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Old 01-14-2007, 09:46 PM   #1
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Is this a strong enough tow vehicle?

Well, I'm considering buying a friend's 1971 31 foot Sovereign International, rear bath, center beds, and I was curious if my 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited is going to be able to get the job done towing it?

The vehicle has a 6500lb tow max, and the friend that is selling it said the title says 4000lbs for the airstream, but that he'd guess it more around 6000lbs, and I was curious if this was going to be pushing it far too close to the vehicles limits for towing...

Anyone have any experience with jeep grand cherokees and their towing ability?
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Old 01-14-2007, 09:55 PM   #2
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I'd say NO

If you look on the blue bar above, you'll see a "SEARCH" function. You can find several great threads about towing written by heads with far more experience than mine. Try "Jeep Cherokee", "Best Tow Vehicle" etc.

The first thing to remember is that you not only need to TOW a trailer, you need to be able to hold one back going downhill and stop one. The Cherokee is light and also has a short wheel base... not a good thing with a long trailer.

Paula Ford
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Old 01-14-2007, 10:00 PM   #3
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Is this a strong enough tow vehicle?

Greetings atticu_ar!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by atticus_ar
Well, I'm considering buying a friend's 1971 31 foot Sovereign International, rear bath, center beds, and I was curious if my 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited is going to be able to get the job done towing it?

The vehicle has a 6500lb tow max, and the friend that is selling it said the title says 4000lbs for the airstream, but that he'd guess it more around 6000lbs, and I was curious if this was going to be pushing it far too close to the vehicles limits for towing...

Anyone have any experience with jeep grand cherokees and their towing ability?
The '71 Sovereign International had a base empty weight of 4,840 pounds with a hitch weight of 480 pounds. Realistically when this coach has full LP tanks, water in the fresh water tank, and the day-to-day necessities for its occupants as well as installed options and accessories the ready to travel weight will likely approach 6,500 pounds with in excess of 725 pounds on the hitch.

One of my favorite tow vehicles was a full-size Jeep Grand Wagoneer, but I wouldn't have wanted to tow much more than my '64 Overlander that grosses out at about 6,100 pounds with a hitch weight of 750 pounds. Two things work against the smaller post-Grand Wagoneer products -- wheelbase, trac width, and power; and in the case of the Sovereign the gross weight of the coach would almost certainly exceed the GCVWR rating of your Grand Cherokee when both vehicles are loaded for a trip.

Quite honestly, I would be hesitant to consider an Airstream with a length much more than 22' with your tow vehicle.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 01-14-2007, 10:02 PM   #4
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Short answer: No

You'll be able to safely tow a trailer that is weighs 80% of your towing capacity. 5200# would be your max. And I thought '71 31' Sovereigns weighed in the neighborhood of 7100#.
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Old 01-14-2007, 10:09 PM   #5
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Okay, good to know, so I guess I either need a smaller airstream or to find a better tow vehicle.

In honesty, the actual towing will probably only be once or twice a year across town, as I switch from seasonal campground to seasonal campground, but I see the point in all this, and that is that the setup I'm talking about just won't work.

thanks for the replies, that really helped.
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Old 01-14-2007, 10:21 PM   #6
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Cross town moving

Quote:
Originally Posted by atticus_ar
Okay, good to know, so I guess I either need a smaller airstream or to find a better tow vehicle.

In honesty, the actual towing will probably only be once or twice a year across town, as I switch from seasonal campground to seasonal campground, but I see the point in all this, and that is that the setup I'm talking about just won't work.

thanks for the replies, that really helped.
If you're really planning on using it as a park model and just move it twice a year, don't even consider a tow vehicle. You can probably pay someone with a big honkin' Ford F-250 or F-350, or a Chevy 2500/3500 to move it for you.

Planning on living in it full time? Get the biggest one you can afford in good condition. PS, my family lived in Ashtabula in the 1930's. We visited there about a year ago - as well as taking in the Maple Festival in Burton.

Paula

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Old 01-14-2007, 10:26 PM   #7
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Yes, actually, good guess, I am planning on living in it full time.

Just out of curiousity, anyone have a good, older, cheap tow vehicle to suggest, not one for sale really, but one they'd say would make a good combo for this (and not 20grand ;-), I know there is a suburban about 20 miles up the road from me for sale for $2grand...but

What was this area like in the 1930's I wonder? Getting a bit urbanized now, but I remember back in the 80's it was country living ;-)
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Old 01-14-2007, 10:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atticus_ar
In honesty, the actual towing will probably only be once or twice a year across town,
I know you've made up your mind (a good choice I might add) but I just wanted to add one statement... weither it's just an occasional run down the road or a long haul, it still has to be a safe setup. You can run across the idiot who decideds to use your lane instead of his and put you in a bad situation like what happened to me one time. I was towing from Winder GA to Dacula GA (25 minutes) and was on a two lane road and going around a curve the idiot coming from the other direction decided he was a race car driver and take the curve in my lane. I had just added trailer brakes THE DAY BEFORE and I guarantee you if I did not have the brakes, and the proper setup (bars and such) the manuvers I had to do to avoid, the trailer would have come around and said "HI!!!" and I'm sure the jerk wouldn't have stopped to see if I was allright.

Stepping off my soap box.
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Old 01-14-2007, 10:35 PM   #9
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Hi Atticus

My mother and aunts were able to recognize everything in Ashtabula - but were shocked that the greenhouse grampa Scannell ran had been torn down (only half a century had passed after all). The area still has a lot of rural charm.

