Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Spool Your Winch

Spooling your winch properly on your Jeep Wrangler ensures you don’t face any trouble later when you’re in trouble. Read on to learn how to spool your winch.By Bassem Girgis – November 19, 2015
Contributors: Masterpull.com

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

The Jeep Wrangler is a car designed to go off the road. When you go off the road, you risk getting stuck, and that’s why installing a winch is a wise decision. A winch can help you get your Jeep out of ditches, and it can also help other cars out of trouble. However, if you fail to spool your winch properly, you can face problems when you’re trying to use it, which is why you absolutely need it to work. Spooling the winch properly is a simple procedure that is required when you’re first installing the cable, or after using it when pulling it back in place. Read on to learn how you can spool your winch in the Jeep Wrangler.

(Related Article: How to Use Winch to Recover Another Car – JK-Forum.com)

Figure 1. Front winch.

Material Needed

  • Allen key

Step 1 – Attach cable to drum

There are two ways your cable can be attached to the winch’s drum: the first one is with a screw to the side of the drum, and the second on is feeding the cable through a hole, holding it in place by a screw from the other side of the drum. Depending on the winch you have, connect the cable and tighten the screw. Most of the screws use Allen keys to tighten.

Figure 2. Cable screwed to the side of drum.

Figure 3. Cable connected through the drum’s hole.

Step 2 – Align cable

For this step, you will need a bit of space in front of your car. Lay the cable straight in front of your car for as long as it can go. This will help to easily pull it back straight.

Figure 4. Lay cable straight on the ground.

Step 3 – Pull line in

Pull the line slowly. As the line is pulling in, slowly and neatly guide it so it goes to the side to create one full layer. When you reach the end, start guiding it the opposite side, going back as a second layer. From left to right first, then come back from right to left. Make sure you keep the layers even.

Figure 5. Guide line slowly.

Figure 6. Guide the line back to create a second layer.

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Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Use Winch to Recover Another Vehicle

Installing a winch on your Jeep Wrangler is a great security addition to it. Learn how to use it to recover cars with this article.By Bassem Girgis – November 19, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

The Jeep Wrangler is an off-road tank, so it is designed specifically for the great outdoors. Having a winch is a great option to have in case your car gets stuck; it is also a great option to have to save other cars that get stuck. There is no point of having a winch if you don’t know how to use it. This guide will shine some light on how you can use your Jeep Wrangler to get cars out of ditches.

Figure 1. Front winch.

Material Needed

  • Gloves

Step 1 – Connect winch to car

Release the winch cable and pull it to the car in need of help. Connect your winch cable to the car’s tow hook. Depending on what direction the car is facing, connect it to the front or back, whatever is pointing to your winch.

Figure 2. Connect cable to tow hook.

Step 2 – Pull cable in slowly

Before you start pulling the car in, you have to pull the cable in until there is some tension on it.

Figure 3. Pull cable in slowly.

Step 3 – Pull car out

Depending on the type of winch you have, start pulling the cable in, whether it’s equipped with a remote or you have a button that pulls it in and out. Ask the other driver to slowly drive towards you as you pull, but be sure they don’t step on the gas too much; just slightly to assist in pulling. Pull the cable in steadily. If the car is stuck, try letting go and pulling it in a choppy matter. When the car is out, release the cable to create some slack, then remove it, pull it in steadily and make sure it goes around the drum properly.

Figure 4. Make sure cable loops properly.

(Related Article: How to Spool Your Winch – JK-Forum.com)

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Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Install Trailer Harness

Installing a wiring harness is a lot simpler than people may tell you, so read on to learn how you can install one in your Jeep Wrangler.By Bassem Girgis – November 17, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

For the Jeep Wranglers that don’t come with a wiring harness, it becomes a problem when you want to tow a trailer. If you tow a trailer without connecting the wiring harness, you won’t have tail lights or brake lights activated on the trailer, which would result in a hefty ticket. Installing a trailer wiring harness could be a complicated job if you want it to be; however, if you buy a tail light wiring harness, which is an adapter that connects to your tail light and takes the power from it, the job can take no time and can be done successfully. Read on to learn how you can easily install a wiring harness on your Jeep Wrangler and start towing your trailer.

Figure 1. Trailer wiring harness.

Materials Needed

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Trailer wiring harness

Step 1 – Disconnect battery

Whenever you’re working with anything electrical in your Jeep, it’s recommended you disconnect the negative (black) battery terminal. Use your wrench to loosen the negative battery cable and wrap it in a towel so it doesn’t make contact with anything metal.

