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Old 05-02-2018, 10:57 AM   #1
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Newbie Wrangler Toad Help Please

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ID:	201309I have a 2015 Forester Class C on a Ford E450 frame and just picked up a 2004 Jeep Wrangler TJ Sport to use as a toad. To start, I am completely new to dinghy towing and while I have a mechanical nature, I am not a mechanic.

I’ve been reading and learning, currently inclined to go with the full Ready Brute Elite system, braking, etc.

I’m unsure as to which way to go with the Jeep attachments, baseplate or bumper. Most here point towards the bumper, like a Rock Hard Patriot, for clearance reasons. My quandary is the existing bumper on my new vehicle (see pic) is quite nice. It has nice double chrome tubes front and back. Bilstein 5100 shocks, lifted, 33” tires on 15” wheels. Excuse my ignorance but does the lift negate the clearance issue with a baseplate? Other thoughts or options? Please speak simply to me (for now). I’m learning!

Bottom line- we’re going on a road trip in a month Nd a half and I need to get this all set up ASAP, but done once and right! Thanks for your help.
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:02 AM   #2
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:07 AM   #3
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I just fitted my 2018 Wrangler with a Roadmaster baseplate. I had to do some cutting of rock guards to fit it. Both Blue Ox and Roadmaster state that their base plates will only work with original factory bumpers. I can't tell from your photos if there is enough room under you bumper to clear, but the plate itself has to mount to the frame. And if I'm not mistaken, your bumper is also mounted to the frame.
If I had your Jeep, I would go with the bumper towing. you can always switch back to your chrome bumper on the front during winter months when you aren't towing as much.
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:10 AM   #4
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I currently have a 2017 JKUR and used to towa 2002 Wrangler TJ. I use the ReadyBrute Elite system.
On my TJ I used a RockHard front bumper. On my current JKU I went wth a Currie baseplate instead which worked out great with ground clearance.
You might check to see if Currie offers this for your TJ.
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Attachment 201309I have a 2015 Forester Class C on a Ford E450 frame and just picked up a 2004 Jeep Wrangler TJ Sport to use as a toad. To start, I am completely new to dinghy towing and while I have a mechanical nature, I am not a mechanic.

I’ve been reading and learning, currently inclined to go with the full Ready Brute Elite system, braking, etc.

I’m unsure as to which way to go with the Jeep attachments, baseplate or bumper. Most here point towards the bumper, like a Rock Hard Patriot, for clearance reasons. My quandary is the existing bumper on my new vehicle (see pic) is quite nice. It has nice double chrome tubes front and back. Bilstein 5100 shocks, lifted, 33” tires on 15” wheels. Excuse my ignorance but does the lift negate the clearance issue with a baseplate? Other thoughts or options? Please speak simply to me (for now). I’m learning!

Bottom line- we’re going on a road trip in a month Nd a half and I need to get this all set up ASAP, but done once and right! Thanks for your help.
Russmd,
First off, the use of an aftermarket bumper for "clearance" is not the only reason. Unlike your pretty Chrome tube one (we've purchased two Jeeps with those useless Chrome tube bumpers), many of the aftermarket ones come with what's called RECOVERY tabs. And those tabs, one on each side, about frame width apart, are usually around 3/4" of an inch thick and, have around a 7/8" to 1" hole in them for pins or, D-rings of equal size.

Those are to be used in the event that either you, or a buddy, may get stranded in a certain predicament which, would require the use of tow-strap to be attached to each of the two vehicles, to help the other one get out of their predicament.

But, those recovery tabs are also used for tow-bar attachment points. And they're more than capable of that task. Just about every tow bar maker had adapters for the ends of their tow bars, that adapt them to the recovery tabs so you can use them as tow points. That way, there's no need for goofing around with a base plate. And, you still get a nice looking Jeep and front bumper in the process. Besides, but that Chrome tube bumper on Craigslist and, you'll sell it. And, don't get corralled into any particular name for and aftermarket bumper. If you get on Amazon, you'll find not only a ton of name brands but, some really great prices to. I happened to use Smittybilt for both the front and rear of ours and, not only does it look great but, it's our tow attachment setup too.

