Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

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Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby Abaker50 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:00 pm

DH & I are still in the conceptual/getting on the same page stage. We need a very simple, ultra-light, bare-bones trailer - that can sleep at least 3 full sized people.

We both like the idea of an interior configuration like the Campster 12, with beds lying crosswise in the front and rear on either side of the door. This means our trailer would need to be 6 or 7 feet wide. I'm trying to get an idea of what it would be like to tow something that wide with our '14 Jeep Patriot. It has a shockingly low max towing capacity - so our trailer will be wide but very, very light (still working on that part). At 1st I thought we might rent a 6x12 trailer from Uhaul and try towing that empty for a couple hours. I knew it would be over our capacity, but thought it might be OK just for a short test drive, However, it's actually much further over than I had thought, so not sure that's such a good idea.

DH & I both have little experience towing, & what we do have was a long time ago. Anyone have any thoughts/insights/suggestions on this?

I just want to get the best idea I can of what we're getting ourselves into, before we jump in with both feet. :NC

Thanks!
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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby Mary C » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:31 pm

Welcome to the forum, I had the weight problem to consider also. My solution was to build out of foam. It is considerably lighter and to me has been easier to build. Good luck and please let us know what you decide.

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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby Abaker50 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:37 pm

Mary C wrote:Welcome to the forum, I had the weight problem to consider also. My solution was to build out of foam. It is considerably lighter and to me has been easier to build. Good luck and please let us know what you decide.

Mary C.


We're looking at that - and maybe spending the extra $ to get an all aluminum trailer frame. I like the idea of a foamie myself & DH hasn't rejected the idea. He wants to coat the whole thing in truck bed liner. There are too many possibilities :?

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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby S. Heisley » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:33 pm

You didn't give us your Jeep's capabilities; so, I searched and found that your Jeep Patriot has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. It's braking capacity is probably also 2,000 pounds as that's what my older Jeep Liberty has. That's not so awful. If you are careful, you can do a lot with that. For the most part, assuming you don't want to build a "whale"and are wood-weight frugal with your building, you can build something within that 2,000 pounds. However, please recognize that many states do not allow more than 1,000 or 1,500 without trailer brakes; so, you may want to stay within your state's limits to keep from the complication of adding trailer brakes to your build.

If you build something low, like a teardrop, it is easy to go out and brush the snow off when it starts building up high and the curved structure and close-together sides help a lot. Atahoekid built a foamie (I would call his a hybrid foamie because it has a wood interior) which has been outside in Nevada snow country for a couple years, now, and doing fine, even though it has a flat roof. Still, it's sides don't have to support as much as a garage or carport do because there's only about 5 ft between the sides.

You can see pictures of it here: gallery/search.php?st=0&sk=t&sd=d&search_id=usersearch&username=atahoekid&user_id=11243&start=12

As far as building wide, it will definitely diminish your gas mileage; but, you probably already know that. Also, it might be best to keep it to around 78" or less; as, I think most states have extra DOT requirements if it is at or over 80". You may want to research that. http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/sta ... rpstr.html

In another thread, I read that you are considering hoisting it up into the rafters of your garage in the winter? It's going to have to be really, really light for that; and the fold-down parts, when stacked, will need to meet your space requirements. Again, nothing that you didn't already know; and it's sounding more and more like you will need to use foam and/or fiberglass with a very minimum of a supporting skeletal structure. :thinking: An "A" frame roof structure might work best. Whether that is feasible or not depends on how much room you have between the top of your vehicles and the bottom of the rafters. Or, if there is room above the rafters to store upon....Or if you have already filled the rafters and now you want to hang a trailer beneath them? :no:

Well, winter is a good time to do all that thinking and planning. Best Wishes in whatever you decide.
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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby Abaker50 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:41 pm

S. Heisley wrote:You didn't give us your Jeep's capabilities; so, I searched and found that your Jeep Patriot has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. It's braking capacity is probably also 2,000 pounds as that's what my older Jeep Liberty has. That's not so awful. If you are careful, you can do a lot with that. For the most part, assuming you don't want to build a "whale"and are wood-weight frugal with your building, you can build something within that 2,000 pounds. However, please recognize that many states do not allow more than 1,000 or 1,500 without trailer brakes; so, you may want to stay within your state's limits to keep from the complication of adding trailer brakes to your build.


