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 > 96 jeep cherokee

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pojetski

Norwich CT

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Posted: 06/04/02 02:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Im looking for help on what size trailer would be best suited for my jeep. My local coachman dealer said that i could pull a 25' lite camper with no problem. Is this true? and if not what size trailer do you think i would be best suited for?
THank you

JIMMY034

Springville, NY (S. of Buffalo)

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Posted: 06/04/02 03:33pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That is so far from the truth it's scary. I commend your asking here before you make a mistake. There is no way that the Jeep could tow a 25’ Coachmen, even an ultra-lite. First problem is that the Jeeps wheelbase is far too short for that length trailer. The formula for calculating the required wheelbase is: 113” for a 19’ trailer, and for each additional foot of trailer, add 4” to the 113” for the wheelbase you would need. You will end up with a swaying trailer, as well as other bad handling manners with a unit that long with the Jeep.

Next issue is power. Even if you had the Grand Cherokee, you would find yourself underpowered. My buddy has a 2002 Coachmen Lite, 25’, and tows with a Chevy 2WD pickup, and has issues with that, and he has the 5.7L V-8. Look on the inside of the cabinet doors inside the trailer, for a label that gives you the UVW (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) which is how much the trailer actually weighs from the factory. This will be an eye-opener, as it will be much heavier than what you have been told.

Now to tires. The ‘P’ rated tires would be marginal to handle the side forces that would be generated by trailer sway, amplified by the Jeeps short wheelbase. At least upgrade the tires to ‘LT’ rated, and find a shorter trailer, like about 19/20’ max, and get a good sway control. My buddy’s 25 footer weighs 5,400 pounds dry, and it is the lite model, so don’t be fooled by the dealer. They only want your money. I believe, if you have the regular Cherokee with the 4.0, you have a max tow rating of 5,000 pounds. That is very generous as well. Unfortunately, the Jeep does not give you many options for trailers that you can tow, certainly not in the 25 foot range. Go short, light, and get a transmission oil cooler at the minimum.

To answer your question about what length would be suitable, I would say no longer than 20' MAX, and find an Ultra Lite, such as a Rockwood, Flagstaff, Aerolite, Trail Lite etc. Shop by GROSS...which means, find your true tow rating (deduct your gear, passengers, and any other cargo from the tow rating, and that is what you can actually tow) and find a trailer that has a GROSS (which means MAXIMUM) weight that is 15-20% less than the tow rating. That way, you will not go over weight, so long as you do not exceed the trailers max weight rating.

Hope this helped, and keeps you from being a victim of another crooked dealer.


*This Message was edited on 04-Jun-02 03:49 PM by JIMMY034*



2009 Silverado 2500HD 4X4 C/C/6.0/3.73/Pullrite Super 5th.
2004 Puma 249RBS fifth-wheel bunkhouse.USAF/GULF WAR VET.

tech47

Hazel ParkMi. USA

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Posted: 06/04/02 05:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was the owner of a 96 and a 99 Jeep Cherokee, and am also a Jeep Technician at a dealer. From experience of towing both a Pop-Up and a small 18ft trailer the only thing I would pull with the cherokee is a pop-up. It makes for a much underpowered tow vehicle. Trust me on this one, I have been there.


ROBERT & VIRGINIA HAMILTON
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Steve B.

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 06/04/02 08:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 2000 Cherokee, 4.0 liter, tow package. I tow a small travel trailer, 1800lbs. It does a great job but, I wouldn't go any bigger. It's rated for 5000 lbs. but I don't see how. I have no problems keeping up or passing with the trailer in tow. If you want to tow something bigger though, I'd recommend a bigger tow vehicle to go with it.

Steve b.
2000 Twister


Charles Holley

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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Posted: 06/05/02 06:03am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

My local coachman dealer said that i could pull a 25' lite camper with no problem. Is this true? and if not what size trailer do you think i would be best suited for?


Pojetski, - (1)NO (2)Well under 5000# and (3)(I know you didn't ask but) I'd tell that dealer he doesn't have a clue and is putting your family at risk by offering that kind of advice.

When we bought our first TT the RV dealer said our '96 Jeep Cherokee 4.0 with towing package and transmission cooler would do fine with our new Hornet 21FL - 3900# dry - about 4500# loaded.

Not only was the jeep underpowered for this rig, the sway caused by the short wheelbase caused my bride and me to promise NEVER to use the jeep again except for a boat or jetski. I think I tapped that electric brake a zillion times to keep the sway under some semblance of control. That was terrifing trip and we knew that a new tow vehicle was in order. We went with a 2500HD Chevy and the difference was really dramatic. I love the jeep and drive it everyday - it has over 263,000 miles and engine/drivetrain is still strong - for its intended purpose . . .

