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Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate Kit Installation - 2021 Jeep Gladiator

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How to Install the Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate Kit on a 2021 Jeep Gladiator

Hi there, Jeep owners. Today on your 2021 Jeep Gladiator, we're going to be taking a look at and showing you how to install Roadmaster's direct connect base plate. It'll provide you with your connection point that passes through the bottom here and it tucks up under the bumper nicely so it blends in. And honestly, on our Jeep here, the gloss black and everything here with our bumper in the front, it kind of gives it an aggressive look. It almost makes it look like you're really doing something with your Jeep. You're going off road, doing some heavy duty work, but you we're just flat towing, but it does add to the aesthetic of it, I think.

Also included with your base plate, you'll receive a bracket to mount your wiring and braking system breakaway switch to. And that's nice that they included that, because it can be difficult sometimes to find a place to mount this.And sometimes you have to maybe drill a hole and mount it directly into your panel. It looks really nice with it here in the front, and it's a lot easier to access here. We've currently got it in the setup that you would have it if you we're going to just drive your Jeep around town, but when you're ready to flat tow, the direct connect arms will insert right into the base plate. Just push it in and give it a twist until the pin clicks into place, and then your tow bar is going to attach here.You can use any Roadmaster tow bar.

It will connect directly to this base plate. We also have adapters available here. If you do have another manufacturer's tow bar, you can pick those up so you can get the adapter over and then it'll also work with this base plate. Just to the inside of our attachment point, we have our safety cable attachment and there's one of these located on each side. When you're ready to attach your tow bar, you'll just simply slide the end up through the middle, push your pin through, the pin should come with your tow bar.

Make sure to lock in the other side.And then just do that on the other side as well. And then don't forget to hook up your safety cables. Once your tow bar is connected, you can finish hooking up the rest of your components. We've got our braking system and wiring hooked up. We're now ready to place our vehicle into flat tow and hit the road.

