Jeep Cherokee Flat Towing Problems: Essential Tips and Solutions

Experiencing issues while flat towing a Jeep Cherokee can be quite frustrating. Imagine cruising along, only to encounter a terrifying wobble that leaves your heart in your throat. This phenomenon, famously termed the ‘Death Wobble’, is something that many Jeep Cherokee owners, especially those towing, have reported.

A Jeep Cherokee being towed with a flat towing setup, showing signs of mechanical issues and strain on the vehicle

Our journey with the Jeep Cherokee hasn’t been without its hiccups. Whether it’s a Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, or even the Wrangler, each model has its unique quirks. We remember our first towing experience with the Cherokee, feeling a sense of dread when we hit rough patches and the vehicle started shaking unexpectedly. ⚠️ Some owners even had to deal with electrical issues that come from the brake assist while towing.

Despite these challenges, it’s important to know that solutions do exist. Upgrading components, such as wiring harnesses, or employing specialized towing kits can alleviate many of these issues. We’ve found that being well-prepared and knowing the limits of your vehicle can help turn a potentially problematic experience into a smoother adventure.

Understanding Flat Towing

Flat towing, or dinghy towing, involves pulling a vehicle with all its wheels on the ground. Key elements here include choosing the right components, ensuring compatibility with your vehicle, and following specific setup steps.

Flat Towing Essentials

To flat tow a Jeep Cherokee, we need various items like a tow bar, safety cables, a base plate, and a wiring harness. Each item plays a critical role in safely towing our vehicle behind our motorhome.

  • Tow Bar: Connects the motorhome to the Jeep Cherokee.
  • Safety Cables: Backup connection in case the tow bar fails.
  • Base Plate: Securely attached to the frame of the Cherokee.
  • Wiring Harness: Enables brake lights and turn signals on the towed vehicle.

Additionally, we should always verify the compatibility of these components with our specific Cherokee model, as different years and trims may have varying requirements.

Selecting the Right Tow Bar

Choosing a suitable tow bar is essential. Several brands and models are available, such as Blue Ox. It must match the weight and size of our Jeep Cherokee.

Factors to consider:

  • Capacity: Capable of supporting the Cherokee’s weight.
  • Design: Some tow bars are easier to attach and detach.
  • Adjustability: Allows for a smoother and more stable towing experience.

Tools like the Blue Ox Tow Bar offer excellent performance with sturdy construction and reliable attachments, making them popular among RV enthusiasts. Always refer to the Cherokee’s owner’s manual for detailed tow bar recommendations.

Important Towing Components

Certain components are indispensable for safe and effective flat towing. Besides the tow bar, we must ensure that the base plate and safety cables are correctly installed and secured.

  • Base Plate: Must be vehicle-specific and professionally installed to avoid alignment issues.
  • Safety Cables: Should cross under the tow bar to form a cradle, catching the tow bar if it disconnects.
  • Wiring Harness: Essential for legal and safe towing, the harness must synchronize the towed vehicle’s lighting system with the motorhome.

We need to use a Flat Tow Wiring Kit, such as Mopar 68321424AB, specifically designed for the Jeep Cherokee, to maintain the electric power steering during towing.

Vehicle-Specific Towing Guides

Different Jeep Cherokee models have unique requirements and procedures for flat towing. For instance, the Trailhawk and models equipped with Active Drive II or Quadra-Trac II require precise setup steps.

For example:

  • Trailhawk: Requires the Flat Tow Wiring Kit to be switched on to energize the steering.
  • 2014-2018 Models: May need specific adjustments to the suspension and other settings, such as ensuring ride height mode is correct.

Each model’s owner’s manual provides detailed instructions tailored to that specific vehicle, which is crucial for ensuring a safe and smooth towing experience.

Regular checks and maintenance of the towing components, like testing the wiring harness and inspecting the tow bar attachments, help prevent problems during long journeys.

Jeep Models and Towability

Flat towing a Jeep involves understanding specific models and their unique capabilities. We aim to clarify the distinctions among popular Jeep models, including what makes them suitable for those of us with RVs. Knowing these differences is key to making an informed decision.

Jeep Cherokee Characteristics

The Jeep Cherokee is a favorite among many RV owners due to its versatility. Only the 4WD models are approved for flat towing, particularly those produced between 2014 and 2023.

Many appreciate Jeep Active Drive II for its comprehensive system that provides both safety and ease during towing. Additionally, certain service bulletins are available for modifications which can further enhance towing performance.

There’s a specific accessory kit for 2014-2016 models that boosts their adaptability. The owner’s manual always offers crucial details about part numbers and installation, and it’s vital to adhere to these guidelines. This ensures warranties are not voided, maintaining a smooth experience for Cherokee owners.

