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Old 03-25-2014, 11:17 PM   #1
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Towing a 19ft travel camper w/ a TJ

Planning on towing a 19ft 2500lb Jayco travel camper from FL to NH this summer. Putting in a tran cooler, weight distribution equalizer, and prodigy p2 to control the electric brakes. Just have my doubts about this 6cyl pulling all that weight - my jeep is pretty heavy already with the a 35" tires, winch, and aftermarket bumpers. Seems like a lot of weight for that little engine. TJ's run hot anyways - but a black Jeep on the highway for 8+hrs/day pulling 2500lbs seems like asking for trouble. Anyone with experience pulling a travel camper w/ their TJ? Other than getting the brakes and tranny serviced prior to the trip, anything else crucial?
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:22 PM   #2
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Your worries are out of line. Wagging the dog and braking are my worries. Ya it will pull it. Safely good luck. If you do it (I wouldn't ) have it's tanks dry.

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Old 03-25-2014, 11:25 PM   #3
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Towing limit at 2000lbs on a tj is not because of engine power or braking abilities, its the short wheelbase. Some argue trailer brakes and cautious driving makes towing over the rated limit ok, but I wouldn't push it. Its up to you, but it is over the limit and will likely be a pain if you haven't regeared for your 35" tires.
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:29 PM   #4
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Come on guys it's a jeep it will do it all. Lol just take your time and don't put any extra weight in the jeep or the trailer and I think you will be just fine. May take you awhile to pull hills but it will do it. The 4.0 is a monster and has never stopped surprising me. If I were you I would put maybe some air shocks in back so your not sagging really bad or something similair.
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:39 PM   #5
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I didn't know there was a 2000lb limit for the TJs...crap. Gotta find a way to make it work. The stabilizer kit should keep it from wagging, and I'm also going to regear to 4:56 so I'm not crawling up hills. I guess I'm more concerned about straining the engine for 8+ hrs at a time in the heat of summer with all that extra weight. Just curious if anyone has done this before.....successfully.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:12 AM   #6
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Come on guys it's a jeep it will do it all. Lol just take your time and don't put any extra weight in the jeep or the trailer and I think you will be just fine. May take you awhile to pull hills but it will do it. The 4.0 is a monster and has never stopped surprising me. If I were you I would put maybe some air shocks in back so your not sagging really bad or something similair.
As said above by Jeepwayoflife, the 4.0L would indeed have zero problem pulling that much weight. That's not the problem, the problem is the TJ's too short wheelbase being unable to control and stop that much mass, length, and loaded weight. The above mentioned phrase 'the tail wagging the dog' is a very apt description which is why the TJ's max tow weight is 2,000 lbs. Having been towing boats & trailers for 40 years, I wouldn't do it. What do I tow regularly behind my TJ? A short, light (1378 lbs unloaded) pop-up tent trailer with electric brakes... that's as big & as heavy as I'll tow behind my TJ.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:53 AM   #7
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I towed a 12' twin 1100 Yamaha jet boat from Mississippi to Florida for my buddy. It was aerodynamic of course so I didn't feel the wind as much. I'm also pretty sure I was over max weight with the trailer and boat together. No brakes on the trailer. The most annoying thing was the nose high attitude of the jeep. Made the steering feel light and spongy(if that makes sense). And you had to be prepared wayyyy ahead of time to stop. Also after spending 8 hours straight in the jeep my ass hurt. With that big of a camper, I would be worried about a crosswind the most, that will throw you into another lane before you realize what's happening. Also, if you're really going to do this instead of renting a truck for a few days or switching vehicles with a friend, make sure you check your engine out really good, I got home and realized that under the heavy load and constant pulling, the engine ran a little warmer and the oil pressure stayed a little higher than normal, which forced a lot out of my rear main. Never had an issue before and never had one after. I check the oil a lot. Didn't lose but maybe half a quart but it was splattered over EVERYTHING.

Taking this thing 15-20 miles to the local campground, no big deal. But 8+ hours. You couldn't pay me to do that in a jeep.
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Old 03-26-2014, 03:18 AM   #8
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Seriously, DON'T DO THIS. If you had a stock LJ it would be barely controllable (3500lb tow limit). If you had a stock TJ you would have a 2000lb tow limit, but I would personally degrade the tow limit on a lifted TJ like yours to 1000lbs, maybe 1500lbs with electric trailer brakes. Lifted Jeeps suffer more front/back and side-to-side weight transfer when braking and turning than do stock Jeeps, and you have to remember that.

If it was me, I would rent a padded/enclosed medium truck from U-haul or Penske, strap the Jeep inside with cross-chains, and pull the trailer behind that. Depending on what you get, the tow limit could be anything from 5000 to 15,000 lbs. Even if you rent a 1/2-ton pickup or van, the tow limit is typically 5000 or 6000 lbs., and you could have somebody else drive your Jeep.
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Old 03-26-2014, 03:54 AM   #9
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Ain't no way I'd tow it bro. I have been sweating when the little 8' pop up got to rockin around at 70 MPH.


