We recently added a hitch receiver to our 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo so we could pull a very small (2600 pound) travel trailer. The Jeep has factory tow package/wiring installed. I wanted to list out the parts that we ordered with links to eTrailer.com’s inventory. All of these parts were for the most part, straight bolt in or plug ~n~ play.
The hitch receiver: https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Draw-Tite/75699.html
This hitch receiver as chosen because it does NOT require any cutting of body panels or modification to the vehicle. It quite simply bolts in. The process took less than 30 minutes but does require two people because of the weight of the unit.
The brake controller: https://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Controller/Draw-Tite/5535.html
Again, mostly, plug ~n~ play. You do have to cut the connector off the wires of the controller and mate it with the factory plug. If you order this one: https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-and-Parts/Tekonsha/3045-S.html, the wire’s colors match up exactly. 5 minute operation to change the plug and it makes plugging into the vehicle’s existing brake controller plug a breeze.
This is the actual hitch we chose. Because the trailer weight is only 2600 pounds (ish), we didn’t feel that a weight distribution hitch was needed. Though we did want a sway bar. This allows us to adjust the height of the hitch ball as well as placing a small mount point out and to the right of the main towing ball for a sway bar.
Any quality ball will do. Just make sure the shank is the proper diameter and length to use on your hitch. I was on an ordering spree so I just bought it from eTrailer while I was there.
Trailer Connector (Wire harness): https://www.etrailer.com/Custom-Fit-Vehicle-Wiring/Curt/C55774.html
Absolutely a direct plug ~n~ play. If your Jeep Grand Cherokee has a factory wire harness for hooking up trailers. Up underneath the rear valence *bumper cover* will be the factory plug. Put it there, mount it to the hitch receiver and you are done. MOSTLY!!! See below.
Sway Control Bar: https://www.harborfreight.com/trailer-sway-control-kit-96462.html
I purchased this from Harbor Freight. The unit had great reviews and came with the hitch side ball. I have not installed it on the trailer as yet for reasons. When I bought it, I also had a 20% off coupon so the cost was even lower. And Harbor Freight is just a few miles from my home.
So the only “jam” we ran into in this entire process had nothing to do with the after-market equipment we added. It has to do with the Jeep itself.
Apparently, even when equipped with the factory tow package, unless you order the hitch and wiring installed at the dealership, your vehicle will not be ready to tow a trailer with a 7 blade connector as our’s is configured. They (dealership/factory) do not prepare the Electronic Control Unit (ECU or “brain”) on the vehicle for towing so much of the functionality of the tow package is disabled.
We had all of our equipment installed and ready to go. Drove 80 miles to the dealership, took delivery of the camper and backed the Jeep up to it. Hooked everything up and… no lights. Electric brakes work fine. No lights. No running lights, turn signals or brake lights. We had to drive home without our camper.
Research on the internet revealed that this is very common. And a huge oversight on our part not preparing our tow vehicle. So now it’s Sunday, and if you have ever dealt with vehicle dealerships, you know the fight that we are in for come Monday. Trying to get the Jeep in to be “flashed” so that we can go get out camper. I absolutely HATE dealing with car dealerships and will do everything I can to avoid them. Unfortunately, this is one of those rare times where we must go for the service.
EDIT: The dealership activated “trailer towing” on the Jeep in about an hour. Charged 1/2 hour labor or a total of $72.00 so NOT a crisis. Other than several hours out of my day driving to the dealer, waiting and driving home.