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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question for you folks with far more towing experience than me. My wife and I are looking to buy a 16-18ft bay or flats boat in the not too distant future and I have some questions. I've already searched the forums here and read lots of other threads about towing, but there wasn't one that really fit my exact scenario, so I felt the need to post my own.

Here's what I'm towing with:

  • 2017 Willys Wheeler 4-door with the 5-speed auto transmission and Max Tow Package
  • Standard BFGoodrich Mud Terrain Tires
  • No suspension or lift mods
  • Towing distance from here to the NC coast of about 120 miles on flat, paved, roads with most of that being a straight 2-lane highway (I-40) with 70mph speed limit
Here's what I'm towing (estimated):

  • Boat weight of 1,000-2,000lbs, depending on length/type
  • Outboard motor weight of 300-400lbs
  • Single-axle aluminum trailer weight of 350-450lbs
  • 30-50 gallons of fuel at 6.2lbs/gallon (87 octane) for 185-310lbs
  • Miscellaneous gear (anchor, life jackets, fishing tackle, cooler etc.) of up to 400lbs
  • Total towing weight: 2,235-3,560lbs
Before attempting to tow a boat, I'm strongly considering a brake upgrade on the Jeep just to make things easier and increase safety. I'll also try to get a trailer that has brakes on it as well since that will help too. I know my weight estimate above reaches the Jeep's recommended max of 3,500lbs, but I'm usually a very cautious person when it comes to stuff like this, so I'll probably keep the total under 3,000lbs just to be safe. Plus, I know boat manufacturers aren't always accurate in their weight estimates. Obviously, the less weight I tow, the easier it will be, but do you all see any issues that I should worry about or have any additional hints that would help me? I'm open to all suggestions. Thanks in advance!
 

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I have a question for you folks with far more towing experience than me. My wife and I are looking to buy a 16-18ft bay or flats boat in the not too distant future and I have some questions. I've already searched the forums here and read lots of other threads about towing, but there wasn't one that really fit my exact scenario, so I felt the need to post my own.

Here's what I'm towing with:

  • 2017 Willys Wheeler 4-door with the 5-speed auto transmission and Max Tow Package
  • Standard BFGoodrich Mud Terrain Tires
  • No suspension or lift mods
  • Towing distance from here to the NC coast of about 120 miles on flat, paved, roads with most of that being a straight 2-lane highway (I-40) with 70mph speed limit
Here's what I'm towing (estimated):

  • Boat weight of 1,000-2,000lbs, depending on length/type
  • Outboard motor weight of 300-400lbs
  • Single-axle aluminum trailer weight of 350-450lbs
  • 30-50 gallons of fuel at 6.2lbs/gallon (87 octane) for 185-310lbs
  • Miscellaneous gear (anchor, life jackets, fishing tackle, cooler etc.) of up to 400lbs
  • Total towing weight: 2,235-3,560lbs
Before attempting to tow a boat, I'm strongly considering a brake upgrade on the Jeep just to make things easier and increase safety. I'll also try to get a trailer that has brakes on it as well since that will help too. I know my weight estimate above reaches the Jeep's recommended max of 3,500lbs, but I'm usually a very cautious person when it comes to stuff like this, so I'll probably keep the total under 3,000lbs just to be safe. Plus, I know boat manufacturers aren't always accurate in their weight estimates. Obviously, the less weight I tow, the easier it will be, but do you all see any issues that I should worry about or have any additional hints that would help me? I'm open to all suggestions. Thanks in advance!
I think upgrading the brakes is a great idea, and it's on my to do list. Your gonna be lost without trailer brakes. You won't be able to maintain speed if you are taking any significant inclines. I have the max tow and added the 7pin and brake controller to tow upwards of the jku limit. I do get some inconsistent minor sway above 65. I usually don't drive that fast to avoid any issues. My trailer also has a friction anti-sway, which I was hesitant to use, but may still hook up.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

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I just purchased an 18 foot sea ray IO that weights around 2200 lbs plus the trailer. The trailer does have surge brakes which were great. I pulled it with my 2013 unlimited Rubicon with a 2" Mopar lift and 35's. It pulled great at a steady 55-60 mph. I did not care to do any faster since I have not pulled a lot of stuff with my Wrangler. If you take care of the brake issue you should be good to go.

Hank
 

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I have a question for you folks with far more towing experience than me. My wife and I are looking to buy a 16-18ft bay or flats boat in the not too distant future and I have some questions. I've already searched the forums here and read lots of other threads about towing, but there wasn't one that really fit my exact scenario, so I felt the need to post my own.

