Dueler A/T RH-S
Gibson 3" SS Exhaust
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2008, 08:34 PM
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i guess if you are not going to far you might get by. i'm just thinking of safety when you are towing. so that's why i say what i do. i used to drive truck in the oil field while i was going to college. i've hauled a lot of crap, and hauled stuff i probably should not have. but i feel if you are careful and know the risks then you should be able to handle it.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 12:18 AM
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I tow my 26' ultralite 4200 lbs without a weight distributing hitch can barely tell I'm towing it (until I stop for gas every 2 or so hrs). I had an Avalanche last year and it didn't tow as well as the 4.7 Commander. I do however live in the prairies and don't see to many hills, wind is the problem here.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 06:49 AM
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I agree with 4.7 Commander. I have towed a lot of different things and if you don't have the right match of truck and trailer combo you want to be very careful. I have come across quite a few turned over trucks & trailers because they didn't have the right combo in my opinion.


2006 65th Edition 4x4 Commander
1998 Grand Cherokee
1957 Dodge Wrecker restoration
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 07:19 AM
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I tow a 23' FunFinderX, loaded for us to the gills it comes in right at 6300 lbs. I use the Progressive Equal-i-zer hitch and a Tekonsha P3 brake controller. Until I hit hills I don't know the thing is back there until I look in the rear view mirror and wonder who's tailgating me If you've got the Mopar Tow Package, you'll have the cooler and beefed up alternator for keeping the rig charged.

Light hills, no problem. Steep, we do have some 8%+ grades around here, and it'll drop down a gear, but, keep right on hauling. When it kicks down you have to watch the speed - it will pick up speed. Never had a motor pull so strong.

If I'm in flat territory, I pull without the Tow/Haul, but, I lock the system into 4th as opposed to drive. Hills / Mtns. - I use the Tow / Haul. It locks out the overdrive gears and appears to disable the MDS along with changing the 2 - 3rd shift points. I haven't been able to find out the exact workings of the Tow / Haul, but, that's what I've noticed.

Towing at 60 - 63 mph in the hills (PA Turnpike, Pittsbugh to Bedford), Tow / Haul on, I get about 12.5 mpg. Not too bad. Next outting, I'm going to try 55 - 60 mph to see what I can get. I've found that at 63 mph, with no trailer, using the cruise control, I can squeeze 21.5 out of that Hemi. Annoyed me at first, driving that slow, but, gas being what it is, I've learned to slow down "and smell the roses". Actually much more relaxing - I can drive for hours now without any profanity .

Take your time setting up the WD hitch...with the Commander's 4 wheel drive , you want to be as balanced as possible to keep the transfer cases loaded evenly. Go to "severe use" service intervals and you should be fine. The only problem you'll have, probably, is getting the hitch low enough. Your tongue on that trailer is probably right around 18", while the Commander's hitch sits at an unreal 26"...without a lift. I was originally going to put a lift on mine until I started setting up the hitch for towing...glad I did the RV first

Webslave
2008 Hemi Commander 4X4 Limited
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-09-2008, 12:52 PM
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IMHO a 32' trailer is to long for the short wheelbase of the commander....a brake controller a must WDH...in our state if you were to cause an accident and you did not have those items you wont be at fault.....also our commanders have data recorders that can be subpoenaed for an accident investigation and are use by the dealer to deny a warranty clain if vehicle is not used properly IE tow haul not being used when required by owners manual.......so i,m told
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-10-2008, 09:03 AM
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I just looked at your "signature" and noticed the 2.25" lift... That is going to cause you a problem using the Commander as a Tow Vehicle. I think that wheelbase wise, while the Commander is shorter than a truck, you would be OK. You're not going that far and I hope you certainly don't plan on getting there at 75 mph on an interstate. A good weight distribution hitch will get the mass to the center of the vehicle and aid stability. I've seen shorter haul longer... The big problem is going to be the hitch height and trailer weight.

The Commander's stock hitch, without lift is ~26". Most travel trailers are in the 16" to 19" range for their coupler. Your lift now puts your hitch at ~28.25 inches. A difference of 10 - 12 inches. Even using a drop hitch for the ball, you can only pick up around 5 real inches ( a weight distribution hitch's ball sits higher). That still leaves you 5 to 7 inches short... A hitch dropper would work, but, when used in that fashion, you should halve the weight rating of the hitch dropper - the "heaviest" I've run across is the new Blue Ox units, they are rated 10,000 lbs for a straight drop. Used as a hitch drop and then adding a dropped weight distribution hitch (basically a double drop ) would cut you to a 5,000 lb weight limit. Your "dry" trailer is 6600 lbs and I'll bet it is higher...depending on options, your trailer could be right at the Commander's weight limit empty... You definitely don't want to haul that weight with the tongue angled up, slightly down is preferred if it can't be level.

IMHO, I don't believe your van is capable, despite the engine size... I think you'll find that the frame on that van is not Class IV rated, and Class IV is what you have for a trailer

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-10-2008, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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You Guys Are Awesome. Thanks for all the info... I'm going to give it a try with the Commander. It does have the Mopar tow package BTW. We are really going to keep the distance short and I am in no hurry. Slow and Safe. I am gas conscious too so even unloaded I've been holding it back to try to keep some $ in my pocket.
I'm going with a Reese 10,lb strait-line hitch and the Tekonsha P3 brake controller. I should be OK as I am overly cautious when I have my family in the vehicle. So if your in upstate NY and see an XK dragging a camper 3 times it size at 60mph relax and wave as you pass me!!!! Just go kind slow ok?
I am worried about the hitch height but the setup comes with the adjustable shank and my commander's receiver is 26" at the top of the 2" receiver and the bottom of the trailer tongue is 22" so I shouldn't be too bad off. I did hear about the angled down tongue thing and if I don't get a good angle with my setup I'll see if I can do something with the hitch shank tomorrow when I pick up the hitch.

Black 2006 Limited 5.7
Rocky Road 2.25" Lift,
Spidertrax 1.5" Wheel Spacers,
265/70R17 Bridgestone Dueler A/T RH-S
Gibson 3" SS Exhaust
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