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Old 07-25-2014, 03:21 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by ruscal View Post
My '99 Jeep Wrangler is suspended with air bags only, no steel springs. The suspension is controlled by a computer that maintains a previously programed ride height. There is a high volume belt driven compressor that keeps a small tank at pressure to supply the demands of the system. It can correct ride height actively constantly correcting, or only when the vehicle passes through a certain preset speed. With the Scamp on the back the rear bags typically have about 40psi. in them to maintain level ride. While airbags may not increase a vehicles load carrying rating they can certainly do the same as adding stiffer springs to that vehicle. Other components were beefed up also. Massive cromoly tubing control arms, panhard rods, steering rods, cromoly axles, etc. Wranglers are only rated at 1500 lbs towing, and I have no idea how much mine can safely carry, but it has been beefed up somewhat. I also added 4 wheel disc brakes and heavy duty aluminum cross flow radiator.
Most people wouldn't feel comfortable modifying their new Highlander or Pilot to that extent, but it can't hurt to give them a little help where needed.
Russ
Wranglers are meant to flex over rocks, not carry the weight of a trailer. They do have fully boxed frames and strong suspension components, and with the modifications you've made it probably works respectably as a TV. Problem is that to be stiff enough to handle tongue weight AND be flexible enough to still flex over rocks is pretty hard to do. Add to that the inherently short wheelbase and I would not use a Wrangler as TV except for the lightest of loads. Just my two cents.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:13 AM   #82
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Trailer: 2003 Scamp 16' SOLD , 2008 Airstream 19'
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Wranglers are meant to flex over rocks, not carry the weight of a trailer. They do have fully boxed frames and strong suspension components, and with the modifications you've made it probably works respectably as a TV. Problem is that to be stiff enough to handle tongue weight AND be flexible enough to still flex over rocks is pretty hard to do. Add to that the inherently short wheelbase and I would not use a Wrangler as TV except for the lightest of loads. Just my two cents.
Agreed.
My jeep was built to do very well off-road and be "just passable" on the highway. Towing was not even in the equation. I use it to tow the Scamp because it is what I have. The upside is that it will tow a light trailer if the speeds are kept low, and I still have a fun vehicle to use when camping. I have towed the trailer from San Diego to Moab and back twice and to Portland once. The jeep had been previously driven to Moab and back 3 times before owning the Scamp. I built it about 8 years ago.
The flexibility you speak of is necessary for rock climbing. I control it with a dual rate front sway bar. It can be pneumatically disconnected from inside the cabin. When connected it keeps the body lean controlled about like a stock Wrangler. When disconnected the axles can be twisted almost perpendicular to one another.

Most of the people that tow FGRV's try to use their tow vehicles for dual purposes like grocery getter and tug. That is why we're not all towing with Dodge Ram's or equivalents. They want an economical easy to maneuver vehicle that can double as a tug for day in and out driving. Highlanders and the like aren't the ultimate tow vehicles, but they work well for dual purpose if you keep the trailer light.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:08 PM   #83
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That's one nice TJ, Russ!

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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Add to that the inherently short wheelbase and I would not use a Wrangler as TV except for the lightest of loads.
Standard length Wranglers are short, TJ Wrangler Unlimiteds aren't bad (about the same as a RAV4, etc; I don't recall if Russ has an Unlimited or standard), and a JK Wrangler four-door has more wheelbase than the majority of SUVs. I agree that a short Wrangler is not a good towing choice for a significant trailer.

A short (in wheelbase) and tall tug, with tall squishy-sidewall tires, is a bad towing combination. Russ seems well aware of the factors to consider.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:33 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Fox hunt View Post
Ok I'm confused I bought a Toyota highlander 2009 with tow package to pull a used 17b with a WDH not sure is this right or should I just pull with a straight bumper hitch ?
The hitch is almost certainly the 2"x2" opening size (which is necessary to fit a WDH), and the Highlander allows WD use, so you can use it if you want. On the other hand, with a 2009 Highlander and the typical tongue weight of an Escape 17' it is unlikely to be needed.

My question would be: why? You might have a good reason to use this hardware, but if you don't know why you're using something (and thus probably don't know how to use it properly) then why use it? If you're uncertain about the reason... let us know why you think you should use it.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:11 PM   #85
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From personal experience with the above combination, I'd say it is useful, if not necessary to use a WDH. Otherwise you're sagging about 4-5" in the rear. At first I was only going up 3 links. Then with the bar included with the Pro Series installed by ETI, I hitched it up to 5 links and it was level.

Also, when going through 35+ mph wind it wasn't noticeable on the trailer.
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Old 07-26-2014, 02:23 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
That's one nice TJ, Russ!


Standard length Wranglers are short, TJ Wrangler Unlimiteds aren't bad (about the same as a RAV4, etc; I don't recall if Russ has an Unlimited or standard), and a JK Wrangler four-door has more wheelbase than the majority of SUVs. I agree that a short Wrangler is not a good towing choice for a significant trailer.

A short (in wheelbase) and tall tug, with tall squishy-sidewall tires, is a bad towing combination. Russ seems well aware of the factors to consider.
Thanks Brian. We've had a lot of fun with her.
Ours is the short TJ. I adjusted the front and rear control arms out a few inches until fuel tank clearance got tight in the rear and something else in the front limited that as well so the wheel base didn't grow as much as I would have liked. Fuel tank re-configuration would be necessary to add a half foot to the WB.

What is amazing is that we lost the drivers side rear wheel while going down hill at 60mph between the south rim of the grand canyon and Williams Arizona and didn't lose control! The Jeep jumped about 2 feet in the air as the wheel left the wheel well and we came down hard on the brake rotor. I veered slightly toward the center line and then she rode straight as and arrow. The wheel bounced so high that I lost sight of it! I told my son to keep an eye on it so we wouldn't lose it. I let the rig slow on its own which took several hundred yards and went off onto the shoulder to access the damage. I thought my heart was going to explode and I couldn't stop shaking for about 20 minutes. My son retrieved the wheel from a half mile down the road and brought it back. There were three lug nuts still on the rotor studs and the other two were gone. The lugs had worked loose and hogged out the holes in the rim, and then the wheel left us. The rotor was worn down about an inch in one spot just from the minor braking I did. We put on the spare so we could get onto the flat bed tow rig. The tow truck hitched the Scamp on the back and towed us back to Williams for repairs. God was smiling on us.
The jeep really did way better in that situation than I would have thought with the short wheel base and high CG. I have also towed the Scamp through snow while other rigs were in the ditches on the side of the highway. I like to keep the speeds under 60 which helps on fuel economy anyway. I'm glad we were not going around a curve when that wheel went!

You are probably wondering why lug the lug nuts were loose. Well it was error on my part for not checking an apprentices work who had that wheel off. I torqued my side and put the torque wrench on the floor where he was working. He told me he had set the lugs with and impact gun, so I asked him to loosen them and set them with the wrench. He was distracted by something going on in the shop and never got around to torqueing that wheel.
You are probably also wondering why so much havoc could happen to that wheel without any warning. first, there was a cross breeze gusting which hid the feel of the wheel moving laterally. Second there was no sound. Very odd that we heard nothing until the jeep leaped into the sky. Mud and snow tires are noisy which probably covered the sound.
Always pack clean undies for these occasions.
Russ
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:52 PM   #87
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Great story Russ, and thanks for the techie details.

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Always pack clean undies for these occasions.
Russ
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