Trailer Hitches! - Jeep Compass Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 09-11-2018, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Trailer Hitches!

The only thing I really wanted that the Trailhawk I bought doesn't have was the trailer hitch. Let me see your hitches! I am leaning hard on going with the Mopar part but I haven't seen any aftermarket ones installed on a Trailhawk yet. A guy I work with has a limited with a uhaul unit installed and I kinda hate it. If I buy the Mopar hitch, I also have to buy the insert for the facia too, so it's almost 2x what an aftermarket unit would be. So post up your Trailhawk rear end shots. Please.

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post #2 of 28 Old 09-11-2018, 11:38 PM
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I had the factory hitch installed as part of the deal with buying our Trailhawk. The deal with the insert is a mixed bag of nuts. Someone here I think said there was markings to cut the rear fascia for the insert on the back of the facia. My dealer stated they had to get a new lower fascia because they were not allowed to cut them out anymore. Apparently an issue with cutting them out and the inserts falling out. But the insert comes with the mopar hitch I think so you could try to cut the lower fascia and if it fits tight and looks good roll with it. If not then order the new lower fascia for the Trailhawk with trailer hitch.

The wiring was a pain for them to install as well. These require an isolation type wiring setup to keep the Canbus happy. Curt I think says they have a cheaper harness that fits these new Compass but you will still need to run a wire up to the front for power.

I really like having the factory type hitch it looks great and will not get snagged on something off-road. We mainly use it for a receiver bike hitch and being mounted higher keeps clearance good between the bike and the ground even off road. Under the bumper would lower this clearance of coarse they make parts to raise or lower the hitch so not a huge issue.

I also would worry a bit with an aftermarket hitch and the unibody. The factory type replaces the rear crash bar and is very solidly bolted in. Most aftermarkets I have seen use available holes in the bottom of the unibody and don't really catch a lot of metal. I have yet to see the aftermarket ones on a Compass so I don't know how well they are bolted on.

Just some food for thought.
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post #3 of 28 Old 09-12-2018, 12:33 AM
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I don't have a trailhawk but just bought a new 4x4 latitude and as part of my deal I had the dealership throw in the mopar hitch, wiring and new bumper.When they put a new bumper and insert on and scuffed and scraped them up so I made them buy and install another new bumper and insert. If it helps anybody there are some part numbers on the paper work on line #1 in case someone wants to order the parts themselves later on



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post #4 of 28 Old 09-12-2018, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 84z28 View Post
I don't have a trailhawk but just bought a new 4x4 latitude and as part of my deal I had the dealership throw in the mopar hitch, wiring and new bumper.When they put a new bumper and insert on and scuffed and scraped them up so I made them buy and install another new bumper and insert. If it helps anybody there are some part numbers on the paper work on line #1 in case someone wants to order the parts themselves later on






Just a side note here these parts are all different between Trailhawk and non-Trailhawk. I think the only hitch related thing that is the same between the 2 is the wiring harness.
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post #5 of 28 Old 09-12-2018, 12:54 AM
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Correct this is the mopar hitch for the trailhawk

https://moparonlineparts.com/jeep-co...wk-p-7679.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Jacobs View Post
Just a side note here these parts are all different between Trailhawk and non-Trailhawk. I think the only hitch related thing that is the same between the 2 is the wiring harness.
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post #6 of 28 Old 09-12-2018, 04:20 AM
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The OEM/Mopar one is the only way to go if you are doing any serious towing whatsoever. The only thing an under-the-bumper aftermarket unit would be marginally acceptable for is a bike rack and/or very intermittent towing of a small utility trailer or aluminum fishing boat. The OEM one is a proper height, pair it with a quality drop hitch and literally every trailer sits at exactly the right tongue height. Flipping a drop hitch over to create a riser is not as good. Not only does it look stupid (check out any minivan that has one) its not 'right' for any serious loads, the height of the safety chain points on the OEM receiver allows the chains to work properly if your coupler breaks loose. They are meant to be able to cradle the tongue of the trailer and keep it off the ground if they have to, that doesn't work on an under-the-bumper unit as it is too close to the ground to start with (PS, don't forget to cross your chains or they won't work as intended either!)

Look at these various trailers on our Compass with the OEM receiver, all of them sit perfectly and you can see it just "looks right":














Consider also that the OEM height is ideal for a cargo rack. As you can see below if an under-the-bumper receiver was used the rack would be too low and the exhaust would be blowing on the cargo. With the OEM receiver the exhaust safely clears the rack. The rear door still opens even with the cooler and trunk on there.




