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Need to Safely Tow 5k lbs!


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Hey all. New to the Comanche club and I think I'm  permanant member. I am in love with this truck. I need some quick parts sourcing help to get my comanche up to safely towing 5k lbs. I am going to be taking a position as a traveling nurse and I want this beast to be with me though the whole gig. I'm a skilled mechanic and can do everything necessary to swap in parts/weld/fabricate. No issues  there.

 

My rig:

 

89 Comanche, 4.0, AX-15, NP231 (I think J), 3.07 rear end.

 

I plan for a 98 tahoe 5.7, and maybe an automatic if the AX-15 cannot safely tow my stuff. I need advice on the BEST, most economic used axle to give me bigger and beefier brakes and large enough axles to tow the weight. I plan on reinforcing the frame as well.

 

I need to know which donor vehicles I can get these common parts from as well. I was thinking it might be wise to get a whole 1500 chevy or ford? Again. Time is of the essence and I work at a crazy rate. I'm not looking for spendy, fancy things. I want practical recommendations with parts that can be sourced easily. Thanks for your input!

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Hi MrJrod,

For the answer to your question, the first place to look is the factory owner's manual that was in the glove box when the truck was new.

From page 101:

"Trailer towing

With a Class 1 hitch, your vehicle can be equipped to tow trailers with a Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) of 2000 lbs (907 kg).  With a Class III Hitch, your vehicle can be equipped to tow trailers with a Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) of 5000 lbs (2268 kg).  Vehicles equipped with a rear step bumper are rated for a Class 1 hitch.

Other restrictions apply concerning trailer type, trailer frontal area, and tongue weight.  Carefully review the Minimum Vehicle Requirements chart in this section."

 

The chart on page 103 says for 5000 lbs  up to 64 sq ft front area you need a Class III hitch, max tongue wt. 750 lbs, 6 cylinder engine, auto trans with cooler, power steering, h.d. battery, h.d. cooling, Heavy Duty axel, Trailer sway control and Equalizing hitch are required for tongue weights above 350 lbs.  Maximum Combined Vehicle weights are also called out.

 

There are a number of other tips in the owners manual.  You can buy them on Ebay.

 

Heavy duty axel = Dana 44.  It has wider drum brakes.  The Auto trans rear axel ratio is 3.55, not the 3.07 you have.  Others may suggest a 3.73 or 4.10 ratio.  You may want to look at a rear disk brake conversion also.

 

My 91 Comanche came from the factory "Properly Equipped" to tow 5000 lbs.  Not sure I would want use the 25 year old truck as a full time tow vehicle for 5000 lbs. all the time.  First, fuel consumption sucks towing.  Second, the truck is 25 years old with 260000 miles on it.  Third, you are going to have to spend some money, time and effort to bring your Comanche up to as new specs. Lastly, you said you are in a hurry to get everything done so you can hit the road.

 

If I were in that situation, I would buy or lease a new new truck.  Clearly, your need the truck and need to tow the trailer for your business.  So just buy/lease a new truck and write it off as a business expense.  That way you get a properly equipped truck and a new vehicle and none of the issues dealing with the problems that come from a 25 year old truck on the road.  Any of the half ton trucks can tow 7000 plus lbs with a 6 cylinder engine.

 

 

Hey all. New to the Comanche club and I think I'm  permanant member. I am in love with this truck. I need some quick parts sourcing help to get my comanche up to safely towing 5k lbs. I am going to be taking a position as a traveling nurse and I want this beast to be with me though the whole gig. I'm a skilled mechanic and can do everything necessary to swap in parts/weld/fabricate. No issues  there.

 

My rig:

 

89 Comanche, 4.0, AX-15, NP231 (I think J), 3.07 rear end.

 

I plan for a 98 tahoe 5.7, and maybe an automatic if the AX-15 cannot safely tow my stuff. I need advice on the BEST, most economic used axle to give me bigger and beefier brakes and large enough axles to tow the weight. I plan on reinforcing the frame as well.

