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Old 09-25-2019, 03:22 PM   #1
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Apex Nano 193BHS/Jeep Cherokee

Hi,

My wife and I are joining the RV world with a Apex Nano 193BHS, which we plan on towing with a 2016 Jeep Cherokee, with factory tow package.

From reading, it sounds like my first two purchases (besides the Cherokee and camper) will be a brake controller and weight distribution hitch.

There seems to be a wide range of costs and opinions on various forums - so was hoping for some advice, to help reduce the great overwhelming feeling.

I think the brake controller is mandatory for the day we take delivery, but thinking if we are only driving 90 minutes home, the weight distribution hitch could wait until next spring.

Thanks!
-Al
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Old 09-25-2019, 03:48 PM   #2
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Read the Towing section of your Jeep's owner's manual.
It should state the weights requiring a WDH.
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:47 PM   #3
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Regarding the manual, it says the a weight distribution hitch is recommended for 3500+ pounds. The trailer is just under 3500.

Personally it makes me a tad nervous getting that close to the limit, so definitely getting one, once I can understand what the difference is between a $75 WDH and a $800 one.

Same with brake controllers, not sure why some are $35 and others are $350.
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Old 09-25-2019, 10:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awdorrin View Post
Hi,

My wife and I are joining the RV world with a Apex Nano 193BHS, which we plan on towing with a 2016 Jeep Cherokee, with factory tow package.

From reading, it sounds like my first two purchases (besides the Cherokee and camper) will be a brake controller and weight distribution hitch.

There seems to be a wide range of costs and opinions on various forums - so was hoping for some advice, to help reduce the great overwhelming feeling.

I think the brake controller is mandatory for the day we take delivery, but thinking if we are only driving 90 minutes home, the weight distribution hitch could wait until next spring.

Thanks!
-Al
I think the WD hitch is important. It boosts your max capacity to 4500 pounds and allows the Jeep to perform as it should. Sway control is essential I think. We use a Fastway E2 hitch with built in sway control. Our brake controller is a Tekonsha. These are not the most expensive systems but they are reliable and work well. Both take some time to set up but when done they turn your Jeep into a competent tow machine. We know, we have one.
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awdorrin View Post
Regarding the manual, it says the a weight distribution hitch is recommended for 3500+ pounds. The trailer is just under 3500.

Personally it makes me a tad nervous getting that close to the limit, so definitely getting one, once I can understand what the difference is between a $75 WDH and a $800 one.

Same with brake controllers, not sure why some are $35 and others are $350.
First, you're making a newbie mistake by using fictional dry weights.
That 3500 number doesn't include the weights of battery, factory options, dealer add-ons, water or cargo.
So just one battery will put it over 3500lbs. Plus the bigger issue will be actual loaded tongue weight.

Second, the best selling BC will be the Tekonsha Prodigy line. You can get the P2 for around $100. I have no idea where you got $350 for a brake controller.

Check out RVW for good prices on the E2 WDH and the Prodigy BC.
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Old 09-26-2019, 12:34 AM   #6
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Forget about those weights you provided. The gross weight rating of that trailer is 4700 lbs, which is a good indication you have too much trailer for your Cherokee. Add in that this is a bunk house model, it's highly likely there are children involved. Which means you need to also evaluate the payload capacity of your Jeep. That number can be found on the driver's door jamb of your Jeep. It's a yellow colored sticker that also has tire pressure numbers on it. Payload capacity is the weight of all your family members, including yourself, all the gear piled in the Jeep and the actual (not fictional advertised) tongue weight of the trailer.

Once you know the weight of your fully loaded Cherokee you need to subtract that number from the Gross Combined Weight Rating of the Jeep. That's the actual weight of the Jeep and trailer together. That 4500 lb tow figure is the maximum that can be towed, but that number gets eaten up by the weight of the Jeep. To put it in perspective with real life numbers, my 2016 Silverado has a max tow rating of 9100 lbs. The GCWR is 15,000 lbs. If I subtract 9100 from 15,000, that means my truck can weigh no more than 5900 lbs. When I cross the scales by myself, I'm at 6300 lbs. Fully loaded to go camping the truck weighs 7000 lbs. 15,000 minus 7000 = 8000 lbs of tow capacity, meaning I can only tow an 8000 lb trailer, not 9100 lbs, which is the MAX tow capacity based on a very light truck.

You're now on the way to realizing that there are a lot of fictional numbers when it comes to towing. My guess is that you are going to be over the payload capacity and/or GCWR rating, and if not, at the extreme limits, which is not a good place to be, especially if you're inexperienced.
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Old 09-26-2019, 01:13 AM   #7
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Weight was a significant consideration for me in determining what unit to buy. My Trailblazer has a max capacity of 5700lbs, and max tongue of 500lb/900lb (no WDH/WDH) and we decided on a Geo Pro 16BH (also wanted off road capability to pull on beach) the Geo Pro /E-Pro's (16BH & 19BH) have a dryWeight around 3K lbs and loaded weight around 4K lbs which was prefect for us.

