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Old 07-16-2019, 11:25 AM   #1
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15 Hrs. Labor for Tow Kit Install??

Ok, so now I'm ready to look into flat-towing my '17 Grand Cherokee Limited. Got a quote for the Blue-Ox Avail baseplate combo kits (#BX1128-20), and Invisibrake system with breakaway. Parts costs all make sense but labor was quoted at 15.5 hours.

Now I've never done this so don't know if that is about right or not so I'll reserve my judgement. How many of you with a Blue-Ox flat-tow setup have an idea on what labor would be to install this? I'm not quite sure I want to tackle this on my own with a friend but at $2k labor, I'm considering it...strongly. End of the day, I want to be safe and legal and ensure the job is done right which may mean me NOT doing it Thoughts?
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:33 AM   #2
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Ok, so now I'm ready to look into flat-towing my '17 Grand Cherokee Limited. Got a quote for the Blue-Ox Avail baseplate combo kits (#BX1128-20), and Invisibrake system with breakaway. Parts costs all make sense but labor was quoted at 15.5 hours.

Now I've never done this so don't know if that is about right or not so I'll reserve my judgement. How many of you with a Blue-Ox flat-tow setup have an idea on what labor would be to install this? I'm not quite sure I want to tackle this on my own with a friend but at $2k labor, I'm considering it...strongly. End of the day, I want to be safe and legal and ensure the job is done right which may mean me NOT doing it Thoughts?
I would say 8 hours max. If you have done before and know what you are doing , you could probably do it in 4 hours. The first toad I had it done at a shop. Cost about 1200. My current toad I did myself. Found a youtube video on it that really help. I got it done in about 6 hours. Cost me about $5 and 6 hours of my time. I would definitely do it again for my next toad.
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:50 AM   #3
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I would say 8 hours max. If you have done before and know what you are doing , you could probably do it in 4 hours. The first toad I had it done at a shop. Cost about 1200. My current toad I did myself. Found a youtube video on it that really help. I got it done in about 6 hours. Cost me about $5 and 6 hours of my time. I would definitely do it again for my next toad.
Much appreciated! That's honestly what I would have figured for a paid install. The self-install labor hours don't look that bad either. I watched a video on my exact vehicle install from eTrailer and while it looked somewhat simple, I was worried about the front facia removal. taking apart isn't the issue, it's putting it all back together that worries me but I have a certified mechanic friend who I may enlist to get this done. This is helpful so thank you!
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:03 PM   #4
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I just did my 2015 JGC myself. I'd say 8 hours DIY is about right. Maybe 6 for a proficient shop with the right tools at hand.

I have the tools, but not a lift, and my tools are in somewhat disarray right now (I'm working on it) so it takes me a lot of time to find what I'm looking for sometimes. Plus getting up and down from the floor is troublesome since I'm a bit "fluffy" right now. ETA: I used a set of ramps to get the front of the car to a "workable" height, and that helped A LOT.

It's not a difficult install really, it's a bit tedious though, and there are LOTS of steps. Youtube videos and Etrailer.com videos were my best friend. But I've done stuff like this before, so I wasn't afraid to dig in and get my hands dirty.

The front facia isn't that hard either. Just go slow. The first time you take it off, you'll find where all the "clips" are and it will be much easier once you know that. When you're taking it off start from the outside in, and when you're putting it on, start from the inside and work your way out. The Etrailer instructions say to take the fog light bulbs out of the sockets. Don't do that, just unplug them. Which reminds me, I'm not sure I ever plugged mine back in!!

Also, I'm not sure why Jeep decided to use plastic rivets instead of standard trim buttons in that one spot in the front of the wheel well. I jammed up my rivet gun, so I just got a pair of vise grips and a set of needle-nose. Vise grips to hold down the rivet base, needle-nose to pull out the center of the rivet using a twisting motion, and it worked fine. Standard center-pin trim clips would work better.

Just take your time and follow the steps deliberately, and you should be fine if you're at all proficient or experienced in working on vehicles. If you don't own a good set of tools and know how to use them, then perhaps take it to a shop and pay for installation.

