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Old 09-15-2023, 08:14 AM   #1
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Towing a vehicle behind Interstate

Anyone tow a vehicle behind their Interstate? We're investigating towing a JEEP behind us and would appreciate any information you might have on tow bars, braking devices, etc We have a 2017 Sprinter (2018 Interstate)
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Old 09-15-2023, 01:58 PM   #2
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We considered towing a Jeep, but it was too close to the weight limit for my comfort. Still within the limit, but I am conservative (chicken) about things like this. We wound up towing a little Chevy Spark. We use a Blue Ox towbar and a Patriot braking system.
The Spark costs me about 2 miles per gallon in hilly terrain. It also took me a while to pick a setting for braking effort. I had it too strong and smoked the tires on the Spark a couple times.
Good luck with whatever you decide. A "toad" opens up so many opportunities to explore your waypoints.
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Old 09-15-2023, 09:41 PM   #3
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I keep having weird flashes of a Suzuki Samaria, unmodified, 1989, tailgating me about 3 feet back.

Dearly Beloved tells me to take two aspirin and get some sleep.
Probably good advice, but still .
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Old 09-21-2023, 08:42 AM   #4
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Curious...did you change your camera system. My factory system is not good enough for towing. I don't think it's even good enough to drive, but I do. Mine has moisture and Airstream only installs same system which is just too lousy in my opinion
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Old 09-23-2023, 09:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 1st time RV View Post
Anyone tow a vehicle behind their Interstate? We're investigating towing a JEEP behind us and would appreciate any information you might have on tow bars, braking devices, etc We have a 2017 Sprinter (2018 Interstate)
I have an '04 T1N AI with the inline 5cyl. I tow a '16 Jeep JKU Rubicon 4dr. I use a blue ox tow bar and a brake buddy. It drops the fuel mileage by about 2mpg.
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Old 09-24-2023, 07:05 AM   #6
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Nope, nope, nope. We went with an AI so we could stop towing things. [emoji57]
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Old 09-24-2023, 05:51 PM   #7
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Towing a vehicle behind Interstate

I have a 2018 GT and have a 2019 Chev Equinox that was setup to tow behind our old class A. Blue Ox tow bar and a Rvi brake set up. I have towed it behind the AI once and worked fine. Will tow it in future as sometimes would be nice to use car to get around vs the AI. But part of the reason we switched to the class B was the ease of getting around.
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Old 09-24-2023, 09:54 PM   #8
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Nope, nope, nope. We went with an AI so we could stop towing things. [emoji57]
Unfortunately, our AIs won't go where my Jeep will go. And I've got one H3ll of a lot less money in my '04 AI and my '16 JKU than a 4WD AI.
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Old 09-25-2023, 07:21 AM   #9
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Towing Jeep Not Recommended

Before we got our AI 24GT, we had a Class C, Class A, and a Super C, all of which easily towed our Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The claimed curb weight of the Jeep was 4,315 lbs. However, after numerous mods, aftermarket parts, and gear, it was well over 5,000lbs. Larger tires, lift kit, off-road bumpers, roof rack, kayaks, camping gear, fuel, water, etc - all weigh a lot. So, the first thing to consider is how much does your Jeep ACTUALLY weigh when it's fully loaded for travel? The only way to know for sure is to put it on a certified scale.

Then, if you do outfit your Jeep for towing, you need to add the weight of the towing equipment (tow bar, baseplate, supplemental braking system, brake wiring harness, etc). Most towing setups will cost around $5,000 installed professionally.

In my experience of actually towing a Jeep for thousands of miles with my previous motorhomes, the actual weight of that toad will exceed 5,000 lbs.
With the Sprinter having a tow weight limit of 5,000 lbs, I would not recommend towing a Jeep (although I've seen some Sprinter vans doing it).

As others have said, one of the top reasons we went with an AI was to eliminate the need to have to tow another vehicle.
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Old 09-26-2023, 11:22 AM   #10
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Unfortunately, our AIs won't go where my Jeep will go. And I've got one H3ll of a lot less money in my '04 AI and my '16 JKU than a 4WD AI.
That's a fair point, though to be really fair one should note that Jeeps and the like can often be rented at destinations where off-roading is a big deal. Not everywhere of course, like once you're all the way out out at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, but yes in more places than one might think.
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Old 09-27-2023, 10:21 AM   #11
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Tow Limit

I have a 2015 AI GT and Ive been planning the same thing. I looked up the towing capacity of the Sprinter 3500 and found 7500 lbs from several sources. (More than enough for a Jeep.) Where does the 5000 lb limit come from?
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Old 09-27-2023, 10:27 AM   #12
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I have a 2015 AI GT and I’ve been planning the same thing. I looked up the towing capacity of the Sprinter 3500 and found 7500 lbs from several sources. (More than enough for a Jeep.) Where does the 5000 lb limit come from?
The 5000 lbs comes from the actual hitch rating. Yes there are some 3500's available with 7500 lb hitch ratings but usually the GCVWR of 15,250 will be exceeded before the hitch rating is exceeded on a class B motorhome so you would not benefit from the heavier rated hitch, which is why they don't put a 7500 lb rated hitch on the class Bs.
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Old 09-27-2023, 10:31 AM   #13
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If you are looking for a light Jeep the 1997-2006 TJ model weighs anywhere from 3250 (SE model w/4 cyl) to 3600 in stock configuration. My 2000 TJ weighs 3700 but a previous owner installed new wheels and 31" tires which I will be replacing with stock wheels and tires resulting in a 87 lb weight loss.
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Old 09-27-2023, 05:45 PM   #14
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Just remember, an AI loaded out for a camping trip, even with conservative packing, is likely to come in at nearly the GVWR for the vehicle (e.g. more than 10K pounds). Good luck!
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Old 09-27-2023, 07:06 PM   #15
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Just remember, an AI loaded out for a camping trip, even with conservative packing, is likely to come in at nearly the GVWR for the vehicle (e.g. more than 10K pounds). Good luck!
Exactly.

