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Old 12-01-2012, 07:48 PM   #1
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Toad Take II - Jeep Wrangler

Hello to everyone here in the B Airforum. I signed on here four and a half years ago and it was pretty quiet, okay real quiet. Our 2007 Airstream Interstate was the subject of Silvergate's "Friends of the Airstream Interstate" thread that still has an occasional post. Really glad to see there is a community of Interstate owners here now.

We are still loving our Interstate and use her regularly. My wife is constantly saying (like several times per trip) she is having a renewed appreciation for how great our Interstate has been for our lives.

Now to my question! I am considering purchasing a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2 door to use as a tow vehicle. The curb weight is 4129 pounds and it is 12' long. We have been talking about this for several years and I have been trying to get up the nerve to follow through.

First, our justification for even needing a toad. We are hikers and I would never consider leaving the Interstate parked at isolated trailheads. We have been renting cars for the last several years when we are planning a combination RV and hiking trip. The mid-sized SUVs we rent only get us to SOME of the trailheads we would like. For the first several years our folding bikes and occasional day use of the Interstate was all we required. We have become real fans of the SoCal desert and having a Jeep will open up all kinds of new possibilities.

On our last trip I talked with a View owner pulling a Jeep. I said I wanted to pull a Jeep but was chicken. He said to be honest he was too, but his RV buddies convinced him it was fine. Several of his friends were standing around and they said if I had any concerns that I should go to Quartzite this winter. There I would see Views and other Class C Sprinters showing up towing all manner of vehicles including full size pickups. On another RV forum someone said that how much people think they can tow is inversely proportional to their IQ. I don't want to be one of those guys. Obviously, and as required by the Airstream owner's manual, I will use a trailer brake of some kind.

If we were sensible we would buy a Smart car as we have talked about from day one. If we really wanted to be wild --a Mini Cooper. In the other current towing thread, tomp1937 said when he was towing a jeep behind a Sprinter Motorhome
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you can do almost everything but fly or sail
. Yeah, that's what were thinking.

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Old 12-02-2012, 03:52 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avid View Post
Hello to everyone here in the B Airforum. I signed on here four and a half years ago and it was pretty quiet, okay real quiet. Our 2007 Airstream Interstate was the subject of Silvergate's "Friends of the Airstream Interstate" thread that still has an occasional post. Really glad to see there is a community of Interstate owners here now.

We are still loving our Interstate and use her regularly. My wife is constantly saying (like several times per trip) she is having a renewed appreciation for how great our Interstate has been for our lives.

Now to my question! I am considering purchasing a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 2 door to use as a tow vehicle. The curb weight is 4129 pounds and it is 12' long. We have been talking about this for several years and I have been trying to get up the nerve to follow through.

First, our justification for even needing a toad. We are hikers and I would never consider leaving the Interstate parked at isolated trailheads. We have been renting cars for the last several years when we are planning a combination RV and hiking trip. The mid-sized SUVs we rent only get us to SOME of the trailheads we would like. For the first several years our folding bikes and occasional day use of the Interstate was all we required. We have become real fans of the SoCal desert and having a Jeep will open up all kinds of new possibilities.

On our last trip I talked with a View owner pulling a Jeep. I said I wanted to pull a Jeep but was chicken. He said to be honest he was too, but his RV buddies convinced him it was fine. Several of his friends were standing around and they said if I had any concerns that I should go to Quartzite this winter. There I would see Views and other Class C Sprinters showing up towing all manner of vehicles including full size pickups. On another RV forum someone said that how much people think they can tow is inversely proportional to their IQ. I don't want to be one of those guys. Obviously, and as required by the Airstream owner's manual, I will use a trailer brake of some kind.

If we were sensible we would buy a Smart car as we have talked about from day one. If we really wanted to be wild --a Mini Cooper. In the other current towing thread, tomp1937 said when he was towing a jeep behind a Sprinter Motorhome . Yeah, that's what were thinking.

