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Old 09-16-2020, 11:41 PM   #1
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Towing a Rockwood with a Jeep Grand Cherokee?

Hi all,

I'm new to this forum and am looking for your advice. I am currently in the market for both a new SUV as well as a travel trailer. The combination I'm looking at is a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Rockwood Mini Lite 2109s.

Overall, I love the 2109s model. It has everything we're looking for and seems more solidly built than some of the lighter Forest River comparables, such as the R-Pod 196. We are weekend campers that plan to use the trailer during good weather here in Michigan.

As far as the vehicle, the main reason I'm looking at the Jeep Grand Cherokee is because I like the features for the value, as well as the relatively high towing capacity for its class. The main use of this SUV will be commuting to-and-from work, so I'm trying to balance that into the equation when I consider other vehicles, such as an F-150 that would probably be better suited for towing in general.

Here are the specs for the combo:

Tow vehicle: 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4x4 - trailer group IV package, 5.7L HEMI V8; towing capacity = 7,200 lbs; wheelbase = 114.8".

Trailer: 2020 Rockwood Mini Lite 2109s - GVWR = 5,700 lbs, length = 22' 4".

As far as additional payload, it is just my partner and me. Combined we weigh about 450 lbs. We pack relatively light, although I'm sure we'll inevitably carry more stuff with us once we get an RV compared to current tent camping.

I've been trying to read up on safe towing and the items that give me some concerns are:

1. Once we include a weight distribution hitch, it seems like we are getting relatively close to the 7,200 lbs towing capacity on the Grand Cherokee. Also, any concerns with tongue weight on this combo?

2. The wheelbase of the Grand Cherokee seems a little short for a 22' trailer given the rule of thumb I have seen.

Any thoughts on this combo?
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Old 09-17-2020, 01:14 AM   #2
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First pay attention to the Jeep's payload capacity before focusing on the 7200lbs towing capacity. You'll run out of payload capacity WAY before reaching that 7200 number.
The payload capacity number will be on the Jeep's driver's door yellow sticker. It's specific to each vehicle, depending on specs and equipment.
Even though the fictional dry tongue weight is 412lbs, it could easily be 600lbs. So you need to know the Jeep's max hitch weight is.
It looks doable but Jeep's payload capacity is the key since SUVs typically have lower payload capacities.
My 3.5 Ecoboost v-6 F150 gets 20+mpg on the highway and 17mpg mixed. I wonder how much better a 5.7 v-8 Hemi Jeep Cherokee will get, if any better at all.
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Old 09-17-2020, 04:33 AM   #3
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Welcome from New Jersey, as Dan already mentioned the weights may not ,Definitely check that tag and post what you find.The RV and car salespeople will tell you it will be ok. DON'T believe them!
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Old 09-17-2020, 04:37 AM   #4
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Any suv has a lower payload compared to a truck because of all that glass in the back.

Being near the line on a tv is most noticeable on long trips.

Only one person here complained of too big of a truck! The bigger the Truck, the rougher the ride. But, they stop better.
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:37 AM   #5
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we occasionally towed my grey wolf 24JS with a 2015 grand Cherokee SRT. It was well within the weight capacities of the jeep, and is bigger than yours, it did fine. I also towed it once with a v6 grand Cherokee overland. It also did ok, but liked its revs. Good sway control is needed
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:50 AM   #6
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I have 2020 Jeep GC Trailhawk 5.7 and 2021 Coachman Freedom Express 195RBS/2311 19.5 coach 6100lb gvwr
It tows good, not perfect but good. Issues are GC weight cargo carrying capacity and short wheelbase vs wind sail factor. Not bad just there to think about. As mentioned cargo capacity of Jeep and trailer tongue weight are my challenges. Our Tongue weight loaded runs around 680-715lbs, right at 720 lb limit . Our Jeep has 1100 lb cargo cap so I put both trailer and Jeep spare tires on blanket/floor in Rv kitchen for travel making Jeep payload 1150 lbs and takes 25 lbs off tongue. Jeep power is more than sufficient, and for hills and curvy roads I put into sport mode for better gear RPM controls. Also lowers slightly improving stance and stability. I also use fast way e2 800lb WDH.

