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Jeep Wrangler Towing

hil29hil29 Posts: 1
edited October 2014 in Jeep
I have a 2000 Jeep Wrangler, manual 4wd and recently purchased a boat. Weight with trailer and boat is 3000lbs. I am trying to decide if I should get a hitch put on my jeep to tow the boat or not. I would only be towing it 10-15 miles from my house on all flat roads (I live on the coast of NC) NEVER on the hightway or on long trips. Does anyone have experience with towing a boat with a wrangler. Recommendations? How does it perform on the boat ramp (backing boat in and pulling it out)? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks


  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    I have a 2000 Jeep Wrangler, manual 4wd and recently purchased a boat. Weight with trailer and boat is 3000lbs. I am trying to decide if I should get a hitch put on my jeep to tow the boat or not. I would only be towing it 10-15 miles from my house on all flat roads (I live on the coast of NC) NEVER on the hightway or on long trips. Does anyone have experience with towing a boat with a wrangler. Recommendations? How does it perform on the boat ramp (backing boat in and pulling it out)? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    DC's recommendations for towing are based on wheelbase and lawyers rather than the capability of the engine, transmission, and brakes. However, while I can tell you what I do, don't take it as a recommendation.

    I regularly tow a little over 3K lbs, mostly on the flat, and sometimes it's a boat. As long as I make full allowance for the fact that the trailer is there, especially in the wet or in traffic, I have no problems. Boat ramps are no problem either, though it's sensible to engage 4WD even if the ramp is dry.

    However, one item that is essential IMHO, is a transmission cooler if you have an auto, though I know that doesn't apply to you.

    As an alternative to a bolt-on hitch you might want to look at a replacement bumper with an integral hitch. Costs more but doesn't compromise ground clearance so much.

    Finally, as with any vehicle, if you get salt water on it, get it washed down as soon as possible.
  • I have 1999 Wrangler with tow hitch and pull around 3000lbs 20foot Center Console with it. I tow it around town but we don't use a boat ramp so i can't help you with that. But the jeep can handle the weight, doing it well depends on your driving. I don't think you'll have a problem but i'll also recommend engaging 4wd.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    ........but i'll also recommend engaging 4wd.

    That would be just on the boat ramp, right? :shades:
  • Yes on the boat ramp. If it is raining, i would use 4x4, but if you only travel across flat roads you shouldn't need to engage it just to pull the load.
  • beej3beej3 Posts: 2
    i am a senior citizen Betty Jane) with a red
    2000 Jeep Wrangler and loving it.

    i hope you can point me in the right direction with my problem - - Please.

    just buying a used sunfish sail boat(only 130 pounds) with a trailer -- but have to get a hitch on the Jeep. and i got a feeling i dont have to spend the "$300" to get a new hitch.

    do you have any advice - - or a contact in NY or CT . i'm in western Connecticut.

    Waiting to hear,

  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    No contacts, but it shouldn't be too hard to use Yellow Pages to shop around. $300 does sound a little high, but I don't know what the labor rates are up there. I know 'U-Haul' fit hitches at a resonable price around here.
  • beej3beej3 Posts: 2
    thanks mac24,

    good call, i did end up at a Uhaul- and its gonna run
    around $210.

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I used to have a Sunfish. What FUN!! :D
  • lildavidjaxlildavidjax Posts: 68
    I am contemplating towing a 92 Jeep Wrangler approx
    2000 miles,4WD manual transmission. Any tips? All
    replies appreciated, any info on towing with a tow bar,or a tow dolly would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance! David
  • britt22britt22 Posts: 17
    We are contemplating the purchase of an '07 Unlimited with the tow package installed, and Jeep states that it's tow capacity as outfitted will be 3,500 lbs.

    What I am wondering is if anyone knows how well the Unlimited will ACTUALLY tow 3,500 lbs? Our Fleetwood Pop up weighs exactly 3,500 prior to any sleeping bags, etc. Am I just wishfully thinking that the Unlimited can indeed tow it's max plus a bit more - especially in Washington State where there are definite uphill grades???? Any insight and or recommendations would be more than appreciated.