There's five main components you'll need when flat towing your vehicle behind your motor home. You'll need your tow bar, which is the connection between the motor home and the vehicle. You'll need your base plate, which is the connection point on the vehicle that you'll attach your tow bar to. You'll need your safety cables, which is a supplemental connection in addition to the tow bar. You also need your diode wiring, which will take all the lighting signals from your motor home and transfer them to the lights at the back of the vehicle So they know your intentions when going down the road. And lastly you'll need your supplemental braking system, which will apply the brakes in the vehicle that you're pulling so you can come to a safe stop.We'll begin our installation here at the front of the vehicle. Our bumper is going to have to come off here at the front and there's a trim piece along the top here just behind the bumper. We're going to remove two pins that hold it on. Our pin here is going to have two slots, one on each side, that will allow you to stick a flat bladed tool in. So you can take a flat bladed screwdriver, get underneath the head of the pin, and just pop up the center of the pin there. Once you get the center popped up like that, you can just pull the whole pin out.Sometimes the center comes out by itself, just like it did there, so the other piece is still in there. So just take your screwdriver and then get under that piece. It will pop out of there now. If the two pieces did come apart, they'll just push back together just like that. And then we'll take the one on the other side in the same way. We're now underneath the vehicle and we need to remove the under panel here. There are two bolts here that we'll remove, as well as several pins across the front. We'll start with the pins across the front. Those are going to be similar to the ones up top, but they do look a little different. But the way you remove them is basically the same. You'll go in the little slot here on the side, pop out the center, and then you can pull the whole pin out.And these are the same. Sometimes they separate and you can just push the two back together. We're just going to work our way across the front, removing each one along the way. There's pretty much a little cutout where each one is. We'll remove the two bolts on bottom now with an eight millimeter socket. Once we take out the second bolt, our panel will be ready to come down. So I'm just supporting it there and just kind of tip it down and you kind of got to work it out like that. You got to kind of wrap it around to get it to pop out, and then we'll just set it aside. We will be reinstalling it later. We're now going to remove this panel across the front here. It'll just give you some more room to work. You don't necessarily have to take it off, but I find it a lot easier with this out of the way. So it's just two bolts, one on each side. We'll remove those with a 16 millimeter socket.Once both bolts are removed, the panel does have a couple of hooks right here that hold it on, so you just push the panel up. That'll pop it out of those hooks, and we'll then set this aside. On the passenger side, just behind the bumper here on the side of the frame, you're going to have a connector. We're going to disconnect this connector, the release tab's located here at the back. So just press in on the release tab, and then you can separate the two pieces. I find it a little bit easier if you pop this off the frame. Just going to get behind the plastic pad that's holding it in there with our screwdriver or trim panel tool. I'm just going to pop it out of there. Kind of get behind it. You can kind of pull while you're behind it to release it, and this will just make it easier to get the two separated.We're now behind the bumper beam. And if you look just on the inside of the frame, on our passenger side here, we're going to have two studs with two nuts on them. Just on the other side of the frame, there's also two studs with two nuts on them there. We're going to remove the four nuts here on the passenger side, then we'll remove the four nuts over on the driver's side that are in the same location on each side of the frame there. We'll then remove those nuts with an 18 millimeter socket.Now that we've got all those nuts removed, our bumper beam here is going to come completely off. Due to the studs, the way they fit through there, the threads like to catch on the brackets. So you just got to find that right angle and it will just pop right off of there, but it is going to seem like it's still on there pretty tight. I like to grab it by these little things at the top and just kind of rock it a little bit. You can see we got the one side popped off and there we go, we've got the other one. Now we'll just take this and set it aside where it won't get damaged. With our bumper beam removed, here's the front. There are some support brackets that are on the side here. It's just a single bolt that holds that on. We're going to remove it with a 16 millimeter socket.Now that we've got it removed, you're going to have another bracket just like this on the other side of the frame. We're going to remove that one as well. Once we get this one removed, we're going to do the same thing to the frame over on the passenger side of the vehicle, removing the two brackets over there.On your passenger side, you're going to have this kind of sticky pad here. This just kind of covers this up for where our connector was to keep it from rubbing. We're going to go ahead and pull that pad off. We're just going to tuck it up behind it and then just reapply it right there. We'll then remove this one, just like we did with the rest.We're now on the outside of the frame, on the driver's side. That's where that single bolt is we just removed, where the bracket was. Directly up from that, you're going to have a small hole there. We're going to enlarge this hole using a 9/16 drill bit. Just on the opposite side of the frame over here, there's another hole that's just like this one on the other side. We're going to drill completely straight through so we enlarge the holes on each side. We're just going to put a little bit of spray on there. A little bit of lubricant helps drilling a little bit easier, and then just enlarge it using a 9/16 drill bit.The piece that we had removed previously that was in our way is going to block getting our base plate installed. So we are going to have to trim out pretty much the entire thing. We're actually only keeping this little tab down here at the bottom for installing our under shield on. So we're just going to trim this out, save this little piece, and the rest we'll discard. We are going to cut out the exact same spot here on the opposite side for the other side of the vehicle as well. And you can use a cutoff tool, you can use a reciprocating blade, whatever you've got. But this is a fairly thin material and I found a pair of snips actually works pretty decent on cutting it out. It will get a little bent, but this is just a bracket for holding that under shield, so it's really not that big of a deal. If it gets a little bent up, we can always bend it back straight again afterwards.Now, before we go to slide our base