Receiver hitch installation information. - Jeep Compass Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 03-05-2018, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Receiver hitch installation information.

I found something out today I thought I would share as it might help others in the future. We took our Trailhawk to the service department this morning to get the hitch and trailer wiring installed. We got a call a little after 3pm to tell us they ran into an issue and had to order a new bumper or lower bumper fascia it will be in tomorrow and they did offer a loaner car. We have 3 other vehicles here at home so I told them for just keeping it another day we did not need the loaner.

Being curious and always wanting to learn something new to help myself and others I talked to the service manager to see what was going on. He told me the hitch did not come with a template to cut the bumper for the trim insert. When he pulled up the install information it said they could no longer cut out the bumper and a new fascia designed for the hitch was required. It appears the new fascia has special clips installed to hold the trim insert in place. I can only guess that the trim insert was falling out on people.

So for those that are thinking about a DIY install of the Jeep Compass factory style hitch keep this in mind. If you choose to not order a new fascia for the hitch then look the trim insert over really well and consider some type of modification that will better hold that piece in place. Also if you plan to have the service dept install the hitch you need to bring this up to them so they can give you the price for replacing that fascia. I have no idea how much that cost as I had in in our contract that the dealer would install the hitch and wiring as part of our deal.

Our Compass is a Trailhawk but I can only guess this hold true for all trims.
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post #2 of 33 Old 03-06-2018, 03:04 AM
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I saw that as I was going to tackle this for a DIY. Not a big deal mopar parts has the trim for 99 bucks. OEM of course
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post #3 of 33 Old 03-06-2018, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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I saw that as I was going to tackle this for a DIY. Not a big deal mopar parts has the trim for 99 bucks. OEM of course

No it is not a huge deal but something I thought everyone should be aware of. Getting stalled in the middle of fixing or upgrading something because of a change in the install process and having to wait on parts you didn't know you needed is always a bit of a pain.
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post #4 of 33 Old 03-07-2018, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Well another day and more hitch hang ups. It seems the techs thought they needed to program the wiring harness to work as has been done with other Jeeps. They inserted the program and my Jeep went haywire on them tossing a bunch of trouble codes. They called Jeep head honchos and they told them they used the wrong code remove it then insert a code they gave to them. Once done the Compass kicked out a whole new bunch of trouble codes. Then it was discovered that no they should not have touched the computer for this wiring harness.

So they went back to the factory default programming. Then surprise surprise more trouble codes but a lot less of them and suddenly these codes are not even related to any of the other codes or the trailer light harness they are codes for the parking brake. This lead them to the ABS module which does not even show up in the computer. So they are thinking the ABS module actually failed and was not exactly right from the factory. I'm starting to wonder if with all the programming if the thing did not just brick on them. We will know more tomorrow.

So if your adding a trailer wiring harness to the new Compass it does not appear to need to be programed into the computer and if your having it done tell the sevice dept. to not touch the computer if they insist have them call it in to the head techs at Jeep first! Got to love sometimes having the newest version of something! LOL
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post #5 of 33 Old 03-08-2018, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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Hitch saga finely over Compass is back home now. The final issue with the ABS turned out to be they nicked a wire when drilling the hole in the firewall for the trailer wiring. They actually had to pull everything back apart to trace their steps. But all is well now hitch looks great just like a factory install. They even detailed the Jeep back out as a way to say sorry it took so long. We love having our little Compass back!
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post #6 of 33 Old 03-09-2018, 01:12 PM
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Hitch saga finely over Compass is back home now. The final issue with the ABS turned out to be they nicked a wire when drilling the hole in the firewall for the trailer wiring. They actually had to pull everything back apart to trace their steps. But all is well now hitch looks great just like a factory install. They even detailed the Jeep back out as a way to say sorry it took so long. We love having our little Compass back!
Congrats Chris, how bout pictures & part #

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post #7 of 33 Old 03-09-2018, 08:30 PM
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Around how much did the install cost you? I called my local Jeep dealership, and was given a quote of $1800

called around and found a dealership that will do it for $300 labor, about $510 for the fascia, hitch, and wiring harness

