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etrailer Class III Trailer Hitch Installation - 2020 Ford Escape

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How to Install the etrailer Class III Trailer Hitch on a 2020 Ford Escape

Hello neighbors. It's Brad here at etrailer. And today we're taking a look and installing the etrailer trailer hitch receiver on a 2020 Ford Escape. Now this is what our hitch is gonna look like when it's installed on the vehicle. And one of the first things you notice, or may not notice is gonna be the cross tubes here, because that is hidden behind the bumper. So it gives you a nice clean OEM look.

And also you just have the receiver end here, so that way you can still hook up easily, but you still maintain a nice clean look. And the steel construction has a nice matte black powder coat finish, so it gives it a good clean look, but it's also going to be rust preventative and just kinda hold up to the elements over time. You're also gonna see it's a two inch by two inch receiver tube opening, so that's gonna be awesome for a bunch of different accessories, whether it be your cargo carriers, bike racks, whatever it may be. Two inch by two inch is a really nice size to have. It's gonna open up the window to what you can do with your hitch.

Now you're also gonna see there's a 5/8 hitch pin hole. And that way you can actually get your accessories in place. Now the hitch does not come with the pin and clip, but we have plenty of options available here at etrailer. And generally when you pick up your accessories they'll come with them. Now if you want a locking one, we also have those.

And that way, when you put your accessories in, you can lock that down and know that they're not gonna disappear in the hands of someone else. Now if you plan on towing with this hitch you have a plate style safety chain loop here. So it's gonna make it really nice to be able to put your standard hooks, or even a larger clevis style on here with no issue. Speaking of towing, if you're planning on towing a trailer with this it's rated at 3,500 pounds for your gross trailer weight rating, and that's gonna be the weight of the trailer plus the accessories loaded up on it. Now it also has a decent tongue weight rating at 525 pounds.

