Towing medium sized pop up camper with Tow packaged Overland

ATLalien

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So, I'm completely inexperienced with towing and just bought a 2005 Fleetwood Sea pine pop up camper. Dry weight around 1700 pds, 2500 pds gross. Don't expect it to be very difficult for the gladiator to pull, but I have alot of questions on the brake system and set up needed. I've seen lot's of posts on towing larger RV's that concentrate on the towing capacities and such, but not much for newbies only towing a small load.

The camper is supposed to be equipped with electric brakes, I assume a brake controller is necessary to activate the brakes on the camper? Or does plugging in to one of the electric connectors on the bumper allow the electric brakes on the camper to function in addition to the lights? If it does require a brake controller to activate the camper brakes, should I even worry about that with such a small load?

Just thinking that even though it's well below the towing capacity, coming to a stop with 2000pds pushing would still be alot for the vehicle brakes alone.

I'm also trying to figure out if I need to purchase a hitch with a drop or without one. The guy I'm buying the camper from was towing behind a Tahoe with maybe a 1"drop, and I think the rear of the gladiator may be taller than the Tahoe. But he seemed to think that a straight hitch would be fine. Current plan is to buy a hitch with at least a 1" drop on one side, but reverseable to straight level on the other side.

I would guess a weight distribution hitch, or anti sway equipment would not be needed for a pop up of this size?

Anyone have experience towing a pop up with the gladiator? Any tips for a total newbie or anything I may be missing?

Pretty excited about the camper, and getting out in it with the family. Looks incredibly clean for the age and everything appears to work.





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anavrinIV

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I have towed about that weight without a WDC or trailer brakes (32 sheets of 5/8 ply in a heavy Uhaul trailer) and had no issues. Stopping distance was a little longer but it never felt inadequate. If your camper has brakes and needs a controller it's well worth the $150 or whatever to add that in but should not be strictly necessary, leave yourself a bit more room and drive a little slower.

For a hitch, I use a 2" drop on those Uhauls and they sit nicely but a lot of it will depend on the hitch height of your camper so hard to say
 
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ATLalien

ATLalien

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I have towed about that weight without a WDC or trailer brakes (32 sheets of 5/8 ply in a heavy Uhaul trailer) and had no issues. Stopping distance was a little longer but it never felt inadequate. If your camper has brakes and needs a controller it's well worth the $150 or whatever to add that in but should not be strictly necessary, leave yourself a bit more room and drive a little slower.

For a hitch, I use a 2" drop on those Uhauls and they sit nicely but a lot of it will depend on the hitch height of your camper so hard to say
Thanks. I bought a 2" drop with a 3/4" rise on the other side. Thinking that should do the trick. Did your uhaul have electric brakes at all?

Anyone else towing a pop up or something similar?
 

anavrinIV

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Thanks. I bought a 2" drop with a 3/4" rise on the other side. Thinking that should do the trick. Did your uhaul have electric brakes at all?

Anyone else towing a pop up or something similar?
Unless it's a very small trailer I think 2" would work fine. I have flipped a hitch in the past to get a rise when the drop put the trailer at an angle but not necessary for most.

No brakes on the uhaul trailers that I used. The car trailers have surge brakes but those are not electrically controlled they just use trailer momentum. If the trailers had brakes they could only be rented by people with brake controllers which is some people but not most.
 

TheNewWampsCat

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For that trailer weight you do not have to have electric brakes! my boat weighs in at 3900lbs. No brakes on it’s trailer. Pulls and stops without issue. However since your camper has brakes, install a controller makes it so much nicer! As far as the drop or rise for an insert you’ll need to have the trailer behind the Jeep both sitting level. Thats the way you want to tow. You’ll have to see if you need a drop or a rise for your insert. Hope this helps some
 

MrJeep

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FYI there is a trailer and towing section to this forum that may answer all your questions.
You probably don't need a brake controller for this weight but it will make things feel safer.
 

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First, most state and US Federal regulations regarding towing trailers, require brakes on any trailer with a gross combined weight (trailer plus payload) of 3,000 or grater to have brakes. UHaul and most rental cargo trailers at 2,000 or more, and most larger boat trailers all have surge hydraulic brakes.

I pulled a 2,000 loaded trailer with my Sport S with factory tow package, and it took a bid to stop it going Just 40mph. If the trailer has brakes installed, most states require they be working. With electric brakes, yiu need a brake controller, Jeep makes one for the Gladiato, and after market ones are available. I use a Curt Echo wireless plug and play type brake controller, when towing my 3,500 lbs TaB400 RV trailer, which works quite well.

