Posted by Bob Aldons - Northstar Chrysler Jeep Dodge
Call into Northstar Jeep at 320 Anzac Avenue Kippa-Ring on the Redcliffe Peninsula. We're only 15 minutes or so from Brisbane Airport and a leisurely drive down the highway from Noosa, Bundaberg, Maryborough, and a short trip from Nambour, Caloundra, Mooloolaba and Bribie Island. We also get a lot of our customers as FIDO - that's not a dog by the way, that's fly in drive out. With cheap airfares, our customers come in from Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Mt Isa and even Sydney, Melbourne and as far away as Perth.
We'll happily arrange a drive home registration and you know the best thing about this? The drive home gives you just the best running in you'll ever get. New engines love a long drive to bed everything in and you'll get the best economy you've ever experienced. Alternatively if you're time or distance poor, check us out online at northstarjeep.com.au or read more reviews at mycarreview.com.au. Finally, if you can't come to us, we'll come to your home, workplace or worksite - call Northstar on 1300 BNE JEEP or 1300 263 533.
Left:Jeep and Jayco on the road.Over three months of towing the GoSee Jayco Sterling 21 ft caravan in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo diesel instills confidence.
The brand has come a long way. Jeep is the quintessential American Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), with all-terrain roots dating over 70 years and including the 1940's and World War II.
Australians have a long-standing aquaintance with Jeep. For example your correspondents father bought a Jeep from a 'Yank' for two bottles of beer when he was soldiering on Bougainville, Papua New Guinea in 1944 to1945. He valued the Jeeps survival abilities, he said. My late mother and I valued his, the bloody business of Bougainville was a terrible survival test for Australian and American troops.
Now in the brave world of excellent value in the automobile market the new Grand Cherokee Laredo Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) takes Chryslers Jeep to completely new value and luxury finish levels. The good looking Jeep is a worthy contender in the premium motoring and towing segment of the market.
The latest GoSeeAustralia tow tug is a Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel Laredo 3.0-litre turbo, direct-injection V6 diesel 4x4 with five-speed automatic transmission, it develops 177kW/550Nm. GoSee was attracted by the overall specifications and the $53,913 Chrysler drive-away price we paid.
Right: GSA Jayco carries the flag.There is an impressive list of useful kit comes standard and the price includes our pick from the options grab-bag.
Chrysler gives the Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel Laredo a 3500kg towing capacity with up to 350kg on the towbar. Chrysler has model, engine and towing kit conditions and requirements which should be checked with the dealer and understood before hooking up to tow. But in essence Chrysler now sets the warranty bar with its straight forward responsible approach for vehicle makers who claim towing abilities for their products.
The official warranty position with Chrysler on towing with a Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) is that they do not think it is necessary up to 2500kg.
The Grand Cherokee comes with Trailer Sway Control which Chrysler feels will do the safety job up to 2500kg. The Grand Cherokee also has an automatic self-levelling system which cuts in at 100kmh. But Chrysler is keen to meet the needs of caravanners and accepts the established role of popular Weight Distribution Hitches (WDH) and anti-sway Hayman Reese products in caravans and trailers. So regardless they will stand by their warranty.
The official Chrysler figures for the Grand Cherokee diesel are 350kg on the ball max and 3500kg trailer max. Please note that Chrysler requires a a Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) for towing loads which exceed 2268-2270kg. The 2kg difference depends on which set of specs are read.
The key to towing safely is that Chrysler will stand by warranty up to the maximum axle loading weights stated in the Owners Manual.
Left: Millie and Scamp take to caravanning.This means the affect of loading the Grand Cherokee with people and luggage must be factored into the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM). The Owners Manual says up to 650kg in the Grand Cherokee.
The Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) of the caravan or (boat, horse, tradie) trailer should come from a weighbridge and the loaded weight on the towball should also be known and the result of a weighbridge or digital scales check.
ATM is the combined weight of the trailer and its full load when it is not coupled to a tow vehicle. All new trailers built since August 1989 must have a plate listing, amongst other things, the trailers Aggregate Trailer Mass, although some trailer plates will also show its Tare Weight (the unladen weight of the trailer) and its Gross Trailer Mass (GTM).
GTM is the weight of the fully loaded trailer that is imposed on the trailer’s axle when it is coupled to the tow vehicle.
Drivers must ensure the towing vehicle has sufficient capacity to tow the trailer when it is fully laden. Ball Load is the amount of weight the fully laden trailer imposes (vertically) on the tow bar of the tow vehicle. There is no requirement to list Ball Load on the trailer’s plate, but if the plate lists the trailer’s Gross Trailer Mass (GTM), the difference between the ATM and GTM will be its Ball Load. Ball Load, like other towing specifications, must not be exceeded.
Some manufacturers provide Axle Load specifications for their vehicles. Most commonly this becomes important where the vehicle is capable of carrying a load over the rear axle, in addition to the load imposed by the trailer (the ball load).
In cases where the total of the Ball Load and the load in the vehicle exceeds the allowable Axle Load, it will be necessary to reduce the load carried or rearrange the trailer’s load. All Jeep tow bars are heavy duty, the company says.
Right: GoSee Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel hooks up with Jayco Sterling 21ft. The vehicle’s specifications will always be the maximum the vehicle can legally tow, even if the tow bar is rated for a higher load. However if any of the tow bar specifications are lower than those given for the vehicle, the tow bar’s specification will override the vehicle’s specifications.
Chrysler does not specify reduced speed limits when towing.
The flexible options provided by Hayman Reese electronic brake controller units and towing equipment are respected by Chrysler.
The Australian Grand Cherokee comes with Middle Eastern standard cooling system which includes transmission coolers.
