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Old 11-23-2012, 08:46 AM   #1
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Jeep Grand Cherokee and towing

Hello,
I am in the market for a new vehicle to replace my 2007 Toyota Tundra. I have been looking at the Ram 1500 but have been intriqued by the 2012/2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Properly equipped the Jeep should be able to tow 7,400 pounds base on their info. Of course I am used to towing with a much bigger vehicle. My question is does anyone have any experience towing a Airstream with a Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 5.7 liter gas engine? I have a keystone camper now which may not tow as easily as an Airstream. I would probably be looking at nothing bigger then the 25 foot Airstream based on numbers. Thank you for help.
Brian
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:09 AM   #2
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Do not buy either the Ram or Cherokee until next spring when they will have the 5.7 with 8 speed auto transmission (unless you can get a steal of a deal on a new 2012). The extra gearing will always have you in the right power range for towing, and improved fuel economy.

We were considering the same two vehicles this fall and bought the Ram reg cab 4x4 5.7 because it was $15,000 less and gave us a utility truck around home as well as excellent towing performance.

doug k
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:18 AM   #3
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Check out forum member "Tino643"

He is towing a new 27' FB International with a 2011 V6 4X4 jeep Grand Cherooke.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:55 AM   #4
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I have a 2012 Grand Cherokee V8, now with 13,000 miles on it, I would estimate 9000 of that towing. It is the full woot Overland with the Air Suspension.

It is a very nice tow vehicle towing my 4200# Argosy with a 700# hitch weight. I use an Andersen hitch.

The combination handles together like the Jeep handles alone. That is other than the fact that you know you have 4000# behind you from the acceleration standpoint, the towing is very transparent. With or without the trailer, the handling is the same.

The 2012's with the V8 have a 6 speed automatic, and it always seems to have the right gear available. The V6 Pentastar has a 5 speed automatic, which I understand is not as good a transmission. I use the "Tow-Haul" mode most of the time and especially like the automatic downshifting when going down a grade. I have had Jeep Grand Cherokee's for years, towing the same Argosy, and this new one keeps the speed in check automatically on downhill grades much better than the old 2002, 1998, and 1993's. It has all the automatic things like trailer sway control (no idea how it works or if it has ever had to work on my combination) backup camera, and enough other goodies to keep you occupied figuring out how they work, for months. Up to 2012 there has been no integrated brake controller, which I think is not good. I used my old one from the other jeeps I have had.

Milage is the same as all my old Jeeps, 6's or 8's: overall when towing 13.5 mpg. Solo, driven carefully 21 mpg. It has automatic cylinder deactivation so it cruses in 4 cylinder mode solo a fair amount of time.

I have been up to 12,000' with it, towing. Never any indication of a need for any more power. It has power to spare in all situations I have been in.

I would expect it to work the same up to about a 25' Airstream. The wheelbase may not be quite large enough for a trailer over that size, but that is only speculation, not experience. The Air Suspension is a very nice system, but does take some understanding to set a WD hitch up with it. Jeep is not helpful in that mode, but if you figure out how to turn it off (order the full manual from Jeep, no charge) you will be able to set it up right. The final results are very good, in my experience. I also like the Air Suspension features which allow you to change the height for getting in and out when parked.

Overall, it is the best Grand Cherokee I have had, and I would recommend it in a moment. BTW, it has only had oil changes, not one other reason to take it into the shop.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:23 AM   #5
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Re Grand Cherokee

Hello, I have the 2011 GC V6 75 anniversary. Last year i tow a 25 foot Airstream whit a Reese hitch my wife, my little girl. It was very good. About 24-25 mg whit the trailer full of stock and water... Now i but a 27 feet that is realy 28 feet. I have and Anderson hitch. The Andeling is very good. No difference whit the 25 feet. For the gas is 19,2 litres for 100 km (Canadien) So the conversion is 23 mg for you. I don't use the overdrive. But the Airstream is dry. Noting in it. It is ok but more power will be good. So now i want to by the futur diesel or the V8. So andeling number one and whit the V8 or the diesel it will be perfect....The Jeep is a very good truck...Hope the info are good for you.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:24 AM   #6
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I also tow with a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee (V8+tow package) and have had the same experience as idroba. I pull a 2005 International 19 with an Equalizer hitch and Tekonsha P3 brake controller. As pointed out above, the new 6-speed trans is a benefit. Regarding the brake contoller, the new Jeep does have a plug to attach a brake controller. The previous generation did not.

