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Old 07-09-2015, 11:09 PM   #1
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Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel TV with 27' Airstream.

Hello all, new to the forum and thinking about purchasing a 2016 Airstream International Signature 27FB. The towing numbers on the trailer:

Hitch Weight (w/LP & w/o options, water & cargo) (lbs.) 770
Unit Base Weight (lbs.) 5,824
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lbs.) 7,600
Net Carrying Capacity (NCC=GVWR-UBW) (lbs.) 1,776

My TV is a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel 4x4 with the following towing stats:

8-Speed auto with 460 ft/lb TQ (tuned ECU)
Tow rating: 7,200
Tongue Weight: 720
Payload: 1040
Load-leveling air suspension

Now I am definitely not in the camp that believes once you go over those weights the vehicle explodes. Having done some engineering I know there are large tolerances built into these numbers.

I confirmed my tires are rated at 2,600 each, so tires won't even be close to being an issue.

I think I will have around 1,400 lb of gear including LP and fluids. That would put me right about the max tow weight. My concern maybe more on the tongue weight. The stock trailer tongue is 50 lbs over the Jeep rated tongue. What would be a realistic tongue on a loaded "wet" setup on this trailer? LP is already taken into account, but not batteries, fluids and gear inside. I would try and put heavier items in the rear of the trailer and not the front.

I would of course be using a weight distribution hitch. I've towed a 5,800 lb trailer before and the truck had zero issues.

Seems the only step up in TV would be a huge gas guzzling SUV like an Excursion or a full size pickup truck. Neither of which I want as I off-road.

My combo do-able? Which weight distribution hitch would you go with? I'm pretty sure I would also need a drop-down as the hitch on the TV is pretty high (I also have 33"inch off-road tires).

Bonus question: is there a way to mount a bicycle to the rear of these new air-streams? It seems the rear trailer bumper doesn't have a hitch mount or anything.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:09 AM   #2
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More info from my vehicles info label:

GVRW: 6,800
FRONT: 3,200
REAR: 3,700

I figure my rig with the winch, rock rails and skid plates is at ~5,700. So that would leave me approx 1,100 payload.


I checked under the Jeep and this is the hitch receiver installed:








Seem's pretty robust and is slid into the main chassis tube supports of the Jeep with about a ten inch overlap and a total of six large vertical bolts and two horizontal. Anyone think this setup would need to be reinforced?

I was thinking maybe a 900-1,000 leverage WD hitch setup?
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Old 07-10-2015, 01:13 AM   #3
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Others with that specific vehicle can certainly chime in, but here are some thoughts to get you started.

1) The Airstream published tongue weights have been reported to be low by many purchasers. I would think it would be closer to 1000 lbs or so.

2) If you carry 700-800 of that tongue weight on the tow vehicle due to the WD equipment, with 1040 payload you don't have much if anything left over for passengers, cargo, etc.

3) Larger off road tires are the wrong direction to be moving for a stable tow rig. They can have sidewall flex which doesn't promote stability.

4) Not sure how accurate your weight estimation is, but if the vehicle has a published 1040 lbs payload and you have added a winch, skidplates, etc, it will be less than that. Weigh the vehicle first.

5) No comment on the specific hitch, but a call to Canam may help as they could comment on whether they typically reinforce that specific hitch or not. I wouldn't worry about the attachment points as much as the welds at the end of the round tube.

I like the idea of a mid size SUV for a tow vehicle. But I would be looking for one with a payload closer to 1500 lbs, and I would not have any aftermarket equipment installed on it that reduced that payload.

Good luck

Jeff
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Old 07-10-2015, 03:46 AM   #4
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Jim Flower who occasionally posts here tows a 30' International with Grand Cherokee Diesel. I would say he likely tows more miles than anyone else on the forums here. Certainly more than any of our other customers. His work takes him all over Canada and he doesn't do hotels so the Airstream crosses the continent 2 or 3 times each year.

We do strengthen the hitch, it might be fine without it but I think you will find it flexes quite a bit.

The new GC's have a very robust chassis that easily handles the Airstream's hitch weight as long as it is distributed properly. The handling is not as stable as a Touareg or X5 but off road capability is much better.

