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etrailer Invisible Base Plate Kit Installation - 2018 Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited

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How to Install the etrailer Invisible Base Plate Kit on a 2018 Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited


Hey everybody, Ryan on etrailer. Today on our 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited, we're gonna be showing you how to install the etrailer.com base plate kit. But before we do that, why don't we check it out and make sure that is gonna work for you So before we get too carried away, kind of checking out the base plate and seeing it's about, I figured it'd be useful just to kind of refresh ourselves and touch base on the five main components that we're gonna need to flat tow our Jeep down the road in the first place. All the main components are gonna consist of five different parts. So the first thing is gonna be your base plate. And what this is gonna do is provide you with a solid and reliable connection point.

That way you can hook your tow bar up. The tow bar is gonna be the sub component, and that's gonna be the physical link that actually connects the front of your Jeep to the back of your motor home. The third main component will be safety tables, and those are pretty straightforward. Those are gonna be there in the events of an unlikely disconnect, they're gonna keep everything paired together. The fourth main component will be tow bar wiring.

And what that's gonna do is transfer the lighting signals from the back of your coach, to the back of your Jeep, keeping you safe and legal. And last but not least the fifth main component will be a supplemental breaking system. And what that'll do is apply the brakes in your Jeep whenever you hit the brakes in your motor home, helping bring you to a more predictable and complete stop. But with that out of the way, let's go ahead and check out the base plate. So this is what it's gonna look like whenever you're not hooked up to your motor home.

And I feel like that's important, 'cause chances are pretty good you're gonna be unhooked more than you are hooked up. And honestly, I don't think it looks too bad in terms of appearance goes. I mean, just about anything you put on a Jeep accessory wise looks right at home. I feel like that holds true with this setup. There's a lot of base plates available.

Some are a little less visible, some are completely visible. This one kind of falls in the middle. So got a bunch of different choices there. I do like the fact that they actually give you a bracket that way you can mount up your wiring connector. So it takes a little bit of the guesswork out having to find different brackets and things like that. So it's a nice addition there. And they also give you some caps, some covers for the end of the base plate. So not only do I think it looks a little bit better, but it's gonna help keep dirt and stuff like that out. I will say if you wanna pick up a backup set, it seems pretty popular a lot of people are doing that. We do offer these separately too, so it's always an option for you. One thing I definitely wanna touch base on when it comes to these Jeeps is there's so many different sub models. So many of 'em have different bumpers and things like that. That's going to affect what base plate will and won't work with your Jeep. So definitely use our fit guide and pay attention of that. If you have a different bumper or a special type of submodel make sure to enter that in. That way you can be certain that this base plate will actually work with your particular Jeep. Something that is really important when it comes to a flat tow set up is how easy it's gonna be to hook up and disconnect. You don't want something that'll up a bunch of your time and be confusing. This one's really easy to set up. Whenever you're ready to hook up to your motor home, you're just going to remove the dust covers. Just put them in a place where you won't lose 'em and this is gonna use removable on arms. So these are gonna slide in. Then you'll have these pins that can kinda lock 'em in place. Same deal over here. So really not a whole lot to it. It's pretty hard to mess up and now this will give you that connection point that you're gonna need to hook up your tow bar. So this is gonna work with those etrailer.com tow bars as well as your Demco ones. Can also work with other manufacturers like Roadmaster, just to kind of give an example, that's a really popular brand of tow bars. If you have another brand like that, you can always pick up adapter ends. So you'll change the ends out and that'll allow the tow bar to pair up with this particular base plate. So regardless what tow bar you have, chances are really good you're gonna be able to make it work. And the safety chain openings as well, so that's what these are right here. So we kind of talked about the safety cable. Whenever you're ready to hook those up these are relatively open. So I have two common, very common ends of safety cables. Not gonna have any issues getting to em, they're not in the way or anything like that. Well, hey guys, we're here with Larry who just brought his vehicle in and his motor home of course to get a flat to a setup. So Larry, you kind of mentioned before that you guys did have a trailer Dolly and that was always kind of a pain to mess up, wasn't it 'Cause it was kind of big in the way that kind of thing. Cool, awesome. Moving around, kind of a pain. Yeah, so this way, obviously we're making that a lot easier for ourself. Our tow bar is gonna be folded up close to the vehicle or the motor home I should say making a lot easier to storage, a lot easier to get out. And a of course, when we start taking all this undone, our tabs, aren't gonna be as gaudy in the front, we're not gonna have. And of course security's always concern when we're doing anything like this. So nicer that it's a little bit more low key, low profile, which