Sorry - you're right that I wasn't specific. This Jeep's towing capacity is 1000 lbs, according to the manual :thumbdown:

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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby S. Heisley » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:46 pm

Abaker50 wrote:
S. Heisley wrote:You didn't give us your Jeep's capabilities; so, I searched and found that your Jeep Patriot has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. It's braking capacity is probably also 2,000 pounds as that's what my older Jeep Liberty has. That's not so awful. If you are careful, you can do a lot with that. For the most part, assuming you don't want to build a "whale"and are wood-weight frugal with your building, you can build something within that 2,000 pounds. However, please recognize that many states do not allow more than 1,000 or 1,500 without trailer brakes; so, you may want to stay within your state's limits to keep from the complication of adding trailer brakes to your build.


Sorry - you're right that I wasn't specific. This Jeep's towing capacity is 1000 lbs, according to the manual :thumbdown:

Andrea


Thanks for that. Since you have the manual, will you please check in the brakes section to see how much it will stop? Sometimes the stopping capacity is less than the towing capacity and that is a critical point.

Oh! And, we need to know what state you are in to see what the limitations are there.
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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby Abaker50 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:36 pm

S. Heisley wrote: Thanks for that. Since you have the manual, will you please check in the brakes section to see how much it will stop? Sometimes the stopping capacity is less than the towing capacity and that is a critical point.

Oh! And, we need to know what state you are in to see what the limitations are there.


Given the low towing weight, I kind of figure that anything we can tow - minus the trailer - isn't going to stress the rafters too much.

Can't find anything about stopping capacity, specifically. It gives tips for braking while towing, but no separate limits for stopping.

I live in Colorado.

Thanks - Your thoughts have been very helpful.

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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby WizardOfOdds » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:50 pm

Cars.com lists the Patriot with a tow rating of 1000# with an option for 2000#. You might check the Jeep sites to see if you can find what is changed to get to the 2000# rating (LOL). Some tow packages include a larger radiator, bigger battery, and obviously wiring for the trailer. But my experiance is the real change is in the axle ratio. The 2.4 engine has more HP than the 2.0 but having the 6 speed xmo is probably a more significant asset for towing (having both would be my choice).

I like the patriot for the MPG class it is in and I am considering it for towing my (rebuilt) Tip Top Tier Drop http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232 which is less than 600#. What has been your experience with it? How long have you had it and how many miles?? I noticed that Consumer Reports now lists it's reliability as better than average. I think Jeep is making a big mistake taking it out of their line up in mid 2016.
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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby S. Heisley » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:51 pm

Abaker50 wrote:
S. Heisley wrote: Thanks for that. Since you have the manual, will you please check in the brakes section to see how much it will stop? Sometimes the stopping capacity is less than the towing capacity and that is a critical point.

Oh! And, we need to know what state you are in to see what the limitations are there.


Given the low towing weight, I kind of figure that anything we can tow - minus the trailer - isn't going to stress the rafters too much.

Can't find anything about stopping capacity, specifically. It gives tips for braking while towing, but no separate limits for stopping.

I live in Colorado.

Thanks - Your thoughts have been very helpful.

Andrea


Based on what you've written, keeping your weight at or below 1,000 lbs will probably keep you safe with your tow vehicle as well as with Colorado state. However, you might be better off building "up" an extra foot than building out. Also, it usually costs you less weight if you build long rather than wide. I think, if you can build maybe a 5x10' and stagger a bunk bed on one side, above your bottom full/queen bed or 'twin' beds, you'll get more for your money, gas, and pounds. Maybe I can add some crude drawings of what I mean later. ...Just another option to consider.
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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby S. Heisley » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:59 pm

Oh! And, you asked about towing. Pulling a trailer isn't as hard as backing it up is. Appropriately, this thread just popped back to the top this weekend:

viewtopic.php?f=47&t=46827

Of course, as light as your trailer is going to be, you can probably just unhook it and walk it into the campsite! Sometimes I just get it in the driveway and finish by pushing it where I want it. That's one of the beauties of these little trailers.
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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby S. Heisley » Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:36 am

.
I spent some time, today, looking at various floor plans and even trying to develop new ones; and then, I read more comments from you about your intentions and that the only thing that will work for you is a break-down unit. As previously mentioned, it must be light and under 1,000 pounds.

