- Jeep Towing Guide -

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  1. #1
    JK Enthusiast A.R.X-D's Avatar
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    Default - Jeep Towing Guide -

    - Jeep Towing Guide -
    If you're planning towing anything with your JK, You may want to read this guide.
    It is always good to know what your Jeep can safely tow.
    Please note: There is a big difference between what the Jeep "CAN" tow, to what the Jeep "SHOULD" tow.

    Who this "Towing Guide" is for?
    Potential new JK owners that researching the JK towing capabilities
    Or
    People that already have a JK, and wish to know How much their JK "SHOULD" tow.

    let's get started!
    The Jeep Max towing capacity stated by the JK owner manual is depended on the Wrangler trim level.
    BUT,
    This stated "Max towing capacity" is only if the driver is 150lb, that's drive a stock optionless Jeep and has NO passengers.
    with options, passengers and mods (like steel bumpers, winch, lifts & etc) the towing rating capacity is drooping drastically.

    How can we determine how much we "SHOULD" tow with our Jeeps?

    To find the Actual towing capacity of our Jeep we will need to get a few parameters, some/most can be found in the Jeep owner manual:

    1. GVWR = Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, Max Weight that the Jeep can Weight by itself, stated by the trim level (Or options like a towing packages)
    2. GTWR = Gross Trailer Weight Rating, Max Loaded trailer that the Jeep can tow stated by the trim level (Or options like a towing packages)
    3. GCWR = Combination Weight Rating, Max Jeep and the trailer Combine Weight, stated by the trim level (Or options like a towing packages)
    4. MTW = Max Tongue Weight, stated by the trim level (Or options like a towing packages)
    Please note: Tongue weight also includes any weight that's behind the rear axle of the Jeep. So if you plan on loading up the trunk, you'll need to factor that in.
    5. AVW = Actual Vehicle Weight, including Options, Cargo, Passengers and Mods (You can found this out by visiting a public weight station.)
    6. MFA = Max Frontal Area, in sq. See Jeep owner manual. (I think it's 32sq. for all trim levels)
    * The Max Frontal Area is not critical, though - keep in mind that if you do exceeded it, that will add a "Trailer Weight" due to "Wind Resistance".

    Some ground rules:
    We "SHOULD NEVER" tow anything if we exceeded the Jeep GVWR, Period!
    There is no way to exceed the Jeep "Max towing capacity" stated by the manufacturer.


    The Actual towing capacity can be determine by using this equations, Whatever is LESS:

    A. Trailer task: Boat Trailers and Utility trailers apply a different balance "Tongue Weight" then Campers, especially on HYW speeds.
    Therefor, to find the max Trailer Weight by it's task:
    Tongue Weight divide by the % of the type of task, when - 6% for Boat trailers, 11% for Utility trailers and 11%-15% for Campers. (See example below)

    B. We "SHOULD NEVER" tow more then our GCWR (Combination Weight Rating)
    Therefor, GVWR minus AVW (= Actual Jeep Weight, which include: Options, Cargo, Passengers and Mods) equal: what ever left for towing a trailer.
    *When towing, you want your Jeep as light as possible.

    Live example
    For our example, we are going to use my Unlimited Rubicon in two different Scenarios:
    1. GVWR = 5700
    2. GTWR = 3500
    3. GCWR = 8250
    4. MTW = 350
    5. AVW = 4500 (Jeep Options, Mods + Me as a driver)
    6. MFA = 32sq.

    Scenario #1
    Need to get from point A to B, just me, the Jeep and a trailer, no passengers or additional cargo:

    A - Trailer task:
    A1. If I wanted to tow a Boat: 350/6% = 5833lb ( => I should not tow more then the 3500lb rated GTWR )
    A2. If I wanted to tow an Utility trailer: 350/11% = 3181lb (Fully Loaded)
    A3. If I wanted to tow a Pop-Up Camper: 350/12.5% = 2800lb (Fully Loaded) at 32sq. Max Frontal Area

    B. GCWR (Combination Weight Rating) minus AVW (Actual Jeep Weight) =
    8250 - 4500 = 3750lb ( => I should not tow more then the 3500lb rated GTWR )

    Scenario #1 Conclusion:
    The max weight that I can tow when it's only me and the Jeep is:
    Boat: 3500lb, Utility trailer: 3181lb (Fully Loaded), Pop-Up Camper: 2800lb (Fully Loaded) at 32sq. Max Frontal Area

    Scenario #2
    Need to get from point A to B, this time with my wife, Baby and 200lb of cargo.