 

I need to know which donor vehicles I can get these common parts from as well. I was thinking it might be wise to get a whole 1500 chevy or ford? Again. Time is of the essence and I work at a crazy rate. I'm not looking for spendy, fancy things. I want practical recommendations with parts that can be sourced easily. Thanks for your input!

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With towing anything for long haul you need things.

 

1. Brakes must be able to stop you and what your hauling. Remember the Comanche is a light truck  4wd lb was 3141 the heaviest. It can do 5000 lbs easy, however brake wear quick if your going to do stop and go. Going down a hill it can get fishy with so much weight pushing you.

2. the 4.0 has the power for flat however hills towing 5k will make you slow down and no OD.

 

The truck is awesome and built tough as nails, however if you plan on towing 5k or more you should really think about a full size truck. I would say a 3/4 ton is about right for a 5000k to 7500k highway use. power and weight is comfy range. for truck from 1985 to brand new.

I my self have a 2001 Dodge 3500 with 5.9L Cummins turbo. I pull a 15K trailer 2 times a month 400 miles and it does the job.

 

If you going to do this with the Comanche, you going to need a beefy trans. If your going to stay with 4.0 I say get something like a TH700r4 if auto, and for manual a  NV4500. Your never fail with either of those.  You going to need to beef up the radiator as well. Your best bet is to use a D44 axle because you going to want the larger drums minimum.  Would be a awesome machine, however I think more worth getting a full size truck.
 

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  • 3 weeks later...

ive been wondering the same thing. I have an 88 comanche 4x4 with a 4.0. The suspension and drive train is basically brand new with no more than 10xxx on any component. It has an nv3550 5 speed d30/8.25 axle combo with 3.55s with 4 wheel disc brake conversion and wj brake booster master cylinder, hells creek metric ton leaves, and complete 98 v8 zj steering and front suspension along with bosch 3, 4 hole injectors, and aluminum 3 core radiator with dual electric fans, and 31x10.5r15 goodyear wrangler at/s tires. I don't really want to get a bigger truck because of insurance and gas mileage, but i am looking into getting a small camper, or pop-up. What should my max be for weight when looking to tow with my rig?

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What should my max be for weight when looking to tow with my rig?

First, what kind of hitch do you have?

 

Second, your truck is still an MJ and it still only weighs around 3,200 or 3,300 pounds. You have to watch out for the trailer pushing the truck around.

 

Third, you need more gear. 31x10.50s with 3.73 gears work out to exactly the same overall final drive ratio as stock tires with 3.55 gears, so your final drive ratio is closer to a stock 5-speed with stock tires.

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According to my Owners Manual, 1990 metric ton.....max vehicle weight, 5500 lbs. Max combined vehicle weight (truck & trailer) 9264 lbs. Max trailer weight, 5000 lbs. Max tongue weight without sway control and equalizer hitch, 350 lbs (750 lbs WITH those options). No more than 3400 lbs total on rear axle (D44).

 

BTW, on the Cat scale, my truck, with me in it, full tank of gas and the camper shell, which I always have on it, weighs 4300 lbs.

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5,000 pounds is a lot to tow with an MJ, even with all the necessary upgrades.  Back and forth to a boat ramp a few times a year would be fine, but prolonged towing is going to really stress your trans, motor and brakes.  Additionally, lifted MJs are worse for towing than stock ones.  The higher COG and softer spring rates make it less able to control heavy loads.

 

A nice used Chevy/Ford/Dodge half ton pick-up (or comparable SUV) would be a much more capable, safer, and more comfortable alternative for towing that kind of weight.

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I have towed a relatively large pop-up with my MJ. Around 2000 pounds, no brakes, with a 4.0/auto with a Chrysler 8.25" rear axle and disc brakes. Worked well, but would not want to go much heavier.

 

I have had a 94 half ton Suburban and currently have a 91 three quarter ton camper conversion van. Both tow 7000 pounds weight carrying quite comfortably, although with hills the gas mileage sucks. On flat ground the van gets 18mpg by itself, 10mpg towing. That is with a GM 5.7l engine. Newer 5.3l engine should be better than that while making more hp at the same time.

