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Old 04-02-2016, 05:03 PM   #1
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Towing Capabilities 2014 GC

This is my current setup: 2014 JGC: Not equipped with factory tow package. Penstar V-6, aftermarket CURT hitch, Electronic brake controller. Equalizer Hitch set up by the AS dealer. Tow capacity 6,200 #. AS 22ft Bambi, 3,770 pounds dry weight, close to 4,600 pounds loaded. I have traveled 600 miles since purchase with no issues.( mostly in flat New Jersey) I am heading for the Mountains of West Virginia in June.

I am considering moving to the GC Diesel, but I don't know if the cost of $45000 is worth the move....Please provide thoughts, suggestions and recommendations.

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Old 04-02-2016, 05:12 PM   #2
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Without a secondary transmission cooler pulling through the mountains could be a challenge. Sounds like you're rigged up pretty well but the Penstar V6, a great engine as Ive had one in my jeep wrangler may struggle in the mountains. If the ecodiesel GC is what you want buy it as its a great engine.
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Old 04-02-2016, 05:20 PM   #3
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Looks and sounds like you have a well-matched setup now. I'm not a fan of the Equal-I-Zer hitch we had because of it's stiff w.d. bars and we had too much movement on the highway with wind and semi's on our Ram 1500 reg cab. Solved both issues with a ProPride hitch. If you're satisfied with the stability, and the GC is a more stable chassis than ours, you've got a nice rig. If you have the 8-speed transmission (we just got one) it's all the better.

P.S. Yes, as Joe says, get a transmission cooler installed if not there. And the Ecodiesel is indeed terrific.
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:05 PM   #4
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We have a Sport 22 also, and use an Equalizer as well.

We looked at the diesel JGC, but found we could buy a very, very nice Tundra with V8 gas engine, tow package, max crew cab and short bed for less $ than the GC.

Felt it was a more robust vehicle, and had more verve in reserve for towing, and also that the gas engine was just a simpler set up.

I would drive them both before deciding. The Tundra is my daily driver. I drove a Honda Pilot for 10 years before that. The Tundra is very easy to drive.
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Old 04-03-2016, 05:06 AM   #5
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The JGC shares a platform with the Mercedes GL 550 and the Dodge Durango. You get the benefits of fully independent suspension and a superb 8 gear transmission. It will out-drive and out-manoeuvre most any truck on the market. The Pentastar engine is proven and reliable and more than capable hauling your trailer.

I'd stick with your vehicle for a year and see how you like it before spending money on changing it.
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Old 04-03-2016, 06:23 AM   #6
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I tow my 25', 6600b Flying Cloud with a Durango V-8. I think you'll be fine with your current GC. If you have the option of reading the actual tranny temp (mine does) you can monitor it and see if you need the tranny cooler. If wouldn't hurt to add it any way.
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Old 04-03-2016, 12:42 PM   #7
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I drove our 2014 GC Ecodiesel Summit (stock tow package) towing our 23FB (confirmed 5,500 lbs on a CAT scale fully loaded with fresh water and LPG tanks full) rt Seattle - St John's, NL (13,700 miles) across the Rockies and several lesser New England passes in all kinds of weather (hail, tornado watches, light late snow, thunderstorms, etc.). Used an Equalizer (insert the hyphens as needed!). We had a very stable rig. Oncoming and passing semis and triples in IN made no dufference. Up and down the high elevations and twisty New England roads in Adirondacks and Cape Breton Cabot Trail went very smoothly. Average overall was 16.4 mpg. Drove at 55-65 (occasionally passed others uphill at 70). Checked lug nuts, hitch bolts, and tire pressures every few days. In sum, it's a great setup.
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Looks and sounds like you have a well-matched setup now. I'm not a fan of the Equal-I-Zer hitch we had because of it's stiff w.d. bars and we had too much movement on the highway with wind and semi's on our Ram 1500 reg cab. Solved both issues with a ProPride hitch. If you're satisfied with the stability, and the GC is a more stable chassis than ours, you've got a nice rig. If you have the 8-speed transmission (we just got one) it's all the better.

P.S. Yes, as Joe says, get a transmission cooler installed if not there. And the Ecodiesel is indeed terrific.
The mountains of WV will separate the men from the boys of tow vehicles
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Old 04-03-2016, 02:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Looks and sounds like you have a well-matched setup now. I'm not a fan of the Equal-I-Zer hitch we had because of it's stiff w.d. bars and we had too much movement on the highway with wind and semi's on our Ram 1500 reg cab. Solved both issues with a ProPride hitch. If you're satisfied with the stability, and the GC is a more stable chassis than ours, you've got a nice rig. If you have the 8-speed transmission (we just got one) it's all the better.

