Our Jeep

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This is our chosen tow vehicle, a 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. A very comfortable and very capable vehicle.


The Trailhawk features a 3.0 L V6 Turbo Diesel engine, with:

  • 184kW (240hp) of power at 3600 rpm, and,
  • 570Nm (420 ft-lb) of torque at 2000 rpm.

These figures make this an ideal tow vehicle for a larger van.

Air Suspension:

The Trailhawk also feature full air suspension, shown above in entry/exit mode, it offers:

  • Full time four corner automatic load levelling
  • Closed type air suspension design using Nitrogen, results in fast ride height changes
  • Ability to change ride height with the push of a button
  • Max ground clearance 10.7″
  • 4.1in (104mm) between lowest to highest settings
  • Park mode lowers vehicle for easier entry & exit (as pictured above)
  • Normal Ride Height (NRH) is 1.5in (38mm) higher than Park Mode
  • Automatically lowers 0.5in (12mm) at highway speeds (or Sports Mode) to reduce drag resulting in better fuel economy
  • Improved off-road performance by increasing ground clearance with 2 settings:
    • Off-Road I is 1.3in (33mm) higher than NRH
    • Off-Road II is 2.6in (66mm) higher than NRH

Towing Capabilities, pretty good!

The Jeep is an often overlooked but very capable tow vehicle. It sits very comfortably on the road and has a true 3500kg towing capacity. The only downfall for us is the Trailhawk is the heaviest Tare of them all (with the air suspension, underbody bash plates etc) so it leaves only 609kg Payload, This has to include the Driver, Passengers, luggage, fuel (93L tank), accessories (including tow bar) and of course the Ball Weight. So a larger van with over 300kg ball weigh consumes half of that straight away. Add another 68kg for a full tank (tare includes 10L) and 40kg for the tow-bar and you are down to just over 201kg for people and luggage. Fortunately we are only lightweights and all gear is stored in the van. We have also moved things around to try and keep the ball weight around 270kg on a total van weight of about 3100kg (no water in tanks) – at this weight it tows very nicely.

The numbers:

  • Tare 2340kg
  • GVM 2949kg
  • GCM 6099
  • Maximum towing 3500kg
  • Maximum ball weight 350kg
  • Front axle limit 1452kg
  • Rear axle limit 1678kg

Jeep recommend using a Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) when towing over 2268kg (5000lb) to assist with vehicle handling and rear axle load limits. We use the Andersen / Anderson WDH, I have covered that in a separate post.

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4 Responses

  1. Anthony Henry says:

    Hi Dave
    Trust all is well. A great summary about the jeep.
    Quick question. What tyres do you have on the jeep and do you recommend noting if they seem suitable for road, beach and off-road. How many Kms travelled on a set?
    Cheers Anthony

    • Dave says:

      Hey Anthony, tyres currently are Hankook Dynapro AT-M RF10. The new version is the RF11. They had replaced 2 tyres when I bought the vehicle at 93,000km, the other two were still originals and just barely legal but should have been replaced too, so I hunted around and had them replaced as well with matching tyres. I have run them on the rears at 40psi cold when towing wich gives a slightly stiffer ride but feels much more in control and about 35 all round when not towing. As we are now at 154,000km, they currently have just over 61,000km and at a guess will get another 20k or so. They are an OK all round tyre, quiet but not particularly great in the wet (a little too easy to slide, expected for a longer wearing tyre), are great in the sand being not too agressive, OK off road on mild tracks, not real flash in the mud – also because they are not too agressive! Well priced – I paid about $277 each fitted – bought online from Tyroola and fitted by alocal tyre shop. I would buy them again as they do suit our needs.
      Hope that helps! Cheers, Dave.

  2. Derek Duffie says:

    Hello Dave, My name is Derek and I have been caravanning for over 30 years and have covered quite some miles towing over the time and I am so impressed with your knowledge of all things caravans and towing and loved reading all the tech stuff . I to have a Trail Hawk diesel, which I love and mines a 2018 and its White just like yours and just recently had it all weighed up professionally with our 21 ft Paramount caravan weighing in at 3190 (water tanks full) and got quite a shock to see my rear axle weight is over by 30kg, and there’s only a chair in the back plus the trail mate and it had a full tank of fuel and us on board, the tow bar ball weight is 315kg I can fix this by taking out my Genie which is in the front boot and I will start using WDH again , just goes to show you how easy it is to go over , my car weights and van weights are good , got a pass for all that ,just the rear axle. And just wondering how the jeep is performing on this great adventure your on and any issues with the car and was interested to see that the WDH is compatible with our air suspension.
    Good health and safe travels. Regards Derek.

    • Dave says:

      Hey Derek, thanks for the kind words!

      Yep, it’s a real balancing act keeping the weights in check. I found once over 270 to 280kg the rear axle and GVM were getting close. That happens when the front water tank is full.. Unfortunately the Trailhawk also has an extra 70kg of steel bash plates, and ours had steel step sliders at 50kg added by the previous owners too.

      Only issues so far have been: a leaking elbow join in the front air suspension that I fixed a few days ago but now have an issue with it needing calibration and still to work out how to do that properly; a really tiny nail in a tyre so small I couldn’t find it; and a headlight globe blew yesterday.

      Thats it! Just over 2 years and 53,000km on the road now!

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