View Full Version : Tow Vehicle

opel racer
10-08-2002, 05:33 PM
Now that my GTI is complete, I'm looking for a tow vehicle. I will be towing the car with a double axle open trailer. Would a 6-cylinder Cherokee/Explorer vehicle be able to tow this amount of weight? I've looked into towing capacities a little bit, but I'm not sure I trust the manufacturers- so I figured I'd ask you guys what you use.

Bill Miller
10-08-2002, 10:40 PM
Figure the car weighs ~2000#. If it's a standard steel 2-axle trailer, figure 1200# or so for the trailer. If you stow your spares/tools/etc in the car or on the trailer when you tow, add that in. Figure at least 3500#. That means you're going to need a Class III hitch (up to 5000#). I don't think either of those vehicles will handle it. I'd go w/ something w/ a V8.

I towed mine w/ a GMC K1500 4x4 p/u w/ a 5.7 (350) V8. Towed fine w/ an open trailer. The 24' Haulmark was a different story though. http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/rolleyes.gif

MARRS #25 ITB Rabbit GTI
SCCA 279608

10-08-2002, 11:05 PM
The Explorer V6 would be the smallest I would use. I knew of a VW ITC racer from Ohio who uses one, and wishes he had the 8. You'll need the class III hitch, and be sure the at least one axle has brakes. I would figure 3500 to 4000 pounds with equipment.

Joe Craven
10-09-2002, 12:05 AM
I have several race cars and a 1300# 2 wheel trailer . The Capris weight 2150# and the GTI weights about 2000#

I use a 2000 Jeep Cherokee with 2.5 liter 4 cylinder and 5 speed transmission, class III hitch. The 125hp makes acceleration a little leisure but the biggest issue I fear is the inability to stop fast enough. The Jeep handles fine and I've towed my trailer up highway 80 from San Francisco to Reno Nevada which is basically sea level to 7000+ ft and back again. There were a few stretches that slowed me down to under 45mph but I kept to the right and had no problems.

In regards to stopping, you definitely need electric brakes on the trailer because the trailer/car combo weighs more than the Jeep itself.

10-09-2002, 08:03 AM
I have a 2000 Cherokee 4.0 with the factory tow package (reciever, full size spare, wiring and trans cooler). Note that the factory only rates the automatic at 5000# tow capacity - not the manual.

I have towed several cars - mostly Rabbits and Golfs on single and double axle trailers and will be towing my race car with this truck next year. When I am loaded with spares etc the load will be over 3500#, so I will be adding a weight distributing hitch to the package. I also have electric brakes on my trailer which really help.

The Jeep can handle it, but budget for the weight distributing hitch and electric brakes. Oh, and you won't be racing up hills - but I'm not really in a hurry when towing.


10-09-2002, 08:52 AM
i have found manufacturers info on towing capacity to be optimistic...

but, i had a cherokee with the 4.0 i6 and a 5spd tranny. towed a 5000lb boat with it for several years (10k+ miles). no problems what-so-ever. trailer brakes are a must and i would not go with a 6cyl cherokee/exploder if i were to do much towing in hilly areas (like getting to summit point). a grand cherokee/exploder v8 would be a much better choice. a gc v8 is what i currently use to tow my its car on a double axle open trailer. with spares/8 extra wheels it is about 5000lbs. although jeep claims a 6000+ tow capacity for the gc, i think 5000 is about the max.

looking for a yukon xl to tow the enclosed trailer...

10-09-2002, 09:45 AM
If you are going with a "small" tow vehicle, you must have trailer brakes. I used to tow a dual axle open trailer with a Jeep 4.0L 6 cyl. It towed no problem but I never had to tow in any hilly areas.

If you or others reading this are considering a V8 option, look at the Dodge Durango. Its a full Frame vehicle unlike the Explorer and Jeeps. It has higher towing capacities. My 98 5.2L has over 140K miles on it and I've used it for towing since day one. So far no engine/trans problems (knocking on wood...).

