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Old 03-10-2003, 06:13 PM   #1
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5.9L Jeep to pull 29' Ambassador?

Hi to everyone, my first post. I have a question for all of the towing experts out there. I have a 98 Grand Cherokee 5.9L, 360 cu in., 245hp, 345 torque, 105.9 wheelbase, 4,261# curb, 5,000# towing capacity. This Jeep is one of the most powerful ones ever made, appears to have power specs similar to lots of 1500's and even some 2500's, and performs great off-road which is why I would love to keep it. I realize though, reading the many comments, that most would suggest at least a 2500 to pull the 29' Ambassador. The problem is that while the large wheelbase makes for great towing, it makes for poor off-roading. Do you think the Jeep would be adequate for towing or should I just give it up and get the beast?

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Old 03-10-2003, 06:27 PM   #2
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Greetings MiamiMike and Welcome to the Forum!

With the proposed combination, you will likely be nearly 25% if not 30% over the factory recommended trailer tow limit for your Grand Cherokee when the trailer and tow vehicle are loaded for a vacation. I wouldn't have considered a trailer of the Ambassadors size with my full-size 1984 Grand Wagoneer with a similarly sized motor and an additional 1,000+ pounds of trailer towing capacity from the factory.

My experience with the larger, 1984 Grand Wagoneer was that my '64 Overlander (26' 8" and a loaded weight of 6,000 pounds) was at the maximum comfortable size for the Grand Wagoneer. It wasn't so much an issue of power as it was that it felt like the suspension had all that it could do to cope with the stress of towing; and the loaded trailer exceeded the weight of the loaded Grand Wagoneer by several hundred pounds which meant that the trailer could make itself known under severe conditions - - especially if the Daul Cam hitch wasn't carefully adjusted properly. I suspect that it would be this disparity that would cause the most trouble with the down-sized Jeep products.

I truly loved my Grand Wagoneer as a daily driver and tow vehicle, but it was far from ideal as a tow vehicle. It had at best a 160 mile cruising range on a tank of gas when towing and less than 200 miles of cruising range solo. Several of my favorite destinations take me through areas where there might be close to 200 miles if not a bit farther between possible fuel stops. That is one area where my K2500 Suburban shines - - 350 to 450 miles cruising range while towing and up to 560 miles cruising range solo.

Good luck with your decision!


Kevin D. Allen
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Old 03-10-2003, 07:00 PM   #3
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I will recommend you check the at:

I can quote from the numerous discussions they have:

"The SUV's in this class are poor towing vehicles due to the high center of gravity and short wheelbase and narrow track width. First the 5000# is maximum based on a basic vehicle and a 150# driver. Add other passengers and cargo and hitch weight, you will probably be over the GVWR. All of this extra weight reduces the GCWR as well. Practically the 5000# tow rating will limit you to a dry weight trailer of less than 3000#. And with that you are pushing the limit on the Jeep.
With small SUV's, I'd stick with a popup at the most and still watch the weight"

and this one :

"This subject has been discussed many times, you may want to do a search. But I will try to help you here. I am a Jeep Technician at a Jeep dealer, have owned 2 cherokees and towed with both. Great vehicle for off road but not for towing. Pulled a pop-up with a 96 cherokee that wasn't bad but you need friction sway control. Towed a 18 foot hybrid with a 99 cherokee, this combination only 3000lbs loaded was terrible. The trailer squats the Jeep to the ground, and the Jeep has no power. Fuel usage is huge and handling is awful. Sold the Jeep and the trailer.
Cherokees are for Pop-Ups only, any more and you will be sorry."

These are not my words, but they seem to make a very good point.
Being able to tow it is one thing. Handling and stopping is another. Handling and stopping it's what count the most.
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Old 03-11-2003, 07:19 AM   #4
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I think the SUV you mention with the correct cooling and gearing could easily tow upwards of 5,000lbs. Maybe a bit more, but I would not venture too much more.

I have a Chevy 350 and it too has all the HP, torque, cooling, etc and even though comparable Chevy trucks with the same size engine etc, say 6500-7500lbs, I am very happy with the 5000lb number. Also my frame is not as robust as the trucks either. In your case though, I believe your Jeep is a unibody.

5,000 is my suggetion. Much more than that, get the beast.


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Old 03-11-2003, 08:35 AM   #5
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The Grand Cherokee with a 5.9l (360) V8 is cooling system limited. In a Dodge truck it is rated to tow a much heavier load , but the under hood package in a Jeep limits its trailer tow package and I can almost guarantee an overheating problem with more than 5000 lbs. This is the reason the hood has cooling vents to allow under hood air out.
Also if you check your owners manual under trailer tow you will see a 24 foot limitation which was developed during handling testing and is a result of the short wheelbase and suspension design. For safety reasons do not exceed these numbers.
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Old 03-14-2003, 01:35 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the very helpful comments and suggestions. Having seen the Ambassador, I am hooked and would rather trade in my Cherokee than pass up the opportunity to own one of these classics. Hope to see you all on the road! Michael

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