is great. So have you ever flat towed before then really Not ever really, cool. So I mean the concepts pretty simple, right We're keeping it flat and we're towing it as the name suggests. What we're doing with that basically we're eliminating any of that kind of chucking that you might originally see from like Dollys and stuff like that exactly 'cause we're keeping it level, which is great. And these arms are gonna be locking themselves in for us. And that way the car's gonna be say following right behind your motor home. And especially compared to like, it's a little different than the trailer. You know what I mean You always kinda have to watch what it's gonna be doing on the back end. This guy just tracks really nice behind the motor home makes a lot easier to drive, especially pulling it in into kind recreational areas. It's not gonna be as a plane-Do these always stay out or do they like articulate in and outThey are gonna be locking and placed for you, which is great. Now they are, have a little bit of movement, but especially when you are gonna be done to like unlock these guys, this is non-binding if you compare that to like binding tow bars. Basically what ends up happening with those guys is they have a little button that you have to push to release it. What's nice with these, they're not locked in right now 'cause we haven't really pulled it forward, but I'm gonna be able to pull this lever back, pop it. And we're gonna feel that kind of give just like that. And that's basically unbinding itself, making it a lot easier to actually get it undone. So in kind of talking about that, when we're doing our initial like once we got everything set up, there are a few little kind of tips and tricks to keep in mind. So the first one's gonna be, as we are pulling out, luckily for us, we have a lot of little left and rights we're gonna have to make to get outta etrailer here. However, say you're at like a campsite, you load it all up, you get it nice and even, and lined up. That's also really nice that we're gonna go over about getting it set up. But as we're taking off, we're gonna wanna do a little bit of left and right on our steering wheel. What that's doing for us is actually making sure that these guys are extending their full. 'Cause what ends up happening, we're going along the highway, our chiefs behind us, yes we're gonna be applying the brakes because we have that stain plate here which is giving you that brake control, which is great. But what we don't want is one of these arms locking and one of them not. 'Cause what can end up happening there is all that force gets transferred to one arm and then that can end up bending your tow bar. So that's why we do that left to that right action. And we'll go over it later as we get in the motor home as well. But that's because we wanna make sure that we are distributing that force between both of the arms. Otherwise you'd run that issue that we we're just talking about. It's probably important enough after you go a few miles, you should just pull over somewhere and come back here and look. It's never a bad idea always to check, but I think especially once you've done it twice, three times, you're gonna feel it. And you're gonna see it too, if it's tracking well with you. And it's really not much, I mean we're talking an eighth on the steering wheel and all that really doing is getting that extra little extension that we're looking for. 'Cause these are gonna naturally extend as we pull, they're gonna go to their max length. And it's just getting that lock almost in place. And you'll see what I'm talking about here in a way hard to kind of show as we're standing still. So why don't we go over a little bit of what we got working with us, right So we have ourselves our tow bar actually. So this is the main component, right You have the Falcon, all terrain here from Roadmaster, which is great. Again, we kind of mentioned it, it's non-binding. All that really is, is you're getting this lever action here, making it a lot easier to actually get those binds undone. Like I said before, there's usually a button there on the side, a real pain to get to, takes a lot of effort. And then you end up getting a lever anyways that you always kinda have to store somewhere. So the installers always like this, this the way to go. So that's always throw people that way as well. And then we just have, of course we have a base plate here inside the Jeep and that's kind of given us our tab extension that we're seeing here. So it's kind of underneath your bumper. And so we have our hook elements here. So our tow bar extend out and then we're gonna have these little pins that are holding us in place. And then one thing that's great about our Falcon here, you do have all this wire housing and your safety cable housing. So a lot of times what you end up seeing is these safety cables just drag on the ground or this umbilical cable drags on the ground and that can lead to wear and tear. Eventually you gotta get 'em replaced, right So what's nice about the Falcon, we're gonna be storing that inside here. That's not gonna be in the way. And then of course our safety cables on each side are for safety, right In case something goes wrong, we wanna make sure our Jeep's not leaving so we can undo those as well. And since we're just gonna be working right to left here, this is gonna be our break away switch. So if I we're to pull this guy right now, we're gonna have, and if it was actually running, what ends up happening there, we're gonna have connection points that actually get made. And since there's nothing blocking that, that's gonna activate your brakes inside your Jeep. So worst case scenario, this thing comes undone all the rest of the systems fail. You still have this break away switch, which is gonna activate the brakes that way we're not hurting anybody on the road. That way everybody gets home safe, which is great. So always make sure we are replacing that. And there is just gonna be those two