    Jeep Service Dept. says Yes - but, I am still a bit weary - but so love the Unlimited. Just have to know if it is possible and not going to be totally problamatic to the engine, etc.
  • britt22britt22 Posts: 17
    Help -
    I am currently considering purchasing an '07 Jeep Unlimited 4x4 with tow package for a tow capacity of 3,500 lbs.

    We would be towing a boat/trailer dry of 2,000 lb.s

    First question - I really would like this Jeep to be manual, but my husband says we are nuts to tow with a manual. He definitely wants it to be an automatic. I am curious to know what other more "seasoned" towers would say - stick with an automatic only? Or, are there any benefits to towing with a manual?

    Second question - the sales person said a manual would give you more "torque" for towing - is this true?

    And last, anyone have input or opinion to the '07 Jeep Unlimited for towing - good or bad??

    ALSO totally meant to ask pro's vs. con's of a manual vs. automatic on a boat ramp getting boat in and out.

    Better to stick with automatic??? or, manual ????

    Again - I am all ears to opinions, experiences, recommendations, etc, etc...... ???

    ASAP if at all possible. Looking to buy/order an '07 Jeep Unlimited very, very soon here. Just don't know which to choose - if either?? Thanks!!!
  • Hello...This is my first post. I'm happy to report that you CAN tow very well with an Unlimited. I/We just pulled a 18.5 ft. ultralite tandem axle with my 06 Unlimited (4" lift, 33's, manual trans). We installed a Prodigy digital brake control and used sway bars, etc. The Jeep was very stable, no loss of control. Although, the inline 6 did not accelerate well, it was slow and steady, probably would be faster without the large tires. However, I must say that our trailer is an Eco Ultralite and only has an unloaded vehicle weight of 2974 and I will definitely be packing light for our trips. Anything heaver than that and we'll barely creep up any hills.
  • britt22britt22 Posts: 17
    Thanks for such a detailed report.

    One more question - do you have an automatic or a manual Unlimited? I am assuming you have the 4 door with tow package installed, correct?
  • My Jeep is the 6 speed manual. The 2006 only came in 2 door; 4 doors only came out in '07. I don't have the manufacturer tow package. My hitch, bumper, trailer wiring and electronic trailer brake control are all aftermarket. Another thing...if you have an automatic, make sure you have a tranny cooler (automatic transmission cooler). If your Jeep has the tow package, you should have one already in your Jeep; it will keep your vehicle from overheating when towing the additional load. Since I have a manual transmission I don't need one. Some people also recommend an engine oil cooler...just a thought.
  • I have an '02 Wranger X and recently called a dealership to get a quote on getting a hitch installed --- about $550. I don't know how on God's green earth they can charge that, but obviously I'm not going that route.

    I will have an 18' foot boat this spring, about 2800 lbs total gross weight. I'm thinking about buying a $100-150 hitch from JCWhitney and installing it myself. Anybody have experience doing this?

    I don't have a garage, so I have limited space to do this. I'm also concerned about the electrical wiring, how difficult is that to set up?

  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Your concern shouldn't be the hitch, it should be that you are wanting to tow 2800 lbs on a frame/style rated at 1500 max or so.

    The Tj's short wheel base could EASILY have the tail wagging the dog if you're towing a 2800 lb boat. The longer wheelbase TJ (aka the LJ) Unlimiteds have a higher tow rating.

    As for the wiring, it is easy if you get a Jeep/Wrangler-specific harness setup from your favorite autopart store.

  • Check that.... I had a typo. Gross weight of boat/trailer is 1800 lbs. A 2800 lb 18' boat would probably sink in water.

