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Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate Kit Installation - 2020 Ford Fusion

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How to Install the Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate Kit on a 2020 Ford Fusion

Ryan: Hey, everybody, Ryan here at etrailer. Today on our 2020 Ford Fusion Hybrid, we're going to be taking a look at and showing you how to install the Roadmaster Direct Connect Base Plate Kit with removable arms. There's going to be a total of five main components needed to flat tow your Fusion down the road. First one's going to be your base plate. Base plate is going to give us set solid and reliable connection point that we need to hook up our tow bar to. Tow bar is got to be that second component.

That's going to be that physical link that's actually pulling your fusion down the road. So one end of it will go to the base plate, the other end will connect to the back of your motor home.The third component we're going to need is safety cables. These are pretty straight forward. These are there in the event of a catastrophic disconnect. These are going to keep our Fusion connected to the motor home.The fourth component we're going to need is tow bar wiring.

The wiring is going to transfer the lighting signals from the back of your motor home to the back of your Ford, keeping you not only safe, but legal.And last, but not least, the fifth main component is our braking system. The braking system, what that's going to do is apply the brakes in your Fusion whenever you apply the brakes in your motor home. So that's really going to help bring you to a more safe and predictable stop, not to mention, create less wear and tear on the motor homes breaking system since the motor home won't be entirely responsible for not only slowing itself down, but the Fusion that you're pulling down the road. My opinion, I think it looks pretty good. It looks pretty put together and organized.Now what's cool about this base plate is the fact that it's direct connect.

And that means it's going to be super easy to hook up your tow bar to, and that's what a lot of people are worried about. And I definitely understand them. Last thing you want to do is have to fight getting disconnected or connected when you're on your trip. Really all there is to it is we're going to have these pins here. So you'll take your tow bar, line it up with your base plate, slide that pin through, and put in this keeper pin.