Figure 2. Disconnect negative battery terminal.

Step 2 – Remove tail light assembly

The tail light assembly is held in place with four Phillips head screws. Remove all four and pull the assembly out.

Figure 3. Remove tail light assembly.

Step 3 – Plug wiring harness

With the tail light assembly removed, unplug the tail light bulb from its electrical harness. Then install the trailer wiring harness to the tail light electrical harness, and install it to the tail light bulb. The trailer wiring harness should have three ends. One attaches to the tail light harness, the second one attaches to the tail light bulb, and the third one is an oddly-shaped wiring harness, which is the one that attaches to the trailer’s wiring harness.

Figure 4. Disconnect tail light.

Figure 5. Connect trailer harness to tail light harness.

  • Figure 6. Connect other end to bulb.

Step 4 – Feed trailer harness through

Feed the trailer harness end through the tail light hole, and through the bottom foam liner. Make sure to pull it enough that it will be able to reach the hitch to connect to the trailer.

Figure 7. Feed trailer harness through.

Figure 8. Feed it through foam liner.

Step 5 – Install tail light

Feed all the wires through the tail light, then install the tail light. Tighten all four screws that holds the tail light assembly in place, but don’t tighten too much or it will brake the plastic cover. Attach the wiring harness’ push connector to the frame rail. The frame will have holes equipped specifically for that. This prevents the wiring harness to dangle around and get caught with something. Mount the trailer plug to the hitch.

Figure 9. Install tail light assembly.

Figure 10. Connect wiring harness to frame rail.

Featured Video: Jeep Wrangler Trailer Wiring Install

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Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Install Universal Winch

The front harbor freight winch tow hitch is designed in case you get stuck with your Jeep Wrangler, or if you need to tow anyone out of a ditch. If you go off-roading a lot, this could come in handy.By Bassem Girgis – November 17, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

The Jeep Wrangler is designed to drive in areas away from any tow trucks. There is, luckily, an inexpensive solution sold by Harbor Freight tools specifically to get you out of trouble, which makes it OK to get in trouble knowing you can always get out of it. The winch has a cable that extends, which helps you in various ways. You can use it to pull other fellow off-roaders out of ditches, you can use it so fellow off-roaders pull you out of ditches, or you can even wrap it around a tree to gain more traction to pull yourself out of ditches. All in all, it works to allow you to continue the fun. Even though it may look like it’s supported by the front bumper, make no mistake about it, it has no relationship to the front bumper. This winch is attached to a plate that attached to your frame, and it sits on top of your bumper without even applying weight on it. The process is easy to do, it just requires you to remove the front bumper. Read on to learn how you can install a front winch on your Jeep Wrangler and let the fun continue.

Figure 1. Front winch.

Materials Needed

  • T55 socket
  • Socket set
  • Ratchet
  • Flat head screwdriver

Step 1 – Remove front bumper

Remove the plastic shield from under the car. Remove the plastic clips by turning them counterclockwise with your flat head screwdriver. Slide under the front of your car, then remove all the bolts attaching the front bumper to the frame. There should be four total holding them together. Ask a friend to hold the bumper for you so it doesn’t fall when you remove the bolts.

Figure 2. Remove bumper.

Step 2 – Install winch plate

The winch plate comes specifically for your Jeep Wrangler. It is designed to bolt on your frame, as the holes are pre-drilled in the right places. Use the bolts included with your plate and bolt it onto the frame. Follow the instructions on your specific winch; you will most likely use the same holes that the bumper uses, which doesn’t mean it will be supported by the bumper.

Figure 3. Install plate onto frame.

Step 3 – Install the winch

The winch bolts right on the plate. All the holes should align, so use the included bolts, washers and nuts. Then tighten them together before you install the bumper back on.

Figure 4. Install winch on top of the plate.

Step 4 – Install bumper

Install the bumper the same way you removed it. If you used the same holes to install the plate, simply align the bumper with the same holes and tighten them together as a whole. If you’ve mounted it differently, then mount the bumper the same way you’ve removed it. A friend can come in handy here to hold the bumper while you tighten the four bolts.

Figure 5. Install bumper.

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Jeep Wrangler JK: How to Install Tow Hitch

A tow hitch allows your Jeep Wrangler to tow various things. Learn how to install one below.By Bassem Girgis – November 17, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

The Jeep Wrangler is a powerful car, and even though it has the capability to tow, some come out of the factory without a tow hitch. When buying a tow hitch, be sure to research the tow hitch’s capabilities and maximum towing capacity, then compare it to what you plan on towing. Installing a tow hitch is not a hard job, and since your Jeep is designed for such tasks, the frame is drilled and ready for you to install the hitch. If you can ask a friend for help, that would make your life easier, as you will need to remove the rear bumper and a helping hand can prevent bumper damage. Read on to learn how you can install a tow hitch in your Jeep Wrangler and start towing whatever it is you need to tow.