And that's gonna be the pressure that's put on the inside of the receiver tube opening. So some of your suspended accessories would fall under that category. So this really opens it up to where you should be able to get a pretty large bike rack, a bunch of bikes loaded up, or a cargo carrier loaded up. Now it is important that you actually check the vehicle's owners manual to see what it's capable of towing. And that way you're not overloading what the vehicle's rated for. So take a look at what the vehicle's rated, what the hitch is rated for. Take the lower of those two numbers and that way you stay safe. Now, if you do feel that you need a little bit more capacity to tow a heavier trailer, there are other options available. In fact, there's a Draw-Tite hitch that's gonna bump those numbers up and give you a little bit more capacity, but it is a little bit of a trade off in the fact that it's gonna be an exposed cross tube. So you're gonna be able to see that hitch, but again, if you are towing it is gonna give you a little bit more wiggle room. We can get some quick important measurements here. So from the center of the hitch pin hole to the furthest point of the rear fascia, we're looking at about three and a half inches and that's gonna be important for some of your bike racks and cargo carriers that fold up just to make sure that you have clearance and it's not gonna make contact with your fascia. Now another thing we'll check is gonna be the ground clearance. So from the top of the receiver tube opening to the ground we're looking at about thirteen and a half inches, which I really don't worry about the hitch ever making contact. But if you do have some of your suspended accessories loaded up, as you go up an incline that's gonna kinda go down a little bit lower and you have the potential to make contact. So just something to keep in mind when you have your accessories loaded. Now as far as getting the hitch installed, it's really not too bad of an installation to do, even at home. Now you are gonna be enlarging some of the holes that are in the frame rail. And so you're gonna need maybe a grinding bit, some cutting wheels. And if you're doing this in your garage, or on your driveway, highly recommend having safety glasses as you are gonna be making some metal shavings. But beyond that, it's a pretty simple install. And we're actually gonna show you how to do that right now. To begin our install, we're gonna lower down the exhaust and that's gonna really make it a lot easier to get our hitch in place. You know, instead of prying off these isolators, those can kinda get tricky. They actually have brackets that bolt up into this stud it's gonna be a 10 millimeter. So this one's pretty easy to get to. The other one actually has some plastic on it, so we'll have to pry that off, But before we lower our exhaust we're gonna wanna make sure that we support it, that way it's not hanging down causing issues down the exhaust and causing any damage. So I'm gonna run a cam buckle strap across here. That's just gonna support it. And if you're doing this in your garage, or on your driveway, just a few blocks of wood, or something to actually support the exhaust is gonna make a big difference. So I've just ran my cam buckle strap across the suspension here just to kinda create a cradle here for our exhaust. And now I can begin by taking those nuts off and lowering this down. Now on the passenger side you're gonna have a slightly larger nut here that you'll have to take off. And that's just for this bracket. We have some heat shrink around this wiring that we have. So I'm gonna take this off and then we'll be able to lower that down just like the other side. So we'll pull this nut off. This is gonna be an 11 millimeter. So once we get that off we'll be able to get that 10 millimeter up there. And I suggest having a nice spot to store all your hardware. It's gonna make re-installation a lot easier. I actually use an old muffin tin here and that way I can keep all my new hardware, as well as the ones that I've removed, kinda nice and organized. It's gonna make it a lot easier to get this all installed. So now we're gonna kinda just take our hitch put it up in place, and that way we can see where we need to actually enlarge the hole. So you can see this front one actually lines up pretty well. So does the second, but that rear one is gonna be enlarged and that's gonna allow us to put our hardware up there but you can also see the bracket where the exhaust mounted up is kinda right here. So it might rub against it. So we're gonna need to actually drill this hole out. So I'm gonna just take my paint marker and kinda just mark where I'll be enlarging the holes here. So you can kinda faintly see where my paint marker made some marks. So we're gonna need to actually enlarge this. And in order to do that, you can use a hole saw to get this larger, you can use a die grinder bit. If you have a rotary tool like a Dremel, just enlarging this out, you're basically making sure that you can pass the head of the carriage bolt through as well as that spacer. So making it large enough is gonna be key. Now just to make it a little bit easier I am gonna trim this portion back just kinda using a box cutter here and that's just gonna give us that clearance that we need. So we should be able to kinda just enlarge this out and then we'll kinda test fit our hitch back up, just to make sure that it's gonna be working properly for us. Now I've chosen to use an oscillating tool with a metal blade here. And what I'm gonna do is just kinda follow these lines, cut it back a little bit. And if you take a pair of pliers you can pry that little tab that's cut. And then we'll just chop that off. Now going back with a file might be ideal to make sure that it's not too sharp or anything like that. And we also want it sitting as flush as possible. Now keeping that carriage bolt on hand to just kinda test fit and elongate, enlarge or elongate just enough to make sure that we get those passed through. So not only do you have to make it long enough for this to fit through, but also wide enough. A lot of times this is kinda the angle what you'll be able to feed them in. So I actually used a step bit to kinda