Greetings - first post here, two weeks ago I traded in my 2012 Patriot for a 2014 Grand Cherokee Laredo E "Plus" (which apparently is why it has leather seats and a sunroof).
Thanks for the great how-to! I just finished installing the OEM hitch using this article. This was my first modification, I had some trepidation about taking the bumper off a brand new car and cutting it up.
I initially was set to purchase an aftermarket Curt hitch and then saw the article here, I really like the appearance of the OEM hitch. Now that it's installed, the work was worth it, and it is way better than what I would have gotten for an aftermarket product.
My cost, including the hitch kit and the 4/7 plug was about $275. The dealer wanted $850 for the hitch, 4/7 plug, and installation. The aftermarket hitch with a 7 prong plug was $285 from a local installer.
My observations on the install - the directions here are generally great.
The clips holding the rear section of the wheelwell trim weren't super easy to remove. The driver's side came right off. The passenger side I moved aside to remove the fastener underneath and removed once the bumper was off the car.
The cutting component of this project was about as described here - the printed directions are wrong. Go by the template on the inside of the bumper, and be sure to compare to the trim cover piece. I used a drill and utility knife to cut the slots. I intended to use a dremel tool to cut the large opening, but the Harbor Freight model I bought had a bad switch, so I wound up doing all the cutting by hand. I didn't do the greatest job, and I didn't spend a lot of time cleaning up my work - the trim cover fit fine and covered up all my imperfections.
The hitch itself replaces the rear crossmember, and uses 8 bolts torqued to 122 ft lbs (per my instructions). I really like that the hitch is pulling in a straight line from the frame rails (as opposed to at a downward angle with an aftermarket hitch).
Anyway, thanks a lot for the great write-up. I probably never would have done this myself if there wasn't a great set of instructions like this