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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought it would be better to open an appropriate thread than highjack the other.

One issue would be just why the manufacturer's put the limts on and what they specify. I would question that the addition of a weight distribution hitch actually impacts the safety issue of the towing of a vehicle. Also, adding power would not significantly impact the weight limits regarding safety.

So, the fact that the manufacturer has significantly different limits for two different types of hitches would signify that they are related to the warranty issue of the capability of the products to reach their warranty period life if the limits are exceeded.

If the issues were really safety, then it would make more sense that the llimits would be related to wheel base, vehicle weight (for braking), hitch type (as in the dual cam) and that those would be independent of engine power capacity.

Using the Wrangler for example. IF the manufacturer issues a different tow rating for one engine and a higher one for a more powerful engine, then the implication is that it is a warranty/life issue and not one of the safe towing capacity.

Is there anyplace in the manufacturer's statements that relate to the "safety" of the towing. In other words, that state that the "safe towing" capacities are. Or are they just that the manufacturer shows those as the GCWR and maximum recommended towing but not specifically addressing their relationship to safety.

The first question I would ask is if the manufacturer states those as a "SAFE TOWING" limit? In other words, does the manufacturer state in any way that it would consider it unsafe to tow above those limits with that vehicle?

I guess the only real assurance would be to research legal cases that have been settled and find out what the courts upheld.

However, I think that the same safety issues would apply to whether towing, or modifying any other aspect, especially the power to weight ratio. Exceed the manufacturers limits and you are automatically on your on and at fault?

Open for discussion and input. All serious and responsible inputs more than welcome.
 

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The TJ is limited in towing due to the shorter wheel base plus other factors. Larger loads will just toss it around in the wind.

The LJ has the same wheel base and width of a Cherokee, but it has a tow rating of 3,500 pounds instead of the XJ's 5,000 pounds. Why? Cooling. The XJ radiator holds significantly more coolant and has an additional fan for cooling purposes. As well, the built in transmission cooler on the TJ/LJ radiator is inadequate for towing larger loads.

Another factor is that the XJ weighs less than both a TJ and LJ allowing it a higher tow rating. However, both tow ratings combined with the weight each vehicle come under what the 4.0 engine is capable of handling.

The LJ can be made to handle 5,000 pounds of towing capacity with cooling upgrades and a proper towing setup.
 

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alot of the mfg's numbers are a combination of safety and mechinical limits and you can bet there is a safety margin built into those numbers(they have to cover their butts too)
they take a certain model and give it limits by what it comes with in the way of suspension, drive train, brakes, tires and the list goes on. but given 2 vehicles the numbers can be different just by the optional 'tow pkgt' which will beef up several of these varitables. in addition the owner can make additions/changes that will enhanse towing ability though not necessarly extend them above the mfg's limits.
my rig for exampleis a 35'6" TT and my tow vehicle is a hd2500, CC, long bed w/8.1L engine and allison tranny. it has a 12000# limit on the hitch and 15300# on a 5th wheel. i upgraded my hitch(15000# and 1500# tongue wt using wt dist.) i did this because i have a heavy tongue wt due to being a front kitchen trailer(applinances) i could tow as is but w/o the wt dist hitch it will sag a little in the back, rasing the front and it affects the steering and brakeing. another thing that most don't pay attention to are tires-my truck tires are load range "E" but the stock tires on most TT are different and most are rated at 55 mph(why 75-80 mph is nuts)
unfortunatly alot of owners and dealers will not take the time to research these facts. one of the biggest problems is they will look at the tow vehicles limits and then get a trailer close to that number-unfortunatly they don't take into account the cargo, water, propane, added gear and ppl in the vehicle and by the time they are packed and ready to go, they are several thousand lbs over wt.
personally being at over 56' long with 10k of trailer behind me, i want to be as safe as possible. i'm going to or comming from having fun and don't want any surprizes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
what make the limits?

None of the tow limits ever have any restrictions or limitations based on length. I have never seen any manufacturer's testing of their rigs actually towing to determine tow limits.

The only things I have ever seen is limits based on drive train.

