Jack, can't give you too much advice as I have never towed with the Jeep, but I do tow TJ with a truck.. thus the basic info. Certainly stay with in the tow rating of the TJ. Get a good brake controler. Before you tow a long distance do a test run to make sure you understand how the Jeep will handle. i would think the TJ should be able to handle a small boat or camper okay. You many want and see if there was a factory tow package, if you don't have it, and see what you might need to add.
With the TJ being such short wheel base towing more than the capacity rating is very dangerous to your health. If you are going short distances or not going in traffic then you should be okay. But there is a reason that the new LJ (Unlimited) has the same drivetrain, but a 1500 lb. greater tow rating.
ok, from personal experience the tj is a decent vechical to tow with. as long as you obey the towing limits. i towed a 15ft x 8ft trailer, open, used for dirtbikes/4wheelers/....anotherjeep lol, from NC to NY and it towed fine, then again it was empty and only weighing around 800lbs. the toughest thing for me was actually remembering that i was towing, damn road cones didn't let me forget too long............ but as long as you are smart and safe about towing you will be fine.
We had an 01 Wrangler SE (2.5L) with a 5 speed stick (1,000# tow capacity) and pulled a 1,000# pop-up tent camper without any difficulty. We had a class II hitch and were not required to have electric brakes. The Wrangler pulled the load well with the exception of mountains and steep hills where 3rd gear became a temporary necessity. Still got about 18 mpg. The short wheelbase was never a problem.
We now have an 04 Wrangler Unlimitedwith a 4.0L automatic (3,500# tow capacity) and it pulls our 2,000# trailer very well. This does require electric brakes. Still use a class II hitch. The manual mentions about not pulling anything with a face front of more than 25 square feet. Most pop-up campers, boat trailers, etc. fit that category without a problem.
This past summer in Canada we saw a Jeep Wrangler pulling a hard-side hybrid travel trailer that must have had a face front of 60+ square feet with a weight of about 3,500-4,000#. The owner seemed to not have any problem with it which makes me wonder about the Jeep limitations they post in the manuals. If anyone knows the Jeep "line" on Wrangler towing capacity and why we can't pull more than the limit and/or the face front limitation, pleasend along some information. Thanks!
The shorter the wheelbase, the more prone to jackknife. Add a slippery surface, a curve in the road, or a hard braking situation it can get worse. I'm betting that's why the unlimited is rated for more. The frontal face limitation directly affects the pull at speed against the wind, this can quickly wear the clutch or torque converter on a long pull even on flat terain.
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