Hi All, My husband and I are new to camping. We own a Jeep Liberty 2008 4x4 with tow package. We are currently looking to buy a Fun Finder travel trailer which is 18 feet in length and dry weight is 3000 lbs. Will this work?
We need to know a few other things like engine cylinders and size and what the tow package consists of. The general specs of this model is it has a tow capacity of 5,000 if properly equipped and you use a load-leveling hitch (aka equalizer or weight distribution hitch).
DO NOT rely on the dry weight. This is what the trailer weighs when it's empty. The only time this trailer will ever weigh this little is when it's on the lot. Refer to the Gross Trailer weight. This will be on the panel on the front driver's side or in one of the insides of a kitchen door. Find this number! This is the one you use to rate a trailer for your vehicle. Salesmen always use this number to make the sale, but it's the gross weight number that will get you in trouble.
I think even with this trailer you should still consider a WD hitch assuming the rest of the Jeep is properly equipped. Do you still have the Jeep's owners manual? The ratings will be in there. You'll need to compare your model with whatever is in the manual.
Keep in mind what this means is that the vehicle can handle the load. It does not mean you will be able to sustain highway speeds up hills or prevent runaways on the downhills. Your vehicle will definitely feel the extra weight. Be patient and safe and don't expect to be passing much. Your trailer might even have a 65mph speed maximum (check the tires for this one and in some states you can't go faster than 55mph anyway). You will need to learn how to use your transmission to get you more power up a hill and some braking assistance on the downhills. If your Jeep has a tachometer, learn what the highest RPMs are allowable and stay under them. You'll also want a brake controller and stongly consider an anti-sway system.
If you get everything you need, then you'll need to get to the scales. You should have already weighed your Jeep with a full gas tank and the driver to know who much you have left over for cargo. Then weigh it with passengers and all the stuff you would take on a trip. Then weigh it with the hitch and the trailer and hope that you are under the Gross weight rating of the Jeep, then weigh the trailer and both the Jeep and the trailer and hope you are under all those weight ratings. If any weight is over it's limit, then your rig is considered overweight. These all interact together but I'll save you the long story how or for a future conversation.
Last of all, leave the fear at home. Learn of the new sounds as you now put your vehicle to work. Chances are there is nothing wrong except that it will be new to your ears. You are beginning a new phase of all kinds of things to learn. It will be a lot, but not impossible. We've all been there.
Oh my, I just checked the Fun Finder web site and all the 18' trailers exceed the weight towing capacity of the Jeep Liberty. Beware of the Salesman that tells you, "Well don't fill it up so much". It's very hard to tell how much the trailer weighs when you are loading up. There is a tendency to think if there's storage room for it in the trailer, then let's bring it along. Unfortunately this is not true. Even feather pillows weigh something and will add to a trailer's weight.
You'll never know when you'll have to tow your trailer to a dump station when the tanks are full and you can't drain them. You'll also have the family or guest person's and their gear to worry about. There is also the weight of the hitch and hardware that goes along with it. It will be very difficult not to surpass the weight rating of the Jeep even though you are within the weight rating of the trailer. The 16' Fun finders look like they meet the ratings of your Jeep.
If you are looking for more living and moving around area have you considered a HI-LO or Trail Manor trailers? These are very clever hard sided trailers, and light and fold into themselves during the tow and provide a good deal of living space because of it. It seems like you are looking for a hard-sided trailer and these are known to fit the bill. Plus most of them fit in a garage and are smaller to store. This is only an idea.
Otherwise if you are set on the larger Fun Finders, you'll be needed a larger tow vehicle. Your goal is to give yourself some margin and not be right at the maximum weight ratings just in case you have to take some rocks or other souvenirs home or something like that.
Good luck with your final decision. I hope you can find a safe combination.
Thank you so much for the great information. We were afraid it would be too much weight for the jeep, but the salesman said we would be fine. So glad we found this website. Back to the drawing board!!! Rod and Cathy
RV salesmen are not your friends. They are legally off the hook telling you one of the many weights will meet your need. After you drive it off the lot it becomes your problem. Pass the word about this. They neglect to tell you there are over a dozen weights and combinations of weights to worry about. If you need help with these lemme know. I can't tell you how many people got burned by these including me!
The smaller the rig, the more important, but the bigger the rig, the worse it can get since we are now dealing with heavier weights (I am at 11 tons and within ALL ratings).