As for as your wiring, I can help you with that too. I've wired all of our Jeeps (minus the 2015 JKUR) we have now, using the same exact method. And that is tying into the factory wiring, right at the drivers left calf area, just below the door sill. It's about a 1/2 hour job and your tail lights act the same exact way when towing it, as they do when driving it. Some run away and hide when the thought of tapping into the factory wiring is mentioned. Well, I've only been doing it that way for, oh, about 35 years now and pretty much haven't burnt one to the ground yet. Your choice.
Scott
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:38 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. While I am definitely leaning towards replacing the bumper for towing attachment, what about my question- does the “lifting” make a baseplate less of a problem regarding the clearance issue?
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:57 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. While I am definitely leaning towards replacing the bumper for towing attachment, what about my question- does the “lifting” make a baseplate less of a problem regarding the clearance issue?
Lifting will diminish the clearance problem since the whole frame and base plate are higher, but the base plate will still be below the bumper. I think your first instinct for the RockHard bumper is the correct one. Scott has had success using the recovery tabs on his bumpers, but not all aftermarket bumpers are created equal. Some have recovery tabs that are just welded to the outside of a 3/16" steel with no connection directly to the frame, where others are welded through to a plate that bolts to the frame so you have to choose carefully. A Rock Hard bumper has optional tow attachments that are bolted directly to the frame so there is a solid connection. I have seen one aftermarket bumper with the tab broken off from the constant flex of towing and my bumper is in the category of no way I would tow using the D ring tabs. I use a Demco base plate mounted below the bumper and it has worked quite well.

http://www.rockhard4x4.com/product_p/rh-8000-bo.htm
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:59 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. While I am definitely leaning towards replacing the bumper for towing attachment, what about my question- does the “lifting” make a baseplate less of a problem regarding the clearance issue?
Russmd,
Lifting a vehicle, specifically a Jeep in this case, will INCREASE the clearance on everything except the unsprung weight. That is, the differentials will not be raised but, all else will. Most folks that use base plates for Jeeps don't plan on the medium to harder off road stuff. The lighter stuff, like forest roads, mild country and back roads, won't really be a problem for base plates. But, if one plans on getting into potentially tougher trails and areas where high ground clearance is either needed or manditory, then you'd need the additional ground clearance afforded by NOT having the base plate.

The term "Rock crawling" is always over used. Just because one sets up a Jeep with a lift and some larger tires etc. doesn't mean they're headed for the largest rocks out there to crawl over. But, enough on that. If you want a base plate for towing, put one on. It's your Jeep. As Lt Dan stipulated, there are some aftermarket bumpers out there that might not be suited for towing.

Ours has worked very well now for a few thousand miles. I inspect those welds, front and back, every once in a while to make sure there's no evidence of potential failure. But, a phone call to any of the sellers of any of the ones rated for towing, would let you know what's what.
Scott
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Old 05-02-2018, 06:00 PM   #9
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You all are great, thanks. BTW, I'm not a "rock crawler." Nothing more than moderate 4x4 use.

I went by 2 of my local hitch shops today and this is where I was steered.

Eckhart is a well-known, reputable hitch and welding shop here. Very knowledgeable guys, do this all day every day. Recommended to me the Hercules (same company) over the Ready Brake Elite. The other is my RV shop, they also do a lot of hitches - they recommended the Ready Brake Elite as that's what they mostly do. Both shops would do either. Comparing the two towbars is interesting: both have the same ready brake system, the Hercules is steel and rated for up to 12,000 lbs (Jeep only 4500). Weighs 12lbs more. But it's about $100 less.

So, question #1 - Hercules vs Ready Brute Elite? Experience? Thoughts?

Regarding the attachment points to the Jeep. Eckhart makes their own brackets which they attach directly to the frame. Says the tubular bumper, as is, will not get in the way.

