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willald

NC

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Posted: 01/27/22 07:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, for various reasons, we have decided to pull the trigger, and trade one of our older vehicles for a Jeep Wrangler. Wife and I both have always loved Jeeps, wanted to one day own one, and now we going to make that happen. [emoticon]

Part of what motivated this as well was the fact that we live way out in the country where it is very hilly, and are finding that when it snows here, they do not plow or salt any of the roads. Hilly roads, unplowed and unsalted when it snows means, without a 4x4, you aren't getting out when it snows or roads get bad.

We went with this silver 2018 Unlimited Sport model (JK). I wanted one that was built on a ladder frame (not unibody), so that was why we didn't look for anything newer than 2018, and wanted a JK model.

We already have the Ford Taurus we tow behind the RV (4 down), and it is working fine. However, I definitely am planning on setting the new Jeep up to flat tow as well, as there are places we go where we'll want the Jeep instead of the Taurus.

At any rate, that brings us to what I wanted to talk about here: Setting up a Jeep Wrangler for flat towing. We use the Readybrute/Readybrake on the Taurus, so will be setting up the Jeep with the Readybrake and Readystop cables. I will probably get a Cooltech wiring harness and wire in the Jeep tailights for flat towing. Any hints, suggestions on installing the wiring harness and readybrake cable, would be welcome. [emoticon]

What I'm mostly struggling with right now has to do with the base plate set up in the front. I see a couple options:

1. Replace front bumper with one that allows you to bolt the Blue Ox brackets directly to the front, like the Rock Hard 4x4 Patriot or Rugged Ridge Spartan bumper. Really like this idea, but problem is, unless you spend a ton of $$ on an aluminum bumper, you are looking at a steel bumper that is very, very heavy. Don't want to make this jeep any heavier than it already is if I can avoid it. Are there any bumper options out there, that you can connect blue ox brackets to, aren't so heavy, and not so hard on the wallet?

2. Blue Ox base plate, installed right under the bumper - Really leaning this direction, but hate that it sits so low under the bumper, and vulnerable to a rock or something hitting it, as we do plan to do some off-roading now and then.

3. Currie Rock Jock tow bar mounting kit - This one replaces front air dam/chin under the bumper with a steel piece that has tow hooks incorporated into it, that tow bar would attach to. Like this one, too, and its definitely the least expensive, but questioning how strong it'd be, given the way it attaches. Its just bolted on top to the stock bumper, and on bottom to frame cross member. Doesn't bolt directly to frame rails like other ones do, so not sure if it'd be as solid. That, and the position of the tow hooks has me concerned it'd make the tow bar clevises rub up against bottom of the (stock) bumper.

Soooo, Jeep owners that flat tow: What recommendations do you have, as far as how to set it up for towing? Anything else I need to know? We pick up the Jeep Saturday (can't wait!), would like to have it ready to flat tow by April for upcoming trip to the beach, so need to start ordering stuff fairly soon.


Will and Cheryl
2021 Newmar Baystar 3014 on F53 (7.3 V8) Chassis ("Brook")
2018 Jeep Wrangler JK ("Wilbur")

jdc1

Rescue, Ca

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Posted: 01/27/22 09:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I doubt the Blue Ox base plate will be any lower than the differential is right now.

Lwiddis

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Posted: 01/27/22 11:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That's a very good looking Jeep.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AH Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist. 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


Alan_Hepburn

San Jose, Ca, USA

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Posted: 01/27/22 01:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

willald wrote:


We went with this silver 2018 Unlimited Sport model (JK). I wanted one that was built on a ladder frame (not unibody), so that was why we didn't look for anything newer than 2018, and wanted a JK model.


The newer JL and JT models still use the same ladder frame. I don't think that will EVER change so long as the Wranglers are in production.

Quote:

At any rate, that brings us to what I wanted to talk about here: Setting up a Jeep Wrangler for flat towing. We use the Readybrute/Readybrake on the Taurus, so will be setting up the Jeep with the Readybrake and Readystop cables. I will probably get a Cooltech wiring harness and wire in the Jeep tailights for flat towing. Any hints, suggestions on installing the wiring harness and readybrake cable, would be welcome. [emoticon]


For me, the hardest part about installing the Ready Brute cables was getting up the courage to poke the holes in the firewall in a brand new vehicle. Once I got that under control it was a simple task to install the cables. Similarly with the wiring: I liked the CoolTech harness, but didn't like the price so I sourced my own wire and switch and built my own version. I put the switch in the dash rather than under the passenger seat so it's more convenient to reach from the driver's seat, but it required routing the wire up behind the dash. I think I spent less than $30 for everything for that harness.