Sprinter 3500 chassis GVWR= 11,030 lbs.
Sprinter 3500 chassis GCVWR=15,250 lbs.
Max left for toad if fully loaded=4,220 lbs.
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Old 09-27-2023, 10:44 PM   #16
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I tow a loaded Ford Bronco Badlands that weighs nearly precisely at the max towing rated capacity of my Interstate X (5,000 pounds). That is MB Sprinter 3500 Dually.

It's completely doable and 100% legal, but it's underpowered. You be with the loaded trucks in the slow lane on long grades with your blinkers on.

You will be fine if you are OK with this like I am.

Make sure your Jeep is as light as you can get it, within the towing max rating, has a supplemental braking system, tow at 55 MPH unless passing, and enjoy having your off-road capable vehicle with you as I do.
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Old 09-28-2023, 07:11 AM   #17
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If you looked at a Mercedes Sprinter data source, you may have seen the basic van towing rating. Airstream adds a lot of weight from the cabinetry, appliances, etc. That has an impact on the gross vehicle weight and in turn the towing capacity.
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Old 09-28-2023, 05:47 PM   #18
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Towing a vehicle behind Interstate

Quote:
Originally Posted by ITSNO60 View Post
Exactly.

Sprinter 3500 chassis GVWR= 11,030 lbs.
Sprinter 3500 chassis GCVWR=15,250 lbs.
Max left for toad if fully loaded=4,220 lbs.
Yeah, that's what I was saying - more than 10K pounds loaded for camping, and pushing close to GVWR of 11,030.

So as long as the weight of the hitch setup used for the TOAD doesn't push your van over GVWR, and the hitch setup plus the TOAD and all the fun stuff folks put into the TOAD since there's room doesn't push you over GCVWR, you're supposedly good to go. That said, you're playing way beyond the upper limits of what I'm comfortable dealing with on my own AI. But y'all go right on ahead, your money your van, and I'll just pass you on all the hills. [emoji3]
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Old 09-28-2023, 06:47 PM   #19
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Towing with Interstate

As pointed out previously, it is very important to know your GVWR and GCVWR, and to not exceed those limits. The only way to know that is to weigh your RV (and TOAD or trailer, if used) on a certified scale (such as the CAT scales for truckers), after you have loaded it up completely with everything the way you would normally travel. This includes food/beverages, clothing, camping gear, bikes, kayaks, fresh water, full fuel, and yes, passengers and pets.

Most RVers have never weighed their rigs, so have no idea what their actual weight is. They usually look at the spec sheet that states something like - cargo capacity = 1,400lbs, and then they just take a SWAG at what they might actually weigh, or they don't think about it at all.

I've had some RVers tell me they don't really care about their weight, as long as all their stuff fits. Vehicle weight limits are not just for safety and performance - it's also a legal and liability issue. For example, what if I drive my Sprinter towing a fully loaded Jeep Unlimited, and my gross combined weight (Sprinter and Jeep together) is over 16,000lbs as I'm descending a steep mountain pass, and I lose control of the vehicle and cause a crash. There is a very good chance that the police will find me in violation and my insurance company will find me negligent and at fault (for being overweight).
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Old 10-05-2023, 03:49 PM   #20
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The 5000 lbs comes from the actual hitch rating. Yes there are some 3500's available with 7500 lb hitch ratings but usually the GCVWR of 15,250 will be exceeded before the hitch rating is exceeded on a class B motorhome so you would not benefit from the heavier rated hitch, which is why they don't put a 7500 lb rated hitch on the class Bs.
A class III hitch is rated (depending on the hitch) at 5000 lbs with a 500 lb tongue weight OR at 10,000lbs/1000lb tongue weight with weight distribution. Since towing a Jeep four-down has a miniscule tongue weight (the 30lbs of the bar?) the hitch is safe for towing 10,000 lbs, well over the weight of what the drivetrain is rated to handle.

As far as the liability issues of being slightly over-weight in towing, as a certified traffic collision investigator, I can't anecdotally recall in thirty years of working ever seeing a crashed vehicle (trailer, moho, or towed) carted off and weighed post-event. Most cops don't know anything about hitches, tow ratings, or any other information specific to investigating towing collisions.

While I'm sure in cases of gross negligence that these issues may come to the forefront, it would have to be a pretty egregious violation to bring about legal sanctions. As a practical matter, it seldom happens, if ever in run-of-the-mill accident investigation. Generally, the cause of collisions is either "failure to maintain control," "speed unsafe for conditions," or a right-of-way violation.

While I'm not advocating irresponsibility, having properly installed and working safety equipment (Brake buddy and tow bar,) knowing the towing capacity stated for the van, knowing the curb weight, GVWR, and CVWR and being in the ballpark is sufficient for towing safely.
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