A six inch drop hitch works perfectly for everything I have towed so far. I highly recommend the $15 anti-rattle plate for any long trips or heavy loads as it takes all the play out of the receiver tube allowing for a quieter, smoother ride and less wear and tear on the receiver overall.




I know its a lot more work/cost to go the OEM route if you don't get it right out of the gate but its well worth the effort. They seem to have put a lot of thought and effort into placing it and it works great. I have really pushed the limits once or twice and everything to do with the receiver, rear suspension, brakes, and handling characteristics has been great.. Even when the tongue weight of the trailer is pretty high... Lack of engine torque has been the only real limiting factor.

Again, for a bike rack or a small light trailer it doesn't matter as much but the OEM is definitely better. I just wish they offered a 7-pin connector, going to have to install my own at some point. I've just been using a homemade 4-to-7 pin adapter to connect the minimum for trailer lights on the bigger trailers but planning to install a 7 pin receptacle and brake controller eventually.
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post #7 of 28 Old 09-12-2018, 12:06 PM
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Thanks for the write up and pictures, Very informative.
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post #8 of 28 Old 09-12-2018, 04:06 PM
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arudlang, Lots of great points and the pics help visualise those points. Like you I wonder how much metal an aftermarket hitch catches I have seen some aftermarkets damage some vehicles one that just had a 4 bike rack on it because the hitch was clamp bolted into thin metal in the unibody. Rocking around caused the metal to fatigue and crack around where the bolts slid into unibody. This will never be an issue with the way the factory Compass hitch mounts in.

Great point to the cargo carrier as well. I have used mine on factory type under bumper hitches and it was so low hanging off the back I was worried if I ended up on much of a hill it would drag the ground. I was not worried about the exhaust but maybe I should have been.
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post #9 of 28 Old 09-12-2018, 06:48 PM
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Thanks guys I have to say I am pretty proud of the Compass' capabilities in this department since we got it. Some of you know I had been pushing for a small pickup truck but the Compass was the only thing that had the seal of approval from the better half.

The exhaust vs cargo rack was a note I ran across when reading reviews shopping around for our cargo rack. There are a lot of folks who reported melting bits of their cargo depending on their setup: https://www.amazon.com/Highland-1042...ews-filter-bar

We sandwiched our big tent in between the cooler/trunk and the rear door of the Compass when we went camping, the bag was half off the rack but with enough bungy straps it didn't go anywhere (pinned up against the rear of the Jeep anyways) its about the size of a bag of golf clubs and just has a thin tarp-bag its stored in, but it was apparently high enough above the exhaust we didn't have any issues with the tent riding there from Minnesota to Wisconsin and back. I really like the cargo rack its been handy to have for trips when storage in the Compass itself is a bit limited. Cheap vs a roof rack (although I want one of those too!)

I don't have any pictures but we really put a lot on that rack too for the last part of the Wisconsin trip, we picked up two friends and all their gear so space was REALLY limited, we already had our cooler full of beer and ice and the plastic trunk with 75 pounds of tools and misc, plus our big tent... then they put their cooler and TWO cases of water bottles on top of that stuff (yes, all on the rack, nearly to the point of obstructing the rear view!) Luckily we only had to go a few miles that way, I was a little worried the cheap rack would fold the square tube in the receiver but it made it. Full disclosure though I assembled that rack per instructions and then welded the snot out of it with my little wire feed, and chained extra braces from the sides of it over to where the safety chains of a trailer would hook up on the Compass. Still, that OEM receiver had a lot of weight leveraging on it and it seemed to be ok.

The book says 200 pounds max tongue weight but that seems to be a number they came up with based more on suspension/handling characteristics, the actual receiver itself holds up to a good bit more (so far) provided obviously that we are very careful. The towing package and advertised capabilities were the #1 deciding factor for us vs any other competing small SUV. Since I was talked out of a pickup truck I end up towing at least a small trailer about 15% of the time for various large or dirty items and its been everything I had hoped it would be. They did look at me funny when I went into the service department at the dealer and inquired about whether any factory 7-pin connector or OEM brake controller was available for it... but thats alright. The important part is the stock receiver is solid, I can handle wiring up an aftermarket brake controller.



