Originally Posted by CurtPutnam
Don't want to scare you, but my folks towed their trailer from VA to Alaska with their '90s something Grand Cherokee whereupon they rolled. Car & trailer were total losses but folks and dog were unscathed but scared.
A talk with a fishing buddy who owned a Chevy store led him to opine that the wheelbase was too short to resist the trailer's torsion. Were it me, I'd look at a truck with plenty of capacity. You will find that the trailers shrink over the years.
I realize this is a old thread, but oh what the heck! I thought it would be good to add more information about the wheelbase of the Jeep Grand Cherokee here. I actually witnessed a really horrific 90s Jeep rollover on the highway years ago and it really made me want to understand more about towing safely before I started towing myself.
Besides towing capacity ratings, and frontal ratings which are a bit more easy to understand there is the issue of trailer stability and away. Think of your camper as a giant lever at highway speeds. If you plan to travel at or above 60 mph this is primarily where this becomes an issue, then you need to be sure that your vehicle and trailer are stable, not dangerously swaying back and forth.
The best thing to help with controlling a load is wheelbase and mass which is why most folks will tell you to just tow with the biggest vehicle you can afford. I certainly cannot disagree with this because if you don't want to do your homework you can just overkill it, but you should still really know that you're actually towing within safe limits. A half ton going 80 mph down the highway with a short wheelbase travel trailer can still end in an accident.
WHEELBASE Is Your Friend
I would suggest paying close attention to the wheelbase of your tow vehicle, the 2011+ JGC has a 114.8" wheelbase which is the most important number on Jeep typically since the towing capacities seem to be rated a bit high for a shorter wheelbase vehicle. The Jeep sibling the 2004+ Durango has a wheelbase of 119.8″ which would be preferable if that were part of the comparison as they are similar and another user mentions their experience.
Here is the old rule of thumb on how long of a trailer you can safely tow:
For the first 110" of wheelbase you can tow 20 feet of trailer length.
For each additional 4" of wheelbase you can tow an additional foot of trailer length.
Also, it is assumed that you would be using a WDH with sway control as well. Friction setups are more affordable and usually work, but there are more expensive options like the hensley or pro-pride which change the dynamic of how the trailer follows greatly reducing potential sway issues.
I know that was a lot, but hopefully this helps someone!