A WDH is not required, nor recommended for trailers under 4,000 lbs, as their axle load rating is too small to handle a WDH. I do not even use, or née a WDH for the 18-foot TaB400, and it rows quite nicely behind the JT, even on twisty mountain roads. The Gladiator has a built-in electronic trailer stabilization system, which should handle any sway. Be sure your trailer tongue/frame is level or slightly down when hitched to your truck. Do not forget the safety chains and emergency brake disconnect cable are attached to the receiver bracket/frame.
Have fun camping.
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CerOf

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I’d the trailer has electric brakes, go ahead and get a brake controller installed.

That weight won’t be an issue. I towed a Fleetweood E3 behind a montero sport. No issues there. The gladiator is much more powerful, better brakes, better everything.
You’ll be fine.

as for the drop hitch. Go to the trailer and measure distance from the tongue to the griund(when the trailer is sitting level). Now take that measurement to your gladiator. That’s where the ball needs to be. Go from there.
 

robinja

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I tow a Rockwood premiere pop up trailer (with electric brakes) and use nothing but a sway control bar. No brake controller being used - but may add one as they have many advantages. Gross trailer weight is about 4000lbs. load leveling on a medium size pop up is over kill imho.
 

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Robina, a 4,000 lbs GVW trailer is 1,000 over the minimum GVWR and US Federal and state regulations require the trailer to have working brakes connected to the TV. You are taking a risk, even if the trailer is not loaded to 3,000 lbs, and you get into an accident you are going to be libel, and cited, and your insurance can use this violation to not pay your claim, saying the ladk of working trailer brakes contributed to the accident, even if it didn ‘t.

Any one towing a trailer 3,000 lbs or more, needs to have working brakes, or you can be libel. Why take unnecessary risks!
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Ogre_FL

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I used to tow our Fleetwood Fairview (12' box w/slide out) with our Dodge Grand Caravan.
No WD hitch, no brakes, only a sway control.

Would not think twice about a lighter Sea Pine behind the Gladiator.
As others have noted, since its got brakes, might as well use them.
 

TrailHiker

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Yes, the 1500 lbs Sea Pine trailer will tow without any issues, but since the OP’s trailer has electric brakes installed, as part of the RIVA requirements, the law requires they be Hooke up and working with the TV, regardless of the size of TV. A brake controller is less than $250, why take a chance. If he doesn’t want to use the brakes, he needs to remove the brakes from the trailer, which to me is a bad idea.
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dcmdon

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A trailer this small and light doesn't need ANYTHING. No brakes, no load balancing, really nothing.

The trucks brakes are fine, and legal as brakes are only needed over 3000 lbs.

I have a 3200 lb rated utility trailer and regularly tow it with my wife's Volvo wagon (3850 lbs rated towing) loaded up to 3000 lbs. I don't use brakes and it works fine.

My dad tows a race car with tool boxes and spare wheels and tires with his Honda Ridgeline. The trailer is about 4000 lbs. He likes the brakes but has said that its not really a big deal without them. You just drive slowly and look far ahead and anticipate traffic. Drive defensively. You will still be able to stop far shorter than any tractor trailer or dump truck.

Bottom line, if the trailer lights work, you are good to go. Just be careful and take your time on the road.
 

Mr._Bill

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The laws vary from state to state. Some require brakes on trailers as light as 1500 pounds. If the trailer is equipped with brakes, the tow vehicle should be configured to utilize them. If the manufacturer didn't think they were necessary, they would not have installed them on the trailer. Yes, you may be okay without connecting the brakes, but just how much risk are you willing to accept?
 
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ATLalien

ATLalien

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Hey thanks for all the good information guys. Very helpful for a newb!

I went and picked up the trailer yesterday. It was a 50 mile trip, one way, through the foothills so I had a lot of road time with the set up on the way home. The main challenge was the weather, as it rained the entire time, not ideal for a first timer probably.
But the tow was fine. The Jeep's brakes seem to stop it pretty sufficiently, and didn't feel too strained doing it. I just took it easy and ran at the speed limit, or slightly below when the terrain or weather dictated. I could definitely tell it was back there, but had no problems slowing down, only allowed more stopping distance. Of course acceleration was much slower than usual as well, but once the trailer was moving, I could maintain the speed I wanted.

Even managed to back it into my two door garage. That was kind of brutal as there was only 2-3" of clearance on either side of the camper. Took me about 15 minutes just to do that!

I do think I will add a brake controller for safety since the trailer has e-brakes, but it does feel like the truck can handle it on it's own, so I may not worry about it until we try a long trip. I don't believe our state (GA) requires them on a trailer this size, but the piece of mind will be worth it.

This is obviously our first camper, but we're excited to try it out. We've been tent campers for years, so the little pop up will seem like a penthouse to us. It's pretty clean for it's age as well. Good roof, working A/C, heat, no water ingress anywhere that I can find, and all the accessories seem to be in good working order.

Now I just have to get through the DMV's red tape to get a tag for it!
 

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