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post #10 of 28 Old 09-12-2018, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the great info! I pulled the trigger on the Mopar unit on eBay from a dealer out of Jersey $160 shipped, and the etrailer/Curt/tekonsha T-one light wiring kit. I will let you all know how it goes. Also, how strong are the red tow hooks? Can you actually use them to pull stuck people out of sand/mud?

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post #11 of 28 Old 09-12-2018, 08:21 PM
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So...................is a 6" Drop the way to go? I'm looking at picking up the hitch and ball and was curious as to what the "standard" drop is.

I was looking at a stainless steel one, but am probably going to go all black.

I just want to make sure I get the right "drop". (6" seems like quite a bit? I almost picked up a 2" drop one. I was thinking more like 2" or 3 1/2"..............not 6!)

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post #12 of 28 Old 09-12-2018, 08:22 PM
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Those of you that have a Trailhawk, with the OEM hitch ..................what "drop" hitch did you put on, for most utility trailers. (1 7/8th ball too??)
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post #13 of 28 Old 09-12-2018, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10-64
Those of you that have a Trailhawk, with the OEM hitch ..................what "drop" hitch did you put on, for most utility trailers. (1 7/8th ball too??)
I don't have a trailhawk but might as well say just for the sake of collecting useful data for future forum searchers...



18 inches to the very tippy top my ball, maybe a fuzz less, with the 6 inch curt drop hitch. It sounds high but even my smallest trailer has a slightly forward tilt to the bed with height, unless its loaded down with a lot of weight, then it becomes level. Thats why I say it seems to be about perfect.

I use a convert-a-ball so I can swap between 1+7/8 and 2 inch without changing anything else, which is handy.

Come on now everyone else, @10-64 needs you do get out your measuring sticks and contribute some data! What trim, stock receiver or aftermarket, and drop/rise on your hitch, height to top of ball, please and thank you

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post #14 of 28 Old 09-13-2018, 02:59 AM
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The industry standard for coupler height is 17" Get what ever drop that will put the bottom of the ball as close to 17" as you can. (If you can't get one that is exactly 17" I would go an inch higher rather than an inch lower. The weight of the tongue will compress the shocks a little anyway.)
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post #15 of 28 Old 09-13-2018, 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jake722 View Post
Thank you for all the great info! I pulled the trigger on the Mopar unit on eBay from a dealer out of Jersey $160 shipped, and the etrailer/Curt/tekonsha T-one light wiring kit. I will let you all know how it goes. Also, how strong are the red tow hooks? Can you actually use them to pull stuck people out of sand/mud?

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I feel you choose the best route for the hitch! There are some threads on here that deal with the install. One made it pretty clear you might need an impact gun to break the bolts on that rear crash bar.

As for recovery hooks they seem pretty strong we have had to pull a fair sized tree out of the road once. We also had to pull a midsize car off of a drop off. They pulled over for us to pass on a narrow road and ended up dropping a front wheel off a steep embankment and was jammed up hard on the edge of the road. Compass still popped it out easy peasy.

It is recommended if your really stuck or trying to recover something really stuck with the front hooks you should use both hooks. Also make sure you use a proper recovery strap. They stretch and bring the load against both vehicles much more softly as to not rip things apart. This is one of the first things I bought for our Trailhawk to toss in with my spare and glad I did. The one we got was pretty cheap at Harbor Freight and is doing a great job. I'm starting to think for a rear recovery I might get a recovery hitch with a shackle I think the hitch is much more secure than the rear hook. But if your being sensible the rear hook is likely just fine.

Best of luck and let us know how it goes!
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post #16 of 28 Old 09-13-2018, 06:08 PM
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Aftermarket units mount it below the bumper. Mopar is the only good option in my opinion.

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post #17 of 28 Old 09-13-2018, 11:48 PM
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Are you using a 6" drop hitch?

https://pdouqw.dm.files.1drv.com/y4m...&cropmode=none
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post #18 of 28 Old 09-14-2018, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10-64 View Post
arudlang

Are you using a 6" drop hitch?
@10-64 yes that one pictured there is my actual one I use all the time. If you zoom in you can almost read the details on the sticker still, 6 inch drop, 7500# rating (750# max tongue weight), 1 inch shank hole, made by Curt. There is cheaper stuff out there, obviously 7500# is more than the Compass can safely pull and you don't have to have the more expensive higher rated ball either (3/4" shank would be fine) but for a few dollars more I like having the heavier duty stuff, especially given how often I actually do haul at (or sometimes above) the Compass' official stated capacities.

