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AKJEEPID 02-25-2010 04:51 PM

Towing Capacity
Just threw a hitch on my TJ, planning on towing my four wheeler with a fairly light weight trailer. I got a 4inch RC lift on it however and not sure if that affects the towing capacity?

AKJEEPID 02-25-2010 05:09 PM

No love? Cmon!

Glenn54 02-25-2010 05:24 PM

I'm new to Jeeps but plan on adding a trailer hitch to my TJ too. I didn't think about the lift possibly changing the towing capacity. I will be towing about the same weight as you, motorcycle on a small trailer or small aluminum boat. I don't think there will be an issue but it will be interesting to see what feedback you get.

McRay 02-25-2010 05:59 PM

About 2,500 I haul heavy atv about 20 50# bags corn pulls fine, watch you stopping distance.

Jerry Bransford 02-25-2010 06:17 PM


Originally Posted by AKJEEPID (Post 555819)
Just threw a hitch on my TJ, planning on towing my four wheeler with a fairly light weight trailer. I got a 4inch RC lift on it however and not sure if that affects the towing capacity?

Your TJ's max safe towing limit is 2,000 lbs. Just make sure you have enough tongue weight on the hitch ball to prevent trailer sway. Move the four wheeler forward on the trailer until you have a minimum of 10% of the loaded trailer's total loaded weight sitting on the hitch ball, max of 15%. So if the trailer, four wheeler, & everything in it weighs 2,000 lbs. total, you need a minimum of 200 lbs. of tongue weight on the hitch ball. Any less than that and the trailer will start swaying once you get up to speed.

Insufficient trailer tongue weight has caused a lot of accidents on the highway. :eek:

wbrett1027 02-25-2010 06:43 PM

its not really how much it can pull, its about how fast it will stop.

Bobthegod 02-25-2010 07:10 PM

If this your first time towing practice first. No one can tell you how your vehicle will respond when backing up and backing up is trick. Remember your limit 2000 lbs. You'll most likely be under that, but don't guess, weight it. Get a hitch ball and mount that when hooked up keeps everything level. Then with the trailer only, go to an open empty parking lot and try to back it into a parking stall, then just back it up stright for 100 yards, they try left turn backing and right turn. Don't worry your not going to do real good, it'll take time and lots of backing. Next load it up with your toys and slowly drive around and see how it feels. STOP a lot and see how it stops, even some panic stops. don't think it'll never happen, it will. The part above about hitch weight is very improtant 10-15% on the hitch 2000 lbs = 200 lbs hitch weight. You don't get it right you'll be in for a wild squirrely ride, did I say fish tailing. So don't be afraid hook it up and try it out, you'll get better and better. Remember leave more following distance and SLOW DOWN.

AKJEEPID 03-14-2010 08:27 PM

Awesome, thanks for the responses, some good advice for sure.

Jerry Bransford 03-14-2010 08:38 PM

Bobthegood's advice on the minimum tongue weight requirement can't be emphasized enough. Without sufficient tongue weight, a trailer will sway once you get up to speed and that can be a dangerous, if not a deadly, thing.

I pulled into a parking lot one night & noticed a guy with a Grand Cherokee towing a trailer parked & looking like he was stressed out. I asked him if he needed any help & he said his trailer was swaying so badly he couldn't get to where he was going. It turned out he had all of his heavy gear positioned in the middle of the trailer so it would be balanced & he could easily pick up the tongue to mount it on the hitch ball. That gave him zero tongue weight and he incorrectly thought that was a good thing. Moving some of the heavy items closer to the front so he had enough tongue weight cured the trailer's sway problem. :)

alstjruby03 03-14-2010 09:11 PM

short wheel base and towing can get interesting.wag the dog effect.pulled a 30 ft. trailer with a blazer for a couple years.never again.

HyperBuzzin 03-15-2010 11:13 AM

X2 on a SWB being... umm... interesting.
Even with my LWB TJ Unlimited, backing up can be a workout! Especially with a smaller trailer.
Gotta take it slow and easy!! Back up jack knifing is all too easy towing with a Jeep!!

