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Curt Trailer Hitch Installation - 2021 Ford Escape

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How to Install the Curt Trailer Hitch on a 2021 Ford Escape


Hey, everybody. Ryan here at etrailer. Today, on our 2021 Ford Escape, we're gonna be showing you how to install the Curt class III trailer hitch receiver. But before we do that, why don't we check it out and make sure that this is the right one for you. So, out of all the hitches available for the Escape, I will say this one's definitely my favorite. If I was looking for a hitch for my Ford, this is the one that would personally pique my interest most.

And I say that really for a couple of different reasons. One of them being how it's gonna look. You know, it, it really does a great job of giving kind of a factory type appearance. It's gonna be completely hidden for the most part. And the fact that it's gonna be really capable.

So, we're gonna be able to use this to do a lot of different things. Whether you plan on towing a trailer or using accessories, you know it's gonna get those jobs done. I do wanna address one of the big questions that we get asked in regards to the Escape. And that is, whenever you put a trailer hitch on the back of it, is that going to interfere with your hands-free liftgate assist And the answer is no. When it comes to this hitch, it is not going to interfere with that.

Unfortunately, our model here today does not come equipped with that feature but I can't, so I can't show you. But with that said, I've done a ton of these in the past, and I can assure you that they will still work and function like they should. The only thing you're gonna have to do is take your foot to either side of the hitch. And it might take you a little practice to find that sweet spot, but once you do, everything will open up like you want it to. One thing I do like about this setup is the fact that it's gonna give us some pretty good clearance.