A quick check of Fords F250/350 goes from 9,200 lbs to 12,500 just based on engine/drive train. The SRW F-250/F-350 goes from 8,500 to 12,500 based solely on drive train. The super cab (longer wheelbase) is actually less than the shorter wheelbase. The crew cab is less again.

I have difficulty accepting that there is 4,300 lbs stopping difference between the different drive trains on the same vehicle. And I have found that most trailers are capable of stopping themselves if the brakes are set up and powered properly (heavy enough wiring to the brakes).

So, it appears that the manufacturers' ratings are based almost solely on the power and ruggedness of the drive train.

I have found a significant difference in capability of the tow rig to handle the trailer with the dual cam sway control compared to a "standard" weight distributing hitch. However, I see absolutely nothing in the ratings based on the type of hitch, other than weight distribution. The indication there is that the manufacturers' are adjusting their ratings based on the impact on their suspension for warranty related items, not towing safety.

All-in-all I see no direct relationship between the manufacturers' tow ratings and what is actually safe to tow. I am in no way implying that there is no limit or that towing anything with any rig is "safe". All I am saying is that the numbers quoted by the manufacturers' are related to capacity of their parts, not safety of handling the rig.

As an example, according to Jeep, it is OK to tow my 18' car hauler behind my Wrangler with it just hooked onto the bumper, as long as it doesn't exceed 2,000 lbs. SORRY. I feel safe hualing the 29' self contained trailer with the dual cam sway setup. I would not consider towing that 18' car hauler empty with just a ball hitch on the Wrangler.

It is also OK to haul my car hauler with a 500 lb sign (still less than 2,000 lb) that is 18' long and 9' high standing upright on the trailer and with just a bumper hitch. SORRY, not going to happen.

So, people will say, "Well you have to use common sense!". And I fully agree. But I do not find the manufacturers' tow limits as any real source of valid information for determining what is a "safe" tow setup.
 

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I had a YJ for 14 years, I towed all kinds of stuff behind it. All I will say is if it wheighs over 1000lbs it's too much for a Wrangler. It is not what they were made to do. I did a panic stop from going too fast towing a 2500lb load that I will never forget. It took every bit of my 40 years experience behind the wheel (and a lot of luck) to keep everything upright and not hit anything. When you have a trailer pushing you without brakes (and they never have them on trailers small enough for a Wrangler) it can get real hairy, real fast.
 

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None of the tow limits ever have any restrictions or limitations based on length. I have never seen any manufacturer's testing of their rigs actually towing to determine tow limits.

it's a given that the longer the wheel base the more stable the setup.
some will point to semi's but that's a different animal. it's a 5th wheel with the wt above or slightly forward of the rear axels and the twin duallys help alot


The only things I have ever seen is limits based on drive train.

A quick check of Fords F250/350 goes from 9,200 lbs to 12,500 just based on engine/drive train. The SRW F-250/F-350 goes from 8,500 to 12,500 based solely on drive train. The super cab (longer wheelbase) is actually less than the shorter wheelbase. The crew cab is less again.

very true, engine/gearing make all the difference-my b-i-l had a f350, 5.4L and don't rem the gearing but too high-had a 9200# limit on a 1 ton(my 3/4 had 12000) he swapped out the gears and went up to 11200# but because of the 5.4, all he could do. also true on the longer trucks-but it's a wt game. you have a set GCWR(gross combined wt rateing) and any wt added to the vehicle comes off the towing wt. you'll loose some with duallys due to the added wt. my 3/4 will out tow(granted only a few hundred lbs) a 1 ton on a 5er-hitch --will also do the same with a 3/4 with duallys. 1T has little beefer suspension/brakes and the added wt of 2 tires/rims

I have difficulty accepting that there is 4,300 lbs stopping difference between the different drive trains on the same vehicle. And I have found that most trailers are capable of stopping themselves if the brakes are set up and powered properly (heavy enough wiring to the brakes).

there is-they may look the same but there are differences-tranny(shift points), gearing and in some cases-brakes. wireing has nothing to do with it-most of the time it's already there on the truck and is there on the TT unless you wired it your self and used 22 ga. the decideing factor is the controller and they run from crap(free one from TT dealer) to gold+++. there are also 3 types of mech(that i know of-pendulum, inerita, and tied into trucks brakeing sys--going from worst to best) and in most catorgys there are base to preminum models. biggest problem here is user setup and adjustment.


