Can the JL be flat towed behind an RV ?

Hgrace

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I too installed a Rockhard 4x4 Aluminum Patriot full-size bumper and Blue OX tow bar connection points. This system is designed for towing with the steel tow bar connection points bolted directly to the JLs frame. Though costly, this aluminum bumper is only 37 lb and includes a sunken winch plate and a skid plate below the bumper. It does not reduce your approach angle like the steel prongs of a traditional base plate. Though not related to towing our Jeep, this also allowed me to install a winch.

An added advantage of this installation is I was able to mount my tow-wire harness, auxiliary brake quick-connect air coupler, and our emergency breakaway braking unit all along the front face of the bumper. Kneeling on my bad knee is no longer required and connect or disconnect of the entire system takes less than 3 minutes. Large D-rings provide a super strong connection point for our safety cables.

For tow lighting, I chose to go with a CoolTech wire harness. A switch isolates the tow lights from the Jeep's electronics, using the Jeep's wiring and tail light bulbs to deliver illumination. Power for the lights is provided exclusively by the motorhome and the Jeep's brake lights now illuminate when our diesel coach's jake brake is activated for increased safety.
Pictures?





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Hgrace

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I first ordered the same Rockhard bumper however I shortly after canceled the order after talking to two of the larger RV dealers in the region who warned against bumper towing. My concern with the Rock hard and the LOD was the constant push and pull of the on the frame plate the tow attachment bolts to will put a lot of stress on that thin plate and welds where the bumper attaches. It also turns out that the Rockhard Patriot bumper sits lower than my tow plate. I did however buy the Barricade aluminum winch bumper which is a low profile and fit perfectly with the Blue OX tow plate and allowed me to install all brake and light attachments/wiring thru the face of the bumper.

There is a reason that MOST bumper manufactures/fabricators do not endorse or allow bumper towing with their bumpers, it is a huge liability and risk for them.
I did my homework too regarding the base plate vs bumper. I met with Rockhard at Pomona Expo in September. We discussed the matter I'm detail and the Rubicon the had there was towed from their place in Nebraska. These guys are the real deal and gave me a killer deal on it.
It was designed from the start as a towable bumper and I've spoken with a few happy people.
Additionally they have been advertising in FMCA and other RV periodicals for years. I don't think they'd be doing that if they weren't confident.
It is Solid Aluminum 37 pounds to points are steel.
It is expensive but so is the JLU.
I bought the Sport S over Sahara or Rubicon specifically for the lower weight so this bumper allows me to add a winch with minimal extra pounds.
 

lightsout

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I did my homework too regarding the base plate vs bumper. I met with Rockhard at Pomona Expo in September. We discussed the matter I'm detail and the Rubicon the had there was towed from their place in Nebraska. These guys are the real deal and gave me a killer deal on it.
It was designed from the start as a towable bumper and I've spoken with a few happy people.
Additionally they have been advertising in FMCA and other RV periodicals for years. I don't think they'd be doing that if they weren't confident.
It is Solid Aluminum 37 pounds to points are steel.
It is expensive but so is the JLU.
I bought the Sport S over Sahara or Rubicon specifically for the lower weight so this bumper allows me to add a winch with minimal extra pounds.

With Rock Hard it is really not the bumper itself that makes it towable (No aluminum bumper would be strong enough) it is the outer bracket that bolts onto the frame plate thru the bumper that does the towing so technically the bumper has zero involvement in the towing. I have no doubt that the tow bracket will hold up as will the bumper since the bumper in not integral to the towing process, however it is the Jeeps actual frame plate that is the weak link. Look I get it many tow using this process, however from what I have learned is that there have been issues (on the JK) with the frame attachment plate when this kind of stress is applied. Like I said I installed the aluminum Barricade which is way more robust Bracket design than Rock Hard uses, however Barricade will not condone towing using their bumper systems either. My assessment as is most of the bumper manufactures is you should not tow via the bumper...

My concern with Rock Hard is that the tow bracket is only attached to 2 of the 4 frame bolts which is perplexing as that is putting stress on one half of the jeeps frame plate whereas it is not actually using the rigid frame of the jeep since the jeeps frame plate is only a welded on flange.

jkflattow.jpg


Below is the Barricade Plate I mentioned as you can see it has 4 bolts and covers the entire Jeep frame plate, yet they will not endorse towing like most of the bumper manufactures. Advertising in the Rags does not legitimize any product, I am not saying that Rockhard does not make a quality product I assume they do. However they are a small fabricator located in the farm fields of Minnesota. Frankly tow plates are the industry standard for flat towing vehicles. Considering the cost of the Rockhard Alumimum you can buy the Barricade Aluminum and the appropriate tow bar approved Towplate for less $$ than the Rockhard bumper and bracket. Since the Rockhard bumper sits lower than the Towplate option there is really no advantage other than minor Aesthetics. I purchased my wrangler specifically for towing in fact I will put more tow miles on it than driving miles as it is not a daily driver except for the rare inclement/snow weather here in Seattle.

