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Old 08-26-2012, 04:54 PM   #29
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Tommy ... I installed the Blue Ox BX1128 Base Plates on my 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee today and your additional instructions were very helpful. Here I am 1/2 way through the install. All equipment fit as speced and it turned out great. Can't wait to have the initial test pull.

Thanks for taking time to post the information.


Originally Posted by Parkerrs View Post
Today I installed the Blue Ox base plates on my 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. You can see the Blue Ox instructions here http://www.aemfg.com/pdfs/BX1128.pdf .

The installation is fairly straight forward and per the instructions. I will say a few things that could simplify the process and /or clarify what the instructions do not.

During tear down, If you call Chrysler and order the printed owners manual there is a wealth of good information you will not find elsewhere. Why they don't ship the 2011 JGC with the printed manuals I'll never know. The front lower Fascia is designed to be removed for increased off-road clearance quickly with no tools. It is held on by 7, 90 degree twist lock fasteners, once these are removed the fascia snaps of and/or loose from the bumper fascia. It is a little scary until you look and figure it out but it will not break. Like all new cars everything is pretty much snap together.

After you remove the lower air dam this allows the bumper fascia to be removed seperately. By taking these off in two pieces rather than one large unit like the Blue Ox instructions call for it's much easier to handle.

After removing the plastic rivets from the inner fenderwells along with the 10mm bolt and push pin like the instructions say to do. You now need to disconnect the fender flares (black plastic) from the bumper ends. The instructions neglect to tell you this step. They are simply snapped on by tabs to the bumper cover ends, once you peek behind the inner fender with a light you will see how to release them. Do not try to disconnect the flare past the mating line of the bumper end and fender. It uses a different clip on the fender itself and you could damge the clip requireing a trip to get a new one or if aggressive enough you could warp or bend the fender.

To release the bumper cover from underneath the grill it is easiest to reach down from the top backside of the grill and release the tabs. Don't forget to unplug the foglights before removing the cover.

The steel bumper behind the cover is different on models with factory tow hooks and those without. The units with an off-roadI or II package have the tow hooks and a trail rated badge. The non tow hook units take the long tube spacers while the tow hook models take the shorter ones supplied.

My model has the air suspension. If yours has this then like the instructions show, you will find the pump for it behind the right side of the bumper. Do simply as told and remove the bracket bolts and move it out of the way of installation. Secure it somehow, but whatever you do "DON'T REMOVE OR OPEN ANY OF THE AIR LINES OR CONNECTIONS" . This is a closed system and uses "COMPRESSED NITROGEN" not air, if you cause a leak or open the system you will have to go to a Chrysler dealer to have it properly recharged to the correct pressure with a special fitting on the reserve tank and class 4 nitrogen.

Re-assembly is pretty simple as it all snaps together. You will have to trim the lower fascia/air dam around the tow hook openings as in the instructions. If your unit came without tow hooks there are factory covers over the openings held on with plastic push pins. I found the easiest and best looking thing to do was, enlarge the top of the opening up to the accent line all the way across. You will need to square off the upper outer corner on each side up to this accent line or step as some may call it. You will have to trim the outer side of the opening on the part which extends toward the back of the vehicle by about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch so that the air dam will go back far enough to fit right and snap on correctly.

The tabs for the safety cables sit on the inside of the tow bar pins, within the factory tow hook opening. Installed with the towing tabs removed the Blue Ox unit gives a very clean and factory look. They are not noticeable and don't jump out at you, totally disguised.

Also the removeable tabs on the Blue Ox plates are one piece interlocking machined from a solid piece of steel. They are not fabricated from box tubing or seperate parts which could fail at the weld. I saw a weld failure in a post on here a week or so ago of a roadmaster unit which was fabricated of sqaure steel tube. I'm not putting down any other manufacturers product, only saying that these tabs are one piece solid machined steel. Nothing much about this set-up can fail unless it is from material defect.

The base plate mounts in the same location with the same bolt holes as the factory tow hooks. It uses a doubler plate for re-enforcement along the web of the uni-body frame. This should be a strong and substantial set-up. It also has safety cables looped around the uni-body frame rails just in case. The only other base plates for this model I have looked at are Roadmaster. The roadmaster re-enforces the mount from the front with a bracket that bolts to the radiator support. The radiator support is fairly light wieght in the new JGC and I prefer being bolted to the frame webbing rather than the bolted on radiator support.

You don't have to tear the car down as far to install the roadmaster brackets since you are not accessing the frame web or getting clearance to drill it. One other thing is that the re-enforcement plates of the Ox wind up drilling directly through factory spot welds in the frame web and replacing these spot welds with bolts and the doubler plate. You will see the Roadmaster instructions here http://www.roadmasterinc.com/pdfinst/521439-1.pdf .

I simply prefer the Blue Ox equipment and this was my experience with the base plate install on the 2011 JGC. Hope this answers some questions and helps.
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