Quote:

What I'm mostly struggling with right now has to do with the base plate set up in the front. I see a couple options:

1. Replace front bumper with one that allows you to bolt the Blue Ox brackets directly to the front, like the Rock Hard 4x4 Patriot or Rugged Ridge Spartan bumper. Really like this idea, but problem is, unless you spend a ton of $$ on an aluminum bumper, you are looking at a steel bumper that is very, very heavy. Don't want to make this jeep any heavier than it already is if I can avoid it. Are there any bumper options out there, that you can connect blue ox brackets to, aren't so heavy, and not so hard on the wallet?


On my Gladiator I went with the Rugged Ridge Spartan bumper. It won't add too much weight up front because it's replacing the OEM bumper, not adding to it. I don't recall the actual weight of the bumper, but it wasn't much more than the OEM one - I had no problem installing it by myself.

Quote:

2. Blue Ox base plate, installed right under the bumper - Really leaning this direction, but hate that it sits so low under the bumper, and vulnerable to a rock or something hitting it, as we do plan to do some off-roading now and then.


On my wife's old Wrangler (2107 JKU) we used the Blue Ox base plate - it did hang down from the front and while we never had it impact the ground the thought was always there because it DOES reduce your approach angle a bit.

Quote:

3. Currie Rock Jock tow bar mounting kit - This one replaces front air dam/chin under the bumper with a steel piece that has tow hooks incorporated into it, that tow bar would attach to. Like this one, too, and its definitely the least expensive, but questioning how strong it'd be, given the way it attaches. Its just bolted on top to the stock bumper, and on bottom to frame cross member. Doesn't bolt directly to frame rails like other ones do, so not sure if it'd be as solid. That, and the position of the tow hooks has me concerned it'd make the tow bar clevises rub up against bottom of the (stock) bumper.


I don't have any knowledge of the Currie system, but on my wife's new 2022 Wrangler we're going with the Maximus 3 Tow loops - they hang below the bumper, but not as far as the Blue Ox base plate. She decided she didn't want to change out the bumper...


----------------------------------------------
Alan & Sandy Hepburn driving a 2007 Fleetwood Bounder 35E on a Workhorse chassis - Proud to be a Blue Star Family!
Good Sam Member #566004


Alan_Hepburn

San Jose, Ca, USA

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Posted: 01/27/22 01:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jdc1 wrote:

I doubt the Blue Ox base plate will be any lower than the differential is right now.


Well, no, but it's not ground clearance so much as it's the approach angle that is a concern.

willald

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Posted: 01/27/22 02:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

For me, the hardest part about installing the Ready Brute cables was getting up the courage to poke the holes in the firewall in a brand new vehicle. Once I got that under control it was a simple task to install the cables.


Well, this one isn't new, technically, its 4 years old. And, there is considerably more room down there on the firewall than there was on the last two vehicles I installed the Readybrake cable. Sooo, I'm not worried about that part. [emoticon]

Quote:

Similarly with the wiring: I liked the CoolTech harness, but didn't like the price so I sourced my own wire and switch and built my own version. I put the switch in the dash rather than under the passenger seat so it's more convenient to reach from the driver's seat, but it required routing the wire up behind the dash. I think I spent less than $30 for everything for that harness.


Yeah, I'm seeing that the Cooltech harness is pretty expensive. I'm now debating between a Hopkins custom kit that plugs directly into factory wiring harnesses at each tail light (cost about $84), or maybe a separate bulb kit, as it seems the Jeep taillight assembly has plenty of room to put in separate tail lights. Not sure yet.

Quote:

On my Gladiator I went with the Rugged Ridge Spartan bumper. It won't add too much weight up front because it's replacing the OEM bumper, not adding to it. I don't recall the actual weight of the bumper, but it wasn't much more than the OEM one - I had no problem installing it by myself.


Hmmm.....I read some bad reviews on that one, saying that when they bolted the blue ox brackets on, it deformed the bumper and cause the powder coat to flake off. That was other reason I was a bit afraid of that one. Have you not had any issues with that? That, and I read where the company that made it openly admitted their bumper was not designed to do such.


Quote:

On my wife's old Wrangler (2107 JKU) we used the Blue Ox base plate - it did hang down from the front and while we never had it impact the ground the thought was always there because it DOES reduce your approach angle a bit.


Indeed so, although I'm leaning more and more that direction, as I don't see us doing any really hard core offroading where approach angle would be a factor. Other good thing about the Blue Ox base plate, is there is already a place right there on it for the 6 way wiring connector and the readybrake cable. Otherwise, would have to figure out another place to put those.