Last month we towed from N. California to W. Colorado, with great results. That included the Sierra/Nevada mountains, Utah Canyon Lands, Colorado's Douglass Pass, and a major thunderstorm in heavy traffic on I-15 on our return route.

My only issue is that I still have not found towing mirrors that I like.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:01 PM   #7
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We have a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland with air suspension and the 5.7 engine and it is essentially the same model as the 2012-2013 GC. The transmission is also the same (545RFE multi-speed overdrive automatic transmission) EXCEPT that we can only select 5 speeds manually even though 6 speeds are available when the transmission shifts automatically. Our towing mileage is just like idroba's except that our previous Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 5.7 engine got much poorer mileage, both while towing and without a trailer attached.

Our 2011 GC has been a terrific tow vehicle, easily towing our 19' Bambi up any grade. While towing, the transmission (in tow/haul mode) shifts so well on its own that we almost never manually select a gear (very different from previous Jeep GCs). All in all, we could not be happier.

As for waiting for the 8-speed, perhaps one could do that, but the present transmission is very good and a very well-proven product. Not that the 8-speed has not been well tested. It is, after all, a ZF design which has been used in many European luxury vehicles.

Tim
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:03 PM   #8
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Mirrors

I but the McKesh Mirrors. I try a few and there the best...A little bit pricy...
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:50 PM   #9
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Thank you for the suggestion about mirrors.

~ Ken
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:11 PM   #10
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I tow with a 2012 Jeep GC. Mine is a Larado X dressed up (6 cylinder). Is was about 36K new. I tow a 2011 Safari 20' and use Arrow clip on mirrors.
Overall I like the set up. MPG 24 not towing. 14 towing. Into the wind 12.
I may trade it in when the diesel comes out in late 2013. The reason is, I feel my currant set up will be underpowered when I hit the mountain. we only have hills in Ohio.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:01 AM   #11
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I'm towing my 20' with a 2012 Durango 5.7, which is basically the same vehicle. I'm very pleased.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:48 AM   #12
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I stopped into the Jeep dealer this week to ask about a new one. Told him I was pulling a 25 FB with tongue weight of 840 pounds and he told me the Grand Cherokee wouldn't handle it. I have a 06 and have had no luck trying to get rear axle weight even close to where it needs to be and thought the new ones were different. Thinking about an Eco boost 150 now
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
I have a 06 and have had no luck trying to get rear axle weight even close to where it needs to be and thought the new ones were different. Thinking about an Eco boost 150 now
That's what I found out. I shopped around too and was convinced that I did not want a pickup truck but the more I looked, the more I realized that the bedded wonder was better suited to the job. I met an older gentleman at the Tampa RV Super Show that told me that "dealer tongue weights were unloaded base figures - add full LP tanks and batteries to the mix and its another story". Apparently he was correct. My Airstream tongue weight is 860 lbs. but at the CAT scale with full LPs and batteries and unloaded, it is 980 lbs. The issue is that once you get up to 25', you are at the weight limits of most anything but a pickup truck. Interestingly at the VW dealer they told me I could easily tow my trailer with the Tourareg. I liked those too and posted about them but again - weight limits. The Grand Cherokee is beautiful though. I ended up with a pickup and am pleased, not what my perception made them out to be at all.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:43 AM   #14
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We've towed close to 6000K with a used 2006 Jeep Commander, it seems fine. The wheel base is a little short that would be my only concern..

We have the 5.7 HEMI and honestly hardly notice our trailer.

Except for the loud groaning of the dual cam on turns...

Fuel economy is more like 11MPG, it gets 12MPG without the trailer ..

We wanted 3 rows of seat so options are limited for a Mid-size truck.