I researched my statistics of the forum’s volunteered trailer weights, too. Here is what I found.

The lowest weights for a 5x8’ trailer ...............was 500 lbs
...................................... 5x10’ ................ 1,000 lbs
....................................... 6.5x8’ ............... 796 lbs
........................................ 6x9’ ................. 900 lbs
........................................ 6x10’ ............... 900 lbs

Among the volunteered weights for trailers, only 3 categories had enough for a good average:

The average weight of a 4x8’ trailer ...............was 804 lbs (weights of 25 trailers)
....................................... 5x8’ ................. 814 lbs (weights of 15 trailers)
....................................... 5x9’ ................. 1105 lbs (weights of 13 trailers)

The more I thought about it, the more I felt that your break-down camper might be best as a foamie. So, I looked at the weights volunteered by foamie builders.

Eaglesdare built a 5x8’ foamie and it weighs 500 lbs.
Tac422 built a 6x10’ foamie and it weighs 900 lbs.
GPW built a 5.5x13’ foamie and it weighs 1000 lbs.

I expect that your break down trailer will need extra wood and/or metal at the corner areas for bolting the sides, top, and base together; so, you may have to be even more weight frugal than the foamie builders, above. You would also need to use weather stripping at the joints, to keep water from leaking in. If you build similar to the way Eaglesdare built, you may be able to do it. I would be inclined to build something like a 5x8’ or 5x10’ “Simple” style trailer, building the cabin about 58” tall and possibly use break-down bunk cots inside:

http://www.amazon.com/Disc-O-Bed-Cam-O- ... t+bunk+bed

Please note that in one of the pictures, it shows that the bunk can also be made into a couch/sofa.

With the above manufactured bunks, you loose some much needed space where the legs rise the bottom bed up, above the cabin deck. So, alternately, you could put a mattress on the deck of the cabin for two of you and stagger a home-build bed over top with 3 legs and a chain (or two) hooked to a well braced ceiling spar, for that fourth (fifth) support that would be over one of the sleeping persons underneath. Below is a rough draft floor plan of what I am suggesting. You will notice that the upper berth is 30” wide in the torso area but tapers down to 22” wide where the feet would be. (I have slept in a bed that narrows to 22” and it is not a problem. Submarine berths are sometimes 22” wide and you've probably seen sleeping bags that taper down in the leg area.) The chain support and bed tapering gives the person that is partially underneath more room and turning comfort. The picture, below, displays a galley on the 5x10’ and no galley on the 5x8’ version. I believe that it nearly impossible to build bigger than a 5x8’ break-down trailer; but, you’ll notice that I said “nearly” .....:

Image

With the above, you would be able to add cabinets above the bottom sleepers and put clothing tubs or whatever at their feet.

The picture below was a rough draft done for a woman with two children and I display it as yet another alternative. She was building a 4x8 trailer. In this picture, a hammock could easily replace the overhead cot.

Image

As I have never built a foamie, I don’t feel that I can advise you further. Perhaps you can skim through the foamie section and ask for help there.

Best Wishes!
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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby slowcowboy » Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:18 am

slows building a maxi-wide teardrop and its going to be a little over 6 wide and its going to be a bit interesteing it comes out about half way in the middle of the mirrors on my suv. on my dodge which is a full size truck I can see totaly around it.

