Towing The Line Dilemma

Now I have a towing dilemma! I’m on my third Jeep Cherokee. Both my 94 & 04 Jeeps had  6 cylinder 4.0 engines and towed everything I threw at them….campers, boats, heavy rental equipment etc. When I recently bought my current 15 model they tried to sell me a 4 cylinder….ha..not on my Cherokee! I had them find me a 6 and made them install a class 2 trailer hitch as part of the deal (as I did on my other 2!) I knew I would be towing something eventually! Now I find out that it’s only rated at 2000 pounds max without the towing package?! I’m communicating with Steve Grindstaff about installing an aftermarket package that would increase the capacity to 4500 pounds but they have apparently never attempted that before. The package includes oil & transmission coolers and it seems to have to come that way from the factory. Now I don’t know how I’m going to trailer my boat. I made sure I got a smaller 20 footer so it would be light enough that I could pull it, or so I thought. We think it weighs in at just under 3000 on the trailer. I’m disappointed in the overseas technology that has made its way into our current vehicles. My Trailhawk is front wheel drive (when not in 4 wheel drive) which is not great for towing. It has the 3.2 6 cylinder engine & one of those complicated 9 speed automatic transmissions that makes the act of towing even harder. It’s “Trail rated,” meaning it can climb a mountain but it can’t pull a frigging boat? Adding insult to injury, I checked the capability of my wife’s 4 cylinder Kia and it’s rated at 2000 pounds as well… Come on America!
I do love my current Jeep (Go Big Orange!) it had only 9000 miles on it, and it’s 5 years old! Ironically, the people who had it before towed it behind a motor home and only used it as their “camping vehicle!’ But short of trading it for something with more beef, I’m stuck with leaving the boat on a slip or relying on friends with trucks to help me out. I suppose I could try and find an old truck that could pull it if anyone knows any good (read cheap) ones for sale. Or if anyone has any ideas on how to increase my Jeep’s towing capacity please let me know.


Towing Footnote     September 9, 2020

I spent some time this morning with Steve Grindstaff and his Chrysler service manager Phil. After previously discussing the situation they had determined that they could install aftermarket parts that would allow my Jeep Cherokee to tow my boat. The towing package includes adding an engine & transmission cooler and beefing up the suspension, bigger brakes & sway control. After numerous messages went back and forth, we all wanted to get on the same page so after they saw the vehicle in person this morning and pulled up my VIN, I was most pleasantly surprised to be informed that my Jeep already has the tow package from the factory! Apparently most Trailhawks are so equipped. I double checked myself by pulling up my VIN build. It’s indeed capable of towing up to 4500 pounds! We determined that my boat & trailer weigh in at just under 3000 so it looks like I’m good to tow, ‘er go! They did say the wiring harness they installed with my hitch was not set up for trailer brakes, but my trailer is a small single axle and doesn’t have them! So the biggest issue will be stopping the rig, not pulling it! I have pulled many trailers, campers, boats & rental equipment in the past and don’t think I’ll have any problems in that regard. Another service guy told me you’d know real quick, within the first mile or 2 if the load was too much for it, so I’ll give it a shot next month when I pull the boat out of the water. I’ll have my buddy Dave follow me in his V8 truck, just in case….

My final question to the brain trust was: “If I screw it up, will my warranty cover it?” The answer: “What boat?!”

Final Footnote   October 31, 2020

She pulled it like a champ!