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Self-install of Blue Ox tow plate?


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#1 Faded Eagle

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:17 AM

I recently acquired a 2009 Wrangler 4x4 for use as a four-down toad. Has anyone installed their own base plate on a vehicle, and more specifically a Jeep? Are they a bolt-on proposition, or is welding/drilling into the frame required? I know the existing air dam needs a couple slots cut out for the attach points, but that's an easy job with a dremel tool and a cutting wheel. Is anything more involved required?

Regards

Bob

#2 Roadwarrior

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:42 AM

I have one on a Toyota it bolts on.
Be sure that you use a Impact wrench to tighten the bolts, or use a Torque wrench.
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#3 Mark & Dale Bruss

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 12:46 PM

Just did our Equinox. Jeeps are easier, less drilling. Probably no cutting of frame metal for a Jeep. No welding. But it is a multi-person job.

Light kit wiring will probably run under the body.

Are you going to use a built-in brake system or a portable unit ala Brake Buddy?

Edited by Mark & Dale Bruss, 25 April 2012 - 12:48 PM.

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#4 dontay

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 12:47 PM

Before doing a Blue Ox baseplate on our 2000 Jeep Cherokee I downloaded a drawing from the Blue Ox website. The drawing made it clear that it was all bolt-on through existing holes. I am not aware of any baseplate that requires welding. Mine was pretty easy to install although I had never disassembled the bumper area of a vehicle before. A minor thing I changed on the install was to cut square openings in the air dam for the attachment points rather than the big slots called for in the instructions. I think it looks better.

Over the years two of my baseplate bolts worked loose and one actually fell out the year we hauled the Jeep to Alaska on our car trailer. When I redid the bolts (always use LockTite) I cut two small openings in the top of the bumper so I can shine a flashlight on the two main bolts on each side to make sure they are snug. I do this every day when we are on the road as part of my morning walk-around.
2006 Allegro Bay 34XB with Freightliner FRED chassis, 2000 Jeep Cherokee 4x4

#5 Johnontheroad

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:44 PM

I installed a baseplate on my 2010 Honda CRV. Biggest problem I had was drilling six 7/16" holes... turned out that in 2010 Honda started using heat treated steel on their frames. Made drilling REAL tough.... especially since I was 30 miles from the nearest hardware store. ut other than that it was a pretty straightforward installation.

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#6 BushPilot

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 04:55 PM

i just acquired a blue-ox 10k bar and plates for a jeep (200 bucks via craigslist).

the installs for blueox & roadmaster are all on their website - depending on the year of the jeep you may have to cut some frame tube extension (easy enough w/ a saws all) and drill some holes (some factory holes are used, so you really minimize the chance of screwing it up)....its all bolt on (no welding) !

the mounting plates are vehicle and model year specific (07-12 jeeps are the same, but installation varies slightly)
you really need to check each manufactures install and determine which plates you want and which ones will work w/ your tow bar.
Don R. - 2004 FL Columbia 42ft Haulmark - for a large Old English Sheep Dog

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#7 Ron and Laine

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 05:17 AM

I installed a baseplate on my 2010 Honda CRV. Biggest problem I had was drilling six 7/16" holes... turned out that in 2010 Honda started using heat treated steel on their frames. Made drilling REAL tough.... especially since I was 30 miles from the nearest hardware store. ut other than that it was a pretty straightforward installation.

== John



John,

The DW and I installed our Blue Ox on our 2010 CR-V and we didn't have to drill any holes. We did have to cut the ends of the bumper some, and as I recall I trim some off the flanges on the frame. We got the one that once you remove the 2 hitch pins you can hardly see the base plate. We also, went to Lowe's and got 2 rubber vent plugs that go over the stubs that stick out through the grill and it protects that area from water and thing from getting in there. Looks real nice.

Ron
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#8 Faded Eagle

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 06:36 PM

Thanks all...I wasn't aware that the Blue Ox baseplate install instructions were available on their website.

Turns out I will not need to cut the frame extension, but will need to drill four 17/32" holes in the frame. I have access to a military auto hobby shop with a lift and pneumatic tools...am I correct in assuming an air-powered drill is best for drilling into a steel frame? I'm going to start by center-punching the hole centerpoints...would drilling a smaller pilot hole prior to the main hole help keep things on-center?

Plan is to mount separate bulbs in the taillight assemblies on the Jeep rather than messing with diodes or relays, and I'm leaning towards the SMI Airforce One brake system, though that means tapping into the air lines in the MH, which makes me just a little anxious. If I need to have that work on the air line done, what sort of shop would you folks look to for such a job?

Cheers

Bob

Edited by Faded Eagle, 27 April 2012 - 06:37 PM.


