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Rugged Ridge Jeep Wrangler Receiver Install

With as much aftermarket support as the 2007 to current Jeep Wrangler has, there’s no shortage of customization one can do to their JK. While most of the upgrades we install on our 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon are centered on off-road performance, some are simply out of necessity. Since we purchased our Wrangler used, we were at the mercy of whatever factory options the original purchaser opted for. Unfortunately, one item that we frequently need was missing – a two-inch receiver.


Sure, we have a tow rig that can handle all of our heavy-duty hauling needs. But, for toting around our bikes and motorcycle trailer, a ¾-ton truck is overkill. Besides, we often enjoy multiple outdoor activities on our ‘wheeling trips, and being able to attach a trailer and/or various receiver mounts is extremely helpful. We could have opted for a factory Mopar hitch from the dealer, but the price was extremely high compared to other aftermarket units.

In fact, we found a virtually identical two-inch receiver kit from Rugged Ridge that included a cargo basket and plug-and-play wiring harness for a fraction of what the dealer wanted for just the receiver! To fit it on our JK, we spent a little less than an hour in our driveway bolting it all in place.

Here’s a look at how it all went down:


Rugged Ridge offers an assortment of receiver hitch kits for the ’07 to ’16 Jeep Wrangler JK. While we opted for the optional receiver basket combo kit (SKU: 11580.20), you can get a core essentials kit for a bit less money. As shown, the (SKU: 11580.51) kit includes the 2-inch receiver, plug-and-play wiring harness, and hardware kit.


The first item we tackled was the wiring harness. Since the provided harness uses the driver side taillight for power, you’ll need to remove it from the Jeep. Doing so is extremely easy as there’s only two Philips head screws on the interior portion of the assembly that needs to be detached.


Once you have the taillight off, you’ll unplug the stock harness from the lamp. Next, insert the male and female ends of the new harness between the light. You’ll then route the new harnesses tail behind the sheetmetal and out through an opening at the base of the tub.


Attached to the wiring loom are small 8mm press-in fasteners. These go in existing frame holes, taking the guesswork out of the routing process.


Once you have the harness routed, you can bolt-in the receiver. Since Jeep was nice enough to outfit all Wrangler JKs with the necessary mounting holes for the stock receiver, you’ll simply slide the provided hardware in place and synch down the four bolts.


Rugged Ridge includes a secure spot for the four-pin connector, along with openings for trailer safety latches. This receiver maintains the stock tow rating of 2,000 pounds with a 200-pound tongue weight max. (A 350-pound tongue and 3,500-pound tow rating is achievable with a load distributing hitch).


Installing the hitch and harness only took about fifteen minutes. We actually spent most of our time assembling the cargo rack as it had an assortment of tie-in plates and braces that secure the two halves together.


The assembled Rugged Ridge basket fits nicely under our 35-inch-tall Nitto Ridge Grappler spare and offers plenty of room for hauling an assortment of gear and supplies. The rack is weight limited to 200 pounds, but we can’t needing to exceed that limit.

000 jeep wrangler jk rugged ridge hitch kit 2

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