Love my setup GO FOR IT drive like its NOT paid off. 👍
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:07 AM   #7
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This, like 99% of the other "can I tow it" threads, is a payload game. This, like 99% of the other "can I tow it" threads, is missing the the payload information.

I'll take a guess that the 4WD Grand Cherokee Overland will have about 1,400 lbs of available payload.

Trailer weighs 5,700 lbs. Tongue weight is 725 lbs. WDH is 50. Couple is 450. Add 75 lbs for other stuff. 725 + 50 + 450 + 75 = 1,300. 1,300 < 1,400

Should work fine and the engine is strong, but something with 1,500 lbs or more of available payload would be better. People always think they pack light. Occasionally they do, but typically they do not.
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Old 09-17-2020, 11:06 AM   #8
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One benefit to an actual truck besides the increased payload is a place to put dirty and/or wet stuff. It is really nice to not have to put that stuff where people sit.

F150/1500 trucks ride nicely and can have all the same gadgets as an SUV. Just watch the payload rating.

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Old 09-17-2020, 12:35 PM   #9
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Looks like a good match.

I have a 5.7 Durango which is essentially a Grand Cherokee with a 5” longer wheelbase

Ignore the payload sticker, FCA doesn’t accurately spec them.

Aside from the short wheelbase. Your limiting factor will be the rear GAWR of 3,900 lbs and GVWR of 7,100 lbs, not the towing capacity.

My TT is 5,200 lbs empty and between 5,800-6,400 lbs loaded ready to camp.

Durango loaded with family (420 lbs) & tongue weight (680 lbs), full tank of gas, our GVWR weighs in at 6,740 lbs. Plenty under the 7,100 lbs limit, but the rear GAWR is close to the limit at 3,820 lbs.
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Old 09-17-2020, 01:25 PM   #10
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Go bigger TV

I started out with a 2018 Grand Cherokee limited with the factory tow package towing a Tracer 20RBS. The dry weight of the trailer was 4100 and a tongue weight of about 400.
The GC has more than enough power to tow but I think you might find it a little short on wheelbase. I felt like it was the tail wagging the dog.
I went back to a fullsize Yukon XL and noticed a world of difference handling wise. I didn't feel safe in the GC should a panic stop or other hard maneuvers be needed.
The full size feels much safer and the payload was a few hundred pounds more.
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Old 09-17-2020, 01:34 PM   #11
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I've logged about 40K miles over 3 years with our setup and the handling has been fine. Similar motivation as yours for preferring an SUV vs pickup. I did lots of reading and calculating when we first started out and you've already gotten all the good advice in other posts. I would not go with a shorter wheelbase next time out but don't feel unsafe with what we've got. Calcs, charts, posts and articles are good but once you purchase of course it's best to head for the truck scales. My latest results were 6000 lbs Jeep only, 5100 lbs trailer only and 640 lbs tongue weight when connected. A bit heavy overall but again, my handling and performance have been fine in all sorts of challenging conditions. Enjoy! We have loved our setup, both trailer and TV.
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Old 09-17-2020, 01:57 PM   #12
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Jeep Cherokee / Large TT

I drove by this wreck right after it happened. This rig was being towed with a GC Suv. Not sure what happened, but the trailer came around and flipped over. I tow with an Explorer and this has me looking for a new pickup truck and my TT is only 4000lbs and nowhere as long as this one.

