Jeep Wanglers as a TV…..my real world experience 4 years in…..

texasaubiefantexasaubiefan Member Posts: 61
First, I love my wrangler.   I have carefully added a number of mods over the years and love it.   Yes, it drives rough but it is without a doubt fun to get off road.   I love pulling off the doors and top.   I’ve mainly pulled my Tab in flat areas and it’s been fine.   I just finished a trip thru the Colorado mountains for a month and that’s where I finally decided, I’m getting a different TV.   It sucked and I was white nuckled on most of the drives while towing.

First, because it was a long trip, I was maxed out on weight with all my supplies but well within specs.   Using a Jeep, I’ve always been limited with cargo.  I have lots of hobbies so I carry a lot to enjoy myself all along the trip.   I found the wrangler struggling with the mountains, even on mild grades.   Because the Jeep is lifted and I have oversized tires, I don’t carry as much as I’d like…..and you have a real bounce doing 60 or above.   It’s why I tow slow.   That being said, I was super uncomfortable with the handling thru the mountain grades I encountered.   It was fine without the RV in tow.

Second, I’m done with the weight trade offs, I constantly am forced to make.   Not to mention, there’s just not that much space in the Jeep.  I have numerous containers to organize my junk, and even though I pack minimally, any trip over a week where I’m doing multiple activities, I find I am forced to leave things at home.   For me, the reason for going places is to enjoy the new areas and if I can’t take what I want to enjoy things, it defeats the purpose.   And folks, I did the CO trip solo and there’s no way my wife’s stuff would have fit.   

Third, safety.   I had to unexpectedly return home which involved 22 hours of driving over 30 hours.   The last leg of the trip was thru 22 miles of road construction on i10.  No shoulders on each side of the road, with trucks passing me pushed me around pretty good.   I was fried by the time I finally got home.   Lifted wranglers aren’t known for being super highway vehicles, but strap 2000 pounds of RV behind them and you’ve got a very unfun recipe.

So…..I’m in the market for a truck.   The Tab was awesome during the trip.   I boondocked in 20 degree nights and everything worked well.  I was super impressed at how little propane I went thru for both the alde and fridge.   Never had to winterize the water tanks.  My battery upgrade and solar panels provided all the electricity I needed.   So TAB=fun, Jeep=fun, but TAB+Jeep= not fun.   At least for the kind of places and distances I now want to experience.  

YMMV.   
2017 [email protected] 320-S, Sofitel ([email protected])
Mabel is my great grandmother that I never knew.  She took her 3 sons (ages 8-2) on an epic adventure from Alabama to Florida in the 1930's in the back of a pick up truck.  I named my female English springer spaniel after my mother.  Might as well go for broke with the brownie points in Heaven!   
TV: 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat Supercrew 
David & Jill, Houston, TX

Comments

  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,292
    edited May 9
    I agree, having driven jeeps off and on for 30 years, including a CJ2A when I was in college (it had a small Chevy V-8 and oversized tires, and was lifted for desert running).  I tried rowing a trailer a short distance with it, not fun.  So I can imagine your white knuckle trip, glad you made it safely.

    I had a smaller Jeep when we were looking at getting a TaB320, then decided it was a bit too small, and opted for a 400.  So a new TV was definitely in our plans.  Then Jeep came out with their new Jeep truck, the Gladiator.  After a test drive, reviewing and the towing specifications of the Sport S Gladiator, I was sold.  Got the JT and then found a great deal on a slightly used TaB400, and put the two together, and haven’t looked back since.  It tows the 3,000+ lbs TaB400 with ease, and its long wheel base offers a good towing experience, no white knuckles...

    We live on the rural NorCal coast, lots of mountain roads, steep grades and some highway driving with grades.  The Gladiator handles the grades while maintaining a decent highway speed (I keep it at 55-60 mph, but it can go faster).  I traded my small Jeep, and have always wanted a Jeep truck, that would have a decent towing capacity, which the previous Jeep smaller Jeep pickups lacked.  

