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Old 01-30-2012, 09:19 PM   #1
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Setting up my TJ to Flat Tow

Got the Tow bar on over the weekend



So I got the tail lights done (dedicated 1157 bulbs)...still gotta run the wires to the front.

Before


Added 1157 socket and ground to the metal plate. (The rubber is a piece of fuel line to protect the wires)



Installed and ready for me to route wires to the front of the Jeep.


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Old 01-30-2012, 09:25 PM   #2
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Nice job, that's a nice/cool way to create trailer lights! Well done, kudos!!

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Old 01-31-2012, 09:03 AM   #3
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Thx Jerry!
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:35 AM   #4
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Are you disabling the steering lock? I just heard this can be done and am curious. Do you have to add a tail-light?
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:07 AM   #5
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What on your Jeep do you hook up the tow bar to?

What are you going to tow it with?

I want to do this and tow it with my F250 and I am wondering if I will need to activate the brakes on my Rubicon.

Thnaks!
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:20 AM   #6
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good thread...pictures are always helpful.

My brother inlaw tows their TJ behind their 5th wheel trailer, all behind their 4x4 duramax pick up. No brakes are required to be hooked up to the TJ. I believe he installed a plug socket in the front grill area of the TJ and wired into the factory harness with a stand alone breaker fuse. I'm told you'll need to place the transfer case in neutral and manual transmission in gear to keep the pump pumping oil. They have a Smittybuilt bumper and their hitch attaches directly to it.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:29 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by coolbreeze View Post
Are you disabling the steering lock? I just heard this can be done and am curious. Do you have to add a tail-light?
I haven't got that far yet, but I was just going to use a spare key.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20ga View Post
What on your Jeep do you hook up the tow bar to?

What are you going to tow it with?

I want to do this and tow it with my F250 and I am wondering if I will need to activate the brakes on my Rubicon.

Thnaks!
So I have a custom tube bumper that came with the Jeep when I bought it. I drilled through the tube then mounted the brackets (that came with the towbar) at the framerail points using 3 1/2" grade8 bolts/nuts/washers.

I will be flat towing the Jeep with my Dodge Diesel 3500. I am not going to worry about assisted brakes, but that is only because of what I am towing it with. (Also the truck has Sever Duty brake pads installed)
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:52 AM   #9
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Dextreme, really nice job on the lights. I guess I was lazy, I just used the magnetic lights when I towed mine.
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timberland
They have a Smittybuilt bumper and their hitch attaches directly to it.
I also have the Smitty front bumper & when I tried to order the tow bar that attaches directly to it the guy at 4Wheel parts said, and this is a direct quote "that part is on intergalactic backorder"
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:25 AM   #11
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Dextreme, really nice job on the lights. I guess I was lazy, I just used the magnetic lights when I towed mine.
Yeah, I considered that. I know the magnetic light kits are about $40+ ($20 for a cheap Harbor Freight kit), but this wiring job I did cost $28 for everything. I also didn't really want to mess around with adding diaodes on the stock system.

I also thought about fabricating a rear hitch receiver mounted taillight bar...but then I thought, "that is just one more think I gotta store". But it would have been fun to build.
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:52 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by coolbreeze View Post
Are you disabling the steering lock? I just heard this can be done and am curious. Do you have to add a tail-light?
No need on a TJ. First click forward on the ign. unlocks the steering wheel, but sends no power to anything. It does not even register towed miles. The owners manual has instructions on how to flat tow it correctly.

Jeep should of passed this feature on to the JK's. I don't know why they didn't.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:12 PM   #13
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^^I'm guessing so a key doesn't have to be left in the ignition.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:42 PM   #14
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You have to leave the key in the ignition, once you turn the key to the first position it won't come out, at least mine didn't. That's kinda neat, I towed the Jeep more than 2500 miles & added zero miles to the odometer.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:35 PM   #15
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light power

I'm not sure about the TJ but on my YJ there is a problem with just putting power to the rear lights. It can feed power back into the vehicle.

On my YJ I installed a 10A diode in each of the 3 hot wires (turn & running) to the back lights. I put mine in-line under the drivers door where the wires pass inside the vehicle.

You might want to check the wiring and see if the lights are isolated. I believe you will find that you will be feeding power back into the vehicle.

Let us know what you find.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:40 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by 50Johnbob View Post
You have to leave the key in the ignition, once you turn the key to the first position it won't come out, at least mine didn't. That's kinda neat, I towed the Jeep more than 2500 miles & added zero miles to the odometer.
x2

I towed my 2000 Sahara 2200 miles like this as well.
A friend had the tow bar for his TJ
(which I bolted in place of the front tow hooks)
and magnetic rear tail lights.

Nothing to store or build.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ballistx View Post
I'm not sure about the TJ but on my YJ there is a problem with just putting power to the rear lights. It can feed power back into the vehicle.

On my YJ I installed a 10A diode in each of the 3 hot wires (turn & running) to the back lights. I put mine in-line under the drivers door where the wires pass inside the vehicle.

You might want to check the wiring and see if the lights are isolated. I believe you will find that you will be feeding power back into the vehicle.

Let us know what you find.
If this is directed at me...I understand that diodes are an option, but I decided to install a separate 1157 socket and bulb on each tail light (see the 3rd pic). It is completely independent of the factory installed sockets (with the exception of the ground) so power won't be back-fed.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:42 PM   #18
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So I have a custom tube bumper that came with the Jeep when I bought it. I drilled through the tube then mounted the brackets (that came with the towbar) at the framerail points using 3 1/2" grade8 bolts/nuts/washers.

