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Old 11-15-2015, 10:31 PM   #1
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Minilight 23RL witha V6 durango?

I'm looking to upgrade my tow vehicle soon from a 2004 V6 Grand Cherokee as my trailer is proving to be a bit much for it even though we are within all the numbers. but she is OLD. She tows fin on the flats (up to low 60s) and mild hills. Only up steep grades or higher speeds as the frontal area is significant. I wouldn't want to go through the mountains with this set-up though.

I currently have a mini lite 23RL with a dry weight of 3890.

The stats on the V6 Durango are as follows
towing 6200
GCVWR 11,600
GVWR 6500
Tongue wt 516

Now with 400 lbs for my wife and I. bumping my kids up to 150 lbs each, which is several years away and a 60 lb dog. also subtracting the tongue weight of the trailer and adding 150 lbs of bikes on the roof of the tow vehicle I see the following margins.

GCVWR 2044 lbs
GVW 318 lbs -
Trailer weight 2230 - this is more than the CCC of my trailer

The Hemi would add 1,000 to trailer weight and 1500 to GCVWR.

Now I know I did not add any payload into those numbers, but with a CCC of only 749 in the trailer it appears that I will overload my trailer before the V6 Durango.

The only thing that on paper concerns me about the V6 is the frontal area but at what speed will it become problematic?

Sure the V8 Durango would tow better, but daily fuel economy and up front costs are greater. Am I missing something? A Tahoe or better yet a Suburban would tow the crap out of the trailer but costs 15-20K more.

Does anyone have a newer V6 Durango and tow a full size TT that can provide input?

I know more is always better when it comes to TV but where do you draw the line. Is this one enough?
2016 Sierra 3500 Denali HD: Heavy-Duty Pickup Truck

I live in lower Michigan so fairly flat for most trips but we will take occasional trips into hillier or even mountainous terrain.

If this was a dedicated TV the choice is clear but we have young kids so this will be the daily driver and be replace before we become full time campers.
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Old 11-17-2015, 03:46 PM   #2
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How do you know when you have overloaded the TT? Have you ever weighed the current rig ready to camp? As many have said before, the dry weight is a pretty meaningless figure because of what it doesn't include. Without weighing the trailer in camping trim, it's pretty easy to exceed the 749lbs CCC of the the trailer without knowing it.

just my thoughts
Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 a-frame (2810lbs camp-ready, but we do minimize what we take, add 120lbs for full water tank)
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:18 PM   #3
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We have the mini lite 23lb (similar weights to yours) and we previously towed it with an i6 GMC envoy (5,000 towing capacity) for one year then upgraded to a v8 GMC envoy (6,100) for another year. They both did fine for short trips even with some mountain climbs (taking it slow) but we really wanted to do some longer drive trips so we upgraded to an f150 EB. I'm not sure you will see a big difference between the Cherokee and the Durango.


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Old 11-17-2015, 08:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by pgandw View Post
How do you know when you have overloaded the TT? Have you ever weighed the current rig ready to camp? As many have said before, the dry weight is a pretty meaningless figure because of what it doesn't include. Without weighing the trailer in camping trim, it's pretty easy to exceed the 749lbs CCC of the the trailer without knowing it.

just my thoughts
Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 a-frame (2810lbs camp-ready, but we do minimize what we take, add 120lbs for full water tank)
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
Irrelevant to the question at hand. Even if I had a F650 I would violate my trailers axle weight rating.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DisDad01 View Post
We have the mini lite 23lb (similar weights to yours) and we previously towed it with an i6 GMC envoy (5,000 towing capacity) for one year then upgraded to a v8 GMC envoy (6,100) for another year. They both did fine for short trips even with some mountain climbs (taking it slow) but we really wanted to do some longer drive trips so we upgraded to an f150 EB. I'm not sure you will see a big difference between the Cherokee and the Durango.


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2012 Flagstaff Micro Lite 23lb

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I'm sure I'll see an improvement and be comfortable towing it but will I regret not getting the V8 when it gets hilly? is the only question I really have. Pretty sure if we had bought the V8 Grand Cherokee 12 years ago I wouldn't be shopping for a new truck. Might still want a little more ummph but not enough to need a new one.

Wish they still made the Envoy. That turbo diesel in the Canyon in an SUV body would be perfect for me.

The issue is the V8 will add about 10 grand to the purchase price. Granted you get a ton more creature comforts moving up a trim level or two which is required to get the 8. We just don't need a binged out ride.

On the flats I do fine towing at 60-62 now. When I had my pop-up I rarely exceeded 65. My only concern is cresting upper Michigan hills at 30 and extrapolating that to Tennessee or Colorado.

By the numbers all is well and good, except frontal area.

No one uses a new Durango with a full size trailer?
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Old 11-18-2015, 07:57 AM   #6
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I towed our new RW 2306 (3850 dry weight) twice with my Tacoma before trading it in on a Tundra. Yes - this is a different trailer and tow vehicle than you're asking about, but the weight-to-tow-capacity is similar on both. The Tacoma was rated for 6500lbs. On flat land, that would have been okay, but not in the mountains of the southeast.

My opinion - err on the side of over-doing it on the tow vehicle. There's nothing worse than (1) being nervous the whole time you're towing, or (2) buying something that you *think* will work, only to discover that you're still under-powered.


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Old 11-18-2015, 09:00 AM   #7
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The Cherokee to the Durango is a lateral move, not an upgrade.
It sounds like you are asking for someone to say, or at least trying to convince yourself, that the Durango is a good choice for the trailer? I'd say its borderline at best which is also what Disdad and 53 are also saying . If the Durango has a frontal area limitation in its specs, its not dependent on speed. It's a limitation.
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Old 11-18-2015, 12:41 PM   #8
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Unfortunate my mistake of buying v8 envoy cost me about $5000. So everyone here is trying to save you from the same mistake.


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Old 11-18-2015, 01:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jalopy Jockey View Post
Irrelevant to the question at hand. Even if I had a F650 I would violate my trailers axle weight rating.
Which means to avoid overloading your trailer tires and suspension (helps avoid trailer blowouts unless your tires have a good capacity cushion), you may have to move "stuff" into the tow vehicle. Which further taxes your payload in the tow vehicle.

Having towed PUPs and A-frames with 6 cylinder SUVs and minivans, my experience tells me that the frontal area of the trailer is going to be a big deal with the 6 cylinder - especially in the winds of Colorado and the states you have to cross to get there.

Fred W
Now: 2014 Rockwood A122 a-frame (not high wall)(tow weight normally 2800 lbs)
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan (rated to tow 3500 lbs)(with E2 Equalizer WDH/anti-sway). V-6 250HP, 5 speed xmsn. Tows very nicely.
I would not want to tow much more trailer in Colorado and Nebraska with this vehicle because of power needed in high winds.
camping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a time

Prior: 2000 Coleman Westlake PUP (not high wall). Tow weight 3100lbs.
1993 Ford Explorer, V-6 175HP, 4spd xmsn. No WDH. Towing was miserable in the mountains, sway began at 62 MPH. Down to 35MPH on Sierra and Rocky mountain grades.
camping Colorado and California one vacation at a time
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Old 11-18-2015, 01:19 PM   #10
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Smile So Far So Good

We have a 2014 Durango V6 towing a Rockwood 2109s. So far we have had no problems although I have not been anywhere with overly steep grades. I especially enjoy the 27mpg on the highway when I am not towing!
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