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Greetings! First post to the forum ... I know this topic has been written about and discussed ad nauseam, but I'm getting so much conflicting info ...

I have a 2017 Jeep Wrangler 4D Sahara, and the gear ratio is 3.2. The towing capacity is 2,000 pounds. I'm considering buying an Aliner camper, and the dry weight is 1,600 pounds. If I traveled with a full water tank, that adds 150 pounds ... Then there's the propane tank(s), battery, camping equipment, portable toilet, etc. I imagine I'll get close to 1,800-1,850 pounds.

Some folks say I should change my gear ratio to 3.7 or higher, just to be on the safe side. Apparently this will increase my towing capacity to 3,500 pounds. Of course, this has a negative effect on the gas mileage. Others say my Jeep is fine the way it is. Ugh. Help!!!

If I can avoid it, I'd prefer to NOT upgrade my gear ratio.

I welcome any and all advice!

Cheers,
Scott
 

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Grumpy Old Guy
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You don't "need" to upgrade, it will just make towing on anything faster than 30mph and anything that isn't flat, a whole lot easier. You won't be able to go faster than 65-70mph on flat road without the transmission dropping several gears. Add wind, hills, curves, and it will hate it, quickly. The towing capacity isn't the problem, its the gearing. Changing gearing will not increase towing capacity, its the wheelbase of your JKU (JK is a 2 door, JKU is a 4 door) that limits how much you can tow, technically.

My advice is never fill up water before you leave, do it as close to your destination as possible. Eliminates some weight.

Here is a video showing what speed combined with too much weight and a short wheelbase can do.

 

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Scott I think you will be fine towing that Aliner with your Sahara. I would not expect to be using overdrive though. The Aliner is low profile folded just like a popup and does not add a lot of wind drag. Just to put things in perspective a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the same engine and auto trans (I am assuming you have an auto) is rated for 5000 lbs. That rating is with a 3.07 axle ratio and 245/70R17 tire. The curb weight of the GC is similar to your Sahara. If you have stock size tires on your Sahara the overall gearing factoring in the gear ratios and tire size your Sahara is virtually identical to the 2011 GC described. I am not sure how Jeep calculates the tow ratings for the Wrangler but it is obviously not the same standard used on other vehicles. Back in the late 70's we towed a 25' Avion with a 1976 GMC P/U with a 350 engine. That engine was rated at 170hp and 255ft lbs torque. If I remember correctly the Avion weighed about 5000lbs empty. Given what seems to be expected modern day it is a wonder we could even pull that Avion out of the driveway but went everywhere.
 

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Scott I think you will be fine towing that Aliner with your Sahara. I would not expect to be using overdrive though. The Aliner is low profile folded just like a popup and does not add a lot of wind drag. Just to put things in perspective a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the same engine and auto trans (I am assuming you have an auto) is rated for 5000 lbs. That rating is with a 3.07 axle ratio and 245/70R17 tire. The curb weight of the GC is similar to your Sahara. If you have stock size tires on your Sahara the overall gearing factoring in the gear ratios and tire size your Sahara is virtually identical to the 2011 GC described. I am not sure how Jeep calculates the tow ratings for the Wrangler but it is obviously not the same standard used on other vehicles.
The Grand Cherokee comes with bigger brakes and requires the tow package ( rear load-leveling suspension, HD cooling, etc.) to get the 5,000 lbs rating.

Without the factory tow package’s extra items, the Grand Cherokee w/ 3.6 V6 is also limited to 3,500 lbs towing capacity.
 

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@scothendrix - welcome to WF
I used to tow a pair of jetskis with my ‘14 JKU automatic with 3:21 gears.
You will be OK, but I would recommend trailer brakes and maybe a big brake kit for your Jeep.
If keeping stock tires, you may want to consider 4:10 gears. Don’t waste your money going with 3:73.
 

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You don't "need" to upgrade, it will just make towing on anything faster than 30mph and anything that isn't flat, a whole lot easier. You won't be able to go faster than 65-70mph on flat road without the transmission dropping several gears. Add wind, hills, curves, and it will hate it, quickly. The towing capacity isn't the problem, its the gearing. Changing gearing will not increase towing capacity, its the wheelbase of your JKU (JK is a 2 door, JKU is a 4 door) that limits how much you can tow, technically.

My advice is never fill up water before you leave, do it as close to your destination as possible. Eliminates some weight.

Here is a video showing what speed combined with too much weight and a short wheelbase can do.

In 2017 it is all about gearing, wheel base has nothing to do with it.

@scothendrix Technically you can't change the tow rating that was assigned by the factory. But this is a gray area, we have been modifying vehicles to tow more than they were rated for sense the automobile was invented.

The weak area for your rig is gearing, you are aware of that. If you are traveling to the mountains and I am talking big mountains you are really going to hate it. Even 4.10's are anemic when it comes to towing at 2000 lbs or more. With 3.21's be prepaid to climb those hills with the semi's.

The other issue is the brakes making a trailer brakes and a good controller a must. I don't know how FCA thought the brakes in a Jeep are anywhere close to sufficient. For a brake controller I would get the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite. It's small size is the selling feature for a Jeep IMO.
 

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Grumpy Old Guy
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We can disagree about the wheelbase issue. Agreed gearing and braking are the biggest factors.
 

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It’s physics. It’s a matter of gearing, brakes, tow vehicle mass and wheelbase will affect towing dynamics also. I don’t really care what the mfg specs say, I care about what happens in the real world when you get that mass in motion or try to stop it.
If you want a miserable towing experience, hook up at the upper limits of the vehicle rating and head out where the land is not flat.
I’ve done it. I got over it pretty quick when I pulled an 18’ camper with a 1/2 ton truck through the bighorn mountains. I was within the tow vehicle ratings but I had a 3/4 ton super duty the next time I went on a camper trip.
 
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