Has anyone switched out their factory Class II hitch for a Class III hitch on a 2021?

robynE

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Ok, so I purchased a brand new 2018 JLU and immediately noticed the factory Class II hitch didn't seem very beefy compared to my old Jeep that had a Curt Class III hitch even though both were rated at 350/3500. This concerned me so I bought a Curt Class III hitch that supposedly fit the new JL body style with the factory tow package....well it didn't. It wasn't designed to be used with the factory installed 7 Pin mount. I had to drill out a custom hole through the new Curt hitch so that I could screw the 7 pin mounting bracket bolt through the hitch! It was doable but not super easy.

Fast forward to 2020, I now have a 2021 4xe on order so I'm trying to think ahead about what I want to do about the hitch. I'm hoping that I can just remove the Class III hitch from the 2018 JL (put the factory class II back on to sell) and the already custom drilled Curt Class III is going to magically exactly match the same screw hole from my 2018 on the 2021 HA! I bet that's a pipe dream. So.....

I see that the Curt Class III hitch still doesn't have a pre-drilled hole to allow the factory 7pin bracket to mount through (you would think they would have modified it by now) so one option is to buy another Curt hitch and custom drill it, or I was looking at the Draw Tite model this time since its designed different than the Curt. My only concern is I see it has this metal plate on the left side of the hitch designed for mounting your wiring, BUT, the factory installed 7 pin wiring harness already comes mounted of course. I'm wondering if that little added plate on the side of the Draw Tite hitch is going to interfere with the metal bracket already installed that holds the 7pin? Very hard to describe what I'm talking about.

PERHAPS....the 7 pin bracket is mounted farther to the left on the 2021? I will have to wait and see I guess, but I'm just wondering if anyone who already has a 2021 has tried to switch out the Class II hitch and install a Class III receiver on a 2021 JLU WITH the factory two package? Is the 7pin mounting bracket a problem like it was for me on the 2018?

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Plongson

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Interested...but what structural differences are there from the OEM class 2 and the aftermarket class 3?

I agree, the OEM C2 looks puny and I looked to see how it can be structurally improved/beefed up, but damn, things are so tight under there, it would be nearly impossible without losing ground clearance or departure angle. We're getting a small travel trailer and going to use an EQ hitch, but the OEM C2 barely looks up to the task.

What have you got going at this point??
 
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robynE

robynE

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I thought it looked puny too so I bought the Curt C3 and switched them out, BUT, its not a simple install. The 7pin wiring bracket screw hole over laps with the hitch. My neighbor helped me drill through the Curt hitch so the 7pin bracket could be screwed back in on top of the hitch. It causes the 7pin to sit at a slight angle (see photos) but you can't tell really. You "might" be able to shift the 7pin mounting bracket to the left enough to clear the hitch, but we didn't try that so I'm not sure if it would still clear the bumper for the flaps to open on the mount. This will still require drilling new holes though.

I don't know what the structural differences are either other than the Curt is noticeably heavier than the factory hitch. The Curt hitch is approved for up to 400/4000 with a weight distro hitch (WDH). Of course the Jeep is rated 350/3500, but the WDH takes ALOT of weight off the rear axle. I only have a 1/4" squat on the rear with my 3000 pound RV hitched up. I DEFINITELY recommend a WDH if you are towing any kind of RV. The difference in squat with and without the WDH is several inches. Keep in mind any squat on the back means less weight on the front tires and if you have too much squat in the back you lose steering capability as the front end comes up. You have to be very aware of this when deciding how to safely tow. The WDH hitch literally distributes the tongue weight on the front and rear axles and back to the trailer axle as well. I have the Turbo engine and it tows super nice. I don't even feel the camper back there on take off from a stop light, etc.

I'm actually considering the Draw-Tite for the 2021 I have on order, but again, the 7pin harness is going to have to be moved which means drilling into the frame.
 
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Plongson

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So are the aftermarket units just"beefier" or do they add or move attachment points? The one small transverse frame bracket will see a shit load of torque with a WD hitch installed...
 
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robynE

robynE

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The Curt is just beefier. I'd say 10 pounds heavier. It attaches exactly the same as the factory hitch using the same four bolt holes. It seems like the WDH hitch significantly lessens the burden on the Jeep frame to me. Any torque that is transferred would be evenly distributed to all three axles, but I'm not an engineer so I can't say that for sure. I really hardly feel the camper back there. When I first put the weight of the tongue of the camper on the hitch (before I hook up the WDH), it squats down noticeably to the point I wouldn't drive it like that. Once I put on the WDH like I said I just have a 1/4" difference from when I have nothing hitched up. If you'd like to private message me I can give you all the info you like on towing as I have become a self-certified Jeep towing expert after I went into MAJOR study mode before I bought my camper to make sure it was going to be safe.
 

