What do I need to know about towing with my TJ?


BrunoPizz97

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So I am moving roughly 150 miles away and I don't have that much stuff so I figured why not tow a Uhaul with my Jeep.
I don't have a tow hitch or any towing equipment already installed on the jeep. What would I need to purchase and install in order for me to safely travel this distance.
 

JEEPCJTJ

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Uhaul will install the hitch and the wiring as needed. It won't save you money directly but if you're looking to save some time and effort it's the way to go.

They will also only rent you what they allow to be pulled by a TJ, or LJ if that's what you have. Double check what that is.
 

bromel

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A lot of times they won't rent vans for those longer 1-way trips, at least that was the case when I moved from NYC last summer. I rented the smallest 4x8 U'Haul for like $75 and it towed just fine behind my TJ. The catch is that you have to use a hard top, otherwise they will not rent to you. You could probably tow the 5x8 trailer as well as it doesn't weigh much more, but anything larger will limit how much you can load since the TJ tows so little.

When sizing your hitch, you'll want a ball height of ~18 inches off the ground.
 
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BrunoPizz97

BrunoPizz97

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A lot of times they won't rent vans for those longer 1-way trips, at least that was the case when I moved from NYC last summer. I rented the smallest 4x8 U'Haul for like $75 and it towed just fine behind my TJ. The catch is that you have to use a hard top, otherwise they will not rent to you. You could probably tow the 5x8 trailer as well as it doesn't weigh much more, but anything larger will limit how much you can load since the TJ tows so little.

When sizing your hitch, you'll want a ball height of ~18 inches off the ground.
Damn why no soft top
 

bromel

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Damn why no soft top
Ask the lawyers. It's the same reason they don't rent to Ford Explorers, which had the Firestone tire issues 20 years ago. The Wranglers are believed to roll over, and the damage to occupants is believed to be worse with a soft top, ergo no renting to soft tops. Some actuary decided it was cheaper to just not rent to Wranglers with soft tops and any Ford Explorer.
 

Goatman

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There are a few ways to set up the TJ to tow. But remember you have only (IIRC) 2,000 lb tow rating. Subtract the weight of the trailer and you don't have a lot of cargo capacity. If you have a 4 banger then given less I think.
Anyways, you will need a bumper with a tow hitch that is actually made to be used for more than just mounting a bike rack to. It seems that many of these bumpers with an integrated hitch are lacking proper design to do that. So I would error against most of the Chinezium bumpers out there. There are also special tow bars that bolt separate from the bumper. This would be what Uhaul would mount. This would be (opinion) safer way to go.
Next your wiring harness would need modifications to hook up the trailer lights. This is an easy mod and should take little time.
But the most important thing is that, especially hauling a trailer across the country is the knowledge of how a trailer acts and how the Jeep reacts to the trailer. Things can change quickly during hills (up and down) turns, red lights, etc. Your brakes are designed to haul the extra, but in excellent conditions. Hit some icy patch or a slushy intersection, or even a good cross wind and things can quickly change for the driver. This isn't to try and scare you, just that you need to be VERY aware of it for the entire drive.
Some people don't even know they are towing. They hit a zen-like towing state. Others seem to lack the ability to stay focused. So a bit of practice would be a good thing.
All in all, it can be either a non-issue or a big one.
 

bromel

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Yes, U-Haul would almost certainly bolt a hitch to the frame, which is the strongest but will also restrict your ground clearance. Bumper-mounted hitches get a lot of flak, but you should have no problem towing a 4x8 trailer as long as you get a good-quality one.
 

Vtx531

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Dont cut and splice any wires or they will eventually corrode and give you problems. I bought a plug n play 4 wire connector from Quadratec. I had a problem with the left and right brake light wiring being reversed though so I had to cut and splice the Quadratec harness but not the Jeep harness so that is the important thing.

I use a Curt hitch. Pretty easy bolt on for a TJ. No way I would pay to have one installed. Careful with fitment if you have aftermarket exhaust. Paint/powdercoat on the Curt has held up relatively well over the last decade, even launching a boat in salt water for a year.

I think the hitch is rated for 3500lbs. Jeep is rated for 2,000lb. The boat I pull all the time is 2700lbs. No problems at all. I have a 3-speed auto trans and 3.73 gears with 29” tires. Also factory coil springs designed for a hardtop with no hardtop.

If you have drum brakes, maybe give them an adjustment on the star wheel.
 

pc1p

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I used to tow a small 4'x8' utility trailer all the time with my YJ (4.0L, Dana 44's, 4.88's, 35"s, 5-speed). I used a Smittybilt rear hitch bumper (which is one of the few rated for towing and has the chain attachments) and whatever drop was needed to keep my trailer mostly level. I picked up so many parts with this axle over the years and also used it for Cub Scouts when we had to drag supplies up to the campsites "up on the rim" (basically from 1500' ASL to 7600' ASL) and never had any issues.

I once pulled 1500 lbs of scrap metal + old axle housings to the scrap yard one time. Total trailer weight was around 1900 lbs. No issues whatsoever, but this was a relatively low trailer (other than the drop down gate) that didn't catch a lot of wind also. The biggest issue was reversing the damn thing, as the spare 35" tire totally blocked a rear-view and the fulcrum length of the trailer was longer than the wheelbase on the Jeep.