That's really all there is to it. You'd obviously need to do that on the other side as well. The safety chain hooks are going to be relatively easy to get to as well. And since they're close, it does keep everything nice and tidy.If you don't have a Roadmaster tow bar, this will work with the Roadmaster tow bars, of course, but if you don't have one, chances are really good. There is an adapter available for different types or brands of tow bars, and you should be able to find that here at etrailer.But other than that, I think that the base plate is spaced apart. The arms are pretty wide in relation to the Fusion's front end. And so I think that with this setup here, the Fusion should track really nicely behind your motor home as you're going down the road. Now one thing I do want to point out is if you're going to need a high, low adapter nut, as you can see our Fusion, the tow bar is nice and level, and that's exactly how you want it to be. It's going to ride much nicer.So to find out if you need a high-low adapter, what you're going to do is pull your Fusion closer to your motor home, like you would, if you we're going to tow it. And you're going to take a tape measure and measure from the center of the pin hole and your arm here to the ground, record that measurement and you move over to your motor home's hitch and take that same measurement. Take the center of the pinhole down to the ground. The rule of thumb is that you want to be within three inches of each other. So if you do have a difference, you would either need a rise or drop since a Fusion ride's pretty low. Chances are pretty good. You're going to need to get one with a drop and you can find all different types of high-low adapters right here at etrailer.So this is what the base plate is going to look like whenever you're not hooked up to your tow bar. It is relatively noticeable. However, my opinion, it don't stick out too much. You are able to see it, but it's not a huge eyesore by any means. It is glass black and that's a powder coat finish. So it still should stay in good shape for a long time. And since it is black, it does kind of help it blend in to the bottom of your Fusion's bumper.One thing I do like is the fact that they give you a little bracket here, which allows you to mount up your wiring connector. And that's something you don't see with every base plate. So then providing that bracket gives us a perfect spot to mount that. And we don't have to worry about creating our own.Whenever you are ready to hook up to your tow bar and pull your Fusion down the road, you're going to take the removable arms and pop them in. By the way, these work, you put them in, and rotated about a quarter turn until that pin locks into place.Now everything is relatively close here. So keep that in mind, whenever you're putting on your safety chains and your other components, we don't have a ton of space here to get everything hooked up. The other side will work the exact same way too. Push it in, quarter turn until it locks into place.But at the end of the day, a really nice base plate, it's going to look pretty good and really be something you can rely on to last for years to come. Now, as far as the install goes, it's not the hardest one in the world, but it's also not the easiest. It is going to take a little bit of time, so keep that in mind.To begin our install, we're going to need to pop the hood and first remove this plastic radiator cover. So we're going to have a total of nine plastic fasteners that kind of run along both edges here, just like this. To get these out, we're going to take a flathead screwdriver and pry up on the head of the fastener. And then we can kind of work the base out with it as well. So I'll do that same thing to get the remaining eight completely removed.So once we remove this last plastic fastener, we can take our plastic cover, set it to the side, and then we're going to have a total of five, 10 millimeter bolts that we're going to pull out here from the front.Underneath the front of our Fusion, we're going to have to remove this plastic card here. And we're going to have eight, 10 millimeter fasteners along the center of it right through here. So I'll go ahead and pull all them up. Now once we have all of those removed, we're going to have many, seven millimeter fasteners just like this. And they're going to pretty much be along this whole front edge and even so far as back here. So there'll be three of them along right up to here. And it pretty much continues like this all the way to the other side of our Fusion. We'll just be sure to get all of them removed.It's like there's going to be three down the center here as well. I believe these are two separate pieces. I'm taking this one out. I may be able to sneak this side out and remove it, set that to the side. And I'll just continue on with this piece to do the same thing.So now that we have all of them removed, you should be able to pull this half out as well. Now we can remove this underbody panel here on each side. We're going to have a plastic fastener and just take your flathead and pry that out. If the top of it comes out without the bottom, no big deal. You can just pull it out separately. Same thing for this one here. Let's see if that lasts them out. You can just set this off to the side.Now, if you move to the front of our wheel, well liner, sometimes it helps you. If you turn your tires in gives you a little more room to work here. We're going to have a few fasteners right here. We're going to have a plastic push pin style. These are the same as the other ones. Let's pry them out. And then if we look down here and here, we're going to have two screws with a seven millimeter head. These are usually relatively loose. I'll just take them out by hand. And once we get them pulled out, we're able to kind of peel back our liner a little bit.Now these two bolts can be a little tricky to see, but they're relatively easy to feel. But along this seam right here where our bumper cover meets our quarter panel, we're going to have two bolts with a eight millimeter head. The head will be on the bottom, pointing up. Can actually kind of see right here the end of the bolt that's going up. So we'll get our socket in, pull this one out. We'll have that same exact type of bolt just a little bit further up. Good news is they're not super tight. So once you kind of break it loose, you can usually just pull these out by hand. So you don't have to worry about getting a big tool inside