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Old 11-04-2007, 12:51 PM   #1
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Possible to 're-rate' a TV after mods?

Hello, first post! (woo!)

Just a quick question for now -- I have an 07 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, which I love, but it has a relatively low tow rating of 3500lbs. It has a 116" wheelbase, a 3.8L V6, and the running gear seems at least as beefy as, say, a Jeep Liberty or Nissan XTerra, which are both rated to tow 5000lbs.

I really have my eye on the newer 16' and 19' International CCD trailers, and by the numbers it seems like I would be limited to the 16' which has a 3500lb. GVWR (and not too much carrying capacity at that). From what I read, it seems like even that might be pushing it since it's right at the rated limit for the Jeep.

Here's the wrinkle: I like the Jeep enough that I would be willing to do some fairly extensive modifications (beef up the suspension, re-gear, there's even a shop that will put a 5.7L Hemi in one of these rigs, which is not entirely off the table...) in order to effectively be able to tow a 19' trailer w/ a dry weight of 3500lbs. (4200lbs. loaded?) I'm gradually convincing myself that this might be possible to do safely, though probably expensive.

Assuming I can work out the practical/safety issues of doing this, I would then be worried about insurance and/or legal implications, since I would be technically exceeding the manufacturer's recommendation. Would it be possible to get a vehicle engineer to look at a setup, provide recommendations, etc. and then somehow re-rate or re-certify the new rig for a higher capacity? I know of at least one aftermarket outfitter who is selling (presumably road legal) modified Wranglers with a GVWR close to 10,000lbs, so I have to assume the manufacturer's specs are not completely set in stone.

Anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? Also, an answer such as "your nuts" would be acceptable... Thanks, and I'm looking forward to being part of the forum.
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:19 PM   #2
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hi mmccurdy and welcome to the forums...

first let's clear up something....

Quote:
"your nuts"?
ok, we all feel betta...

IF you really are worried about the insurance/legal implications stop thinking outside the box, and stick to the script...

because it really is 'your nuts!' on the hook...

but that would be boring.

there is no issue money can't modify and with enough you surely could make the w'angler' a safe/adequate tv....

with an automotive engineers brains and a cali tuner shop ne thing is doable.

BUT would you still "love" the w'angler?

do you understand WHY you like it so much?

altering suspension, frame, powerplant, brakes and towing bits WILL change how the jeep feels and functions in everyday driving.

without changing the legal "risk" issues one iota....

you've not mentioned how you expect to use the a/s but i'll speculate...

week end getaways, occasional 4-6 day trips but NO epic safaris....

it would cost less and involve minimal liability, to just find/buy an older tow mule just for the bambi...

besides there are some pretty cool near retro used tv out there...

that you might 'love' as much as the w'angler....

cheers
2air'

no doubt others will go into the real world tow capacity limits (of the limited) and the true weight of these bambis,

but the bambis have very little carry capacity,

so IF you plan to take toys camping (bikes, boats, atvs, roller blades) the added cargo capability of an old mule is another plus
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:27 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum,you’re not nuts, but investing that much money and time for an outcome which may not be what you want and will bring legal issues your way if you have an accident seems like doing it the hard way. Wheel base is the 600 lb gorilla of towing which you did not address. You might want to find a more suitable TV and do the modifications which you feel are necessary, a vintage suburban or panel truck. Upgrading something with a longer wheelbase will let you move to a longer trailer in the future if you so desire. I admire your wiliness to do what is necessary to get what you want.
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
IF you really are worried about the insurance/legal implications stop thinking outside the box, and stick to the script...

because it really is 'your nuts!' on the hook...
Hahah.... sorry about that -- "you're nuts" was the answer I meant to solicit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
do you understand WHY you like it so much?