The previous diesel powertrain used in the Grand Cherokee was a Mercedes-Benz unit and although it had the same 3.0-litre displacement as the new CRD powerplant from Italian specialist VM Motori, it was not as powerful nor as efficient.
The new 3.0-litre CRD turbo diesel engine produces 177 kW at 4,000 rpm with 550 Nm of torque at 1,800-2,800 rpm. This is 10 percent more power and eight percent more torque than the engine it replaces. But rated fuel economy for the new 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine is an impressive 8.3 litres/100km on the combined cycle as a stand alone unit. This is an improvement of 19 percent over the previous diesel engine.
The GoSee extended towing evaluation of the Grand Cherokee and the Jayco Sterling 21 footer is being handled by Newbie caravanners who are Old Hands around caravan parks.
Left: Bob Farmer checks GoSee campsite.Polly, Milena and Scamp, the Family Beast, are new caravanners who are recently retired caravan park operators of some 25 years experience, not Scamp he is an 11 year old Jack Russell/Maltese dog, previously responsible for park security.
This team took charge of GoSeeAustralia's 2012 Jayco Sterling 21 Caravan. They are tasked to document and comment on their experiences for the coming year or so as they transition from caravan park operators to caravanners who travel with a little dog.
"The Jeep was chosen to be our new caravanners tow tug following a recommendation to consider made by GoSee's CEO who had noted Chrysler Jeeps enduring support and sponsorship of the caravanning industry and the positive consumer comment he was hearing on the road ," Bob (Polly) Farmer said.
"I followed through and checked the credentials of the Jeep Grand Cherokee oil burner, as suggested, and found the Jeep was a technically valid option as 'tow tug' for the Jayco 21 footer, it was attractively priced and had an impressive equipment list: 3.0L V6 Turbo Diesel engine, 5 Speed Automatic Transmission with Electronic Range Select, Quadra Trac 4WD system, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), fog lamps, rear liftgate with flipper glass, Keyless Enter-N-Go, Bi-Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with auto-levelling and headlamp washers, Media Center 431radio, leather trimmed seats (option) with eight-way power driver's seat, leather wrapped steering wheel with manual tilt and telescoping steering column, cruise control, 18-inch polished cast aluminium wheels, selec-terrain vehicle management system, Rain-Sensitive Wiper System, Dual Zone Climate Control, Park view Reversing Camera.
Right: 1554 litres of cargo volume Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo.
Additional features fitted are:Leather seating; Off road Adventure Group ll - Fuel tank, transfer case, underbody and front suspension skid plates, Quadra Drive ll 4WD system, rear Electronic Limited Slip Differential (ELSD), 3.45 axle ratio, 230mm rear axle, 265 / 60 R18 All-season tyres, 18 x8-inch polished aluminium wheels.
Quadra lift Air Suspension - Raise the vehicle up to 104mm higher for a maximum ground clearance of 271mm or lower the vehicle 38mm for easier entry, exit and loading. The system also raises the vehicle from back to front to help keep headlights safely focused downward at the road ahead.
Polly's behind the wheel impressions as a 'Tow Tug' from a new to caravanning driver:
The Jeep has been in the care of GoSee's apprentice caravanner for about 12,000km. After a 2500km get familiar period, following delivery of the vehicle, the apprentice, in the care of GoSees CEO, (the Octopus - he likes to keep a tentacle (hand-interest) in all things GoSee for the first two weeks and later 'all by himself', well, nearly by himself he was in the company his wife and their family beast Scamp, with Go Sees new Jayco Sterling 20 Series, 21.65-4 Caravan hitched to the Jeep.
The apprentice has toured the Jeep and Jayco caravan from Jayco's Dandenong Victoria manufacturing facility to:
a. Eldorado Caravan Park, Geelong, Vic; b. Lake Fyans Holiday Park, the Grampians, Vic; c. Calder Caravan Park, Mildura, Vic; d. Broken Hill Tourist Park Broken Hill, NSW; e. Free Bush Camp, 50 or so km past Wilcannia, NSW; f. Bourke, NSW; g. Lightning Ridge, NSW; h. St George, Qld; i. Dalby, Qld, Where the Octopus sent the apprentice off Solo; j. Coolum Beach Caravan Park, Coolum, the Sunshine Coast, Qld; k. Family, Bundaberg, Qld". (All Caravanners should have family strategically positioned throughout Australia); l. Back to Coolum Beach Holiday Park, Qld; m. Family, Brisbane, Qld; n. Blue Dolphin Holiday Park, Yamba, NSW; o. River, NSW; p. Forster, NSW; q. Shoal Bay Holiday Park, Port Stephens, NSW; r. Go See Headquarters, Canberra, ACT; q. To be continued.
Left: GoSee Sterlings ready to tour Jayco May 1 2012.
The apprentice who, while being a virgin caravanner has had experience driving rigid trucks and 4WD vehicles in a previous life, has formed a very positive view of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Lorado diesel as a tow tug for caravanning.
From the travel list previously mentioned it is evident that the Jeep has towed a medium to large Jayco Sterling caravan through a diverse range of roads, from flat straight outback highways to Great Divide undulating country roads and busy national major highways, the Jeep exceeded expectations towing the GoSee Jayco Sterling caravan with relative ease.
Travelling the flat sealed "a bit rough" highways back of Bourke, the Jeep towed the Jayco Sterling with easy efficiency. The Jayco Sterling caravan was, identifiably, held firmly in place by the Hayman Reese Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) system and the caravan felt beautifully - but maybe too firmly - in place.
The Hayman Reese anti-sway cam system was added to the towing technology mix for the Jeep / Jayco tug and tow combination at Lightning Ridgesome 10 days into the apprentice's introduction and induction to caravanning. The improvement to towing was significant:....read more