That said we'll eventually look for the oxymoron of a "Fuel Efficient Tow Vehicle". Been wanting a diesel of some sort.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jwestman View Post
I stopped into the Jeep dealer this week to ask about a new one. Told him I was pulling a 25 FB with tongue weight of 840 pounds and he told me the Grand Cherokee wouldn't handle it. I have a 06 and have had no luck trying to get rear axle weight even close to where it needs to be and thought the new ones were different. Thinking about an Eco boost 150 now
To help people know what the limit on tongue weight is, the owners' manual for my 2011 Jeep GC gives a maximum of 500 lbs for the 3.6L 6-cylinder model, 740 lbs for the 5.7L V-8 with two-wheel drive and 720 lbs with 4-wheel drive.

The cautionary notes in the manual indicate the need to avoid exceeding the total weight limit of the vehicle.

Tim
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:03 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Tim A. View Post
To help people know what the limit on tongue weight is, the owners' manual for my 2011 Jeep GC gives a maximum of 500 lbs for the 3.6L 6-cylinder model, 740 lbs for the 5.7L V-8 with two-wheel drive and 720 lbs with 4-wheel drive.

The cautionary notes in the manual indicate the need to avoid exceeding the total weight limit of the vehicle.

Tim
I think that is the dead weight limit, not the limit with a WD hitch, which the manual (from memory) requires over those numbers.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:53 PM   #17
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I think that is the dead weight limit, not the limit with a WD hitch, which the manual (from memory) requires over those numbers.
You may be right. My manual does not give that information about a WD hitch and I did check. The manual is not always perfectly clear, but does emphasize not exceeding the total allowed load (passengers plus luggage plus tongue weight) for the entire car and not exceeding the allowed load on the rear axle.

One would think the air suspension would help with the allowed load, but then the manual adds the additional precaution of not exceeding the allowed load on the tires.

It would be interesting to know Andy Thompson's take on this, since he often outfits smaller cars as tow vehicles.

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Old 11-25-2012, 07:23 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Tim A. View Post
You may be right. My manual does not give that information about a WD hitch and I did check. The manual is not always perfectly clear, but does emphasize not exceeding the total allowed load (passengers plus luggage plus tongue weight) for the entire car and not exceeding the allowed load on the rear axle.

One would think the air suspension would help with the allowed load, but then the manual adds the additional precaution of not exceeding the allowed load on the tires.


Tim
Even the Jeep full paper manual is not very clear on a lot of things, or they are hard to locate. But I believe that the rear axle load is mostly determined by the axle components and the tire and rim limits. The Air Suspension may have the capacity to hold things level, but still you can easily have an overload on other parts.

The thing you have to be very careful with on the Jeep Air Suspension is that it works so well to hold things level, it is easy to not put enough tension on the WD hitch and thus overload the rear and still have the front look right. When you set up your WD hitch with the Air Suspension system, you need to turn the system off (hold both up and down buttons down, doors closed, engine running) and be on a virtually dead level surface to begin with. That is the only way to do the conventional measure the fender well height set up system. Best is to put the rig on the scales, still with the Air Suspension system off, and adjust your hitch that way to be sure you are not overloading the rear axle.

I would also guess that there are many rear axles overloaded on rigs out there, and that the Air Suspension system is not a problem, however it hides problems more than a normal spring system does.

I am wondering how well the new Dodge 1500 pickup trucks which are now available with the same Air Suspension system are going to hold up when they are overloaded with too much gravel, concrete blocks, or wood from wood hauling. Here in the Northwest I see some really scary and unbelievable loads of wood going down the road in half ton pickup trucks.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:48 PM   #19
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On mirrors, McKesh or ORA
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:29 PM   #20
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The overall weights are the problem with all choices of tow vehicles - payload, tongue weight/hitch weight and towing weight. The Grand Cherokee, 2011 information is here:

http://m.jeep.com/en/2011/grand_cherokee/capability/towing/


Note how the payload varies from model to model. The 5000 lb limit is on all but the 5.7 Liter Hemi towing package equipped models which then get a Class IV hitch and 7200 lb towing weight; HOWEVER note the payload capacities. Subtract the tongue weights from that and you begin to see the problem with heavier trailers. The Laredo 4x2 5.7 Hemi equipped has the most payload with 1350 lbs. For me, with a 25' AS - the lightest 25' they make/made, I would have 370 lbs for people and cargo in that model and I would be maxed out- following manufacturer specs. I believe that Class IV hitches have a 1000 lb limit on WD hitches. I know mine does as marked.
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