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Old    B (fullspeed)      Join Date: Oct 2005       06-30-2010, 6:58 PM Reply   
Just picked up a 2006 Jeep Commander for my wife, but I am now thinking that it could be a pretty good tow vehicle. Any thoughts from anyone that has had or have one. How does it tow.

Here is pictures I took. It was a trade in at my dad's RV' dealership, it was pretty dirty, but it polished up good. It has tons of power, but don't know about towing power and handling.

Any thoughts as a tow vehicle.
My Photobucket Link.
http://s1022.photobucket.com/albums/...%20Stock9576a/
Old    B (fullspeed)      Join Date: Oct 2005       07-01-2010, 2:09 PM Reply   
No one owns a Commander or has towed with one. Maybe not a good tow vehicle then. I will give it a shot and let you know how it tows.
Old    Bhyatt (bhyatt_ohp)      Join Date: Oct 2007       07-01-2010, 2:16 PM Reply   
With max towing capacity of 7400lbs, I'm sure it does great. I used to pull my 2006 Malibu vride with my mom's 2004 jeep grand cherokee 4.0 and it did great. I found the suspension didn't like the tongue weight that much, so I installed some air lift bags in the rear and it was golden - i would suggest them: http://www.jegs.com/i/Air%20Lift/022...0002/-1?CT=999
Old    Miguel (migs)      Join Date: Aug 2006       07-01-2010, 2:21 PM Reply   
i saw a commander pulling a small uhaul trailer last weekend and the commander looked like it was doing a wheelie.
cant imagine how low the rear end would be pulling a boat.
Old    Bhyatt (bhyatt_ohp)      Join Date: Oct 2007       07-01-2010, 2:27 PM Reply   
Thats why you get the air lift bags that give the rear end up to 1000lbs of extra tongue weight capacity... Fine tow vehicle as long as you equip it correctly and know what your doing.

Heres some other commander owners talking about what they tow: http://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/...ghlight=towing

Last edited by bhyatt_ohp; 07-01-2010 at 2:37 PM. Reason: inserted link
Old    Diggs (pdxWAKE) (tyler97217)      Join Date: Aug 2004       07-01-2010, 4:58 PM Reply   
It will do the job to tow to the river and back for sure. I used to have one and used it. I would not use it to take a lot of long treks, but it will tow just fine. It is not like towing with a pickup, but it will do it.
Old    Tdc_worm C (tdc_worm)      Join Date: Sep 2002       07-01-2010, 5:19 PM Reply   
I used to tow w/ an 08 Grand Cherokee Overland 5.7L. Although it was rated to tow my CC 230 there were too many times when the tail liked to wag the dog (and that is w/ Air Lift air bags installed).

The air bags dont change the GCVWR of your tow rig, and your insurance company would sting you if you were ever in an accident w/ a vehicle so equipped.

In my case, I was towing a 4300lb boat, 400lb fuel, 400lb gear, 1800lb trailer (guessing). That is 6900lbs. If I had more than one extra passenger, I was over my GCVWR. After on bout of towing through the rain in the hills, I upgraded to a 1/2 ton pickup.

It had plenty of power, but the wheelbase and suspension made it a liability....
Old    Matt (MattieK27)      Join Date: Mar 2010       07-01-2010, 10:50 PM Reply   
I should just learn to stay out of tow threads on this site. So much incorrect or skewed information.

The commander is a good tow rig, as are grand Cherokees, regardless of what people have theories about. Pm me if you want details of my experiences towing with jeeps.
Old    Tdc_worm C (tdc_worm)      Join Date: Sep 2002       07-02-2010, 6:21 AM Reply   
Care to educate the public at large rather than keep your knowledge proprietary? I have been towed once or twice, and while a Jeep may be rated to tow 7200lbs, and it may get the job done, it is far from a great tow rig. The narrow width makes it almost impossible to use your side view mirrors w/ a 100+" wide boat in tow. The soft rear coil springs result in a boat load of sag when tongue weight is applied, shifting weight bias to the rear, and lessening the effectiveness of your front disk brakes and the grip of your steering tires. The tow point is very high (probably to account for the sag)...depending on your tongue jack and boat parking, you may have issues coupling/uncoupling the boat from the truck. The tow point/rear hatch relationship is such that many times i had water over the bumper almost entering the rear hatch when launching on shallow ramps. The Jeeps relatively light weight can make for interesting launches as heavier boats may pull the Jeep down steeper and wetter ramps....

