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FINALLY!! This was my last major project!! At least for now... there's always RR rock rails and other such to add later. My friends would be reduced to guffaws right now if they read this, I'm always thinking up something to do to my vehicles.

So... the baseplate came last weekend, but I haven't had time 'til now to get it done. Okay, I lied - last weekend was nice, so I went out and played instead of getting this done. Today, it started out crappy, so it was perfect for working inside.

What is a Blue Ox Baseplate you ask? It's made by Blue Ox, a company that's into towing supplies. The baseplate is needed for towing the Jeep behind a motorhome. It's a subframe unit that bolts on solid, and adds safety cables attachments, a wiring socket, breakaway switch, and heavy forks that hook to the motorhome's towing bars.

Here it is on the bench:


It didn't have anyway to mount the breakaway switch, so I added a thread-set nut.


Here's one of the push-in-and-turn-to-lock forks: It's heavy, about 5 lbs.



Not the greatest photo, but the Jeep's front end has to come off. The grill, front facia, and I also removed the black plastic sub piece to make things easier.


The clips on the back of the fender trim that has to be released. A fun job while crap is falling into my eyes. While I'm laying under there, the foglights had to be disconnected.


Continued...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Taken apart, ready to start installing the baseplate:


A peek at my el-cheapo, but loud air horns. Now, they're exposed:


A pair of jack stands helping hold up the 40 lb. baseplate unit while I get a couple of bolts in place:


Done:


Another view:


Continued...
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
A view inside the unibody frame. Blue Ox supplies nuts welded to small backing plates and a foot long rod so you can reach the nut back into the hole. There's also a 1/4'' thick plate installed for strength.


Another (crappy photo) view into the hole. There's now four bolts for each side, all torqued to 35 ft.lb. and with Loctite Red added. And That's Loctite RED - the ''never, ever, come loose'' stuff. Blue Ox requires it.


Installed and the frame end caps back on. Next, the plastic sub piece, and the front facia.


Complete:


A closer view. I made special quick pins from a couple I bought from a tractor supply. I cut them off and redrilled for the clip pin. The rings are 1/2'' diameter forged steel. That's now my attachment points for pull straps etc. since the tow hooks are replaced by the baseplate. Notice my new special issue license plate.
 

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Nice job, HueyPilot has one of those as well. It appears that the bolts inside the frame use the mounting holes for the stock front tow hooks.
 

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Now, I'm ready for a long trip. The wiring was done before as part of the roof rack project. There's a set under the seat for the Brake Buddy's breakaway switch. It's the same thing as the front of your travel trailer. Should the Jeep come loose, the Brake Buddy will cram the brake pedal to the floor.

I also installed bulb sockets by drilling 1 inch holes in the bottom of the taillight reflectors. That gives me isolated towing lighting.

Total time of this project was right at 4 hours. I also redid the front bumper HID light wiring with loom, and cleaned up the horn compressor wiring while it was all open.

Oh yes... you need a POM (plastic rivet) tool to replace the cut fender well rivets.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nice job, HueyPilot has one of those as well. It appears that the bolts inside the frame use the mounting holes for the stock front tow hooks.
Yes, and the hooks do not go back on. That's why my forged rings.
 

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Looks good Adondo. They are rated for 10,000 pounds towing. I did have to do several things in order to use it with the "Get Lost" bumper. To install the bumper I had to remove the blue ox base plate and reinstall it. I also had to modify it to use the skid plate. I had to cut off both tabs for the cables and I had to move the electrical connector to the center. Even with these changes I had to cut part of the skid plate. I used diodes at the rear tail lights so that my LED sequential turns signals still work. I also made up tow hooks for the baseplate but do not need them anymore with the large "D" rings on the bumper.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
That Get Lost bumper is a SERIOUS setup. (It's got me a thinkin')

This weekend, we're heading down to the boat for a test run and/or to get OUT somewhere. The weather's supposed to be nice this weekend. For once, it would be nice to not have to go boating while pounding along through whitecaps while in the cabin with the heater blowing full blast. :)

With any luck, the boat's still in its slip rather than at the end of a tight rope leading down into the water. Don't laugh, that happened to a buddy once. We headed down the docks for a day of skiing, his boat was gone. He went up to the marina office to call the cops thinking it was stolen. I walked the rest of the way to the slip. The boat was still there, just a little bit lower than it should've been. A seal on the prop shaft failed. :D

So... I'm going to hitch up the Commander for its maiden voyage behind the coach. I figure if there's going to be a SNAFU, it might as well be within 30 miles of home.

Photos to follow soon!
 

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adondo, thanks for this write up, i ordered the baseplate yesterday, and your pics will help me alot, please let me know how this trip went....

