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First Tow - 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Hemi


EchelonMike

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Hi All,

One of the things that attracted me to the Jeep Grand Cherokee L was it's ability to tow a big trailer. It's one of the things that sets it apart from similar vehicles in it's class.

The past few days, I towed my boat about 300 total miles  - first time towing with the Jeep. The boat is a a Malibu 247, just under 25' long, and with fuel and gear and trailer, about 5,800 lbs. She's a big girl, and dwarfs the Jeep, LOL:

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Anyway, I thought I would share a few things about towing with this platform. My Jeep is a 5.7L Hemi version, Overland trim.

1. Engine and Transmission: There is no dedicated "tow mode" button to push on the Jeep, but it seemed to know there was a trailer attached, and really did a great job finding the right gear on both acceleration and on slow-down...great job with engine brake, etc. The Hemi has way more power than the 5.3L in our old Suburban and it had no issues moving the Malibu. I also towed from KY to TN, which is extremely hilly. I was on mainly 4 lane state highways at 60-65 MPH and averaged 11 MPG when towing and a hair over 22 MPG when not towing, cruising in the mid 70 MPH range. The Jeep has 2200 miles on it so may be a little green. This is about what I got towing and cruising in the Suburban.

2. Suspension and Brakes: The overland air suspension with Magnetic shocks is simply awesome for towing. The tongue weight on the Malibu is over 600 lbs and the Jeep just leveled itself off without any issue. The ride and handling was perfect. Very, very pleased with the suspension. This Jeep easily tows more securely than the Suburban, despite it's size. I am very impressed. Brakes are also great for towing, no issues. The Malibu trailer has 4 wheel disc brakes too, so I had zero issues with stopping.

3. Cameras, Mirrors and Lights: Super easy to back onto the hitch perfectly. Mirrors are large enough to give great visibility. The camera rear view mirror has a fisheye view and you can see a lot more behind you when you flick that on vs the reflective mirror. The LED headlights are excellent. I was in the boonies towing without any external lights around and could see WAYYYYY up the road with these lights. Very good.

4. Super annoying things: The Overland has the swipe-your-foot-to-open-the-tailgate feature. Well, when you are hitching up the boat, it decides to open itself.  I know you can disable this feature...you need to when trying to hitch up the trailer or risk the door knocking you in the head. Second annoying thing: One thing you tend to do when backing a boat in or out of a tight space is have the drivers door open so you can both see and also hop in and out multiple times to do visual checks. With this rotary dial transmission, if the drivers door is open, it won't shift out of Park. Yay, safety. I hate this, but I'm guessing every new car is similar. Ugh.

5. Super cool things: When i put the boat away, I set the tongue wheel on a big 4x4 block to make sure I have enough height to crank the boat off the hitch. When I parked the boat in the garage today, it rolled off the block. Crap...I was by myself. How can I get the ball back under the trailer when it's not on the block? Answer: Flick the ride height air suspension to it's lowest setting...back under the ball...then raise it back up. So cool! Worked like a charm. Next, the storage in the floor behind the third row holds lots of stuff. I have jumper cables, several different receiver hitches, pins, the wiring harness plug, etc. Love having everything right in its own space, out of the way, for towing. A nice touch. Lastly, the adaptive cruise is cool because you can set distance from the car in front. I usually have it on the closest setting, but when towing, it's cool to have an extra set of eyes on the road ahead and set it at the max distance to have more room to stop or change lanes. It worked perfectly. Lastly, the overland stereo is really good for a factory system. XM, streaming, etc. all sound great. I downloaded a speaker test playlist from Spotify before I left and it put the stereo thru its paces.

That's about it. If you need to tow big stuff around, the Jeep is a great tow platform that you'll be very pleased with.

  • Like 2
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Interesting as the max tow capacity on the Jeep Grand Cherokee L with Hemi V8 is 7,200 lbs.  My understanding is that the only Malibu that you can tow under that threshold is the VLX while the 23 LSV and larger boats exceed that.

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My boat is a 2008 and it weighs 3,900 lbs dry.  The trailer is 1,400.  That's only 5,300 dry.  It holds 84 gal of fuel, which is 500.  Some boards and a cooler, and other gear, maybe 500 more.  I'm guessing I have 1,000 lbs of extra capacity to play with, as the tow rating on the V8 is 7,200.

The new boats are considerably heavier.  A new 23 LSV is 5,200 lbs dry.  Assume the trailer is the same @ 1,400 lbs.  You're at 6,600 lbs dry.  If you tow with light fuel and gear, you can stay under the 7,200 lbs rating.

 

 

 

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#4 auto park is a normal Dodge/ram/etc feature, even my 2018 ram has it.

Really handy for folks who forget to put truck in park at the boat ramp ;)

Edited by oldjeep
  • Like 1
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1 hour ago, oldjeep said:

#4 auto park is a normal Dodge/ram/etc feature, even my 2018 ram has it.

