Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk - Toadification
We wanted a newer toad after giving our 2005 Forester to my son. Looking at Sprinter towing capacity of 5,000 lbs, and desire to flat tow, and preference for an automatic transmission, we decided on a 2017 Jeep Cherokee. Only the Trailhawk version has a transfer case that has neutral.
I bought required equipment from eTrailer.com, which posts extensive how-to videos. The removal and replacement of the entire front fascia in order to remove the recovery hooks and attach the towing brackets receivers was the most intimidating part but went without a hitch (no pun intended) exactly per the instructions.
Running wiring kits is a bit more of a challenge for the Trailhawks because they have extensive skid plating protecting the underside. The direct connect adapter taps into the tailight plugs and contains all appropriate diodes. The adapter for the Jeep towing connector, which I also had to install requires a power connection.
Rather than the stock 4-pin connector (toad to Motorhome) I used a round 6-way, which includes a hot which connects to a battery tender that I added. The motorhome has a 7-way and my previous umbilical for the Forester used same.
One piece you must include with the Trailhawks is a special harness from MOPAR. It requires removal of the entire center console in order to install a covered "Tow" switch in the storage compartment. There is also a separate harness under the hood that taps power from the load center. This switch provides power to the power steering pump (which is electric, not engine driven) to provide steering assist as the vehicle is towed.
For braking I am using a Brake Buddy. There is an always hot 12v socket in the console storage compartment, but I did need to run the wiring from the breakaway switch at the bumper back to the driver side under dash area.
Lastly I was a bit disappointed at the loss of the distinctive red recovery hooks. I saw where some owners adapted an extra set of towing arms by welding the hooks on and using these arms when the vehicle is not being towed. I took this path and like the results.
The process of towing is more complex than the Forester, most notably the steps to get transfer case in Neutral and activate the steering pump switch. The Jeep is also towed in Park and ignition off (there is no steering column lock, and the transfer case disengages the wheels from the transmission).
The Trailhawk has quite a bit more ground clearance than the Forester, so a 6" rise hitch adapter was needed to level out the towbar.
Some pics show the various elements of the mods.