So, it appears that the manufacturers' ratings are based almost solely on the power and ruggedness of the drive train.

I have found a significant difference in capability of the tow rig to handle the trailer with the dual cam sway control compared to a "standard" weight distributing hitch. However, I see absolutely nothing in the ratings based on the type of hitch, other than weight distribution. The indication there is that the manufacturers' are adjusting their ratings based on the impact on their suspension for warranty related items, not towing safety.

there there are all types of wt dist, sway controll and inetrgrated(both) and the dual cam is both. wt dist allows added tongue wt above the straight wt rateing as it shifts some of the tongue wt to the front axel and this very much affects safety. any time you see a rig that's saggng at the hitch(TV/TT should both be level and/or TT slighly nose dn) you are looking at an accident looking for a place to happen. with the front of the TV up, you lose full controll of steering and front brakeing. in a panic stop and/or get out of the way, i want full use of both. the biggest problem is proper hitch/rig setup due to owner/opperator ignoance/stupidity and both are dangerious. alot of ppl think you just drop a TT on the hitch ball and away you go and unfortunatly these a the ones you see broke dn or in an accident that could have avided.

All-in-all I see no direct relationship between the manufacturers' tow ratings and what is actually safe to tow. I am in no way implying that there is no limit or that towing anything with any rig is "safe". All I am saying is that the numbers quoted by the manufacturers' are related to capacity of their parts, not safety of handling the rig.

true again-the capacity of the parts working together-the TV/TT should be an intergrated system all working with each other. are the numbers the limit-no, the safe limit-yes. in the RV community they go 1 better and recommend shooting for 80% of tow capacity(chk out RV.NET sometime) don't kw about anyone else but i don't want to be doing 55 and find out have limited steering/brakeing due to impropper hitch setup, or blow a tire, break spring or some suspension part or blow an engine, tranny or rear end because i put more stress on it than it was designed for.


according to Jeep, it is OK to tow my 18' car hauler behind my Wrangler with it just hooked onto the bumper, as long as it doesn't exceed 2,000 lbs. SORRY. I feel safe hualing the 29' self contained trailer with the dual cam sway setup. I would not consider towing that 18' car hauler empty with just a ball hitch on the Wrangler.

It is also OK to haul my car hauler with a 500 lb sign (still less than 2,000 lb) that is 18' long and 9' high standing upright on the trailer and with just a bumper hitch. SORRY, not going to happen.

So, people will say, "Well you have to use common sense!". And I fully agree. But I do not find the manufacturers' tow limits as any real source of valid information for determining what is a "safe" tow setup.

true, but that's what we have to work with and they came up with them some how and don't get in an accident and let the legal profession find you above them.
(steppig off of soapbox)
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As someone who has "overtowed" a few times, I can tell you why the Wrangler is limited for towing. Short wheel base + tall tires + limited braking potential + brick like mass is already difficult enough to control and stop and speed. If you put a heavy load on it, you're asking for trouble in the form of failed brakes, inability to steer and, in a real world nightmare scenario, not able to react to other people's mistakes on the road.

A few years ago, I pulled my pull-behind BBQ with my Miata. It outweighed the rated tow capacity by more than twice. On two different occasions, I almost lost the trailer having to either stop short or make corrective maneuvers because of traffic. I used to tow my boat with my last wrangler and had something similar happen. It had no problem pulling it, just plenty of problem stopping and correcting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What I understand

So, what I understand so far is that the manufacturers' rate their vehicles maximum tow capacity based primrily (if not solely) on the functional capacity rating of their parts and the tow community rates the maximum "safe" towing capacity based solely on that manufacturers' rating.

Is that about correct?
 

