By on June 19, 2013


As we reported yesterday, Chrysler will be recalling the 2.7 million  1.56 million Jeeps being targeted by NHTSA over rear-end crashes that can lead to a fiery death. The solution; a trailer hitch out of the Mopar catalog.

Both Chrysler and NHTSA get to walk away from this one without losing too much face; NHTSA appears to have compelled Chrysler to take action on the matter, while Chrysler’s “voluntary” action allows it to maintain that there’s nothing wrong with the vehicles, while also having the PR bonus of making them look responsible and caring in the face of a safety issue.

It’s likely that most of the Jeeps will pass the “visual inspection” and dealers won’t need to install too many of the Mopar factory trailer hitches. And every person that comes in is a potential sales lead. After all, some of these Jeeps are 20 years old by now. Certainly time for a new Jeep, isn’t it?



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21 Comments on “Jeeps Get Hitched To Prevent Fiery Union...”

  • avatar

    A trailer hitch? Really? Whoda thunk it!

    I’d be interested to know if it’s possible that the socket for the shaft and ball would turn into a penetrator into the gas tank if hit with sufficient force, thus turning it into an old-time oil can pour spout, pouring out gasoline either ready to catch fire or already on fire.

    Burning tires really smell bad…

  • avatar
    sunridge place

    The recall is actually 1.56 million Jeeps…not the original 2.7 million. That’s part of the reason why they went ahead with it…the reduction of over a million units.

  • avatar

    Actually, it’s a pretty good idea to install a hitch. It’ll make a Liberty a lot easier to tow away when it does something like my sister’s 2003 did such as drop a valve at 66,000 miles in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania.

  • avatar

    Told ya a trailer hitch could/would/might be a fix. Ha ha. The only thing I don’t like about any of this is the vehicles were built to Federal standards, thus the recall is BS in my eyes. Sorry to those who got torched, but if you can see a fuel tank behind the bumper, consider the consequences. Fwiw, this could happen to any vehicle, and Crown Vics are no exception.

    • 0 avatar

      I guess the issue here is the “low-speed” (bump?) that leads to fiery death. It should take major impact to cause any other (including the Crown Vic) to cause a fire ball. But remember, “low-speed” mean the trucks stays right where it is, sitting in a pool of raw fuel. In a high-speed crash, the fuel could be dispersed in all directions and the truck comes to ‘final rest’ with very little fuel around.

      All cars vary, but the regulations are the same for all. And it could be possible to ‘game’ the system, focusing on passing FMVSS regs/tests, but at the lowest possible cost.

      Perhaps the DOT should have taken a closer look at SUVs that sit up high with low hanging fuel tanks. They definitely will now, but these SUVs still have to be fixed. So should the DOT have to pay?

      • 0 avatar

        One time, about a decade ago, ChryCo added a hitch to crash test vehicle. It ended up making the the liftgate hardware fail right on the minimum strength limit. The supplier had to beef up the hardware speedily before the production tooling was released.

        Lessons learned from unintended consequences. The problem was solved quickly, quietly and without drama. That’s why I always liked working with the Chrysler folks. I’m glad they’re getting a chance to shine again.

  • avatar

    Safety and Utility. It’s a win-win.

    Every vehicle should have a trailer hitch.

  • avatar

    “And every person that comes in is a potential sales lead.”

    Except if people know that this is basically only a “Come get your free trailer hitch” campaign, and they already have one, they’re not going to bother coming in. I doubt if I’m going to get reimbursed for the one I put on for towing.

  • avatar

    Thank you Derek for explaining what the actual fix was ~ in the news , they ever so carefully tap – danced around saying what they’d -do- to fix this .


  • avatar

    The first I thing I did when I bought my 06′ Liberty CRD was put a trailer hitch on it. I worked for a RV dealership at the time, so in also went a 7-way and brake controller.

    Can I still get a free one? Maybe take mine off and get a free one? Actually if you really look at it, something does seem needed in that space.

    • 0 avatar

      The potential for fiery death is already very low with diesel fuel. I suspect you won’t be getting a recall notice.

    • 0 avatar

      From what I read, if you have an after market hitch they will inspect it. If it doesn’t meet their criteria they will replace it with a Mopar one. I don’t know what their criteria is but I believe it has to do with lack of protrusions and in correct location. On the WJ’s most after market ones sit low as the OEM mounted in the bumper cover and had to be cut out. Note that for the Liberty the hitch doesn’t come with a wiring harness or brake controller, both are extra. Its just the bar.

  • avatar

    So what would Chrylser do if someone didn’t want a hitch installed? I’m sure there are people out there who don’t want to clutter up the rear end of their vehicles with a ready-to-rust ugly trailer hitch. Resale of these vehicles will also suffer if hitches are installed; I have seen many people pass on purchasing the vehicle they wanted simply because the previous owner had a hitch, which always raises red flags to a prospective buyer who has no idea what was towed, how it was towed, and how often…

    • 0 avatar

      Actually on the Liberty a hitch fits up nicely up into the rear bumper, and the one I installed nearly 4 years ago hasn’t shown the first bit up rust. Even the bracket I fabricated and welded onto it to mount a rear spot light.

    • 0 avatar

      ::Resale of these vehicles will also suffer if hitches are installed; I have seen many people pass on purchasing the vehicle they wanted simply because the previous owner had a hitch::

      That sounds like your opinion, rather than reality. It depends on the car and whether it has the actual trailer tow package or a cheapo aftermarket hitch. One of my vehicles has upgraded cooling and electrical (alternator) with the towing package.

      Given that I know lots of people with trailer hitches, but rarely if ever do they tow anything, depending on the type of car, I’d strongly consider one with a trailer tow package.

  • avatar

    That’s a great fix! Not only does the backing plate protect the plastic tank and hitch give the Jeep more utility, it punctures the radiator of the car that hits you, spraying coolant on the fire.

  • avatar

    Since the hitch is being installed as a protective device and not for its intended function, are they going to bother with the trailer wiring? Or maybe offer that at an inflated price to offset the cost of the recall?

    • 0 avatar

      The trailer wiring didn’t come with the hitch, was an extra item. Some people use hitches as a recovery point, or for accessories like a bicycle rack.

      The Liberty could tow 5000 poundd if it came withe the tow package from the factory. If you just add the hitch its only 3500 pounds. Factory tow package includes trans cooler and other needed things.

  • avatar

    Wife had an 06 Liberty. I added a hitch to it, not because I wanted to tow with it but extra steel in the rear never hurt and they’re just useful to have. Four months after installing it we got slammed into from behind while we were stopped by a Chevy Colorado PU going 45MPH. When I gave it to wife as a gift for XMAS (there were others) she was angry. The hitch bore the brunt of the collision and the Firemen on the scene commented that it probably saved us. Liberty was fine and able to drive away, Colorado was crushed to the windshield. You could see how the hitch kept fuel tank from getting hit. Wife now makes me put a hitch on every car we buy, even a new Sonata. Comes in handy when she gets stuck in snow, I can use it to pull her out.

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