MJ tow rating

T&A-XJ

New member
Ok after searching and searching and finding very little...

My MJ is a 89 long box 4.0l auto 2wd. The rear end is a D35 but if I use this truck to tow with a 4.10 disc equiped 8.8 will take its place. As well as WJ front brakes, large tranny cooler, electric brakes, ZJ V8 coils and an AAL and/or airbags. Other items will be needed but just getting an idea right now.
The tag on the drivers door says
GVWR- 4650
GAWR front-2500
GAWR rear -2604

Im looking to tow apx 6k with it and have read that the metric ton MJs maximum tow rating was 7k true or not, not sure...read it on the internet.
Is this acceptable or am I crazy? Any thoughts on the uni-frame being able to handle this?

TIA
 

CommandoXJ96

New member
i can't answer your question; (and i don't own an MJ) but i was under the impression that MJs had Real body-on-frame Frames for the rear half of the truck and just unibody cabs....
 

87manche

New member
The MJ is built like a 3/4 ton truck with a boxed frame in the rear, but it still connects to the unibody at the cab. Just from looking at mine that's certainly seems like the weak point.
AFAIK the MJ was only ever rated to tow 5000#, metric tonne or not.
 

summitlt

New member
I towed a XJ behind my 90 MJ with a standard trans and 4.0.

Therye what, 3700 lbs. It was scary, hard to stop, hard to get going. Wasnt fun at all. Definatly needed its own brakes.
 

T&A-XJ

New member
OK, I read that Edmunds spec sheet but thought it might be rated higher with a 4.0l I didnt think the 7k rating was correct but thought I would throw it out there.

Ive towed a loaded down MJ with my wifes XJ on a tow dolly and it was a horrible experiance but then Ive also towed a Honda Accord (apx same or more weight) on a tow dolly with my XJ and it was fine no issues with lack of power, control ect. Was just thinking the MJs extra length coupled with some better brakes, rear end and suspension upgrading wouldnt do too bad. Obviously the real answer is to buy a full size truck but thats not an option right now unfortunatly.

Thanks
 

87manche

New member
I suppose it's possible. I think that the hitch might be a problem. 7K pounds is a lot for a regular hitch. I've got a draw-tite hitch on the MJ. I looked it up just now and it's max capacity is 6K pounds. According to their website it takes a class IV hitch to tow more than 6K pounds.
 

Eagle

Lifetime NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
I thought the MJ was rated to tow 5000 pounds, same as the XJ. I wouldn't want to tow any heavier -- too much "tail wags dog" syndrome
 

w_howey

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
T&A-XJ said:
ere.

Ive towed a loaded down MJ with my wifes XJ on a tow dolly and it was a horrible experiance but then Ive also towed a Honda Accord (apx same or more weight) on a tow dolly with my XJ and it was fine no issues with lack of power, control ect.
Thanks

You've forgotten one very important component of the equation.

Wheelbase.

The XJ wheelbase is 101", the MJ is either 113" or 119". The longer wheelbase of the truck makes it MUCH harder to control. The Accord has a wheelbase closer to that of the XJ helping limit the control issues. I really wouldn't want to pull either behind an XJ without a brake box installed in the vehicle being towed.
 

T&A-XJ

New member
w_howey said:
You've forgotten one very important component of the equation.

Wheelbase.

The XJ wheelbase is 101", the MJ is either 113" or 119". The longer wheelbase of the truck makes it MUCH harder to control. The Accord has a wheelbase closer to that of the XJ helping limit the control issues. I really wouldn't want to pull either behind an XJ without a brake box installed in the vehicle being towed.
Ahh makes sence.
 

043500

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
Umm...actually a longer wheelbase makes it easier to tow....this is true with all towing from what I understand be it trailer or towbar with a vehicle on the ground. That's why you don't see 1 ton trucks with a 100" wheelbase. The longer wheelbase makes the tow vehicle more stable...which is why you don;t see to many folks who praise the towing capabilites of a wrangler or CJ. If the XJ is better because it's shorter...then the TJ/YJ/CJ would be better still because they are even shorter...but this is NOT true by any means. And yes I do tow for income so I do have a fair understanding of it.