Which tire and wheel package do you have?
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:39 AM   #5
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:18 AM   #6
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I think pushing the limits on recommended weight limits etc. is just asking for trouble. They are there for a reason, rationalizing how someone else got away with it in the middle of a panic stop or emergency lane change would not do you much good. Not to mention it probably voids your vehicle warranty. I'd say do what you want but then you aren't the only person on the highway so your choices may well hurt others. I'd say just my opinion but frankly it's only common sense.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:52 AM   #7
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:13 PM   #8
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Jt, can you sight any actual cases of warranties being voided by towing under any circumstances by none commercial drivers.
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Old 07-10-2015, 01:05 PM   #9
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I would put a Curt class IV hitch on. $300 and you do it yourself. Listen to Andrew about your tires/wheels. You should be fine.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:42 PM   #10
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I have not been around this new Jeep diesel,, other than a little history about its roots.. Like all newer diesels they are turbo boosted hard and the results is good short term power bursts but limited life long term by doing so.. My view anyway..

For one,, over sized tires kill any gear ratio advantage you might have had other wise.. That is to say if you have 3.55 gearing,, 33" rubber will drop that down to 3.10 to 1 or in that area without spending the next 20 minutes doing the math.. Back in the days of air cooled VWs,, the first thing to kill them early was huge rubber on the rear end as it over geared them and the engine that worked at 70% power with stock tires now was pulling 99% power all the time..

Same result will happen with your little turbo jeep diesel.. The term that comes to mind is balls to the wall effect.. Throw a 5000 lb trailer behind and your ( in my view) looking at a total melt down and will find the weakest link before you might wish too.. $$$$$$$$

Now,, under size the tires ,, or drop in some 4.56 to 1 axle gears you might have a chance for local runs less than 50 miles or so on mostly flat ground.. But I would not wish to cross the Rockies with your rig as it sits.. Just asking for costly problems long term..

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Old 07-10-2015, 04:00 PM   #11
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Zybane, To do the math correctly, you will need to weigh the Jeep loaded as it would normally be when towing, including both axles separately. Then weight the jeep and trailer without weight distribution, to know the load on the axles, and you will know the gross combined vehicle weight.

Out here there are lots of hills, traffic and idiots.
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Old 07-10-2015, 04:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcl View Post
Others with that specific vehicle can certainly chime in, but here are some thoughts to get you started.

1) The Airstream published tongue weights have been reported to be low by many purchasers. I would think it would be closer to 1000 lbs or so.

2) If you carry 700-800 of that tongue weight on the tow vehicle due to the WD equipment, with 1040 payload you don't have much if anything left over for passengers, cargo, etc.

3) Larger off road tires are the wrong direction to be moving for a stable tow rig. They can have sidewall flex which doesn't promote stability.

I like the idea of a mid size SUV for a tow vehicle. But I would be looking for one with a payload closer to 1500 lbs, and I would not have any aftermarket equipment installed on it that reduced that payload.

Good luck

Jeff
Do you mean the AS tongue weights have been reported up to 1,000 empty? That would be pretty crazy.

Correct, I wouldn't be loading up the SUV to the hilt. It would just be me and my dog with some lightweight stuff in the back. Even considering removing the rear seats.

As for off-road tires, they have quite a bit ply's and are rated for 1,000 pounds over my SUV with 1,000 pounds already on the rear hitch. Each tires is rated at over 2,600.

The problem is once you go with vehicles with 1,500+ pound payload, you pretty much leave the "off-road' capable arena.

I was thinking about stepping down to the 25' AS instead of the 27', but the hitch weight actually increases! I'd imagine it's down to the trailer center of gravity being shifted forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew T View Post
Jim Flower who occasionally posts here tows a 30' International with Grand Cherokee Diesel. I would say he likely tows more miles than anyone else on the forums here. Certainly more than any of our other customers. His work takes him all over Canada and he doesn't do hotels so the Airstream crosses the continent 2 or 3 times each year.

We do strengthen the hitch, it might be fine without it but I think you will find it flexes quite a bit.

The new GC's have a very robust chassis that easily handles the Airstream's hitch weight as long as it is distributed properly. The handling is not as stable as a Touareg or X5 but off road capability is much better.

Which tire and wheel package do you have?
Thanks for the tips Andrew. I actually think my SUV would handle my proposed trailer without huge fuss, just getting everyone's thoughts. As a side note, my diesel Grand Cherokee has a skid plate under the DEF tank just in front of the OEM hitch. I wonder how that would affect any bracing that you may do/recommend.