Here's what I'm towing with:

  • 2017 Willys Wheeler 4-door with the 5-speed auto transmission and Max Tow Package
  • Standard BFGoodrich Mud Terrain Tires
  • No suspension or lift mods
  • Towing distance from here to the NC coast of about 120 miles on flat, paved, roads with most of that being a straight 2-lane highway (I-40) with 70mph speed limit
Here's what I'm towing (estimated):

  • Boat weight of 1,000-2,000lbs, depending on length/type
  • Outboard motor weight of 300-400lbs
  • Single-axle aluminum trailer weight of 350-450lbs
  • 30-50 gallons of fuel at 6.2lbs/gallon (87 octane) for 185-310lbs
  • Miscellaneous gear (anchor, life jackets, fishing tackle, cooler etc.) of up to 400lbs
  • Total towing weight: 2,235-3,560lbs
Before attempting to tow a boat, I'm strongly considering a brake upgrade on the Jeep just to make things easier and increase safety. I'll also try to get a trailer that has brakes on it as well since that will help too. I know my weight estimate above reaches the Jeep's recommended max of 3,500lbs, but I'm usually a very cautious person when it comes to stuff like this, so I'll probably keep the total under 3,000lbs just to be safe. Plus, I know boat manufacturers aren't always accurate in their weight estimates. Obviously, the less weight I tow, the easier it will be, but do you all see any issues that I should worry about or have any additional hints that would help me? I'm open to all suggestions. Thanks in advance!
You can actually get trailer brakes as an option, even on a single axle. You can get either electric and install a controller or surge brakes that work off the tongue of the trailer. That is better than upgrading the brakes on the JK as far as towing is concerned. Just make sure than when the boat is loaded up with gear and you are heading out, the tongue don't "float", you want it to still be equal in weight distribution, JK's are fairly light.

Out here in the country, it's not unusual to see 2 door JK's pulling 16' utility trailers. I see a lot of people with 20-24' pleasure boats too.. personally I would not pull something that size with a JK/JKU, but what you are talking about shouldn't be an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the helpful advice so far. There won't be any major inclines or declines during the trip from here to the coast other than a bridge over the intracoastal, so I'm not too concerned about that aspect. I'll definitely make sure to get a trailer that has either surge brakes or an electronic option. In fact, I think I'll try those out first before investing the time and money in a big brake kit for the Jeep.

Weight distribution in the boat while towing won't be a problem. I really don't see us putting anything in there for the drive other than the anchor, safety equipment, fishing tackle and a cooler. Any other cargo will go in the back of the Jeep with our luggage.
 

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You will not find electric brakes on a boat trailer.
Since you will be using it in salt water, go with hydraulic surge with discs. The old standard drum brakes hold a lot of water in them when you come up a ramp out of the water. Think corroded hardware.
Other than that, keep your speed reasonable(60-65), increase your following distance and enjoy the new boat.
This is from a guy who's been in the boat business 40+ yrs.
 

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I pull my 17' Explorer tunnel vee with my 2016 JKU Sport. Since the picture I've added 285/70/17 tires and 17x9 wheels. It pulls and stops just fine. I wouldn't want to pull it a great distance but here in SE Texas with no inclines it works. I would guess total weight to be around 2,000lbs.
 

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I tow a Pioneer Islander 180 without brakes, no upgrades to the JKU other than having 3.73 gears. It tows perfectly fine. Would a brake up on your JKU be helpful, yes. Would brakes on the trailer be helpful, yes. But as long as you dont go too heavy on the boat, just due to the fact that once you add your equipment, people etc etc you will exceed your total capacity.
 

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Put some surge disc brakes on the boat trailer and you'll be fine. I regularly pull a 3K pound travel trailer several hundred miles at a time and it does fine at 60-65mph.

Up to the tow weight limits of the JKU, wind against the frontal area of what you are towing as your speed increases has more of a detrimental effect than the weight does. You'll do fine because you won't be pulling a parachute like a travel trailer.
 

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Hopefully you guys don't mind, but I have a question to tack on to this discussion. Do you guys ever have an issue with having to back your Jeep WAY down the boat ramp to get it far enough down to float your boat? I have a 3 person jet ski that up to now I've always pulled south my 2004 Dodge Ram quad cab. Depending on the ramp, I've had to back the truck up pretty far to get the ski in the water. I kind of worry that if have to get the Jeep into the water up to the doors in order to get the ski off.
 
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