I agrea with sharon weight of a teardrop doesnt nessary go up with the width of a teardrop. its the materals and crap inside a camper that make it heavy.

vey possible to use normal wood lieght weight matereals to keep weight down.

remmber though if you off road with that jeep is got to be built strong enough to go off road and you will want a little bit of a
diffrent suspension under it than a normal on road teardrop.

and it doesnt nessary have to be built heave to go off road.

gas shocks on leaf springs take a lot of the abuse out on off road travel.

good braceing can keep wieght down and still keep the thing lieght weight.

one good two by ten or two by 12 in the teardrop cross ways can go a long ways to brace sides for off road travel and yet keep things on the leight side!!!!!!!!!!!!

asle placement is also key to weight on a single wheeled trailer. the farther back on the trailer the axle is puts more weight on the tonge it tows bettor and backs up bettor but can be a lot heaver on the tow vehiles hitch.

you can build a wider bigger teardrop and it doesnt nessary have to be a foamy to be leight weight.

you can make this happen with wood.

slow
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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby Abaker50 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:04 pm

Wow - thanks for all the info.

We have decided to spend a little extra $ to get an all aluminum trailer. I've found some in the area within our parameters with weights listed as low as 450#.

Sharon - I think you're right about reinforcing the corners. I had thought about looking into using aluminum trim or flashing or something. I need to get to the hardware store to see what is available. I think we're looking at a foamie or a skeletonized plywood build. Also wondering about the possibility of using steel framing for the spars. Thanks for the drawings. I'm really overwhelmed by all the extra effort and really appreciate it. :worship:

The bunk thing from Amazon is awesome! :thumbsup:

WizardOfOdds - I did check with the local Jeep guys & they said that they couldn't install the tow package now :( Frankly, I think that even if they could, we wouldn't be able to afford it. It drives like a Jeep, which is a good thing - I like a stiffer ride, myself. It seems to me, that a new 4x4 with the tow package would be a great for everything I would want to do, but we actually got it slightly used, even though it's a 2014, so those weren't really options. We got a good deal though & overall we're pretty happy with it.

Slow - We won't be doing any serious off-road. Thanks for the trailer info. though. I would have never thought about any of that.

My preference would be to just build the shell & put one or both beds on the deck. DH wants to do something with a collapsible dinette and bunks that convert to a couch like the Campster 12. I'm not convinced we can do that within our weight limits, but we'll see, I guess. I'm kind of a minimalist, but I have to share it with the fam, so there will be some give & take :roll: It would also be sort of cool to have a bunk for a 4th person so we could take one of DS's friends with us sometimes, but we'll have to see how that goes.

Lots to think about - so many options. It's kind of overwhelming & I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience. :thinking:

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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby WizardOfOdds » Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:04 pm

WizardOfOdds - I did check with the local Jeep guys & they said that they couldn't install the tow package now


I didn't mean to suggest you have a Jeep dealer install a tow package, I was trying to say to see what the differences would have been had your Patriot been equipped with the 2000# tow option when it was produced. This might give you some confidence in making any tow decisions. For example, if the 2000# option uses the same brakes, then you have confidence that your brakes are pretty good. On the other hand if the 2000# package adds a transmission cooler, then you might want to invest in one. I installed one on my car myself at a total cost of less than $100 (but a lot of time and work).

My advise is that you keep your first building attempt simple and keep costs low so changing your mind is not out of the question. I spent years trying to decide what to build and never made any progrss until I finally decided to build a (not so) temp test bed to try different ideas. Best decision I made, because I am learning from my mistakes.
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Tip Top Tier Drop thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56232
Unusual Designs thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64495
Tale of 2 Trailers thread http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=61451
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Re: Towing a Wide Trailer with a Jeep Patriot

Postby Abaker50 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:32 pm

WizardOfOdds wrote:I didn't mean to suggest you have a Jeep dealer install a tow package, I was trying to say to see what the differences would have been had your Patriot been equipped with the 2000# tow option when it was produced. This might give you some confidence in making any tow decisions. For example, if the 2000# option uses the same brakes, then you have confidence that your brakes are pretty good. On the other hand if the 2000# package adds a transmission cooler, then you might want to invest in one. I installed one on my car myself at a total cost of less than $100 (but a lot of time and work).

My advise is that you keep your first building attempt simple and keep costs low so changing your mind is not out of the question. I spent years trying to decide what to build and never made any progrss until I finally decided to build a (not so) temp test bed to try different ideas. Best decision I made, because I am learning from my mistakes.


Good Points - even with our build under the towing capacity, those would be good things to look into.

Thanks!
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