Take your time, make sure you have sufficient tongue weight and good load balance and I would not hesitate to use a TJ for the same.
 

bromel

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I think the hitch is rated for 3500lbs. Jeep is rated for 2,000lb. The boat I pull all the time is 2700lbs. No problems at all. I have a 3-speed auto trans and 3.73 gears with 29” tires. Also factory coil springs designed for a hardtop with no hardtop.

If you have drum brakes, maybe give them an adjustment on the star wheel.
You tow a 2,700 lb. boat with your TJ? :oops:
 

Vtx531

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P
You tow a 2,700 lb. boat with your TJ? :oops:
Prior to 2,900 mi round trip back when I had 31’s:

D0EAD02C-02A3-4A92-B24A-567E98ED41A9.jpeg
 

Pokahpolice

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The issue isn't the towing capacity of 2K, it's the payload of only 800lbs. You're going to run out of room super quick. 2 people in the Jeep is 300-400lbs...that's half of your payload alone. You're moving so let's assume you have another 100-150lbs of crap loaded in the Jeep. You're now at 500lbs. Your tongue weight can only be about 300lbs before you're over. It doesn't take much to get 300lbs of tongue weight, even with a little trailer.

You often hear "it handles it with no problem" but what people overlook or simply don't think about with towing is how screwed they are going to be if they are in an accident. Regardless of who's at fault, you're liable because you are overweight.
 

Vtx531

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300lb tongue weight at “proper” 10% of the load means a 3,000lb trailer would be reasonable - most single axle trailers.

Payload in an important consideration for sure and one that most people with fully optioned, crew cab, 4x4 pickups fail to take into account. Hardly any payload in that configuration.

As far as being “liable”, is it any different that putting bigger tires on a Jeep than the factory doorjamb sticker advises?

Or willfully and knowingly modifying a vehicle’s suspension in a way that decreases stability and increases stopping distance beyond what a vehicle was safely designed for?

We are all liable for our own decisions and actions.
 
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bromel

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You often hear "it handles it with no problem" but what people overlook or simply don't think about with towing is how screwed they are going to be if they are in an accident. Regardless of who's at fault, you're liable because you are overweight.
Yeah... this is sort of the point. I would not want to be in the position of suing my insurance company for refusing to cover an accident in which I am at fault, regardless of whether the overweight trailer caused it.
 

Mr. Bills

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All this discussion of towing capacity, proper tow set up, etc. , while educational, is totally irrelevant to @BrunoPizz97, our OP, whose profile shows a TJ with soft top.

U-Haul corporate policy is not to rent utility trailers for towing behind TJ Wranglers unless equipped with a hard top.

What OP can rent at U-Haul is a box truck for his stuff and car hauler trailer to tow his TJ as suggested by @TheBoogieman .
 
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Vtx531

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All this discussion of towing capacity, proper tow set up, etc. , while educational, is totally irrelevant to @BrunoPizz97, our OP, whose profile shows a TJ with soft top.

U-Haul corporate policy is not to rent utility trailers for towing behind TJ Wranglers unless equipped with a hard top.

What OP can rent at U-Haul is a box truck for his stuff and car hauler trailer to tow his TJ as suggested by @TheBoogieman .
“Tow with any car” (except a Jeep Wrangler or Ford Explorer) You might be better off towing with a car or minivan or some other vehicle if you have one. No joke. I put a trailer hitch on my car and anything under ~2,000 lbs is more comfortable to tow with the car and much better gas mileage too.

0F2DCB6C-9595-4D3F-AE5E-CBAEEF4E687D.jpeg
 

JMT

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1) 2,000 lbs is the tow rating for TJ's (3500lbs for LJ's)
2) Some kind of brake controller (e.g. Tekonsha)
3) adequate 2" receiver built into bumper that is through-welded or a Curt brand under the bumper that is frame mounted. If you use the bumper receiver, you need some frame tie-in's (Poison Spyder are good) for reinforcement
4) Drive smart, you should be fine.

EDIT: But if they won't rent to you because of a soft top, then useless information for your situation.
 
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BrunoPizz97

BrunoPizz97

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All this discussion of towing capacity, proper tow set up, etc. , while educational, is totally irrelevant to @BrunoPizz97, our OP, whose profile shows a TJ with soft top.

U-Haul corporate policy is not to rent utility trailers for towing behind TJ Wranglers unless equipped with a hard top.

What OP can rent at U-Haul is a box truck for his stuff and car hauler trailer to tow his TJ as suggested by @TheBoogieman .
Absolutely correct, No hardtop here. So I have to figure out the best cost effective way to get my car and my things up in one shot.
 

Mr. Bills

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Absolutely correct, No hardtop here. So I have to figure out the best cost effective way to get my car and my things up in one shot.

In my experience that would be the U-Haul 10' box truck, the shortest U-Haul will allow for towing their car hauler trailer, one way of course. [Longer if you have more stuff than will fit in a 10' box.]

I have done this several times with various vehicles, once with the box truck completely empty because all I needed was a means to tow a vehicle.


 

abruzzi

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Yes, U-Haul would almost certainly bolt a hitch to the frame, which is the strongest but will also restrict your ground clearance. Bumper-mounted hitches get a lot of flak, but you should have no problem towing a 4x8 trailer as long as you get a good-quality one.
it worth pointing out that most of the bumper hitches are not tow rated. That doesn't mean they're not capable but simply that the manufacturer decided that the cost of getting whomever to test and rate it wasn't worth the cost. However since I did expect to do some small amount of towing, when I was looking recently, the only tow rated bumpers I found were the ARB and the SmittyBilt SRC. There may be others, but those were the ones I found.
 
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