little tabs right there. You just gotta get those guys in place to actually work. Just like so. So making sure that's in place when you are taking your-When you're driving it, you always leave that in. Oh yeah, 100%. Even when you're not utilizing it, that's that mechanism, that's the fail safe right there, exactly. We can keep that guy undone and he can just kind of sit right here. And if you wanted to, you can clip him anywhere. That way he doesn't go to dang anywhere you don't need him. So here's gonna be your electrical hookup. And so you also have that, I think it's the Demco Stay-In-Play Duo. So this is basically getting you your brakes. This is getting you your brake control, which is great. And you also have the battery charge line kit, I believe, which is keeping our battery actually going, because we're still using that battery for our brakes activating. You're actually stay in play as well. So say you go for six to eight hours on the road somewhere you get back and now your Jeep's dead, that'd be no good. So that charge line kit is basically a trickle charger utilizing your RV's power, maintaining your battery. And that way, when you get to your campsite, you got no trouble and your Jeep's ready to go. So pretty simple there. How this guy works, you're gonna have this little notch here at the top. If you look on the inside, it's a little deceiving. So an easy way is just making sure that little tab right there is actually pointed up. And you just kinda wanna work it out, just like so, and then walk this guy back. I will say this guy can also kind of drag. So even like when you're done storing it, when we fold it up, getting it somewhere it can store otherwise you can start-You don't wanna drag. Yeah, exactly. And just check that too each time. Like I kind of looked in there and there was just a little guy hanging on the edge, make sure you brush that off otherwise, you know what I mean It can get stuck in there and then it takes way more time to get it undone. It's gonna be a pain. So I'm just gonna undo the rest of these guys here then and we can kind walk through this setup together, how about that And these guys are pretty simple. And one thing we can maybe talk about afterwards here too. I know you mentioned security was kind of a concern for you, the trailer Dolly. One thing I might suggest too is getting some little locks here so you can actually end up locking at least maybe one of your tow bars here or second one. And the big one I would look at is maybe gonna be a hitch lock here on your RV because this like-I've had one on the other with a type of key. Yep, just like that. What you're talking about. Yep, and that way you're just getting a little bit of, I mean, any lock is only deterrent, but it does go a long way a lot of times of making sure we leave your stuff where you have it. And then I just wanna bring these guys in up all the way and we'll kind of walk over putting this guy up. Now for these guys as well, you could end up leaving him here. They have a little bit of a rattle to them. I would suggest pulling that pulling that in, turning it, walk it right out. And that way you can store it either in your RV or your Jeep and then this is what you end up looking with. So you don't really have anything too crazy. So you wanna go ahead and take that guy out for me and then we can maybe go in the reverse order of this guy. Sweet, so real simple. They look harder than they are, then you slide 'em right in, turn 'em and then replace that pin and you're good to go. So, and then when all our tow bar is not in use, we can kind of bring 'em together here and we can bring 'em straight up and then you're gonna have that little latch right there. Basically, you're just gonna walk that up just like, so, and take it off to the side. And yeah, like I was telling you earlier, this is how it's gonna store. It's pretty nice, 'cause it's not really adding really too much length to your RV to begin with. And especially with that too like the defender or that cover becomes a great way of just protecting it on the back here, which is awesome. So one thing we always wanna do though, when we are setting up our Jeep, you always wanna make sure you have your emergency break on. And what that has happened with that, right here we're on level ground, we're in a great spot. If you we're to find yourself on a slight gradient, if you're in a driveway or something, all of a sudden we might get a little forgetful and then we're catching our Jeep as it goes down. Okay, understood. You could probably get a little closer than we are too obviously, right 'Cause these are gonna extend out as we drive forward. So if you're having that trouble, just hop back in the Jeep, make sure your tow bar is outta the way, pull forward a little bit more. Have the misses kind of tell you where you're at. Put the break in. And then put the break back on. So here we're doing in a controlled environment. Of course we gotta make sure we are being safe as we're out on the road. So there's that little pin for you. Yep, there we go. And that's locked in. Now our bars are in place, which is great. I went this way, do you normally does it like-It don't really matter wherever you really want it. Whatever's easier for you to access would probably be the way I'd go about it. They're gonna do the same either way. It's just, I put mine on the outside 'cause it's a little easier to get to rather than strand on the inside. Okay, that is good. And we can go ahead and take our safety cables here. And that might be part of the determining factor too. If it's getting the way of your Clovis here, you might move it or otherwise you're in a good spot and then I'll let you take that guy in and that's basically gonna give us all our power. This is the pin off top. Yep, make that little guy on top and then you just kind of wanna work it in. There you go. And as you get it into getting it out, it can be a little easier just to kind of double hook there. But just a little