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Old 03-02-2003, 06:26 PM   #1
saxonsraven
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What trailer for a Grand Wagoneer?

I have been tying to sovlve the problem of which way to go. I have a Jeep Grand Wagoneer V8, 5000 lb hitch and have been reading about total weights ratio to size of the trailer. What size trailer would be best? Would a trailer even move behind a GW or should I go to a truck?
A motor home would be great but in my situation with Child support the GW would have to go. As a lover of these two American designs it is a little sad to know I can only have one or the other if the GW is not up to towing at leasted an AS 28ft.
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Old 03-02-2003, 06:52 PM   #2
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Here are a few tips on what you need to have a successful tow vehicle (I know some have modded out Intrepids, etc that can do it but I don't suggest it):

Trans cooler

Weight distribution, sway control and a hitch that is rated for the weight to be pulled. I do not believe you can find a 28ft Airstream under the 5000lb hitch you mention, so from your post right out of the gate, you will need a new class IV hitch set. For comparision, my Bambi weighs about 3600lbs empty. It's gross weight is 4600lbs with water, clothes, etc in it. My hitch is rated at 10,000lbs with weight distribution, etc. A bit of overkill since my ride won't pull more than 6500lbs, but there weren't too many options in the "upper" class hitchs.

Brake control unit and brakes (working condition on the rig)

Possibly a lower temperature thermostat

Rear gearing, depending on other uses of the car ranging from 3.42 to 3.73 gear ratios

My car is actually rated at 5000lbs as well, but I know several that pull upwards of 6000lbs. I would NOT personally pull anything much over 6000lbs gross since that would already be almost 1000lbs beyond my tow vehicles gross vehicle weight.

I thought that I read somewhere that you should not exceed your tow vehicles gross vehicle weight by "about" 1.25x.

If your truck weight is about 5400lbs and is rated for pulling 5000lbs, I would not pull much more than 6500lbs and that 6500lbs would depend on if you had the trans coolers, gear ratios, etc mentioned above and very careful attention while driving.

This is not law, and don't simply take my word for it. This has served me well for years. Talk to the techs at Jeep. Join some Jeep forums and talk to other folks that own one and are pulling large, heavy things. These people have the best input since they have exp with your almost exact vehicle.

I practiced what I am preaching. For example, I have a '96 LT1 powered Caprice and joined the impalassforum (since the car is almost identical to the SS). I got GREAT info from that group of fine folks!

Incidently, I took a look at the Jeep website myself and it rates the 4.7L V8 at 6500lb towing capacity which is in line with what I outlined above. It also does not mention much besides a Class IV hitch when it comes to the "trailer package".

Your results may vary, and so on....

Regards,

Eric
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Old 03-02-2003, 07:01 PM   #3
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Thanks Eric:
I knew that when help was needed "it would come" your statements are correct for my vehcile right down to the hitch. What I am concerned about is making the decision soon on the type of traveller trailer or MH. This is all geared to whether the GW will tow an AS of about 28ft. If not then a truck is needed or I go to a MH. I can not have both unfortunately I have responsibilities that are motivating these outcomes but thanks.
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Old 03-02-2003, 07:10 PM   #4
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What trailer for a Grand Wagoneer?

Greetings Saxonsraven!

You don't mention what year your Grand Wagoneer is, and that can make quite a bit of difference. I towed my '64 Overlander with a 1984 Grand Wagoneer with the 360 V8, 3.73 diferrential gearing, and factory heavy duty trailering package. It was much better than my 1995 Chevrolet K1500 pickup with 3.73 differential gearing and 5.7 Liter V8. The Grand Wagoneer's big downfall was that it only had a cruising range of about 100 to 120 miles when towing the trailer, and only about 190 miles solo. With the larger, optional 401 V8, I wouldn't have hesitated to tow a larger Airstream with the Grand Wagoneer (pre 1990). If your Grand Wagoneer is the down-sized variety, I would be hesitant to tow anything beyond 24 feet.

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Old 03-02-2003, 07:15 PM   #5
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Makes sense to me. Glad you are asking the questions rather than finding out as you pull away. Some places will sell anything without question.

I added a few comment to my orig post about the hitch. I would check the weight of the 28 footer you are looking at and see what you come up with. As a point of reference, the lowest weight 2003 Airstream at 28ft I believe is the Classic per the Airstream website. It rates it's "empty" weight at 6785lbs and it's "gross" full weight at 8600. The 28ft Safari is rated at about 6700lbs "empty" but has a loaded "gross" of 9100lbs. Either way, both seem a bit high for your truck.

I would say that (and this is just me talking) that the 25ft (A,B or C) Safari would be the max you would dare attempt with the Grand Wagoneer even with the best cooling and gear attached.