Grand Cherokee Towing Features

The Grand Cherokee, another top pick, boasts superior towing capabilities. Its sophisticated Quadra-Trac II and Quadra Drive II systems make it easy to flat tow behind an RV.

Like the Cherokee, only specific models are suited for flat towing, mainly those with a transfer case that allows for neutral settings. The Summit trim, known for luxury and performance, frequently tops the list among towable Grand Cherokees.

Service bulletins often provide updates on the latest developments for flat towing Grand Cherokees. Utilizing the correct settings and adhering to maintenance recommendations keeps the steering system intact and functional during long hauls, helping prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

Wrangler Adaptations for Towing

The Jeep Wrangler is perhaps the most popular for flat towing, famed for its trail-ready design and robust build. Key to its popularity is the adaptability, with numerous aftermarket harnesses and parts available to ensure a seamless towing experience.

Wrangler models typically have a transfer case with a neutral setting, crucial for flat towing. Many owners install a charge line from the RV to the Jeep’s battery to maintain power to essential systems like the steering and braking. Following these steps is critical for safe and effective flat towing.

The beauty of towing a Wrangler lies in its simplicity and robustness, making it an ideal companion for RVers seeking adventure. All these features, when combined, significantly contribute to the Wrangler’s reliability in off-road and towing scenarios.

Tackling Common Towing Challenges

Flat towing a Jeep Cherokee can bring some specific challenges. Notably, drivers often experience the “death wobble” and issues with the Electric Power Steering (EPS) system. Here’s how we tackle these.

Mitigating the Death Wobble

The infamous “death wobble” occurs when the front wheels start shaking uncontrollably. 🛠️ To combat this, we ensure all steering components are tight and in good condition. Checking the rack and pinion setup regularly helps catch failures early.

Keeping tire pressure balanced is crucial too. Uneven pressure or worn tires can exacerbate wobbling. We always carry a tire gauge and a portable air compressor to handle rough roads. Additionally, the Flat Tow Wiring Kit (Mopar 68321424AB) is a godsend. It helps condition the Cherokee’s electronics to avoid wobbles potentially caused by electric steering inconsistencies.

Regular inspection of the suspension system is another must. Components like bushings and ball joints wear out and need replacement more often than you’d think. A simple test on an empty road to provoke the shake occasionally can identify problems before they become serious.

Electric Steering System Considerations

The Electric Power Steering (EPS) system demands special attention. Shutting it down correctly after hooking up the Jeep ensures it doesn’t drain the battery. Always make sure the transmission is in neutral, and disconnect the battery if you plan on towing for extended periods to prevent any surprises with the check engine light coming on. 🌡️

Before every journey, we verify that all electronic settings are properly configured. This includes disabling any automatic features like suspension adjustments which can interfere with safe towing.

Weather and road conditions also affect the EPS. Rough roads can jostle the steering components, leading to issues. Keeping a diagnostic reader handy lets us quickly check the vehicle’s systems if any warnings pop up during transit. Ending each towing session with a thorough check helps avoid steering defects and shaking problems midway.

Towing Safety and Maintenance

When flat towing a Jeep Cherokee, ensuring the proper setup and maintaining ongoing care are crucial. This minimizes risks and ensures a smooth towing experience.

Proper Setup and Precautions

Setting up your Jeep Cherokee for flat towing involves several steps. First, ensure the Jeep suspension is in normal ride height mode 🌡️. Avoid using the lowered Auto Entry/Exit mode during towing to prevent alignment issues. Always verify these settings before commencing your journey.

Next, we must pay close attention to the electrical systems. Using a dedicated wiring harness ensures the power steering remains active, reducing the risk of “Death Wobble” 🚨 often reported by RV owners. It’s a serious concern, especially on rough roads.

⚠️ A Warning

Ensure the supplemental braking system is properly connected to avoid overloading the towed vehicle’s brakes.

Lastly, install a battery charger connected to the RV’s power. This maintains the towed vehicle’s battery level, ensuring all electronic systems function smoothly throughout the journey.

Ongoing Care for Flat-Towed Vehicles

Maintaining your Jeep Cherokee while it’s being flat towed is essential for longevity and safety. Start by inspecting the steering system 🛠️ regularly. Look for signs of wear or looseness, which could lead to instability while on the road.

Routine suspension checks can prevent unwanted surprises during travel.

Additionally, remember to check the tail lights frequently. Properly functioning lights ensure both visibility and safety, preventing potential accidents due to miscommunication between vehicles.

For deeper maintenance, consider scheduling routine services specifically aimed at vehicles frequently used for flat towing. This includes the Newmar London Aire, a common model among diesel pushers that often tow vehicles. Regular visits to a professional can highlight minor issues before they become significant problems.

Lastly, have a checklist 📝 for these maintenance tasks to ensure no aspect is overlooked. Proper setup and routine care guarantee a safer, smoother journey every time.

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