Figure 1. Tow hitch.

Materials Needed

  • Socket set
  • Wrench
  • Torque ratchet

Step 1 – Remove rear bumper

The rear bumper is held in place by a sequence of bolts. You’ll find two on each side and four in the middle. Remove them all and pull the bumper off.

Figure 2. Remove bolts holding bumper to frame.

(Related Article: How to Install Olympic Smuggler Rear Bumper – JK-Forum.com)

Step 2 – Install tow hitch

The tow hitch will bolt onto the frame, so align it and install all four bolts straight in; don’t forget the nuts and washers. Lock the nut in the rear with a wrench, and use a torque wrench to torque each bolt to 80 ft/lbs.

Figure 3. Insert bolts through.

Figure 4. Hand-tighten nuts.

  • Figure 5. Tighten to 80 ft/lbs.

Step 3 – Install bumper

With the tow hitch in place, install the bumper the same way you removed it. Align it in place, then hand-tighten the side bolts. After hand-tightening all bolts, tighten them all to make sure it’s nice and sturdy.

Figure 6. Install rear bumper.

Featured Video: Jeep Wrangler Tow Hitch

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Jeep Wrangler JK: Towing and Hauling General Information

There is a big difference between knowing how to tow, and knowing how to correctly tow. Read this guide to learn some tips about towing with your Jeep Wrangler.By Bassem Girgis – November 16, 2015

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

Everyone knows the Jeep Wrangler as that ultimate off-road machine, which it is. However, people forget the fact that it can tow. Towing capabilities allow you the freedom to tow anything you may need. You can choose to tow a trailer so you can enjoy having a home in the middle of no where, or you can tow a cargo trailer, which would allow you to move things around easily. However, before towing anything, you need to understand a bit more about your Jeep’s towing capabilities, tire pressure, and some other tips that will ensure your towing is done safely.

Figure 1. Jeep Wrangler JK.

Scheduled Maintenance

Using your Jeep as a daily driver, an off-road machine, or using it to tow makes for different maintenance intervals. When you use your Wrangler for towing, you can automatically change the fluid change intervals by 2,000 miles. So if you replace your engine oil every 5,000 miles, replace it every 3,000 miles instead. Be sure to always check your transmission fluid and transfer case fluid, as they may burn a lot quicker with a load behind you. Always rotate your tires and check them for unusual wear. If your car is misaligned, your tires will wear quickly. If it’s misaligned and you’re towing, it will wear out even faster.

Figure 2. Check fluids more regularly when towing.

Understand Towing Capacity

Before you buy a trailer or before hooking anything to your Jeep, be sure to understand what your Jeep is capable of pulling.

The Jeep Wrangler is capable of towing 2,000 to 3,500 lbs depending on the package you have. Check your owner’s manual to know the exact number on your specific Jeep. Always check the trailer you’re pulling and be sure you’re calculating whatever goes on or in the trailer.

When you’re buying a tow hitch, if your Jeep didn’t come with one, be sure to get one that can handle up to 3,500 pounds. Note that if the tow hitch is capable of towing 6,000 pounds, it doesn’t mean your Jeep can as well. Your maximum towing capacity is 3,500, so never go over it.

Figure 3. Wrangler’s maximum towing capacity is 3,500 lbs.

More Tips

When using your Jeep Wrangler for towing, be sure to connect the trailer’s wiring harness to your Jeep’s trailer harness, this allows the trailer’s lights to turn on; failing to do so could result in a ticket. If your Jeep didn’t come with a trailer harness, you can buy one and connect it to your tail light. It’s as easy as plugging it and it’s ready to go.

Be sure to set your tongue weight correctly. The line between your Jeep and the trailer needs to be straight. If the weight is heavier on the back or in the front, you could experience swaying. The faster you go the more you will sway.

Make sure your anti-sway control is engaged when towing. This helps with the stability when towing a heavy load behind you.

Invest in a sway bar, it’s a device that goes between your car and the trailer, which help control the sway better.

Always drive slower when towing, consider that you’re burning more fuel, so plan accordingly. Finally, check your owner’s manual for the proper tire pressure when towing, you may need to let some air go.

Figure 4. Towing with sway bar attached.

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