tips and tricks, so. But yeah, so we're all hooked up now on here other than our head, awesome. Can you just go up to make it longerYep, just under and then clip it to that guy. There we go, we're good to go. And kind of walking that guy back to here. What we've done is we've taken this guy right here and clipped it on. Sometimes people have trouble with their hitches. Yours was good enough to go ahead and just go around that to hook, which is great. So we're not too worried about it. I like wrapping it here though just 'cause I know it's extra secure. And then this is what's gonna be pulling that over here. So that's one reason we did that. So yeah, so you're all hooked up now. Really now what we gotta do is actually hop inside the Jeep and we're gonna need to actually set this ready for tow mode. So why don't we grab your vehicle's owner manual guide and we'll do that really quick. Well, I showed Larry here how to get his Jeep actually getting in the flat tow position, making sure we have no issues. Of course let's always make sure we are using our own vehicles owners manual guide. That way, we're always being safe and sound out there on the roads. Larry, any last little questions you have for me or anything like thatNo. Awesome, cool. Well, he's also got the Demco Stay-In-Play Duo, so we're just making sure that that actually is activated inside the Jeep. We double check that with our sensors up front and Larry here's ready to go and rock roll, have some fun. So that's what's we're all about. Well, thank you again Larry, appreciate it. And you have a good one. Okay, I will. But other than that, when it comes to a base plate for a Jeep, you have a lot of different options, so that's a good thing. And this one's gonna look good and function just as well. Now, as far as the installation goes, really wasn't too bad, pretty straightforward. Just about anything on these Jeeps go together pretty easily. I will say this one was a little more challenging than some of the other brands and base plates that I've done. Just kind of tight to work with for a couple of stuff, but definitely doable. And really shouldn't take up a bunch of your time. But other than that, why don't we go ahead and get this installed together now. To get our installation, we're gonna be here at the front of our Jeep and we need to remove this plastic panel. So there's gonna be a total of six fasteners, four on the front, two in the back. We'll go ahead and start with the two out here on the back side of it. So if you look behind it, you can see one of the fasteners and we're gonna have this just on each side. So you can take a trim tool or even a flathead screwdriver. Simply pry underneath the head and work the hole fastening out. So I go ahead and do the same thing for this one over here as well. Here at the front, we're gonna have those four push pins. Easier to be set up the same exact way as the two that we just took out. So go ahead and get these popped out. Once we get this last one out, the panel should come down. Lower it and set it off to the side. So now behind our back bumper, we actually need to get our bumper removed. So what you wanna do is come to your fog light, unplug that, push down on the tab there and pull it out. And I wanna mention from this point on anything we do to one side of our Jeep, we're gonna I do to the other side, 'cause it'll be set up the same way. But to get the bumper off, you're gonna have a total of eight nuts that you need to remove, so four on each side. So you're gonna have two on the inside of the frame rail, two on the outside of the frame rail, these are gonna be an 18 millimeter in size. So we'll go ahead and get all those removed. So with all the bolts removed, we can grab our bumper beam and start to remove it. And we're gonna have some brackets that may fall out. If they do, just hold onto 'em. And actually looks like we have some wiring back along through here that we're gonna have to pop off this here. So I'm just gonna put this back in for now, grab a tool and get that removed so we can pull this off with ease. So to get this off, I'm just prying off these little plastic fasteners here. There's actually quite a few of 'em. Once I get all these off, it should release the bumper. And now we can set this off to the side somewhere out of the way. So the bumper out of the way, if you look at the face plates here where bumper actually bolted to the top right hole or the top hole here on the outside corner will be a little bit smaller than the others. And so what we need to do is enlarge those to the size listed in the instructions. So I grab our bit here and we'll open it up. So once your hole's drilled out, since we have some bare metal now, I'm just gonna take some spray paint, just put a little layer over it, just to help protect it against corrosion and things of that nature. Over here on the passenger side, if you look we're gonna have some wire room that's connected to this part of the frame. That's gonna be in the way when we go to put our base plate up. So I's gonna take my pry tool, pop that out. And just kind of push our wiring back out of the way. With an extra set of hands, you can take our base plate and passenger side's gonna cut a slide in first. Now, do one of these drills and to hold it roughly in the position here, I'm just gonna take a clamp and clamp it in. Hope your clamp doesn't fall apart like mine did here. Shouldn't be too bad. So what I did just to help keep everything lined up is I took some pry bars and kind of put 'em through the holes, try to get everything straight and keep it that way. And then if you look on the side of your base plate, we're gonna have a hole on it. And we're gonna use that hole as a template to drill out through this frame piece here and using a half inch. And I'm gonna drill through here that way we get some hard wiring. This point, we can take our nut plate here. And what I like to do is grab the end of it with the perineal nose of ice grips. It just makes