P.S. Yes, as Joe says, get a transmission cooler installed if not there. And the Ecodiesel is indeed terrific.
Why the hell would ANYBODY (other than an '18 wheeler') need an 8 speed transmission is beyond me.
My previous Toyota 4-Runner had a five speed, and towed a 6000 lb. Hi-Lo rather well, even through the hills of Vermont; with a 6 cyl. engine.
I used third speed, at 3000 RPM going up those looong hills. It worked!

My current Ford F-150 has a six speed tranny, 3.55 final drive, 3.5 Eco-boost engine, and I NEVER use the sixth gear for anything. It's way too tall for any use, and is completely redundant.
I normally run my engines at 2500 RPM which is max torque on the Eco-B, and shift with the little buttons on the side of the shifter. 2500+/- a little is good for the engine and fuel milage, as not too fast; and allows the ancilliary services to run efficiently.
These multi-speed transmissions are just a sales gimmick to impress the unwashed buyers, that will wind up costing them much coin in the future.
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Old 04-03-2016, 02:21 PM   #10
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Cheryl has relatives in W.V. and we've been through a number of times over many years. Our worst experience was on a mountain road that became narrow then went away, then trying to turn around. We managed but it took awhile. The shorter wheelbase GC would have helped a lot.

With eight speeds forward his GC will find one to make the grade.
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Old 04-03-2016, 02:32 PM   #11
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Mel, eight speed trans is a joy to have climbing and descending mountains, no roaring engine as it moves down in gears to reach enough torque for climbing or engine compression braking for the job.

I think the main reason the manufacturers built it though is fuel economy. Very little rise in rpm as you accelerate through the gears.

Thinking of the good old days, were the early PowerGlide transmissions 2 speed?
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:53 PM   #12
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Why the hell would ANYBODY (other than an '18 wheeler') need an 8 speed transmission is beyond me.

...some more grumping...

These multi-speed transmissions are just a sales gimmick to impress the unwashed buyers, that will wind up costing them much coin in the future.
Because it keeps our engine ticking nicely at about 1300rpm at 65 mp/h - that's one reason. The other is fuel efficiency, even accelerating at a steady pace its rare to hit 2500rpm. The paddle shifters make downshifting on descents a breeze.

The new transmission is also being used by Audi and Bentley in their vehicles - silky smooth gear changes all the way through and proven technology. No need to be such an old grouch about this.
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:01 PM   #13
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Ford and Chevy are cooperative in the development of two multi-speed transmissions. One will be for cars and the other will be for trucks. Understand they are 9 and 10 speed units.

Mel - a close ratio transmission has proven to be an effective way to deliver the right torque when it is needed. Adding an overdrive or two is helpful to improve fuel economy. What works with an 18 wheeler is a help for other vehicles as well. When it comes to hills, even bicycles work better with a few gears.

The GC certainly seems like a good tow vehicle. JMO, but the GC is what I recommend to folks who are looking for a good SUV to use as a tow vehicle. Pat
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:15 PM   #14
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I recently picked up our 25 FB in Salt Lake City and brought it home to Long Island, with my 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. It was a total pleasure to tow. My only quibble is that, for my Airstream, I'm right at the manufacturer's recommended weight limits. Nevertheless, it handled beautifully and I barely knew the trailer was there.

I won't give such a glowing review to the Equal-I-zer hitch. While I have nothing to compare it with, I have to disagree with WestieHouse: I felt every semi as it passed the trailer and the resulting push to the left on my Jeep. I got used to it rather quickly, but I won't say I didn't feel the semis. I have a ProPride hitch (which a dealer couldn't/wouldn't install for me), and I'm looking forward to getting it installed and never feeling another semi's bow wave again.

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Old 04-03-2016, 10:35 PM   #15
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Possible reasons why Jim and I had different experiences with our Equalizer hitch:
1) The AS manual lists the 25FB "dry" tongue wt at 837 lbs. and that does NOT include the 85 lbs of Equalizer hitch weight. This exceeds the 720 lb. limit of the GC TW capacity. I actually preferred the 25' AS but decided the 23FB gave us a better margin of safety and we already owned the GC. The listed TW of the 23FB is 467 lbs, but with full fresh water, LPG, and the hitch we had an actual 600 lb. TW measured using a Sherline scale. All travel ready AS probably exceed the listed "dry" tongue weights in the owner's manual.
2) Correctly setting up, then adjusting and maintaining the adjustments of any hitch is critical to performance. This includes having 10-15% of the loaded trailer weight on the hitch. The spring bars of the Equalizer also need to be correctly sized. I've seen some threads on the forum suggesting lower weight bars to get a softer ride for the AS. But that would lessen the weight distribution to the front wheels, providing a pivot point around the rear wheels as a result of less load/traction on the front.

