What confuses me about the towing figures is that the manual basically says 2000 pounds for ALL 9-speed automatic versions (and no figure given/towing not recommended for all other transmissions)
Okay and the manual also tells us this 2000 lb figure comes from them testing the jeep's ability to START the load on a 12 percent grade hill from a stop.
Alright, so what does that tell us? Perhaps that brakes are probably not the limiting factor in how much weight we can really tow, having the power to get the load rolling is apparently the bottleneck. So then how much could we tow on flat ground like I have in Minnesota here? Maybe 3000 pounds is not out of the question? Not that any lawyer would back that up I'm just saying for academics sake, if there are no hills even 6 percent grade anywhere around me and the four-wheel disk brakes are up to the job of stopping a larger load then, why not?
But anyways the real monkeywrench that makes me question their 2000 limit is was that 12 percent grade hill start test done with a trailhawk or a different trim? This matters because they don't specify in the manual; they don't make a distinction between the trailhawk with the 9 speed vs the others but they should, because we know the trailhawk's 9-speed programming is to start in 2nd gear always. 1st gear is only used in the rock mode, to create the fake "low range" effect.
Anyone starting to see the issue?
What I'm saying is, if the 2000 pound limit from the hill start test comes from testing on a trailhawk model, does that not indicate the 2000 lb limit is based on the ability to start that load in 2nd gear? If so, how much (more) load could the other 9-speed trim levels start on that same hill from 1st gear??
Or it could be the other way around, but either way, it would seem to me that at least one trim-level or more is mis-rated on its towing capacity. Either the 9-speed latitudes and limiteds are properly rated and the trailhawk is overrated, or, the trailhawk is properly rated and the other 9-speeds are underrated (and could theoretically tow more).
Another possibility is that the trailhawks magically know when they have to dig down to first gear to start a trailer out of "low range" mode, but this seems unlikely to me.
I did the math, a trailhawk compass pulling away from a stop in 2nd gear is starting with about a 12:1 ratio, while my limited starting in first gear would be pulling away on roughly a 17:1 ratio.
So the big question is, will the trailhawk drop into 1st gear outside of rock mode when necessary? If so, it has the best trailer-starting ratio (20:1) but if not, it has the worst starting ratio (12:1).
Just food for thought, obviously we should not exceed the stated limits from the manual no matter what but thought it was interesting enough to share.