Would you by chance have any photo's of bracing the hitch on the WK2 Jeep Grand Cherokee?

I have the 18" MOPAR Jeep wheels with NITTO Terra Grapplers. 270/70/R18. The #5,700 trailer I towed recently barely was even felt by the Jeep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard L. View Post
I would put a Curt class IV hitch on. $300 and you do it yourself. Listen to Andrew about your tires/wheels. You should be fine.
Do you know if they make on bolt-on's for the Grand Cherokee's? Or would you buy the hitch and have to custom mount it to the "frame"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sodbust View Post
I have not been around this new Jeep diesel,, other than a little history about its roots.. Like all newer diesels they are turbo boosted hard and the results is good short term power bursts but limited life long term by doing so.. My view anyway..

For one,, over sized tires kill any gear ratio advantage you might have had other wise.. That is to say if you have 3.55 gearing,, 33" rubber will drop that down to 3.10 to 1 or in that area without spending the next 20 minutes doing the math.. Back in the days of air cooled VWs,, the first thing to kill them early was huge rubber on the rear end as it over geared them and the engine that worked at 70% power with stock tires now was pulling 99% power all the time..

Same result will happen with your little turbo jeep diesel.. The term that comes to mind is balls to the wall effect.. Throw a 5000 lb trailer behind and your ( in my view) looking at a total melt down and will find the weakest link before you might wish too.. $$$$$$$$

Now,, under size the tires ,, or drop in some 4.56 to 1 axle gears you might have a chance for local runs less than 50 miles or so on mostly flat ground.. But I would not wish to cross the Rockies with your rig as it sits.. Just asking for costly problems long term..

Sodbust
That sounds like some pretty outdated info. These 3.0L turbo diesels are pretty robust. Tuned mine is making 460 ft/lb of torque and just hums along effortlessly. The SUV has an 8-speed transmission that you can manually select gears. The rear end gearing is not much concern.

Total melt down with a 5,000 pound trailer? I just towed a 5,700 pound trailer 700 miles and the Jeep barely even noticed it was behind it. Normal engine oil and transmission temps and 19 MPG. 75 MPH down the highway and drove like nothing was attached. And that was without a WD hitch.

These well-built turbo diesel SUV's with German made 8-speed ZF auto transmissions and all the fancy electronics like trailer sway control and stability control and self leveling air-suspension are extremely capable.
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Old 07-10-2015, 05:29 PM   #13
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~~
These well-built turbo diesel SUV's with German made 8-speed ZF auto transmissions and all the fancy electronics like trailer sway control and stability control and self leveling air-suspension are extremely capable.
FCA builds the Torqueflite 8 in US factories. It's based on a licensed ZF design, but built by FCA employees in US factories (at least for US-market vehicles.)
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Old 07-10-2015, 05:49 PM   #14
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I understand what you are saying,, much of my newer industrial farm related engines are much the same ( sadly).. Under cubic inch and over turboed.. It all boils down to physics.. You take a smaller diesel engine,, feed it 30 lbs of boost pressure and compress it 18 times.. Your explosion pressure is generally around 4 times the compression pressure. ( if not more)

So start off with our natural 15 lbs. of air pressure plus the 30 lbs. boost pressure. you are looking at 45 psi of pressure before its compressed 18 times. 810 lbs. of compression pressure times 4 fold with the ignition equals 3200 psi pushing downwards on a crankshaft smaller then size of your wrist. Then doing that 3800 times a minute.. 40 years ago the pressures we are exposing out modern engines too were impossible goals for Formula 1 racing engines. Broken parts and a oil slick all over the race track was the end results.

Thank the engine gods for the better oils we have today,, as the oils we had 40 years ago would have turned into road tar in about an hour with such abuse.

But the point is,, with over sized tires along with any trailer behind will convert your normal green light 80% power spree for 15 seconds to 80% for 30 minutes or hours at a time pulling a hill,, or longer with a stiff head wind..

I have pulled our engine computer dead semi truck at over 90,000 lbs. gross weight with my 1/2 ton Dodge but that does not add anything to a long trouble free 250,000 mile pickup life... Just a point of view from some old school common sense.

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