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Old 12-07-2002, 05:48 PM   #15
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Hensley would help!

Kistler,

The Hensley would improve weigh distribution and sway(no-sway!!!). It's also very smooth in turns, going forward and backing-in. It's worth the money and it would make you safer, since your on the bubble. Safety is having good brakes, driving at a safe speed and providing good maintance.
I can relate on vehicle size too. Fuel mileage is important to me and since I fulltime and I'm NEVER in a hurry, I don't need to have a tow vehicle that can go at the max hwy speed limit while pulling steep passes. Now I can can understand how when folks are on vacation they may pull 700 miles in a day, where I pull max 200 per day. So it's all in your personal needs and safety.
Continue to ask because we all do
John
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Old 12-07-2002, 06:10 PM   #16
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How much does a Hensley weigh do you think? We are perfectly happy with the Jeep ... even towing. Can't use overdrive but that doesn't really matter at 50-55 mph.

I can't find my Trailer Life Tow Vehicle Ratings Chart but I believe actually the Durango is rated to tow less pounds than what our Jeep is set up for..


Escalade is supposed to be coming out with the 3/4 chassis and 500 hp engine in 2003 sometime BUT they cost about $10,000 more than our Jeep AND will probably not fit in our garage.

We don't full time but 200-250 miles is it for us so the 50-55 mph is just right.

"Oscillating" is apparently what I call whipping; that is really scary; experienced that with a UHaul trailer when I was young.

Does anyone know what starts whipping; as nearly as I can tell my rig is not prone to that. I have tried (with no one around on the road) swerving and causing the whipping....doesn't seem to want to do that.

Kistler
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Old 12-07-2002, 11:09 PM   #17
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My guess would be that the Hensley adds 50-70 lbs over the weight of a conventional weight distributing hitch setup, when you consider the drop bar that goes in the truck receiver as well.

I've seen two rules of thumb for wheelbase to trailer fit.

The first I call the overly conservative one, says a 110" wheelbase is right for a 20' trailer and for every additional foot of trailer you need 4" more wheelbase. That would say you'd need a 129-130" vehicle... and I'd need a 170+" Crew Cab long bed.

The second I call overly optimistic. It says that wheelbase must be at least half the distance from the center of the rearmost axle to the center of the ball. For me that measures 280" and says I'd need a 140" Super Cab Short Bed. And I know someone who's towed a 34' Classic through 49 states with that truck with no problems.

I prefer to compromise at my 158" SuperCab LongBed or a 156" Crew Cab Short Bed for that trailer. Neither of these trucks are as manuverable in parking lots as the 140", especially with 4WD, though.

You might try making the measurement for the second "rule of thumb" and see where you come out with your current truck.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-08-2002, 08:57 AM   #18
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Hi Kistler

You may want to consider the new Ford Explorer. Since they have redesigned them with independent rear suspension and lowered the centre of gravity they are quite a capable tow vehicle. I have driven several and have been very impressed with the handling and ride. Handling will be miles better than the Jeep. Other than the BMW X5 and Mercedies ML series it is the best handling SUV I have towed with.

The 4.6 litre is a bullet proof engine and combined with the 5 speed automatic it performs very well. It is reasonably economical to drive as well.

The base models come with 235/70 x 16" tires the more delux ones come with 255 tires. It is important to have the 235 tires as these have substantially less sidewall roll.

The only weakness I have found is that the factory hitch is not very strong and should be strengthened considerably. This is not isolated to the Explorer as most factory hitches are pretty light these days. You may be able to find an old time hitch shop in your area that still fabricates custom hitches to weld some reinforcement onto it. If the people are good they will understand what to do as soon as they look at it.

A Hensley is still a good idea and it will further improve the handling.

I hope this helps.

Andy
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Old 12-08-2002, 09:01 AM   #19
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Thanks for the reply, Andy. My Jeep has the HO 4.7 V8 so the power is not that bad/actually better than a 350 Chev 3/4 ton PU I once had pulling a 5er....

Some of my problem is the Jeep is almost new (20,000 miles) and cost a lot and I will lose quite a bit on a trade SO I really wish to better myself.

Kistler
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Old 12-08-2002, 10:02 AM   #20
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I have generally found that the Grand Cherokee is one vehicle that tows much better than its specifications would suggest. A 107" wheelbase combined with live axles front and rear should not tow well at all yet they don't do to bad.

You always have to subtract the extra drag of a large vehicle from the extra horsepower it may produce. For example the Ford Expedition has a 5.4 Litre but only a 4 speed and with its extra bulk the Explorer will outperform it towing an Airstream.

I find the 4.7 to be a great engine, about the only way to get more performance is a 6.0 litre Escalade/Denali. The new Linclon Aviator should be very hot with the 32 valve 4.6 Litre. I have used this engine in the Continental and it flys. 5-60 in 22 seconds with a 34' connected.

What size tires do you have on the Jeep? Most of them came with 225/70Rx16" but I have seen some with 245's. If you have the larger ones switching to 225's will improve handling, mileage and power. Add a Hensley and you may not need another vehicle.

Andy
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Old 12-08-2002, 10:08 AM   #21
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I really appreciate your advice. I have the P245 70 R 16's....
Somebody advised getting LT next time and 225 sounds good also....

Will the change in tire size affect my speedometer reliability?

Kistler
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Old 12-08-2002, 08:20 PM   #22
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tow vehicle and hitch

We pulled our 30ft Excella over 6000 miles this summer on a 7 week trip out West (from Michigan) with a Ford 150, 5.4 Triton V8 and a 3.73 rear axle ratio with a 4 speed automatic transmission. We have a Reese hitch with anti sway cams.
Although we sometimes strained over the mountains, especially from Lake Tahoe to Donner's Pass via some rather steep two lane highways we were quite satisfied with the truck trailer combination. We too, bought the AS after the truck and not wanting to trade it in yet, decided to use it until we get a 3/4 ton truck.
The only real difficut highway was CA 49 from Auburn, CA to Plymouth but even drivers of automobiles complained about the north south highway cutting across the rivers draining the Sierra Nevad Mountain range. Hairpin turns, deep and steep inclines and narrow or non existent shoulders. This road was even worse than CA 1 running along the coast from San Fransisco to Oregon. But, we took our time and enjoyed the trip. The hitch provides a lot of stability and only several times was I prompted to curse the truck driver passing us at 80 mph (in Wyoming).
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Old 12-09-2002, 04:49 PM   #23
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You won't be able to purchase a 225/70 x 16" in a light truck tire only a 225/75 is available in an LT. Either one will work well the LT will improve handling and fuel economy but not power as it is as large a diameter as the 245/70

The 225/70 x 16 will make your speedometer run 4% fast so at 60 MPH it will read 62.4. The Jeep dealer could recalibrate it pretty easily if you would like it dead on.

Andy
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