Nope, no way...not in a Jeep!
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:30 AM   #10
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To ease your mind, or make the decision easier take the camper to a truck scale and weigh it. The weight sticker they sometime put on or near the door is Dry weight from the factory. This does not in single or dual propane bottles, battery, weight distributing hitch( I'd say 30 to 60 lbs itself). And any gear you store or left over water in the drained tanks. I pull a 32 ft camper with a F150. I'm close to max weight pulling but I'm not over. I about refuse to driver the open highway. The wind, passing semi trucks etc makes the whole package sway, steering is light and my blood pressure soars. I have airbags in the back, camper brakes and have done everything to be safe.

I would think it is a bad idea. The jeep is so minimal in weight I think your going to get pushed around so easy. Even with camper brakes it will push the jeep. You would be safer renting a truck and double pulling the camper and jeep trailered if you rented the right tow vehicle than pulling the camper with your lifted jeep with accessories.
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:50 AM   #11
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Planning on towing a 19ft 2500lb Jayco travel camper from FL to NH this summer. Putting in a tran cooler, weight distribution equalizer, and prodigy p2 to control the electric brakes. Just have my doubts about this 6cyl pulling all that weight - my jeep is pretty heavy already with the a 35" tires, winch, and aftermarket bumpers. Seems like a lot of weight for that little engine. TJ's run hot anyways - but a black Jeep on the highway for 8+hrs/day pulling 2500lbs seems like asking for trouble. Anyone with experience pulling a travel camper w/ their TJ? Other than getting the brakes and tranny serviced prior to the trip, anything else crucial?
Don't do it. You really can't do it safely

I've got 4.88 gears, Vanco brakes w/ 48mm dual piston calipers & Black Magic Pads on my Jeep, and a trailer brake controller. Both trailers I tow have 3500lb axles with brakes. The biggest trailer I currently tow is a 6x10 enclosed with about 1000+lbs of cargo. The LJ is rated for 3500lbs, and this trailer is roughly 2200-2500 lbs loaded....so it's well under the Jeep rated limited.

Honestly, I wouldn't want to tow much more....I can barely maintain 65-70mph on the highway in the flats, lots of 3500-4000rpm downshifts to maintain speed on the slightest hill, the trans and engine heat up, even on 60°F days...and I have serious high capacity cooling mods. The high profile sides of the trailer does wag the rear of the Jeep a bit, and this stresses the track bar mount quite a bit. The other big issue is the trailer is 6ft wide, about the same as that big arse camper you're looking at...problem is you have a hard time seeing around the trailer due to the comparatively narrow jeep mirrors.

I've started shopping for a diesel truck to tow my enclosed trailer into the mountains, because I'm pretty sure it will stress the 4.0L/42RLE way more than I want...maybe even blow something up prematurely.

I'd suggest you at least get a 1/2 ton truck if you want to tow that 19 ft trailer.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:19 AM   #12
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Think about others on the road and whether or not it is worth putting their safety at risk, not just you and your stuff. Probably not worth taking the chance with a TJ. I would imagine a good wind gust alone is enough to cause a total wipe out towing that.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:24 AM   #13
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The LJ being rated much higher even though it has the same motor is a great example of why not to do this. LJ is the long jeep. It's increased wheel base is the only reason it can tow so much more.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:33 AM   #14
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Just think of how big of a handful your jeep is with a good side wind.now add a much bigger sail for the wind to hit.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:50 AM   #15
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Just think of how big of a handful your jeep is with a good side wind.now add a much bigger sail for the wind to hit.
Exactly! I think if you were lucky, you might make it fine, but consider the alternative and the risk of harming others. Not worth it. Suck it up and find a safe alternative.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:58 AM   #16
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Lets look at some numbers: I suck at math so this might not be 100%.. but darn close..

Tow rating 2000lbs

85% of tow rating for safe towing: new max tow 1700lbs

Tongue weight of 10-15% of trailer... 250lbs
Driver weight: 150lbs(usually included in the tow rating so we will not add that in)
Other people in jeep, stuff in jeep and trailer: 200lbs.

end of day max tow: 1250 lbs is your max tow based on the above numbers... just not safe enough to do it.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:36 AM   #17
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Thank you to everyone for their input and feedback, very much appreciated. Honestly I was more concerned about the strain on the engine and overheating than I was the Jeep's short wheel base "tail wagging the dog". I've been researching this on the Jayco and RV forums and talking to dealerships as well -apparently small RAV4s, Escapes, and even older dodge minivans pull these things all over the country just fine....even without elec brakes. With a Reese weight distribution stabilizer kit, good brakes on the Jeep, and electric brakes on the camper I'll be ok as long as I stay under 60 and drive cautiously. I think TJ owners have a tendency to be more over cautious than the average retiree in a RAV4, and that's a good thing. Better safe than sorry! I'm going to take a few short trips around the state and test things out before making the long haul.

