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Topic: towing Jeep Grand Cherokee 2004

Posted By: Goldencrazy on 10/29/11 01:52am

I post here because greatest chance of a response. Specific to the 2004. Do I need to turn the ignition to unlock the steering. I am getting ready to purchase a 2004 to tow and not sure of unlocking. I read that as they got newer the steering didn't lock when ignition off and key removed. It is the Laredo with Select trac if that matters.

Posted By: Golden_HVAC on 10/29/11 03:01am


The Jeep a friend owns and I was towing has a 4 wheel drive transfer case shifter, that was put into netural, and the other transmission can be left in park. The parking brake HAD to be used to keep the vehicle still while hitching and unhitching. Unhitch on a hill, and you just might find out why - when the car rolls down the hill into a ditch!

The key must be left in the ignition, and left in the "Off" position, not the lock. Lock will prevent the front tires from turning while following the RV. Usually when it locks, it is about 15 degrees left or right turn, causing really bad wear on the tires!

I have heard that the 2011 Ford Edge has a keyless ignition, so no colum lock? No realy need for them anymore, there is a more sofisticated electronic lock, so the colum lock is kinda outdated now. Back in the 70's, colum locks where the newest thing to prevent vehicle theft, and they worked for about 1 year, until the theifs figured out they can be defeated with a dent puller in about 10 seconds.

Good luck towing with your new set-up.

By the way, my braking system is a junkyard cruise control motor out of a Nissan, with the cable pulling my brake pedal to the floor when 12 volts is applied to a solinoid valve and vacuum plulls the cable on the CC motor. Total cost was about $35 including a 3/8" air hose to my gas engine on the RV to the rear bumper, then a quick disconnect to the toad vacuum booster and the CC motor there.

I use a 6 wire connection from the RV to toad (2007 Ford Edge), so I have a +12 brake wire in addition to the normal 4 for lights. I could also run a + 12 wire to keep the battery full if required, but have not needed to yet.


Posted By: Oday on 10/29/11 06:46am

I tow an 05 Grand Cherokee, and do not have to leave the key in the ignition..nor does the wheel lock with the key. I think you should also check the transmission in the Jeep you are considering. You mentioned that it has select trac. I believe only select trac 2 transmissions are towable. I would be happy to talk with you about this,since we are both located in Madison. email at [email protected] Good Luck

'04 Mountain-Aire pusher with tag
'99 Jeep GC Ltd. Toad
One small wife
One small dog

Posted By: Belgique on 10/29/11 06:46am

My old Jeep's manual has a detailed check list of what to do. I'd check the manual for that jeep before I did anything. The last step in mine: "Put it in Park", still scares me!

Hickory, NC
2007 Fleetwood Discovery 40X

Posted By: mowermech on 10/29/11 06:59am

"The parking brake HAD to be used to keep the vehicle still while hitching and unhitching. Unhitch on a hill, and you just might find out why - when the car rolls down the hill into a ditch!"

THAT is why I always hook the towbar to the motorhome FIRST! Once it is hooked up, it isn't going anywhere until I drive away. If the parking brake isn't set, I can't forget to release it. Besides, I have found that driving the Jeep to the motorhome is MUCH easier than backing the motorhome to the Jeep! UNhitching on a slope is, of course, an entirely different story. The parking brake may be used, or simply put the Jeep in gear and turn the engine off once it is set to your satisfaction.

2002 Fleetwood Southwind 32V, Ford V10
Daily Driver: '06 PT Cruiser Turbo
Toy: 1999 Dodge QC LWB, Cummins, Automatic, 4X4
Other toys: a pair of Kawasaki Brute Force 750 ATVs.
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away!"

Posted By: Goldencrazy on 10/29/11 07:05am

Thanks all for the very quick responses. I post in the middle of the night and by 8 I have all this information. I don't have the mannual right now but will check for sure. I knew the need for the key to unlock the column had been eliminated and apparently at least the 2005 no longer needs it. I also know they made some changes from 2004 to 2005 including addinf about 500 lbs. I also know the Quadra Trac I is only AWD so no towable four down. The Quadra Trac II is towable four down and the Select Trac which allows 2 wheel drive as well as 4 wheel part-time and 4 wheel all-the time is also flat towable. As long as it has a neutral position in the options I am good to go. I agree that putting it in park just seems so foreign that is as they say counter intuitive. I currently tow a Smart Car so I understand hooking on a hill but I think the Jeep might be a tad more difficult to stop when it gets moving. We wanted a bigger option so have purchased the used Grand Cherokee to use in those circumstances. A friend gave me an Even Brake a year ago that was barely used so that will be my brake. Thanks for the updates. Anyone with a 2004 would be welcome.

