View Full Version : Towing 4x4?

10-04-2009, 12:39 PM
I'm thinking of trading the Miata in on a 4x4. While I love driving the Miata (especially the look of horror on Cindy's face on curves in the mountains!) we need something more practical. Also want to go off-road.
Thinking of a Jeep Cherokee, Ford Explorer, maybe Honda Pilot. The Miata only weighs 2400#, will these be any problem weighing 4000-5000# ?(I will use aux. brakes)
Anybody use the Pilot off-road? Is it as capable as the Cherokee or Explorer?
What about the CRV? Is this a true 4x4 with low range?
Not in any hurry, just starting to research.

Wally Arntzen
10-04-2009, 02:35 PM
The weight of any of the vehicles you mentioned is not a problem for our coaches to tow.
I tow a Jeep liberty and use the roadmaster brakemaster that connects to the brake pedal. There are several different systems and everybody that I talk too with different systems like what they have.
I have seen several people with Newells towing cherokees, escalades, full size pick ups, hummers, etc., don't worry about the weight but I would not tow without brakes on the tow vehicle. There are a lot of people that I know with Newells that do not use brakes on the tow vehicle and do not think that is wise.

10-04-2009, 02:42 PM
While you could still get that look of horror out of Cindy with a CRV, the CRV does not have a "Low" Range. We are using Tricia's CRV as our "toad" and I am very happy with it so far. The Owner's Manual has instructions for towing behind a "motor home". The CRV is a great little snow mobile but it is all wheel drive not 4 wheel drive.
I made the "light board" and it mounts where the spare tire would, the CRV's lights are visable with the boaard in place so nothing else needed when disconnecting. These lights do not affect the CRV's Wiring because they are completely seperate and simply under the CRV.

10-04-2009, 06:32 PM
Hi Forest,
Here is MHO based on actual ownership experience:

'88 Suzuki Samurai Cute cheap, go anywhere (new lifted suspension installed...big tires) Ride quality similar to a Ford 8N.

'96 Cherokee 4.0 5 spd manual. The base models especially are kind-a tinny but the mechanicals hold up well. Various details like window regulators and trim pieces have to be repaired occasionally. The 4.0 is a good engine ..especially in the fuel injected years. They are a bit small inside. I like the classic Jeep Wagoneer look.

'97 Jeep Grand Cherokee Orvis Edition. V-8, Leather, all the options .I loved it for 190,000 miles. Some of them have problems with the rear axle which can be remedied very easily if you know which parts to swap in. 16mpg :-(

Currently,,,2006 Jeep Liberty 2.8 CRD Limited. Not quite as nice as the G. Cherokee but comfortable and decent handling on and off road. 4 cylinder diesel gets 30 mpg hwy. I installed 1" wider wheels and tires which enhanced the on road handling. More aggressive tires are installed for winter travel.

I have towed all of these with my '78 Newell. They towed very well, barely affected the Newell's performance at all. Each of the Jeeps have had plenty of room to install an additional light socket into the tail light housing. I run the wires along the frame up to the front. It plugs into the Newell trailer light socket. All have been very capable for "light" off-roading. Lift kit and larger tires would be needed to achieve that same "look of horror" off-road.

web-sites you might find interesting:



Richard and Rhonda
10-04-2009, 09:34 PM

I have a CRV, and have had Jeeps, Broncos, including an original 72 model, and 4X4 pickups. The CRV is a "yard" jeep. I would not even think of taking it on a serious off road venture. The Pilot is some better, on par with Explorers and the like, but not a Jeep capable vehicle.

Having said that and having just copied Zonker and using a Subie Outback as the toad, I will say I DON't need those heavy duty vehicles for anything I have wanted to do in the last ten years.

And Hoosier is so dead on, the real 4X4 jobs drink the gas and they do not ride or handle all that well. I think his choice of a diesel in the baby Jeep is something to consider.

I was perfectly happy with the CRV as a toad.

Wally Arntzen
10-05-2009, 01:15 AM
If you want a jeep liberty with the deisel engine you will have to get a used one because they only sold them with the deisel engine for one year and quit. I have an 05 liberty and had it lifted and put on larger wheels and tires for a total lift of 4". I'm pretty inpressed with its climbing ability and have done 6 trails rated difficult in Arizona.
I go out with some people with Rubicons and they are also impressed with its results. They can do a lot of climbs that I don't even try because it is clear that they are beyond my ability to make it.
My Newell takes me where I want to go and keeps me comfortable as I would like and my liberty takes out in the mountains to see what most other snow birds don't to enjoy.
The FJ Cruiser is also an excelent of road machine but they are not towable at this time.