Driving on public roads is modestly dangerous enough on its own. Towing is even more dangerous, but a lot of people don't give proper respect to the increased risks and complications that go along with towing. A person ought to spend the bucks and use good quality hitch and ball. It doesn't have to have a 17,000# rating but just buying the cheapest one at 2000# from the cheapest place you can find, knowing full well they used the cheapest thinnest metal they could slide by on, for the critical connection between two heavy vehicles you are planning to drive down the road at high speed...

Thats just my opinion though. Up here in the land of lakes I see people all the time driving competitor's vehicles similar in size to the Compass with a big ole boat or camper bending a little baby class 1 or 2 hitch, chains dragging on the ground (or no chains at all) with their el-cheapo 4-bolt aftermarket receiver tapped into the tin of the uni-body...

I'm surprised how well the rear suspension of the Compass handles trailering, obviously after about 135# the "squat" effect becomes noticeable, but not terribly excessive until you are going on the 250-300# mark and even then its still driveable. I was afraid I'd be needing to hunt for upgraded rear springs and shocks but it actually hasn't been necessary, we seem to have gotten some pretty good quality suspension parts OEM.
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post #19 of 28 Old 09-14-2018, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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The hitch came yesterday! Bought it from Teterboro Jeep on ebay Monday night. It was 160 shipped and it was delivered yesterday morning! I'm just waiting for the wiring kit from etrailer to do it all at once!

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post #20 of 28 Old 09-24-2018, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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So it's all mounted and the aftermarket wiring kit (T-one) is all wired up, I dremeled the bumper out (carefully) I got a little overzealous with the holes for the bottom clips, but you can only see it if you get under the rear bumper and look for it. Can someone upload a pick of how the 4pin connector is connected to the hitch/rear of the truck? From the pics I could find of the Mopar harness it looks like a rubber gromett holds it into the bar? I coiled up the excess 4pin wire and stuffed it in the tube and zip tied the connector to the chain loop for now until I figure that out.

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post #21 of 28 Old 09-24-2018, 11:27 PM
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Nice work. Watch that insert make sure it can't pop out especially if you missed the mark on the cutout. This is why I was told the sevice department requires buying the a new lower fascia made for the hitch was inserts were falling out if not cut out on the mark.

How did the wiring work out I know others will want to know this given the 200 + bucks for the mopar wiring harness. I went out to look at ours but there is really nothing to get a pic of. So speaking of the factory part I pulled it up to look at it. It is not just a rubber grommet but more like a rubber connector molded into the back of 4 pin that locks into the rectangular cutout on the hitch.

I tried to see if I could find a 4 pin plug that looks the same anyplace but no luck yet. However I did find a 4 pin plug bracket. I wonder if you cut the angle off of it then drilled holes in the face and hitch might be able to be mounted over the factory hole. They also make a bracket that clamps around the receiver tube and holds the 4 pin.

https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...ophy/BK4F.html

https://www.farmandfleet.com/product...EaAsy6EALw_wcB

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post #22 of 28 Old 09-25-2018, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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The way it clips in is very secure. The clips on the outside (short) edges lock into the tabs on the insert itself, and push against the bumper, the top row was pretty tight and snug, the bottom clips have those ****ty metal press on clips that attach to the tab, even if they fail it should be ok. I should have taken pics. It shows them in the instructors that came with it. The instructions that came with the wiring were pretty straight forward and simple, and came with everything needed to wire it up. They included double sided tape to mount the module, and a self tapper for the ground. I already had the power wire for the light bar running thru the d/s tail light so to be extra cautious we added the included inline fuse between the module and tapped that power wire. (Even though the line was already fused). There was plenty of wire to run the pass side down under the bumper and back up to the pass tail light, the connections for the lights were nice, tight and secure. It wasn't that bad of a job.

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post #23 of 28 Old 10-02-2018, 06:40 PM
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[QUOTE=arudlang;141871]
A six inch drop hitch works perfectly for everything I have towed so far.

