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My 2015 JKU shows to have a towing capacity of 3500lbs. The new Gladiator is claiming over 7000lbs. Unless I'm mistaken I have the same engine block (3.6L Pentastar) as the Gladiator.


This makes me question what the determining factor for towing capacity is. Is it the tow hitch? Is it the gear ratio? Or is it something more esoteric like the transmission or axle shafts?
 

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frame and wheelbase, overall weight, brake size and many other things.
 
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Grumpy Old Guy
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This ^^^

Brakes being probably more important than anything else. So what if you can get it up to speed... if your brakes aren't up to snuff, what's the point?

Frame. Width, length and rigidity. Many people are forgetting the Gladiator is a truck meant to compete with other trucks, not Wranglers, in the marketplace. Rigidity to reduce flex both linear, torsional and vertical.

Transmission and drivetrain. The JKU Sahara as an example has two different tow ratings. One has an optional 3.73 ratio rear end (which I have in my Winter Edition) and allows it to pull more efficiently by reducing strain and stress on the entire drivetrain.

Now with all of this said, have people pulled heavier loads and been fine? Sure. Trailer brakes, not doing 80mph, not pulling over mountain passes, not driving like an asshat... are ways you can pull heavier and probably be just fine.
 
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This ^^^

Brakes being probably more important than anything else. So what if you can get it up to speed... if your brakes aren't up to snuff, what's the point?

Frame. Width, length and rigidity. Many people are forgetting the Gladiator is a truck meant to compete with other trucks, not Wranglers, in the marketplace. Rigidity to reduce flex both linear, torsional and vertical.

Transmission and drivetrain. The JKU Sahara as an example has two different tow ratings. One has an optional 3.73 ratio rear end (which I have in my Winter Edition) and allows it to pull more efficiently by reducing strain and stress on the entire drivetrain.

Now with all of this said, have people pulled heavier loads and been fine? Sure. Trailer brakes, not doing 80mph, not pulling over mountain passes, not driving like an asshat... are ways you can pull heavier and probably be just fine.
If you pull more than you're rated for, your insurance CAN deny a claim if you crash.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

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Brakes being probably more important than anything else. So what if you can get it up to speed... if your brakes aren't up to snuff, what's the point?
I'm not gonna go down the rabbit hole of yet another towing thread... but thought I'd chime in here to say that I believe the wheelbase is really the single-most important factor in this particular case.

The Gladiator has other differences to deal with the higher towing capacity, but I think it's the wheelbase that gives it that capacity to begin with over the JKU.

A JKU is plenty strong, has more than enough power, and good enough brakes to tow much higher loads. It's the suspension geometry that kills it. It's designed for driving off-road and that design (solid axles, coil springs, length and width) make it (relatively) poor for towing trailers.
 

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anybody see the article on the chevy colorado frame that broke and gm denied any warranty because the guy did not have trailer brakes. I think the tongue weight was over by 20lbs or some crazy thing like that.
 

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anybody see the article on the chevy colorado frame that broke and gm denied any warranty because the guy did not have trailer brakes. I think the tongue weight was over by 20lbs or some crazy thing like that.
"They state the “the truck has 1” taller tires as the first reason. The second reason is the trailer is 2100 pounds, in the owners manual it states that trailers over 2k pound should have brakes. (Towing capacity listed as 5k) Since hit trailer is 100 pounds overweight and doesn’t have brakes that’s what the frame bent. No other damage to truck.
GM’s investigator took trailer to a certified CAT scale. Trailer is 2100lbs. Tongue weight is 347lbs. "

 

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I'll agree that wheelbase has a huge impact on tow rating. The longer the towing vehicle, the harder it is for the "tail to wag the dog".

Suspension design also plays a big factor. The Wrangler is set up for off road flexibility. The Grand Cherokee with the Pentastar has a much higher tow rating than a Wrangler with a similar wheelbase in large part because it uses a completely different suspension. The Gladiator uses the Ram 1500 suspension layout (probably modified) for the rear at least and that greatly helps stabilize a towed trailer.

Beyond that, brakes to stop the load safely, cooling system to shed heat while towing, and maybe a few other things come into play.

I do believe I remember reading that the Gladiator has a modified grill to improve the cooling so that they could get the top tow rating. And because the EcoDiesel generates so much heat it has a lower tow rating because it will overheat sooner than the Pentastar.

Realistically, the tow rating is set up to put a max number on what you can safely tow at freeway speeds. That includes how much weight you can pull up a steep mountain grade and control it on the way back down.

Pretty much everyone is using the new standard rating system so it's not just what the manufacturer feels like. It's a specific set of tests to determine the max towed load.

But then looking at other countries, they have vastly different ratings. But they do things like restrict towing speeds to 60MPH (100KPH) and at those lower speeds it's much easier to control a trailer.
 

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I'm not gonna go down the rabbit hole of yet another towing thread... but thought I'd chime in here to say that I believe the wheelbase is really the single-most important factor in this particular case.

The Gladiator has other differences to deal with the higher towing capacity, but I think it's the wheelbase that gives it that capacity to begin with over the JKU.

A JKU is plenty strong, has more than enough power, and good enough brakes to tow much higher loads. It's the suspension geometry that kills it. It's designed for driving off-road and that design (solid axles, coil springs, length and width) make it (relatively) poor for towing trailers.
I agree. In reality it is the total weight, tongue weight, ratio of front axle to rear axle to rear axle of the trailer to weight distribution across the entire trailer. That is an entirely different rabbit hole!

A great example of maybe not being over weight by a lot but ratio of axle to axle to axle is way to big. In addition people only see the weight listed on the trailer and don't think about the additional crap they put inside plus 20-30 gallons of water, etc that push that total weight up tremendously.

 

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Cooling system fan with higher amperage. I think its a 850 amp fan motor.
 

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Basically the tow rating is designed into the vehicle taking into account all the items previously mentioned. power train, suspension, braking, frame, etc.. Then it is tested to meet Gov standards for safety. A lot of effort goes into the engineering, prototypes, and testing over many years.
 
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