Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-29-2015, 10:16 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
Berkeley , California
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 12
Jeep Grand Cherokee

Hi All.

This is my first post here, but I've been reading the forums for quite a bit now learning a ton as I go.

My wife and I just bought a gently used 2015 25' Flying Cloud and are starting to look for a tow vehicle. For right now, we plan on renting F150s from Bay Area Airstream (which is a great thing that they do). We also have an Equalizer WD hitch installed.

The tow vehicle needs to be a daily driver for us and our two young kids. And as a daily driver, in and around Berkeley and San Francisco, a full size truck/SUV (i.e. an F150 or Expedition/Tahoe) is bigger than we would like to drive. So we're looking for something a bit smaller that can tow our Airstream. We also want to avoid doing anything aftermarket and not under manufacturer approval. (For example, I know folks are welding supports onto Porsches and Tuaregs to increase tongue weights and/or relocating tanks and batteries inside the coach, but I want to avoid going down that road).

With that, I test drove a diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee and really liked it but I'm concerned about whether it can actually tow my Airstream or not. I've read through a number of posts on tow vehicles here and can see it's a hotly debated topic. But I would like some help from people who have direct experience with this setup.

With that, I would love to hear from anyone who is/has towed a 25' Flying Cloud or similar with a Grand Cherokee (diesel or gas) and hear some real world feedback about how the rig works. I know folks are towing 19' FCs and some vintage Airstreams with this setup, but I really want to know if I'm nuts to try and run a 25' behind a Grand Cherokee. I want to be decidedly safe and cautious, but trying to balance owning something I actually would like to drive/gas milage/size when not towing.

Here are the details.

Trailer Details:
25' Flying Cloud Rear Twin
Trailer Unit Base Weight: 5600#
Trailer Gross Vehicle Weight: 7300#
Trailer Hitch Weight: 835#

Tow Vehicle Details:
Jeep Grand Cherokee, Diesel, Class IV tow package
Max Towing (4x2): 7400#
Max Tongue Weight: 1200#
Max Payload 1090#

Alternatively, if anyone has any suggestions of other vehicles to check out, that would be great as well.

Thanks for all the info on this and other posts. Super helpful to someone getting started!
__________________

__________________
jonathansimo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2015, 11:12 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
wkerfoot's Avatar
 
1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,667
With two children, you might consider the Dodge Durango. Same basic vehicle, however no diesel. Longer wheelbase and three rows of seats.

Bill
__________________

__________________
Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
wkerfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 12:30 AM   #3
1 Rivet Member
 
Berkeley , California
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 12
Thanks wkerfoot.

Looks like there is a 5" difference in wheelbase between the Grand Cherokee and the Durango. Will that make a significant difference?

I test drove a Durango, and while I like the extra space, the Durango spec'ed with a V8 and features gets up to 45-50k really quick. Just didn't feel worth it to me compared to the Jeep.
__________________
jonathansimo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 07:16 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
andreasduess's Avatar
 
1984 34' International
Toronto , Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,496
Images: 5
Blog Entries: 1
There is a forum member, Jim Flower, who has been towing with Jeeps for a very long time and hundreds of thousands of miles, he recommends them highly. Here's a link to his profile. He's worth talking to, for real world experience. Nice guy too, just send him a private message.

Our own Airstream is a 1984 34' International, one of the old triple axles. Our ready to camp weight is around 7500lbs, including a full tank of water. I would have zero issues towing that trailer with a Jeep GC, which was on our own list of potential tow vehicles. Like yourself, we live in an urban centre, where a huge vehicle makes no sense.

In the end, we bought a Durango R/T with the hemi engine, tow package and pretty much any available upgrade - we have three kids, so needed the extra space. I bought the car out of a lease. It's 18 months old, at $20k less than the original buyer paid, with just over 30k miles on the clock. If you're not set on new, there are deals out there.

I would have loved the Jeep with the Diesel engine, but we need the space the longer Dodge offers. Both vehicles are built on the same platform, which they also share with the Mercedes GL series, with fully independent suspension and a modern drivetrain. The 8 gear transmission Dodge started using in 2014 is the same as used by Bentley and Audi for their most high end vehicles. All of these vehicles tend to be highly rated by their owners as far as towing platforms go.