Really handy for folks who forget to put truck in park at the boat ramp ;)

OK makes sense...the screen said auto park...now I know the feature has a name.  :-) 

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2 minutes ago, EchelonMike said:

OK makes sense...the screen said auto park...now I know the feature has a name.  :-) 

If you look in the manual it will give you the specifics, but I believe you can have the door open as long as your foot is on the brake.  Once you remove it from the brake it parks

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10 hours ago, oldjeep said:

#4 auto park is a normal Dodge/ram/etc feature, even my 2018 ram has it.

Really handy for folks who forget to put truck in park at the boat ramp ;)

My 18 Laramie does not have it. My 19 3500 utility bed does have it. I ABSOLUTELY HATE IT!!  Can’t even pull a truck out of the shop. OH! Try to make adjustments to hook up a trailer!! You have to completely close the door!! 🤬🤬🤬 more protecting stupid people. We really need some genes cleansing to happen!! 🤣🤣

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1 minute ago, Sparky450 said:

My 18 Laramie does not have it. My 19 3500 utility bed does have it. I ABSOLUTELY HATE IT!!  Can’t even pull a truck out of the shop. OH! Try to make adjustments to hook up a trailer!! You have to completely close the door!! 🤬🤬🤬 more protecting stupid people. We really need some genes cleansing to happen!! 🤣🤣

Why in the heck do you need a door open to hook up a trailer?  You got 3 mirrors and a backup camera.

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1 minute ago, oldjeep said:

Why in the heck do you need a door open to hook up a trailer?  You got 3 mirrors and a backup camera.

C’ mon OJ. You never have to correct when hooking up a trailer. Miss by 1” and need to move!!  I do this stuff 4-5 times a day sometimes. 🙃🙃And I also have employees that can’t drive worth 💩!! 

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You can't turn that off in the software?

I would hate that.  Closing the door and opening it again is too much like MS Windows.

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29 minutes ago, justgary said:

You can't turn that off in the software?

I would hate that.  Closing the door and opening it again is too much like MS Windows.

Don’t think so. They added it when that actor got run over by his own Jeep and was killed. 
 

That’s just the beginning with safety features too. Soon we won’t be able to shift out of park without seatbelts being fastened. 

  • Like 1
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1 hour ago, Sparky450 said:

C’ mon OJ. You never have to correct when hooking up a trailer. Miss by 1” and need to move!!  I do this stuff 4-5 times a day sometimes. 🙃🙃And I also have employees that can’t drive worth 💩!! 

The camera points right at the trailer hitch, so pretty hard to miss.

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12 minutes ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

Soon we won’t be able to shift out of park without seatbelts being fastened. 

I hope not.  FWIW, MOPAR vehicles can still disable that stupid seat belt alarm.....

  • Like 2
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2 hours ago, oldjeep said:

Why in the heck do you need a door open to hook up a trailer?  You got 3 mirrors and a backup camera.

Haha, that is true.  I usually stick the landing the first try thanks to cameras. 

But what if the tongue is a bit too low.  Have to hop out, crank it higher, hop back in, go back a few inches, then hop back out.  Or you back the boat into the garage storage, unhitch everything.  Now you want to load the back of the truck up, and that's easier to do if you pull away from the now unhitched trailer.  Door's still open, you hop in, go to Drive roll forward 5 feet, back to park.  Or you're on a hill and you have the trailer tires chocked.  You get hitched up, but have to pull forward a few feet to un-wedge the chocks and go walk back to reclaim them.  You can't do any of the above with the driver's door open with "auto park".  

It's not a big deal, but until the last few days, I had no idea how many times I move the tow vehicle around with the driver's door open. 

 

Edited by EchelonMike
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Does the air suspension have a manual mode?  Drop the rear, go under the hitch and lift it back up.   In any event my trailer is only towed by me so the coupler would never be too low, it is always at the height I removed it from the truck.

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12 hours ago, oldjeep said:

Does the air suspension have a manual mode?  Drop the rear, go under the hitch and lift it back up.   In any event my trailer is only towed by me so the coupler would never be too low, it is always at the height I removed it from the truck.

The older version did, so I would be willing to bet this does too.  There is a park/entry/exit mode that lowers the vehicle.  A normal drive height mode, and two off-road modes that each raise the vehicle, all can be adjusted manually.  When you are above a certain MPH (50?), it lowers the ride height to a "aero" mode.  

The one question I have is does the "aero" mode lower enough to change the hitch height to place too much load on the front axle (trailer towing unlevel)?  Probably not, but I do know that if I quickly slow down from highway speeds, that raising from "aero" to "normal" drive heights is noticeable.

The air suspension is really a good system.  If I was buying a new vehicle, I'd look hard at it.  I know the Jeeps have it, and the new 3500 is an option.  Pretty sure you can still get it on a 1500 as well.  I can hook up my LSV to my GC and it levels right out.  Not sure how much tongue weight I have on the trailer, but it is enough that me and a very strong friend really can't lift it.

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