Joe Craven
10-09-2002, 09:52 AM
I've found that the ratings are conservative. For example, the Jeep Cherokee 4 cylinder is rated to tow 2000 lbs. Jeep will only sell a tow hitch rated at 2000 lbs too. I do not doubt that the 2.5 with a auto will only tow 2000 lbs.

I ended up buying a hidden hitch rated at 3500lbs. The Cherokee is unibody and the hitch fastens to the body rather than a frame. I upgraded the bolts, added a couple extra seat belt body plates to the rear bolts to help support the tongue weight and hooked it all up. I've loaded down the trailer, car with spares and when I tow my Capri, weight must be getting close to 4000lbs. It definitely doesn't tow as well as my Ford Expedition but it's fine if I'm careful and give a little extra room for longer stopping distances. With the 5 speed, I can actually keep up with traffic from stop lights :-)

10-09-2002, 12:28 PM
I just use a '84 Dodge 1 ton cargo van with the extension behind the rear wheels. The weight is fine for this kind of vehicle and you have a ton of storage space in the back. Tires and tools and everything else stay dry if it starts to rain. It has a 360cid V8 with an automatic with a four barrel carb. It is thirsty, but it is also very simple to work on since it is before the days of the computer. I only use it for racing, so I usually don't even unload the van. Vans like this can be acquired for under $1000 so you don't have to worry about blowing the transmission/rear end out of your newer more expensive vehicle. And if something major goes wrong, it might be better to just junk it. The most your out is $1000 or less. I've got 4 years on the same van. If the motor goes out on it, I'll just junk it and get another beater van. It doesn't impress anyone on the road, but it also gives me more money to put into the car. I would rather impress people on the track.

Just my opinion...

10-09-2002, 12:41 PM
Originally posted by KBARTU:
...unlike the Explorer ...

Not recommending or knocking it, but the Explorer does have a full frame. Always has.

10-09-2002, 12:47 PM
While I won't be getting a tow vehicle anytime soon, I still like to research different vehicles. My original idea was a Chevy station wagon with a V8 and tow package. But I'd like to get a pickup truck for other duties besides towing a car.

Since I'll have paid off my daily driver in a couple months, I probably could put myself in a new Toyota Tacoma/Tundra, but I'll probably get an older Toyota pickup w/ V6, and standard features. They have about a 5000# towing capacity, and a reputation for reliability. Since all my other cars have over 100k miles, I don't need another vehicle to constantly fix.


83 Rabbit GTI - future ITB

10-09-2002, 01:57 PM
I tow my GP Rabbit on an open dual axle trailer, with surge brakes. At least they are there, but don't work. (Winter project). I use a Dodge 2500 4x4 quad cab Turbo Diesel. I normally get between 16-18 mpg towing to the 3 tracks in the San Francisco Bay Area. Like Joe said, towing over the 7,000 t Sierra's is a different situation, but most of the time on the flat, don't even know the trailer/car is back there.

Tim Linerud
San Francisco Region SCCA
#95 ITB GTI, GP for 2002

Eric Parham
10-17-2002, 06:59 PM
A 4.0L inline 6-cyl Jeep Cherokee with automatic will tow anything, anywhere, as long as you pay some attention to keeping it in the power band (it helps to get one with a tach).

I towed with them from about '92 through '00. I finally upgraded to a V8 Grand Cherokee Ltd last year mainly to get the rear disk brakes http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/wink.gif, but it's overkill for an IT car on an open trailer. I've always used a weight distributing hitch with several double-axle trailers that spanned the extremes of empty weights (prehistoric Bobcat trailer to present lightweight tilting trailer).

BTW, I have 2 extra '88 Cherokees (1 is rusty 4 parts) plus another nearly new 4.0L engine if anyone's interested and near CT. The solid one has a HD hitch, but worn out 300K engine -- it is also dual fuel (CNG and/or gasoline). I could use the space for more race cars http://Forums.ImprovedTouring.com/it/smile.gif