Others may disagree, but this is just my .02.

Eric
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Old 03-02-2003, 07:16 PM   #6
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Can I keep it can I can I

Thanks for the reply:
My GW is an 88 in pretty good condition, the usual maintainance problems as Gidder said IT ALWAYS SOME THING. It is all original 99k miles not a factory installed hitch after market.
If I can keep her then travel will deffenately be easier after you park up. Thanks again.
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Old 03-02-2003, 07:21 PM   #7
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Eric thank you!
I was starting to think that but your comments really pulled me up. No more than 25ft it is. This is fine as I only have myself and my GSD saxon to travel with. I have seen the US here and there but as teacher and having time off I want to see and meet more of the America I found in the West. I think I will have to upgrade some of the systems of the GW to tow without any problems. A GW and an AS is going in style anyway you look at it.
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Old 03-02-2003, 07:24 PM   #8
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Kevin thanks also

Kevin thank you also:
When advice comes as rapid as this it is hard to keep up in real time. Your comments were very helpful thanks.
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Old 03-02-2003, 07:27 PM   #9
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What trailer for a Grand Wagoneer?

Greetings Saxonsraven!

At least in 1984, my Grand Wagoneer was rated for up to 6,500 pounds of towed weight with a weight distributing hitch, heavy duty suspension, heavy duty cooling, and a heavy duty alternator. In addition, I added a 24,000 pound rated transmission fluid cooler. With the 360 V8, it handled my '64 Overlander (26 ft., 6,000 pounds loaded for a vacation). If my Grand Wagoneer would have had the 401 V8, its maximum trailer weight rating would have been increased by 1,000 pounds if my memory serves correct. When towing the Overlander, I never felt like there was too much trailer following me, and it handled all grades quite well including my personal test - - the grades approaching the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 from both the East and West. My biggest complaint with the Grand Wagoneer had nothing to do with its ruggedness or dependability, rather its short cruising range and lack of aftermarket larger fuel tank - - 21 gallons just was not enogh for the fuel thirsty beast.

Good luck with your decision!

Kevin
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Old 03-02-2003, 07:40 PM   #10
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Re: What trailer for a Grand Wagoneer?

Quote:
Originally posted by overlander64
Greetings Saxonsraven!

its short cruising range and lack of aftermarket larger fuel tank - - 21 gallons just was not enogh for the fuel thirsty beast.

Good luck with your decision!

Kevin
Your very welcome saxonsraven!

Amen Kevin! I have a 23 gallon tank and really only about 21.5-22 useable gallons. I think my range pulling will be about 240 miles per tank (approx) compared to 460 not pulling. At $2 a gallon, it stings a bit, but not any more than $400 for room, board and airfare for 5 or 6 days! Plus, I can bring my pocket knife and gun without being attacked at the airport.


Regards,

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Old 03-02-2003, 09:56 PM   #11
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401?

Did they ever put a 401 in the big Wagoneers? I had an 85 model with the 360 or 390, can't remember exactly. It was a beautiful machine just had the misfortune of being made by American Motors. I pulled a 15' Playmor to a buddies wedding in Florida back in 1990. I do remember stopping for gas constantly, good thing is I never had to worry about falling asleep at the wheel. The Playmor was a single axle so towing without a good friction sway was definitely a white knuckle affair! It broke off in the middle of the night and we drove for what seemed forever till I found a welder to reattach it, somewhere in Alabama.

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Old 03-03-2003, 10:23 AM   #12
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What trailer for a Grand Wagoneer?

Greetings Chas!

At least according to all of the literature that came with my 1984 Grand Wagoneer, the 401 V8 was available as an option. It may have been discontinued after 1985 as I never heard anything more about its availability after 1986. According to the sales literature and the owner's manual on my '84 Grand Wagoneer the available engines included 304 V8, 360 V8, 390 V8, and 401 V8 - - who knows, the 401 may never have actually been installed in any of the Grand Wagoneers - - I don't believe that I ever saw one.

Kevin
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Old 03-03-2003, 04:12 PM   #13
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Engine rating

My GW has a 390 so I really am revising my expectations. I will stick to the smaller AS's so I can enjoy the ride. Either way I would keep the trailer and change the towing vehcle, you can get a truck but it seems the old Airstreams are going to start becoming scarce and I have a limited supply of money.
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Old 03-03-2003, 04:38 PM   #14
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Plus depending on how you buy the rig instead of the tow vehicle, you can write off some or most of the interest on the Airstream which you can't do on a car/truck. Of course paying cash, for either makes it a non-issue. But just thought I'd throw that into the mix.....

Regards,

Eric
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