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Old 06-03-2010, 09:31 AM   #1
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Jeep Wrangler with Modifications as a TV?

I have browsed on this site... and seen that people say a jeep wrangler is a bad tow vehicle. I called a dealership yesterday and was told that my Jeep "As Is" would pull a 16' sport all day long.

Jeep 4 door wrangler tow weight 3500lbs.

Granted at stock... I would be at the max rating on the 16 sport and I don't think that is a good idea. However what is the forums thoughts if I made modifications to the jeep.

Regearing the transmission to a lower ratio
Superchip to increase horsepower
Upgraded braking system
Transmission fan for cooling
Air intake system

Any input would be appreciated... as my family as outgrown the Teardrop.
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:47 AM   #2
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The thing to watch is stability. The Wrangler has a short wheelbase. If the Wrangler is lifted, then that may make matters worse.

I wouldn't be too concerned about weight, horsepower, gear ratios, and stuff. Spend your money on a good hitch, a transmission cooler, stiffer shocks and a MaxBrake.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:19 AM   #3
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Don't forget you have to add in the weight for food, water, clothes, pots and pans and everything else you put in the trailer and it adds up fast. Also you have to add in the weight of the people, pets and supplies in the jeep.

There is an %80 rule of thumb that says you should only tow %80 of your vehicles capacity. How critical this is. I don't know.

I'd be more concerned with the narrow and and short wheelbase of the jeep. I fear you will be in the situation where the trailer will push the jeep. You will be going through mountains every time you leave the valley.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:42 AM   #4
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Jeep Wrangler with Modifications as a TV?

Dave, with modifications to your Airstream you can do this.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:55 AM   #5
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Almost anything can pull a small Airstream, but as mentioned earlier, stability is the problem. You will encounter many forces, natural and man-made, that will push your rig around. The Jeep is simply not stable enough to handle them.

I can appreciate the desire for the Jeep in the backcountry. If you need it, forget the Airstream and pull the Jeep with a motorhome.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:06 AM   #6
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BlueJay, I would never trust what comes out of a car dealers lips.

But you may want to post on one of the Jeep forums to find out what they might be towing. I see a lot of jeeps out here towing scamps and tabs. With the longer wheel base on the four door you may be all right.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:07 AM   #7
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The other alternative is to drive a truck and have a large 4 wheeler in the bed. Jeeps are great (I have a CJ-2a) but today's 4 wheelers will do anything off-road a Jeep will and are light enough and small enough to fit in the pickup bed.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:07 PM   #8
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If you're going by the numbers, a 2008+ four-door Wrangler has a 116" wheelbase. That's the same as a current Tahoe. These late-model four-doors are quite a different animal than the nimble rock-crawlers.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:47 PM   #9
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I really appreciate the input so far. I have been surprised with the handling and driving comforts of this Jeep. I have caught myself cruising on the Freeway at 90 mph without notice. I think the late model jeeps have come a long way from the older ones.

Charlie M- Nice jeep... your post said if I made mods to the Airstream? Was that a typo or is there something I should now?

Mojo- I should have clearified as the dealership that told me I could pull the 16' sport was not a Jeep Dealership it was an Airstream Dealership. I have looked on jeep forums and they are towing trailers that weigh between 2900-3450lbs dry weight.

Mutchtch- The nice things about Jeeps- Is there are so many aftermarket modifications available...that the sky is the limit.

That is why I am confused... if I take another vehicle that weighs the same amount as the Jeep, with the same wheel base, but this vehicle can tow 5000lbs, why can't I make the modification (Horsepower, gear ratio, etc.) to be in line with those specs and tow a 16' airstream?
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Old 06-03-2010, 01:10 PM   #10
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BJD,

I think you'll find that although the Jeep is a great truck, it has a 2k tow rating. Lightest late model Airstream that I am aware of weighs in at about 3,000lbs. Add fuel for the Jeep, passengers and cargo and you'll most likely have about a 1400lb actual tow rating. Wheelbase is not an issue with a 16' IMHO, however, I, like you modified the hell out of a 1996 Impala SS around the same wheelbase and with a far more powerful engine. I did everything: Rear and front control arm upgrades, spring and shock upgrades, rear gearing to 3.73, trans coolers, deep trans pans, trans reprogramming so I could tow in OD. In the end the car could pull a 34 footer in terms of power. Power was not the issue. This car had a 5k tow limit (as mine was an Impala SS clone based of the Caprice Classic). My 19' Bambi towed well and had no ill effects to the Impala, however after having done all these mods to the Impala, I decided to get a 25' Safari.

Long story short, my wheelbase was a little short for that 25er, but there too wasn't the bigger issue. The bigger issue is that the frame, body mounts, etc are designed to a certain level. Once I placed higher stresses on the frame with the heavier hitch weight, I started to get body mounts pull apart over time, and many of the engineered tolerances for bolts that connect key components started to fail way prematurely. Keep in mind I've been towing with "B" body cars since 1993 and this one performed like the others UNTIL I greatly exceeded the specifications, regardless what heavy duty upgrades I did. My guess is you'll be doing this too to a lesser extent. My guess is that you'd need about a 4k tow rating to haul the RV, passengers, cargo and fuel, which clearly you won't find in the Wrangler, at least going by the manufac specs and stated limits.

Bottom line, IMHO, if yer talking about spending the $$$ on an Airstream, why not simply get a different 4x4. Even the Tahoe would be a better choice, or an Impala SS.

Basic modding cannot overcome everything, particularly if the vehicle was never designed for such weights. About the only thing I think would keep you in the green would be a frame off rebuild beefing up everything.

BTW, this is where I got the 2k tow rating info from:

http://www.jeep.com/en/2010/wrangler/capability/towing/
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Old 06-03-2010, 01:28 PM   #11
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This is the current set up. This teardrop is 13' in length and I was told weighed over 2000lbs. It tows great! Just the little one is not so little anymore and a bathroom on board would make the wife and daughter happy.

To clearify the Jeep that I have is rated for 3500lbs towing weight.

Airstream 16' Sport dry weight is around 2700-2800lbs with a max GRVW of 3500lbs.
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Old 06-03-2010, 01:29 PM   #12
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Looking at the 2008 Wrangler's owners manual, it is rated at 3500 lbs with the right powertrain. Tongue weight is limited to 350 lbs.

Having said that, CanAm RV in Canada has set up newer Wranglers for towing, including installing reinforced hitches. Andy Thomson from CanAm posts occasionally to this forum. He mentions towing with a newer Wrangler in this thread. He should be able to give you an idea of how it performs and what would be necessary to achieve that.

Tom
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:38 PM   #13
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Jeep Tow Vehicle

Charlie M- Nice jeep... your post said if I made mods to the Airstream? Was that a typo or is there something I should now?

Just funnin' Dave. I took that photo (not my Jeep) last week. My nephew was a Chrysler Jeep engineer (lost his job in '08). He meets a group of retired Jeep engineers for some four wheeling at Moab, UT. It was my first experience and I really enjoyed it.
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Old 06-03-2010, 05:19 PM   #14
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If you have your heart set on an Airstream and still want the off road capabilities, look at trading in the Jeep for a Touareg with air suspension. Rated to tow 7700lbs and can raise to 12" clearance. Plus locking center & rear diff.

Then you can get a 19' or 23' for your growing family. Kaching!
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