Installing a Hitch (WJ)

I'm going to post up my experience and give you a few pics/pointers of what the directions don't touch on.

Here's the Mopar instructions - they are pretty good, so these are included for your use.

hitch harness  bezel 
 Click images above to download each PDF

 

All in all, this is a pretty straight forward job. I'd highly recommend some air tools; mainly an impact wrench with a few long extensions. Also, you may want to pick up a thread tapper. There are a few bolt holes in the frame that will be little rusted (from not having in bolts in them since your Jeep didn't come with the hitch installed at the factory). This will hopefully help you avoid any cross threading issues. I'm not sure off hand what size tap you'll need, but just bring one of the bolts that comes with the kit to the hardware store with you, size it and check the threads/pitch. I usually find a nut that fits and go from there.

The first step is to remove your rear bumper. The directions do a good job of showing you all the fasteners you need to remove.

I started at the top of the rear bumper:

Remove some fasteners

Then moved to the plastic rivets holding the bumper to the inner fender splash guards. You'll have to cut these off. NOTE: The kid includes new plastic rivets. I found them to be a total PITA to install...even using the method described on WJjeeps.com. I just ended up using some left over push rivets that secure lower bumper cover on.

Cut the fasteners at the wheelewells

Next, I went to the underside of the bumper. Here you can see the rivets/fasteners I used to secure the fender liners when all was said and done. The kit came with extras.

Fasteners at the bottom

Up to the this point, I was kicking butt and moving along. Then came the "remove the rear bumper part." This is a hell of a lot easier said than done. After you have everything removed, the bumper is held on with two fasteners...those two fasteners were a PITA to remove. I pulled, I tugged, I yelled, I begged, I pleaded. I really thought I was going to break something. To facilitate the removal, I ended up pulling out the rear taillights. I was able to get both hands close to the fastener and with one seriously good, rock back on my heels pull, it popped right out. I did this about a week before Christmas here in Connecticut, so maybe the cold weather was messing with me.

This is where the fastener resides in the body:

Holes from the PITA fasteners

The white thing is the fastener:

The offending clips

A close up of the offender:

Close up of the clip

With the bumper off:

With the rear bumper removed

The next part involves installing the hitch. The directions cover this pretty well. If you have a second set of hands here, use them. My wife was busy getting stuff ready for Christmas, so I used my floor jack and ATV jack. After a little moving around, I had everything bolted up. The hitch is heavy and you'll need 5 hands to hold it in place and bolt it up if you don't have multiple jacks.

Holding the hitch in place

Now it's time to cut the bezel hole in your bumper. Jeep nicely made faint markings on the inside of the bumper cover to give you and idea of where to cut and where to drill the holes. I opted to cut a bit inside the line to avoid taking too much off.

You can somewhat see the marks here:

Cut line

How things look from the backside. If your sharp, you'll notice my bezel doesn't match my trim 100%. I just tell everyone that's because I have the upgraded two tone two package that was only offered on Laredos.

Sporting the two tone

After the bezel is installed, you can install your rear bumper and button everything up. Once you have those two horrid clips attached to the body, you can go around and install all the screws and rivets. Those clips will hold the bumper in place for you.

Now on to the wiring!

I opted to do this install over two days. I actually installed the wiring a week or a few days later. In hindsight, install the wiring before you put the bumper cover on. It will make routing the wire from the grommet to the hitch a lot easier.

WJjeeps has a nice write up regarding how to remove all the trim.

Pull back the interior trim

Pull back the carpet

Once that's done, you should see this:

Remove this cover

After you remove that black foam/insulation stuff, you'll see this. That green plug is where you're going to plug your Mopar harness in to:

Green plug exposed

After plugging the harness in, you'll place/stuff the relays into that hole that was covered about 45 seconds ago:

Routing the harness cabling

You'll then run the harness along the body, clipping it into the holes along the way. You'll take out the factory grommet in the floor, feed the wiring through, fish some out from under the Jeep, feed a bit more through up top, fish more out from under (you get the picture) until the grommet on the wiring harness reaches the hole in the floor.

Routing the harness cabling

Once you have the grommet installed, you'll fish the wiring from the hole area to the spot in the hitch. Once everything is where it has to be, you'll plug the harness into the adapter and screw the adapter to the hitch.

Harness receptacle in place

The finished product

Now, all you have to do is get an adapter if your trailer has a 4 pin connector. These adapters can be found at most automotive stores, even Wal-Mart for about $10.

Testing it out

Over all, I'm very happy with this setup. I like the way the hitch is integrated into the bumper and it looks factory. The 4.0 does a great job towing around my 4x8 trailer and hauling my ATV....or whatever else I have it doing for weekend chores.

I also ordered the bezel through eBay for $60 or so. I couldn't find one online for much cheaper.

I stumbled on the wiring harness on E-Bay for $30 or $35. Someone just happened to be selling a new OEM unit for really cheap. That was quite a score.

Shipping for the hitch was just shy of $30 to me in CT.

Gallery: Hitch Install (WJ)

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