Blue Ox Jeep tow base plate install
This vehicle replaced our 2001 of the same model as described in a previous post about buying used vehicles. The order was delivered in exceptional time by 'drop shipment' from Pender Nebraska, Home of Blue Ox Tow
Beware a low price bait and switch by JC Whitney
A pair of Knee Pads and a 'creeper' help while positioning and bolting everything in place. The parts list check (first step) contained all of the neccessary items as listed, along with the personal tools list required for the job. The instructions with photographs detailed the front facia removal, mostly reusable snap and push pins with a handfull of 10mm body bolts. The personal tools required, matched all fasteners except for the spare 'plastic pop rivets'.
Be sure to disconnect ALL of the wiring and hoses exactly like the instructions tell you. DO NOT try shortcuts to save time, it doesn't work, believe me, I tried it. Mark the windshield washer hoses to avoid confusion. The wiring connectors are all different so they will not be easily swapped. The trick is removing each different locking design. Pull up a chair and relax while you figure out each puzzle created by the fun loving design engineers. Keep a roll of tape handy for the frustration of breaking the connector. I like black duct tape in various widths from Harbor Freight or ?
After all framework is exposed and easily accessed, take off any cover plates or tow hooks mentioned in the instructions. The Blue Ox Base Plate is built to fit tightly. I used a floor jack and small frame jack to raise it into place and force it onto the frame horns. A few whacks with a heavy mall, drove it into it's proper position as described in the instructions. Put the temporary (horn and reservoir) retaining bolts in place as described. After doing all of the checks with the bumper cover held in place, make sure the clearance is as needed.
Set the bumper cover aside and proceed to drill the PROPER sized holes (use the base plate holes as a drill guage for a tight drill fit), only 'AFTER' making sure the drilled holes will be positioned in full metal framework and not on the edges.
The instructions say use Red Loctite (RED thread lock fluid). I found out the hard way, not to use anything other than RED thread loc. ($1.99 Harbor Freight) A couple of bolts came loose on the last Jeep and required Crown Coachworks Albuquerque New Mexico
Drilling the holes is easier if you use the correct drill bit and a powerful drill. The holes in the base plate will align the drill bit. Install each bolt after coating it with RED thread loc. Torque to proper tension and NO LESS. The frame is 'squeeze sandwiched' between the base plate tabs and the lock washers with nuts. The hard to reach nut positions are aleviated by the use of Blue Ox nut plates with rods attached cleverly for holding in place.
The large spacer washers are exactly that, spacers to hold the reservoir away from the base plate tabs. Do use the bolts they give you to hold the reservoir in place and follow their instructions. Do not try to do it 'your way'. It doesn't work and you will have to redo 'your way' afterward to get the grill and facia assy in place so that the reservoir cap is removeable.. like before you started. I tried it and learned just like the RED loc tite experience.
As the front bumper cover is handled, be careful not to scratch the finish. Surprising how fragile these safety protection things are. Do not tighten the final bolts on the bumper cover and grill until everything lines up properly. Don't forget to go back and check the fasteners for tightness. A few of the push pins and fasteners may break if brittle.
No problem, the plastic 'pop riveter tool' from Harbor Freight comes with lots of spares for the $14.99 price. The new base plate from Blue Ox even came with new safety cables and threaded chain links for fastening to the base plate. The new 'towing slugs' are nice and shiny... when new.
I keep one complete set of spare parts including extra towing 'slugs', lock and clevis pins and retainers with the RV and tow unit at all times. A spare wiring harness is in the kit as well. During our first venture, we met a family searching for a lost towing part, along a trail at a remote campground. We aquired a complete set of spare towing parts shortly after witnessing their frustration.
Now the Jeep with tire pressure at 40 psi for easy rolling, is ready for the next trip, obediantly following behind the Motorhome. It is easily disconnected for side trips, sightseeing the areas during the overnight camping stays. No idea Where