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Caine 07-04-2010 09:06 PM

How much does electronic trailer brakes effect towing capacity?
I have a 2003 Wrangler and have a trailer I am going to be towing with it that weighs around 1000lbs. I have a bit more than 1000lbs of gear to haul (I'm guessing around 2500lbs total). I know that the Wrangler is rated to only tow 2000lbs, so I'm wondering if adding electronic brakes to the trailer will effect my towing capacity (i.e. would let me carry up to 2500lbs safely with the Wrangler?)

The trailer in question is an Echo ESS-9-13, as seen here:

Echo sells brakes for this trailer that are rated up to 3500lbs, here:
Trailer Electric Brakes

So what do you guys think?

Jerry Bransford 07-04-2010 09:19 PM

Properly set up with the right tongue weight of 250 lbs. and with everything working properly, it'd be fine but that's a lot of tongue weight which will shoot your headlights up into the sky if you tow at night. Plus if you had a trailer brake problem, it'd be over the limit where it could get pretty dicey. It's doable but you don't have any safety margin in case something goes wrong with the trailer brakes.

I'm "mr. safety" where towing trailers with the TJ goes but with properly functioning electric brakes, you'd probably be ok with that little extra over it's official tow limit.

And a big welcome to WF. :)

darin.1701 07-04-2010 11:13 PM

i tow a 4x6 enclosed trailer with my 2004 wrangler X, and have about 1,200 lbs of gear and my trailer weighs 800 pounds empty and has no brakes. I dont have any problems, but when i tow, i only tow during the day, and Always take it nice and slow.

The Wrangler is Not good for towing in general due to its short wheel base and it being fairly light compared to the bigger and longer vehicles that tow. So the important thing is with or with out brakes, you need to put safety first and go nice and slow, and if possibly only during the day.

tlrrob1000 07-05-2010 10:13 AM

Like Jerry said should not be a problem as long as your brakes are set up and adjusted properly. Remember the trailer should start slowing you down when you apply the brakes but not lock up. You will have to play with the adjustments.

lancetkenyon 07-06-2010 09:55 AM

Get trailer brakes. Period. The added 2500 lbs (well over half your Jeeps weight) will wreak havoc in an emergency situation. I have a friend who thought with his full sized tow rig, he would not need trailer brakes with his buggy on a flat bed trailer. Towing about 5K with a big truck led to an accident during an emergency stop. Sure, it is twice what you will be towing, but his truck weighs twice what your Jeep does too. No need to tempt fate. 5 other trucks with trailers and trailer brakes stopped just fine, but the one without brakes rear-ended another truck on the highway. Not worth the risks in my opinion.

Ted_D 07-06-2010 10:43 AM

Mine states a 3500 towing capacity. What is safe?

Jerry Bransford 07-06-2010 10:47 AM


Originally Posted by Ted_D (Post 678516)
Mine states a 3500 towing capacity. What is safe?

If you mean you have an Unlimited, 3500 lbs. is safe. The Unlimited has a longer wheelbase than the standard TJ does which is why it has the higher safe tow limit. If you have a standard short wheelbase TJ but your tow hitch says 3500 lbs, you still have the 2,000 safe towing limit.

And to the OP in post #1 above, I neglected to include in my response to not even consider towing that much weight without electric trailer brakes.

Bobthegod 07-06-2010 05:26 PM

You should also go to a public scale and weight your trailer. Don't guess, weigh it and KNOW what you got, you may be under.....unlikely as many underestimate. Most everybody is overloaded when guessing what their towing. If you do get electric brakes make sure you get a good brake controller for the Jeep. Prodigy is a good model and there are others. Go to for their towing guide it's very useful. Don't forget you'll have other people riding in your jeep possibly adding more weight and stopping distance. Just more for you to think about.

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