TheTJRod 03-15-2010 11:50 AM

No one's mentioned OD. I have been told it is bad for the transmission to be in overdrive while towing. I have 2.5" lift and 33's with 3.73 gears, I borrowed a 10ft trailer for moving my large furniture items as well as a washer and dryer. No where near 2000 pounds. Luckily I had changed the rear disc brakes the week prior. I only felt a small loss of power, never felt like I was being pushed by the load while turning. Only felt it takes a little more to stop. I followed the tongue weight rule and did just fine on the 15 mile one way trip. There is a big hill in the middle of the trip that takes 3 miles to go up and 1.5 to go down, I did notice that I roll downhill much better. Just keep your distance and brake early. Oh and people suck by not letting you get in their lane, just try to stay calm.

Edit: Oh I have the 5 speed manual, NV3550

cavediverjc 03-15-2010 12:10 PM

I pull a 5X8' motorcycle trailer all the time loaded with race bike, fuel, gear, and tires. Never any issues. It tows like a dream. Kinda hard to back into stalls as my Jeep sits high enough that it's almost impossible to see the corners of the trailer, but other than that it's fine.

530ktm 06-30-2010 09:56 PM

I pull a Kendon folding motorcycle trailer with 2 dirtbikes on it all the time. I can not even tell it is back there.

doclouie 06-30-2010 11:39 PM

Krislou80-Note that the hitch may be able to hold 3500 pounds, but the Jeep is not made to haul something that heavy safely. The Jeep is the limiting factor and not the hitch in your situation.

Vroooom 07-01-2010 07:18 PM

x2 on DocLouie. 3500 is the limit of the hitch.....2000 is the limit of the transmission (weakest link in the chain).

But Wrangler breaks (disc or drum) are notoriously TINY. They are barely adequate for stopping the Jeep, itself. Everybody put your flames away...I said Barely adequate...which means they DO their job in a reasonable distance.

However, when you nearly double the weight of the projectile (vehicle and trailer) it complicates those tiny breaks considerably.....plan for it CONSTANTLY.

More significant is that breaking is often not done on a streight-away. Curve, corner, hill...whatever... Now you've changed the geometry of the kenetic energy.

Remember, when you start slowing down, the trailer keeps pushing. If you are in a turn, curve, hill, etc, the trailer tongue is going to try to push the hitch in whatever direction it was headed...thus trying to push the rear of the jeep out of alignment...swapping ends or "jack knifing".

No, I'm not trying to play professor, but it is important to note that there is a lot more going on than merely hooking up and pressing harder on the accelerator.

Trailer design (location of the axle and length of the tongue will have tremendous effect on the highway and roadway characteristics, and backing difficulty.

Lastly, the hitch itself is an important factor. There is a reason they come in all shapes and sizes....its not just for looks. Reguardless of how high your receiver is or how low your tongue is...the hitch has to make the trailer LEVEL(ish)....get the right one.

Again, I aint trying to "school" anybody. I dont know what if any trailering experience you have, so I'm just covering all the basics.

Just take it easy....dont get in a hurry...and plan ahead.

Jerry Bransford 07-01-2010 07:24 PM

The transmission is not the reason for the TJ's 2K lb. tow limit, the actual reason is the TJ's extra short wheelbase. Like your '03 TJ-Newbie, which has the 42RLE transmission, its tow limit is 2,000 lbs. But for the longer wheelbase Wrangler Unlimited, which uses the exact same 42RLE transmission, its tow limit is 3500 lbs... 1500 lbs. more than the short wheelbase TJ that uses the exact same transmission. The only difference between those two vehicles is the wheelbase.

Vroooom 07-01-2010 07:49 PM

A 10" stretch gains you 1500# towing capacity !?!?!?!? Holy crap! I want one!

When I got my TJ (nearly a whole month ago...almost) I wondered to myself why one of the previoous owners would go to the trouble of mounting a class-3 hitch on the back....but not install the trailer wiring harness.

This thread explains it.... with a 2k# max towing capacity... that hitch was obviously only used for a cargo rack (think: Beer-chest)

I'd been thinking of strapping a receiver to the top of the factory front bumper to allow me to use it as a tug. done it a lot in other vehicles.....but the maneuverability of the Jeep is astonishing and I think it'll make an increadible tug.

Jerry Bransford 07-01-2010 07:54 PM


Originally Posted by TJ-Newbie (Post 674774)
This thread explains it.... with a 2k# max towing capacity... that hitch was obviously only used for a cargo rack (think: Beer-chest)

A 2K towing capacity does fine for my Fleetwood Taos pop-up tent trailer which comes in well under 2K lbs. fully loaded. Plus most trailers like that come with electric brakes, my tent trailer did. :)

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