    B. GCWR (Combination Weight Rating) minus AVW (Actual Jeep Weight)
    We need to consider wife 160lb, Baby 20lb and 200lb of cargo.
    8250 - 4500 - 160 - 20 - 200 = 3380lb

    Scenario #2 Conclusion: The additional family effected the max Boat weight that I can tow, but not other types of trailers.
    Boat: 3380lb, Utility trailer: 3181lb (Fully Loaded), Pop-Up Camper: 2800lb (Fully Loaded) at 32sq. Max Frontal Area

    Scenario #3
    Need to get from point A to B, this time with my four 200lb buddies and some gear...

    B. GCWR (Combination Weight Rating) minus AVW (Actual Jeep Weight)
    8250 - 4500 - 200 - 200 - 200 - 200 - 250 = 2600lb Left for towing any trailer!!!

    Scenario #3 Conclusion: Well, I sure need to encourage my four 200lb buddies to get some exercise
    The additional weight of my four buddies effected the Jeep towing capacity drastically.
    Boat: 2600lb, Utility trailer: 2600lb, Pop-Up Camper: 2600lb at 32sq

    Scenario #4
    Need to get from point A to B, this time with my four 200lb buddies and A LOT of gear...

    200lb per buddy x 4 + 500lb of gear + AVW (Actual Jeep Weight) = 5700lb !!!

    Scenario #4 Conclusion:
    Well, I have reached the Jeep "Gross Vehicle Weight Rating" at 5700lb (see ground rules on top)
    I SHOULDN'T TOW ANYTHING!


    Improve towing handling
    You can not increase your Jeep Max towing capacity, but you can improve towing handling and feel:

    1. Use Towing Weight Distribution

    This system will help the driver to balance the towing load, Having too much tongue weight in relation to gross trailer weight can cause the hitch of the trailer,
    and the rear axle of the tow vehicle, to dive.
    meaning the front of the trailer will head toward the ground, bringing the front of the towing vehicle off of the ground.
    Obviously, if your tow vehicle dives too far, such as in situations when you need to brake quickly, you'll loose braking traction and steering control of the wheels on the front axle, which can be very dangerous.
    The opposite is also true of too little relative tongue weight. In those situations, a trailer will be more prone to sway, and it can swing back and forth out of control.
    Because of these two factors, you can see why finding the delicate balance between tongue weight and gross trailer weight is important.



    2. Rear Axle Air Bags:

    This system will help reduce the sag in the rear Axle and will improve towing handling from the same reason above.



    3. Trailers Brakes
    Any trailer that is more then 2000lb need a Trailers Brakes.


    ** Will be nice if a moderator will find it worthy for sticky, Thanks.

    Flame on!
    Last edited by A.R.X-D; 07-22-2011 at 09:20 AM.
    *English as a second language, viewer "patience" is advised!
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  2. #2
    JK Enthusiast Nomadr's Avatar
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    Default

    Well done! I hope they make this a sticky. So important for people to see AND follow these guidelines.

    Also important to note that you can drive on to any CAT Scale (or similar) at any truck stop and weigh your rig. Pull up with the Jeep on one pad and trailer on another. Push the button on the call box. They will ask "Truck/Trailer Number?". Answer "private vehicle". They will say "OK. Come on in". Pull your rig off the scale and go inside. Pay the $7 or $8 and they will give you a print out of your weights.
    Last edited by Nomadr; 07-11-2011 at 04:59 PM.
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  3. #3
    JK Enthusiast Jeep Mama's Avatar
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    Unhappy Noooooooo!

    I want a pop up soooo much, and Jeepin Dad said we could get one next month... I've been looking at ones below GVWR of 2000lbs. But if you add me, him, the boys, that stupid winch and bumper, then there is no way

  4. #4
    JK Enthusiast A.R.X-D's Avatar
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    Default Well, let's see:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeep Mama View Post
    I want a pop up soooo much, and Jeepin Dad said we could get one next month... I've been looking at ones below GVWR of 2000lbs. But if you add me, him, the boys, that stupid winch and bumper, then there is no way
    Well, let's see...
    Scenario #1 - basic stock 2dr:
    The X 2dr 3.21 gear, is rated to tow only 1000lb.
    GVWR = estimate at 3785lb as per Allpar (Not modded)
    GCWR = 5050lb
    MTW = 100lb
    One nice husband = 170lb
    2 boy at 120lb

    So:

    A. Trailer task: Boat Trailers and Utility trailers apply a different balance "Tongue Weight" then Campers, especially on HYW speeds.
    Therefor, to find the max Trailer Weight by it's task:
    Tongue Weight divide by the % of the type of task, when - 6% for Boat trailers, 11% for Utility trailers and 11%-15% for Campers. (See example below)

    B. GVWR minus AVW (= Actual Jeep Weight, which include: Options, Cargo, Passengers and Mods) equal: what ever left for towing a trailer.

