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Towing a boat with a JK

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  • Towing a boat with a JK

    I have a 2010 Wrangler with a smittybilt hitch and I'm planning to tow my bass boat. The weight of my boat and single axle trailer is 3,400 lbs. Just wondering what you guys have experienced when towing with similar setups. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • #2
    Never used a smaller rig for towing a boat. I imagine way less power and the turn radius would be tighter. Also, backing up with a short rig in my experience can be tricky only because of the super fast response from the shorter wheelbase. 4 wheeler moving my boat was a pain in reverse lol.

    It can be done, but you might need more patience.

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    • #3
      Power shouldn't be the problem although it could cause slow going over the humps.
      Your big concern should be braking power.
      Check the load capacity for towing for your year/model Jeep.
      Nothing will get you in trouble quicker while towing than overloading your braking capacity.
      Too many people think that if they can pull it they can stop it, nothing is further from the truth.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by plumbertom View Post
        Too many people think that if they can pull it they can stop it, nothing is further from the truth.
        Solid advice.

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        • #5


          Assorted items in boat, or Vehicle, cooler, tackle, rope, anchor, etc.
          .
          People or Person in vehicle.

          More assorted items in vehicle.

          Maximum Vehicle towing capacity = 3500 lbs

          No brakes on Trailer


          I guess you will have to make the decision yourself.





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          • #6
            Thanks guys. That's a lot of useful info. I might just borrow my brother's pickup truck.

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            • #7
              One thing I did not see is length of trailer wheels to tongue and over hang on the back vs length of tow vehicle. If your Wrangler is like a CJ 5 then you could have a possible problem of what is called TAIL WAGGING THE DOG. Also you will want your trailer to be level. If your boat trailer is not level is can also cause tail wagging. Tail wagging the dog is a situation caused by the trailer being to long from ball to wheels plus over hang for the tow rig. It is primarily a problem of bumper style towing.What happens is you get going to fast for your set up and the trailer starts to sway and if you don't stop it you could end up in the ditch It is normally not a problem with 5th wheel type as the hitch is in front of the rear axle. If you get this problem with your tow rig the solution is simple, SLOW DOWN and stay slowed down. I had a 17' North River Mariner and could not tow over 60 with my top up and I had a full size Bronco, had to lower my top or it would start wagging. Bought a 18' DuckWorth Navigator with Swing away tongue and my tow vehicle was a 2004 Ford Expedition and it would wag its tail at 60+ My new tow rig is a 2016 f150 with x cab and 6 1/2 ft bed and it does fine. You just need to make sure you have enough wheel length for the length of your boat. Easiest way to find out it take it out and give it a try to see how it towns. What is your towing capacity for your rig, better find that out first. If your rig is not big enough, don't use it. Forgot one thing, in Oregon when towing a vehicle without brakes there is a minimum stopping distance at a given speed, if you cannot do that then you may not want to tow it or it could be ticket time. Have you ever towed a boat or trailer of this weight before???

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              • #8
                I didn't see where the OP said the trailer had no brakes. IMO that would be a deal breaker even with a pickup. I find it impossible to believe the trailer for a boat that large wouldn't have them. I *think* the threshold in OR where brakes are required is 2,000#.

                Charlie is also right about how the weight can add up more than you think. Is that 3400# figure based on weighing it at a weigh station ?

                As far as sway goes, Charlie is again correct about going too fast, but the last thing you want to do in that situation is hit the tow vehicle brakes and lose your rolling traction. What you need to do is one or both of 1) apply braking to the trailer using the brake control actuator, 2) apply forward power with the tow vehicle so you have a force vector going straight ahead. Then get off the gas right away and let the whole thing slow down.

                Obviously you can only do this with electric brakes and a controller; if this is just surge brakes on the trailer you really don't have the same level of control.

                I would also say to consider the relative weight of the tow vehicle compared to the trailer. If you are pulling more than the tow vehicle itself weighs, you need MORE braking on the trailer.

                Finally, there's a big difference between having enough power to tow on flat ground and typical road grades, versus a steep, wet and slick boat ramp. Something to consider.

                tl;dr version:

                Assuming you have the tow rating to do this, and electric brakes, and can set the controller brake force on the high side to account for weight ratios, and keep it to 55 or below, yeah you probably can do it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by pinstriper View Post

                  I would also say to consider the relative weight of the tow vehicle compared to the trailer. If you are pulling more than the tow vehicle itself weighs, you need MORE braking on the trailer.

                  Finally, there's a big difference between having enough power to tow on flat ground and typical road grades, versus a steep, wet and slick boat ramp. Something to consider.
                  You don't want to that guy at the ramp spinning his tires while slowing sliding into the river!

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                  • #10
                    good info Pinstriper, thanks

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