it easier to kind of put into place. But a lot of times what can happen too, the nuts can have some powder coating on the threads and make it hard to kind of start. So run your bolt through and clean out the threads. Makes it a little bit easier. This one is clean, so really no worries. But you're gonna take your bolt and a split lock washer, put that on, take your flat washer. Then we can take the included blue lock tight, put some of that on the threads. And matter of fact, all the hardware that we're gonna use to secure the base plate is gonna receive some of that lock tight. The way this is gonna work though, nut plate, you're gonna feed that up through here and it lines up with that hole there and we're gonna line it up, take our bolt and get it started. So once you have those in place and tight, come back with our socket. I'm using the 19, you can also use it three quarter and we'll smug it out. Be sure to come back with a torque wrench and tighten down that hardware to the amount specified in the instructions. If you don't have a torque wrench, you can get one here at etrailer, or a lot of times go to your local auto parts store. They'll have one they're available you can rent. So once that's torque down, go ahead and get rid of our clamp and our prime bar. So I went ahead and got our safety cables on. And as long as you have an end wrapped around your base plate and the other wrapped around part of your frame, you're gonna be in good shape. So that's exactly what I did. And then here and there, I used some zip ties just to kind of tighten everything up. That way, this stuff isn't bouncing around, making a bunch of noise whenever we're going down the road. At this point, we're ready to get our bumper back on, but I just wanted to explain this while it's easy to see. So we have these backer plates that we're originally on the back side of our bumper and we're only gonna be putting two of them back. One go on the outside of our passenger side of our vehicle. The other one will go on the inside portion here on our driver's side. And reason being is the other sides have our base plate on the back there. So there's no need for an additional backer plate. But that it we'll go ahead, get our bumper pushed into place and get it resecured. So we'll grab our bumper beam here and make sure you get everything plugged back in. We'll line it up and slide it back in the position. So I got our bumper resecured, tightened and torque, like we talked about. It did fight me a little bit. I do wanna mention, you may have to kind of move some things around. So in our case, our safety cables kind of looped around this side first and that was interfering with the bumper. So I just changed 'em around, put 'em to the inside. Give us that clearance we need. And then on the very end, I don't know if every Jeep will be set up like this, but in the very end, there will be a screw on that silver part, just like this one here. And so you can use a torque bit, I believe it was a T 20 to pull those outside screws out and that'll give you the clearance. And obviously this isn't going anywhere, it's pushed up so tight against our base plate. It's not gonna hurt anything. So just a couple of pointers there. If you run into some issues, try to get this thing lined up and put back in place. Those are some of the things you'll look for if it starts to fight you a little bit. At this point, what you can do is take your underbody panel. There's a diagram and the instructions that you can follow to cut out some of the parts and reinstall it, perhaps the way that you removed it. Or what we're gonna do is hold off on that. We're gonna actually install the rest of our flat towing components like wiring, breaking system, things of that nature. Because it's just gonna give us a little bit more room to kinda work around without that panel down here. So that's what I'm gonna do once we're finished up with that, we can come back to the panel, show you how to cut it and get it back up. So now that I have everything we're wrapped up in terms of my wiring, my breaking system and everything else, you can get our panel put back on. So there's a diagram and instructions. You can kind of lean on a little bit, but everyone's gonna be set up a little bit different, especially depending on how you mount up your wiring and your break, switch and everything else. So what you can do is use that information. And what I like to do as well is kind of hold this up and eyeball it and just see where I need to make some cuts. I'll cut some material out, test fit it. If you need to take more out, not a huge deal we can, but we'll do that. We probably take us a couple tries to get it fit, just how we want it. With everything marked out, I'm gonna cut like we talked about, I'm gonna use a drum tool to cut this out. You can probably use a variety of different things, maybe a jigsaw or something like that. It's pretty thick plastic. So with that set, I'll go ahead, work on getting all these cut out and then we'll see if it fits. So I went ahead and got our underbody panel back up in place, opposite way that we removed it. Like I said, you might have to kind of test fit it, make another cut. I actually did have to do that over here where our base plate is on the driver's side, kind of sticks out a little bit. So kind of an opening there to clear it. Everything's tight, but this did go back up in place. And honestly, I think it looks pretty decent about as good as it can given the fact that we have all these new components up front now. And that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the etrailer.com base plate kit on our 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited..


Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
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Joshua S
Employee Dustin K
Video Edited:
Dustin K
Employee David F
Test Fit:
David F
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G

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