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Old 02-18-2016, 06:08 AM   #1
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Picked up a Jeep Grand Cherokee limited for tow vehicle - a couple questions

We just picked up a 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with Quadra-Trac II. We had been planning to dolly tow my Honda Accord but wife also had a leased 2015 Subaru Outback (CVT) to get rid of and broke the lease by trading it on the Jeep. So we'll sell the Honda outright before we sell the house and head out fulltime later this year.

So have read many posts but prior to this purchase hadn't done a lot of research on flat towing. Looking at Blue Ox base plate. Will probably install that myself. A few questions come to mind:

1. Looking at the Blue Ox Alpha tow bar, rated at 6500 pounds. Jeep is 4650-4800 pounds so that is close to 25% residual capacity. A friend mentioned the Aventa tow bar (Blue Ox) rated at 10,000 but not sure it's necessary and about $100 more. Any thoughts or rule of thumb on this?

2. Lighting: I see a socket kit where you actually add a light socket into each side of the tail lights for directional, brakes & parking lights. Then there's a diode kit where you use the existing lights. Any thoughts on one of these being better or easier than the other? I'll DIY this also.

3. For braking it looks like the Patriot system is a good way to go. Watching videos of it on youtube seems pretty straight forward. I realize there are several of these systems on the market but interested in hearing from those using the Patriot system and pros and cons of them. I do like the remote monitor and ability to make braking adjustments from the coach.

4. Also want to send a "charge line" back to tow vehicle from coach. Have seen a couple systems that do that for around $100. Seems like a no brainer for not having to deal with a dead battery and sort of wondering why the 7 pin plug from the coach can't supply that to the tow in the first place.

I'm sure I'll think of more questions but those are the main concerns at the moment. Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:29 AM   #2
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I liked the idea of not messing with the vehicle system at all by installing the separate bulbs. I couldn't do that with my wrangler so I put in a completely different lights in each side of the bumper. Lots of people have used the diode system and have been ok.

I would think the blue ox system would work just fine but I would go with the bigger capacity just because down the pike you might have a heavier toad.

I use the RVbrake 2 system - a small sit on the floor unit that you install each time you hook up the toad. Easy install and can go to the next vehicle with no problems.

I have traveled for three days without unhooking the toad and have never had to charge the battery to get it going. It will use the toad battery for toad brake lights and running the brake system compressor. Not sure you will need to worry about charging battery - depends how you will be traveling.

Hope all this helps - you will really like the Grand Cherokee. mark
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:30 AM   #3
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I have the Blue Ox Adventa for ours. Didn't feel the extra capacity was necessary for our 4k vehicle. I went with the diode kit and it was very easy to install. If you go to Etrailer there are kits where you take the socket on the bulb and plug it into the harness and plug the socket on the harness onto the bulb. No cutting of wires, diodes are built in and no connections to corrode. My RV had the charge line on the 7 way plug already. I just had to Install a Toad- Charge from LSL. was like 60.00 and very easy to install in about a 1/2 hour.
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:50 AM   #4
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Don,

We just purchased the 2015 Grand Cherokee Limited and went a little different route.

1. We had the Blue Ox base plate installed but decided to go with the Ready Brute Elite tow bar and surge braking system. I felt the Blue Ox base plate fit our Grand Cherokee the best. The Ready Brute tow bar has a capacity of 8000 so I found it to be in line with what we needed.

2. For lights we went with the socket kit. This was installed during the same time our base plate was installed. The brake and turn signal lights are powered by the coach plug.

3. With the surge brake system, we did not need the charging system because no power is used when the Cherokee is towed.

We went with the surge braking system because I found in the forum here a large number of folks use the surge brake and love it. Many have posted use for years without issue and a friend of ours used it as well without issue. There are so many braking systems out there and those that are not surge systems are plenty. We figured we would try this first and if we do not like the surge brake we can always add something different. For now, the surge brake saved us about 1k.

Good luck with your decision
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:27 AM   #5
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Mountain Aire DP Charge Line

Mainuh-

I am not a Newmar owner, so take any of this with a grain (or more) of salt.

As I understand it, on this era MADP Spartan and Newmar did not wire the 12V position in the hitch plug. Spartan did provide two blunt-cut wires, with ends under the dash and bundled into the rear wire harness near the plug, for your use. Open the "TOW_PLUG.pdf" file at this iRV2 post, and read the note at the top-center of the drawing.

If you want to use the wire(s), you'll have to keep these in mind:

1) Find a 12V source under the dash (assumes neither wire is already hooked to one). One would normally use (or tie into) a circuit that supplies 12V power only when the coach is running.

2) For a "trailer" charge line, it's usual to run a 10 AWG or 12 AWG wire to reduce the voltage loss. The wires Spartan provides may be 14 AWG. You have the choice of using one wire (which would be smaller than usual practice) or to use both wires at the same time, in parallel (better).