Last edited by nickn066; 03-09-2018 at 09:38 PM.
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post #8 of 33 Old 03-10-2018, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Congrats Chris, how bout pictures & part #
I'll try to pull that together tomorrow and get some pics. It looks just like the factory installed hitch and comes out of the lower bumper fascia so nothing hanging down under the bumper messing with your departure angle. It is really nice and I like it a lot.
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post #9 of 33 Old 03-10-2018, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Around how much did the install cost you? I called my local Jeep dealership, and was given a quote of $1800

called around and found a dealership that will do it for $300 labor, about $510 for the fascia, hitch, and wiring harness

When we were just looking at this compass I knew we had to have at least the hitch on it for our bike rack. I went into the sevice department and ask for a price on hitch. I almost fell over they quoted almost $600 and that is before they knew they had to replace the lower fascia as they were no longer allowed to cut the hole in the non-hitch fascia and that is basically another 100 bucks or so. This is just for the hitch not the wiring. The wiring is another 200+ bucks and 2-3 hours of labor after the price on the hitch I did not ask about cost of wiring.

We continued working the price with the dealer. We had found a Trailhawk with a hitch about an hour or so away but our local dealer beat the price by enough to cover the hitch and then some. But then that dealer sent an email asking if we were still looking. We told him we were near pulling the trigger on a Jeep that was closer and cheaper. He then cut his price to beat this one the only difference is the one an hour way had the hitch and this one had no hitch but navigation. I told my salesman I was going to go look at the other one because it has the hitch that we needed.

I barely got off the lot when we got a call from the local dealer they matched the price and agreed to install the factory style hitch and wiring harness. At that point we just pulled the trigger on it as I had driven it and checked it all out for the known issues like the messed up dash dimming. So long story short I did not pay for it so I don't know what the cost for everything was. I can tell you it took 3 extra days for them to figure out the wiring and computer and they had to buy that fascia!

If I had to bet around $1000 to $1200 for the hitch,wiring, and fascia. I pretty penny for what is like a $400 factory option on the Trailhawk and I think $700-$800 on the other trims!

I think if your handy you could buy the hitch and fascia and install it yourself. It looks like you simple pull the bottom bumper fascia off. Then remove the rear impact bar and install the hitch in place of the impact bar then install the hitch type fascia and your done.

The wiring gets crazy for the factory set up as it has to run all the way to the fuse box under the hood then over to the passenger side relays behind the glove box. That is a lot of interior trim to deal with. I did see some aftermarket wiring that claims to work with the 2nd gen that is way cheaper and might be simpler to run. However I worry as sensitive as these things are it might throw codes.

On your lower estimate make sure they are talking about the lower bumper fascia and not just the face/trim plate that comes with the hitch. If so I think that is a good deal but try to get something that locks them into that price. I hate to guess even for the dealership what it cost for a tech to spend bacilly 3 1/2 days figuring out all the hang ups on mine!
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post #10 of 33 Old 03-10-2018, 02:20 AM
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I was quoted today for a Factory hitch installation for my 18 Compass TH, $512

Quote:
Factory Hitch - $512
Window Tint for Driver and Passenger windows - $259

The hitch would be factory installed. The Rock Rails and the lift would also be aftermarket as well but unfortunately they are currently not available. The window tint is aftermarket. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to see when you could get an appointment scheduled.
Tint seems a bit high on cost for 2 windows?
I don't think she knows about rock road outfitters or Teraflex

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post #11 of 33 Old 03-10-2018, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Congrats Chris, how bout pictures & part #
I have not had a chance to take pics but on Google you can do an image search for Jeep Compass factory trailer hitch and several will show up.

For part numbers I dug up some links on Mopar parts for 2018 Compass Trailhawk if you have a none Trailhawk you can go to mopar parts and find what you need. Pay attention to rear fascia as the selections will determine not only hitch but reverse sensors as well. Again you might be able to cut your stock fascia and make it work. But the service dept. told me the hitch no longer ships with the bumper template to show you where to cut the fascia. If you go this route check to see if you need to better secure that hitch trim!

https://www.moparpartscorp.com/oem-p...bC1sNC1nYXM%3D

https://www.moparpartscorp.com/oem-p...bC1sNC1nYXM%3D

https://www.moparpartscorp.com/oem-p...w0LWdhcw%3D%3D

https://www.moparpartscorp.com/oem-p...w0LWdhcw%3D%3D
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post #12 of 33 Old 03-17-2018, 02:01 AM
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So I setup the appointment to have my hitch installed while out of town. I get a call saying that they need to order the part as none are available locally. I said np. I then get a call on my way home from trip and the dealer is saying they didn't factor in the new requirements for hitch installation. Meaning they didn't really researched the cost of said hitch. Original quote was 512 installed, they now saying its going to be 748 installed, due to fact they have to replace the lower facia. Should I stick to the original quoted price? or try to meet them in the middle?