I'd be real careful listening to dealers - RV OR Vehicle - when they give towing advice.

You showed your smarts by checking it out here first. We don't always agree on what is said here but everyone wants you to be safe and enjoy the lifestyle.



Charles & Jackie Holley
Pressing toward the mark . . . RV there yet?
Traveling the road less traveled wondering, "Where the heck am I?"


jeepsea

deltona, FL

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Posted: 06/06/02 07:43am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With all due respect to the other people who have responded to you:

I own a '96 Jeep Cherokee Sport, 2WD and tow and 2000 Coachman Catalina Lite 24' TT (dry weight under 3600 lbs). I've been towing it back and forth from Missouri to Florida for 2 months, no problems - only sway when wind is bad in Missouri and then it doesn't sway that much. Enhancements we made to the Jeep were 2 inch lift with leaf springs on the back, transmission cooler and a new radiator (one for the 4WD Jeep which is a 3 core vs. the tiny 1 core that comes in the Sport) and a cooler thermostat, 160 degrees. Mechanics will tell you that it shouldn't have a 160 degree thermostat but they are wrong. In fact, my Jeep had gotten a bit hot just idling, no trailer hooked to it and my mechanic couldn't locate the problem! It was stupid gasket leak around the 195 degree stock thermostat housing! My Jeep is running like a top - especially now with Moble 1 synthetic oil in it and it has over 145,000 miles on it! All a thermostat does is allow water to enter the radiator sooner and run the engine cooler, no matter what anyone tells you a cooler engine lasts longer.

AS for sway, I have standard sway bars that came with my Reese type Class 4 hitch and trailer. It's fine. Semi trucks pass me no problem. I think some people don't know how to drive.

You don't pass anyone ever when towing a trailer and run about 55mph. Wear seatbelts. Yes, on my first trip out I saw a Jeep and trailer about like mine over the side of the road. I am a single woman travel alone and behave myself. Use my common sense and no problem. Good tires, I agree with other post would be an asset.




sheila/jeep-sea

jeepsea

deltona, FL

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Posted: 06/06/02 07:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

p.s.

I don't understand the problem with the wheel base. That shouldn't have ANTHING TO DO WITH IT.

Because the Jeep is shorter than most trucks that pull campers, it's easier to manuever in the tight spots!

Charles Holley

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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Posted: 06/06/02 11:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:


I think some people don't know how to drive.


jeepsea,

I think you've just been lucky so far. Pojetski ask for our opinions and got them. I've driven hundreds of thousands of miles in big rigs, cars and trucks and in the jeep have almost 264,000. I DO know how to drive!

BTW - All a thermostat does is allow water to enter the radiator sooner and run the engine cooler

Not so . . .

The thermostat's main job is to allow the engine to heat up quickly, and then to keep the engine at a constant temperature. It does this by regulating the amount of water that goes through the radiator. At low temperatures, the outlet to the radiator is completely blocked -- all of the coolant is recirculated back through the engine.
Once the temperature of the coolant rises to between 180 and 195 F (82 - 91 C) (160F in your case), the thermostat starts to open, allowing fluid to flow through the radiator. By the time the coolant reaches 200 to 218 F (93 - 103 C), the thermostat is open all the way.


Charles

jackc2740@cs.com

Morgantown, West Virginia

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Posted: 06/06/02 01:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 97 Grand Cherokee with the 4L engine. I pull a 16 foot AeroLite at 2500-2600 pounds. I tow 5000-8000 miles per year, have the Reese equalizer hitch and friction sway control.
The Cherokee does fine with this load. In the mountains, I wish that I have a 5.7L V8, but for most of the time, we tool along at 60 mph getting 11-13 mpg. I use the Cherokee as a main car when not towing so, overall, it is a very good system.
But, I certainly would not tow 5000 pounds with it, even though the Jeep manual says it is rated that.


Jack Coster

Kenneth

Washington, the state

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Posted: 06/06/02 01:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The problem with a short wheelbase is this--

When the trailer starts to sway (ALL trailers start to sway), the short wheelbase has less stability to keep the tow vehicle straight and straighten out the trailer. The trailer will begin a pivoting whip from side to side. If it is able to push the rear of the tow vehicle from side to side, you're in trouble. If you're lucky, you have a miserable, tiring trip. If you're not so lucky, you wreck.

There are several requirements to control sway. Two of these are a long wheelbase vehicle with a short rear overhang. The weight of the vehicle is significant, as is the stiffness of the tires (stiffer sidewalls are better) and the balance of the trailer (10% of the trailer weight on the tongue, and 12-15% is better).

Ken

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