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Old 11-14-2010, 01:29 PM   #1
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2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee--Experience?

I'm looking to change my TOAD, love the Subaru but the MT has worn out's its welcome. Have narrowed the list and one of the vehicles I'm interested in is the JGC. It's newly redesigned this model year so before taking the leap I'd be interested in hearing any experience with the JGC as a TOAD. I'm particularly interested in the baseplate installation and type of brake system installed. I'm partial to the UTB but it looks particularly difficult to install given how the engine compartment is laid out.

Thanks in advance.

Pat
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:05 PM   #2
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I am on Subaru H6, #13 with better than 100,000 miles, its predisosr has over 300,000 and is still running. I convinced a friend to get rid of her JEEP (just empty every pocket) and she is very pleased with the Forester. I live near Toledo and Jeeps are better than they were in the past but, I will stick with Subaru's.
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:25 PM   #3
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We have a 2010 GC with the Quadra-Drive II and are happy with it. Towing setup couldn't be easier. Turn the key on, transmission in neutral, press a little recessed button for 4 seconds, transmission in park and remove the key. We have the SMI braking system. I had a mobile RV tech do the installation.

The 5.7L Hemi has tons of power. So far (3500 miles) it's getting a little over 17 mpg.

Remember to either get the Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II. The Quadra-Trac I is not towable.
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:28 AM   #4
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If Subaru made an automatic transmission that I could tow four down I'd go that route. I've been very happy with my Subaru, except for the MT.
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Old 11-21-2010, 06:50 AM   #5
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Mine does have an AT and the biggest transmission cooler I could find that fit . Even with the 3L H6 it gets 22mpg towing, you do need brakes! Subaru's in the EU are rated to tow more than in the US and speculation is that virtually all trailers there have brakes.
There is an integral wiring harness in the Subaru's up behind one of the side panels in the rear, you will need to have separate wires run from the battery for brakes and power to charge trailer battery.
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:47 AM   #6
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Well I've had my 2011 JGC for 3 weeks now. I don't drive but about 3 miles to or from work, so the mileage is at 1000 as of today.

Let me say with all certainty that this is not "your father's jeep" or a jeep like any in the past. This vehicle compares more with Lexus, BMW, and mercedes. I have the top line Overland edition with hemi and qaudra-drive, it also has the new qaudra-lift air suspension. This Jeep is as quiet as any luxury vehicle you want to compare it with. The ride is very supple and smooth on any surface. The interior materials both in feel, appearance and fit will impress even the very discriminating. The Laredo is the base model which lacks many of the features on my unit. The limited is the mid-level model with most of the features including leather. The overland is the loaded model with everything on the list. Overlands are scarce at the dealers right now but there are a few out there. I ordered mine and waited for it to come in.

If you have the chance and are considering one of these, by all means take one for a test drive and inspection at the local dealer. You will see first hand what I'm talking about. Jeep hit a homerun with this one. Now if production can meet demand, which is the current problem with this model, They will have a winner.

With the hemi I'm getting 17 in town and 22 MPG on the highway.

I've got a Blue Ox tow bar, so I purchased the Blue Ox base plate. It essentially mounts in the same position and with the same hardware as the factory tow hooks. The base plate does have an extra plate on the side of each mount which drills and bolts to the side of the uni-body frame rail on top of the factory tow hook mountings. You cannot retain the factory tow hooks if your unit has them. Only units with one of the off-road packages will have tow hooks. The mounting positions and fascia cut-outs are still there on units without the offroad package.

The tow brake will be the challenge. I haven't set mine up yet as I'm letting the "new" wear off a little. I've been using the M&G tow brake on my old toad, but it will not fit the new design JGC since the master cylinder is too close to the strut tower. I've purchased the SMI air force one and will try this on the new car.

At the moment part of the reason for not setting it up yet is I'm trying to decide about wiring the taillights. Since the M&G doesn't move the brake pedal the factory lights didn't come into play while towing. I used seperate sockets and bulbs with wiring ran to the front and all was good. With the SMI the brake pedal will operate and trigger the factory brake lights. I'm not sure how visible or useful the turn signal bulbs in seperate sockets will be with the factory brake lights on behind them at the same time. I may purchase the factory shop manual and see if I can wire into the factory lights with diodes for better visibility of the turn signals while braking. I really wish there was something like the cooltech set-up for wranglers available for this car.
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:51 AM   #7
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Tommy

Thanks, we were on the fence between the JGC and a new Tahoe, have now decided to get a JGC--if we can find an acceptable deal.