3) To prevent fires in the case the charge wires short to the chassis of coach or toad, it's usual to install a fuse, circuit breaker or equivalent at each end of the charge line, as close to the batteries as possible. A typical fuse or circuit breaker for this use is rated 15A. A "Toad-Charge" or devices like it are "equivalent" for the toad end of things, albeit much more expensive than a fuse or circuit breaker alone.

4) You'll want at least a 6-pin connector on the toad to pass the charge line.

You sound able to do all the charge line work yourself. The wires should be there. How much money you spend on components is up to you. You may want to look at this current iRV2 thread for debate over those choices.
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:33 AM   #6
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We are in the process of going from a 2015 Cherokee Limited to 2016 Grand Cherokee Limited. The 2015 was a great to tow. It just liked spending more time at the dealer's garage, than mine.

For the tow bar, I went with the Blue Ox Aventa LX (10,000 lbs). I like the piece of mind that extra $100 bought me. Since our Bay Star can only tow 5,000 lbs, I should be well within it's limits.

For the lighting, I went with the Demco harness. It uses diodes and plugs into the Cherokees harness at each tail light. No wires to cut or splice and if I want to remove it, it just unplugs. It is however a little pricey at $128.

For the braking, I went with the RVI Brake. You do have to install it every time you tow, but it takes a minute, it's portable between vehicles, and gives you the ability to activate the toads brakes from the coach. You can't do that with the Ready Brute. We have towed for two days straight and didn't run the battery down. I will install the battery charge line this year.

One other note. Using the harnesses with diodes will require a relay on the brake switch of the toad, otherwise the toad's brake lights will override the turn signal from the coach. Quite a few, including me, didn't want to mess with the wiring for the brake switch. It won't happen that often.

Good luck with your choices, and your new to you Grand Cherokee!
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Old 02-18-2016, 04:21 PM   #7
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Thanks to all who have responded so far. Lots of good info. I'll probably get the baseplate soon but we won't be towing until early May when we get the coach out of heated storage. Keep the info coming! Thanks.
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Old 02-18-2016, 05:45 PM   #8
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I'd use a directly proportional braking system i.e. Air Force 1.
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:39 PM   #9
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CAUTION...if you have LED Tail lights.
The LED tail lights don't have a spot that I could find to drill a hole for the new socket. The LED's are spread around the housing, and you risk damage by drilling.

Use the isolation diodes, or some relays to isolate the connections between the car and RV.

+1 on AF1, it is so nice that I don't have to mess with anything inside the car when towing.

Regards,

Dan
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Smith View Post
I have the Blue Ox Adventa for ours. Didn't feel the extra capacity was necessary for our 4k vehicle.
You sure you got that right Steve? You said you have the Adventa because you didn't feel you needed the extra capacity. Unless I'm reading it wrong, the Adventa IS the extra capacity of 10,000 pounds (more than twice what you need).

Blue Ox Alpha tow bar, rated at 6500 pounds.
Blue Ox Aventa tow bar, rated at 10,000 pounds $100 more than Alpha
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Old 02-27-2016, 07:04 AM   #11
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I went with diodes, roadmaster falcon 2which is 1500 lbs more tham our toad, and the brakemaster. Seems like if you research things to death like I do you'll find someone has had a problem with whatever you are buying...
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Old 02-28-2016, 04:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernie. View Post
Seems like if you research things to death like I do you'll find someone has had a problem with whatever you are buying...
Thats right nothing is perfect and you always hear about the BAD with a product and not the good.
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:59 AM   #13
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Have a question about the Jeep GC. We just purchased a 2011 Grand Cherokee Limited after my Ford Expedition needed to be replaced last month. Now looking for a Toad system. To flat tow our Jeep I understand the process of putting the vehicle in Neutral and having to place the push button start into Accessory mode then removing the battery ground wire to allow the steering column to move freely, but if this ir removed, how will the turn signals & brake lights work? Powered from the MH plug? Thanks
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Old 03-02-2016, 05:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joemcgin View Post
Have a question about the Jeep GC. We just purchased a 2011 Grand Cherokee Limited after my Ford Expedition needed to be replaced last month. Now looking for a Toad system. To flat tow our Jeep I understand the process of putting the vehicle in Neutral and having to place the push button start into Accessory mode then removing the battery ground wire to allow the steering column to move freely, but if this ir removed, how will the turn signals & brake lights work? Powered from the MH plug? Thanks
Joe, there are a few options and they are fed by the MH. Go to E-Trailer.com and put in your vehicle. They have videos on most of them as well.

We just got a 13 JGCL and looking at the kit that installs another bulb in each tail light powered from MH and the battery quick disconnect which disconnects the jeeps battery by solenoid when it "sees" the lights on and power coming through from the MH on the 4 wire connection.
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