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So, what I understand so far is that the manufacturers' rate their vehicles maximum tow capacity based primrily (if not solely) on the functional capacity rating of their parts

pretty much-they don't want to be replaceing parts for free or getting their butts sued(rem pinto gas tanks?) you saw what the differences can be just with drive trains.

and the tow community rates the maximum "safe" towing capacity based solely on that manufacturers' rating.

since that's the only numbers the rv'ers and TT mfg'ers have to go by, not much of a choice. actually the rv community for the most part is more conseritive and will try to be under those numbers(shooting for 80% or so is the norm) due to the cost involved(TV and TT) not many want to run maxed out all the time. kinda like running your engine red lined all the time-it'll do it-for a while and then it's replacement time.

Is that about correct?
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Wheelbase definitely affects how much it can safely tow... which is why the Unlimited has a 75% greater tow limit (3500 lbs) than the shorter wheelbased TJ does which is limited to 2000 lbs. The only difference between the two vehicles is wheelbase.

And a Cherokee has the same brakes as a TJ so the TJ's brakes have nothing to do with its lower 2,000 lb. tow capacity.

So I dunno what the purpose of this thread is but I will just say that wheelbase of the tow vehicle has a huge effect on how much a vehicle can tow safely. The shorter the wheelbase, the more negative effect the trailer can have on the tow vehicle. Think tail wagging the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
object of post

The object of the post is to bring forth and discuss the aspects of determining the actual responsibly safe towing limits. There are no "SAFE" towing limits.

I checked the 2012 Unlimited towing capacity and the difference from the trailer towing package and the "max" towing package is solely the 3.73/4.10 ratio (which is already included on the Rubicon). That axle ratio alone raises the "safe" towing limit by 75% from 2,000 lb to 3,500 lb with no consideration for brakes, wheelbase, etc.

So, if the factory offered a 5.86 axle ratio would that raise the "safe" limit to 5,000 lbs behind a Jeep Unlimited? Of course, I doubt it, but the question is there. Which begs the question, what is the actual "safe" limit for the Jeep Unlimited? Considering that for the individual states, there is a requirement of trailer brakes over 2000, 3000 lbs.

Certainly wheelbase affects handling and is compensated for to some degree by the use of a sway control (especially the dual cam sway control). I would like to see some kind of limitation on length verses having sway control. Without aggressive sway control (The kind that FORCES realignment) a short wheelbase is a disaster with any length of trailer that is longer than the wheelbase of the TV. The slightest misalignment when hard braking, without trailer brakes, is going t push the TV sideways. And typically, when you are in a panic stop there is SOME kind of avoidance involved.

To further address the reason for this post, the information and attention has led me to investigate being able to install my equalizer/sway on my 18' car hauler. I now see how I can relieve the frame about 3/8" to allow the lift bracket to mount, install a block underneath to flush the angle to a C form and install both the lift and the cam bracket. I anticipate making some hauling trips using the Buick Rainier or Avalanche as a TV and would feel a LOT more comfortable with the hitch set up properly.

For all that, I thank those with their viewpoints and information. It is that sharing of information and exploring that allows us to learn from someone else's experience for a change.
 

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How bout this, call your insurance company and ask them if they will cover you if you tow more than your vehicles recommended towing capacity and you get into an accident... When they say no, then you know what the safe towing limit is. ( I'm saying tht because I didn't do that when I over towed and could of gotten myself into a lot of trouble) I never even questioned a difference between the manufactures recommendation and the safe limit. ( I just ignored it) And I am guilty of towing well over my wranglers 2500 lbs... And I won't do it again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have

They will cover it to the limits of the insurance. But that was a couple of years ago. I will check again, just to be thorough.
 

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I tow a 6X12 enclosed trailer with my Wrangler locally. I tested it on the highway once and could not even get to highway speed.

I tow a 6X12 open trailer with my Motor cycle back and forth to RI without any issues.

I Would not want to tow much more weight then that.
 

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in spite of the long winded OP prose, i still don't know if i can tow my two 800lb waverunners. perhaps someone could let me know before summer. thx.
total weight is below 2000 lbs, trailer is top of the line.
 

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So I have to ask to the OP... if you have full size chevy truck.. why even ask what the wrangler can tow? You have a tow rig in the truck that is far better than any Jeep for towing, so why not just use that instead?
 
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