So, I did the trip. Just thought I would give you a followup and the results of towing a Casita
17SD halfway across the country with a 2014 Jeep GC using the 6 cylinder motor.
Executive summary: I love it.
(All MPG and distances as shown on the Jeep trip computer) Using Pennzoil synthetic lubricants in the Jeep. In all cases the trailer was loaded down and the fresh water tank full. Generally grey/black tanks were empty. Tire pressures at 40# tow vehicle, 65# on the Casita
with Maxxis tires
. I pretty much guaged my stress on the engine by using the Jeep temperature indicator. Never had the tachometer over 4500 RPM. Red line is 6500 I think. Casita
wheel bearings checked with an electronic readout at never more than 125 degrees (and then, only in the Mohave desert part of the trip). Bearings seem to always be about 20 degrees warmer than the surrounding air.
Wednesday June 11: Drove to Ogallala, NE where we camped the first night. It was 416 miles total with some side trips. Maintained 60 MPH (could have went much faster but chose not to as I got use to the rig). The vehicle got 18 MPG on this leg. Engine temps were around 200 degrees and the transmission was always cooler. Ambient air was cool.
Thursday June 12: Drove to Salina, UT for our second night. Passed over the Vail pass and the San Rafael Swell. 671 miles. Maintained 60 MPH except on the steepest climbs where I slowed to 50 MPH as the engine temp rose to a peak of 230 degrees. In the hotter West parts of this leg, I allowed the engine temp. to rise to a peak of 240 degrees to maintain my speed on the highest climbs. The vehicle got 16 MPG on this leg. Ambient air was cool (East) to warm (West).
Friday June 13: Drove to Las Vegas, NV for the final leg of the trip out. 314 miles. Maintained 60 MPH. Got almost 17 MPG. The ambient air was hot.
Monday June 23: Left Las Vegas, NV for Quail Creek State Park in Utah. 214 miles. Got a bit better than 17 MPG maintaining 65 MPH. Ambient temperature was HOT! Engine temperatures never over 210 degrees.
Wednesday June 25: Left Quail Creek, UT for Dead Horse Point State Park, UT. 342 miles. Got 16 MPG maintaining 65 MPH but slowing to 55 on the highest climb. Allowed engine temperature to rise to 230-240 peak never allowing it to stay there for more than a few minutes. Ambient temperature was HOT!
Friday June 27: Left Dead Horse Point for Ogallala, NE. 567 miles. Got a bit better than 17 MPG maintaining 65 MPH again slowing to 55 on the highest climb. Allowed engine temperature to rise to 230-240 peak never allowing it to stay there for more than a few minutes. Ambient temperature was cool.
Really took advantage of the Jeep UConnect SXM weather features. In the middle of nowhere East of Denver we ran into tornado warnings. Without real humans in the local radio stations, we had no information and the satellite weather radar and warnings display saved the day. We parked at a rest stop in Julesburg, CO early and took a nap while the area ahead of us got pounded. Without the weather info., we would have no knowledge what was to the East of us.
Saturday June 28: Left Julesburg, CO and headed for Omaha. 344 miles. Got 18 MPG. The ambient air was warm.
All in all, I am pleased. The Casita is almost "like a shadow" behind the Jeep. I think 17-18 MPG meets with my desire for decent gas mileage while taking it all with me. That is understanding we were in some pretty high elevations and extended climbs a great deal of the time. I could have went faster, the engine had it. I never had a problem passing others, when I wanted to. I just chose to keep the temp's. under 240 degrees and be safe. Is that too high? Should I try to stress it more? I don't know. But I do know it performed well for me and I am delighted.
In my opinion, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee with Pentastar 6 cylinder motor is an excellent tow vehicle.