Just as an aside, don't be worried about aftermarket modifications. There's nothing wrong with adding a transmission cooler, or welding a strut on a hitch. In fact, it is often the necessary and sensible thing to do, adding nothing more than what a manufacturer adds and calls a tow package. We towed our trailer with a Honda van for three years, modified for towing. It made for an excellent, stable and comfortable tow vehicle for us.
__________________
andreasduess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 07:37 AM   #5
Moderator
 
moosetags's Avatar

 
2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,762
Images: 5
Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

Good luck with your tow vehicle search. Choose carefully, as selection of an insufficient tow vehicle can result in your new Airstream becoming a very expensive piece of yard art. If you are not comfortable with your towing situation, you will avoid going camping.

Brian
__________________
SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2018 Silverado 2500 (Lillian)
moosetags is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 10:31 AM   #6
RLS
Rivet Master
 
RLS's Avatar

 
2004 25' Classic
Prescott , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 608
Welcome to the forum, there is a great amount of knowledge here to tap into. We have an Infiniti QX56 that was purchased for towing. The SUV is great, but after towing for many miles and yrs., I am now looking at replacing it with a pick up truck! Something I thought I would never own. We only have the one vehicle for all our needs, so that was why the SUV. Now my thinking is how much more we would enjoy camping being able to load more STUFF for the trip. The main draw back to the SUV is how much payload you have. Remember, that tongue weight takes up whole bunch of it! When you get done loading up the trailer, you will be around 1,000 lbs. tongue weight or more! My choice so far would be the GMC 1500 Sierra double cab with the 6.2 motor and heavy duty tow package. That gives you max. payload of 2,080 lbs. At 230" total length, it will still fit in the garage!
Also, IMHO make sure whatever you get that it has 4 wheel drive.
__________________
Julia & Bob
W/ Deedee & Boo
AIR #30685
RLS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 11:11 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
dkottum's Avatar
 
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,716
Consider both Grand Cherokee and Durango Hemi engine which have nearly the same full independent suspension which makes the vehicle very stable. The diesel engine GC develops it's high torque at low rpm, and the Durango reaches it's power range at higher RPM. This only really matters climbing hills but either will do the job. Both have the same eight speed transmission, great gear selection for towing.

We have the Hemi 5.7 engine in our Ram pickup, powerful, very smooth, and relatively economical. Plenty of power for our 25' FC except perhaps the steepest grades where we reduce speed and shift the transmission down to get in higher power range, just as it is designed to do. The diesel uses less fuel but the gas Hemi costs less to buy and service, so in reality those expenses will balance out over time.

The advantage of the Durango is more interior space and longer wheelbase (a little better sway resistance). The advantage is the GC is the available diesel, giving more power at low RPM. Both vehicles have payloads similar to many half-ton trucks and require thoughtful loading and a capable weight distribution hitch to distribute some of the hitch weight to the truck's front axle and both trailer axles.
__________________
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

The Truth is More Important Than the Facts
dkottum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 11:49 AM   #8
3 Rivet Member
 
remphoto's Avatar
 
2015 16' Sport
Upper Sandusky , Ohio
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 205
Back in the day, we towed a 30' SOB with a 1995 Grand Cherokee and factory tow package. We went all up and down the East Coast and never had any problems with sway (were using a Reese WD with a built in sway system). It had the pre-hemi 318 V8 and got 10 mpg (compared to 8 or our previous full-sized van tow vehicle). Lot's of power and a really nice vehicle to drive when not towing. I can only imagine that the newer, slightly larger GC's would be even better towers and likely would get better mileage with the modern 8 speed transmissions and direct fuel injection.
__________________
2015 Airstream Bambi Sport 16J
Past Travel Trailers:
*1992 Dutchmen 30' Bunk
*2003 Jayco Designer Series 32' Rear Living
*2015 T@B Sofitel S (exchanged after 3 days for Bambi)
remphoto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 12:19 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
2011 23' Flying Cloud
Durango , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 503
You might recheck your data for the Grand Cherokee tongue weight capacity. It should be 740 lbs for the 2x4 and 720 lbs for the 4x4. I tow our 2011 FC23FB with a 2014 CC Overland 4x4 EcoDiesel and love the handling and performance. My actual tongue weight is 785 lbs in camping trim. That's a bit heavy, but it handles very well with a 10K Equalizer. 17.6 mpg average towing. I know that others tow larger Airstreams with this vehicle, but the 23 is at my comfort level. We deliberately chose our Airstream to fit our 08 GC diesel, and the 2014 GC diesel with higher torque, 8 sp automatic and longer wheelbase brought us a substantial improvement in performance and economy. It's a pleasure to tow.
__________________
Safe Travels,
Joe & Joan Donnaway
Durango, CO
JamuJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 01:18 PM   #10
1 Rivet Member
 
Berkeley , California
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 12
Thanks everyone for the feedback and warm welcome. Very helpful stuff!