When I dropped it off I brought up the fact that they had to replace lower facia and not do cutting. and quoted price was stated.

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post #13 of 33 Old 03-17-2018, 03:20 PM
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Just a question, is it too big of a DIY job? I mean it is only 8 nuts, replacing the lower fascia and splicing into the wiring. I have never installed a receiver so I am just asking.

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post #14 of 33 Old 03-17-2018, 05:52 PM
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I had to purchase 3 parts, the fascia, the hitch, and the wiring harness, which was about 550 after tax. That's why I've been so surprised by people saying they were quoted <$600. I still haven't gotten mine installed yet, parts are supposed to be in on Monday, so I'll get it installed on Tuesday, hopefully the original $300 labor quote is still accurate.
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post #15 of 33 Old 03-17-2018, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Just a question, is it too big of a DIY job? I mean it is only 8 nuts, replacing the lower fascia and splicing into the wiring. I have never installed a receiver so I am just asking.

Yes installing the hitch having the right parts from the get go would not be that bad of a job. The wiring is another issue. These vehicles have a link to the bulbs and splicing into the system causes codes. This is why they run the wiring up to the front fuse box. So the load of the trailer lights is not seen by the computer.

When I was looking into this I did find a wiring harness by Curt I think it was that they claimed will work and had an isolation module that required a hot to be run up to the battery. It was not near as expensive and looked like a simpler install. My concern is that when looking at parts and accessories some manufactures had not yet picked up on the fact that the 17.5 and up Jeep Compass are a completely different vehicle than the older ones. So if you go this route I would contact the maker and make sure they know this!
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post #16 of 33 Old 06-30-2018, 02:47 AM
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FYI

I just installed the open hitch kit on my 2017 Trailhawk.

I used the lower fascia part with the backup sensors... very easy, super clean install

I did notice that the factory lower fascia has the cutout template etched into the inside of it... but those slots to cut out are really small... but for those wanting to save some money and are good with a dremmel, the template is already there


One note, the instructions were wrong in several places, but it was obvious what needed to be done.
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post #17 of 33 Old 06-30-2018, 06:40 PM
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I made sure when I purchased my Trailhawk that it had the factory installed trailer hitch. Not only is the factory hitch thru the rear fascia of the bumper, it also has a transmission cooler AND additional engine cooling! That to me was a "no brainer". Get the factory one, NOT an aftermarket hitch.

I saw a lot of Trailhawks that I liked when I was looking but the one I wanted needed to have a "factory hitch"

I know this isn't going to help anyone that already owns a Trailhawk, BUT, if you're looking for one, get the factory hitch!

Looking at the cost for all the parts, to do this aftermarket, it's costing you way more than factory, and you're still out the transmission cooler and additional engine cooling!

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post #18 of 33 Old 07-01-2018, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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I made sure when I purchased my Trailhawk that it had the factory installed trailer hitch. Not only is the factory hitch thru the rear fascia of the bumper, it also has a transmission cooler AND additional engine cooling! That to me was a "no brainer". Get the factory one, NOT an aftermarket hitch.

I saw a lot of Trailhawks that I liked when I was looking but the one I wanted needed to have a "factory hitch"

I know this isn't going to help anyone that already owns a Trailhawk, BUT, if you're looking for one, get the factory hitch!

Looking at the cost for all the parts, to do this aftermarket, it's costing you way more than factory, and you're still out the transmission cooler and additional engine cooling!

Out of curiosity do you have a link that shows the tow package has a trans cooler and more engine cooling? All I ever found on the tow package stated hitch and wiring for the Trailhawk and adds a full size spare to other trims.
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post #19 of 33 Old 07-01-2018, 05:09 PM
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I have discussed this with the dealer. There is no additional cooling of any kind with the factory hitch. Someone lied to you
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post #20 of 33 Old 07-01-2018, 07:02 PM
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I have discussed this with the dealer. There is no additional cooling of any kind with the factory hitch. Someone lied to you
Hmmmm, that's what they told me here.

It does have, as an "option" the code "NHAP" Engine Oil Cooler, ?? Is it possible that the 2017's options came packaged differently??