Do you think a 5 3/4" drop would suffice? I can't seem to locate a 6" one locally

1 7/8" Ball and/or a 2" ball

Friends trailer is 1 7/8" ball.................UHaul are 2" ball
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post #24 of 28 Old 10-03-2018, 03:05 PM
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5&3/4 should be close enough for most things, it depends on the trailer too not all of them have the coupler set to the exact same height, the main thing to watch out for is you don't want the trailer tongue/bed leaning backwards, there has to be tongue weight and at least level or even slightly forward cant in order for it to follow the vehicle properly and be safe.


Bad:




For a hitch ball I have one of these swap-a-ball systems and its pretty decent for the convenience factor, you literally just push the pin out and swap whichever size ball you need at the time. They have another kit with a third size ball but I've never needed it (nothing that uses a 2-5/16" ball is going to be light enough to tow behind the Compass...)

The pros of this are
1) You get the two major sizes available to you at all times while carrying the least possible amount of extra weight / least amount of "extra things" to stow with the spare tire.
2) Its (usually) fairly fast and easy to change.
3) Easy to change ball size even if you are using an anti-rattle plate bolted to your receiver like I do.

The cons are
1) If you leave it installed and drive around a whole winter without touching it, the ball might rust to the shaft like mine did, then it is not as quick/easy to change, had to hammer it off and then polish the rust off with a wire wheel. I now put some grease on it to reduce rust buildup.
2) Since the ball is retained by a cross-pin it can move a hundredth of an inch or so. Just enough to allow for some minor metallic rattling potential with an empty trailer that isn't pushing down on the ball hard. Thick grease helps reduce this too somewhat.





Overall I like it. I am able to stow the entire drop hitch with the swap-a-ball stub permanently bolted into it on the driver's side forward part of the spare tire compartment, with one ball on the stub and one ball wrapped in a rag so it doesn't do any metal-on-metal rattling. In about 60 seconds I can install the drop hitch with whichever ball I need and I'm ready to tow.


As a side note, most small and medium uhaul trailers have those couplers that work on either 1&7/8" OR 2" balls, you spin the square nut thing and it adjusts to fit, so those trailers are a non-issue. If every other trailer you could potentially use will be 1&7/8", you can run a cheaper solid ball which saves a couple bucks and can potentially be a tiny bit quieter with no moving parts. For me, most trailers I use end up being 1&7/8" but there are just one or two bigger ones I occasionally borrow that are 2" so with the swap-a-ball all I have to do is keep that extra 2" ball wrapped in that rag by the spare tire and I'm ready for whatever.
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post #25 of 28 Old 10-03-2018, 10:47 PM
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I already have a wrench large enough for swapping out the balls.
I might go with both a solid 1 7/8ths and a 2" then, with the 5 3/4 drop
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post #26 of 28 Old 10-04-2018, 02:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10-64
I already have a wrench large enough for swapping out the balls.
Aye, just maybe don't leave the hitch in the receiver all the time and let the threads rust because once they do... well put it this way, I *tried* to remove my old swap-a-ball stud from my Blazer's 2" drop hitch when we bought the Compass (rather than buying a new one) but it had been on there so many years, it ended up me + a 24 inch pipe wrench + 3 feet of 1&1/4" galvanized pipe... twisted the shank right off. The nut would not let go, even with repeated heating from the blowtorch and soaking it with PB Blaster. Twisted that 3/4" shaft off after an hour long battle.

I mean, if you are buying TWO hitch balls at eight or nine dollars a-piece... the swap-a-ball is on sale for like $19 at Menards right now and no wrench needed at all to switch between them, thats all I'm sayin. But either way works.
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post #27 of 28 Old 02-22-2019, 06:20 PM
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I am going to be installing the Mopar hitch on my 2018 Latitude. I plan on cutting out the fascia (Need to verify that the template is stamped on the back of it). If cutting it out goes south, I will buy the correct fascia and install it. Any tips or tricks for the install from anyone who has done it? I plan on doing the wiring at a later date (only used for bike rack etc.. right now) but I will probably go with the Curt wiring harness when I do, not the Mopar one.
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post #28 of 28 Old 03-05-2019, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Elsaesser View Post
I am going to be installing the Mopar hitch on my 2018 Latitude. I plan on cutting out the fascia (Need to verify that the template is stamped on the back of it). If cutting it out goes south, I will buy the correct fascia and install it. Any tips or tricks for the install from anyone who has done it? I plan on doing the wiring at a later date (only used for bike rack etc.. right now) but I will probably go with the Curt wiring harness when I do, not the Mopar one.
Is the template stamped on the back?

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