As for the MJ being built like a 3/4 ton truck..UH-UH. It is not even as stout as a half ton truck setup BUT it is a fair bit stronger than the XJ uni-frame (especially where the rear is concerned). And the rear is part of the actual uni-frame...it is still made from sheetmetal it is just boxed and has nice cross member. The bed is removeable just like a normal pickup but that's about where the similarites end. Yes it's very stout for what it is...but don't think of it as anything more than what it actually is as that's unsafe when you are towing.

I would say the 4.0L with a good tranny cooler would tow 5K. That's what the XJ is rated for...the MJ should tow it just as well if not better due to its length. 6K...you'll tow it ...but I wouldn;t want to do it for long...you have to consider brakes, suspension, engine, tranny, etc etc.
 

87manche

New member
043500 said:
Umm...actually a longer wheelbase makes it easier to tow....this is true with all towing from what I understand be it trailer or towbar with a vehicle on the ground. That's why you don't see 1 ton trucks with a 100" wheelbase. The longer wheelbase makes the tow vehicle more stable...which is why you don;t see to many folks who praise the towing capabilites of a wrangler or CJ. If the XJ is better because it's shorter...then the TJ/YJ/CJ would be better still because they are even shorter...but this is NOT true by any means. And yes I do tow for income so I do have a fair understanding of it.

As for the MJ being built like a 3/4 ton truck..UH-UH. It is not even as stout as a half ton truck setup BUT it is a fair bit stronger than the XJ uni-frame (especially where the rear is concerned). And the rear is part of the actual uni-frame...it is still made from sheetmetal it is just boxed and has nice cross member. The bed is removeable just like a normal pickup but that's about where the similarites end. Yes it's very stout for what it is...but don't think of it as anything more than what it actually is as that's unsafe when you are towing.

I would say the 4.0L with a good tranny cooler would tow 5K. That's what the XJ is rated for...the MJ should tow it just as well if not better due to its length. 6K...you'll tow it ...but I wouldn;t want to do it for long...you have to consider brakes, suspension, engine, tranny, etc etc.
Eagle was comparing the wheelbase of the vehicle BEING towed. The longer wheelbase of the MJ in tow is more difficult to control with the shorter wheelbase XJ.
and as for the 3/4 ton remark, the MJ's payload rating is about 1400lbs, with the metric tonne rated at a full 2200. The frame is fully boxed in the rear, so I'd say that in reference to the frame it's like 3/4 ton, but it's definitly lacking in the axle strength.
 

043500

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
Misread on the MJ being towed. My bad...thought it read the MJ was the actual towing vehicle.
 

T&A-XJ

New member
It seems interesting that the MJ and XJ share the same tow rating even though the wheelbase is much longer. That seems the "frame" as the weak link. Makes some sence though as the XJ has a roof with 'C' and 'D' pillars to tie it together.
 

PhilSine

New member
Tow rating is not based on engine size. It is what the manufacturer decided through testing of sorts and what they could convince the govt was safe for that vehicle. A lot of vehicles with longer wheel bases and wider stances still only have a 5000 lb towing capacity.
 

Eagle

Lifetime NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
043500 said:
As for the MJ being built like a 3/4 ton truck..UH-UH. It is not even as stout as a half ton truck setup BUT it is a fair bit stronger than the XJ uni-frame (especially where the rear is concerned). And the rear is part of the actual uni-frame...it is still made from sheetmetal it is just boxed and has nice cross member. The bed is removeable just like a normal pickup but that's about where the similarites end. Yes it's very stout for what it is...but don't think of it as anything more than what it actually is as that's unsafe when you are towing.
Payload rating for a standard MJ is 1475 pounds. That 3/4 ton in my book. The Metric Ton version was rated at 2200 pounds, and the chassis was the same. The added capacity came from a heavier rear axle, and springs with two more leaves.
 

043500

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
You're still comparing apples to oranges. Regardless of the #'s you cannot really compare the MJ to a 3/4 ton truck. I've had both and as I said I tow for income...not an expert by any means BUT you try and get the MJ to do anything a 3/4 ton truck is rated to do and you are braver than I am. Payload 'rating' be dammed. You put 1500 (or 2000) lbs into an MJ and the same in a 3/4 ton...then drive them both. I bet after that you won't think the MJ is '3/4' ton comparable.