plate up, we're going to go ahead and put our bracket back in place that we cut. You want to make sure you're using the short bolt that comes in your kit and not the factory bolt. The factory bolt, the head is too large and they'll actually interfere with the operation of the base plate. We'll then just snug it down with a 17 millimeter socket.And this again is just a bracket for our under shield. This isn't really doing anything for our base plate, holding it on. It's just for that one attachment point down there. We're going to attach the other side in the same way. Now we've got our hole drilled out, we can take our base plate and they are side specific. We want our safety chain loops to be towards the middle of the vehicle. It's going to slide up from the bottom here. And we're trying to line up this slotted hole here with our factory one and the top slotted hole with this one. So we're going to go ahead and get our rubber mallet and tap it all the way into place because it is a snug fit.So now that we've got that lined up, we can take the factory bolt that we had removed, reinstall it. We'll then need to also get this lined up and we're going to be using the largest bolts that come in our kit. Slide a flat washer on it first. And then once we get that lined up, we're going to slide it all the way through from the outside till it comes out the other side. After the large bolt goes through our base plate, we need to have a spacer in there. And again, you might have to tap it in with a little hammer to get it in place, because it's such a tight fit. Can actually use your bolt a little bit to help you out there.And we're going to go through the frame. When we come out the other side of the frame, we're also going to put a spacer on there. Just going to drop our spacer down on this side, line it up, go through that all the way through to the other side, where we will take another flat washer and a lock washer and then a nut. And the nut, I'm just going to put on there for a thread right now because we do need red Loctite on all of our hardware attaching our base plate. So this way we can put the red Loctite on the rest of the threads there.And now just straight down from the bolt we put in, we're going to use the same combination of hardware, except for there's no spacers this time between the base plate and the frame, and our bolt's just going to slide all the way through, just like our top bolt, till it comes out the other side. And we'll again, use the same hardware there to secure it, making sure to use red Loctite. The other side of the frame here, the factory bolt we removed, we'll reinstall that as well.So I'm going to go ahead and put the Loctite on the hardware here. We're going to put our Loctite down here. We're not going to snug them up just yet because we do have one more bolt on this side we need to put on. On the outside of the frame for on our base plate, you have one more slotted hole here. That's for the shorter one that comes in your kit. So we're going to put a lock washer and a flat washer on it. Let me go ahead and pre put the Loctite on there for this one. And we have a handle nut that we're going to use. This is going to slide up through the bottom. And you can see there, our handle nut is going to line up on the inside with our bolts. Stick that up in there. You have to find the right angle for it, and then just thread your bolt right into that handle nut.So we're getting ready now to tighten and torque down our base plate. If you look at the front here, you have these four holes. This is where our bumper slid through. It's pretty important that the slots here in our base plate line up with these holes so we can easily get our bumper reinstalled. One of the things I like to do is use these pry bars here with tapered ends, to just kind of get in there and ensure that it's going to keep those holes lined up. And now we're going to go tighten down our hardware. We'll start with the factory hardware that we installed, which is the little 16 millimeter socket here, and then we'll tighten down our larger bolts using a 19 millimeter socket and wrench. Now, if you don't have any tapered pry bars or anything, you could just stick some bolts through there that are similar sizes to the studs that's on your bumper beam, just to ensure that the holes are lined up. We can then go back and torque our hardware to the specifications found in our instructions.With our handle nut tightened down, we can break it off. I like to use a pair of side cutters. And then if you just grab it and then kind of squeeze some pressure on it, you're not trying to cut it with the side cutters. We're just holding it. And then if you just kind of twist this back and forth, the cutters will glide right through it and cut it. So I've gone ahead and moved over here to the passenger side, and the installation is basically exactly the same. The one difference that I did find though, is the hole that we drilled out before we slid the base plate up here, it's not present here on the passenger side. So what I did was is I went ahead and just installed everything. It's all loosely installed so we can still kind of maneuver it around as we need to. And once we got all the other hardware installed, we're going to use our base plate as a template to drill out the hole to get our bolt to pass through.With all of our hardware tightened and torqued. We can go ahead and reinstall the bumper in reverse order of how we removed it. And then don't forget to reinstall your electrical connector on the bumper. We can now trim out our panel. I've gone ahead and marked it per the diagram in your instructions. You do want to pay attention to your instructions, as there are several different sub models of the vehicle. You might have a metal underbelly pan here, might be plastic. There are slightly different instructions depending on which one you have. So I've got it marked out for our particular model with a plastic underbelly pan, and we're just going to trim it out with a pair of snips. If yours was metal, you may need to use a cutoff wheel to do so.We'll then cut out the other side the same and we can use a file to then clean up the edges. Now that we've got it trimmed out so that it'll fit over our base plate, we're going to go ahead and hold it up here. And we're just going to kind of look where our wiring is because we are going to have to do some trimming for that too. We're just going to get it up into place. You are going to have to kind of work it around the base plate a bit. So you just want to hold it up kind of lining up the cuts you'd made around the base plate so you can see where it's going to sit on there, and then mark so you can cut out for your wiring. We're just going to mark here. We're going to be cutting this little area out there and over to here. So we're just going to trim out a little area here so that'll pass our wiring through.So now that we've got it trimmed out to pass over our wiring, we can then just reinstall our panel in reverse order of how we removed it. And then you can reinstall the screws in the bottom. And that completes our installation of Roadmaster's direct connect base plate on our 2021 Jeep Gladiator.

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