#9 BushPilot

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 09:07 PM

in my experience an air drill doesnt have enough torque...theyre fine for light / medium duty work but ive had better results w/ a good ol' 'lectric model.
youre on the right track, center punch, then a small pilot hole, and you can gradually work up to the 17/32...going straight to the 17/32 will mean the bit cuts more and the drill works harder.

what year is your jeep ??

for 08-12 jeep/chrysler made available a harness connection that "connects" to the factory harness behind the glove box and even provides wiring all the way to the front bumper for your coach connection...this allows you to use the factory lighting.

08-12 tow vehicle harness - http://www.mopar.com/part/82211156AB
96-06 there are several like this - http://www.cooltechl...rness_kit.shtml

Edited by BushPilot, 29 April 2012 - 08:15 AM.

Don R. - 2004 FL Columbia 42ft Haulmark - for a large Old English Sheep Dog

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#10 Dutch_12078

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 08:11 PM

I installed the Blue Ox base plates on both my 2002 and 2011 Toyota RAV4's, and all holes were drilled with a cordless drill. The 2002 also called for 17/32" holes, and I did drill smaller pilot holes first.

Dutch
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#11 Ron and Laine

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:04 PM

Thanks all...I wasn't aware that the Blue Ox baseplate install instructions were available on their website.

Turns out I will not need to cut the frame extension, but will need to drill four 17/32" holes in the frame. I have access to a military auto hobby shop with a lift and pneumatic tools...am I correct in assuming an air-powered drill is best for drilling into a steel frame? I'm going to start by center-punching the hole centerpoints...would drilling a smaller pilot hole prior to the main hole help keep things on-center?

Plan is to mount separate bulbs in the taillight assemblies on the Jeep rather than messing with diodes or relays, and I'm leaning towards the SMI Airforce One brake system, though that means tapping into the air lines in the MH, which makes me just a little anxious. If I need to have that work on the air line done, what sort of shop would you folks look to for such a job?

Cheers

Bob



Bob,

You will find out that drilling a frame is no easy task. The metal is very tough. If you have your base plate on the frame where it should be, I would use the 7/16 drill bit to mark the hole, that way you know it will be in the center. Then you can take a smaller bit to punch a hole in the frame follow up with the 7/16. Being at the auto craft shop, they might not have the sharpest bits. I would buy my own or at least check on the condition of theirs before you pull in and discover you need bits.

As far as the SMI Air Force One, I have a Tiffin product and I installed my AF1 myself saving me around $500.00 The DVD that comes with the AF1 is pretty straight forward. I did have to drill an extra hole in theh cross member to mount the tank. Also, had to remove the assembly from the mounting bracket and turn it 180 degrees to get it to clear my storage compartment. Was a little nerve racking cutting into the coach air lines, but a good sharp single edge razor blade it went great. One other work of caution, when putting the fittings together, make sure you watch which one goes where as there are 2 different sizes for the air lines and I don't remember the DVD covering that part. Don't ask me how I found out.

I installed mine sitting in my camp site at Patrick AFB this past winter and took me the better part of 8 hours, would have been less if I would have had some one handing me the correct tools and drill bit while I was under the coach.

Ron
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#12 BushPilot

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:02 PM

installed roadmaster plates on our brand new 2012 jeep wrangler tonight....too about 3 hours...mostly cause they changed the frame a little in 2012 (had to relocate the brake booster pump)...nothing a sawsall couldnt make right.

i pulled the jeep around the neighborhood behind our f350 crewcab long bed...the jeep tows nicer than our 20 foot flat utiltiy/car trailer...and our trailer weighs 1/2 what the jeep weighs !
Don R. - 2004 FL Columbia 42ft Haulmark - for a large Old English Sheep Dog

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#13 BushPilot

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 08:09 PM

If i can do it...ANYONE can do it ;)

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Don R. - 2004 FL Columbia 42ft Haulmark - for a large Old English Sheep Dog

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#14 Mike and Claudia

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:12 PM

Look down at the bottom of THE PAGE and click on the PDF for "Installation Instructions"

Look through them and, maybe do what I did......take them and your vehicle to your favorite mechanic and

say, "I be you can;t do this!"

I happen to know that he charges WAY less than my RV Tech does per hour.
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#15 Faded Eagle

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:13 PM

Thanks guys...learned lots from your inputs. Am planning on ordering the parts this next week and doing the work myself.

I'm retired...what else do I have to do? :-D

#16 BushPilot

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 01:30 PM

good for you ! the installation (at least on a jeep) is pretty easy/straight forward...removing the bumper (4 x 18mm nuts) was the hardest part
just towed ours 1500 miles....zero issues !

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Don R. - 2004 FL Columbia 42ft Haulmark - for a large Old English Sheep Dog

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