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Old 11-03-2016, 09:15 PM
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Towing Wrangler

I have a 2008 Unlimited. Is it necessary to disconnect the battery when towing?

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Old 11-03-2016, 09:17 PM   #2
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No, but you could install a Killswitch that you simply turn off.

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Old 11-04-2016, 07:56 AM   #3
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Why would you want to disconnect the battery?
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiptail View Post
I have a 2008 Unlimited.
In that case, you might want to post in the JK section.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:28 AM   #5
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Old 11-04-2016, 05:04 PM   #6
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The reason most cars need to have the battery disconnected when flat towing is that the key must be turned on to unlock the steering. The steering must be unlocked to flat tow a car (all 4 wheel on the ground). The steering does not lock of a Wrangler, so no need to turn on the key and therefore, no need to disconnect the battery. This makes the Wrangler the car of choice for pulling behind an RV.
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Old 11-05-2016, 12:22 AM   #7
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Unfortunantly 08 is the exception, yes you need to disconnect the battery. I installed a switch at the battery (can't think of the proper name for it) which was much easier vs getting my wrenches out to disconnect the battery, simply pull the lever to disconnect.

I believe some yank a fuse to accomplish this task.

In 09 Jeep went back to not needing to disconnect the battery just like 07's and older.

If you don't disconnect battery or yank the proper fuse miles will add up on the odometer, that is if you want the steering lock deactivated. We also had power run from the coach a wiring harness in the Jeep to power the brake buddy and had new lites for brakes/turn signals installed inside the oem rear light
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Old 11-05-2016, 01:06 AM   #8
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The steering does not lock of a Wrangler, so no need to turn on the key and therefore, no need to disconnect the battery. This makes the Wrangler the car of choice for pulling behind an RV.

Well, not exactly true. It all depends on what year "Wrangler" one is speaking of. For instance, the TJ models DO have a locking steering wheel and, it does need to be unlocked for flat towing. The procedure is to insert the key and turn it one click to unlock the steering. But, when that procedure is followed, there is no electrical activation so, therefore no battery drain.

But, as NC25T has stated, in the JK models, there is a year model that does energize the electrical system when the steering is unlocked. That has been explained. Hope this helps the OP some.
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Old 11-05-2016, 01:59 AM
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Thank you for you responses. For the post that asked why I would consider disconnecting the battery- the owners manual for a 2008 states that the battery negative is to be disconnected, however I have read comments that there is no need. I am trying to get to the bottom of this since Roadmaster Brake Master kit calls for connections to a hot battery.
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Old 11-05-2016, 08:20 AM   #10
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Fire up, in my experiencr that has not been true. On my tj the wheel can't lock and on my 08 my wheel couldn't lock either. Both just need to have the transfer case in neutral and go.

Both are manual so maybe this was only in the autos?
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Old 11-05-2016, 08:51 AM   #11
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My 2007 Wrangler Rubicon unlimited does lock. So key has to be on, battery disconnected. I also needed power for the break away so ran a line from battery side of switch to the breakaway valve.
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Old 11-05-2016, 01:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiptail View Post
Thank you for you responses. For the post that asked why I would consider disconnecting the battery- the owners manual for a 2008 states that the battery negative is to be disconnected, however I have read comments that there is no need. I am trying to get to the bottom of this since Roadmaster Brake Master kit calls for connections to a hot battery.
...however I have read comments that there is no need...

and,

).
4. Start engine.
5. Shift automatic transmission into DRIVE or manual
transmission into gear.
6. Release brake pedal and ensure that there is no vehicle
movement.
7. Shut the engine off and place the ignition key into the
ACC position.
8. Shift automatic transmission into PARK.
9. Apply parking brake.
10. Attach vehicle to the tow vehicle with tow bar.
11. Release parking brake.
12. Disconnect the negative battery cable, and secure it
away from the negative battery post.



May ask, WHERE did you read these comments that it is un-necessary to disconnect the battery on an '08 Wrangler. The owners manual is the bible of this operation. With very, very, very few exceptions, the owners manual IS printed with the correct procedure for any and all vehicle applications and operations. If you're reading "comments" to the point that it is not needed, FOR AN '08 model only, then I'd have to substantiate those comments and, verify, at a Jeep dealership and, speak with a tech, NOT A SERVICE WRITER about any differences in what's in the Owners manual states and, what's being stated in the outside world. And, what I would ask the tech is: What, if any, electrical systems or, any part of any electrical systems are energized when the key, is left in the INSTRUCTED position, in prep for towing"? That way, you'd be guided by ACTUAL technical knowledge and experience from trained folks so you'd be protected. Your choice. Good luck.
Scott


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Originally Posted by jkjeeper06 View Post
Fire up, in my experiencr that has not been true. On my tj the wheel can't lock and on my 08 my wheel couldn't lock either. Both just need to have the transfer case in neutral and go.