    A - Trailer task:
    A1. If you want to tow a Boat: 100/6% = 1666lb ( => You should not tow more then the 1000lb rated GTWR )
    A2. If I wanted to tow an Utility trailer: 100/11% = 909lb (Fully Loaded)
    A3. If I wanted to tow a Pop-Up Camper: 100/12.5% = 800lb (Fully Loaded) at 32sq. Max Frontal Area

    B. GCWR (Combination Weight Rating) minus AVW (Actual Jeep Weight) minus your husband and your boys=
    5050 - 3785 - 170 - 120 - 120 = 855lb ...
    Conclusion:
    If you plan to load your family on your 2 dr Jeep:
    Boat: 855lb, Utility trailer: 855lb (Fully Loaded), Pop-Up Camper: 800lb (Fully Loaded) at 32sq. Max Frontal Area

    Scenario #2 - Stock 2dr with Towing package:
    The X 2dr 3.73 or 4.10 gear, is rated to tow 2000lb.
    GVWR = estimate at 3785lb as per Allpar (Not modded)
    GCWR = 6050lb
    MTW = 200lb

    A - Trailer task:
    A1. If you want to tow a Boat: 100/6% = 3333lb ( => You should not tow more then the 2000lb rated GTWR )
    A2. If I wanted to tow an Utility trailer: 100/11% = 1818lb (Fully Loaded)
    A3. If I wanted to tow a Pop-Up Camper: 100/12.5% = 1600lb (Fully Loaded) at 32sq. Max Frontal Area

    B. GCWR (Combination Weight Rating) minus AVW (Actual Jeep Weight) minus your husband and your boys =
    6050 - 3785 - 170 - 120 - 120 = 1855lb ...
    Conclusion:
    If you plan to load your family on your 2 dr Jeep:
    Boat: 1855lb, Utility trailer: 1818lb (Fully Loaded), Pop-Up Camper: 1600lb (Fully Loaded) at 32sq. Max Frontal Area

    Scenario #3 - Stock 2dr with Towing package BUT you have decided that husband and kids will stay home:
    The X 2dr 3.73 or 4.10 gear, is rated to tow 2000lb.
    GVWR = estimate at 3785lb as per Allpar (Not modded)
    GCWR = 6050lb
    MTW = 200lb

    A - Trailer task:
    A1. If you want to tow a Boat: 100/6% = 3333lb ( => You should not tow more then the 2000lb rated GTWR )
    A2. If I wanted to tow an Utility trailer: 100/11% = 1818lb (Fully Loaded)
    A3. If I wanted to tow a Pop-Up Camper: 100/12.5% = 1600lb (Fully Loaded) at 32sq. Max Frontal Area

    B. GCWR (Combination Weight Rating) minus AVW (Actual Jeep Weight) =
    6050 - 3785 = 2265lb ...
    Conclusion:
    If husband and kids stay home:
    Boat: 2265lb, Utility trailer: 1818lb (Fully Loaded), Pop-Up Camper: 1600lb (Fully Loaded) at 32sq. Max Frontal Area

    SUM:
    As you can see, with basic stock 2dr, The MAX loaded camper that you SHOULD tow is 800lb
    and with a stock 2dr with Towing package the MAX weight that you SHOULD tow is 1600lb, with or without your family.


    Last edited by A.R.X-D; 08-20-2012 at 08:27 AM.
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  5. #5
    JK Newbie Dream Girl's Avatar
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    Default Thanks! Great guide!

    If I got this right, I should be able to tow this little camper

    Spree Escape E16RBT
    Unloaded Camper weight = 2,400lb
    Gross camper weight = 2800lb
    Dry Hitch Weight = 293lb


    I also have Unlimited Rubicon, and it's fairly stock, so I used the OP figures

    A - Trailer task:
    A3. Camper: 350/12.5% = 2800lb (Fully Loaded) at 32sq. Max Frontal Area

    B. GCWR (Combination Weight Rating) minus AVW (Actual Jeep Weight) =
    8250 - 4500 = 3750lb ( => I should not tow more then the 3500lb rated GTWR )

    So, the 2800lb is my magic number!

