WJ Rear Bumper Removal & Factory Hitch, 7-Pin Wiring & Brake Controller Install - JeepForum.com
  • 1 Post By SGT Superman
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 1 Old 07-02-2012, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
SGT Superman
Registered User
SGT Superman's Avatar
2000 WJ 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Lacey, WA
Posts: 364
WJ Rear Bumper Removal & Factory Hitch, 7-Pin Wiring & Brake Controller Install

I recently purchased a Pop-Up tent trailer and needed to upgrade my 2000 Grand Cherokee so that it will be able to handle taking it wherever we want to go.

Before you start make sure to check out this website:


It has a lot of great information & even has the Mopar instructions on how to do all of this.

The first phase in that overall process is to install a hitch and the 7-pin wiring harness.
This is what I will be going over here.

To do this project you will need basic tools along with a cutting device (Electric sheers, Dremel, or similar), a 20 Amp auto reset breaker & the following items, which can be found at the local Junk Yard:

Factory Hitch

7 pin wiring harness & plug

Brake Controller,

Any brake controller will do, so I just walked the Junk Yard looking under the dash of every vehicle that had a hitch receiver and eventually found one.

I got all these items (plus a couple hood struts) for $35.

Step 1, Install 7 pin wiring harness:

On the driver's side of the cargo area there is a green connector installed in every WJ. This connector allows the trailer wiring harness to plug into it and be ready to go.

Here is the area where the connector is located behind the plastic.
You will need to remove the three screws shown here. Once removed the piece is only being held on with clips, you will need to pull until they pop out.

Once you fold back the cover piece you have access to where the green connector will be. Remove the rubber covering & clip the green end of your 7 pin harness to the green connector in the Jeep.

After you connect the 7 pin harness you will need to run it through the floor. There is a factory hole in the back of the cargo area just for this purpose.
Just pull back the carpeting on the drivers side and you will see a rubber grommet.

Use the grommet attached to the harness to secure it in place. If you didn't get one with the rubber grommet on it, then you will need to cut the existing one and make it work. Here is the harness installed.

Just let it dangle out the bottom for now.

Then replace the cover piece and reinstall the three screws.

Step 2, Remove bumper cover & install hitch receiver:

To remove the bumper cover there are a total of,
8 push style connectors
2 torx screws
4 10mm bolts
Handful of plastic rivets (Depending on how many you want to remove)

The push style connectors are located above and below the bumper cover directly below the lift gate. They are easily removed by prying a flat head screw driver between the two pieces,

The two Torx screws are also located here, one on each side,

Nert you will move to the wheel wells and remove the plastic rivets holding the shroud in place at the back of the wheel well. Only two need removed, but if you take them all out it will be easier to get to the 10mm bolts.

After the shroud is removed take off the two 10mm bolts. They are right at the very edge of the bumper cover where it meets the wheel well.
Do this for both sides.

Once removed there are two clips on each side holding the bumper in place. You will simply need to pull until they pop off.
Removing the brake lights may also help in pulling the clips off.

Now you can cut the hole for where the hitch receiver will stick out.
Every WJ bumper cover has an outline of where the hole needs to be cut. This line can be VERY faint. We sprayed it with water and wiped it off. The water made it much easier to see.
Trace the outline with a sharpie and then use your desired tool to cut it out. We used electric sheers, but you can use a dremel, or anything else that will cut the plastic and leave a nice cut.
If you will be installing the Bezel then you don't need to be as precise with the cut. If like me you are leaving the bezel off then take your time and get the best cut possible.

Now you'll need to install the hitch receiver.
We used a floor jack to help support the Gas Tank cover and then removed the Bolts holding it up under the Jeep. These bolt holes are where you'll bolt the Hitch Receiver up to.
You will also need to move the two cross braces at the back of the gas tank cover to get the Hitch to fit. We removed the top bolt, loosened the bottom bolt and pivoted them back a bit. By doing it this way you won't have a way to bolt the top of the brace back up, but it will be sandwiched between the frame and the hitch receiver so it wont be going anywhere.

Have a friend help you move the Hitch receiver into place and bolt it up, tighten the bolts to 65 ft-lbs.
Once the hitch is bolted up you can install the 7 pin connector in the provided mounting location & hook up the wiring harness we left dangling before.

Now reinstall the Bumper cover. You will need new plastic rivets for the wheel well since those cannot be reused.

At this point you can install the trim bezel, or leave it off like this,

I still have to clean up the edges, but stepping back it looks very nice. I will keep an eye out for one at the Junk Yard, but for now this works fine.

Step 3, Trailer brake installation:

The next step is to install your trailer brake controller.
The controller should have four wires coming out the back:

White, - Ground
Black, + Battery
Red, Stoplight
Blue, Trailer Brake

To begin, run a white & Black wire from the battery, through the firewall and into the drivers area under the dash.
For the black wire going to the + terminal, you will need to install a 20amp auto reset breaker between the controller & the battery. I put mine right next to the battery.

Next you will need to look under the dash and find the blue wire taped up, this is the trailer brake wire that has already been installed and ready to use. Hook this up to the blue wire coming off the brake controller:

Then you will need to tap into the stoplight wire on the brake pedal switch.

To remove the brake pedal switch you simply turn it about an 1/8th of a turn counter-clockwise and it will pop. It then slides right out. To re-install it you line it back up in the hole and turn it back the other way. It will pop and lock back into place.

The wire you are looking for is the #5 wire and is white with a tan stripe. Use a splice connector to tap the red wire from the brake controller into this wire.

Once all wires are connected, install the controller where you want and make everything look nice.

Once you test it to make sure everything works you are all done.

The next phase will be to install a Transmission cooler and then a mechanical fan.

Tumbleweed1954 likes this.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. G.I. Joe!
Green Jeep Club Member #174
SGT Superman is offline  
Closed Thread

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the JeepForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.

Email Address:


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Jeep Forums Replies Last Post
Durango Steering Box and ZJ Tie Rod Install on an XJ dukie564 Technical Articles & Write-Ups 1 04-06-2011 11:09 AM
How to Install Rear Cargo Window on a Jeep Cherokee ahuf Technical Articles & Write-Ups 0 12-05-2010 10:17 PM
Yukon Zip Locker install into an XJ D44 waynehartwig Technical Articles & Write-Ups 3 07-30-2009 03:43 PM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome