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Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Installation - 2020 Ford Escape

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How to Install the Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch on a 2020 Ford Escape

Ryan: Hey, everybody. Ryan here at etrailer. Today on our 2020 Ford Escape, we're going to be taking a look at and showing you how to install the Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Receiver. So, right off the bat, when it comes to the way the hitch is going to look on the back of the Escape, in my opinion, I don't think it looks all that bad, especially for being completely visible. It's going to sit a little bit further back and just blend into the back of your SUV. Now, with the hitch in place, it's going to allow us to not only do a little bit of towing but use those hitch-mounted accessories, things like bike racks and cargo carriers.

That can make life just a little bit more convenient.Something I do want to mention since our hitch does sit a little bit further back, if you do plan on using any folding accessories, something you want to keep in mind is the clearance. You want to make sure that they're going to extend far enough out past your bumper, that way they don't make any contact. So, one of the big questions we get asked is if you're still going to be able to utilize your automatic lift gate assist. So, if that's a feature that your Escape has, you definitely want to still be able to utilize that. In our case, we still can.

It does function properly. It is a little more sensitive, but it's really not too difficult to get your hatch to open up.So, this is a class three hitch. It's going to have that two-inch by two-inch receiver tube opening, which is a very common size. There's a ton of different types of accessories available in this size. It's also going to have a reinforced collar for extra strength, and it's going to have the standard five-eighths pinhole.

Keep in mind, a pin and clip does not come included, but if you need one, you can pick it up here at etrailer. You're going to have loop style safety chain openings, which do sit a little bit further back and give us a little bit of room here, so we shouldn't have any issues using whatever size hook that we might have. There's also going to be a smaller hole here in front of our hitch pinhole, and that's going to be there for a J-pin.So, what this J-pin does, is it acts as a stabilization device and eliminates any slop or play here in the connection point in the hitch. If you'd like to use a setup like this, you can find it here at etrailer. Now, as far as the hitch's weight capacities go, it's going to have some pretty high numbers.

It's going to have a 675-pound maximum gross tongue weight rating. So, that's going to be the amount of weight that's pushing down on the hitch. That's more than enough for just about any size bike rack or cargo carrier. As far as the maximum gross trailer weight rating goes, it's going to be 4,500 pounds, and that's going to be the amount of weight that's pulling on the hitch. So, it's the weight of your trailer plus anything that you might have on it. Now, the hitch can be used with a weight distribution system, which is a separate component, but if you do use that, the weight capacity does increase a little bit.The maximum gross tongue weight rating does remain the same at 675, but the maximum gross trailer weight rating increases to 5,000 pounds. However, it's never a bad idea to check with your Escape's owner's manual to make sure your Ford can pull that much weight safely. Now, I'm going to give you a couple of measurements and you're going to use these to help figure out which hitch bond accessories to get. From the ground to the top inside edge of the receiver tube opening, that's going to be about 13 inches. So, if you do plan on doing some towing, chances are pretty good you're going to need to get a ball mount with a rise. From the center of the hitch pin hole to the edge of the rear bumper, that's going to be about six and a half inches, and you're going to use that measurement to help figure out that if any folding accessories you might have can be stored in the upright position without contacting the bumper.But, at the end of the day, a decent looking hitch. It's going to be really versatile and handle just about anything you throw at it. So, whether you plan on doing some towing or primarily using it for those accessories, it's going to get the job done. As far as the installation goes, it's really not too bad at all. Nothing really too crazy involved and shouldn't take you a whole lot of time.To begin our installation, we're going to be underneath the back of our Escape. The first thing we're going to need to do is lower our exhaust down a little bit, that way it'll give us some more room to work. So, before we do that, you want to take a strap and just run it from side to side. That way, when we do lower the exhaust, it'll have a little bit of support and we can control how fast and how far we let it come down. Over on the driver's side, we need to remove this exhaust hanger. We're going to do that by removing this 10-millimeter bolt here. On the passenger side, it's going to be set up the same way pretty much. We're just going to have a nut that's holding this wiring up. That's going to be an 11 millimeter. We can pull that one off. We can just grab our wiring, pull it out of the way, and then remove that bolt using our 10-millimeter.There, we can loosen up our strap a little bit and lower our exhaust. Now, what we need to do is move to the side of our frame rail, and there's going to be a large oval-shaped hole right here. What we need to do is enlarge that a little bit, that way we can easily fit our hardware inside of the frame rail. You don't have to open it up too much, but I'm going to use a die grinder bit, but you can use a hand file or Dremel tool as well. So, I'm going to grind that opening up a little bit bigger, and I want to mention from this point on, anything we do to one side of our vehicle we're also going to be doing to the other side because it's set up the exact same way.To get our hardware in place, we're going to be using a fish wire and we're going to be using this hole and this hole here for our attachment points. The way this works is we take the coiled end of our fish wire, put it through that attachment point there, and we're going to push it towards the front. What we're trying to do is get that coil then to come out through that access hole that we enlarged. Can be a little tricky. Sometimes you got to feel around in there and help pull that coiled end out. Once we have it out, we're going to take a spacer block, put that over the pull wire, get the carriage bolt, thread that carriage bolt onto the pull wire. You're going to feed the hardware into the frame rail. You're going to pull on the other end of that wire. That's going to allow your hardware to drop down through. So, I'm going to use that same hardware combination and that same fish wire method to get the hardware installed in this attachment point.Now, with an extra set of hands, we can put our hitch into position. So, you're going to want to take your pull wires and drop them down through the corresponding holes in the hitch. We can push it up flat against our frame until we get our hardware to drop through. Once we have it through, you can remove that pull wire, take a conical tooth washer, make sure the teeth on the washer facing this way up towards the hitch. We're going to take a hex nut and we want to get at least one started on each side, hand tight. That way, the hitch will support itself.Once we have it supported, we'll remove the remaining pull wire and use that same hardware combination to secure this attachment point. With all of our hardware in place and hand tight, we can come back and snug it all up. Now, what we're going to do is take a torque wrench and tighten down all of our hardware to the amount specified in the instructions. At this point, we can raise our exhaust back into position and re-secure it using that factory hardware that we removed earlier. Now, with our exhaust re-secured, we can go ahead and take our strap off. That'll finish up our look at and our installation of the Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Receiver on our 2020 Ford Escape.

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Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
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Joshua S
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
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Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G

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