just because it has plenty of power and an on paper adequate tow rating, doesnt make it safe rig. it may work for you, but where i tow, the loads of passengers i carry, and the places i launch, my 08 GC prompted me to put the safety of my passengers and other motorists first...
Old    John Bauer (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       07-02-2010, 6:29 AM Reply   
Should've just bought a Dodge Caravan, or maybe a Ford Flex.
Old    Matt (MattieK27)      Join Date: Mar 2010       07-02-2010, 7:48 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdc_worm View Post
Care to educate the public at large rather than keep your knowledge proprietary? I have been towed once or twice, and while a Jeep may be rated to tow 7200lbs, and it may get the job done, it is far from a great tow rig. The narrow width makes it almost impossible to use your side view mirrors w/ a 100+" wide boat in tow. The soft rear coil springs result in a boat load of sag when tongue weight is applied, shifting weight bias to the rear, and lessening the effectiveness of your front disk brakes and the grip of your steering tires. The tow point is very high (probably to account for the sag)...depending on your tongue jack and boat parking, you may have issues coupling/uncoupling the boat from the truck. The tow point/rear hatch relationship is such that many times i had water over the bumper almost entering the rear hatch when launching on shallow ramps. The Jeeps relatively light weight can make for interesting launches as heavier boats may pull the Jeep down steeper and wetter ramps....

just because it has plenty of power and an on paper adequate tow rating, doesnt make it safe rig. it may work for you, but where i tow, the loads of passengers i carry, and the places i launch, my 08 GC prompted me to put the safety of my passengers and other motorists first...

I never had any issues with the GC I tow with. Most of what you commented on can be solved with simple air bags in the rear suspension. Did you ever have your tongue weight checked on your setup?

If you dont feel safe, thats fine. But plenty of people safely tow with them and dont deal with the issues you have noted. I never put my passengers or others at risk. That being said, looking at the weight of the boat (4300 lbs), the trailer (1800 lbs), and 51 gallons of fuel (closer to 320 lbs), you are at 6420 lbs. Add gear, your well over 6500 lbs. Did you have a weight distributing hitch? If you did not, Jeep currently lists the tow capacity at 5000 lbs, which you are over. Only with a weight distributing hitch are you capabile of towing up to 7400 lbs. That could have been part of your problem.

The best part is commenting on the weight. A 4x4 Grand Cherokee (WK) weights about 4500 lbs. A brand new 1/2 ton silverado 4X4 extended cab only weighs 200 lbs more. You did have 4 wheel drive with the Jeep, right? Is that 200 lbs really keeping that boat from dragging it down the ramp?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonyb View Post
Should've just bought a Dodge Caravan, or maybe a Ford Flex.
Or maybe an F350 dually. You totally need diesel to tow sub 5000 lb boats...
Old    Jeff Baker (innov8)      Join Date: May 2005       07-02-2010, 8:16 AM Reply   
I tow my Epic 23v with my Jeep Commander, no problem at all, I love my Jeep.
Old    Tdc_worm C (tdc_worm)      Join Date: Sep 2002       07-02-2010, 8:36 AM Reply   
Okay, since we are splitting hairs here, I just referenced Jeeps website. A 4x4 GC w/ a V8 has a curb weight of 4583lbs. A 4x4 Silverado extended cab tips the scales at 5286lbs. Thats a difference of 703lbs, or 15% of the GCs weight. And to further clarify my weight comment, it has as much to do with weight distribution (tire contact pressure) as it does with overall weight.

I also just referenced the 2008 GC owner's manual. It give a GCWR of 12,200lbs for a V8 GC. Subtract the curb weight from the GCWR and you get 7617lbs. In my scenario (and the OPs scenario may differ) the boat 4300lbs, trailer 1800lbs, fuel 327lbs, lead ballast 438lbs (i.e. 6 group 27 AGM batteries), random gear 100lbs totals at 6965lbs. Subtract that from the 7617 above and you get 651lbs...the total weight you have available for passengers and gear in the GC. Put 4 decent sized people in the GC, and you quickly cusp the GVWR. Where this becomes important is if you have an accident, insurance companies will nail you to the wall for exceeding the the GVWR and try to use that as a factor in the incident.

I guess what I take objection to is your base comment that GCs and Commanders are GOOD tow vehicles...but then you say you have to modify it (i.e. air bags, I had Air Lift on mine and they did make a huge difference) for it to meet that subjective good quality. You also have to heft around a weight distributing hitch and attach it each time you want to tow. I like the idea that my GF can back up my 1/2 ton pickup and be towing the boat to meet me in about 30 seconds, not wondering whether or not she inflated the air bags and had the strength to install the weight distributing hitch correctly.