J108516-JL_alt5?$mproductlarge$&wid=810&hei=608.jpg
 

Ron_H

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Pictures?
Here you go.


The first image shows the bumper from the left side. My license plate is on a detachable mount that clips to the roller fairlead.



This closer image, with the D-ring pivoted up, shows the BlueOx tow bar connect that bots directly through to the front of the frame. the light harness connector sits between the D-ring and license plate.


A broad view of the right side.



The steel cable, below the D-ring, is the connection point for the emergency break-away system. A thin steel cable, from the motorhome, connects to this using a small carabiner. Then close to the license plate is the quick connect for the air connection for our AirForce One Auxillary Brake System. Normally this connector has a black plastic cover when not in use but I took it off for better visibility.



What I really like about this system is that it takes nothing away from my approach angle while adding a front skid plate, and all the connections are extremely accessible, yet they are virtually invisible to most folks.
 
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Hypalon Man

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I'm setting up a JL for flat tow behind a 15 Navion Class C/Mercedes 2500 Sprinter TD:

Maximus 3 tow points.
Maximus 3 Blue Ox adapters.
Requires 6 inch drop adapter.
Blue Ox Avail.
RVi2 Brake.

Hoping to get an light harness system from Hopkins or Curt group but they don't have a release date for the JL connectorized versions yet so I might be forced to do some splices...which is not a big deal.

20181021_113733.jpg


20181110_165903.jpg
 

E J & G

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I installed a Roadmaster base plate as it just barely pokes out of the plastic shielding below the bumper without the arms attached, although instead of making large cutouts per the instructions, I elected to measure carefully and just use a hole saw to be more precise.

Ready Brute is the way to go as I installed the Ready Brake cable end to be centered and under the bumper

The Ready Brake away cable also just is barely visible but easily accessible

This setup is really clean and appealing
2C500A88-3F00-4C55-9EC3-7C3A99430629.jpeg
 

DatsunX3

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Nice Job.
It is really clean!
 

roaniecowpony

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Some good discussion on this topic. I have a new JLUR that I want the capability to flat tow behind my truck.

I think it's wise to use all commercially available tow equipment designed/advertised for the task. Your insurance company will be less likely to challenge a claim for a mishap. Also, since most people have no engineering background, assessing bumper and frame attach structure for towing loads of the large variety of aftermarket bumpers may not be something they want to or should do.

Just my initial perspective, and I haven't actually evaluated any aftermarket bumpers nor the Jeep frame attach structure for the bumper, but "bumper towing" has a stigma which has roots in old clamp-on towbar systems from decades ago. Those systems were often poorly designed and resulted in the relatively thin bumpers being bent. The Jeep aftermarket bumpers we are discussing for potentially using as towing attach structure are a thick, channel beam, often reinforced with a winch plate between the frame members These bumpers, at first glance, appear to be more than capable of enduring the repeated working and ultimate loads of a towing setup. Most of these aftermarket bumpers are over built between the frame attach points. The frame of the Jeep is narrow, which puts the towbar attach points close to the frame resulting in low bending loads on the bumper. However, the attachment structure for the bumper on the frame end was mentioned in this thread as being a weak point. I will evaluate that before I commit to towing off any bumper.

Also, I saw a picture in this thread , of a bolt-on tab/clevis to attach a tow bar to the face of a bumper, which attached with two bolts. It's not the strength of the two bolts that concerns me, but the narrow piece betwen the bolts that attaches to the towbar.
 
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Jondrew

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My 2015 JK required disconnecting the battery prior to towing. I didn't need an auxiliary braking system and towed with a Roadmaster system.
Here’s a summary of laws related to supplemental brake systems. Even if your RV is big enough and your towbar is strong enough, you need a breakaway system in case your vehicle accidentally disconnects.

http://www.readybrake.com/state-towing-laws.html
 

Georgew48

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My 2015 JK required disconnecting the battery prior to towing. I didn't need an auxiliary braking system and towed with a Roadmaster system.
Not sure why your 2015 JK required you to disconnect the battery. I towed my 2015 Rubicon Unlimited Hard Rock all over the US and never had to disconnect the battery. The owners manual never mentioned anything about disconnecting the battery. The 2015 doesn’t have a locking steering column so no need to leave the ignition switch on. Just wondering if your Jeep was different.
 

obwahn

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My 2015 JK required disconnecting the battery prior to towing. I didn't need an auxiliary braking system and towed with a Roadmaster system.
I towed a 2015 JKU without disconnecting the battery and I do have a Brake Buddy system. hmmmmm
 

Jondrew

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zb39

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Luco, What model warn winch is that? I have the same setup and my zeon winch wouldn't fit in the lowered area due to brackets on my 19 JLR.
 

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