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Adding Trailer Wiring to 1996 XJ


NAXJA Forum User
My 96 wasn't equipped with a tow package but I added a heavy duty bumper with frame tie-ins that has a receiver hitch and I would like to tow my small rafting trailer. My initial search has revealed that there is a kit to do this for 98-01 cherokee but not for the older 2nd gens. Has anybody done this on their 2nd gen? Am I looking at having to splice into my existing wiring? Was hoping for something plug and play like the ones I've seen for 98+ XJ's.
I doubt you will find anything plug and play.

I would recommend finding an XJ in the JY with the factory trailer wiring. It came with a large grommet to go through the large hole on the inside of the driver's side quarter panel. If you pull the interior panel in that corner you can probably find where it splices into the factory harness and give yourself a big head start on the installation requirements.
For a small trailer your going to need a 4 wire converter as the Jeep uses separate brake and running lamp bulbs.
Ditto what Anak said. Find the factory trailer harness in a junk yard. I did this on my 99 and it worked great. Find one off of a 96 or earlier and it install that. Not sure if the 96 has a blue factory wire already run for the trailer brake set up. My 99 did and it was breeze to install the factory trailer harness and a trailer brake.

I think I may have found a factory one from DeadJeep.com also.
Many years ago I had a "Hoppy" brand wiring harness for my 92. I never hooked a trailer to it and eventually the trailer connector corroded, so I took it out.

All that did was plug into the vehicle between the body harness and the driver's side tail light harness, the tail with the flat four connector just came out of that.

Hmm... now I'm wondering if I threw the thing out or stashed it in the garage - hopefully the latter, as then I could just splice a new connector on the trailer end if I ever need trailer wiring...
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Looks like I'll have to go junkyard hunting. Will check with dead jeeps too, I've had good luck finding things with them on ebay.

Is the 4 wire converter a parts store item or will I have to order one online?
The converter are available almost anywhere, look at Curt, Reese, and other major towing accessories.
I'm running a dual port, 4 wire/7 wire setup on my 2000 XJ and it uses a rectangular connector to plug into the existing Jeep harness. I went this route when I built my rear bumper back in 2018.



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Good call on correcting that!
Hmm, I make adapters for the MJ (howeitsdone.com) but I wonder if there is a need for the XJ. I have my 2000 XJ but those kits are readily available. Should I look into 96-pre?
Doesn't cost anything to put out a couple feelers, but something that just plugs in (like that Hoppy I mentioned from years back) for 96 and down might generate some interest since it seems like the only options out there these days require splicing...
When using a lighting converter be mindful of the requirements of your trailer.

Several years ago I had a VERY small trailer that I converted to LED, and my existing converter wouldn't make the lights work anymore.

I found out the voltage output from the converter was only about 10 volts (with 13 going in), which wasn't enough to trigger the LEDs. Plenty of amperage to power incandescent, but not enough voltage to run the LEDs. I had to buy another converter and wire it in.

Sorry, I can't remember either brand - lot of help I am!