Weight and wheelbase seems to be pretty important along with the payload. This one got away from them. Thank goodness no one was hurt.
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Old 09-17-2020, 03:39 PM   #13
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The shorter wheelbase on the Grand Cherokee would really only be a negative for windy, wet pavement conditions. Being able to slip into 4 wheel drive easily should be a big help in those situations. Definitely go for a weight distribution hitch. Get the one that has 4 point control. Years ago I pulled a CUB hybrid with a Cherokee Sport. Standard leveling hitch with additional sway bar. A weight distributing hitch with sway control makes a big difference!
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Old 09-17-2020, 04:11 PM   #14
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Towing with a Grand Cherokee

I use my Grand Cherokee V8 to tow a Lance 1995 which has 5,700 max weight. As others said, the limiting factor is max load, mine has a 1,080 lbs and that means me, my wife and our toothbrushes in the the tow vehicle... nothing else...

Besides that it works pretty well, I live in a valley floor at 4400 ft and wherever I go it's uphill, and the Jeep has no problems, just let it rev up... My latest trip was about 4200 miles on the Oregon coast and I ended up with 11 gpm average, not bad.

Of course it's NOT a F250, you will feel the trailer behind you. But with a good sway control it's more than manageable. The ideal in this case would be a "projection" hitch like the ProPride or the Hensley, which unfortunately cost some more than what I like. But I will probably get one next year...
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Old 09-17-2020, 04:24 PM   #15
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Others have touched on this, so I'll echo.

A Grand Cherokee has a relatively short wheelbase compared to, for example, an F-150 4-door 4X4. A Jeep has a 114" wheelbase. The 4-door pickup begins at 145" wheelbase.

When it comes to the tail wagging the dog, a short wheelbase puts you at a disadvantage for stability. Since this is your first, and since commuting is a big part of this picture, my instinct is to suggest a "relatively" frugal F-150 with the ecoboost turbo engines (2.7L = 7500# towing and 3.5L = 10,000# and up towing).

Up against the old school hemi (what I have in my 2006 RAM 1500), the turbos are more well suited to towing, because they have huge torque and ten speed transmissions.

They also have considerably more payload capacity than the Jeep...which you may find you use up quickly. If you have a nice RV, other must-haves add up fast: generator, gas grill, propane fire pit, propane tanks for same, chairs, canopy, folding table, maybe extra fresh water if boondocking, all the detritus needed to level and manage the camper including X-Chocks, Anderson Levelers, pads for the stab jacks, cordless drill, other tools and parts for field repairs, decent air compressor, water toys and inflator, and, and, and. Will your wife want one of those oh-so-nice outdoor carpets? They aren't exactly heavy, but they do weigh something.

The F-150, equipped with the max tow package, etc. will handle this stuff in stride, while the Jeep will soon be at its limits.

But the clincher for me is the relatively short wheelbase. An emergency maneuver may have you emulating some of the photos in others' posts.

The bonus is that in real life comparisons...not just EPA fantasy world...the ecoboost will give you better mileage than the old-school normally aspirated V-8.

Furthermore, if you tow into the mountains, the turbo will generate sea-level power up to about 8500 feet. By then, the normally aspirated V-8 will be wheezing...ask me, I know. I live at 8300 feet and go up from there. Crow Hill, near my house, is a 7% grade that climbs about 1700 feet vertically over the course of about 2.5 to 3 miles. I have a 6000# (wet-loaded) trailer with about 500# of cargo in the truck bed and 450# of humans and pets aboard. Add 600# on the tongue, and I'm up around 1600# weighing down my truck. (I use airbags to counter this.) I must begin from a dead stop at a stop sign, and climb the entire length of this hill in 1st gear at 30 MPH (with flashers) or my Dodge with the 5.7 Hemi (same engine you are considering) overheats. Newer trucks towing equivalent rigs blow by me like I'm parked. Even with a running start, I end up in 1st going 30 when I run out of momentum. My old girl is giving it all she's got, but my Hemi only has 95,000 miles on it and it's well cared for, so it's not like it's some old, clapped out 318.

The only downside of the F-150 is that it's a bit of a hulk in tight street parking or narrow city streets. Just remember that if Semis can fit, the pickup is a piece of cake. I've parallel parked my RAM many times. A tip on this is that it helps your insurance to always remove the ball mount when you're not towing.