I called USGear and they said the UTB has been installed in a new JGC and it works fine. I have used the BlueOx BX1169 lights on my Subaru without a problem, since they don't touch the factory wiring I'm thinking I'll go that route.

Probably try to pull the trigger after Turkey day, I need my TOAD as we are traveling. That will give me plenty of time over the winter to sort out the towing details for the Jeep.

Pat
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:33 PM   #8
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I just bought a 2011 JGC limited for $800 under invoice. That seems like a fair deal. They didn't have the exact color combination we wanted, but it still looks great. What an assume ride!

Gil
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:34 AM   #9
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Congratulations ImagineIF, that's a good deal! Most people I've talked with on the Jeep message boards are considering $500 under invoice a good deal and invoice as the norm, unless it's a demo.

Glad to hear you are liking the new ride! I love mine so far, haven't even took time for pics to post, plus it's rained about 4 out of 7 days since I brought it home.

Let us know how you set it up to tow. I've got the Blue Ox base plates and went with the SMI air force one since the M&G will not fit this unit. I'll be running seperate bulbs and sockets for lights since the factory brake lights don't work with the switch off. I was afraid the factory brake lights would work with the AF1 and make the seperate turn signals unnoticeable when using both. I hit the brakes with the switch off the other night and no brake lights so seperate lights should be good to go.

Tommy
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:34 AM   #10
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Tommy,

Is your towing equipment installed yet? If so, any lessons learned? I'm thinking of going with Demco plates and tow bar and the AFI brake controller. I haven't looked at lighting yet. I assumed the tail lights could be powered by the coach through diodes.

I finally saw mine in the daylight this morning. Although I didn't want a dard exterior color, the green really looks good. One thing I noticed, that I didn't like is that the full size spare is not full size! It's not a compact spare, but it is a 245 when the vehicle has 265s. Running different sized tires on the same axle of a all wheel drive or limited slip axle is not recommended. I'll have to ask about that today.

Gil
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:52 PM   #11
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I was getting ready to set mine up this weekend when I noticed some discrepencies in the online instructions and the printed instructions of the Blue Ox base plate. I called yesterday and they say I need some different hardware since mine has the air suspension. They are sending the parts to me so I guess it'll be next week. I'm going to use the blue Ox light kit which has seperate bulbs and sockets, just drill the back of the taillights and insert the sockets then run the flat 4 wire harness to the front. I used this on my '01 Cherokee and '01 Ford F350 with great results and functionallity. If you prefer the diodes thats okay but check with Demco and Jeep, Blue Ox said something about the jeep would see this as a bulb out with all of it's electronics. I'm not sure about that but I prefer the seperate harness and sockets.

This model is so new that accessory companies are playing catch up. Things are just beginning to trickle in for it, alot are still being tested or fitted. There are three different trim levels with two different offroad suspension groups available and two different engine and cooling systems. So the air suspension has a pump in the front to be worried with when installing a base plate that the spring suspension units don't. This is the reason I'm having more parts sent from Blue Ox, they hadn't run into one of the air suspension models until recently.

The new green "is" attractive, and I usually don't care for green at all. The spare is a sore spot with many new owners including myself. As you said it is full size but only matches the size of the base laredo which may also be 265's, I haven't checked. If you look it is also a cheaper brand tire also, instead of a Goodyear or Michelin which are standard on all four corners, it is a Kumho. I guess this was a money saving move on Chrysler's part but I don't like it. I would have prefered a matching wheel and tire to the other four like they had in the previous models 2008-2010. As far as matching for the running gear I think it is within a 1/2 inch of the same Diameter which shouldn't harm it especially when used as a spare. After all who wants to run the black steel rim any longer than neccesary.

Tommy
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:25 AM   #12
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I just put a deposit on an Overland (Mineral Gray, Saddle Interior) which should be arriving before the end of the year.

Tommy--please keep us informed on how your install(s) go. I know I'll be doing the same thing in the near future.

BTW anyone looking for a Subaru Outback already setup to be a TOAD?
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