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Using a Towbar with a Jeep Wrangler


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I know many of you have towed a Wrangler behind your motorhomes.  I've got a couple of questions.  I'm about to buy a 2008 Wrangler X 2 door. 

First, can a towbar be attached to the D-ring brackets on the front bumper of the Wrangler?  I already have a Blue Ox Ascent.  Are there adapters made to use the existing brackets on the bumper without having to install base plates?  Or, can someone recommend an inexpensive towbar made for use on those brackets?

Second, what is involved in installing a four wire harness into the existing wiring on the front of the Wrangler to control tail and brake lights and turn signals?  Or, is it best just to use one of those magnetic setups you can buy already made up for the purpose?

Thanks.

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There's as many versions of Jeep brackets as you want to look at. We ran a Blue Ox system, older style that isn't sold anymore, and would fold against the bumper or remove with pins. We started with a separate set of magnet mount lights, with wire connections at the front and back. We moved to diodes in the wiring to run the factory lights, after a LEO tried to ticket us for "Improper Lighting". He was full of shirt stuffing, but in the interest of not having to return for a court appearance, we agreed to change them before our return through his jurisdiction.

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1 hour ago, Darryl&Rita said:

We started with a separate set of magnet mount lights, with wire connections at the front and back.

I installed an extra set of lights on two of the vehicles that we towed, that were dedicated to the towing harness but the last one I used a set of magnetic lights that were given to me by a friend. I used those for almost 2 years and then passed them on when we sold our motorhome. I know that the new owner was still using them several years later. 

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If you have an off road style aftermarket bumper with holes for D-ring style tow connections, then there are adapters for a tow bar that can mate up to them without a baseplate.  This is what I used with my Wrangler that had a Smitty Bilt off road front bumper on it and it worked very well.  Here are some examples of the adapters.  They can mate up to various manufacturers tow bars.  I personally used a Blue Ox tow bar like this one.

There are also plug and play harnesses that plug right into the factory tail lights of a Jeep to make them work in conjunction with the tow vehicles lights.  I used a plug and play harness like this for my Jeep when I had it and it worked seamlessly.  Here are some examples.

I would also highly recommend a braking system for the Jeep.  I used Invisibrake in my Jeep.  I liked it because it was always there and I didn't have to think about putting it in place or take it out to get it out of the way when I needed to drive the Jeep.  There are other systems as well, but I had very good luck with the Invisibrake system.

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Second, what is involved in installing a four wire harness into the existing wiring on the front of the Wrangler to control tail and brake lights and turn signals?  Or, is it best just to use one of those magnetic setups you can buy already made up for the purpose?

It depends.  Will you tow the Jeep all the time, or just occasionally?   If occasionally, I would probably opt for the magnetic style turns (thou I have no experience with them).  Are you doing the installation yourself?

I did the installation myself.  The advantage of DYI is that one knows how everything works and can troubleshoot if necessary (leave yourself good notes if you do it).  
My current installation is the Invisibrake system - which is an auxiliary braking system for the toad - plug & play.
I saved some work by bench testing it and learned that I could avoid installing diodes into the Jeep brake system by getting the braking signal from the tow RV off of the High Center Brake Light (I tow with a pickup truck camper).  If you tow with a motor home that might not be an option for you.
Some folks tow without a break away braking system - your choice.

 

 

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I use a Smittybilt D ring tow bar to my aftermarket bumper.  Since the D rings are so high, I use a 10" riser hitch (rated for heavy towing), with a Readybrake surge brake, then the towbar.  I use magnetic lights to go to the back of the jeep, but I don't tow it alot so it works for my needs, I'd integrate in the future if I towed it more.    I know there were adapters for d rings for alot of different set ups out there.

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