enlarge it, to make it wide enough. So during this whole process, just take your time. There is gonna be a spacer block that's gonna hold it in, so the main thing is is just making sure this gets fed through. You really don't have to worry too much about getting it too large, but, you know, main thing is just take your time. You're gonna be underneath the vehicle doing this, so have your safety glasses and just take your time doing it, and it should work out pretty well. Now before we feed in this carriage bolt, since we've ground this away and we have raw exposed metal, what we're gonna do is just put a little bit of spray paint. You can use black, clear, whatever you have handy. The hitch is gonna probably cover a lot of this up, but this paint is gonna make sure that those exposed metal edges are gonna be coated. And that way we don't have rust building up over time. So our carriage bolts and our spacer block are actually going to be in our frame rail and that's gonna create the studs for the hitch to mount up. So to get those in place we're gonna take our fish wire here and you'll see there's a coiled end. We're gonna start at this furthest whole. This is gonna be the furthest back and just gonna feed this forward. Now be careful where you enlarged, may be sharp here, but we're gonna kinda just push this back and forth until we get a hold of that coil. And then we're gonna pull that through our enlarged hole. Now sometimes throwing a bend in the fish wire is gonna make it a little easier. So with that little bend, it's gonna kinda feed that towards the hole a little bit easier, but just having your finger there, just kinda push this back and forth until you get a hold of it. So once you get that coiled, and make sure you don't pull it too far as to get this wire to pull through. So what I do is I actually put a bend on the other side just to kinda keep that from pulling through. And then we're gonna take our spacer block and just feed this up and into the frame rail. And then on this end, we'll take our carriage bolt and we're just going to turn this on here, getting those threads to bite into there. And now we go back to where we have our pole wire portion. Make sure you get the carriage bolt fed in. Like I said, you may have to kinda put it in at an angle to kinda get it to work, but once it's in the frame rail, it should be pretty easy to kinda just jostle this around and you should be able to work it down through, and then it'll go through our spacer block. Now leave these fish wires on because this is gonna help actually hold these in place when we put our hitch up. So I'm gonna go ahead and repeat the exact same process on this hole. And we can do that on the other side of the vehicle then we'll come back and I'll show you how to do this one. Now with these two in place to do the reverse fish wire technique, it's actually pretty easy. So what I'm gonna do is just take my spacer block and I'm gonna feed that on the coil. And then I'm just going to put our carriage bolt on this end. Then we can just feed both of them into the frame rail straight down. And now we got this one in place. Now you're gonna wanna grab an extra set of hands, because the hitch is rather heavy. We're gonna kinda just raise that up over our lowered exhaust, and then take our fish wires and we're gonna feed them into the corresponding holes that they belong. And during this process, you're gonna wanna have one of the nuts handy, because as we feed it up we're gonna try to get one on each side, just hand tightened. And that way it holds the hitch up for us. So grabbing our pole wires here we're gonna just kinda feed this up. We're gonna get one of those to pop through. And at this point we're gonna wanna be careful to not push this back up into the frame. So a lot of times if you can put a little bit of pressure with the hitch or your finger you can then pull off that pole wire here and then just kinda get this started just like I said, hand tight. And as you get one on each side then the hitch will actually be suspended. It's gonna make a lot easier for the rest of the hardware. Now I've gone ahead and gotten a lot of my hardware hand tightened, but some of the threads they've kinda recessed and it's really hard to get it started. So if you get to that point before pulling off the pole wire what you can do is actually take your 19 millimeter socket and tighten up the ones that you've started. And that's gonna kinda cinch that hitch up allowing you to get this on there. Now something else I'm gonna suggest before really tightening this down. I wanna push the hitch forward as much as possible. I do see that this could be a clearance issue. So I wanna make sure that we're giving it as much space as possible. And once you get them hand tightened up you can actually take an impact or a ratchet and tighten them down. Now you don't have to get too crazy, because we're gonna go back with our torque wrench here and using the instruction manual's torque settings, we're gonna just torque these properly and that's gonna make sure that it's not too tight causing stress on the threads but also it's not gonna become loose over time. Now if you need a torque wrench we have these available here at etrailer. You can generally rent them at an auto parts store. So we'll go through, make sure these are all torqued down to the same spec. Now with everything torqued down properly we can go ahead and get our exhaust back up. So I'm just gonna kinda raise up here on the muffler and then we can align that hole and put our studs back in before tightening them down. And once you tighten down the passenger side, don't forget to put this little bracket back on, and then tighten down that 11 millimeter. So now we can remove any of our supporting devices that we use to support the exhaust. And that's really gonna do it for the installation of the hitch. And that was a look and installation of the etrailer, trailer hitch receiver on a 2020 Ford Escape..

Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
Video by:
Joshua S
Employee Dustin K
Video by:
Dustin K
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G
Employee Bradley B
Test Fit:
Bradley B

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