Whatever, its all relative to your use. I would call it an okay tow vehicle (I know, semantics). My definition of a good wakeboard boat tow vehicle would be something in the 1/2 ton range truck or SUV, body on frame (not unibody) platform. I never like to operate anything at the limits of its capability, except my liver, so proceed with caution..
Old    Colin P (PictureMeRollin)      Join Date: Apr 2010       07-02-2010, 12:14 PM Reply   
Of course its a good tow vehicle. Some people are pussies and think they need a Freightliner to tow their ski boat.
Old    Matt (MattieK27)      Join Date: Mar 2010       07-02-2010, 1:05 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdc_worm View Post
Okay, since we are splitting hairs here, I just referenced Jeeps website. A 4x4 GC w/ a V8 has a curb weight of 4583lbs. A 4x4 Silverado extended cab tips the scales at 5286lbs. Thats a difference of 703lbs, or 15% of the GCs weight. And to further clarify my weight comment, it has as much to do with weight distribution (tire contact pressure) as it does with overall weight.

I also just referenced the 2008 GC owner's manual. It give a GCWR of 12,200lbs for a V8 GC. Subtract the curb weight from the GCWR and you get 7617lbs. In my scenario (and the OPs scenario may differ) the boat 4300lbs, trailer 1800lbs, fuel 327lbs, lead ballast 438lbs (i.e. 6 group 27 AGM batteries), random gear 100lbs totals at 6965lbs. Subtract that from the 7617 above and you get 651lbs...the total weight you have available for passengers and gear in the GC. Put 4 decent sized people in the GC, and you quickly cusp the GVWR. Where this becomes important is if you have an accident, insurance companies will nail you to the wall for exceeding the the GVWR and try to use that as a factor in the incident.

I guess what I take objection to is your base comment that GCs and Commanders are GOOD tow vehicles...but then you say you have to modify it (i.e. air bags, I had Air Lift on mine and they did make a huge difference) for it to meet that subjective good quality. You also have to heft around a weight distributing hitch and attach it each time you want to tow. I like the idea that my GF can back up my 1/2 ton pickup and be towing the boat to meet me in about 30 seconds, not wondering whether or not she inflated the air bags and had the strength to install the weight distributing hitch correctly.

Whatever, its all relative to your use. I would call it an okay tow vehicle (I know, semantics). My definition of a good wakeboard boat tow vehicle would be something in the 1/2 ton range truck or SUV, body on frame (not unibody) platform. I never like to operate anything at the limits of its capability, except my liver, so proceed with caution..
Splitting hairs? I was merely defending a vehicle I (and others) feel tows well. You were right on about the weight of the truck, the one I listed was for the regular cab. You never mentioned tire contact pressure though, you just pointed out the Jeeps apparently light weight.

Insurance companies will nail you to the wall for exceeding GCWR? Are they going to weigh every single thing to determine that? I think the bigger issue is the fact you were towing without a weight distributing hitch. I find it funny you worry about exceeding GCWR, but never were concerned that your vehicle was overloaded based on not having a weight distributing hitch. 5000 lbs is the limit listed on the Jeep web site when not using one. That would have sent a red flag up to an insurance adjuster well before he even thought to weigh the boat, trailer, gas, and lead ballast they didnt even know you had.

I can understand if you don't want to mess with airbags (although you clarified if you checked your tongue weight) or a weight distributing hitch, but that was not your original arguement.

At the end of the day, you did not feel comfortable towing with the Jeep, and you got a different truck. No one can fault you for that. I still struggle with the people who argue you need a diesel powered 3/4 ton truck for towing a 3500lb boat, but I guess I will just agree to disagree.

Last edited by MattieK27; 07-02-2010 at 1:12 PM.
Old    Tdc_worm C (tdc_worm)      Join Date: Sep 2002       07-02-2010, 2:00 PM Reply   
our disagreeance is really over a subjective matter, and we are using metrics like "tows well" or "is a good tow vehicle" to quantify our claims. I think a lot of people get wrapped around the axle of the max tow rating being the defining factor for what is and is not a good tow vehicle, which is why I was trying to point out the shortcomings of said vehicle in stock form.

touche on the weight distributing hitch...I bought my GC used and it didnt have a manual. As such I didnt consider said hitch because it was never required on any of my other tow rigs. had i known then what i know now, the GC would have never been a consideration, because I prefer the least amount of work input possible to gain the most fun output possible. My point about insurance is that the adjusters get paid to find ways to not pay claims.

As for the diesel comment, I wasnt trying to go down that road. I laugh at the same people you do whom swear that a diesel is the ONLY option. in TX there are a TON of people whom own F250s and use them solely as grocery getters....its not much different than all of the wallys that buy wakeboard boats because they look cool and are fun to party on...either way the demand has gone through the roof for both w/ most people not using them as intended, and now we pay out the nose for both...
Old    LEE DANEILS (hyperlite)      Join Date: May 2009       07-02-2010, 2:01 PM Reply   
mmmmm
Old    Matt (MattieK27)      Join Date: Mar 2010       07-02-2010, 2:53 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdc_worm View Post
our disagreeance is really over a subjective matter, and we are using metrics like "tows well" or "is a good tow vehicle" to quantify our claims. I think a lot of people get wrapped around the axle of the max tow rating being the defining factor for what is and is not a good tow vehicle, which is why I was trying to point out the shortcomings of said vehicle in stock form.

touche on the weight distributing hitch...I bought my GC used and it didnt have a manual. As such I didnt consider said hitch because it was never required on any of my other tow rigs. had i known then what i know now, the GC would have never been a consideration, because I prefer the least amount of work input possible to gain the most fun output possible. My point about insurance is that the adjusters get paid to find ways to not pay claims.