Comments?
The 2007 Interstate is based on the 2500 Sprinter, not the 3500 Sprinter, so the Gross Combined Weight Rating and the towing capacity may be different than the newer-model 3500 Sprinter-based Interstates. If the GVWR and GCWR haven't changed from one model year to the next, my sprinter manual indicates the 2500 Sprinter has GVWR of 8,550 pounds, and GCWR of 13,550 pounds, for a trailer weight of 5000 pounds even.

The Wrangler comes in less than that, so even if you load the Interstate to the max, you should be okay. And the Wranglers have no towing speed or distance limits (according to the 2012 Motorhome Magazine Guide to Dinghy Towing), unlike a lot of other toads.

The next decision will be towing gear. In my case, I'm going with a Roadmaster Sterling motorhome-mounted towbar, and a Roadmaster Invisibrake system for my toad. But I've also heard good things about the Blue Ox towing system. I chose a motorhome-mounted towbar rather than toad-mounted because it's easier for one person to hook up without help.

Whatever you decide, figure somewhere about $2000 for towing gear if you buy it new, less if you buy the towbar used.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:16 AM   #3
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The Jeep will open up a whole new world for you.My only caveat would be to remember that you can not back up when flat towing.I do flat tow my Jeep but always plan ahead when pulling into fuel stops restraunts etc.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
The 2007 Interstate is based on the 2500 Sprinter, not the 3500 Sprinter, so the Gross Combined Weight Rating and the towing capacity may be different than the newer-model 3500 Sprinter-based Interstates. If the GVWR and GCWR haven't changed from one model year to the next, my sprinter manual indicates the 2500 Sprinter has GVWR of 8,550 pounds, and GCWR of 13,550 pounds, for a trailer weight of 5000 pounds even.

The next decision will be towing gear. In my case, I'm going with a Roadmaster Sterling motorhome-mounted towbar, and a Roadmaster Invisibrake system for my toad.

Whatever you decide, figure somewhere about $2000 for towing gear if you buy it new, less if you buy the towbar used.
Protagonist,

Our math agrees with my reading of the Interstate manual. By the way my neighbor, a retired Fedex Alaska/Asia pilot, was more jealous of the satchel of manuals I received with my Interstate than the unit itself.

I hadn't prices out auxiliary braking systems so I was surprised at your $2K figure. After looking at prices for those I see how you came up with the amount. Why did you choose the Sterling over the Falcon tow bar? The Invisibrake system looks like a winner to me as well.

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My only caveat would be to remember that you can not back up when flat towing.I do flat tow my Jeep but always plan ahead when pulling into fuel stops restraunts etc.
Bob,

When we start out, the first several tows will be begin in Redding, CA and end at Grapevine, CA. Fuel stops are very well scouted out after many trips that direction. I have towed horse trailers, backhoes and huge hay trailers. Towing something I own will be a new experience.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:30 PM   #5
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I have a Jeep Rubicon, as a second vehicle, and if you get the 6 speed manual it is one of the handier vehicles to set up as a tow-behind. Get a good set of flaps, and perhaps even a windshield cover, as the nearly vertical windshield is a magnet for rocks...

If you plan on doing anything else with it, consider the 4dr... it really turns it into a much more useful vehicle all around. But, if it basically for a runabout for 2, it will be great.

As for Rubicon vs. Sport or Sahara... the locking diffs are really the unique feature on the Rubi. If you see yourself going into that kind of terrain, you'll also want to consider a winch bumper... which would also be easily modified for towing.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:53 PM   #6
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Why did you choose the Sterling over the Falcon tow bar? The Invisibrake system looks like a winner to me as well.
The one thing that the Sterling has that the Falcon doesn't is built-in channels for the safety cables and wiring. Otherwise they're a lot alike.

Depending on what's available in-stock when I go to get the baseplates installed, the Falcon wouldn't be a bad choice. I could get by without the Sterling's built-in channels, by the simple expedient of using Velcro cable-ties to secure the wires and cables to the towbar so they don't hang.
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