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My new experiment


Chad Heiser

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I have wanted a Jeep for a long time and periodically check around to see what is out there and available. A month or so ago, I came across one I had to have. It is a one year old, low mileage JK that the previous owner sunk a bunch of money into with nice aftermarket parts. He then apparently didn't like the fuel mileage he was getting in it as a commuter and traded it in with less than 6500 miles on it. He obviously took it in the shorts on the trade because I got a smoking deal on it. It wasn't the best time for me to buy because I had just sunk a bunch of money into my RV garage (see this thread), but this was a deal I just couldn't pass up. After convincing my DW it was a rare find (based on price and set up), I pulled the trigger.

 

I brought it home and took my DW for a ride. A few minutes into the ride she asked me, "Hey, were taking this long trip next month, would it be possible to take the Jeep with us?" I always had this idea I'd like to tow a Jeep behind my 5th wheel on occasion and because I now had a Jeep I had done some preliminary research on what it would take to do it. There are certain destinations we go to when a drive around vehicle would be nice to have. I, however, was not going to bring this up to my DW at this time because I knew what it was going to cost to get the 5er and Jeep ready to tow it. I also knew what it took to convince my, shall we say frugal DW, that the Jeep was a good purchase. Since she brought it up though, I told her what it would take and about what it would cost and to my surprise, she said go for it. I jumped on it and got everything ready. I did my first test pull on Sunday and everything worked great. I am very happy with the set up. The HDT doesn't know the difference with the added weight of the Jeep. I beefed up the rear framing and hitch on my fiver, as well as the Mor/Ryde pin box to accommodate the extra weight. By the way, I learned something about Mor/Ryde rubber pin boxes. They are all built exactly to the same specifications. The only difference in the weight ratings of their various pin boxes is in the rubber spring inside it. My king pin box came with a number 5 spring and I upgraded it to a number 6 spring (their biggest). I am slightly over length, but I know that going in and will deal with any related issues if and when they arise. Here are a couple of pictures.

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That will look real familiar to Jack as he used to tow like that a couple of years ago.

 

I'm sure he will chime in with a few things to look out for. You have cameras set up to keep an eye on the Jeep? And probably a breaking system on the Jeep?

 

Take care and have fun. Great find on the Jeep!

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Looks great Chad! Your truck doesn't care about an extra 4500lb...no surprise!

 

I got all the parts accumulated and installed so I could do the same when I was towing with the pickup, but never felt comfortable towing it to any of the places I would have used it. On a longer interstate trip on straighter highways I probably would have. Obviously now we have a different arrangement with more possibilities and 4 down towing would put us at least 17' overlength.......

 

Did you go for the remote braking system too?

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Yes it will be making the trek with us to the WCR. We leave Friday and will be on the road for a month, with the WCR coming at the end of the trip.

 

I spoke with Jack about his old set up for any tips he could provide when I was looking into doing it.

 

I have a camera on the back of the fiver that is always on and monitoring the Jeep. It is very helpful; and has a full view of the Jeep and the tow bar.

 

I put an Invisibrake supplemental braking system in the Jeep. In CA any towed vehicle/trailer over 1500 lbs requires its own brakes. I installed a new 7 pin connector at the back of the 5er to connect the Jeep. I also ran new wiring from the 7 pin to the front of the fiver for the invisibrake warning signals. I then added wiring to the truck to connect to this wiring and have an LED indicator light and audible alarm to show when the Jeep brakes have been activated (light) and if they have been activated too long (alarm).

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Chad and I had discussions about this "along the way".

 

If others are thinking of going this direction take note of the things he did. The purpose was to reduce the risk of a "double". KEY to the entire thing is to reinforce the frame of the 5er to take the extra forces involved. I cannot stress how important this is....there is a lot of force involved here. Almost no 5er frames are designed for it. YOU WILL BREAK SOMETHING, over time, if you do not properly reinforce the frame.

 

You also need good braking on the toad, and good way to monitor everything.

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Funny, I always wonder about the safety of a combo when I see them on the road....... Did they cheap out on the hitch and frame mods? Not bother with supplemental braking? Being in the business, people are always asking if we can just do xxxx? Or can't I get by with yyyy? They are usually the safety items they want to skimp on too!

 

I got my Roadmaster BrakePro that was pretty much new from a guy who didn't fell like he needed it to stop his Jeep........ It's pretty old skool, but seems to work pretty well. Installed a lot of M&G brake unit over the years too.

 

Towing 4 down does create some interesting dynamics. I don't really even like towing my Jeep behind the pickup on curvy roads and with the overhang of a 5er, the loads would be more pronounced. Saw a guy double towing a Wrangler 4 down behind a lower end Forest River 5er and an early F250 superduty on Hwy 299 a few years back and thought that has to be a handfull!

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I have just begun thinking about pulling my Chevy Colorado behind the 5er, but I'm already over length as-is. It would be great to have it along with us, but I don't think any trooper in a reasonable state of mind would allow me to drive by w/o at least making me unhook the truck from the trailer.

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It would be nice not having to swap out my brake unit every time connect/disconnect....... That Invsibrake would be super nice to have!

 

I am really happy with the Invisibrake. I have three friends that all have Invisibrake's in their towed's behind motorhomes, so I was familiar with its workings and they all highly recommended it. The install was fairly straight forward. I took my time doing it over a weekend and everything came out as I had hoped. If you don't know it is there, it's hard to spot. I wouldn't even try this without some type of braking system in the Jeep.

 

Even with all this, I won't be towing the Jeep very often. It will be with us on our long trip this summer, but that will be almost exclusively interstate and major highway driving between destinations (not many winding roads). I am looking forward to having it for our stop at Yellowstone. I wasn't really looking forward to touring the park in the HDT.