    And if I got this right,that leave me plenty room for passengers and cargo in the Jeep!
    GCWR - AVW - Camper = passengers and cargo inside the Jeep!
    8250 - 4500 - 2800 = 950lb (three adults at 200lb ea and 350lb of cargo)
    NOT BAD!!!!

    The only thing that concern me is the 32 sq. Max Frontal Area, the "Spree Escape" have a Frontal Area of 50 sq.
    Last edited by Dream Girl; 07-14-2011 at 01:32 PM.
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  6. #6
    JK Enthusiast Classified.Spirit's Avatar
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    Default Well... that's sucks!


    I really set my eyes on the new Jayco Jay feather X17Z


    BUT the Unloaded Camper weight alone is 2,995lb
    by the time I finish loading it it will probably be around 3,500lb !!!
    Not even mentioning the Dry Hitch Weight of 415lb way pass the 350lb Tongue weight mark...

    I will need to find something lighter...



    This guide really help me, THANKS!
    Last edited by Classified.Spirit; 07-12-2011 at 11:28 AM.
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  7. #7
    JK Newbie Dream Girl's Avatar
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    This thread got me thinking...
    The lighter the Jeep, the more it can tow... or at least that's how it seems when reviewing all these equations...

    AND WHAT IF I WILL BE TOWING DOORLESS AND TOOPLESS?

    Those doors on the 4 door Jeep are ain't light that's for sure!
    I wander what is the weight on those doors, and the tops too!!!
    Last edited by Dream Girl; 07-14-2011 at 01:31 PM.
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  8. #8
    JK Enthusiast A.R.X-D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Girl View Post
    This thread got me thinking...
    The lighter the Jeep, the more it can tow... or at least that's how it seems when reviewing all these equations...

    AND WHAT IF I WILL BE TOWING DOORLESS AND TOOPLESS?

    Those doors on the 4 door Jeep are ain't light that's for sure!
    I wander what is the weight on those doors, and the tops too!!!


    Good idea!
    *Yes, stock Jeeps have better towing capacity as they almost always lighter then modded ones.

    Hard top:
    2dr = Main panel 80lb, two small panels: 15lb ea.
    4dr = main panel 95lb, two small panels: 15lb ea.
    Weight saving:
    ~110lb for the 2dr
    ~125lb for the 4dr

    Doors:
    With Power locks and windows: Front just under 60lbs each, rear 45lbs each.
    Weight saving: ~200lb overall

    So,
    2dr, topless and doorless - weight saving will be 230lb
    4dr, topless and doorless - weight saving will be 325lb

    That is a lot of weight saving!
    Last edited by A.R.X-D; 07-14-2011 at 01:35 PM.
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  9. #9
    JK Super Freak RedOffRoad's Avatar
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    ok so I am inept in this area.....kind of having my head spin.

    I have an 08 Unlimited X, auto.

    What would my tow capabilities be then?

    This is what I know haha, sorry but any help would be great.

    Report for VIN:

    1: Manufactured by DaimlerChrysler Corporation
    J: Jeep
    4: Multipurpose Passenger Vehicle Less Side Air Bags
    G: 5001-6000# (2268-2721 KG) GVWR & Hyd Brakes
    A: Wrangler (LHD)(4x4)
    3: Wrangler UnlmtdX/Sprt(4x4)(LHD)(US,Canada,Mex,BUX)
    9: Extended Open Body
    1: 3.8L V-6 CYL Gasoline EGT
    2: Check Digit
    8: 08
    L: Toledo South Assembly
    Body Code: JKJM74
    Engine: EGT 3.8L V6 SMPI Engine
    Transmission: DGV 4-Spd. Automatic VLP 42RLE Trans
    Build Date: November 20, 2007

  10. #10
    JK Jedi Master ronjenx's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Girl View Post
    This thread got me thinking...
    The lighter the Jeep, the more it can tow... or at least that's how it seems when reviewing all these equations...

    AND WHAT IF I WILL BE TOWING DOORLESS AND TOOPLESS?

    Those doors on the 4 door Jeep are ain't light that's for sure!
    I wander what is the weight on those doors, and the tops too!!!
    Reducing the weight of your Jeep won't increase the rated tow capacity.
    Last edited by ronjenx; 07-14-2011 at 02:20 PM.
    08 Rubicon Unlimited
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