We haven't picked up ours yet, but I have been getting my TV set up for the trip home. Went with the Andersen WDH, Tokenisha P3 BC, TST TPMS, clip on towing mirrors, and a Haloview rear view camera. Hopefully that's all I need for now.
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:00 AM   #8
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For reference, etrailer.com has brake controllers for the 2016 Cherokee ranging from: $45 to $425 (Brake Controllers)

I see the major differences are timed vs proportional control and manual vs automatic leveling - then there are a lot of features I likely don't need (ie. Bluetooth, inter-connectivity with other devices, etc.)

For the WDH systems - seems like the major differences (outside of capacity) is the ability to backup, and how low it sits below the trailer tongue. Again, a wide range of prices.

I was thinking of these:

Draw-Tite I-Command Trailer Brake Controller - 1 to 4 Axles - Proportional

Fastway e2 Weight Distribution w/ 2-Point Sway Control - Round - 6,000 lbs GTW, 600 lbs TW
Item # FA94-00-0600
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Old 09-26-2019, 11:12 AM   #9
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Don't forget that the fantasy land tongue weight that is printed in the brochure can be 2 times that... or more.

My 715 LB tongue weight Apex Ultra Lite 289TBSS is actually a bit over 1600 lbs with no food, drinks, water or clothes, and no WDH applied. This is with the front pass through full of my "stuff" for leveling and hooking, 3 chairs, a small bottle jack and a small set of very basic hand tools, 2 propane tanks, a battery and a couple fishing rods.

With my 10,000/1,000 rated WDH maxed out I can get the resulting tongue weight down to around 1,020 lbs. Remember that 715 LB tongue weight that Coachmen advertised? Where did that go???

My drive axle weight is 2740 lbs with 2 adults sitting in the front seats.
My drive axle is 3760 lbs with that WDH adjusted for all it is worth.
That is still +1,020 lbs to the rear axle. This number is also almost the real tongue weight that the has since the rear axle load is both tongue weight and weight transfer from the front axle. By using the WDH to replace the front axle weight, if you did it to the exact pound, you would be left with just the added tongue weight.

My same trailer and truck, 2740 lb rear axle with 2 adults in the front and the trailer with no WDH laying on the ball.... 4,360 drive axle load. That is 1,620 lbs added to that rear axle. 480 lbs of that came from removing weight from the front steering axle and transferring it to the rear... as you lift the front, that weight transfers to the rear axle. That is why a good WDH is needed.... and buy one rated a step higher than you think you need. You can always reduce it's transfer by backing off on your head angle or frame bracket height, but you can only get so much out of the spring bars. I am going to buy a new set of 14,000/1,400 spring bars for my Equalizer sway/WDH for next year to get my front axle completely back to the weight observed on the truck alone, that should reduce my rear axle load another 200-300 lbs.


So do not think for a moment that buying a camper 20% under your rated limits has you in a safe place. It takes you being dedicated to getting your WDH set up nailed in perfectly and will leave you with little to no actual legal payload left for people and "things".
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Old 09-26-2019, 11:28 AM   #10
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Thatís a lot of reading for towing a TT.
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Old 09-26-2019, 11:55 AM   #11
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3500lbs dry, depending on how you load for a trip you could either be well under or at that 4700lbs! I normally say to add 12-1500lbs to the dry weight. With that size trailer though that will be hard to do. With kids I’m assuming, you will pack more than the average couple. So let’s say your at 4500lbs. Doesn’t matter what the dry weight is for the tongue. Your going to want the final loaded for travel tongue weight to be 12% of the trailers loaded weight. So let’s say 12% of 4500lbs that will be approx 570lbs. So if you keep your packing I check and properly load the trailer for the proper tongue weight then I see no problem with towing it with the Cherokee.
BTW, does the Cherokee have the V-6?
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Old 09-26-2019, 01:22 PM   #12
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Tried posting something earlier, and looks like mods need to approve it first since I put links in there.

To answer one of the questions, yes, this is the V6 engine, and factory tow-package.

I think I have a better understanding of the different types of WDH and BC devices, after doing more research since my first post.

Currently considering a Draw-Tite 5535 proportional BC, and a Fastway E2 2-pt, 6000/600 WDH.
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Old 09-26-2019, 03:01 PM   #13
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Yep, my 3500lb dry weight trailer (almost identical floorplan to the Ape Nano) actually weighs 4500lb when ready for travel. That's a 500lb tongue weight. Are you sure the Cherokee can handle that?
Don't forget to add another 100lb for the WDH.
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