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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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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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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arudlang
Thanks for the write up and pictures, Very informative.
 

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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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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-1042000-Hitch-Mounted-Carrier/product-reviews/B003NBFKDK/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_search_rgt?filterByKeyword=melt&search-alias=community-reviews#reviews-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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Discussion Starter #10
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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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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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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10-64 said:
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 grin:

 

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #19
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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Discussion Starter #20
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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