    Take a look at the Gladiator, it has a classic Jeep look, and still tows like a truck, and outclasses any mid size truck.  It also has good towing capacity (6,000 - 7500 with Max Tow), decent cargo capacity (1200-1600 lbs), and is still a fun vehicle to drive.  You can also take the doors and roof off for that open air feel whilst driving.  B)
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • VernaVerna Administrator Posts: 6,820
    @texasaubiefan, do a search of F-150’s with the V6 Ecoboost,10 speed transmission, factory tow package with built-in brake controller and 4x4 with a 6’ 6” long bed. Look at tonneau covers or for more height, a topper (A.R.E. Products are made close to the Sugarcreek, Ohio nüCamp factory).  I selected the Sport model as it had all of the “must have” options I wanted.   It is a comfortable ride, bells and whistles that I wasn’t used to, and can help you back up if you choose. My 81 year old neighbor says mine is the prettiest truck she’s ever seen👍

    I have always had mid-sized trucks, but after towing through the Canadian Rockies, the capabilities of the Toyota Tacoma just did not seem to be up to what I expect. There are many of us who have the F-150, and other brands are written up here on the forum, too. 

    See what your fellow owners have to say. 
    Verna, Columbus, IN
    2021 [email protected] 320S  Boondock “The [email protected]
    Towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost “The Truck”
    [email protected] Administrator
  • AnOldURAnOldUR Member Posts: 256
    I found the wrangler struggling with the mountains, even on mild grades.   Because the Jeep is lifted and I have oversized tires .... YMMV.   
    Can I ask if your Rubicon is a two or four door, tire size, lift and what the axle ratio is without stirring up trouble?

    2020 nuCamp [email protected] 320 S
    2013 Jeep Wrangler 2D
    Stockton, New Jersey
  • texasaubiefantexasaubiefan Member Posts: 61
    Thanks @Vera.   I’m definitely looking at a F150.   @AnOldUR, it’s a 4 door.  3” lift with 33s.  I did 17” rims to minimize the sway from larger sidewalls, new shocks, and steering mods to tighten it up.  Gearing is still factory.  Definitely something that would help with efficiency and shifting a bit, but still not address the fundamental lack of torque and space.   
    2017 [email protected] 320-S, Sofitel ([email protected])
    Mabel is my great grandmother that I never knew.  She took her 3 sons (ages 8-2) on an epic adventure from Alabama to Florida in the 1930's in the back of a pick up truck.  I named my female English springer spaniel after my mother.  Might as well go for broke with the brownie points in Heaven!   
    TV: 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat Supercrew 
    David & Jill, Houston, TX
  • DougHDougH Member Posts: 1,108
    @texasaubiefan Not sure I like the Gladiator for a Sofitel 320.  It works great on my 3500-4000lb camper (smoother ride than the Jeep truck by itself), and as @Denny16 noted, the Gladiator tows the 400 fine.  But I've tried towing the 320 with a diesel Gladiator, and you feel every road imperfection and there's more bucking than with a vehicle that's been designed for a smoother highway ride. It sure would be nice if dealerships would let you test tow with an Expedition, F150, Gladiator, or RAM 1500 before purchase... but I'm guessing that's a non-starter.

    2021 Jeep Gladiator, 2021 tiny toy hauler, Austin TX
    Former steward of a 2017 [email protected] S Max

  • Dutch061Dutch061 Member Posts: 382
    Actually, if you want to "test tow" rent the vehicles that are on your short list for a 3 day weekend. I have a 2017 F-150 with the 3.5 Ecoboost and 10 speed, it works great for towing out TAB 400 BDL but I am waiting for the F-250 with a diesel and Tremor off-road package that I ordered. Main reason for going to a 3/4 ton diesel was mpg while towing. Yes, I  know that I will never pay for it even if the mpg while towing was double. However, the F-150 is the first gas burner I have had in 20 years and I just want to go back to a diesel.


    Brad
    2020 400 BDL
    2021 F-250 Tremor with PSD
    Concord, NC 
  • AnOldURAnOldUR Member Posts: 256
    edited May 10
    @texasaubiefan ... Thanks for the update. It's informative to know other peoples first hand experience and what contributed to it. I'm towing with a two door Wrangler with no lift and the standard 16" X 7.0" wheels. My feeling is that it tracks straighter and bounces less while towing my 320S. In my head, I picture it like a tail on a kite, but that's just a guess. Took the Jeep to a trans shop this morning to swap the axle from 3.21 to 4.10. It's pulled "OK" on the flats with the 3.21 with only got a few MPG difference from when not towing. Hoping the new gears will help with an upcoming trip through the Appalachian Mountains on our way to Nashville.