The other shop uses the Blue Ox baseplate, BX1120 for my Jeep.

So, question #2 - thoughts on the brackets attached directly to the frame vs the baseplate? I don't think I'm going to replace the bumper at this time.

They both do all the wiring, harnesses, diodes, breakaway, etc.

I don't have complete pricing yet as I have to show them the vehicles, but keeping price separately for now, any "mistakes" going with any of these choices? Price will definitely come in to play in my decision.

Thanks again,
Russ
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Old 05-03-2018, 06:01 PM   #10
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Took the Jeep over to the 2 shops today to have them look at it and give me a firm quote. Both shop's guys were helpful and knowledgeable. Ekhart, with the welded on attachment points, was priced A LOT higher (over $1300 more!) than the RV shop which uses the Blue Ox baseplate. The guy at a third hitch and welding shop I found told me to use these discontinued Aventa LX towbars that he stocked up on and an RVI braking system. His price was in between the other two. Seemed a bit seedy.

At this point, I think I'm going to go with my RV shop and the Blue Ox baseplate.

Now, I'm still stuck between the Ready Brute Elite and the Hercules. The Ready Brute is definitely lighter which is important to me. Any final words of wisdom before I take the plunge?

Thanks,
Russ
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Old 05-03-2018, 06:12 PM   #11
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I asked the local off road shop (Eastern Truck and Accessories) If the D-Ring tabs on and off road bumper would be acceptable for tow a Jeep Wrangler and the answer was NO unless they are the type that are bolted to the frame not welded to the off road bumper. Based I installed on our 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited which also has a tube bumper on the front and rear. Our jeep also has the Pro-comp 4" stage II kit, Baja 15x10.5x114.30 wheels, with 33x12.50x15 BFG KO2 tires installed. We have installed the Blue Ox base plate (BX1120), Blue Ox bulb and socket kit (BX8869) in the tail light, and the NSA Ready Brute break away kit (RS-5000). The tow bar that we ordered is the Ready Brute Elite with Ready Brake (RB-9050, 71-161) and Ready Brute tow bar Clevis for Blue Ox.
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:43 PM   #12
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I asked the local off road shop (Eastern Truck and Accessories) If the D-Ring tabs on and off road bumper would be acceptable for tow a Jeep Wrangler and the answer was NO unless they are the type that are bolted to the frame not welded to the off road bumper. Based I installed on our 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited which also has a tube bumper on the front and rear. Our jeep also has the Pro-comp 4" stage II kit, Baja 15x10.5x114.30 wheels, with 33x12.50x15 BFG KO2 tires installed. We have installed the Blue Ox base plate (BX1120), Blue Ox bulb and socket kit (BX8869) in the tail light, and the NSA Ready Brute break away kit (RS-5000). The tow bar that we ordered is the Ready Brute Elite with Ready Brake (RB-9050, 71-161) and Ready Brute tow bar Clevis for Blue Ox.
Well,
That's their opinion. There's probably around a few thousand Jeep towing folks out there that ARE using the recovery tabs (me and everyone I know in the Jeeping world included) and have never, ever, ever had any issues using those. No one's forcing anyone to do it. If you (or anyone) don't like the idea of using them, then don't. It's not rocket science. One of the primary benefits of using them is, they're already there so, no baseplate is needed. And, there's no additional metal hanging around under the front end which may, or may not diminish the angle of approach for give situations.

We've owned nine Jeeps to date. All of them have been modified for quality off road use. All of them have been towed by the recovery tabs. Didn't lose any of them. I mean, geez, think about it. A recovery tab used to be primarily for RECOVERY which, meant that it was subjected to some severe strain at any given time it was needed. And, some have been used many times for recovery. So, to me, the use of them in towing, on pavement, is a whole lot less strain on them then using them for recovery. But again, to each his own. Out fit your Jeep the way YOU want to do it. As long as it gets the jeep from point A to point B, that's all that matters.
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