I have no comment about Jim's experience, other than we have very different Airstreams behind us. Maybe Jim can clarify his Equalizer set up? (I use 1,000 lb bars, 6 washers, 32" distance from cup to L brackets, and used holes 4&5 from the top to attach to the frame). I have varied these settings (in search of easier connecting experience) and notice only a slight difference in handling but a more noticeable CAT scale weight distribution between front-rear of the TV.

I'm still learning about the optimal hitch setup and welcome any information from Jim or others. I am very pleased with our 23FB -Equalizer - Jeep GC arrangement. But I doubt any hitch could compensate for the Jeep GC limits in tow capacity for 25FB.
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:52 AM   #16
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Make sure your radiator core is 1 1/4" not the 1" that is common in those vans. Make sure the core fills the header on the engine side.
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:30 AM   #17
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There definitely is an issue with the weight of my trailer compared to the listed maximum hitch weight of the Grand Cherokee, but I'm not sure it's causing problems. The Jeep wasn't bought with the intention of pulling the Airstream (that purchase decision came later), but frankly, it does so amazingly well. Nevertheless, it's a short-timer in terms of the Airstream; when we retire next year and start hitting the road for longer trips, we're planning to buy a bigger TV.

As for the hitch installation, I was at a bit of a disadvantage. I purchased a ProPride hitch before I went out to pick up the trailer, and I was quite dismayed with the dealer's reaction to it: they wanted to move the battery box and propane tanks in order to install it. I knew that was crazy and I didn't have time (or $$) for all that work, so in order to get out of the place and head home, I told them to install the Equal-I-Zer, with which they claimed to be very familiar. I watched as they adjusted it and I also measured the fender heights to make sure it was doing what it should, but I was unable to drag it across the scales. Honestly, I couldn't tell you what they did to adjust the weight distribution, but it behaved well and that's what matters. It will be swapped out for the ProPride in a few weeks, and then the rig will go across the scales to see how the weights look.

I don't want anyone to think the Equal-I-Zer scared me: it didn't. I felt a minor push from the bow waves of the passing semis, but it wasn't scary and I never thought I was in trouble. The only white-knuckle driving came on I-80 in Western PA at night in the rain - and that would have been the case whether I had a trailer behind me or not.

Naturally, YMMV.

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Old 04-04-2016, 06:34 AM   #18
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But I doubt any hitch could compensate for the Jeep GC limits in tow capacity for 25FB.
There are several members of this board who happily tow 25' trailers with their GC - look up Jim Flower for all the info you could ever need. He's got tens of thousands of miles behind his GC towing a 25'.

The GC does not follow the J2807 standard for tow ratings, so take whatever is published with a huge grain of salt.

What I would do immediately is to get the hitch reinforced with a forward facing cross member, which apart from helping it cope with the stress of WD, will also help with weight transfer to the front wheels.
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:10 AM   #19
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Here we go again...

There are 2 forum members present in this thread using the same TV and the same hitch. One pulling a trailer fully within the ratings (and a happy tower) and one pulling a trailer beyond the ratings (and not as happy a tower).

Andy, since you have done a hitch reinforcement, what is the rating of the your hitch after reinforcement? Does it go from 720# to 1000# to accommodate a 25' Airstream?
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:04 AM   #20
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[O]ne pulling a trailer beyond the ratings (and not as happy a tower).
I wouldn't classify myself as an unhappy tower. The Grand Cherokee handled the trailer amazingly well, and I was very happy towing it the 2,200 miles from dealer to home. My only negative was the minimal push I felt from passing semis, which (from what I've read) is not at all uncommon with all except the Hensley-designed hitches. If I didn't already have the ProPride hitch I can't imagine I'd be scrambling to get one.

The Grand Cherokee is rated at 7,200 lbs trailer tow capacity, and 720 lbs tongue weight. I was without doubt over the max tongue weight, but I'm not convinced the 720 lbs is based on anything engineering-related, as just about any class IV hitch is generally good for 1,050 lbs. It's just too convenient that it's exactly 10% of the rated trailer tow capacity to make me believe they engineered that limit.

Even so, I believe I didn't exceed the max payload on the vehicle (with the caveat that I could be off my rocker and the CAT scales will prove me wrong). My concern for the future is the lack of any room whatsoever for any payload beyond me and one passenger. I don't want to have to think about what gets stored where when we head out, I just want to throw it all in the back of the truck and not worry about it.

In all of this we've ignored the fuel economy question as well, and there's where the diesel shines. I got 25+ mpg westbound with no trailer at 75-80 mph and into a strong headwind, and I got 17 mpg eastbound with the trailer in tow (keeping the speed to 60-65 mph). Normal highway driving at 60-65 mph without a trailer generally gets me close to 30 mpg, and all I hear is that it gets better as you put more miles on the vehicle. You would be hard pressed to get even close to that with the gas JGC.

In short, I would absolutely recommend the Diesel Grand Cherokee to the OP. It's well worth the extra coin, if you ask me.

Jim
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