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Fix/upgrade or rental truck and towed?

In a few months I am going to be making a 1,000 mile move. I made this move, in reverse, about 18 months ago but there were numerous issues. Most of the issue have been fixed, but one remains…rear suspension and size of trailer.

The rear suspension is a leaf spring set up (1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L) which is sagging. I have what appears to be a class I hitch, which supplies me with a trailer too small for my needs. I want to upgrade to a larger trailer and U-Haul recommends a class II hitch.

So the problem comes down to two options for my move: 1. Upgrade hitch and resolve sagging leaf springs or 2. Rent a U-haul truck and vehicle trailer. I haven’t priced out the two options, but I want to hear what everyone has to say before I make my decision.

?? Advice?

Other random information: 1996 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 SE. 140,000 miles. New clutch. Engine appears to have been overhauled with prior owner. All shocks have been replaced, but springs are from previous owner. Many other repairs done, but those are thing big important ones.

You need to get estimates for the rear suspension. Get three and see if they agree on the problem and how much it costs to fix. You may be right about the springs, but maybe not.

I have had two mechanics look at them with all my repairs and both mechanics stated they are sagging. One suggested recurving the other suggested adding a leaf or recurving.

My inclination would be to rent the truck and either tow the Cherokee or sell it and buy another vehicle after you have made the move. If you are driving a the U-haul truck and something goes wrong, U-haul comes and fixes it. I know this from experience. I was making a move with a U-haul truck and the radiator failed. I called the U-haul hotline and described the problem. Within an hour U-haul showed up with a new radiator, hoses and coolant and within 45 minutes we were on our way. Your Cherokee is a manual transmission if the clutch was replaced. As I understand the world today, an automatic with a transmission cooler is better for towing because the torque converter absorbs the shock on the driveline. I would think your Cherokee with a manual transmission could be towed on all 4 wheels without having it on a trailer or dolly. Check this out with U-haul. A U-haul truck has more space than any of the trailers.

You Cherokee is 14 years old. If you break down, the repair is on you. This might delay the trip and you would have extra charges for the trailer. U-Haul equipmnet does break down. As I noted earlier, I’ve had that experience. A friend had an entire axle go out on a U-Haul truck. U-Haul switched his load to another truck and he was on his way. If you were only going 150 miles or less, the trailer might be the way to go, but for 1000 miles, I would get the truck.

Rent a truck that can handle the load, and tow your Cherokee behind it.

Or hire a moving company for your stuff and drive the Cherokee, lightly loaded, to your new home.

You’re asking for trouble trying to tow a heavy trailer with a 14-year-old vehicle with 140K on it.

Sounds like a money issue and the safest choice usually costs more. Rent a truck and tow your car. I would assume the Cherokee would be used close to it’s new car towing capacity and it’s certainly not as capable as old as it is. Other option is to replace the Cherokee now if you can afford it with a more capable vehicle. It’s tough to give advice that spends someone else money…sorry.

“Or hire a moving company for your stuff and drive the Cherokee, lightly loaded to your new home”.

This is very good advice. Often, movers will accept a partial load at a reduced rate if the person being moved is flexible so that the mover can then contract with another party going to the same vicinity with another partial load. Also, if one has a lot of books, these can often be shipped by freight. I’ve learned from several moves to take only things you value. Sell older appliances (ranges, refrigerators, washers and dryers) rather than move them. These can be replaced with either equivalent appliances at the new location or new appliances. I read where the prices of new appliances has actually dropped and are much more energy efficient than even appliances made 5 years ago.

The springs need to be fixed, whether you use it for trailer towing or not. With good springs an automatic Cherokee can pull a pretty decent sized U-haul trailer.

The U-haul trailers are fairly heavy empty, just how big a trailer you need and how heavy the load will be is my concern. You can tow with a manual transmission, but it isn’t ideal. If you try to haul too much weight you could really put a strain on the clutch. New clutches aren’t cheap.