I will be flat towing the Jeep with my Dodge Diesel 3500. I am not going to worry about assisted brakes, but that is only because of what I am towing it with. (Also the truck has Sever Duty brake pads installed)
You should check your state laws about brakes. In my State, Virginia, anything over 2900 lbs must have auxillary brakes. That means anything. I tow my TJ with the Mototrhome all over. I use a tow bar and surge brake system from here: ReadyBrake Supplemental Brake System for Towed Vehicles - NSA RV Products
These are inexpensive and work really well. My lights are just like what you did. I mounted a four prong round receptical on the drivers side right behind the front bumper.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:57 PM   #19
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You should check your state laws about brakes. In my State, Virginia, anything over 2900 lbs must have auxillary brakes. That means anything. I tow my TJ with the Mototrhome all over. I use a tow bar and surge brake system from here: ReadyBrake Supplemental Brake System for Towed Vehicles - NSA RV Products
These are inexpensive and work really well. My lights are just like what you did. I mounted a four prong round receptical on the drivers side right behind the front bumper.
I will be flat towing in Oregon (and maybe some in Washington), so I am good to go.

Do I have to have brakes on my trailer?

Answer: Oregon law requires that any vehicle or combination of vehicles weighing less than 8,000 pounds must be able to stop within a travel lane in 25 feet from 20 miles per hour. If the vehicle or combination of vehicles weighs over 8,000 pounds, the vehicle must be able to stop within a travel lane in 35 feet from 20 miles per hour. Check your owner's manual of the tow vehicle to see what the manufacturer recommends. Most manufacturers recommend trailer brakes if the trailer and load weigh 1,000 pounds or more. (ORS 815.125)
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:14 PM   #20
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I flat tow mine from Houston to Colorado and back every summer. No problems, put key on first click, I use magnetic lights and tow with an Aspen 5.7hemi.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:02 PM   #21
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Finally got it all hooked up this weekend and gave it a test tow. All went well. Barely knew the Jeep was back there....even when hitting the brakes (used to towing my 18K lbs toyhauler).

Oh, and the funny thing is the people were confused at 4-way intersections....they thought the Jeep should wait it's turn (not realizing it was attached).







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Old 02-13-2012, 02:07 PM   #22
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Flat tow

Quote:
Originally Posted by 50Johnbob View Post
You have to leave the key in the ignition, once you turn the key to the first position it won't come out, at least mine didn't. That's kinda neat, I towed the Jeep more than 2500 miles & added zero miles to the odometer.
I tow mine from Houston to Steamboat Springs every year. Use the magnetic lights and a removeable tow bar which I store in our condo.

Just make sure you go to the first click on the key or the wheels won't round corners, if you go two clicks then you learn how to bump start the jeep.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:33 PM   #23
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For towing behind an RV, would your setup be just as good as a Blue Ox towbar and baseplate?
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:43 PM   #24
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For towing behind an RV, would your setup be just as good as a Blue Ox towbar and baseplate?

I don't know...I do know that my complete setup cost about $150 for everything (bar and electrical) and its rated to tow 5000lbs. The base BlueOx univeral bar is like $275 and its rated for 5000lbs....maybe it has better quality steel and hardware, not sure.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:10 PM   #25
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Not trying to hi-jack, just wanted to insert my flat tow gear here.

My buddy's TJ came with a tow bar setup. He swapped to tube bumpers and didn't have use for the setup, so he gave it to me.
I have been using the magnetic light kit from Harbor Freight, but am in the process of something permanent. Like Dextreme, I am looking for something less that requires storage. I also like the idea that if I was stranded on the highway (or where ever) and my wife came out to get me, all she would need to grab from the garage would be the actual tow bar.

I honestly have not put many miles behind the Suburban, but I am ready when needed.

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I am doing something a little more primative than you did with yours. Instead of installing new/dedicated bulbs in the stock housings, I am installing small flush mount lights in the rear bumper.

I bought a 25ft trailer wiring kit from HF to run from the back lights, along the frame rail, and terminate somewhere around the front grille. From there, I'll just run the short 5ft harness to the hook-up on the Suburban.
When I get a new rear bumper, I'll have to figure something else out, but it seemed like an easy/cheap enough way to go for now.

The benefit is that I won't have to worry about storing the magnetic lights, or adding extra straps to them to make-up for the weakness of the magnets, and other than the tow bar, everything will be on the vehicle when needed.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:16 PM   #26
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Like Dextreme, I am looking for something less that requires storage. I also like the idea that if I was stranded on the highway (or where ever) and my wife came out to get me, all she would need to grab from the garage would be the actual tow bar.
Yep, that was my same thinking.

This was the bar I bought (Haul Master):
http://www.harborfreight.com/5000-lb...bar-94696.html
I did upgrade the 4 mounting bolts to Grade 8. (~$10)
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:31 PM   #27
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Very Cool,I'll have to do the same, if I ever flat tow.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:41 PM   #28
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Yours is almost the exact same tow bar as mine.

Mine came with some safety cable 'anchor points' that slip into the hole on each side of the framerails. It's a pretty swift setup. I'm not sure who they are made by though.
I'll have to post some pics of it.
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:27 AM   #29
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These are those anchors I was talking about. They are pretty cool, but no idea who makes them.





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Old 02-14-2012, 10:39 AM   #30
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Those anchors look like a good way to do it. Let me know if you ever find how who makes them or what they are officially called.

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