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Old 03-26-2014, 10:40 AM   #18
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While not a good idea to tow that. People in the jeep don't affect the 2000 pound 300 pound tongue weight trailer rating. They do affect the gross combined weight rating which on my 2000 4.0 5 speed is 5,945 lb. my jeep weighs 3,294 lb. curb weight plus all the stuff I put on it.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:43 AM   #19
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Thank you to everyone for their input and feedback, very much appreciated. Honestly I was more concerned about the strain on the engine and overheating than I was the Jeep's short wheel base "tail wagging the dog". I've been researching this on the Jayco and RV forums and talking to dealerships as well -apparently small RAV4s, Escapes, and even older dodge minivans pull these things all over the country just fine....even without elec brakes. With a Reese weight distribution stabilizer kit, good brakes on the Jeep, and electric brakes on the camper I'll be ok as long as I stay under 60 and drive cautiously. I think TJ owners have a tendency to be more over cautious than the average retiree in a RAV4, and that's a good thing. Better safe than sorry! I'm going to take a few short trips around the state and test things out before making the long haul.
A minivan is like 15 feet longer than your jeep wheelbase wise. Of course it can tow it. It has little to do with brakes, transmission or motor. It has tons to do with wheelbase. Which has been stated here many times and ignored I guess. Rent a minivan and tow it.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:45 AM   #20
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I pulled a 4 door Pontiac grand prix from Indianapolis ID to Nashville TN.. It pulled it fine.. But I was stock.. Honestly.. I will never do it again.. I didn't have 1 single problem.. But, my jeep is my baby.. But It will do it!! I've pulled almost 4000lbs of scrap steel on a 16' flatbed trailer 7-10 miles to the scrap yard a few times.. Again, My jeep had no issues.. But again, I will never do it again..

Just up to you..
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:51 AM   #21
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If it means anything, my old neighber used to pull the same type trailer with his 99 XJ. What happened was, keep in mind he drove it alot, he was driving down the highway about 60, and some other driver cut him off and suddenly slowed down. Thats the key that i think you are forgetting about OTHER DRIVERS. Well after his setup jackknifed and flipped over three times. His family was safe. He has since bought an actual small winnebago and tows the new jeep behind it. Just a suggestion. Be safe.
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:02 AM   #22
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Thats the key that i think you are forgetting about OTHER DRIVERS.
Yes, and their safety too! Please let me know exactly when you are planning on doing this so I can make sure me or my family is not on the roads on the East Coast during this timeframe.

Thanks!
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:11 AM   #23
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Yes, and their safety too! Please let me know exactly when you are planning on doing this so I can make sure me or my family is not on the roads on the East Coast during this timeframe.
Then you might want to stay off the roads now - there are quite a few small wheelbase compact SUVs pulling travel campers all over the place. Besides, someone that goes out of their way to do the research first, install all the applicable safety mods, and drive extra cautiously is not the one you should be worried about. It's the ahole that cuts others off and drives recklessly.
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:18 AM   #24
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It's the ahole that cuts others off and drives recklessly.
Maybe true, but attempting what you are potentially makes you just another one of those idiots if you ask me. Look at all of the feedback so far on your thread and check your brain from the outside.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:31 PM   #25
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Not telling you what to do, but keep in mind that RV sites are packed full of people that are pulling way too much with way too little. The manufacturer sites are the absolute worst since they want you to think that your Rav4 can pull a 40 foot trailer lol. These are the same folks that think a 1500 Chevrolet Pickup is ok pulling a 34 foot fifth wheel.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:34 PM   #26
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Something tells me that a lot of money has already been spent to do this and it is going to be what it is. Good luck.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:42 PM   #27
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Something tells me that a lot of money has already been spent to do this and it is going to be what it is. Good luck.
Nail, head, hit I think. And conscience/common sense is possibly what prompted the question/thread.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:25 PM   #28
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It's disappointing that the guy comes here to ask about the towing and then rejects the 14 or so posts that tell him it's a bad idea to tow that much with his short wheelbase.
It sounds to me like he wanted everybody to say, "Yeah dude, you'll be fine. Don't worry about it."

Sorry dude, that's not what happened.

Physics is in play weather you like it or not, and simple lever/fulcrum physics is what causes this setup to be questionable.
On one axis the setup blows due to the rear axle being the fulcrum and the Jeep is not long enough to guarantee a good contact patch on the front tires...
On the another axis the rear tires are the fulcrum and the Jeep is not long enough to apply sufficient force via the front tires to guarantee left/right stability.

Do whatever you want to do, but I'm surprised that you still want to do it after all of the cautions the guys gave you.
Good luck to you, and have a fun trip.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:06 PM   #29
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If this is something you must do then just go slow. dont go over 50MPH. The slower you go the more reaction time you will have. I would say go like 45-50 max.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:56 PM   #30
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You can do it!!!
No problem at all..
Just don't do it if ur traveling in colorado or any states that has steep pass..

You will be a run away jeep hahah

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