So, not only ground clearance, it sits up nice and tight against the bottom of our bumper, so that's good, but also bumper clearance. So, end of the receiver tube is gonna sit just behind our bumper a little bit. And that's particularly useful for those of you that plan on using folding type accessories. And that seems to be pretty popular with these, especially bike racks. So, if that's what you plan on doing, chances are really good you're not gonna have to worry about folding those accessories in that stored upright position. And you shouldn't have to worry too much about them making contact with your back bumper. Since this is a class III hitch, it's gonna have that two inch by two inch receiver tube opening. Super common size, and a ton of different accessories will work with it. At the end there, there is a reinforced collar for a little bit of extra support. And it is going to use the standard 5/8 pin and clip. Keep in mind, pin and clip does not come included. But if you need one, you can grab it here at etrailer. And I am a big fan of the safety chain openings that are plate style. And when they sit, sit a little further back actually, so they're easy to get to and they don't interfere with our pin and clip at all. And they're gonna be large enough use pretty much any size hook that you might have. The hitch is gonna give us some pretty good weight capacities. As far as the maximum gross tongue weight rating goes, that's gonna be 525 pounds. And that's gonna be the amount of weight that's pushing down on the hitch. So, pretty high number, and you should be able to use just about any size bike rack or cargo carrier that you'd want to, for example. As far as the maximum gross trailer weight rating goes, that's gonna be 3,500 pounds. And that's gonna be the amount of weight that is pulling on the hitch. So, it is the weight of your trailer plus anything that you might have on it. I do always like to suggest so, never a bad idea just to grab your Ford's owner's manual. That way, you can make sure your Escape can pull that much weight safely. With that said, of course, when you are pulling a trailer, you are gonna want the lights to work, right That way, you're safe and legal, and others around you know what's going on. And to accomplish that, I'd recommend checking out some trailer wiring. Now, let's go ahead and just grab a couple of measurements. And these are gonna help us figure out which hitch mounted accessories are gonna work out best. If we go from the ground to the top inside edge of the receiver tube opening, it's gonna be right at 13 inches. So, if you do plan on doing some towing, chances are pretty good you're gonna need to get a ball mount with a rise in its shank. And if you go from the center of the hitch pin hole to the edge of the rear bumper, that's gonna be right at about four inches. And you can use that measurement to figure out exactly if any of those folding accessories you do have can be stored in an upright position without hitting the back of your SUV. So, at the end of the day, a hitch you really can't go wrong with. If you we're to ask me, would I put this on my own Escape Absolutely. Would not hesitate. Like I said earlier, this is my top pick, and for all those reasons that I just gave you. But I mean, at the end of the day, it's just gonna be your personal preference and what you're looking for. But with that said, as far as the installation goes, really not too bad actually. Everything's really easy to get to, and it really shouldn't give you a whole lot of trouble. So, with that said, let's go ahead and pull into the garage, and put it on together now. To begin our install, we're gonna be underneath the back of our Escape. And what we need to do is lower our exhaust some. That way, it'll make it a lot easier to get our hitch up in place, so I have all this extra room to work. So, in order to do that, you wanna take a strap and just run it from side to side. That way, when we do lower the exhaust, we can kind of control how fast and how far you want it come down. So, to actually get the exhaust lowered, on each side of our muffler, we're gonna have a hanger that we need to remove. In this case, over here on the passenger side, there'll be an extra nut kind of holding up this wiring harness. So, we'll pull that off and use an 11 millimeter socket. Then we can work that out of the way. We're gonna take a 10. Remove that nut. And do the same thing over here with the exception of removing that wire. We don't have that over on this side. We should be able to loosen up our strap a little bit and let that exhaust come down some. Now, we can get our hardware in our frame rail. And from this point on, anything we do to one side of the vehicle, we're also gonna do to the other side, so it'll be set up the same way. And we're gonna have three attachment points. So, this hole here, this one, and this one. We're gonna be using this fish wire, and you're gonna take the coiled end of it, feed it through. And what we're trying to do is get it to come out this hole here on the side of our frame, this larger hole. Sometimes you get lucky, it'll come right out. Other times, you'll have to kind of reach in there and give it a little help. But once you have it out, what you're gonna do is put on a spacer block and you're going to thread on a carriage bolt. So, this'll just thread right onto the end of that fish wire like so. Just go ahead and feed that into the hole there of the frame rail. The head of the bolt, it is a little tight, but kind of find that sweet spot, it will just drop into place. Once you get it in there, you can simply just work it till it drops down like so. I'm gonna do that same exact thing and use that same hardware for the other remaining attachment points. So, once you have these two bolts in the frame rail here close to the bumper, you have to do something a little bit different for this attachment point here. And you just have to open this hole up a little bit. That way, it will line up easily with the hitch and make everything go together smoothly. So, I'm just gonna use a die grinder bit like this. I'm just going to take some of the material off. Make it a little bit wider and enlarge a little bit towards the back of our car. You could use some other type of grinding bit. A hand file would work, might take you a little bit of time but it will do the job. But with that said, I'll go ahead and get started, and make this just a little bit bigger. Now that we have this hole enlarged a little bit, we'll do the same thing to get our hardware in there. Just feeding the spacer block and carriage bolt into the frame. And dropping it down into place. Now, with an extra set of hands, we can go ahead and get our hitch raised into position. So, wanna make sure to drop the pull wires through the corresponding holes in the hitch there. Get that one through there. And once we have them all go in, we can lift up on the hitch until the hardware drops through. And once it does drop through, you can remove the pull wire. We're gonna take a flange nut, and you wanna get at least one started on each side hand tight. That way, the hitch will support itself while you work on the rest of the hardware. So, just kind of a pointer, a lot of times, when you try to get the nut started on the bolt, that's kind of tricky 'cause that bolt wants to move around. So, what you can do is take a small screwdriver or a pick, kind of whatever you have laying around the house. Put a little side pressure on that bolt. And that's gonna keep it steady and make it much easier to get the nut started. Once all the hardware is in place and hand tight, come back with a 19 or a 3/4 inch socket and snug everything down. Now, we need to come back with a torque wrench and tighten down all of the hardware to the amount specified in the instructions. Now, if you don't have a torque wrench, you can always pick one up here at etrailer, or a lot of times you can rent one from your local auto parts store. Now that we have the hitch torqued, we can simply raise the exhaust back up into position and resecure it in the opposite manner. Now, that we have the exhaust supported again, we'll go ahead and remove our strap. And that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the Curt class III trailer hitch receiver on our 2021 Ford Escape..


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