Abnmarine

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The Curt is just beefier. I'd say 10 pounds heavier. It attaches exactly the same as the factory hitch using the same four bolt holes. It seems like the WDH hitch significantly lessens the burden on the Jeep frame to me. Any torque that is transferred would be evenly distributed to all three axles, but I'm not an engineer so I can't say that for sure. I really hardly feel the camper back there. When I first put the weight of the tongue of the camper on the hitch (before I hook up the WDH), it squats down noticeably to the point I wouldn't drive it like that. Once I put on the WDH like I said I just have a 1/4" difference from when I have nothing hitched up. If you'd like to private message me I can give you all the info you like on towing as I have become a self-certified Jeep towing expert after I went into MAJOR study mode before I bought my camper to make sure it was going to be safe.
I’d love to hear more about how towing the 3,000 lb camper with the 2.0. I’m driving from Florida to Oklahoma on Monday to buy a Rpod (killer deal that I couldn’t pass up) and will tow it back to Florida. I already installed the Curt hitch, have a Equalizer WDH and will install the Autobrake brake controller. I also just installed the Superchips tune and will run their tow tune when towing. It increases the hp/tq but also shifts the curve 600 rpms earlier. I’ve towed a lot over the years but this will be the first with the JLU.

Curious what MPGs you got and what rpms at 65 mph? Any additional info is greatly appreciated.
 
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robynE

robynE

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I didn't do anything at all to my 2018 JLU (turbo) other than the Curt Class III hitch and a Tekonsha brake controller. It tows so well I never needed to consider anything else. The RPMs are basically the same at 65 either towing or not. I really don't feel the camper back there. The only time you will see higher RPMs is towing up a hill (same when not towing) and then I just manual shift down to 2nd gear. Or I just let off the gas for a second to drop it down.

Honestly, I don't pay attention to the MPG so I can't offer much insight there, but I towed a loaded uhaul from Florida to Maryland and I got 17-18mpg. I noticed because it was a long trip and just happened to check it along the way. That was all "uphill" though in elevation the whole way, so will probably get 18-19 coming home "downhill" to Florida. Don't laugh, its actually true since Florida is at sea level.

Most important tips I guess are to be meticulous about keeping trailer tire pressure at optimal PSI. The WDH puts more weight on the trailer tires.

I don't know what the tongue weight is on the RPOD but try to keep as much weight inside the Jeep forward of the rear axle and also try to keep weight toward the center of RV.
 

Abnmarine

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I also good about ensuring my tires are inflated correctly. I have that on my checklist. The MPGs isn’t a concern, I’m just hoping to go about 250 miles between fill ups. That’s why I asked.
I got my 2” ball swapped onto the WDH. Also have a bag full of tools just in case. Probably over thinking it but I want to be ready if I have an issue.
Once I hook the trailer up I intend to move all of the tools into its storage compartment so as to help with the hitch weight. I might even stop at a CAT scale just for grins.

Thanks for the information. It’s been helpful and it seems that we both selected similar hitches.
 
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robynE

robynE

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I also bought a tongue scale. It cost over $100 but it's worth the piece of mind.
 

Abnmarine

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I just returned from Florida to Oklahoma and back with the camper. We had a steady 26 mph headwind for all of yesterday and then 12 mph today. I averaged 12.1 mpgs over the 1,080 miles towing the Rpod which weighs 3,200 lbs. I used the Superchips tow tune and ran premium fuel and the 2.0 did great. My WDH was dialed in perfectly and I was impressed how well the Jeep towed the little camper. Temps stayed at 192 for coolant unless climbing a steep grade and it occasionally increased to 220 where the tune turned on the electric fan. Then it quickly dropped back down to 208. The transmission temps stayed at 197 and oil temps were at 216-226 degrees. I did previously swap my grill inserts for the Gladiator ones.
Once I got i to Alabama the winds finally died down and my mileage stayed consistent at 13-14 mpgs. I always towed at 65 mph.
 

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Can you relocate the 7 pin connector? You should be able to use some self tapping screws to secure it to another location.
 
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robynE

robynE

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Can you relocate the 7 pin connector? You should be able to use some self tapping screws to secure it to another location.
That's what I'm hoping to do. I'm just not sure until I get to the install if moving the 7pin to the left is going to clear the plastic bumper to the point I can open out the doors on the outlets. The bumper is contoured around the hitch area and just to the left or right the contour ends. I just have to see if it clears the bumper when moved over. Thanks for the idea.
 

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So are the aftermarket units just"beefier" or do they add or move attachment points? The one small transverse frame bracket will see a shit load of torque with a WD hitch installed...
yeah. i want a 2" torsion tube across the whole thing, with plates onto the main rails.
i'm planning on using a weight transfer hitch, and the twist on the. rear crossmember will
be pretty severe.

interestingly enough, i put a 2" ball on the back yesterday, and hooked up a box trailer with a rock crawler in it, about 5500 lbs total trailer weight, and took it for a test drive. the hitch dropped about an inch and a half was all. trailer is well balanced.

so does anyone have a real class 3 receiver, or do i have to make my own?
 
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robynE

robynE

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I put a Curt ckass III on my 2018 but going with a draw tite on the 2021 4xe. I suggest going to etrailer.com and entering your vehicle info. It will show you about 5 I think. A couple are class II though.
 
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