The spring job will be one or two hundred dollars. Then a new class II hitch is about $60 and some can be bolted up by the a decent DIY’r. If you get the hitch installed your looking at about $150. Perhaps less if your current wiring hook up for trailer lights is OK.

You have a few months so you can plan this move. You can make decisions on exactly what you want to move and how to dispose of what you don’t want to move. You can compare the cost of renting equimpment from U-Haul and calculate approximately the amount of fuel that will be required with what a mover would charge. You can decide if some items can be shipped by freight.

You are on the right track in seeking information and planning for the move.

Thanks for the estimates (very tentative being you haven’t seen the Jeep). Here are some other numbers I just pulled up…
Trailer rental (5’x10’ Uhaul) with a few other things $245 – with above estimates (high end) $595
Truck with Autotransport with a few other things $644

Another piece of info…I live in a studio apartment so I don’t have a huge amount of stuff. Biggest item…sofa with bed and my actual bed(which can be collapsed to be quite small).

Also, I put out some bids for a moving company quote…will update when I get the quotes back.

Having been a gypsy many times there are bolt on the axle coil spring helpers, or air shocks. I live on the edge and know the 1 way trip charges can get excessive. Is there any option to lighten the load, or make 2 trips? To tell you the truth unless I knew the car better I have my doubts about a 96 Cherokee making it solo, much less upgrading to a hitch that would indicate the vehicle is not designed to handle the trailer in the first place.

The jeep has a tow capacity of 5,000 lbs so the class II hitch limits are reasonable for the cherokee.

There are forums of Jeep fanatics that state 6,000 lbs or more, but I’m not willing to push that. The trailer I would like from U-Haul has a capacity of 2,800 and a empty weight of 1,250, which is a grand total of 4,050 lbs if I’m maxed on the trailer, which I will not be.

The age of the jeep is a big thing though, as many of suggested above.

Can you give me an idea on costs of the all 4 wheel towing? Does U-Haul rent those? I have never done this and I don’t know someone who has.

I’ll stick by my original recommendation on a 14 year old frameless vehicle with an original overly optimistic towing capacity. At this point IMO is good for trash day with a utility trailer or a very short occasional trip to the lake with 3500 lb boat and no more in tow.

Here is another thought: If there is a GoodWill or used furniture store in your community, go check the prices on sofas, beds, etc. to get an idea of prices. Sell what you can replace, move very little, and buy replacements at the other end. Maybe you won’t have to move very much and what you do move will fit in the Jeep Cherokee.

Based on the age and mileage of your vehicle, I think installing a new class II hitch for a single trip is not worth it. The cost of that alone will probably make it worth renting a U-Haul type truck. Fixing suspension components is so important, you should do that regardless of what you decide to do, and the cost of that should not factor in to your decision.

I’m guessing that most of the answers are coming from non-Cherokee owners?I have a '99 Cherokee Sport(4 dr),152,000 miles,lifted 6" on 33" ATs.I tow a hybrid trailer all over.Full loaded weight(trailer.belongings,family,etc)ranging around 4500lbs.Never had a problem.It’s all in how you took care of your Jeep.By all means fix your suspension first.Look into a lighter weight trailer.Can usually find them at Lowes or Home depot for around $400-$450.If you kept up with all repairs & maintance,you really shouldn’t have a problem.

I don’t care if we are talking about a Chevy Suburban or a Jeep Cherokee, it is STILL a waste of money to replace a class I trailer hitch with a brand new class II trailer hitch on a 14 year old beater with 140,000 miles on it, especially if it is only going to be utilized one time. The cost of labor alone for installation will make installing a new hitch the worst alternative financially.

…and what the heck is a “hybrid trailer?”

I just want to thank everyone for their advice. I’ve noodled over the posts and my options and have come to conclude that renting the truck is the best option for a variety of reasons, which are cited throughout the this forum.

I am now considering the idea of selling my Jeep in New Orleans, which is selling slightly higher here than in Chicagoland (where I plan on moving). This decision is going to depend on my employment and financial outlook a few weeks before I move. If things are good…I will probably sell the Jeep in NOLA and buy a new/lease/good used car in Chicagoland.