Both are manual so maybe this was only in the autos?
jkjeeper06,

....can't lock....

Well Sir, after owning THREE TJs, and towing all of them, we've had to UNLOCK the steering wheel on all three of them. The first was a 1999 Sahara, the second, a 2004 Rubicon and the third, (we just sold about 2 months ago), an '03 Rubicon. So, I just took a few minutes on the net and brought up an '03, '04 and an '05 owners manual. In all three, in the "Recreational Vehicle Towing" section, in the procedure for prepping to tow, you'll find the numbered sentence below:

7. Shut the engine off and place the ignition key into the
unlocked OFF position.


Now, also in those manuals, you'll see a picture, showing key positions of a TJ Wrangler. And, there is an "Unlock" position, as the first position, from inserting the key. So, not sure of what year TJ you have but, based on our ownership and experience with three of them and, what those owners manuals state, we've had to UNLOCK the steering in prep for towing.
Scott
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Old 11-05-2016, 02:17 PM   #13
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Rarely are owners manuals wrong, it does happen but not the norm

Many state disconnecting the battery isn't needed due to not owning that specific year jk in question. Older and newer wranglers do not require the battery being disconnected. Consider yourself special since your 08 requires it!

Other years there is a position that you can turn the key to which deactivates the steering lock and also keeps the gauges/odometer off. On the 08 there isn't a position that accomplishes this, if you want the steering lock deactivated the odometer is on. If you want the odometer off the steering lock is activated.

I found this out when we purchased the RV and negotiated installation of all the towing stuff (blue ox) into the RV purchase. Everything was installed, left the dealership and heard a noise in the back... screeching tires.. Jeep was crooked in the rear camera.... and the RV wouldn't drive straight, had to turn steering wheel 45+ degrees to go straight. Stopped on the road and one of the techs drove by as we were looking... he said this is the first time we have ever seen this issue... had them run power to brake lights etc off the RV's power

We then would just remove the negative side of the battery then found a quick disconnect instead. As I stated I think some simply pull the fuse for the dash

Putting the transfer i neutral and selecting a gear makes no difference in the steering lock.
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Old 11-05-2016, 02:51 PM   #14
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When towing, you do not want power on your Jeep instrument panel if you can help it, fuel pump, ignition, or engine computer. That will also power the odometer, and it will accumulate miles you haven't actually driven the vehicle. In contrast, you DO want a battery providing power to most auxiliary braking systems, which may be required where you travel. There are some which are hydraulic or pneumatic or mechanical plumbed or cabled to the motorhome. But for most, they are self-contained pneumatic systems, with a compressor on board the braking module. That requires 12v power to operate, and it will deplete your battery on long trips. The 2008 Wrangler presents a dilemma, wherein the key position which allows unlocking the steering column also powers all the electronics, including the instrument panel, the fuel pump, and the onboard computer. I don't know how most 2008 JK owners resolve this, or if they simply leave it all hot while towing. If your Jeep manual instructs to disconnect the negative cable from the battery terminal, you will still likely need a full 12v complete circuit to drive your auxiliary braking system. That could be in the form of one of those portable battery boosters. I have a friend who does that, and he rarely has any problem. It's just a pain to set up.

Based on what I have seen, every TJ i've had contact with, did have a steering wheel lock, but also had an intermediate position between "lock" and "on", which unlocks the steering column without powering up all the electronics. It comes in handy, but you end up having to leave keys in the ignition. My manual transmission has nothing to do with the steering column lock or the ignition switch positions.

The separate problem is battery drain while operating an auxiliary braking/breakaway system in the Jeep using the onboard Jeep battery. On long trips, it will definitely deplete the battery. How much, depends on your battery and its condition. I have a relatively new AGM battery in my LJ, but I don't want it depleted on longer tows. So, I wired in a custom charging circuit to the electrical umbilical cord from the motorhome, so the motorhome alternator circuit charges the Jeep battery while towing. That solves everything in regard to battery depletion potential, as it keeps the Jeep battery topped off all the time.

Hope this does clarify, even though I'm not thoroughly familiar with the JK series as much.
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Old 11-05-2016, 03:19 PM   #15
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I've towed my 08 everywhere with the key on. Sometimes more than 6 hours. Never once disconnected the battery.

All you do is throw the TC in N and Tranny in Park and go. I get the steps people use but not needed at all until you get comfortable. Those are just steps to insure it's right.

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