Fall is in the air in Wisconsin, the temperatures at night are already reaching down in the 40’s at night and the days sometimes not breaking 70’s. We have been in Wisconsin now since the first part of April and summer has sped by being new grandparents for the first time and Jason putting in his 25% of the year at the university. We got out on the trails at the Apple Valley Farm event this summer and even those small trails provided us with some challenges. This weekend now we head out for our third year and will be making our way back to Florida for the winter.
Since we purchased our 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Backcountry Edition in February we have fallen in love with the new hobby of off-road use. We have had a chance to get out on two different offroad parks. The Jeep was pretty decent on those trails. The Backcountry edition was an upper mid-range vehicle, having some Sahara like features and some Rubicon features. We found our limits were only the basic green trails and if we wanted to do anything more demanding we would be pretty limited, mostly by the clearance and the lack of any dedicated differential lockers.
There are a number of good shops in the Minneapolis area that could have done some modifications, but we found Rubi the “Billet Silver Metallic” gray 2017 Rubicon JK Wrangler Unlimited on a lot. Ready-made with what we wanted to add to our smaller white Jeep all sitting there ready to go. The sales transaction was better than we could imagine with our trade-in, so it seemed like a no brainer. Later we found out that it had been sitting on the lot for eight months not selling, it was just not a build someone in Minnesota needs for winter commuting in the metro.
We found out from our salesmen that the rig “has never seen dirt” and that the previous owner only wanted the great look. He had changed 17″ wheels with 16″ and upgraded the profile to 34″ tires riding on Teraflex Sport and Fox lift kit, added a small front bumper with a no-name winch that was not even wired into the electrical system and deleted the spare tire from the tailgate. There were just a number of this cosmetic sort of things that had to be tightened up. Even the FM radio antenna was cosmetic and useless.
To flat tow behind our motorhome we added back in an M&G Engineering Brake kit with the emergency break-away tank system for emergency braking. Jason did most of the work on that except for the actual changing out of the Jeep’s components to interface the system with the factory brakes, we had Dan’s Auto Center in Baldwin, WI, do that work for us and they did a great job. Otherwise, Jason did the remainder of the work either in our RV site or at his dad’s shop with his help. We had to also add the wiring harness to interface the Jeep’s brake and turn signals with the motorhome. On our front bumper, we will be connecting up our Blue Ox tow bars via the D-rings to the bumper, safety cables wrapped around the frame, the airline for the brakes with the emergency brake-away cable (like used on a 5th wheel) and the six-way connector for the lights.
Built-Out Material Lists
The Amazon links of the parts we used are below, we are not affiliated and do not get any commissions on these links. These are the parts that we used to accomplish our build on a 2017 JKU Rubicon, these may or may not be the right parts for you as I have no idea what was actually factory stock or not given the nature of the previous owner’s projects on the rig.
Flat-Towing Behind Motorhome
- CURT 58300 Vehicle-Side Trailer Wiring Harness Mounting Bracket for 4-Way Flat
- POLLAK 6-Way Socket W/Boot Bulk – 12-720 Wiring Connector
- CURT 57208 Vehicle-Side Trailer Wiring Harness Mounting Bracket for 4-Way or 6-Way Round
- TowWorks Keyed Alike 5/8″ Trailer Hitch Locking Pin Set – Receiver Lock with Anti-Rattle, fits Class III – V Hitches with 2″ and 2.5″ Receivers, 79632
- 16 Gauge Automotive Wire 6 Rolls Primary Colors 12V 100’FT
- Blue Ox BX88132 Hi Low 10″ Drop Receiver
- Blue Ox BX88296 Tow Bar Adapter Kit
- Blue Ox BX88208 Safety Cable Kit with Permanent Mount Class IV
- CURT 81288 Snap Hook Trailer Safety Chain Hook Carabiner Clip 9/16-Inch Diameter, 5,000 lbs.
- Hopkins 56200 Plug-In Simple Towed Vehicle Wiring Kit
- M&G Original Brake System
- M&G Breakaway Kit
Better and Safer Jeep Living
- Hooke Road 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK Wide Drop Side Steps, Textured Black Solid Steel 4 Doors Nerf Bars (Sold as Pair)
- Cahant Car Center Console Organizer Tray
- JeCar 13″ Flexible Car Radio Antenna
- oEdRo Front & Rear Grab Handles fit for Jeep Wrangler JK JKU Sports Sahara Freedom Rubicon X & Unlimited X 2 Door 4 Door 2007-2018 Black Solid Steel Grab Roll Bar (Front & Rear Grab Handles)
- Hooke Road 7PCS Front Grill Mesh Inserts, Clip-in Deflector Guard for 2007-2015 Jeep Wrangler JK & Unlimited (Matte Black)
- URELIO TECH Universal 2-4 AWG 350A Battery Connect Quick Connector Plug for 12V Winch Trailer Driver Electrical Devices
- Jeep Wrangler JK TJ CJ Rubicon JL 2018 2019 Adjustable Roll Bar Fire Extinguisher Mount Holder w/Clamps
- Kidde FA110 Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher 1A10BC, 1 Pack
- Bentolin Metal Dead Pedal Left Side Foot Rest Kick Panel 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK & Unlimited (Black)
Spare Tire / Rear Bumper Relocation
- EAG Rear Bumper with Tire Carrier W/Linkage Fit for 07-18 Jeep Wrangler JK
- ICARS Black License Plate Frame Plastic Mounting Holder Bracket w/LED Light for Jeep Wrangler JK 2007-2018
- Pro Comp Alloys Series 69 Wheel with Flat Black Finish (16×8″/5x127mm)
- Jeep/Chrysler Oem 56029398ab 68241067ab Chrysler 433mhz Tpms Tire Pressure Sensor
- Mickey Thompson Baja ATZP3 All-Terrain Radial Tire – LT315/75R16 127Q