Actually the hardest part was mounting the break away switch and the 7-way plug. That front bumper is REALLY tough, and my bits were REALLY dull. And you can forget about using the "self-tapping" screw they give you in the kit to attach anything to the bumper (and I'm talking about the actual structural bumper, not the fascia), it just won't work. I even tried pre-drilling; no good. I ended up drilling holes through a pinch weld and using nuts and bolts. I insisted on attaching to the bumper because I wanted those plugs more "hidden" behind the fascia instead of sticking out the front. I believe the instructions for the Blue-Ox wiring kit say to just mount it to the fascia.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:12 PM   #5
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Nice write up. You’ve got me thinking more about tackling. Did you have that trim button removal tool or just use a flat-head screw driver?

The eTrailer video was great and it was for my exact model year Cherokee. I thought the same as you when they were drilling the frame. I DEFINITELY don’t have the bit for that. Last thing I need is to tear into something and not have the proper tools to complete it. DW would love giving me grief for that!

Well I’m getting a few quotes on installing backplate and brake controller plus wiring. That part I really don’t want to mess with. Me and wiring don’t get along. I’ll use this to make a decision on DIY or pay to play. Thanks for taking the time to write your thorough reply!

BTW, what are you using for supplemental braking? I’m looking at the installed options for more plug and play vs the brake-bot approach but weighing options there too.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:53 PM   #6
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I have the Invisibrake in my Tahoe. It works great, and I am very satisfied with it. There are reports of uncommanded brake application. My research indicated that it was caused by improperly installed diodes at the tail lights. If not properly sealed with silicone, moisture will cause a “short” across the terminals. Silicone is your friend.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:38 PM   #7
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Just remember that the baseplate installation might not be the only installation that needs completed!

Many toad braking systems have installation requirements too, possibly even significant wiring that needs accomplished. Many braking systems require a constant 12-volt source, but many cars shut off their accessory outlets after a short time. Also some vehicles require the disconnection of certain circuits or even the whole battery to tow. There might be installation requirements to accomplish those items too. And depending on how you want to accomplish toad lighting there is installation time needed for that too. There are portable lights that can work, but many newer cars have no place to even mount a magnetic lightbar with so much plastic, glass, and aluminum used in cars today.

Please understand I am not trying to dissuade anyone from doing the installation themselves, but it is important to understand everything that might be involved. I just finished a complete install on my new 2019 Ford Edge ST. It came out great and tows like a dream.

Good luck if you do decide to move forward!
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:55 PM   #8
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Aaron... Robbbbbbbbby is the best to answer this question for you.... especially after reading his latest post on what he had to do for his Toad.

https://www.jaycoowners.com/forums/f...tml#post772212
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Robbbyr View Post
Just remember that the baseplate installation might not be the only installation that needs completed!

Many toad braking systems have installation requirements too, possibly even significant wiring that needs accomplished. Many braking systems require a constant 12-volt source, but many cars shut off their accessory outlets after a short time. Also some vehicles require the disconnection of certain circuits or even the whole battery to tow. There might be installation requirements to accomplish those items too. And depending on how you want to accomplish toad lighting there is installation time needed for that too. There are portable lights that can work, but many newer cars have no place to even mount a magnetic lightbar with so much plastic, glass, and aluminum used in cars today.

Please understand I am not trying to dissuade anyone from doing the installation themselves, but it is important to understand everything that might be involved. I just finished a complete install on my new 2019 Ford Edge ST. It came out great and tows like a dream.

Good luck if you do decide to move forward!
My quote of 6 to 8 hrs also included the wiring for braking unit (Blue Ox Patriot) and tail lights.
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Old 07-17-2019, 04:36 AM   #10
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I can't speak to the Grand, but my Cherokee Trailhawk took me about 8 hours the first time out which included R&R of the front facia twice. Since I am using a ReadyBrute, the wiring likely is not anymore difficult than running cables.

I just wired an EvenBrake (I think that is it...it's a wireless transmitter set up) for my son-in-laws Jeep Wrangler a couple of weeks ago and the most difficult part was wiring in the brake light relay. The entire wiring took maybe 4 hours to do the Hopkins diode lights, install the hot plug under the dash for the brake and other required wiring. This was my first time wiring up a Wrangler and working on this braking system.

My guess would be 8 to 12 hours for a first time install, but for a shop with experience 8 hours would be more than enough.

I used trim removal tools for the rivets (Harbor freight). I used the trim tool to hold the base of the rivet, then used vise grips on the shaft of the rivet rolling the vise grip over the trim tool which made a nice tight fit.

Get some quotes from other shops. I had the same thing...parts were about $1800, but install was quoted at 2-3K....so I did it myself.
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