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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, we're out in Colorado preparing to head home. :censored:

But before we depart this beautiful place, I wanted to perform a little towing test using my parents' pop-up camper since we used their home as our vacation base.

Tow vehicle: 2017 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (Recon). Stock, no mods to the engine or drivetrain. 3.73 rear differential and the stock 5-speed automatic transmission. Max tow package installed at the factory. 5.25 inch Class III drop hitch (2" bar). Half tank of fuel, two adult occupants in the front seats, and no gear in the back.

Trailer: 1978 Starcraft Starmaster 6 pop up camper - 1430 lbs empty (curb weight), 2090 lbs gross vehicle weight rating/gross axle weight rating. Hitch weight at curb weight - 180 lbs; maximum hitch weight of 300 lbs. Max cargo load of 660 lbs. Tires 5:30x12C inflated to 55 psi. This particular camper does have a functioning surge brake system.

The trailer was "loaded" with sleeping bags, cooking utensiles, camps stove, and other gear, but not 660 pounds worth. My dad estimated the total weight of the trailer and gear at 1930 lbs.

We took it from their house (5,525 feet elevation, 98 degrees air temp) up a 21 mile road to a national forest visitors center at 10,268 feet (67 degrees air temp), for a total elevation gain of 4,743 feet in a distance of 110,880 feet. The average grade of the road worked out to be 4.278% over that 21 miles.

But the first 9 miles are flatter, while the last 12 miles averaged out at a 5.05% grade, going from 7,069 feet up to the visitor's center. Some portions of the road (up to the top) approached 8%, but the distance wasn't long.

The vehicle behaved well towing the camper. Acceleration was not bad. Most of the pull was in 4th, but the steeper portions required second gear at 35 to 45 mph (speed limit in those sections). RPMs ran up to around 3,000 in second at those lower speeds, and the transmission temp ran between 163 and 168 degrees, even in the high heat). I didn't monitor engine temps. Visibility over the top of this particular trailer was excellent in the rear view mirror, but the side mirrors aren't great.

I experienced no - ZERO - issues of concern. The trailer behaved. The tow vehicle behaved. We even passed a large one-ton pickup truck pulling a very large RV doing about 20 mph. Saw him still coming up as we headed back down. I am confident our Jeep could pull this trailer up to Ouray, over Red Mountain Pass and down into Silverton without any concerns other than a mechanical breakdown or flat tire. Towing requires that you drive differently. Leave more distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, let the engine do the braking on extended descents by selecting the appropriate gear for the speed limit (light use of either brake or accelerator to maintain appropriate speed for the road and conditions), and pull over if some jackhole is on your tail wanting you to speed it up. The trailer has to fall within the specs of the Jeep for tongue weight and total vehicle gross weight to get good towing performance.

Feel free to ask questions or comment; however a response may be delayed by our three day drive home.

Here is the combined rig and the trailer data sticker:


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