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Old 08-07-2009, 03:34 PM   #1
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Jeep Liberty towing

Why does my Jeep Liberty manual tell me to disconnect the battery and turn the ignition switch to on so that the car will tract. When in fact the steering does not lock, so why must the ignition key be in the on position. Thank you for your help.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:52 PM   #2
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You must have a newer, than my 2006, Liberty. Mine does not say that. It says to place the transfer case in neutral, the auto-trans in park, and the key in the off position so the steering wheel does not lock.

What year Liberty do you have?
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:48 PM   #3
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kcac,

I just downloaded both the 2008 and 2009 Jeep Liberty Owners Manuals.

Both have Step 15 as 'Disconnect Negative Battery Cable' but Step 12 is to 'Turn ignition to the unlocked OFF position'.

I don't see anything about 'tracking' and the ignition is ON only to shift the transfer case to neutral back in Step 6.

Where do you see the reference to tracking?
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:22 AM   #4
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Jeep is a 2009.
Sorry, It says to leave the ignition in the off unlocked position and disconnect the neg. side of the battery. What I've found out is the steering will turn even when the key is in the locked position so why do I need to have the key in the unlocked position to tow? SMI industries who make the brake system says they have heard of others that say the same thing I am, and don't know why the jeep manual tells you you need to leave the ignition in the unlocked position. I need the battery in the jeep to provide my 12v for the brake system.
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Old 08-08-2009, 06:29 AM   #5
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Not sure about that one. I have a 2008 Grand Cherokee and all I do is pop the transfer case into neutral, put it into park, pull the key out and go.

You may want to give Jeep a call:
Contact Us by Telephone
1-800-992-1997
M-F 8:00AM-6:00PM EST
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:10 AM   #6
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Have a 2004 Liberty the manual states put transfer case in neutral and transmission in park and have key in accessory position to unlock steering, I have done this for the last 2 years and in that time have had the steering go from unlocked to locked, this gets to be hard on the front tires and expensive if you do not catch it right away, from now on I am going to put the transmission in neutral to prevent the steering from going to the lock position, as part of the pre trip check I have always turned the steering wheel to make sure it is unlocked, possibly I have a weak spring in my ignition switch but I feel by putting the transmission in neutral I will prevent this accidental steering lock up while towing, any one else had similar problems?
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:07 PM   #7
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kcac,

My 08 Liberty manual also says to disconnect the negative battery terminal. But, it says to turn the key to the unlocked (OFF) position. So, the key needn't be in the ignition switch (the steering does not lock on my Jeep).

I installed a disconnector at the negative battery terminal fully intending to disconnect while towing. A lot of folks in this forum were saying they weren't disconnecting the battery and seemed to be suffering no ill effects.

I decided to give it a whirl (since it was really handy to be able to use the brake switch in the Jeep to control my supplemental brake notification light). I had no problems at all after a 5K mile trip. The odometer did not increment. There were even 3 consecutive driving days where the Jeep never came off the hitch. On the 4th day the battery was in fine shape, easily starting the engine.

Now, I'm not saying this is what you need to do. But, not disconnecting the battery has worked out well for me.

Steve
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:49 AM   #8
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Steve,
I've discovered the same way as you. I have a 09 Liberty and I leave the battery hooked up, but I have started popping up the 60 amp fuse. I also need the battery to power my LED brake notification light. I ran seperate tail light wiring so I have no need to run the jeep tail lights and this disables that. Jeep has done some great things for us that tow our cars. The fuse I'm talking about doesn't come out, it just pops up, sweet. And jeep also has the bottom tail light lens blank, so all i did was drill the holes and put in the bulb socket.Power to the breaks lights now come thru the plug from the coach. Their is no lock on the steering of the 09, so you just do the transfer netrual put in park, take the key, and your done. Thanks to all. Dave
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:32 PM   #9
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Hey Dave,

Have you been able to determine the cause of your 60 A fuse issue? I hope it doesn't have anything to do with your tow setup because it sounds like your arrangement is pretty similar to mine.

Steve
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcac View Post
Why does my Jeep Liberty manual tell me to disconnect the battery and turn the ignition switch to on so that the car will tract. When in fact the steering does not lock, so why must the ignition key be in the on position. Thank you for your help.
kcac, on my 04 Liberty The manual describes the ignition key position as in the off but not locked position. In this position I am unable to remove the key. The steering wheel will not lock.
I once turned the key to far and got into the next position(not realizing it) Luckily after moving a short distance and making a hard right turn I heard the squeal of my jeep tires and new what I had done.

Point is; the steering wheel has to turn almost a whole turn before it may lock!
I always do an around the block check of my tow arrangement before I get on the main roads.
Hope this helps.

Marty
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Old 08-16-2009, 02:32 PM   #11
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Marty's post made me check my Jeep again and got me thinking about the terminology used in the manual.

On my 08, the ignition switch has 4 positions. In order, they are: OFF, Accessory, ON and Start (momentary).

The only position that lets me remove the key is OFF. The steering is not locked in this (or, thankfully, any other) position. I turned the wheel limit to limit and the wheel never locked.

In an earlier post I said my manual stated "turn the key to the unlocked (OFF) position". There is an OFF position and it is the "unlocked" position. However, since there is no "locked" position, I suppose the "unlocked" portion of the statement is a remnant from an earlier model year when the steering did lock. Artifacts like these do cause confusion.

I read (or heard) a while ago that the industry was beginning to abandon locking steering wheels. Since most cars now require an "intelligent" key to start, not locking the steering removed a layer of mechanical complexity which has caused problems.

I don't know which model year saw the debut of the non-locking steering, but it was recently enough that everyone towing the trusty Liberty should verify what the steering in theirs does and doesn't do.

Thanks, Marty!

Steve
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Old 08-16-2009, 02:50 PM   #12
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I am pretty much in the same boat. I, too, go into neutral, transmission park, and key in access. position. Did not know about the unlocking steering but is nice to know. Thanks everyone.
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:47 PM   #13
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In 2008, when Jeep Liberty went to the new body style, the steering wheel lock was eliminated from the automatic transmission equipped models. The new Liberty with a manual transmission still utilizes the steering wheel lock.

The owner's manual, in reference to towing, does not distinguish between the two transmission, hence, key on, battery diconnected.

With my automatic 08 Liberty, I put the tranfer case in neutral, the transmission in park, take the key out and tow. (For 20,000 miles)
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:41 PM   #14
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I have an 07 Liberty 4x4 and my manual does not say to disconnect the battery.
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