 

I'm hoping all my upgrades and reinforcements prevent any major issues along the way. I've got about 22 feet of 2 inch tube steel added to the rear of the fiver for strength, all welded to the frame professionally by my local machine shop - braced and cross braced. I'm also using 10000 lb rated tow bars and related equipment. I tried to over engineer everything I did or had done. Hopefully my precautions pay off with smooth sailing.

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I have just begun thinking about pulling my Chevy Colorado behind the 5er, but I'm already over length as-is. It would be great to have it along with us, but I don't think any trooper in a reasonable state of mind would allow me to drive by w/o at least making me unhook the truck from the trailer.

While I have not towed doubles since 2013, when I did I was 84' long. I towed all across the south and west without issues. I was never stopped in around 150,000 miles. I went as far NE as VA, and all over the west and central states - KS and south. Not CA, WA or OR. I did this for over 8 years, fulltime on the road.

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While I have not towed doubles since 2013, when I did I was 84' long. I towed all across the south and west without issues. I was never stopped in around 150,000 miles. I went as far NE as VA, and all over the west and central states - KS and south. Not CA, WA or OR. I did this for over 8 years, fulltime on the road.

Do you think you were shown leniency due to having a truck capable of it, or do you think you were just lucky?
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I am 78.5' long with my set up. I have thought of going with a straight down king pin which will shorten my overall length by about 18 more inches or so. Unfortunately Mor/Ryde doesn't make a straight down box so I would have to have one built if I want to keep the spring motion Mor/Ryde has. It wouldn't be that difficult, but is was more work than I had time for before our upcoming trip. It would also limit the towing of my trailer to an HDT/MDT with the hitch at the rear for clearance.

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When I was looking at jeeps in 2014 my DW said "Don't get something to get by, get what you want". I bought a Rubicon X. We love it.

I know what you mean. I looked at a lot of Jeeps. This one was exactly what I wanted. The previous owner built it right. It has all the parts I would have picked and they are all on a loaded Rubicon. Another reason I couldn't pass this up. I'm very happy with it.

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Do you think you were shown leniency due to having a truck capable of it, or do you think you were just lucky?

Luck has a lot to do with it. Most LEO's do not know the towing laws, and are not that interested in stopping RVers UNLESS you are doing something stupid. Having a commercial looking truck just complicates it for them, since they may not be sure what is allowed and what is not. DOT guys, of course, know the laws and may stop you. But the run-of-the mill LEO probably is going to ignore you. Unless you get to certain states - which is why I stay out of CA, WA and OR. My opinions only...

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Luck has a lot to do with it. Most LEO's do not know the towing laws, and are not that interested in stopping RVers UNLESS you are doing something stupid. Having a commercial looking truck just complicates it for them, since they may not be sure what is allowed and what is not. DOT guys, of course, know the laws and may stop you. But the run-of-the mill LEO probably is going to ignore you. Unless you get to certain states - which is why I stay out of CA, WA and OR. My opinions only...

 

As a LEO, I concur with Jack's assessment. Most LEO's, other than specific commercial enforcement officers (or those of us who study it for fun), do not know the intricacies of the towing laws. I like to quiz CHP officers in my area about towing laws periodically and I have yet to meet a non commercial CHP officer that knew the answers to all my questions (or in some cases even any of them). I know officers at my department don't know the answers, which is why I have been encouraging my admin to bring back our old commercial enforcement program.

 

In my opinion, don't do something to bring attention to yourself and in most cases you won't get a second look. This is no excuse for being ignorant of the law, however, and you should be prepared for the consequences if you are ever stopped and cited (which I am).

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Even with all this, I won't be towing the Jeep very often. It will be with us on our long trip this summer, but that will be almost exclusively interstate and major highway driving between destinations (not many winding roads). I am looking forward to having it for our stop at Yellowstone. I wasn't really looking forward to touring the park in the HDT.

 

You will be happy to have the Jeep here at Yellowstone. The crowds have started early and it is not even Memorial Day yet..... Finding parking in a larger vehicle can be a real challenge at times. With the JK you can whip it around and U-turn easily when something catches your eye.

 

We are here in Gardiner, MT (North Gate of Yellowstone) until June 5th. We running around in our white hardtop JK. Maybe we will bump into each other along the way.

 

Have a great trip!

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You will be happy to have the Jeep here at Yellowstone. The crowds have started early and it is not even Memorial Day yet..... Finding parking in a larger vehicle can be a real challenge at times. With the JK you can whip it around and U-turn easily when something catches your eye.

 

We are here in Gardiner, MT (North Gate of Yellowstone) until June 5th. We running around in our white hardtop JK. Maybe we will bump into each other along the way.

 

Have a great trip!

Thanks, we're heading to the Dallas area first (we hit the road Friday) for a family reunion. Then up to South Dakota to see some of the other side of my family. Then we head to Yellowstone. We won't be there (West Yellowstone) until June 11. Too bad we will miss each other. After Yellowstone we head to the WCR, then home to NorCal. It is going to be a big loop.

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Looks great Chad?

Great job and choice on the rubicon also.

 

I used to be one of the crazy ones that pulled a CJ 5 behind my old 28ft 5r with a 86 f350.

One thing I learned was that if the jeep didn't drive well, then it sure wouldn't tow well.

 

I have thought about going back to doubles with my bronco, I'm over the toy hauler thing.

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Well we made about 500 miles today with the Jeep in tow behind the 5er. Everything worked great. So far no troubles at all. Hopefully it stays that way for the rest of the trip. I passed way more CHP than I expected to today and none of them gave us a second look, so that was nice as well. We are in Barstow, CA for a quick overnight and heading to the Flagstaff area in the morning. Hopefully the next leg is just as uneventful.

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