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Author Topic: Do it myself or Pay?  (Read 1839 times)

EdS

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Do it myself or Pay?
« on: January 21, 2017, 11:02:02 AM »
Hello all...

Looking to set up my 2015 Wrangler as a toad.. I've read the wealth of info here, so parts choices are not an issue. Plenty of good systems out there to choose from. My issue is whether to do it myself or pay to have it done.

I'm not really concerned about the mechanical aspect of setting up the baseplate.. or changing the bumper out like some here have done. My issue is that I am not strong on electrical, and am hesitant to add wiring harnesses into the jeep for turn signal use.

The local RV store.. General RV.. quoted me 7 hours of labor to install a kit into the jeep, and $199 an hour! $1400...

So my question is.. what am I looking at for wiring harness needed to do it right? And are the instructions good.. or do I really need a pro do make sure its 100%..

Thoughts?

nvrver

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2017, 11:47:08 AM »
My alternate around working without getting into vehicle wiring is to use magnetic LED tail lights.  On my previous Jeep GC and current CRV I have run wires to the back of the vehicle to plug my LED lights into.  I did the base plate on my 2004 GC and it was a easy job.  Dick
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Rene T

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2017, 12:47:55 PM »
So you're saying $1400.00 just for the wiring?
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
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Lowell

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2017, 01:19:46 PM »
When I used to tow my Scout, I just used a Harbor Freight magnetic towing light kit. $15 for regular lights, $30 for LEDs.

http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?q=magnetic+towing+lights
Lowell

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pulled by 2009 Dodge 1500 Crew Cab 4X4
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Tempe, Arizona

Jim Godward

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2017, 01:52:24 PM »
The kits are very good as are the instructions.  If I were you I would find an independent car shop and have them do it.  The whole installation of base plate and wiring on my Jeep Grand Cherokee was less than what you are quoting and that involved removing the whole front grill and fenders as well as the wiring.  The last time I wired a car was my 2002 Jeep GC and it took me about 2 hours or so.
Jim
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EdS

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2017, 03:07:14 PM »
So you're saying $1400.00 just for the wiring?

No, sorry.. they wanted $1400 in labor to mount the base plate and wire everything, if I bought the parts from them separately.

grashley

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2017, 06:06:19 PM »
As I understand, there are three basic types of toad wiring.

The magnetic mount lights:  Simply run a wire from the lights to the back of the RV and plug into the trailer harness.  Done.  Cheap.

Drill and mount separate "toad" lights into existing tail light housing, then run wires forward to the back of the RV and plug into trailer harness.  There is NO connection to toad wiring at all.  Looks better, but takes more time.  Easier setup, just plug it in.

Tap into the toad wiring harness and use existing tail / brake lights.  More complex, but certainly can be done.  Simple hook up.

The first two should be DIY for your skill set.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2017, 06:17:50 PM »
I would not think that base plates & wiring would run more than 4 hours, even on today's admittedly complex vehicle front ends. And $199/hr is highway robbery, even for an RV dealer. Find a hitch shop and the price should be less than half that.

But as the others have suggested, the wiring need not be difficult. On one of my toads I put in a permanent set of wires front to back but used the magnetic lights, plugging them into the socket I installed at the back end.

Another alternative is to install the base plates yourself (what about a brake?) and take the car to a U-Haul place or hitch shop and have them add the lighting for you.
Gary
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EdS

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2017, 10:59:08 AM »
I would not think that base plates & wiring would run more than 4 hours, even on today's admittedly complex vehicle front ends. And $199/hr is highway robbery, even for an RV dealer. Find a hitch shop and the price should be less than half that.

But as the others have suggested, the wiring need not be difficult. On one of my toads I put in a permanent set of wires front to back but used the magnetic lights, plugging them into the socket I installed at the back end.

Another alternative is to install the base plates yourself (what about a brake?) and take the car to a U-Haul place or hitch shop and have them add the lighting for you.

Agreed on the highway robbery.. not sure how they stay in business, as they are the biggest RV chain in our area (Michigan.. Detroit to mid michigan)

As for the Brake.. I hadn't made up my mind between a Blue Ox Patriot or the Ready Brute system. My OCD side like the idea of having gain control in the cab instead of trusting mechanicals. We drive from Michigan to the west or deep south yearly, so we do a lot of mile and a lot of grades.

eds172

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2017, 11:27:13 AM »
Great on-line name!
1995 Tioga Ford 460 (project)

john owens

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2017, 11:53:38 AM »
Amazon has a nice set of magnetic tail lights with very strong magnets. Just plug into the factory 5 pin rectangle plug. I like to use 4 or 5 zipties and attach the wires onto door handels and the hood latch so the paint doesn't get bruised up when the wires flap around during freeway speds. Also after initial hookup  mark lights left/right for obvious reasons. Works well for us and I saved 400 bones from the crooks at my local RV shop.
2011 Winnebago 37F Class A  2012 Unlimited JK 2001 HD roadking  1964 Manx 1641cc buggy 1985 22'Lazy Daze Class C 2007 Chaparrel 26' deck boat..Thats all folks!!

John From Detroit

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2017, 12:49:31 PM »
I will make the wiring easy.... and easier still.

There are 3 tow light systems (or 4) you may wish to consider

Diode system: This system uses the existing lights.. You buy a kit designed specifically for your vehicle.. Route the wires, generally the "Rear" end of the wires ends up under the dash.. under the dash will be a plug and socket where two parts of the wiring harness come together, there is only one plug/socket like it under the dash.