10-05-2009, 12:46 PM
Hey Forest: I'll chime in with our decision of a few years ago. We wanted the 4 x 4 Jeep four door. It was just coming out. So, we chatted about how often would we be off road, vs. hopefully, staying on the road. It came down to 99/1 on road. So, we thought that maybe we would settle for something that allowed us to carry our gear conveniently, like tennis rackets/shoes, bicycle pump,helmets gear, extra jackets, clothes for hiking, biking, partying etc. We came up with the idea that we would just rent someone else's jeep for $100 a day, and enjoy the better ride, better gas mileage and reliability the other 99% of the time. So we settled on a Subaru Outback, manual transmission, because the automatic's can not be towed all wheels down. So, it works for us, and we are happy to go off road on some terrible trails, beating someone else's jeep up for $100 a day and then just paying for a massage lol.

As Wally says, that's my two cents worth and I"m sticking to it.


10-05-2009, 08:40 PM
I say go green and buy a Hummer! Great for off-roading, just not gas mileage.

10-06-2009, 06:30 PM
HoosierDaddy, what V8 did you have in your Grand Cherokee?
I just looked at a 2000 Cherokee Sport (95000 miles) and a '99 Grand Limited (135000).
The Limited was much nicer and about the same price (dealer is more eager to sell).

10-06-2009, 06:35 PM
Hey Forest....my knowledge on this subject is limited, however, I have heard that not all Jeep Cherokees are towable. There are some years and models to watch out for, but I could not tell you which ones.

10-06-2009, 06:42 PM
Look to see if there is a Manual Transfer Case. From what I have read so far these are usually towable.

10-06-2009, 07:56 PM
It has the fulltime 4wd high and 4wd low with a neutral position. The manual says it can be towed by putting t/c in neutral.

10-07-2009, 02:15 AM
My Grand Cherokee had the 5.2 V8 (Chrysler 318) It was a great engine . In 1999 the 4.7 litre V8 superceded the 5.2. The 4.7 has been very reliable as well....It seems like there were a few problems with the earlier ones ( camshafts?) but I cant remember for sure. IMO the most important consideration with any automobile with 100K miles would be the maintenance. You might find a CARFAX valuable.
I'm not aware of any 4WD Cherokee, Grand,or CJ etc. that cannot be flat towed.
Since I'm on the stump... :-) The Liberty CRD was available 2005 and 2006. I've heard that Chrysler originally planned to build 11,000 but ended up building 15,000 (I have not confirmed those numbers). The engines were built by VM Motori (italian) The transmission is a variation on the trans used in the Dodge 1/2 ton pickup. This drivetrain was used successfully in Europe prior to the US introduction. It was a victim of tightening US emission standards for 2007 as well as the introduction of the V6 (Mercedes) diesel in the Grand Cherokee. To date my '06 has 90,000 trouble free miles on it.

Wally Arntzen
10-07-2009, 02:58 AM
I'm not aware of any jeep models Cherokee, Wrangler, Liberty or others that are 4 wheel drive with automatic transimissions, that can not be towed all wheels down. I put my liberty transfer case in neutral and the transmission in park, set the ignition so it will turn and steer properly and tow it all over the country. I had a Grand Cherokee several years ago and did it the same way.
That is why you see so many jeep vehicles being towed.

Richard and Rhonda
10-07-2009, 11:39 PM

I owned a 99 Grand Limited. It had the big v8 high output, I think it was a 4.8 liter.

In the time I owned it, one head was replaced for sticking valves, the disc rotors were replaced for a warping issue, the driveshaft was replaced for vibration and noise, and the tranny was getting sick when I sold it. It was nice inside, comfy, and would scoot. I would not buy another one for the reasons I listed above. I put less than 35000 miles on it before I traded it. I usually keep an automobile till well above 100k miles, it that tells you anything.

12-02-2009, 03:38 PM
Picked up an '05 Jeep Liberty this weekend. Had to drive to Mississippi to find a 4x4. Waiting on the tow brackets so I can rig it to tow. Thanks for everyone's suggestions.