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Old 07-17-2011, 04:11 PM   #1
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Unified tow brake issue and Jeep

Hello, all. I am having a concern with my UTB and new Jeep. I had the UTB installed in our motor home and my old Jeep and absolutely loved it. It worked flawlessly for the whole time I had it. I just bought a new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and love the vehicle, but am having a probem with the braking system. I am using the same system in the motor home that I used with the old Jeep, but bought the system new for the new Jeep. The old system in the old Jeep was rusted, etc. and not good to reuse.

In the Jeep's instructions to tow, it states that the negative battery cable must be disconnected to tow. But, if it is disconnected, there is no power to power the UTB. So, after much research and having been told by the installer not to disconnect the cable and by Jeep saying I did not have to disconnect the cable, I do not disconnect my battery cable. We towed from NJ to FL and no problems. As we were leaving for the next part of our trip and having traveled only 150-200 miles, I went to disconnect my Jeep and found the unbilical cord that runs from the coach to the Jeep had a problem. The cord is fused at the coach connection. I called UTB and I was told to disconnect the battery cable and do this by putting in a knife disconnect. I must admit I am afraid of touching the battery-fearing a possible explosion. So, I did find a product by remco that may help with the disconnect issue. Not sure if it can be installed under the hood as opposed to at the battery-which by the way is UNDER the passenger seat!! It is on their website. But, I would prefer to not have to do any of this and to just connect the umbilical cord and go. What could be causing the cord to fuse together like that??? Anyone else have this problem with this situation, this vehicle, etc.??? All thoughts are greatly appreciated!!!
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Old 07-17-2011, 05:21 PM   #2
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Fuse together like welded? Or just stuck?


Oh, and where's my manners...Welcome.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:00 PM   #3
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Macnkat, thanks for the welcome I hope to learn much from all of you.

It is fused like welded although it looks perfectly normal on the outside.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:13 PM   #4
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Sounds like something is cross wired...it doesn't take much to arc those brass prongs and melt them. Double check all your connections. Can you get it apart?
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:42 PM   #5
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Ok, the problem is that JEEP wants the battery disconnected.. It is not necessary to do this, there is an alternative method, Sorry, I'm not up on the DETAILS but basically you wither 1: Pull a single fuse or 2: insteall a "Switched fuse" device (Which you can find at many RV stores or home brew very easily)

Now, the RED wire in the US-Gear brake line is a battery line, it has a circuit breaker on each end but it's either 20 or 40 amp.. This wire can get hot if it's asked to provide the full power to the brake adapter, it is supposed to keep the jeep's battery charged so you can use it to stop the jeep, NOt to provide full tow power.

Page 2, the ground lead in your light cable is the return, and is usually too small for that kind of current.

Page 3: Plugging in this system will have the same effect (on the jeep) as leaving the battery CONNECTED.. So listen to the US gear guy and leave the battery on the jeep connected,, put in the switch.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:08 PM   #6
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Call US Gear and see what they have to say.
I don't disconnect the battery on my Jeep and still have power when I unhook
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:46 AM   #7
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The reason they want battery disconnected has nothing to do with power and everything to do with the Odometer and other things in the engine computer.. They want the computer disabled, this can be done by pulling a fuse..

The Jeep manual takes the easy way out.. You might want to check RemcoTowingUSA

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee | Remco Towing

Alas, they say "Follow instructions in owner's manual" but as you know that gives you issues with the US-Gear "Towed charge" lead.

You will have to check with other jeep owners to find out which fuse it is. Hopefully some will pop in here.. I am a jeep wanna-be-an-owner so I do follow jeeps but till I get one,, I'm not there.

It also makes a difference which drive train you have, 2wd, 4wd or AWD
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:08 AM   #8
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You got info that is a lot different that I have. I talked to a tech at Jeep and was told that the battery disconnect was to keep it from discharging by the use of the tail lites, etc. He said nothing about any computor stuff. All I do with mine is put the xfer case in neutral and off I go. No problems at all. By the way, my Toad lites are powered by the Unified Brake system.
As far as I know, the 2WD Jeeps can't be towed 4 down.
By the way, the Hemi is great!
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finhawk
You got info that is a lot different that I have. I talked to a tech at Jeep and was told that the battery disconnect was to keep it from discharging by the use of the tail lites, etc. He said nothing about any computor stuff. All I do with mine is put the xfer case in neutral and off I go. No problems at all. By the way, my Toad lites are powered by the Unified Brake system.
As far as I know, the 2WD Jeeps can't be towed 4 down.
By the way, the Hemi is great!
This what I do as well, though my TOAD lights are powered from the MH--they are separate from the Jeep lights. The instructions that jeep provides are confusing, the full OM says to disconnect the battery, the quick reference guide omits that step. My dealer said there's no need to disconnect the battery. BTW how would the breakaway feature work if the battery was disconnected? Since the problem began after a period of successful towing I would look to see what may have changed that would cause the symptoms.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:31 PM   #10
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I will be taking the coach and the Jeep to an RV dealer next week and will hopefully have an answer to this problem. I will let you know what I find out. Thanks for all of the help!
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:15 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Candy Girl
I will be taking the coach and the Jeep to an RV dealer next week and will hopefully have an answer to this problem. I will let you know what I find out. Thanks for all of the help!
The mystery has been solved! I still can't believe it! When we got the motor home to the dealer, he looked at it and started to pull it and jiggle it side to side- and it came apart! There was no fusion at all! This was the first time this ever happened to me! I am really very happy it was just a very stuck plug. Can you believe 3 of us tried to get it apart before and it would not move. So, for now, we are going to tow it just as is- no battery disconnect, etc. Thank you all for the thoughts and suggestions. I am still going to use them. Any precaution is a good precaution.
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finhawk View Post
You got info that is a lot different that I have. I talked to a tech at Jeep and was told that the battery disconnect was to keep it from discharging by the use of the tail lites, etc. He said nothing about any computor stuff. All I do with mine is put the xfer case in neutral and off I go. No problems at all. By the way, my Toad lites are powered by the Unified Brake system.
As far as I know, the 2WD Jeeps can't be towed 4 down.
By the way, the Hemi is great!

With several tow brake systems that might make sense. However with the popular "Brake system in a box" like Brake Buddy, Even Brake et-al, that would also disable the braking system.

And with US-Gear a "Towed Charge" leade is present to prevent that.

So disconnecting the battery to prevent discharge is either A: Dangerous or B: Unnesscarry (Take your pick) however This is why pulling a single fuse works just as well.

NOTE: Many sales types will tell you watever it takes to get your name on teh bottom oline and all customer service/support technicans are salesmen.

Even though you call them after the original sale.. They are trying to sell you your NEXT new car (in this case).
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:17 AM   #13
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Candy girl here is the scoop. Several of us on this forum have your identical setup. I have UTB & a 2011 JGC. Battery disconnect (as per generic instructions) is not necessary. UTB supplies power to the jeep while you tow i.e. you could tow forever and jeep will have full power (huge advantage over other tow brake systems imho) Your fused problem is an install error on who ever setup system for you (fact). DO NOT disconnect Jeep battery or start pulling fuses as some in this thread suggest. Please take my expert advice and have UTB conference with your installer to solve problem created by your installer... and Welcome to IRV2!
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:04 AM   #14
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I tow a 2009 Wrangler and use the UTB. The embilical cord from the MH charges the Jeep battery so you do not need to disconnect the battery. There is somthing not wired correctly. The best thing to do in my opinion is call US Gear and have them reccomend a dealer close to you and take it to them. I have towed 12 k miles with mine with no problems.
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