Wiring your XJ for trailer towing

If your Jeep didn’t come with a factory hitch and towing wiring harness, wiring your rig for towing can seem like a complicated task, but it’s really pretty easy. All you need is a screwdriver, a socket wrench, and a T-connector wiring harness. You can get T-connector harnesses from just about any autoparts store, I got mine at Wal-Mart, and they’re only about $15-$25. (note: T-connector harnesses are only 4-way plugs, they don’t include anything for aux. trailer power or trailer brakes) The harnesses are made for particular models (ie: Cherokee vs. Grand Cherokee) and years (ie: pre-’91 vs. ’92 and after), so be sure to get the one that fits your rig.

The first thing to do is remove the spare tire (if you’ve got one inside the cargo area) and remove the trim panel (driver’s side) behind the spare. The panel is held on with 3 screws and 2 bolts (there are two more bolts that hold the spare tire bracket to the floor, you’ll need to remove these also). The panel is also clipped to the trim panel around the backseat, but it’s easy to get the clip undone (and don’t worry, you shouldn’t break it getting it undone).
The next thing is to locate the wiring harness that goes to the tail lights. It should be pretty easy to find as it’s right there in the middle once you remove the trim panel. It’s clipped to the sheetmetal, so just pop the clip out and unhook the two halves of the harness. (the extra wiring in the photo is for my subwoofer)
Now insert the T-connector between the two halves of the wiring harness and snap it all back together.
Clip the harness back to the sheetmetal and stuff all the wiring back in the side of the Jeep. Now run the 4-way trailer plug out to the trailer hitch, replace the trim panel, test the trailer plug to make sure it’s working properly, and you’re done.
So where do you run the wiring out to the hitch you ask? Well, you’ve got two options: out the taillight, or out the “plug” in the bottom of the rear quarter panel. The factory trailer wiring harness goes out this “plug” so that’s what I dedicde to do also. I cut a slit in the plug and ran the wiring out and up behind the bumper. Then I used some silicon to seal up the plug so it wouldn’t leak when submerged. I also wrapped the wiring with some black conduit to protect it and give the install a cleaner, more “factory” look.
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