    2020 nuCamp [email protected] 320 S
    2013 Jeep Wrangler 2D
    Stockton, New Jersey
  • DougHDougH Member Posts: 1,108
    edited May 10
    One note on the bucking feeling.  Some YouTube channel said these things can help a lot with that...

    https://genyhitch.com/product/the-glyder-torsion-flex-hitch/

    ... if someone makes one for a 200-300lb tongue weight.
    2021 Jeep Gladiator, 2021 tiny toy hauler, Austin TX
    Former steward of a 2017 [email protected] S Max

  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,292
    I had some bucking or bounce from the trailer hitch when going down rough roads with the stock Sport S rear shocks/springs.  I swapped them out for then
    progressive Max Tow springs and shocks, and the JT ride is smoother, especially with an empty truck or the lighter trailers I also tow.  It also reduced the rear squat (now level) when the heavier TaB400 or the tractor trailer is hitched up.  Try renting a Max Tow Gladiator and give it a go along with the Ford and Dodge Ram.  
    Cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • db_cooperdb_cooper Member Posts: 676
    edited May 10
    Unfortunately, @texasaubiefan unless you want a pickup, there's not a lot of great choices with the power and 4wd prowess to replace your Wrangler.  We use an Xterra, which is discontinued, and the only other rig I would consider at this point is a 4Runner.  Obviously not as off road capable as your jeep,  but with modest upgrades is still a decent rough road vehicle.  We don't off road per se, but we do go to some remote trailheads with terrible roads here in the PNW
    2015 Max S Outback | 2010 Xterra



  • sotbdsotbd Member Posts: 3
    edited May 29
    Only had our 320S BD for a few months but my 07 JKU tows it without issue. I have a 3.5 inch lift, 4.88s and 37s. She pulled fine going out I70 in Colorado, won't win any races but pulls good and solid ride on the way down. I have a 17 4runner also and it is a much more compliant ride and able to get the 320 anywhere I need it to go. 
  • webers3webers3 Member Posts: 261
    @db_cooper  @texasaubiefan “ there's not a lot of great choices with the power and 4wd prowess to replace your Wrangler” There are many choices, many SUVs, trucks are not the only choice. 6 cyl Cherokee does a great job towing 320, Been up and down east cost, hills and flats, no issues
    2017 [email protected] 320S   2019 Jeep Cherokee - Southern Connecticut
  • texasaubiefantexasaubiefan Member Posts: 61
    Just an update.   I traded for a 2018 F150.   What a difference.  Way more room.  Got the max tow package and it’s a snap to hitch.  Finally get to move my spare to the tongue.   And more options down the road when I upgrade my 320 to bigger.   I definitely lose some of the “fun” factor that a wrangler provides, but in my case, the positives of the truck way outweigh keeping my wrangler.   Appreciate everyone’s input and feedback.   
    2017 [email protected] 320-S, Sofitel ([email protected])
    Mabel is my great grandmother that I never knew.  She took her 3 sons (ages 8-2) on an epic adventure from Alabama to Florida in the 1930's in the back of a pick up truck.  I named my female English springer spaniel after my mother.  Might as well go for broke with the brownie points in Heaven!   
    TV: 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat Supercrew 
    David & Jill, Houston, TX
  • MarkAlMarkAl Member Posts: 285
    My 2001 Cherokee tows the 320 fine. BUT it's at 210K and I don't trust it for long trips. I'd rebuild the drive train and engine but my wife want's cup holders and heated seats....
    Snohomish WA, 2001 Cherokee
    [email protected] World: 2021 320S Boondock
    2-6V, with opt remote solar
    managed by VE Smart Network
  • VernaVerna Administrator Posts: 6,820
    edited May 30
    @texasaubiefan, my F-150 is just plain fun to drive. It is a comfy ride, I’m up high to see traffic better over cars, gas mileage is acceptable (haven’t towed the 320 enough yet to know what gas mileage to expect, the extra room in the truck bed is great, and it handles so easily. I still haven’t figured out why I always thought a full-size truck so harder to drive. 
    Verna, Columbus, IN
    2021 [email protected] 320S  Boondock “The [email protected]
    Towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost “The Truck”
    [email protected] Administrator
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,292
    I discovered how much better a pickup truck drives over a mid size car, when I was given one my the county motor pool to use instead of the Valiant I normall drive.  Going over the rough back country roads in our rural area was a much better ride, and outweighed the loss of the AC.  
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • gulfareagulfarea Member Posts: 334
    Another view of using a 4 door jeep to tow a [email protected] 320 can be found here of a women living full time in one. 