Eagle I know you probably know this already...but it may not be the best idea to tell some of these folks (who don't know) that the MJ is 3/4 ton capable...it is not.
 

Dave in Eugene

New member
Judging from what I see on the road sometimes, tow rating seems to be whatever the driver has guts enough to hang on the hitch.

The XJ and MJ are compact vehicles and their small size and weight imposes practical limits regardless of the capacity of the drive train and suspension.

My '87 owners manual states, IIRC, something like 4000 lb. max available towing capacity with 4.0 and auto. Less for the manual tranny, interestingly enough, but in that vintage it would be a Peugeot and that's probably why.

I'd think 5000 would be pushing the limit, and you'll want to be sure you have properly adjusted weight distribution and sway control devices, because if you get a sway going at highway speed you are going to be in big trouble. If you drive slow to eliminate that risk you'll just piss a bunch of folks off.

This coming spring I want to gear up for towing myself. In the past we have tent camped and hauled gear in a vintage wood bodied U-Haul trailer that I have restored for that purpose (and those few occasions where I wished I still had a pickup truck). Last summer we decided that we're too old for the sleeping on the ground thing (pushing 50 and we can feel it in our bones) and want to get a self contained camping trailer so we can do more traveling with more convenience and less discomfort. I'd figured on going for a 21-23 foot and I think those are tipping 3000 lbs or so already so that'll have to be about it once we load up with our stuff (and I already figure the Peugeot will have to go).

I'm curious what success other folks are having with a combo like that.
 

MJmk

New member
I pulled a 4,000lb travel trailer with mine. When properly equipped with load equalizing hitch, a heavy-duty sway control, and a good brake control, the truck drove/handled/stopped very well. The bad part? Take a 3,500 lb. truck, add a 4,000 lb. trailer with a flat front that extended at least two feet more around the silhouette of the truck, and try pulling it through the wind with 215 lbs of torque!

In regards to payload, remember the rating includes everything in the truck, passengers,tools etc. If I use Eagle's 1,475 lb. figure, 2 passengers lowers it down to about 1,000 lbs. With the trailer loaded with the recommended 60% of the weight in front, the tongue weight was 550 lbs. Payload down to 450lbs. Now less the weight of the bed cap and thats how much I can put in the bed before being overloaded! (not much!). And yes, I did have the trailer weighed fully loaded, and the tongue weight checked by a RV dealer!

Speaking of tongue weight, if you don't use a weight equilizing hitch, your payload is reduced by the tongue weight multiplied by the distance between the center of the hitch ball to the center of the rear axle. In my case (longbed) the distance was 6 ft. So 550 X 6 = 3,300 lb. Way overloaded and explains why the bumper almost drags the ground with only 550 lbs!
 

w_howey

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
87manche said:
Eagle was comparing the wheelbase of the vehicle BEING towed. The longer wheelbase of the MJ in tow is more difficult to control with the shorter wheelbase XJ.
and as for the 3/4 ton remark, the MJ's payload rating is about 1400lbs, with the metric tonne rated at a full 2200. The frame is fully boxed in the rear, so I'd say that in reference to the frame it's like 3/4 ton, but it's definitly lacking in the axle strength.
First, Thank you for comparing me to Eagle, its quite a honor.

Second, I apolgize for not being quite as clear as I should have been.

I flat tow my Cherokee behind my short bed extended cab F-250. For those playing at home: 3/4 ton truck,7500lbs tow capacity, 132" wheelbase.

My XJ loaded for a wheeling trip, you barely notice it behind the truck. But, I towed my long bed MJ empty(119"wheelbase), and you can feel the MJ when you take curves or change lanes.

I used to tow the same Cherokee behind my shortbed std cab F-150(125" wheelbase), with almost the same feeling. I flat towed my MJ once behind that truck, I never did again. Even with the significantly heavier larger truck, the MJ felt 'squirrley', or at least very much less under control than I liked.
 
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