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Jeep XJ Towing Capacity: A Comprehensive Guide

Towing Capacity

At Antich Automotive, we specialize in Jeep vehicles and are often asked about the towing capacity of the Jeep Cherokee XJ. As Jeep experts with over 20 years of experience, we wanted to provide a detailed guide on this topic to help XJ owners understand their vehicle’s towing abilities and limits.

An Introduction to the Jeep Cherokee XJ

The Jeep Cherokee XJ is a compact SUV produced by Jeep from 1984 to 2001. It was available with 2-door and 4-door body styles and came equipped with either a 2.5L I4 or 4.0L I6 engine paired with manual or automatic transmissions.

The XJ Cherokee is known for its off-road capability thanks to its solid front and rear axles and available four-wheel drive. It’s a popular platform for overlanding and off-road modifications. However, its modest size and power output limit its towing capacity compared to larger trucks and SUVs.

Factory Tow Ratings for the Jeep Cherokee XJ

The factory towing capacity for the Jeep Cherokee XJ depends on several factors:

  • Engine – The 4.0L Straight 6 can tow more than the 2.5L I4
  • Transmission – The automatic transmission has a higher tow rating than the manual
  • Drive configuration – 4WD models can tow more than 2WD
  • Trim Package – Tow packages with transmission coolers allow higher capacities

According to the factory specs, here are the max tow ratings:

  • 2.5L I4 / Manual Trans – 1,000 lbs
  • 2.5L I4 / Auto Trans – 2,000 lbs
  • 4.0L I6 / Manual Trans – 2,000 lbs
  • 4.0L I6 / Auto Trans – 3,500 lbs
  • 4.0L I6 / Auto Trans w/ Tow Package – 5,000 lbs

So properly equipped V6 XJs with tow packages can tow up to 5,000 lbs according to Jeep.

Real-World Towing Capabilities

However, just because a vehicle has a certain tow rating doesn’t mean you should actually tow that much in the real world. Tow capacity is calculated by engineers for ideal conditions and doesn’t account for driver experience, terrain, weather, or other factors.

For safe and comfortable towing, we recommend reducing the XJ’s towing capacity by 30% from the factory ratings:

  • 2.5L I4 / Manual Trans – 700 lbs
  • 2.5L I4 / Auto Trans – 1,400 lbs
  • 4.0L I6 / Manual Trans – 1,400 lbs
  • 4.0L I6 / Auto Trans – 2,500 lbs
  • 4.0L I6 / Auto Trans w/ Tow Package – 3,500 lbs

Towing heavy loads stresses the engine, transmission, suspension, and brakes. It’s better to stay on the conservative side when towing with an older vehicle like the XJ.

We do not recommend towing over 3,500 lbs regularly even if you have a tow package. Consider a heavier-duty tow vehicle if you need to haul loads approaching the 5,000 lb limit.

Tips for Towing with a Jeep Cherokee XJ

If you plan to do towing with your XJ, keep these tips in mind:

  • Install a transmission cooler to prevent overheating
  • Use a weight distributing hitch for better control and braking
  • Upgrade to heavier duty shocks and springs
  • Inspect brakes and fluids before each towing trip
  • Take it slow and avoid towing in mountains or high heat
  • Monitor engine temperature and transmission temperature
  • Use lower gears on hills and avoid excessive engine RPM
  • Get experience towing lighter loads before trying max capacity

Proper preparation and realistic capacity limits will allow you to tow safely within the XJ’s limits. For any questions on Jeep Cherokee towing, suspension upgrades, or other modifications, contact our experts at Antich Automotive. With decades of experience working on XJs, we can help you get set up right based on your towing needs and budget.

Towing with the Jeep Cherokee XJ

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