    I was wondering how troublesome the installation of the hitch is also? In addition, have there been significant clearance troubles with an aftermarket hitch installed instead of an integrated bumper hitch that should sway my decision one way or another?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    1800 to 2800 is a small typo, but the change is HUGE. :)

    1800 is still pushing it a bit, so be VERY wary if you attempt this. I personally opted for a hitch integrated into my aftermarket bumper. BUT it is not legally/officially tow rated - more for recovery. But I have towed a lengthy trailer full of wood flooring with no problems. I only have the 2.5L engine, so I know I won't be towing anything CLOSE to 1500 lbs. :) I don't know of any of the aftermarket bumper makers that will state a class rating for towing. If you DO decide to go this route, be sure to add the frame tie-in kits that are available.

    As for clearance issues, an aftermarket hidden hitch will take some clearance away, but if you don't offroad it or only go on things like fire trails, it should not pose a problem. If you wheel in rocks or on steep hills, it WILL pose a problem and will likely become a serious catching point when wheeling. I see it happen with a lot of our new wheelers that have a hitch installed.

    Installing a hitch is usually just a matter of bolting it up to the frame. You MIGHT have to loosen the gas tank mounts, but you shouldn't have to drop the tank. It should take about 30-45 minutes or so with basic hand tools.

  • I have a 98 Wrangler,,4.0 with automatic and want to tow a Chalet popup camper,,it is the Alpine model. Will be going up some Arizona mountains at times. Jeep specs. seem to be close to this weight. Any experience or info would be appreciated.
  • Thanks for the information Paul!

    We have an abundance of rivers/lakes here in Central VA, so I probably wouldn't be driving any more than 30 miles at a time with the boat. Now I just need to make sure I'm getting the boat before I go further with a hitch :shades:
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Not really because you can still use that hitch on u-hauls, utility trailers, etc. :)

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,633
    Not really because you can still use that hitch on u-hauls, utility trailers, etc.

    I don't think U Haul will rent a trailer if it's going to be towed by a converible. Thank you, trial lawyers... :mad:

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Correct - they won't rent you a trailer if you drive a Ford Explorer either. (link).

    Then again, Utility Trailers are Dangerous.
  • mike958mike958 Posts: 1
    Hello, I am a new jeep owner. I want to tow it behind my motorhome. I have always used a car dolly in the past. I have no experience with flat towing, I want to know what kind of towbar shoud I have and what should the towing capacity be?. my grvw is 4950. I see tow bars that state heavy duty 5000lbs towing capacity, would that work for my jeep or do I need something heavier? any help with this would be greatly appriecated.
  • I would be interested in what exactly your lift type was and what kind of sway bars (stock or?) etc. I have a '06 unlimited that I just bought with 3" lift and 1" body lift with 33's and am having trouble towing a 2800# tent trialer without considerable sway. It wants to move left and right everytime I shift up or down. Any info would be helpful.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    IIRC the max towing capacity of the Unlimited is 2500 lbs. The heavier weight of the trailer may explain your swaying. Trailers will sway a bit too especially if they have the smaller tires. Your shifting probably isn't helping much. When I shift my 97 TJ, I notice when I press the clutch in, the Jeep steers a bit one direction. I think it is more me holding the wheel than the torque of the engine (the 2.5 doesn't have much of that anyway! :) ).

  • According to Jeep the towing capacity of a standard TJ is 2000lbs with the Unlimited rated at 3500 lbs. I don't think I am having issues with the overall capacity just the type of lift, design of the springs, sway bar etc. I will explore more and hopefully come up with a solution. I borrowed a short wheel base TJ and pulled the trailer with less sway than with my Unlimited?? I love the Jeep and the trailer and want to use both.
  • Your grvw is the total of all that you can carry in your jeep plus what you are towing.
    Take your Jeep to a truck scale and weigh it. I just weighed my 2003 YJ and found out it weighs only 2240lbs. that is totally unladen. I will be towing it on a 5000lb tow bar and proper bracket. I don't think your 2005 will weigh that much more than mine.
  • dcapedcape Posts: 1
    Want to use uhaul motorcycle tow for vespa. Basic 4-speed, standard transmission Wrangler. Currently wearing soft-top. Possible?
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    U-Haul usually doesn't hire anything to people with soft tops for insurance reasons.
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