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Blue Ox Base Plate Kit Installation - 2003 Jeep Wrangler

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How to Install the Blue Ox Base Plate Kit on a 2003 Jeep Wrangler


Rob: Hey everybody. Rob here at etrailer.com. Today, we're going to be taking a look at the Blue Ox Base Plate kit with fixed arms on our 2003 Jeep Wrangler. Now our Blue Ox Base Plate kit is going to provide us a solid attachment point so that we can flat tow it behind our motor home. It's going to spread that towing force evenly across the front. You can see that the arm here, it's going to spread that force out so we're not putting too much strain and stress on our front suspension.

The benefit to having a fixed arm system like this one here is, the fact that we're not going to have any chance of losing it. The ones that have the removable arms, they do have a nice look to them, but again, you can lose those arms and we're not going to be able to tow our Jeep.This way they're permanently affixed to the base plate. There's no chance of losing them, but the downside is, as you can see, they're pretty close to shin height on your leg, depending on how tall you are. If you're doing any kind of work in the engine bay of your Jeep or anything upfront here, you do want to watch these because they can take a toll on your legs. The arms here are going to be compatible with most Blue Ox tow bars though, especially the ones that have that triple lug design that goes in like this.

They're also going to be compatible with Roadmaster tow bars with an adapter that is sold separately, and they are going to be compatible with Curt tow bars because the Curt tow bars fit most of the Blue Ox base plates and just slide right in between the arms.I like where they put the safety chain attachment points because they are on the outside. I'm not going to have to worry about any kind of interference from our tow bar. We can easily hook on our safety chains and they'll be towards the outside. Again, no worrying about interference of hooking them in or taking them off. Another thing I like about the base plate is they do give us a spot to mount our electrical plug.

Keep in mind, the socket and the wiring itself doesn't come with the base plate, but the two prongs coming off the center here are attached to the base plate. It just makes it really easy to mount up your electrical components. One thing I do want to mention, and it's kind of important is, going to be the height of our attachment point. A few different things can effect that if you have different sized tires or wheels on your Jeep, but the base plate attachment point here on our Jeep is right at about 16 and a half inches.You want to take that measurement and compare it to how tall the hitch is on your motor home, so we can have a nice flat level towing setup. The base plate is definitely something you can do at your house and your driveway or your garage.