P.S. What about safe, secure, dry storage you ask? Get one of these. It's a HUGE trunk that can carry far more than you'll ever imagine. This is comparable to the one I have. But when I got a canoe, I regretted not getting one that mounts to the floor so I could add a nice pipe rack in the this: Mine sits on the bed rails and blocks access to the stake pockets where a rack would fit easily. Choices, choices.

You've picked your trailer. Now pick a tow vehicle (TV) that's truly up to the job. You'll hate yourself if you don't.
Jim & Renee
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previously 2014 Forest River/Rockwood HW 277
2006 Ram 1500 4WD Crew with Firestone Airbags
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:16 PM   #16
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Wink Been very happy with GC as TV!

We've pulled our 2016 Coachmen Apex 249RBS for over 30K miles with a 2015 JGC & now a 2019 JGC (both w/3.6L engine!). It's just DW & me, & we don't pack much in the Jeep (<150 lbs). Advertised tongue weight for the 249RBS is 470 lbs, but actual is is 620 lbs, but with Reese WDH it levels out nicely. Will you know it's behind you? Yes, but you will have the advantage of the 5.7L engine. I have pulled this TT through Interstate 40 in NC at least six times from SC to IL & have had no concerns! Any sway is minimal with the combination of Jeep's sway damping system & Reese WDH/anti-sway bar set-up. Good luck with your decision process!
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:16 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Pilot172 View Post

I drove by this wreck right after it happened. This rig was being towed with a GC Suv. Not sure what happened, but the trailer came around and flipped over. I tow with an Explorer and this has me looking for a new pickup truck and my TT is only 4000lbs and nowhere as long as this one.

Weight and wheelbase seems to be pretty important along with the payload. This one got away from them. Thank goodness no one was hurt.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:25 PM   #18
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:45 PM   #19
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I tow 21FBRS

I tow the same trailer with Flagstaff decals. My tongue weight runs between 500-600 pounds. We load out with two adults, and everything we want to carry at just over 5000 pounds. We only carry 5 gallons of fresh with us for flushing en route. As others have said, focus on your payload, you would be fine in towing capacity. I would plan for 600 pounds on the tongue- including a WDH. Add your passengers and any cargo in the Jeep and subtract that from your max payload.

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Max Tow capacity-8379 with full payload
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Old 09-17-2020, 10:36 PM   #20
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Thanks everyone for the quick responses. It's awesome to have such a helpful online community here.

Based on the responses so far, it sounds like the Grand Cherokee + 2109s combination is definitely doable, but we'll be pushing up to the envelope on payload. It's definitely encouraging to hear the experiences from those who currently tow similar trailers with their Grand Cherokees and similar SUVs. If we do end up going this route, we'll probably be in the same boat as iconnekt with just us and our toothbrushes in the Jeep. Talk about packing light. Haha.

I was also considering a truck as well earlier on (and still am just because it seems more stable from a wheelbase perspective and gives us more towing margin to work with if we ever upgrade in the near future). One of my buddies recently got a new F-150 to tow his performance car to the track. We took his F-150 out a couple of weekends ago to go kayaking. I drove it back on the return leg unloaded, and while it was overall nice to drive, I was less than impressed with the ride quality. I'm used to smaller SUVs built on car chassis (currently drive a Lincoln MKX), so I realize I need to adjust my expectations on ride quality somewhat, but I just couldn't see driving one to work every day especially with the state of the roads here in Southeast Michigan.

On a side note, I have heard that Dodge RAM 1500s have best-in-class ride quality for the half ton truck segment. I'll definitely be test driving one of those soon.

We've got some time to think about it. We're trying to buy the Rockwood during the off-season and, if we're lucky, maybe even get a decent deal on it. We will probably purchase whatever tow vehicle around that time too. This discussion has definitely given me a lot to think about and consider while we start making the decision.

Thanks again!
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