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5,000 pounds is a lot to tow with an MJ, even with all the necessary upgrades.  Back and forth to a boat ramp a few times a year would be fine, but prolonged towing is going to really stress your trans, motor and brakes.  Additionally, lifted MJs are worse for towing than stock ones.  The higher COG and softer spring rates make it less able to control heavy loads.

 

A nice used Chevy/Ford/Dodge half ton pick-up (or comparable SUV) would be a much more capable, safer, and more comfortable alternative for towing that kind of weight.

I don't disagree with you in principle, but my semi-monthly trip to the boat ramp is a 500 mile round-trip on an interstate hwy. Boat/trailer weighs 4500# and my '90 pulls it easily...60 mph, 3rd gear to save wear on the AW4 (in OD it will constantly shift to and from 3rd, and that's what causes excess wear and tear). Been doing that for the past six years and 80K miles. Truck has 262K on the odometer now, and yes, I do have some mods and have used premium fluids since it was new, and that helps a lot. I expect it'll continue to pull the boat with it until I'm too old to go. I borrowed a friend's Ford a few years back to tow the boat and was appalled at the fuel mileage.... around 7 mpg as compared to the 11 that I get.

 

I suppose I'd buy a Tundra to tow it if I had the funds, but I'm not concerned about the Jeep's abilities.

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I hear you, but very few MJs still on the road will be as stout and capable as yours.  If I read your sig properly, you've had the truck since new, and I assume you've taken good care of it.  Add in that you have the metric ton version and other mods .... you kind of have the holy grail of MJs.

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You're absolutely right....most MJs are not with their original owners, and have in fact been through several owners. So there's no way to know for sure now well an individual truck has been maintained through the years. I ordered mine with the metric ton package just so I could tow with it, and immediately added a xmsn cooler and temp gauge. But I never towed much until I bought my boat in '09.

 

And as far as being the "holy grail" of MJs, well, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Some guy was looking it over in a Lowe's parking lot a couple years ago and when I walked up, he said he wanted to buy it. I refused his $4000 offer and as he continued to up his offer, I continued to refuse, telling him I had no intention of selling it. He made a final offer of $7000. I think he knew what he was looking at. Honestly, it's worth a lot more than that to me. I still have my truck.

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:hijack:

 I wouldn't trade it for the world. Some guy was looking it over in a Lowe's parking lot a couple years ago and when I walked up, he said he wanted to buy it. I refused his $4000 offer and as he continued to up his offer, I continued to refuse, telling him I had no intention of selling it. He made a final offer of $7000. I think he knew what he was looking at. Honestly, it's worth a lot more than that to me. I still have my truck.

 

My wife and I are original owners.  I agree.  I would not sell mine!  I love my MJ.

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You're absolutely right....most MJs are not with their original owners, and have in fact been through several owners. So there's no way to know for sure now well an individual truck has been maintained through the years. I ordered mine with the metric ton package just so I could tow with it, and immediately added a xmsn cooler and temp gauge. But I never towed much until I bought my boat in '09.

 

And as far as being the "holy grail" of MJs, well, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Some guy was looking it over in a Lowe's parking lot a couple years ago and when I walked up, he said he wanted to buy it. I refused his $4000 offer and as he continued to up his offer, I continued to refuse, telling him I had no intention of selling it. He made a final offer of $7000. I think he knew what he was looking at. Honestly, it's worth a lot more than that to me. I still have my truck.

 Oh man, that's crazy.  $7k is a lot.  I would have been tempted.  Good for you for not selling though!

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Shere can you get a class 3 tow hitch for these wondeful trucks? Want to get one incase one of my friends break down off roading.

http://comancheclub.com/topic/47686-hitch-plates/?fromsearch=1

Thanks. I was about to post my link. I have towed my 18' car hauler with my side by side on it up hills no problem. I've also had a cavalier on it. I have trailer brakes also. No problems for my little cummins.

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