Alberto
 

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adondo, thanks for this write up, i ordered the baseplate yesterday, and your pics will help me alot, please let me know how this trip went....

Alberto
Where did you order yours from? I bought mine from here: http://www.rvupgradestore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=198

It was $363 plus $41 shipping. (I also bought a couple other things while I was at it)

You'll also need a POM rivet gun. Harbor Freight tools has a good one. The POM rivets are handy for a lot of things. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=97757
 

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The Jeep pulled along just great. Plugged in the cordset, and everything works. Now, we're officially ready for the road.

Hooked up in the driveway and ready to roll.


Another view:


Campin' at the marina. We also took the boat out a couple of times. One was a Saturday evening sunset cruise. The other was a short run on Sunday.


Taking up some space at the card lock diesel pumps.


A big garden spider waiting for its next victim. That was on a nature trail a mile or so from the marina. There's miles of nice trails just below McNary dam. There's wooden walkways over swamps, bird blinds for photographers, picnic areas.
 

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No reason not to make the trip to Colorado this summer now!
 

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good to hear... im still waiting for my plate and bar to arrive!
 

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Hi Adondo,

I just did this install 3 months ago. Tows very nice doesn't it? :) Nice pics!

I have a question for you.
We have not gone a big trip yet but I have taken it out for a 20 mile trial run and found that when I got back that the brake buddie slipped from being held in place by the seat (not much there to hold it in place) and it kept trying to activate. Luckily it wasn't pushing on the brake pedal. Have you noticed the lack of support & modified anything to secure the BB from becoming loose?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi Adondo,

I just did this install 3 months ago. Tows very nice doesn't it? :) Nice pics!

I have a question for you.
We have not gone a big trip yet but I have taken it out for a 20 mile trial run and found that when I got back that the brake buddie slipped from being held in place by the seat (not much there to hold it in place) and it kept trying to activate. Luckily it wasn't pushing on the brake pedal. Have you noticed the lack of support & modified anything to secure the BB from becoming loose?

Thanks
I have to run the seat most of the way forward as well as drop the front down all the way. The BB's rear bar pad rests on the frame under the seat. I've hit the test button a few times to check it. If the seat gets put in the right place, everything works.

I suppose a piece of angle iron might be added to the front of the seat frame to gave the BB a more solid resting place. It does work on my seat though. It does look funny when it's being towed because the seat back's in the middle of the driver's window.

I just had a thought though... I'm 6' 6'' and 325 lbs. Needless to say, my pedals are all the way down. You might try running the gas/brake pedals up and down 'til it works better.
 

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No reason not to make the trip to Colorado this summer now!
I got busy and sorta' forgot. I gotta call and get it set up. I've pretty much decided to forgo the family reunion unless it somehow works out. (date wise) I can't wait to try out the Commander in the Canyon Lands. Silverton is only about 90 miles from Moab too. What's another measly 90 miles after 1,500?!?
 

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I got busy and sorta' forgot. I gotta call and get it set up. I've pretty much decided to forgo the family reunion unless it somehow works out. (date wise) I can't wait to try out the Commander in the Canyon Lands. Silverton is only about 90 miles from Moab too. What's another measly 90 miles after 1,500?!?
It would be great to see you there. Hope it works out!
 

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i just finished my baseplate install! not too bad... now need to take it out this weekend! any special tips on the neutral button etc.... i read the manual, just wondering if you have any special steps...


thanks
Alberto
 

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i just finished my baseplate install! not too bad... now need to take it out this weekend! any special tips on the neutral button etc.... i read the manual, just wondering if you have any special steps...


thanks
Alberto
Engine off. Key turned all the way on. Step on the brake. Put the transmission shifter in neutral. Hold down the ''pin button'' 'til the yellow 4wd light quits flashing. The display will read "4x4 SYSTEM IN NEUTRAL'' when it's done. Any time the key is turned on, it will show that message in the display.

I had to get the manual out the first time because it kept saying ''CHECK SHIFT PROCEDURE'' and that's because I did not have my foot holding down the brake pedal.

One last note, if you start the engine and move the gear shift, do NOT put it back into park while it's running. The spinning tranny will ratchet the crap out of the parking pawl. I do that test to make sure it's REALLY in neutral before heading out, but I just wait for things to stop (with the engine off) before going back to park.

I also have to say I really like how the Commander doesn't have a steering lock. I always had to put up with a endlessly dinging key alarm while putting the Brake Buddy in the Durango. And... remembering to leave the key in the unlock position. No such crap in the Jeep. :eek:rangehat:
 

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are you serious? you DONT have to leave the key in while towing????


thats great!
 
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