altering suspension, frame, powerplant, brakes and towing bits WILL change how the jeep feels and functions in everyday driving.
Yeah I should elaborate: I have already lifted it and installed larger tires, since my primary purpose for going with the Wrangler in the first place was to use it as it was intended -- that is, to go off road, mainly on multi-day treks. It seems like most of the mods that I would consider would actually improve the off road characteristics, with the exception of returning to near-stock tire size to reduce stress on the driveline. At this point I have a significant investment in the Jeep, which is really astonishingly capable off road, but also rides very nicely on the highway. That plus all the other "Wrangler-only" benefits, like removable doors and top, etc. are my motivations for wanting to stick with the Jeep if possible.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
you've not mentioned how you expect to use the a/s but i'll speculate...

week end getaways, occasional 4-6 day trips but NO epic safaris....
Heh... actually... my wife and I are thinking of living in it for a year

I'm actually not joking. Hence the desire for the 19'. But you're right that a Hemi swap at close to $10k is enough to just outright buy a second vehicle with some miles on it, so maybe that's the way to look at it... thanks for the thoughts...
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:46 PM   #5
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Try an FJ Cruiser ...has a tow rating of 5,000#...and run the Rubicon stock (maybe w/better tires).

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Old 11-04-2007, 01:56 PM   #6
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Ratings are important to the handling characteristics in dry or inclement weather. They become much more important in sudden or emergency maneuvers/braking. Wheelbase doesn't have a neon billboard saying "Important towing fact!" -- with short wheelbase the tow has a much better chance of taking over driving from the tow vehicle. The FJ Cruiser is 106" wheelbase. That's giving up 10" from what you already have.

A 16' will seem mighty cramped on a rainy day. Be sure to walk through any variety of Airstreams. Lay down in the beds. Buy the Airstream you like best -- you'll have it much longer than any tow vehicle. Then follow the advice to get a matched tow vehicle. You'll be happier and your family will be safer.
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Old 11-04-2007, 02:30 PM   #7
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I have an '04 Unlimited and tow a pontoon boat when I'm not 'wheeling in SW Colorado. It's been my observation that top end popups and another THOR product, the T@B are the trailers of choice for going off road. The new FJ may have 5,000# towing capacity, but you can't see where you're going or where you've been. Another idea may be to go with an old Cherokee with the 348 AM V-8 and longer WB.

I pulled a 1954 Cabana TT half way down the Hole in the Rock trail in SE Utah with an old Scrambler without any problems.
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Old 11-04-2007, 04:47 PM   #8
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Have you looked at the two new sport model Safaris? Narrower, lighter and less expensive. We saw them in person a couple weeks back and they're nicer then I thought. Probably a better fit for taking off pavement too.
-KL
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:57 PM   #9
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I concur with 2air; the time and $$$ will buy a solid TV, letting you go for the 19 footer. In addition to the other posts, the short wheel base on your Wrangler would present some handling issues not to mention passing the smog inspections. With many mods, there always fine tuning to do. I'd rather be camping than working out the bugs on a mod. Good luck, Larry
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Old 11-05-2007, 01:09 PM   #10
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I tow a 16' CCD with an FJ and won't want anything long then that considering the short wheel base of the FJ.
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:08 PM   #11
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My only comment is living for a year in a 19 footer. I am on 35 days with my wife in a 28 foot safari. We love the rig, but she is lookig forward to her very big home for at least a couple of months. I hope your marriage is strong as your conviction to make that jeep work. Good luck partner.
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Old 11-05-2007, 08:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmccurdy
I'm actually not joking. Hence the desire for the 19'. But you're right that a Hemi swap at close to $10k is enough to just outright buy a second vehicle with some miles on it, so maybe that's the way to look at it... thanks for the thoughts...
Living in something that smal has been done. How is the strength of your relationship?
The Jeep is not a good TV. Need something beefier. A larger traielr would be recommended. I went from a 2400 sq ft house to a 240 sq ft trailer. I gave up a lot. It was worth it. Consider the loss of space.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:39 AM   #13
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If your marriage is strong and you have a good relationship then you can live in something that small, but then again if your marriage is strong and you have a good relationship and you live in something that small it won’t belong before you need a bigger trailer.
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Old 11-06-2007, 10:44 AM   #14
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This is heresy, but I'd suggest you leave your cool Jeep alone and look at a Fleetwood Evolution camper for real off-road back country camping.
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