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Towing a Jeep Cherokee Overland
04-10-2018, 16:24 (This post was last modified: 04-10-2018 16:44 by cmillsap.)
Post: #1
Towing a Jeep Cherokee Overland
Automobile manufacturers are installing electronic power steering (EPS) on their cars nowadays. This includes some models that are marketed at “Towable”. This has caused some models to be unsafe with the EPS unpowered while towing and prone to steer tires wobbling as there is no hydraulic dampening in the steering mechanism. After many instances of steer tire wobble and complaints by Jeep Cherokee owners, Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) has provided a kit to allow the EPS to stay powered while the Jeep Cherokee is being towed.

After much investigation and gathering of information regarding its tow ability, we purchased a new 2016 Jeep Cherokee Overland in September of 2016. This is the latest of five Jeeps we have owned over the years due to their ease in towing behind our coach. The information we gathered and the Jeep dealer’s insistence that the wobble issue had been resolved on all Cherokees manufactured after March of 2016 convinced us to go ahead and purchase our Jeep because it was manufactured later in June of that year.

We towed the Cherokee all around the country or about 7,000 miles without experiencing any issues. It tracked beautifully behind the coach. A few weeks ago, we were starting a new touring schedule and about 20 miles from home we experienced violent shaking of the rear of the coach. A quick glance at the rear-view camera showed the front wheels of the Cherokee fully turning rapidly from left to right.
Fortunately, we were traveling about 30mph and were able to get stopped before the violent action damaged the Jeep or the towbar. Calling around to several Jeep dealers and searching the internet about the issue produced four separate Service Bulletins. They are:

Service Bulletin Number: 08-040-18, Group: 08-Electrical, Date: March 13,2018

Service Bulletin Number: 08-010-17, Group: Electrical, Date: January 28,2016

Service Bulletin Number 08-029-16 REV.A, Group: Electrical, Date: April 26, 2016

Service bulletin Number: 08-29-16, Group: Electrical: Date: March 17,2016

A phone call to Jeep Customer Service resulted in FCA’s approval to pay for the installation of the # K6862569 kit as a good-will gesture. The service bulletin specifically notes (in fine print) that it is not an authorization for repair. Many Jeep Cherokee owners have had the flat tow kit installed at their own expense. The cost ranging from $300 to $800 depending on the dealer used.

We were told the installation of the kit was simply a wire around to allow the EPS to stay powered when towing. We were quite surprised when we picked up the car at the dealers to find that it added complications to the procedure used to prepare the Jeep for towing and that a battery charger needs to be used to keep the battery charged while towing for more than 3 hours. Also, a toggle switch was installed in the center console and an in-line fuse holder added under the hood. Here’s the added-on procedure now needed to set up the Jeep to tow. What a P.I.A.!!
İmage İmage

It seems to me that if the Jeep was marketed as “Towable” then FCA should stand behind their product and absorb the expense to make it “Towable”. Without the kit installed, it is not safe to tow the Jeep Cherokee models referenced in the FCA Service Bulletins.
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04-11-2018, 10:12 (This post was last modified: 04-11-2018 10:31 by travelite.)
Post: #2
RE: Towing a Jeep Cherokee Overland
That's a good writeup Chuck. Maybe to lessen the pain ever so slightly you might install one of these fuse bypass switches: At least this way you don't need to constantly open the hood to remove and replace the fuse. You may have to lengthen it a little depending upon where your fuse box is located.

I'm afraid electronic power assist steering is here to stay. It's hard to find a new passenger car that doesn't employ EPAS. The advantages are too many, and they've proven to be relatively reliable. There's a story or two out there of early failure with unintended steering but not many. The system in my Flex appears to be the Fail-Operational type, which means in the event of failure it falls back on mechanical steering. There are problems with this because I don't think most owners fully appreciate the amount of steering input required to steer a non-power assist car and they may think they have no steering. (The driver may even have to manually unwind the steering in slow corners). It'd be much better to have a fully redundant system with multiple motors, controllers, sensors, and a voting mechanism. Aircraft probably use this sort of system, but no way are penny pinching car companies going to. Sad Given a choice, I'd opt for the old hydraulics!

I don't know if my Flex EPAS is always powered, but I know my battery runs down very rapidly. It tows beautifully, probably better then any of my other toads.

Good luck, I hope you have success with the new setup.

david brady,
'02 Wanderlodge LXi 'Smokey' (Sold),
'04 Prevost H3 Vantare 'SpongeBob'

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