of it. That's what that bolt's going to look like.We'll go up a little bit further and take out that other one. Now I'm going to repeat the same process over on the other side. Now, back underneath here at the front, there's this little piece of plastic here that we do need to separate from our fascia. We're going to have two plastic push pin fasteners. These don't have a head that pries out, it's just one solid fastener. So I do recommend a trim panel tool like this, but a flathead will get the job done as well. Right underneath them, pop them out freely. So we're just going to have two, 10 millimeter bolts.Now we can pull this down. If you look right here, we're going to have an electrical connector. You need to disconnect it. There's a a tab in the center, push down on and you can pull down on the connector. Now, if you look across, there's going to be some clips that kind of hold it to the front of our fascia. You need to pop those off so you kind of just pry them off with a screwdriver or something. And that'll usually do the trick. Once we do have them removed, you can kind of just take your wiring and just let it hang down out of the way for now.On the driver's side, just behind your bumper, we're going to have two electrical connectors. We need to disconnect this one right here. This works the same, kind of just push down on that center tab right there. Pull that connector down. We're also going to have one right up here, same deal there. This gets disconnected just like that.Now at this point, we can remove the front fascia. Along this edge here, I did put some painter's tape just to help keep it protected from any scratches. And I do recommend getting an extra set of hands over on the other side. What you're going to do is start here at your wheel. And first you want to pull down on the fascia that'll release these tabs, and then we can kind of just start to work towards the center. And it feels like it's coming off pretty easily. Be careful and double check. Make sure we didn't miss any electrical connectors in our case. Over on the driver's side, one of the connectors that we did disconnect does have a plastic fastener kind of keeping it secured to the fascia. That's kind of what's holding this up. So you can just pop that out.Once that is removed, we can take our fascia and set it off to the sides and we're safe. Now with the fascia out of the way, we're going to have this little air dam right here, and there's some thin rubber and kind of will be in the way of our base plate. So we do need to trim it. What we're going to do is just come from this corner here all the way down and up this corner. It's, like I said, relatively thin rubber. So you can just use a utility knife to get that out of the way. And I'm going to cut it as flush as I can. And it turns into a harder plastic. So we're just going to kind of use that as a guide to completely remove it.Now, if you look right here on the ends here, this piece is our radiator support and there's going to be two bolts with 13 millimeter heads on the bottom. We're going to loosen those, but not completely remove them. So we're going to back them off until the head of the bolt is about flush with the nut here. So you want to leave a couple of threads in there, let this one as well. You can see this lower is down a little bit. That's going to give us a little bit of extra room that we're going to need to enlarge a couple of holes here on our sub frame.We're going to enlarge this one and there's the exact same hole right on the bottom side. So you got a couple of choices. We need to enlarge it to half inch in size. You can either take a half inch drill bit and try to run it completely through either side, or what I'm going to do is take a step drill bit, enlarge just one to half an inch and this one on the bottom. That one opened up and same thing down here. You can use this. This is relatively thin metal, so you don't have to fight with it too much.Now I'm just going to repeat this same process over on the other side. So now back here to the front, we are going to have to trim off a little more of our air dam, a little bit of plastic. There's a diagram and instructions. And I just kind of roughly marked that out. So I'm going to use a combination of tools here. I'll use my utility knife for this softer rubber piece. We'll get that out of the way. And once you have that removed, this plastic here is relatively thin, but you're going to grab a pair of snips and get that cut out of the way as well. If you move up a little bit and do that same thing to get this cereal removed. So let me use that same method to trim out this area as well.Now with an extra set of hands, we can put our base plate into position. So if you worked at over the front, this little opening here will actually go over our sub-frame. So to get the base plate into this position, you may have to kind of work it or tap on it from side to side to get it over the suffering plates here. Sometimes they can kind of bind you up a little bit, but with that being said, we're going to take these spacer blocks, put one in here and one down here. So there is an orientation we need to follow. As you can see, the hole and the spacer block is offset. The one up top here, we want the offset portion of the whole to face towards the front of our Fusion. And that is going to slide in between there. It can be a little tight, so you may need to stick a hammer. You just kind of tap it in.We want that hole in the spacer block to line up with the hole on our base plate. And as far as the one on the bottom goes, the offset portion of the hole is going to face out towards the outside of the vehicle. So it'll slide in like this. Again, it gets kind of tight, especially once you get one in, so you may have to give it a little help to get that second one going.From the bottom up, we're going to take this flat washer and just kind of hold it in place here. We're going to take the four and a half inch by half inch bolt. We're going to get that going through. It can be a little tricky to get everything lined up here. So you may have to kind of work it and find that speed spot that will allow it to pass. Get that closed. Sometimes you can take a part of a hammer or something, and just kind of try to help give it a little assistance to get it all lined up.So once we have our bolt pass through, what we're going to do is take some red Loctite, just put a bead on the threads. I do want to mention any of the hardware that we're using