    2019 TaB 320 S Boondock Edge
  • jkjennjkjenn Member Posts: 6,343
    Just an update.   I traded for a 2018 F150.   What a difference.  Way more room.  Got the max tow package and it’s a snap to hitch.  Finally get to move my spare to the tongue.   And more options down the road when I upgrade my 320 to bigger.   I definitely lose some of the “fun” factor that a wrangler provides, but in my case, the positives of the truck way outweigh keeping my wrangler.   Appreciate everyone’s input and feedback.   
    I still miss the fun factor from my my JKU. It had a a 2.5" AEV lift, a Gobi frame mount roof, Rugged Ridge bumper, and Warn winch. 

    But it was pathetic as a TV.

    My Grand Cherokee Trailhawk has been a decent replacement. It tows very well and still gives me some reasonable off road capabilities. 

    I have been trying with the idea of a truck for the space, but I do really like my Jeep.

    2021 [email protected] 320 Boondock "Mattie Ross" | 2021 [email protected] Nights: 115 | Total nights in a [email protected] 326 | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk | [email protected] owner since 2014

  • RonRon Member Posts: 137
    I went from a 2012 2 door to a 2018 4 door, both Rubicons.  The 2018 is much better, but is not an F150.  Now if I could just figure out how to squeeze an eco boost into the Jeep....
    2016 [email protected] MaxS, 2018 Jeep Rubicon 4dr, Rural Scottsdale, Az.
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,292
    jkjenn, the new Jeep Gladiator truck gives you both a truck, great towing (handles a TaB400 quite nicely) and has the Jeep fun factor and looks.  Decent off road capability, not a Wrangler off road, but close.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • AnOldURAnOldUR Member Posts: 256
    So, for those of us who still choose to tow with a Wrangler, what have you found to be the best tire/wheel combination? I made the switch from a 3.21 axle ratio to 4.10. That made a big difference in towing ease. Actually got better gas mileage (~17.5 mpg) while cruising the hilly highways between NJ and TN towing our 320S. New tires are an upcoming need before the end of the summer. Thinking of going just a little taller (from 29” to 30-32”), but don’t want to loose the advantage of the new gears. Any suggestions for size and brand? Would spacers to widen the stance just a little hurt or help towing? Anything else?
    2020 nuCamp [email protected] 320 S
    2013 Jeep Wrangler 2D
    Stockton, New Jersey
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,292
    If you increase the tire diameter past 30”, you will loose some of your lower gear (4:10) advantage for towing.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
  • AnOldURAnOldUR Member Posts: 256
    @Denny16 ... I found a chart that lists the RPM’s at 70 MPH for different axle ratios and tire size. My original configuration with 29’s and 3.21 gave me 2162 RPM. The factory tow package with 3.73 gearing and 29’s is 2512 RPM. With my new 4.10 gears I’m at 2761 RPM. I could go as big as 32’s and still be in the factory tow range. That said, the 30” (2669 RPM) that you mentioned is where I’ll probably end up. But I’m still trying to find where to go with tire width and how widening the wheel base will change my tow characteristics.
    2020 nuCamp [email protected] 320 S
    2013 Jeep Wrangler 2D
    Stockton, New Jersey
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,292
    Nice find.  I think 30” tires on the newer jeeps is a sweet spot for ground clearance and performance for most driving situations, good on the highway, and still enough to go out on the trails.  
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom BoonDock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
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