Flat Towing a Jeep

RangerRocket

Observer
We just bought a 2-door Rubicon that we want to flat tow behind Unicat TC-54. Any recommendations regarding tow bars, supplemental braking systems, etc.?
 

shortbus4x4

Expedition Leader
The owners manual should have all the manufacturers recommendations for flat towing. I don't think you will have to worry much about supplemental braking based on your tow rig. Not sure about the legal aspects though. I like the tow bars that fold up on your bumper unlike the traditional A frame style ones.
 

RangerRocket

Observer
Thanks. Really looking for others' experience with tow bars (Roadmaster, Blue Ox, etc.). The vast majority of states require a supplemental braking system from what I've seen.
 
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TomP

Observer
GMC&Jeep.jpg

I have towed my Jeep many miles and never use a supplemental brake unit. I don't believe that most states require these as many of the manufacturers state.

NRS is Nevada Revised Statutes

NRS 484D.255  Requirements for performance.
1.  Every motor vehicle and combination of vehicles, at all times and under all conditions of loading, upon application of the service brake, shall be capable of:
(a) Developing a braking force that is not less than the percentage of its gross weight tabulated in subsection 2 for its classification;
(b) Decelerating to a stop from not more than 20 miles per hour at not less than the feet per second per second tabulated in subsection 2 for its classification; and
(c) Stopping from a speed of 20 miles per hour, in not more than the distance tabulated in subsection 2 for its classification, such distance to be measured from the point at which movement of the service brake pedal or control begins.
2.  The required braking forces, decelerations and braking distances are tabulated as follows:

Brake system
application
Braking and braking
force as a distance
percentage in feet
of gross from an
vehicle or Deceleration initial
Classification combination in feet per speed of
of Vehicles weight second 20 m.p.h.

Passenger vehicles with a seating capacity of 10 people or less including driver, not having manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating....... 52.8% 17 25
All motorcycles and mopeds............................ 43.5% 14 30
Single-unit vehicles with manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less 43.5% 14 30
Single-unit vehicles with manufacturer’s gross weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds 43.5% 14 40
Combination of a two-axle towing vehicle and trailer with a gross trailer weight of 3,000 pounds or less 43.5% 14 40
Buses, regardless of the number of axles, not having a manufacturer’s gross weight rating 43.5% 14 40
All combinations of vehicles in driveaway-towaway operations 43.5% 14 40
All other vehicles and combinations of vehicles 43.5% 14 50

Under 40 above is the combination you are looking at. If you can stop as provided you are ok. If you think about it how could a tow truck ever legally tow a car if a brake unit was required in the towed car. Check your State's laws.

Adjustable tow bars are easier to hitch up because their sliding arms can be aligned to the ball without the Jeep being in exactly the right spot. As you pull forward they extend and lock in towing position. My bumper has the ability to attach a tow bar to it so I just use a Reese A-frame style bar. Just make sure that the bar is level when towing. You didn't say what year your Jeep is but my 2006 was easy to wire for running and brake lights.
 
Blue Ox works great! I've helped install a few of these. One one a 04 wrangler and one on an xj. The xj was a super easy install. We used his d rings on his bumper and had my buddy fab up an end on the camper side of the tow bar. There was No need for a baseplate on the xj! On the wrangler it was still real easy install. The hardest part was wiring it all up.

sent from inside my Wj
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
I use a Roadmaster Falcon tow bar, and LOVE IT. I got it really (REALLY!) cheap off craigslist, or I'd still be using a traditional A frame style bar. Having the adjustable legs makes it FAR easier to hook up by yourself too. There are many other tow bars that use the same design. The Falcon bar that I use is meant to be left stored on the tow vehicle when not used. Others are stowed on the front of the towed vehicle.

As for brakes, I have never had them on the Jeep. I tow with a 3/4 ton truck that almost always has a truck camper in the back. It'll shut down pretty quick if I stand on the fat pedal. While NM does require brakes on towed vehicles, the only way I'll ever get a ticket for not having them is if I have an accident and I'm at fault, and they think to check. But not a single state will ever check for brakes outside of doing an accident investigation. And since most of the towing miles I do are in CO or UT, and they don't specifically require brakes, I don't worry about it.

Personally, I'd not worry about brakes towing with a Unicat... That's a WHOLE lot of truck compared to the towed vehicle, and should have no problem shutting it down. But that's just me. It's very unlikely you'd ever get checked for brakes on the towed vehicle unless you were in an accident, so I say get the tow bar and take it for a tow. If it feels like it's really pushing, then you might want to consider getting a brake unit for your own peace of mind. :)
 
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