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Unread 10-07-2011, 11:51 AM   #1
IRSmart
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2011 MK Compass 
 
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Location: Westminster, MD
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installed OEM trailer hitch yesterday on my 11

so i decided to install a trailer hitch on the jeep, and after comparing all the different brands i decided to go with the OEM hitch. even though all the aftermarket companies offered a 2" reciever, i didn't like how low it hangs. the OEM style came with a template to trim out the rear valence so it sits higher, and i just liked how it looked that way.

since i was in an accident with it in august and the rear bumper was being replaced (and working at the jeep dealer, the replacement would come here), i decided that it was easiest to cut the bumper while i had it in my hands rather than to crawl under the car to do it. so i cut the bumper out and sent it to the body shop to be installed. then, i installed the hitch myself yesterday.

it was a fairly easy install, although i did have to unbolt some box in the passenger side so i could get to the bolts easier (i could have made due, but this made life easier).

after it was installed and i looked at it, i noticed the cornersin the middle where the plastic was cut was sagging a little bit. there is two plastic brackets behind the bumper cover that the bumper cover attaches to, but they still allowed the corners to sag a little bit. i didn't like how it looked, so i rigged something pretty smart up.

i seperated the bumper cover from the brackets, then i drilled a hole in the brackets about 1/4". i then took long zip ties and zip tied the brackets to the hitch itself, then re-attached the bumper cover to the brackets. it's hard to explain, so i took a few pictures. the first two pictures show the sagging i'm talking about on the right, and the modified version on the left. the second two pictures show my modification, with and without labels (picture came out really dark).

this way is stronger as well, because it does not allow the corners to move or bend, so it also acts as a re-enforcement. i do no know if the 07-10 compass is set up this way, with a bracket behind the bumper cover, but this method will work for any 11-12. here are some pics.

Hitch far
Hitch close
Zip tie
Zip tie with lables

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Unread 10-07-2011, 03:13 PM   #2
Gramps
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That looks like it wraps under a lot more than the earlier one! Good job, thanks for posting!

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f98/a...62/index4.html
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Unread 10-07-2011, 03:24 PM   #3
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not a problem. it did take a little "encouragement" on the passenger side. there was a weld in the frame that was keeping the hitch from sliding forward by 1/4" and was keeping the holes from lining up on that side. an over-sized flathead screwdriver and some elbow grease later and i had it in place, but it took me a bit to find out why the hitch holes weren't lining up on that side. and i feel that my modification should be made standard, it looks so much better with the corners being held up, and there's no chance of them flapping because the bumper was cut. btw, i did 100% of the installation of the wiring harness and the hitch myself, so if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.
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Unread 10-08-2011, 07:03 AM   #4
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Thread added to the Trailer Hitch info in QUICK LINKS sticky.
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Unread 10-08-2011, 08:27 AM   #5
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a quick note on the hitch itself that i like. the tab that holds the wiring harness has been moved from the edge of the hitch on the driver's side to just beside the hitch receiver, so your harness plug can be held in place right next to the receiver. see the second pic i posted for clarification.

also, i wanted to add my two cents on the wiring harness i used.

the factory mopar wiring harness is the same for the 2011 as it is for the 2007-2010. it still requires you to run several wires to the front of your jeep, and for you to drill a hole in the tub where the spare tire is. i did not like this solution.

etrailer.com has an aftermarket harness that is completely plug-n-play, and requires no drilling. it has a t-harness that plugs into the main harness that each tail light plugs into. there is a control box that you attach via double sided tape to the bottom of the car, behind the bumper. you then run only ONE wire to the front of the car for power, and it has an in-line fuse holder as well. the control box at the back of the car has a power wire with an o-connector. i used the bolt that holds the plastic box on the passenger side for the ground. i had to un-bolt that box to get to the bolts (well, i didn't have to, but it made life easier), so i sanded down the metal around the bolt, put the power wire on the bolt, and bolted the box back on. the power wire for the box has a solid ground, and it's right next to the box. this harness requires no drilling, is complete plug-n-play, and was half the cost of the OEM. my buddy has had the same harness on his patriot for two years and it's going strong.
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Unread 10-08-2011, 04:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRSmart View Post
a quick note on the hitch itself that i like. the tab that holds the wiring harness has been moved from the edge of the hitch on the driver's side to just beside the hitch receiver, so your harness plug can be held in place right next to the receiver. see the second pic i posted for clarification.

also, i wanted to add my two cents on the wiring harness i used.

the factory mopar wiring harness is the same for the 2011 as it is for the 2007-2010. it still requires you to run several wires to the front of your jeep, and for you to drill a hole in the tub where the spare tire is. i did not like this solution.

etrailer.com has an aftermarket harness that is completely plug-n-play, and requires no drilling. it has a t-harness that plugs into the main harness that each tail light plugs into. there is a control box that you attach via double sided tape to the bottom of the car, behind the bumper. you then run only ONE wire to the front of the car for power, and it has an in-line fuse holder as well. the control box at the back of the car has a power wire with an o-connector. i used the bolt that holds the plastic box on the passenger side for the ground. i had to un-bolt that box to get to the bolts (well, i didn't have to, but it made life easier), so i sanded down the metal around the bolt, put the power wire on the bolt, and bolted the box back on. the power wire for the box has a solid ground, and it's right next to the box. this harness requires no drilling, is complete plug-n-play, and was half the cost of the OEM. my buddy has had the same harness on his patriot for two years and it's going strong.
You can mount the control box right inside the tail light pocket just FYI. Plenty of room if you mount it vertically on the cargo area side of the pocket( just be sure to mount it so it is between the 2 light sockets as the assembly slides in). I used the T-ONE kit myself and I did not want to mount it to the underside of the vehicle where it is exposed to the elements.

Also, once you have the driver's tail light assembly out pull the grommet where the wiring comes through. You will/should find the OE wiring for the trailer tow prep wiring taped to it( i.e. were they hook in at the factory to the main harness - it has a single gray plug and is a thin purplegray'ish and orange wire ). I just grabbed my power there vs running the wire all the way to the front and the battery. Already a fused circuit as well.
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Unread 10-09-2011, 09:04 AM   #7
IRSmart
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wish i had known that from the start. oh well lol.

the reason i put it under the car is because the ground wire would not have reached to the ground point i wanted to use. plus, that whole box is completely protected from the weather. i put the box on my buddy's patriot in the same spot, and it's fine 2 years later.
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Unread 10-09-2011, 01:11 PM   #8
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The control box may be protected from the weather outisde mounted under the car but it is exposed to things being splashed up on it from the road as you drive along. Water, dirt, road salt, etc...
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Unread 10-10-2011, 07:18 AM   #9
IRSmart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHPATRIOT View Post
The control box may be protected from the weather outisde mounted under the car but it is exposed to things being splashed up on it from the road as you drive along. Water, dirt, road salt, etc...
right, but my point is, the box itself protects the things inside it. it's a water-proofed plastic box and the seals are filled with resin. it's not going to hurt anything where it is
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Unread 10-10-2011, 12:52 PM   #10
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You would think so BUT I have seen similar ones fail in the past due to exposure. I had 2 fail on a 2001 Dodge Ram for example( Drawtite brand )that had a converter for the lights that were mounted underneath. Our NH winter road salt and chemicals ate them right up. IMO it is better to mount them where nothing gets to them but to each his own.

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