This vehicle was ordered in as a "Loaded" demo, with every possible option, for demo purposes

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post #21 of 33 Old 07-02-2018, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Hmmmm, that's what they told me here.

It does have, as an "option" the code "NHAP" Engine Oil Cooler, ?? Is it possible that the 2017's options came packaged differently??

This vehicle was ordered in as a "Loaded" demo, with every possible option, for demo purposes

I think all the 2.4s have an engine oil cooler. It is not a conventional oil cooler that routes to the radiator. It takes coolant from the engine block and runs it to a brick cooler above the oil filter. I just looked at our Trailhawk and it has this on it It also has a transmission cooler. The trans cooler is a bit of a disappointment to me actually. I have seen some pretty high transmission temps while wheeling and climbing mountain forestry roads. I was thinking I could have cooler added and drop the temps a bit. But since it has one already nothing to gain.

Personally I think the air flow and or cooling capacity suck for these Jeeps that were marketed for offroad. Yes if you your wheeling someplace you can keep your speed up on mostly level ground it does fine. But start crawling up a steep rough road at 10-15 MPH the heat builds fast on both the engine coolant and transmission temp gauge. The fan kicks in on high and stays there which keeps things at 3/4 gauge reading so it is not technically overheating but there is little room if something happens like say a dirty cooler or radiator due to a bit of mudding while wheeling. Luckily I really don't care much for mudding these days. Been there done that so if possible I drive around the muddy spots. However some will put on their swim trunks roll up their windows and dive right in with their little Jeeps. lol

I actually thought for a bit of opening up the fake grill to get more air in. I saw someplace some grill trim bezels that had a mesh in them. But after looking things over opening up the grill not only would not get more air to the cooling system I think it would hurt water fording ability. This could get you some cool ram air effect in the engine breathing department though.
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post #22 of 33 Old 07-02-2018, 08:33 PM
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Switching back to the hitch...

Now that I have the hitch receiver installed, I'm looking at options for wiring. The best the dealer could find is a factory harness that provides a 4 pin plug that seems like it just hangs there (kinda like the U-haul cheap-o ones)....I was hoping for something that looked more OEM...(maybe even a 4way and 7way plug?)

I also found a connector along the back under the bumper fascia that looks a lot like its for Hitch electrics....but the dealer parts dept couldn't tell me thats what it was (the harness they offered didn't use it)...Does anyone have access to a way to find out what that connector is for? and what the OEM part is?

Don't need he electrics right now (put the hitch on so I can use a bike rack), but plan on hauling the occasional trailer towards the end of summer...

Thanks!
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post #23 of 33 Old 07-02-2018, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Switching back to the hitch...

Now that I have the hitch receiver installed, I'm looking at options for wiring. The best the dealer could find is a factory harness that provides a 4 pin plug that seems like it just hangs there (kinda like the U-haul cheap-o ones)....I was hoping for something that looked more OEM...(maybe even a 4way and 7way plug?)

I also found a connector along the back under the bumper fascia that looks a lot like its for Hitch electrics....but the dealer parts dept couldn't tell me thats what it was (the harness they offered didn't use it)...Does anyone have access to a way to find out what that connector is for? and what the OEM part is?

Don't need he electrics right now (put the hitch on so I can use a bike rack), but plan on hauling the occasional trailer towards the end of summer...

Thanks!


So many things that extra wiring harness could be for. Do you have back up sensors in the rear bumper?

In my dealer install they had to run all the wiring that goes up to the front fuse box and over behind the glovebox. The Canbus apparently does not like to have light circuits added to it for the trailer wiring. So there is an electronic isolation block used to connect to the vehicle lights then a hot wire (and relay I think) run up to the front. So The plug you found might be the pick up for that.

I did find listings for harness systems that are claimed to work for the 2018. I know the install on some of the ones listed has a feed that has to run to the battery. If you want to go this route I would double check with the harness manufacturer to make sure they know for certain it would work for the 2017.5 and up.

I have not looked at mine to see where the wiring exits the rear. But should be pretty easy to find a spot to drill a hole in the back and pop a rubber grommet in then seal it up. As for making the install clean there are many trailer wiring brackets available just google them to find one that will work for you.
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post #24 of 33 Old 07-03-2018, 05:35 PM
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So many things that extra wiring harness could be for. Do you have back up sensors in the rear bumper?