Here is roughly what I'm getting from everyone so far:

No, I'm not crazy to tow a 25' flying cloud with either a GC or a Durango. Obviously, a F250 with a diesel engine would be a way better tow vehicle, but not the best daily driver for me There are some plusses/minuses to the Durango (more cargo space, longer wheelbase) while the GC has available diesel and is a little more compact. But both would be OK compromises it seems.

As for the tongue weight, the GC and Durango have an available class IV tow package which ups the max tongue weight to 1200#.

Next question is the 4x2 vs 4x4 option. The 4x4 brings the towing weight down to 7200 from 7400 (due to the weight of the differential I'm told). Given this, would you guys recommend going the 4x2 or 4x4 route?
__________________
jonathansimo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 02:33 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
dkottum's Avatar
 
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,716
I like the 4x4 because in extensive travel we have needed it a few times to get out of campsites that drop to the back, and very slippery grass or mud. For your info, virtually no pickups or SUV's of this type are on the dealer lots without 4x4 in our part of the country. It would be hard to sell without it.

Loading and weight. Know that you should keep your camping equipment weight very low in the SUV when towing with this type of vehicle, especially behind the rear axel. (Same with our 1/2 ton pickup.) The Airstream comes well equipped for camping, don't carry more gear than needed, especially in front.

Keeping your hitch weight low (but at least 10% of loaded trailer weight) will make it easier on your hitch connection and allow effective weight distribution by your w.d. hitch, as well as not overloading your SUV.

If unable to travel light, the alternative is a heavier duty tow vehicle.
__________________
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

The Truth is More Important Than the Facts
dkottum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 03:03 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
A W Warn's Avatar
 
2000 25' Safari
1999 34' Excella
Davidson County, NC , Highlands County, FL
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,568
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathansimo View Post
snip>>Here are the details.

Trailer Details:
25' Flying Cloud Rear Twin
Trailer Unit Base Weight: 5600#
Trailer Gross Vehicle Weight: 7300#
Trailer Hitch Weight: 835#

Tow Vehicle Details:
Jeep Grand Cherokee, Diesel, Class IV tow package
Max Towing (4x2): 7400#
Max Tongue Weight: 1200#
Max Payload 1090#
<<<snip
My concern with this vehicle combination would be payload of the Tow Vehicle.
As an example:
~180 lb - dad
~120 lb - mom
~100 lb - 2 children
~400 lb - total weight of occupants

1090 lb - max payload
-400 lb - total weight of occupants
-835 lb - tongue weight (empty)
-100 lb - weight of hitch and sway control
-245 lb = OVERLOADED before adding any cargo to the trailer or tow vehicle
__________________
Alan
2014 Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 5.3L maximum trailering package (yes, I'm towing the 34')
A W Warn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 03:31 PM   #13
RLS
Rivet Master
 
RLS's Avatar

 
2004 25' Classic
Prescott , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 608
Payload is exactly what I was trying to express. It is a killer on SUVs. Alan, you did forget to take roughly 1/3 off of the tongue weight to transfer back to the trailer axles, but still there is very little wiggle room for payload.
__________________
Julia & Bob
W/ Deedee & Boo
AIR #30685
RLS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 03:41 PM   #14
Rivet Master
 
2011 23' Flying Cloud
Durango , Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 503
A couple of additional thoughts: If you don't need 4 wheel drive, the Durango might be a better choice than the Grand Cherokee, in terms of cargo space and longer wheelbase. However, one critical dimension that gives the Grand Cherokee an advantage is the shorter rear overhang (distance from rear axle to receiver). Shorter is better, even if only inches, for sway prevention. Then again, in my experience, our dual axle Airstream does not require much sway control. I need 4 wheel drive both for our everyday driving (home is at 7600' in the mountains near Durango CO - lots of snow!) as well as our frequent Airstreaming well off the paved roads.

Safe Travels,
JamuJoe
__________________

__________________
Safe Travels,
Joe & Joan Donnaway
Durango, CO
JamuJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
95 Jeep Grand Cherokee augier Tow Vehicles 15 06-06-2010 02:01 PM
Jeep Grand Cherokee DIESEL as towcar Coloradobus Tow Vehicles 10 09-02-2008 02:47 PM
2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee Gravelcrunch Tow Vehicles 11 07-29-2008 04:36 PM
Jeep Grand Cherokee CR Diesel Nicksut Tow Vehicles 19 10-19-2007 09:07 AM
2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 and a 20' Safari? Roger S Tow Vehicles 10 04-15-2007 04:04 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:14 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.