Posted By: sch911 on 10/29/11 08:08am

There is no need for a manual,as we all know sometimes they are wrong. This is simple. If the steering wheel remains unlocked with the key out then there is no need to have the key in. Figure that out for YOUR Jeep. Period, that's it....

OEM Auto Engineer- Embedded Software Team
09 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 41SKQ Cummins ISL
2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Toad

Posted By: Valkyriebush on 10/29/11 08:39am

I had a non-security key made at walmart for this purpose, $1.98. It will unlock the wheel but not allow the car to continue running if used to drive off with. You must have the 4X4 to tow 4 wheels down on my model year.

Command Master Chief (AW) USN, (ret)
2003 Fleetwood Excursion 330 Turbo Cat 39D
2000 Jeep GC
2005 Big Ruckus (Rides Behind Jeep)
2003 VTX 1800

Posted By: jbusnret on 10/29/11 08:43am

We have the 04 GC Laredo and tow it 4 down. Follow these procedures;

ENGINE running, transmission in neutral, shift transfer case to neutral, turn ignition to "off" position so wheels are unlocked, shift transmission to park.

I connect to M/H then shift trannies to positions. When disconnecting from M/H reverse procedures shift trannies back to normal conditions before unhooking from M/H. On completion of disconnecting you might want to drive straight in reverse for several feet to disengage 4x4. Otherwise you may feel the steering axle is in engaged.

Jim & Jackie
BTCS,USN (Ret) & VA Employee (Ret)
2007 Bounder 32W, Triton V10
2004 Jeep GC Larado (toad)

When everything's coming your way....'re in the wrong lane and going the wrong way.

Posted By: UltimaRV on 10/29/11 11:57am

We have a 2004 GC Limited and the procedure is as ibusnret stated. We also purchased a non-secuity key, as Valkyriebush advises, which is necessary in the off position for the 2004. Make it a habit to leave your driver's side door open while hooking up so you can remember to take the hand brake off.

We tow with a Blue Ox Aventa LX, SMI Air Force One braking system and an independent set of rear bulbs in the extra slot that Jeep provides.

Dian, Robert & Precious (taking a break - see profile)
2000 45' Featherlite 5000, tag, slide, Detroit Series 60
2006 19' Towcorp enclosed trailer w/60" tongue
2004 13' Ultima GTR (9.9 seconds standing quarter mile)

Posted By: BobGed on 10/29/11 01:21pm

You can download the owner's manual HERE Recreational vehicle towing procedures begin on page 231.

2017 Tiffin Phaeton 40QBH
2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

Posted By: Goldencrazy on 10/29/11 02:13pm

Thank you all for the great advice. I knew I would get info not found in the manual. Base plates go on the Jeep on Monday and I return home on Wednesday to have the breakaway installed and anything needed on Moho. I have the Blue Ox setup on the Moho as I used it for Smart Car. Will need the Even Brake with the GC. Then on the 10th we head out for WI v Minnesota game and test it out. A few stops along the way and some hilly areas with steep grades will give us a good test.

Posted By: Phillerup on 10/29/11 04:06pm

Valkyriebush wrote:

I had a non-security key made at walmart for this purpose, $1.98. It will unlock the wheel but not allow the car to continue running if used to drive off with. You must have the 4X4 to tow 4 wheels down on my model year.

This is the same thing we did and it worked fine for several years.

Go by what the owners manual says ...I had a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited I towed for a few years and the manual tells you exactly what to do step by step. It tows great and we traded it because I found something in a pickup I liked better and decided to get the pickup and tow the Liberty which tows great too. The only real issues we had with the GC Limited V8 was the little damper doors the GC Limited for dual front climate control. They kept breaking and are a real hassle to get fixed.

I have towed 4 different Jeeps and the manual has always been right.

2003 Newmar DSDP 4005 dual slide king bed Spartan 350 Cummins 2004 Jeep Liberty 4X4 tow, SeaEagle boat in basement

Posted By: mgh122 on 10/29/11 04:22pm

Been towing our '04GC since '06 30k miles no problems. You might want to look into the M&G brake system,

Mike & Peg
Aint' life grand!!
'05 Discovery 39S
'04 Grand Cherokee Freedom, M&G, Roadmaster Sterling
Zeus the Wonder Dog
"makes you wonder doesn't he"

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