In my dealer install they had to run all the wiring that goes up to the front fuse box and over behind the glovebox. The Canbus apparently does not like to have light circuits added to it for the trailer wiring. So there is an electronic isolation block used to connect to the vehicle lights then a hot wire (and relay I think) run up to the front. So The plug you found might be the pick up for that.

I did find listings for harness systems that are claimed to work for the 2018. I know the install on some of the ones listed has a feed that has to run to the battery. If you want to go this route I would double check with the harness manufacturer to make sure they know for certain it would work for the 2017.5 and up.

I have not looked at mine to see where the wiring exits the rear. But should be pretty easy to find a spot to drill a hole in the back and pop a rubber grommet in then seal it up. As for making the install clean there are many trailer wiring brackets available just google them to find one that will work for you.

Yep, that's what I saw. The Mopar wiring "Kit" looks just like the curtis Kit I picked up...it jumpers into each taillight, and triggered a relay with power draw coming from a line all the way back to the battery.

The only difference is the Mopar kit has a plug into the factory fuse panel and the Curtis kit doesn't (I have to use a ring connector at the battery terminal and use an inline fuse).

I was hoping to figure out if that harness was for the Factory hitch install...I bet it is..but doesn't look like they sell the "parts" to connect to it through Mopar. I can't imagine that the factory install would involve an additional wire run...

Might need to head to a dealership and see if anyone has a model on the lot with the tow package and see how the wiring was done on it...
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post #25 of 33 Old 07-04-2018, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Yep, that's what I saw. The Mopar wiring "Kit" looks just like the curtis Kit I picked up...it jumpers into each taillight, and triggered a relay with power draw coming from a line all the way back to the battery.

The only difference is the Mopar kit has a plug into the factory fuse panel and the Curtis kit doesn't (I have to use a ring connector at the battery terminal and use an inline fuse).

I was hoping to figure out if that harness was for the Factory hitch install...I bet it is..but doesn't look like they sell the "parts" to connect to it through Mopar. I can't imagine that the factory install would involve an additional wire run...

Might need to head to a dealership and see if anyone has a model on the lot with the tow package and see how the wiring was done on it...

You could always use a voltmeter to prob those connections with the lights on then with the brake pressed. If this is the the only times you get voltage on them then there you go. This is what we did back in the old days before they started making these plug in kits. Gee now I feel old thanks!
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post #26 of 33 Old 04-29-2019, 01:09 AM
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Yep, that's what I saw. The Mopar wiring "Kit" looks just like the curtis Kit I picked up...it jumpers into each taillight, and triggered a relay with power draw coming from a line all the way back to the battery.

The only difference is the Mopar kit has a plug into the factory fuse panel and the Curtis kit doesn't (I have to use a ring connector at the battery terminal and use an inline fuse).

I was hoping to figure out if that harness was for the Factory hitch install...I bet it is..but doesn't look like they sell the "parts" to connect to it through Mopar. I can't imagine that the factory install would involve an additional wire run...

Might need to head to a dealership and see if anyone has a model on the lot with the tow package and see how the wiring was done on it...
What is the part number to the Curtis kit you picked up? Looking to get something similar. Thanks
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post #27 of 33 Old 04-30-2019, 11:46 AM
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When I bought my Compass a few weeks ago, the tow package was out of stock, with no ETA. I had Uhaul install a hitch and wiring.
Total was $400. If the wiring is the same as it was on my Saturn, the harness will have an isolator.

Hooking up the trailer, my existing hardware worked fine so its about the same level as the Saturn was. I have not had any codes or problems with the wiring install.

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post #28 of 33 Old 04-30-2019, 11:19 PM
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One of my big reasons for going with the OEM over an aftermarket hitch was ground clearance. Those aftermarket hitches tend to bang the ground quite a bit if you're offroad.

They're also not mounted nearly as solidly as the OEM hitch.
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post #29 of 33 Old 05-01-2019, 11:43 AM
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In my case, I don't offroad with the vehicle where there would be that uneven of a surface where it could hit and it won't be towing on a regular basis. I had a Uhaul hitch system on my Saturn for years an never had an issue with it. It was also about at the same level which was good since the drawbars I have work with the Jeep.

Mike
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post #30 of 33 Old 05-04-2019, 09:56 AM
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I saw that as I was going to tackle this for a DIY. Not a big deal mopar parts has the trim for 99 bucks. OEM of course
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