to secure our base plate from this point on will get some of this red Loctite. You can find that here at etrailer. We're going to take a split lock washer and a hex nut. We're just going to get this hand tight for now. And once you have hand tight, we're going to repeat the same process over on the other side. Now we can do is take our three and a half inch bolt and the flat washer run that through this hole. And it'll come out through the little arm on our base plate right here on this side. And pass it through, see this little bolt comes out.What we're going to do is take one of the small flat washers. We're going to put that over the bolt, split lock washer. Let's go on next. And then we're going to take a hex nut and get that hand tight. Don't forget to use your red Loctite on threads. And once we get this going hand tight here, we're going to repeat the same process over on the other side.Now here in the center of our Fusion, where we cut that plastic away, you'll see our metal brackets that come down and they're going to have two holes in each one of them that are relatively small. Well, we need to enlarge these so that way we can get these bolts to pass through there. Now I need to be real careful whenever you're doing this, because a few inches behind there is our radiator and other components. So if you have a short drill bit, use that so you don't punch all the way through and damage anything. You can always use a block of wood or a piece of metal, something if you need to, to put it behind there to prevent that from happening, or in our case, you can use a step that's like this, that way, even if you we're to accidentally really push all the way through, this isn't long enough to reach that. So that's the route I'm going to go. So I'm going to enlarge all of these, just begging off to where our bolt capacitor there.Now we can grab these brackets and pay attention because each side, the holes are oval shaped, but you want the holes that are old shaped going up and down on the bottom side. So you can see those look a little bit different than these ones up top. So this is going to line up with the holes in our base plate, these holes that we enlarged. What we're going to do is take a hex nut, put it behind there, like this. We're going to take our bolt flat washer and split lock washer and some Loctite to put that all the way through and just loosely get it going for now. Same thing with this hole over here. Up top here, it's going to be very similar.We're going to use that same hardware combination with the bolt, split lock washer and flat washer. As soon as I get a little bit of Loctite on the threads here. This is going to pass through, only difference being on the backside, we're going to take one of these handle nuts. And so you can kind of finish it up through there. You may have to put a slight bend in it. Once we kind of have that held in place and lined up, we can take our bolt and start to thread that onto our handle nut.So once you get both these bolts started and this bracket in place, you just repeat that same process for the side here. So now that everything is loosely installed, you can come back with a socket and snug all of our hardware down. Now with all of our hardware snug, we can torque it all down to the amount specified in the instructions.Once you have all the hardware torts, don't forget to tighten up these bottom bolts that hold on our radiator support. Once you have them snug, what I do suggest is the portion of our handle nuts here, just to trim them up as much as you can, that way, they're not going to interfere with anything.At this point, it'd be a great time to install any other flats of components, such as your wiring or breaking system. And that's because since the fascia is out of the way, we're going to have all this extra space to work. It's going to make everything a lot easier. So that's what I'm going to go ahead and do. If you already have your other components installed, you'd refer to your instructions to trim out some small openings in your fascia and get it reinstalled.Now, what we can do is trim our fascia according to the diagram in the instructions. I suggest using a hole saw like I have here. I will say when you're drilling on plastic, sometimes it does work better if the teeth of your hole saw are really sharp and aggressive to actually spin it in reverse. Sometimes that provides us with a little bit more of a clean cut. So kind of just get it going here. Put it in reverse and drill out that open.All right. So I did create another opening here, and this is what it looks like. Now, this is going to vary depending on where and how you mounted your other flat tow components. So if we flip our fascia over, we do need to trim off this tab and this one here where our ambient air temperature sensor is mounted. So this just pulls out. And what I'm going to do is just kind of follow this wiring harness and zip tie the sensor up over here. That way, it won't just be hanging down and it'll still function the way it should. So I get that kind of zipped up, clean it up a little bit. And now we're going to have more than enough room to cut these tabs off flush.Now that we have the fascia trend, we can hold it up against there and see if we need to remove any more material. In our case, we did have to cut out a little bit more, but no big deal, but once you have everything cut, you can simply put it back on and get it re-installed the opposite way that we removed it.Now something I do want to point out, when you're reassembling your front end and putting these underbody panels on on each side, it will interfere a little bit there with the bottom of your base plate, see the base plate there. So you will have to just trim out a little bit of that plastic there to give us the clearance that we need. And that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the Roadmaster Direct Connect Base Plate Kit with removable arms on our 2020 Ford Fusion Hybrid.

Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
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Joshua S
Employee Thomas T
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Thomas T
Employee Dustin K
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Dustin K
Employee Chris R
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Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G
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Test Fit:
Bradley B

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