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Old 12-28-2008, 09:35 AM   #1
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This may be a ridiculously simple question: we tow an '09 Jeep Liberty and just acquired a Brake Buddy unit. It plugs into the dash; however, Jeep's flat-towing recommendations suggest that the battery be disconnected, as the ignition needs to be switched on to keep the steering unlocked. Will it harm the Jeep to keep the battery connected to run the BB? How great is the risk of a dead battery at the end of the day?
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:35 AM   #2
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This may be a ridiculously simple question: we tow an '09 Jeep Liberty and just acquired a Brake Buddy unit. It plugs into the dash; however, Jeep's flat-towing recommendations suggest that the battery be disconnected, as the ignition needs to be switched on to keep the steering unlocked. Will it harm the Jeep to keep the battery connected to run the BB? How great is the risk of a dead battery at the end of the day?
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Old 12-28-2008, 01:53 PM   #3
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Hi I.D.,

I have a 2008 Liberty. I believe that the steering wheel lock is only on the manual transmission models. In 2008, the Sport mdel came with either a six speed manual or the four speed automatic. The Limited model, which I have, came only with the automatic. Although it is difficult, I can turn my steering wheel from lock to lock without the key in the ignition - in other words - no steering wheel lock. Therefore, I don't need to have the key on and I don't have to disconnect the battery.

I only have one 12 volt recepticle in the car - at the bottom of the center console. Normally, that recepticle turns off with the ignition, but the dealer can change the wiring so that it is on all of the time. Now, you can plug your Brake Buddy into the 12 volt socket.

If you decide to turn your ignition to the first setting, you should use a battery disconnect. I didn't, and I discharged the battery in two days of traveling, and I didn't have my Brake Buddy hooked up. I chose to add a separate 12 volt recepticle wired directly to the battery instead of rewiring the existing one.

I don't know if the 2009 is different than the 2008, but you can test for a steering wheel lock by turning the steering wheel without the key in the ignition. If it goes from lock to lock, then no steering wheel lock.

The most important issue is that you can only tow the 4 wheel drive models. If you tow a 2 wheel drive, you must have a drive shaft disconnect installed. On the 4 wheel drive models, make sure that you go through the process exactly as the owners manual stipulates to put the transfer case into neutral. On the automatics, keep the transmission in Park after you get the transfer case in neutral.

Hope that helps.

Good Luck

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Old 12-28-2008, 02:13 PM   #4
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Hi I.D. again,

I forgot to mention that, if I were you, I'd test my ideas with your dealer. After all, you don't want to get into a position where it affects your warranty.

Several other forum members have also told me that since there isn't a steering wheel lock on the automatic transmission models, they don't insert their keys and leave the ignition off when towing.

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Old 12-28-2008, 06:08 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info, Bob. Our Jeep is a 4x4, and putting the transmission into tow-neutral is so easy that I may do it as a theft prevention method if we ever have to park it in a sketchy area. (The crackheads may break in, but they won't be able to figure out how to make it go!)

I'll check to see if there's a steering lock--I had assumed there was because the owner's manual says to leave the keys in the ignition and to leave it switched to the on position with the battery disconnected.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:03 AM   #6
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You can get a charge line installed to charge the battery on the jeep while it's being towed!..
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Old 01-02-2009, 05:56 PM   #7
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It's easy enough to install a second power outlet, direct wired to the battery, to provide power to the Brake Buddy. That way you could do the disconnect as the manual says.
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:42 PM   #8
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Roamer is correct. In fact, I'm going to install a four socket outlet that I bought at a Ham Radio Fest some time ago.

I just completed a 1200+ trip from Ohio to Florida. I towed the whole way without the key in the ignition and the ignition switch in the "Lock" position.

With the automatic transmission, there isn't a steering wheel lock, so you do not have to disconnect the battery.

Again, I have a 2008.

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