Learning to be able to tow vehicles should be a very high priority if you are planning a trip with your loved ones. Ignoring it could mean risking your entire trip as however perfect a vehicle might be, machines do break down quite often for a bunch of unknown reasons. Hence, having a bit of knowledge and the required gear is what you should always have ready prior to your trip.
Towing is not rocket science and is much straightforward if the vehicle is light or you’re used to towing, however, if you a Jeep Wrangler, it could be somewhat of an intimidating task at the start. So, here in this article, I will provide you all the things you need to learn to tow a Jeep Wrangler manual transmission.
An important decision here to make is how to tow your vehicle as there are several ways of doing so. But luckily, in the case of Jeep Wrangler, the decision is pretty easy as this Jeep is amongst some of the few vehicles that are specifically built to be flat towed or as some might call it, tow “four down” as all the tires need to be in contact with the pavement. Further, the guidelines of towing it four-down along with all the required equipment will be explained by dividing the process into easy steps.
Steps of How to Tow a Jeep Wrangler Manual Transmission
1. The towing capacity of the truck
First things first, before doing anything, you must be sure that the tow truck you’re using will be able to support your massive Jeep. You can check the towing capacity then compare it with your vehicle’s weight. Mostly, towing RVs can manage a weight up to 5000lbs which should do the work if your Wrangler is in stock condition.
However, if you’ve done some customizations to your Wrangler or you’re storing a lot of supplies in there like food and other miscellaneous cargo, it might be going over 5000lbs so make sure of the capacity of the tow truck you’re using.
2. Baseplate/Integrated Bumper
The default bumper of your Wrangler is not built to withstand the forces exerted on while towing. For this, you can use the baseplates, which can be bolted on your Wrangler’s frame underneath the bumper. They provide you with all the extra strength. I will recommend you to go with baseplates # RM-521450-4.
The second option is to replace the default bumper with a fully integrated bumper which comes with built-in brackets so you might easily attach the tow bar there and this bumper has the required strength you need to tow your Wrangler without running into any problem.
3. Tow Bar
This is the main equipment when it comes to four-down tow. There are mainly two types of tow bars available; some come pre-installed with a mechanical supplementary braking system while some don’t. If you want to buy the ones with the braking system you can go for Ready Brute Elite Tow Bar. Once bought, they can be easily installed directly installed onto your wrangler’s bumper. Just remove the bumper pads and install the brackets, be sure that there are around 30-35 inches of distance between the brackets, according to the instructions manual. Just make sure that you’re attaching the tow bar to either an integrated bumper or you have the baseplates attached. If the road you’re towing on is not level, you might also want to purchase a high/low adapter; this will help to keep the tow bar on the same level keeping you from any trouble.
4. Safety Chains
These are basically the backup chains included as a safety measure in case something goes wrong as towing is sometimes unpredictable. For the installation of these backup chains, two attachment points are needed on the Jeep. These can be installed easily by hooking them directly to the Wrangler’s frame by using hooks or D-rings, you can buy Curt hooks if you don’t have the D-rings or the hooks available your Jeep, they will provide you additional usage if you’re off-roading and are stuck somewhere, so you can always consider keeping them on board as they have a petty price tag of around 10 bucks as well. For safety chains, I will recommend you to go with # RM-643 as they are the most suitable according to my research.
5. Break-Away Kit
This piece of equipment is not necessary, but you can use it if you have to be more cautious. When towing, there can come a time if you’re unlucky that your Wrangler breaks away from the tow bar and doesn’t remain in contact with the truck anymore, this situation can be disastrous and hence to avoid it, these brakes would immediately stop the motion and keep your Jeep from rolling away hence preventing any damage to you and others. They are designed to automatically be activated whenever such you’re confronted with such a situation.
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6. Supplementary Brakes
If you’re towing in a plane area away from the hills, you might not want to use these as some trucks have a good braking system and their brakes alone are enough to stop the whole towing system without any issues. But, you need to check which state you’re towing in as some places have the law which makes it compulsory to install the supplementary braking system. Also, if you need to tow in hilly areas, these should be a must.
Otherwise, it all may be a huge risk. There are two types of supplementary braking systems, mechanical and electrical. In the electronic ones, the Jeep’s brake pedals are pushed whenever the towing truck’s brake pedal is depressed with an equal proportion. Some systems use totally mechanic system for brakes, for example, ReadyBrute Elite, which by the way comes with the built-in breakaway kit as well. It is normally a very good option to go with as it is also very easy and fast to install it. While most systems are installed temporarily, some of them are installed permanently and don’t need to be installed again and again like Roadmaster InvisiBrake.
As the name suggests, you don’t even need to connect anything physically while connecting your Wrangler to the truck. But I will only recommend you these if you tow your Wrangler much often.
7. Towing Lights
This step again is fairly simple and necessary as when towing, you don’t want a vehicle crashing into you without knowing you were there. There are basically two ways to do this, installing the lights permanently by hard-wiring or using the temporary lights for as long as the towing process goes on, which is quick and cheap by the way. I’d suggest you go with the temporary setup if you do not go on trips too often and are short on budget, however you can save yourself the process every time and hard-wire it once and for all especially if you are a person regularly going around.
If you want to install it permanently, you would need a hard-wire diode kit. If you don’t use a diode, you might be feeding back your Jeep the electrical impulses coming from the truck which could do a great deal of damage to all the electrical components present in your Jeep. As the wire has to run through the engine compartment which gets fairly hot while the vehicle is in use, you need to make sure that the hard-wire is completely protected by flex tubing. For the lights, you can go with wiring harness by CoolTech.
8. Flat Towing the Wrangler
Flat towing your Jeep Wrangler should be a fairly simple task, simpler than flat towing other vehicles. Just make sure you have all the required equipment, and you have set them properly just as I have told you to. One thing to strictly bear in mind here is that the transfer case must be in Neutral. The transmission placed in gear, some people prefer third gear; however, according to my research, the majority suggests putting your Jeep in second gear, so I suggest you go with this. Putting the Jeep in gear will lubricate the movement, or the transmission would heat up very much, even to the point of burning off! According to the manual, I am mentioning below the steps to flat tow your Jeep Wrangler with a manual transmission.
- Depress and hold the brake pedal
- Set parking brake
- Depress the clutch pedal
- Shift the transfer case lever into Neutral
- Start engine
- Place manual transmission into second gear
- Release the brake pedal and make sure there is no vehicle movement
- Shut the engine off and turn the key into OFF position
- Apply parking brake
- Attach the Jeep with the tow vehicle using the tow bar
- Release the parking brake