You unplug them

ON the Diode kit is a plug and a socket.. You plug it into the socket, and then plug the plug into the socket on the kit,, Other than tidying up (Zip tying cables and such) job done.. it is truly that easy.

Option 2.. (And 3) you run wires all the way to the back of the jeep.

In option 2, there is a snap in light holder on the end of the wires, You drill a specific size hole in the side of the tail light housing (inside the jeep) and "Snap in" the lamp holder

In option 3 you add additional lights

I have used options 1 and 2, Really like 2, though I did have to do a bit of tribble shooting with it. had a bad ground on the Motor home end of the harness.

But truly, it's very easy.. There is basically only one way to mess it up

(on option 2 and 3 you can reverse the lights and put the right one on the left side)

Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Terry A. Brewer

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2017, 03:26:19 PM »

EdS

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2017, 09:36:42 PM »

EdS

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2017, 09:40:53 PM »
I found a bumper another online blogger recommended, which gets rid of the base plate issue... Rock Hard Patriot in aluminum (cuts out about 100 lbs too..)

Will look into all the wiring options, thanks all!

EdS

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2017, 10:02:33 PM »
This kit makes wiring your jeep child's play...http://www.cooltechllc.com/wrangler-parts-accessories/54-jk-tow-harness-deluxe-kit.html

Can you tell me more? I've been trying to read up on it online, and there seems to be confused info. If you used it, can you tell me about install.. stuff like that?

Old_Crow

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2017, 06:31:46 AM »
OK, I freely admit that this method isn't for everyone.  I'm extremely cheap(just ask my kids)as well as very mechanical.  The other part of this is that my Jeep was built in the last century.

I had a pair of magnetic lights, but didn't care for them(scratched the paint, too dim).  I cut the wire off the lights and threw them away. 
On my Jeep the harness for the rear lights passes along the inside of the body under the driver's door opening.  I bought a set of flat 4 pigtails and cut the wires to the taillights at a handy point and installed the flat 4 pigtails.  I also installed another pigtail on the harness I cut off the mag lights.  Ran that harness from the front back to where I spliced the harness.  When I hook up, I just unplug the pigtail set and plug the rear half into the harness I installed.  When I unhook, I just coil the harness up and tuck it under the winch.  I suppose I could coil it back in under the hood if I wanted it out of sight.
I know I could have used diodes and just spliced into the harness, but this method used what I had laying around plus a $4 pigtail set.

Side note:  When the Jeep was stolen, I had unhooked the Jeep from the m/h, but not switched the light wiring.  When I got the Jeep back, the thief had unplugged the m/h harness and plugged the tail lights back into the Jeep.  Guess it wasn't that hard to figure out.
Wally Crow
Retired 30 year ASE Master Auto Tech
Y2K Bounder 36S F53
'03 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

mojographics

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2017, 07:04:49 AM »
I'm in the 'process', of setting my HHR up for flat towing. I inquired at the closest Blue Ox dealer about a base plate, and installation yesterday. Was quoted $3500.00, Includes the wiring kit, but doesn't include installing the wiring kit. Guess I'll be installing my own baseplate, and stuff.

Terry A. Brewer

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2017, 02:09:53 PM »
Can you tell me more? I've been trying to read up on it online, and there seems to be confused info. If you used it, can you tell me about install.. stuff like that?


It is plug and play...You unhook a connection on the drivers side taillight, plug in the new wiring harness, run the cable through the jeeps frame, connect the mounting bracket, install the plug and you're ready to go. Takes 1-1.5 hrs max.

There are good instructions in the kit, I installed in on my 2016 JKRU.

I didn't use the battery disconnect as it is not needed on my Jeep.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 02:20:33 PM by Terry A. Brewer »

EdS

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2017, 04:53:07 PM »
It is plug and play...You unhook a connection on the drivers side taillight, plug in the new wiring harness, run the cable through the jeeps frame, connect the mounting bracket, install the plug and you're ready to go. Takes 1-1.5 hrs max.

There are good instructions in the kit, I installed in on my 2016 JKRU.

I didn't use the battery disconnect as it is not needed on my Jeep.

Sounds like we found our kit then...

And my dealer wanted 7 hours at $199 a hour... >:(


GA_Boy

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2017, 05:32:01 PM »
I installed these in my Oldsmobile.
https://www.amazon.com/Hopkins-48955-Towed-Vehicle-Diodes/dp/B0002Q81Y4
Then ran wires along the frame to a 4 prong connector for the RV connection.
You can do all this yourself.
Marvin

EdS

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2017, 09:26:12 PM »
I dont think diodes would work with the newer jeeps, as they have a "can-bus" electrical system. Just what I have read... meaning, I dont know for sure.

jagnweiner

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Re: Do it myself or Pay?
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2017, 01:32:50 PM »
One possible alternative:  Have a local body shop do the work.  When I wanted to install a Blue Ox baseplate and lighting kit on my Honda.  I was initially going to do it myself.  I had read the instructions online and it didn't look all that hard.  Then when I got the baseplate and started looking at the car, I realized that removing and replacing the bumper cover, grill, moldings, etc. was going to be a lot harder than I thought.  I took the instructions to my local body man who I know pretty well and asked him if he thought he could do it.  He looked at the instructions and said sure.  I had him install the light kit as well.  As Gary suggested, I think it was around 4 hrs of work at $60 an hour.  Well worth it and I've had no problems over the last 4 years.
-Scott
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD

 

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