About the tow vehicle.... you'll probably be able to get it towed for $50 or less. I have a Suburban 2500 and get 12 mpg. Keep the Jeep!

Paula
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Old 01-15-2007, 05:20 AM   #10
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Many automobile towing companies have setups for their towtrucks to enable them to tow a trailer, you can make a few calls and see how much they would charge you. For $100-150 a year I wouldn't mess with a tow vehicle, if that's all you are going to be doing.
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Old 01-15-2007, 08:05 AM   #11
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Good morning Atticus-

The two basic rules for TV vs. TT is wheel base and weight percentage. Your TT should never exceed 70% of your maximum towing capacity. You will find several discussions on the Jeep as a TV. It certainly appears the majority of your forum members feel the Jeep is not a good TV for AS. Use your search function and you will find several very good threads on this. Look forward to hearing on what you do end up with!
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Old 01-15-2007, 08:07 AM   #12
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I think everything thats been said here is right on. Even short hauls need to be safe....the GC will move the RV you mention, but it won't tow it safely.

My brother has a 2004 GC with the high output V8 and wants to tow a 25' SOB that weighs about 6000lbs. I told him to reconsider that decision, just as many here have described to you.
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Old 01-15-2007, 12:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Many automobile towing companies have setups for their towtrucks to enable them to tow a trailer, you can make a few calls and see how much they would charge you. For $100-150 a year I wouldn't mess with a tow vehicle, if that's all you are going to be doing.
Good point!

Wonder if one could sneak that through their AAA rv coverage?
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Old 01-15-2007, 12:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickandsandi
...Your TT should never exceed 70% of your maximum towing capacity.
holy cow! 70%??? then you can't tow anything but the shortest of vintage trailers with anything but a 3/4 ton truck. unless, maybe...one of those newer half-tons with the 9000lb rating...which nobody believes they can do, anyway.
the factories include a safety factor when they publish those ratings.
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Old 01-15-2007, 12:42 PM   #15
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I didn't tell you to do this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul NC
Good point!

Wonder if one could sneak that through their AAA rv coverage?
You could always tell them your tow vehicle broke down, and you need the trailer towed across town. The worst they could do is say "No way."
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Old 01-15-2007, 01:22 PM   #16
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Towing in Ashtabula

Welcome, Fellow N. Ohioan!!
Kevin (Overlander64) about captures it all. Better safe than sorry. Another alternative, if you can't find someone there with a 4 wheel drive (after all it IS snow country!) is to rent a U Haul truck, 3/4 ton or better with a hitch. A day's rent can't hurt too bad, if you only move it a couple of times a year.

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Old 01-15-2007, 01:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistral blue
I thought '71 31' Sovereigns weighed in the neighborhood of 7100#.
My 73 weighs in about 5300#. I'm pretty sure the 7100# figure is the Maximum Gross Vehicle Weight (MVGW) or what you can load it up to.

A Couple other tow factors.
1. Are you going to be towing on the flat or in the hills?
2. Given vehicles similar in other respects there can be a world of difference in towing performance depending on the rear end gear ratio and if the tow vehicle has overdrive. If you get a high gear ratio it will tow best at highway speeds but may struggle and shift all over the place going up a good hill. If you get a torquey low end stump puller rear end, it will handle hills great but you may rev real high if you can get to highway speed. There is also a middle ground rear end. Tire size can have a similar effect. Big tires go faster, small tires give more torque.
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Old 01-15-2007, 04:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
the factories include a safety factor when they publish those ratings.

Really? That's a blanket, general statement. Can you get one of the companies that publishes these specs to put what that saftey factor is on paper? Most likely, they won't. Why? Liabillity. My 2nd cousin works for GM in their truck division and told us flat out when we talked about this last summer that one should never exceed the rated limit. The max rating is just that, a max rating and it's even better in some cases to be under the rated limit....of course, wheelbase, frame construction, brakes, axles, etc also play a significant role, all of which the GC has about enough for itself and a short, light trailer.

Back to the heart of the question on this thread, yes a 1/2 would be better for a 31' and a 3/4 ton even better seeing that you may exceed 6000lbs, but only if you are going to tow it. In your case I agree, most of the ancillary conversations here are moot since you may move it as little as you will and most likely have someone move it for you saving yout tens of thousands of $$$.
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Old 01-15-2007, 08:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Really? That's a blanket, general statement. Can you get one of the companies that publishes these specs to put what that saftey factor is on paper? Most likely, they won't. Why? Liabillity.
absolutely. that liability is why they're already artificially low. what's going to happen if I pull 7201lbs in my 7200lb rated truck? is it going to disintegrate, like the blues-mobile on Daley Plaza? turn into a pumkin? and what do you think the likelyhood is of someone putting 1601lbs in the bed of a similar truck? pretty damn high, I'd guess.
I'm not arguing that anyone should pull a large trailer with a jeep; Nor did I suggest exceeding factory ratings. I'm just saying that setting your own 70% limit on a number that is already underrated is a waste of a good truck. that's all. If they thought that's all it should tow or carry, they'd have said so.
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Old 01-15-2007, 08:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loudruff
rent a U Haul truck, 3/4 ton or better with a hitch. A day's rent can't hurt too bad, if you only move it a couple of times a year.

Larry- LaGrange, Ohio
Most U-Haul trucks either don't have hitches, or have a 2 1/4" ball welded to the hitch, which in turn is welded to the truck.
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