As for the diesel comment, I wasnt trying to go down that road. I laugh at the same people you do whom swear that a diesel is the ONLY option. in TX there are a TON of people whom own F250s and use them solely as grocery getters....its not much different than all of the wallys that buy wakeboard boats because they look cool and are fun to party on...either way the demand has gone through the roof for both w/ most people not using them as intended, and now we pay out the nose for both...
I wasnt referring to you about the diesel comment, just people in general. Its just weird to me that 20 years ago people wanted to get by towing as much as they could with as small of a truck (or car, cars actually had useful tow rating in the 70's and 80's) as possible; now people buy the biggest rig they can afford and claim they NEED it to tow. Many people treat their towing rig like an extension of their boat, and quite frankly I could care less. Trailers too, 20' rims on a trailer is damn funny to me. Ill spend my money on the boat, the trailer and truck esthetics do not matter to me.

I considered this a discussion, and I am always happy to hear other view points. To be honest, if I was towing a 230 SAN long distances, I probably would look for another vehicle besides a GC. I would try to keep the combined weight of the boat, trailer, and fuel under 6k with that vehicle, and have a trailer length less than 25'.

Either way, I cant wait to get out to the lake this weekend. Discussing tow ratings is not as much fun as hitting the water.
Old    B (fullspeed)      Join Date: Oct 2005       07-03-2010, 9:40 AM Reply   
Hey Thanks guys for all the info. I am using Jeep to tow this week. We are going from Santa Cruz to Burney Falls. It' s a good 6 to 7 hour drive. My brother in law is following us with his big truck, so if it feels unsafe or seems like it can't handle the load I will have him tow the VLX. I will let you know the results either way. Thanks again for all your info.
Old    Phil (mmobius2001)      Join Date: Jun 2004       07-05-2010, 1:25 PM Reply   
back on topic, i just picked one up and love it. Towing with it almost feels like its not even there.

I have towed my boat with the following: 2004 F150 Crew Cab FX4 w/ the 5.4L and My Commander, They tow almost identical, the only thing the truck had is the wider tow mirrors. but its not that big of difference because the commander is wider than you think and the mirrors although skinny stick out quite a bit so you can peak around the boat just fine. Best thing i like about it, the commander handles great and has tons of power while still getting about 15mpg, while my truck used to handle like a semi truck and get about 12mpg.....

here are some pics of the boat and commander hooked up together.



Old    Phil (mmobius2001)      Join Date: Jun 2004       07-05-2010, 1:28 PM Reply   
oh, almost forgot, my boat is only 3400lbs dry so i dont really need to use it, but for bigger rigs that need towing the commander 5.7hemi comes w/ a special transmisson button for "TOW/HAUL"

there are guys on the commander forums that have towed another Jeep w/ a flat bed trailer (around 1000lbs) and the jeep while maybe only getting up to 60-65mph towed like a champ.
Old    B (fullspeed)      Join Date: Oct 2005       07-12-2010, 8:59 PM Reply   
Hey guys thought I would reply. The Jeep Commander is not a good tow vehicle after all at least for the weight of my boat. It has the power for sure to get the job done, but the truck bounces around with every little bump, do to the weight on the boat. It is hard to see around the boat when towing. Yes for short trips to the nearby lake it will do just fine, but anything over an hour trip I would rather have a full size truck or a suburban.

Phil I feel my boat is probably much heavier then yours probably is and I think with the Extreme trailer and a slightly taller boat that the VLX is does make a difference in the towing and lack of seeing behind and side to side while towing. We ended up using my brother in laws truck to tow the boat, but like I said for short trips I think it is a good choice.

I do love the Jeep as a all around SUV. It has tons of balls and handles pretty good. I do like it better then my Ford Expediton and I think it is a good tie with my GMC Denali. I like the way that the passangers sit higher in the back seats and have a good view of the road. There is so many cool features on the jeep my wife really love it. The look of it is pretty cool too.

Thanks again guys for the opinions. Got to love wake world.
Old    John Bauer (jonyb)      Join Date: Nov 2008       07-13-2010, 5:09 AM Reply   
There's absolutely no way you can compare that Jeep to a GMC Denali, then say it won't tow your VLX well....

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