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Old 04-10-2012, 08:08 PM   #1
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Towing Baseplate for Wrangler

I bought a '97 Wrangler just for a toy and a lightweight toad. I checked on a baseplate for it and they want almost $400 for it. The front bumper looks plenty strong enough to mount the tow bar to. Has anyone else towed their Wrangler with the tow bar hooked to the bumper, very close to where the bumper is attached to the frame with 6 bolts.
I've already got the brakes covered.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:14 AM   #2
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Hey Max. I have read that some people have used the existing tow hooks on a Jeep to tow, so you might use the forum search to try to find those threads. There are literally hundreds of posts about Jeep towing.

Also, you might find a good price on a used base plate via Craigslist or the classifieds. Personally I feel that a good towing setup with the proper baseplate and equipment is the best and safest way to go.

There is also a lot of towing information on the Jeep Forums in case you haven't checked there already.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:17 AM   #3
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i agree however remember 400 is just a little more than a tank of gas
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:50 AM   #4
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The stock bumper, I am assuming that's what you have, is not strong enough unless you mount large backing plates. My signature doesn't say it but I also have a 97 Wrangler.

If you have an after market bumper you are in better shape (non-tubular bumper). These are often made with 1/8 or thicker steel and can handle the mounting points.

Another negative of the manufacture base plates is that they mount below the bumper and have been damaged when the Wrangler is used off road.

I went another route and purchased an aftermarket bumper that had tow bar mounts integrated in as clevis hangers. The one I have happens to be made by Tomken Machine... TOMKEN MACHINE - Item Detail which is a short 42" bumper, they also have a 54" version.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max49 View Post
I bought a '97 Wrangler just for a toy and a lightweight toad. I checked on a baseplate for it and they want almost $400 for it. The front bumper looks plenty strong enough to mount the tow bar to. Has anyone else towed their Wrangler with the tow bar hooked to the bumper, very close to where the bumper is attached to the frame with 6 bolts.
I've already got the brakes covered.
You may be surprised at how much the Wrangler actually weighs. Curb weight for a 97 Sahara is 3229 lbs. That's with nothing in it. Add about 120 lbs for a tank of gas and you're at almost 3350 lbs. That's only about 100 lbs less than the same year Buick LeSabre
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hikerdogs View Post
You may be surprised at how much the Wrangler actually weighs. Curb weight for a 97 Sahara is 3229 lbs. That's with nothing in it. Add about 120 lbs for a tank of gas and you're at almost 3350 lbs. That's only about 100 lbs less than the same year Buick LeSabre
Because of the lift kit, winch, extra roll bars, aftermarket bumpers, gas tank skid, larger rear axle, body arm, etc. My Wrangler weighs about 4100 lbs. Not light weight.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:38 PM   #7
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Here's my setup.

Click image for larger version

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The tow bar brackets are from Blue Ox, and cost $52.

The bumper is a RockCrusher, and is made from 1/8" thick steel plate. I still used reinforcements plates under the tow bar bracket bolts (they came with it)

My setup works very well, and has thousands of problem free miles on it.
There is NO WAY I would ever hook a tow bar to the stock sheet metal bumper though.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:37 PM   #8
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I bought a towbar that fits the Blue Ox base plate, so that's what I bought to tow with. I knew it would work and work well, so that gave me more confidence than if I tried to do something on my own.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:37 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the tips guys and gals.

Sara, I been looking but have not found a base plate on Craigs for my Wrangler.

Tn Cruiser, well maybe I'd spend $400 if they filled my gas tank too.

Al Vinc, I just brought it home, I don't think it's the stock bumper, it looks pretty solid and I'm thinking the $400 + installation base plate hanging down low is not something that is necessary. My bumper looks to have a flat spot on top with holes for mounting a winch, which is a bonus for me.

Hiker Dogs and Alvinc, I guess "lightweight" is a relative term and OMG the Wrangler will be so much more fun than the Buick LeSabre.

Although I've owned dirt bikes and ATVs all my life, this is my first Jeep. It's pure black with American Racing wheels. I hope it runs as good as it looks. Has 133,000 miles and looks almost perfect, I guess he never had any fun with it. I've never really rode in a Model T before, but my ride in my Jeep kinda reminds me of how a Model T might ride, but it looks awesome. Maybe I'll post a pic of it.
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:29 AM   #10
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Max--I'd love to see a pic of your Jeep! I love Wranglers, though you're right about the ride. (I call ours "Bucky" for a reason. ) And FWIW, I agree that the Jeep is a relatively LIGHTWEIGHT toad. Our other option was a 2010 Tahoe LTZ that exceeded the tongue weight for our moho....so yeah, the Jeep is light, lol.

I believe a person either "gets" the Jeep mystique or they don't. Have fun and be safe.
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by max49 View Post
Thanks for all the tips guys and gals.

Sara, I been looking but have not found a base plate on Craigs for my Wrangler.

Tn Cruiser, well maybe I'd spend $400 if they filled my gas tank too.

Al Vinc, I just brought it home, I don't think it's the stock bumper, it looks pretty solid and I'm thinking the $400 + installation base plate hanging down low is not something that is necessary. My bumper looks to have a flat spot on top with holes for mounting a winch, which is a bonus for me.

Hiker Dogs and Alvinc, I guess "lightweight" is a relative term and OMG the Wrangler will be so much more fun than the Buick LeSabre.

Although I've owned dirt bikes and ATVs all my life, this is my first Jeep. It's pure black with American Racing wheels. I hope it runs as good as it looks. Has 133,000 miles and looks almost perfect, I guess he never had any fun with it. I've never really rode in a Model T before, but my ride in my Jeep kinda reminds me of how a Model T might ride, but it looks awesome. Maybe I'll post a pic of it.
That's primarily why we switched. The Jeep goes a lot of places a Buick shouldn't.
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:34 PM   #12
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I. too, have a 1997 Wrangler that I tow behind my Challenger. I use a ball mounted two bar and to attach the tow bar to the Jeep, I welded two "U" shaped "receivers" to the frame under the bumper. I use two heavy duty pins to go through the welded brackets and through the tow bar attachements. I used surplus rigging from the cargo tie downs in a air cargo transport to utilize the safety cables. These tie downs are welded to the bumper of the Jeep and work well with the tow bar. I have towed this setup for over 25,000 miles and it works flawlessly. I love my Jeep for its ease of towing and the versatility for off-road exploration. Good luck with your Jeep!

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Old 04-17-2012, 11:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alvinc View Post
The stock bumper, I am assuming that's what you have, is not strong enough unless you mount large backing plates. My signature doesn't say it but I also have a 97 Wrangler.

If you have an after market bumper you are in better shape (non-tubular bumper). These are often made with 1/8 or thicker steel and can handle the mounting points.

Another negative of the manufacture base plates is that they mount below the bumper and have been damaged when the Wrangler is used off road.

I went another route and purchased an aftermarket bumper that had tow bar mounts integrated in as clevis hangers. The one I have happens to be made by Tomken Machine... TOMKEN MACHINE - Item Detail which is a short 42" bumper, they also have a 54" version.
What did you use to adapt the clevis mounts to the tow bar? I have the roadmaster baseplate but want to dump them due to them being below the bumper. I've been looking at bumpers and would love to find someone make me one that has two tabs on each side so I could connect my tow bar direct to it versus dealing with adapters.
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:42 PM   #14
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I tow an '04 jeep wrangler sport....bought a Demco baseplate at ppl motorhome parts online for $269 and change. Hooks right up to my Blue Ox tow bar.
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