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Old 01-06-2011, 02:21 PM   #1
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2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee base plate install

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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Old 01-08-2011, 02:54 PM   #2
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Thank you for your thorough report.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:36 AM   #3
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Thanks, I'll be doing the same thing to my Overland in the near future.
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:14 AM   #4
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I will also say that due to the flopiness of the fascia, an extra set of hands when removing and replacing it is a wise idea.
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:55 PM   #5
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I have a 2002 Liberty Jeep that I have towed for about 30,000 miles and recently the base plate pulled out of the bottom of the frame. I was lucky that I had slowed down to a crawl in a construction zone when the Jeep came loose. It tore off the bumper, fog and signal lights. It coasted into the back of the motor home damaging one leg of my Blue Ox tow bar.

I re-enforced the bottom of the Jeep frame which as really thin metal that from the factory. I reinstalled it and locked the bolts down so they could not loosen. I think some slack between the base plate and frame over time created the problem.

Now I highly recommend shaking the base plate & examing it every so often.
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:41 AM   #6
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Whitofok,
Did the liberty base plates have the doubler at the rear? On the JGC plates this doubler is bolted to the main plate and doubles the frame web along the outside. You then drill the upper frame web seam and bolt the plate at the top. It both re-enforces the frame web at this area and provides a connection to keep the base plate from rocking on the bottom and/or factory tow hook locations.
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:31 PM   #7
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Thank you for your input and summary. The tires all have to be very close to the same circumference, otherwise damage can occur to the differential as a result of excessive stress on the gears.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:35 AM   #8
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I had plates inside the frame as instructed. I think maybe overtime the nuts on the bolts may have just loose enough to allow the base plate to move when starting and stopping.
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:22 PM   #9
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Parkerrs

Excellent write up on the Blue Ox baseplate install on the 2011 Overland. We just picked up our Overland this afternoon, I have the Blue Ox baseplates for the install. I will work on this next week. Would you happen to have any pics of your install? How did you handle the plastic rivits that hold the fascia in place ? What did you need the Owners manual for - for the Blue Ox install? Where did you install the tail light connection in the front of your Overland? Our Overland has the active Cruise control so we will have to mount the 4 pin connector off to the side of center....

Are you using any type of rock shield between your MH & the Overland?
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:30 AM   #10
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The plastic rivets are easy to remove. Take a small tool similar to an ice pick and with a small hammer knock the center out of the factory rivets. This should make them removable, if not use a drill bit to remove only the rivet head as you don't want to enlarge the hole. The Blue Ox kit contains "new" rivets to replace them with. I have a friend who owns a body shop, so I borrowed his large rivet gun to install the new ones. If you don't have this at your disposal then it is safe to drive the car without the rivets to a body shop and they can install the new rivets for little or no charge.

The owners manual shows how to remove the "lower" fascia. The black part on the bottom which has a chrome piece on the Overland. It is designed to be removed without tools for off-road clearance. By doing this first you are able to remove the bumper cover in two separate and smaller pieces, the lower spoiler type piece and then the bumper cover itself. This makes it much easier to handle and position compared to removing them as one large unit like the Blue Ox instructions lead you to do. The printed Owners manual also has lots of good info not included with the quick start guide in the dash. Things like how to disable the air suspension if necessary, disabling or enabling functions like the seat belt alarm which is not controlled in the EVIC, etc..

I'm kind of piddling along setting the JGC up for tow. I have installed the base plates but haven't done the lights yet. My unit doesn't have the ACC cruise so I will be mounting my umbilical plug dead center in the black mesh plastic where the ACC sensor unit usually goes. There is a steel member just on top of the mesh opening, behind the mesh which will provide a stable mount. I'm using the bulb and sockets and drilling the tail light housings according to the Blue Ox instructions. Since you have ACC on yours you can mount to either side since the metal piece I'm speaking of goes all the way across, you'll see what I'm talking about when you get into the base plate install.

I haven't decided on a rock guard yet. My 01 Cherokee has gotten pretty chipped up on the front from towing though. I did get the dealer to throw in the MOPAR bra in the deal. I figure I could mount it only when towing, but I'm still looking at a few other things, I just haven't made a call on it yet. I've still got my little Cherokee so I've not been in a rush, I'll dispose of it once the new rig is ready.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:12 PM   #11
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Thanks for the info Tommy...I sent you an email with more details.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:35 AM   #12
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Bra or rock Guard

I have used a bra on the front of my Liberty Jeep. I think it will be easier to polish out the clear coat then have to paint out all of the chipped places.

I installed a short pieces of truck mud flaps iust in front above my factory mudflap clear across the back. You do not notice the short mud flaps. This has worked pretty well for me. This has has reduced the amount of debris I get on the hood of the jeep.

I don't think there is a solution on keeping the rear tires from throwing mud and debris to the side of the coach and then it sucks back behind the coach onto the jeep. Sometimes It is even hard to keep the rear camera clean
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:14 PM   #13
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I just received Roadmaster baseplates and their Sterling towbar. I just ordered the Air Force One brake controller, so I'll be doing the install in the coming weeks. I haven't seen the Blue Ox plates in person. I can tell you the Roadmaster plates are hefty.
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:47 PM   #14
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The initial offering of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Parts came in three trims, the base trim, Laredo and the Limited. Two things set the Grand Cherokee apart from its competitors, a driverís side airbag and four-wheel anti-lock brakes.
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