The installation is not complicated at all. I do recommend having an extra set of hands because we do need to loosen or remove temporally some factory components and have them supported while we get our base plate in place. That extra set of hands definitely helps out. Again, it's not complicated, but there are some things that just kind of have to take your time, have a little bit of patience. It's more of a technique type of thing, especially on the passenger side, giving you the handle nuts in place. Really there's only about seven or eight bolts that hold the entire thing on and there's no welding required. In fact, let's go and bring it to the shop and we'll go through the installation process together.To begin our installation, we actually want to get a few items ready before we start doing anything to the Jeep. Over here on the driver's side, we're going to have to remove a few bolts to get our base plate in place. However, those bolts are also going to be holding on the steering box. We want to have some kind of support device to keep it held in place or an extra set of hands or both. Another thing you want to have ready is the base plate and a few sets of clamps because over on the passenger side, we're going to have to clamp everything up. Since it's all kind of going in together at the same time, we want to make sure we have all those components ready and on hand because we don't really have the opportunity to put things down, grab it, and then come back.Again, we don't want to have our steering box loose moving around. If you have an extra set of hands with you, definitely make it easier on them rather than holding this up, just have everything ready. I'm going to put a jack stand underneath the gearbox and it is kind of an odd shape. I'm going to go right to the tab where it bolts through and try to find a nice spot where it's going to hit a few different places and support it. Now you don't need to lift up on it and push too hard. You just want to have a little bit of support underneath there. It wouldn't hurt to get an extra set of hands as well. On the driver's side of the frame here, right on the outside, we're going to have these three bolts. Again, those are also holding in our gearbox. We're going to grab a 16 millimeter socket and pull all three of those outNow you do want to hold on to these because we are going to reuse those. With that extra set of hands, we're going to lift our base plate up. We're going to line up the holes with the bolts we just removed on the driver's side. We want to lift our base plate up and we're going to use a set of clamps to clamp it to the frame on the passenger side.You want to make sure your base plate is supported. It's not going to be moving around too much. Once you get the driver's side lined up, you want to get your bolts in. That'll help support the base plate. Then we can very carefully get our gearbox lined up, to match up with those bolts. May have to play with the jack or move it by hand just a little bit, but then we're just going to thread the bolts back into the gearbox and tighten everything down. I'm going to make sure to get my bolt started by hand using a hand tool rather than driving them in with an impact, so I can make sure that they're threading into the gearbox properly and we don't struggle them out or cross threading. It's also a good idea to turn on the bolt a few times, go to the other one and kind of alternate between all three of them, while we draw that gearbox back in, it's not going into a weird angle.With the driver's side secure, it's going to hold itself in place. We're going to remove the jack stand and the extra set of hands can let go. However, we need to drill out the holes on the passenger side and the clamp may be in the way, depending on how you clamped it down. What I'm going to do is, I'm going to put a jack stand underneath the passenger side. Again, you don't need to push up real hard, but we want to have a little bit of support underneath there. If we need to, we can remove the clamp and use the base plate as a template to drill out the holes.Over on the passenger side, we look on the inside of the framework. We're going to have two attachment points as well as two on the bottom. We need to drill these holes out. We're going to use our hitch as a template. I'm going to start with somewhat of a small drill bit just to get a pilot hole. This is going to help drill out the hole a little bit easier, so you won't have to use the full size drill bits to try to drill it out. A little bit easier to take less material away. I'm going to go ahead and drill out the pilot hole in all four locations, then we'll come back with the final size. I mean, 13 - 30 seconds.Thats one hole drilled out. Again, we're just going to go back and repeat that for the three remaining holes. With our holes drilled out, we can get ready to put the hardware in place in the passenger side. We want to start by grabbing one of the three ace bolts. Each one of our bolts does need to get some Loctite put on it, including the ones that we're over on the driver's side. However, we can take care of that once we get all of our hardware in. Once we have the Loctite on, we want to put a split lock washer in place and follow that up with a flat washer. This combination of hardware is going to be going through the bottom of our base plate. The bolts that are going through the side of the frame are only going to have a lock washer and not a flat washer.We moved to the outside of the passenger side of the frame here. Find this oval hole. This is going to be our access hole to get our hardware in because, we're actually going to have four of these handle nuts, and we need to feed them in and bend them in a way that we can engage the bolt from the inside of the frame. I'm going to start with the bolts on the bottom and probably the furthest one away from the access hole, so I can have a little bit of range to get the rest of them in. I know that I need my bolt to be about here. I'm just going to kind of estimate how I need to bend my handle for my handle nut, and then feed it into the frame and make any kind of adjustments as needed. I will let you know, it is kind of a feel and you just have to kind of bend the hardware until you can get it to where you need to get at. Usually you can take your bolt, come in.Again, it's more of a feel, try to see where it's lined up, just going to have to take a few bends and get your handle nut into the position till we can get our bolts to thread through, going through the base plate into the handle nut. Once all the hardware is in place on the passenger side, we're going to remove the support. We're going to make sure we torque all the hardware down to the specified amount in the instructions. I'll come back with a nine 16 socket. I'm going to torque all four of these bolts down over here before I break off the handles on the handle nuts.We'll make sure to repeat that for all the remaining bolts over here. Obviously we can't leave these hanging out and really not a good idea just to bend them over either. What I like to do is, I'll grab a pair of tin snips, really any kind of pliers you have. We'll bend all of them out of the way, except for the one we're working with. I'm going to grab it pretty tight and then we should be able to just start bending it back and forth while we're applying pressure with the pliers. It should break off once we start bending it back and forth and again, squeezing on the pliers.We don't have to cut it all the way and just bend it. If you want, you can go ahead and push all the access into the frame, so we don't have anything sharp sticking out. Let's go ahead and do that for the remaining handle nuts that are sticking out of the frame. I do want to bring our attention back to the driver's side. Now this is already in place, but I would like to put lock tight on the bolts. I'm going to take them out one at a time. That way I don't have to worry about my gearbox moving or the base plate moving. We'll remove them, put some Loctite on them and then put them back in place one at a time.Again, I'll drive it in by hand to make sure that it's not cross-threading. We'll make sure to come back with a 16 millimeter socket and torque down the three bolts on the passenger side as well.They're basically torqued down. The last step is to get our permanent safety cables in place. We're going to have two safety cables, one for each side, along with two convenience links for each side. The tab right here on the outside of our base plate is for our safety cables while we're towing, so we don't want to hook our permanent safety cables to that spot. What I like to do is I'll just take one of the looped ends and then bring it over and around the base plate and kind of create a loop, so it's attaching the base plate to the cable. I'll take one of the convenience links, go through the loop, make sure that the cable goes in there as well. Then you can close it up.We want to take the other end and we're going to do the same thing, but we want to make sure it wraps around the base plate and the frame. We got a little bit of slack here, so we'll just take our cable and I'm going to run it up and over the base plate but, keep in mind there is a line right here, so we want to watch where we're routing it. We don't want to interfere with anything or damage any lines. You can actually move this plastic to see what's behind it. I'm going to go over the frame again, watching out for that line, grab it on the outside. I'll bring it back around. Again, just the same method of taking that convenience length, going through the loop and making sure the safety cables inside.I'm going to lock it down. That's going to be the same process that we want to do for the driver's side, with the other safety cable and convenience link. We do have the option of getting some zip ties and kind of tying everything up nice and tight against the frame, so we don't have any chance of rubbing, which I'm going to come back and do to make sure everything's in a nice, neat little bundle under here and tucked away as high as I can get it. Being mindful of where the lines or anything else is because, we don't want to cause any damage. Especially on the driver's side, since that's where our steering is. Really need to pay attention of how we route it because, we don't want it to get caught in the steering. With the cables in place and the base plate torqued down, that'll finish up your installation and your look at the Blue Ox Base Plate kit on our 2003 Jeep Wrangler.


Info for this part was:

Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Dustin K
Video Edited:
Dustin K
Employee Cole B
Installed by:
Cole B
Employee Robert C
Test Fit:
Robert C
Employee Aidan B
Video by:
Aidan B

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