This article may not be for everyone, but if you tow a Jeep Wrangler behind your RV, then you will want to read this one word for word. The importance of this article is especially true for those that have put oversize tires on your Jeep and/or if you carry loads in or on top of your Jeep.
I tow a 2017 4-door Jeep Wrangler. As Jeep owners can relate, these can be projects and an endless flow of money out of your wallet, if you let it. Well, guess what? I let it. We love Jeeping, and we love having the Jeep the way we want it. As soon as we bought the Jeep, we installed 35-inch Cooper SST off road tires, a 3-inch suspension lift kit, Fox shocks, a Rhino Roof rack, new front and back bumpers, and more than I care to continue to list. The Jeep is exactly what we wanted, but all of these add-ons came with some unintended consequences.
There were two distinct issues that I was having. The first issue was that while towing the Jeep behind the RV it would start to “snake” behind the RV. By "snake" I mean that uncomfortable swerving back and forth behind the RV as the Jeep holds on to the tow bar for dear life. The second issue was that I carry a good amount of weight on my roof rack: I carry 4 aluminum boxes full of TechnoRV stuff, and the inside of the Jeep usually has a good amount of stuff in it while we are traveling. I have had my Jeep weighed, and I am well under the weight limits for the Jeep, but this extra weight created a situation where the Jeep would sway from side to side. This is different from the snaking effect; I mean literally the Jeep would start to toss from side to side as if I was standing on one side of the Jeep pushing it back and forth. Now I know anyone that tows a Jeep with oversize tires has experienced some of these issues to some extent, and I have recently found the solution to both.
First, let's get rid of the snaking effect. I spoke with the helpful folks at Blue Ox, and the first thing they asked me was did I have a stabilizer on my tow bar. I didn’t even know what they were talking about, so I was pretty sure I didn’t have one. What they explained to me was that if you have any wiggle between the hitch and the receiver, then this can cause the snaking effect. Well, I actually had two connection points because I added a 10-inch riser to my hitch so that my tow bars would be parallel with the ground (lifted Jeep owners will understand). So the riser connects to the RV receiver, and then the tow bar connects to the riser, and yes, there was the normal wiggle room between these connection points. He told me to get the Blue Ox stabilizer, and this would resolve my issue. I personally thought he was nuts because the amount of wiggle I was getting at these connection points was minimal, but I figured what did I have to lose - let’s get them on there. The stabilizer is basically a bracket that tightens the connection points so that there is no movement. Once installed, I took everything for a spin and I could not believe it! The snaking was GONE! The stabilizers actually worked, and I was glad to get this issue resolved.
Now for the bigger issue of the Jeep swaying back and forth on certain road conditions. This was a big, big problem, and very unnerving to see the Jeep swaying in my rear view camera. There were times that it was doing it so badly, that I would just pull off the road to take some deep breaths. It seemed that the Fox shocks on the Jeep just were not able to stabilize the Jeep quick enough once the Jeep hit some roads that would start the Jeep to swaying. I started my research to resolve this issue, and I came across the guys at Teraflex suspension. They recommended two things to me that made so much sense. First, with the extra weight on top of the Jeep, and the fact that I plan to start towing a small RV behind the Jeep, they said they would recommend getting stiffer springs. I liked this idea because I needed a solution for when I started towing an RV behind the Jeep, and I was not crazy about adding airbags to the Jeep. The other solution they recommended was to get adjustable shocks for the Jeep. When shocks are manufactured, they have to be tuned to handle off-road, on-road, and towing situations. These 3 situations are very different, so the manufacturer just tunes them to be somewhere in the middle of all of that. Well, Teraflex actually makes a shock that you can easily adjust the shock to be very loose for off-roading or very tight when towing and everything in between. So for my situation I would set it to a stiffer setting while towing, and I was hopeful that this would stop the swaying.
I ordered everything they recommended, got rid of the Fox shocks and stock Jeep springs, and upgraded to the Teraflex Falcon 3.4 adjustable shocks. I also bought the Teraflex Outback Springs. Once I installed these, I loaded the Jeep up, attached it to the RV, and went for a little 800-mile spin. I literally had my fingers crossed hoping this was the solution to reducing my anxiety while towing my Jeep with over sized tires. As I started down the road, I could immediately tell a difference, but we were still on smoother roads, and I knew construction zones were up ahead and it was time to head into the stormy waters of Interstate-10. I soon came to the construction zones, and the Jeep started tossing around, and guess what! The new springs and shocks immediately corrected the swaying. I could see the Jeep go into a side to side motion because of the road, and I could see that the new springs and shocks would auto correct it immediately. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to have found this solution. The customer support over at Teraflex was top notch and very knowledgeable.
Here is the lesson that I want Jeep owners to get out of this. First, get the Blue Ox stabilizers. The stabilizers are pretty cheap for what they do. Second, give the guys over at Teraflex a call and talk to them about your specific situation. If you do not carry a lot of extra weight in the Jeep, but you are getting some of that side to side motion, then you may be able to get away with just getting the new Falcon adjustable shocks. However, if you carry additional weight on the roof, or excessive amounts inside the Jeep while traveling then I highly recommend the Teraflex Outback springs. The springs are great for those that tow a small RV behind as well.
I hope this article has been helpful because I know if you were experiencing even a little of what I was experiencing with the snaking and swaying, that you will want to look into these solutions.
Safe travels, and happy Jeeping! Eric