Quote:

...on my wife's new 2022 Wrangler we're going with the Maximus 3 Tow loops - they hang below the bumper, but not as far as the Blue Ox base plate. She decided she didn't want to change out the bumper...


Hadn't seen those, but looking at it, not sure how you'd attach Blue ox style Clevis attachments to it?

Y-Guy

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Posted: 01/28/22 08:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We setup our 2011 Wrangler up this summer, at the time I didn't go with the Cooltech as I looked up the wrong part (for the new JL) and didn't care to deal with it. But now that I know I had the wrong part I'm ordering it and will be ditching the the magnetic lights.

I'm going to link to my full write up I did last August; Jeep Wrangler ReadyBrake Elite II Setup

I opted to get a new bumper that used pass through bolts and bought the Rock Hard 4x4 Blue Ox Tow Bar Bracket Kit (RH-8000-BO) as the connection point for the tow bars. All the parts I used are at the bottom of the page.

I did link to some video's that I used to guide me during the install.


2007 Winnebago Sightseer 35J
2011 Jeep Wrangler

willald

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Posted: 01/28/22 09:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Y-Guy wrote:

We setup our 2011 Wrangler up this summer, at the time I didn't go with the Cooltech as I looked up the wrong part (for the new JL) and didn't care to deal with it. But now that I know I had the wrong part I'm ordering it and will be ditching the the magnetic lights.

I'm going to link to my full write up I did last August; Jeep Wrangler ReadyBrake Elite II Setup

I opted to get a new bumper that used pass through bolts and bought the Rock Hard 4x4 Blue Ox Tow Bar Bracket Kit (RH-8000-BO) as the connection point for the tow bars. All the parts I used are at the bottom of the page.

I did link to some video's that I used to guide me during the install.


Yeah, I read your write-up, knew about your setup. I was one of the ones that mentioned in that thread about not running wires across bare paint for the magnetic lights. Glad to see you ditching that approach.

I know you used the Rugged Ridge Spartan front bumper. Have you had any issues with it like I mentioned above, with bolting on the blue ox brackets causing the bumper to deform, or powder coat to peel off? I read some reviews indicating they had that problem, which is why I was hesitant to go that route.

I will be curious to hear how your experience goes with the Cooltech harness with a JK model, as I am really on the fence still as far as what to do with the tail light wiring. Really leaning toward separate bulbs, but we'll see.

Alan_Hepburn

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Posted: 01/28/22 01:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

willald wrote:


Hmmm.....I read some bad reviews on that one, saying that when they bolted the blue ox brackets on, it deformed the bumper and cause the powder coat to flake off. That was other reason I was a bit afraid of that one. Have you not had any issues with that? That, and I read where the company that made it openly admitted their bumper was not designed to do such.


I'm not sure how the bumper could deform - it's basically a solid piece of steel, placed between the brackets and the frame horn, with the mounting bolts going straight through into the frame. The only deformation I could think of would be possibly squeezing it, but that would take a LOT of torque on the bolts! Once the brackets are installed any force from towing would be placed on the mounting bolts and not on the bumper.

When I contacted Rugged Ridge they didn't say that the bumper wasn't designed for towing; rather they said they had not tested it for towing - a subtle difference. Since the bumper is really nothing more than the center layer of a 3-layer steel "sandwich" there should be no problem - it's the mounting bolts doing the work.

Quote:

Hadn't seen those, but looking at it, not sure how you'd attach Blue ox style Clevis attachments to it?


They offer the adapters, which apparently replace the ends of the Blue Ox tow bar arms and mate up with the loops.

Y-Guy

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Posted: 01/28/22 03:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

willald wrote:

I know you used the Rugged Ridge Spartan front bumper. Have you had any issues with it like I mentioned above, with bolting on the blue ox brackets causing the bumper to deform, or powder coat to peel off? I read some reviews indicating they had that problem, which is why I was hesitant to go that route.

I will be curious to hear how your experience goes with the Cooltech harness with a JK model, as I am really on the fence still as far as what to do with the tail light wiring. Really leaning toward separate bulbs, but we'll see.

So far no issues with any deforming. I made sure my bolts were torqued and no movement. But I will keep checking and if I do I'll post up, net trip out is in a few weeks. IMHO the bumper shouldn't be an issues the bolts are holding the brackets on, the bumper is just sandwiched in between. But I can see if the bumper gets hit or moved, or if it wasn't fully tight I suppose.

The 2nd bulbs wasn't an option for me as I swapped my rear tail lights with a new LED fixture (which I love as they are much brighter and better reverse lights)

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