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Old 06-29-2013, 02:04 PM   #1
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Flat Towing - Riser

Howdy Jeepers,

I am planning on flat towing my 2002 Jeep Wrangler to the Texas Coast ( 4 hour drive) next month to play in the sand, fish, and vacation!!! WHOOP!!

I have yet to tow the Jeep so I did lots of research on here and other sites as well and feel prepared to complete the trip. I only have a couple questions I am a little unclear on. Hopefully you guys can help.

My Jeep has a 4" lift kit, 33" tires. Can someone tell me if 70-75mph hwy speeds are too fast. (Towing with a 3/4 ton Dodge diesel Megacab)

AND

Can someone tell me why I can't or why I shouldn't just use my 3" drop tow hitch upside down to raise the ball up to the tow bar level instead of buying a new "riser" tow hitch? In other words, what the heck is the difference?

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Old 06-29-2013, 05:23 PM   #2
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I'm planning a similar trip (Padre Island National Seashore) and am planning to flat tow my 1995 Jeep with my F150. I will go a max of about 65mph. I flipped over my drop hitch to even things out, so you should be fine.

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Old 06-30-2013, 07:36 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply StanF.

We will be on North Padre Island beginning on July 21st. Maybe we'll see you there.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:23 AM   #4
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Drop hitches work either way. Have you considered how much stress the ball will take especially when braking?

You have to decide how fast is too fast when you tow. You will get answers all over the map on this, but I will say I've towed a Wrangler of one sort or another over 100K now. I've been up to 75, but I don't like it, and I was towing with a much heavier tow vehicle than you will be. You will experience more sway when towing with the shorter wheelbase of a pickup vs a motor home.

I'd also recommend that you carefully check your owners manual about towing several thousand pounds without brakes... I think you may find that your owner manual will specify supplemental brakes as the hitch isn't designed for the kind of stress an emergency stop from 70 would put on it with a 4K towed vehicle.

Do you have emergency brakeaway capability. If you forget to hitch it up right (which is the #1 cause of towing accidents), the ball brakes off and the safety chains don't do the job, your Jeep will be a deadly missile completely out of control if something bad happens.

Folks say all the time that they tow without supplemental brakes just fine. It will only take one panic stop without them to change your and someone else' life so consider that please.

The safest way to tow unless you spend the bucks for brakes is a trailer. Get a U-Haul!

As a final thought, if you still don't believe me, how about a little science to go with it...

The Physics Of Towed Vehciles

Only you know how much risk you are willing to take, but be sure to understand the potential consequences.
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:19 PM   #5
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Thanks Off Pavement for your expertise and advise. Just so you know I grew up in the country and have pulled trailers all my life. My Dodge has a trailer towing Max of 12,900 and I have had it right up to that max a couple of times. However, I do have supplemental trailer brakes installed and they are essential for those loads. I have also towed a 32ft RV (with a Gooseneck hitch instead of a 5th wheel) for several 1000 miles so I do understand the physics of towing vehicles. The only type of towing I have never been involved in is Flat towing with a tow bar.

I have a 16ft utility trailer I can load my Wrangler on, but I have no place to park the trailer while I am on vacation. I tried to rent a boat stall or storage building to keep it in while I was at the coast, but those places don't have weekly rates and some even have a 3 month minimum at $75/month. SO, I went ahead and purchased a quality tow bar and when it arrives I will hook up the Wrangler and take it out for a test drive. Guess that's the only way I will really know.
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