Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate Kit Installation - 2021 Ford Ranger

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How to Install the Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate Kit on a 2021 Ford Ranger


Hey everybody, Ryan here at etrailer. Today we have a 2021 Ford Ranger. And we're going to be showing you how to install the Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate Kit with Removable Arms. But before we do that, why don't we check it out and make sure this is something that's going to work for you. So there's going to be a total of five main components needed to flat tow your Ranger down the road. First one's going to be your base plate, and that's going to provide us with a solid and reliable connection point.

That way we can hook our tow bar up to it. A tow bar is going to be the second component. That's going to be the physical link that connects the front of your Ranger to the back of your motorhome. Third main component is going to be safety cables. These are pretty self-explanatory.

These are going to be there in the event of an unlikely disconnect. They're going to keep everything paired together. The fourth main component is going to be tow bar wiring and this is going to transfer the lighting functions from the back of your Coach to the back of your truck, keeping you safe and legal. And last but not least the fifth main component is going to be your braking system. And what this is going to do is apply the brakes in your Ranger, whenever you hit the brakes in your motorhome, helping to bring you to a more predictable stop.

So this what the front of your Ranger is going to look like whenever you're not hooked up to your motorhome or not using your based plates. So whenever you're just cruising around town and things like that. And honestly, I don't think really the front of our truck looks much different than it did before. It has a really clean factory-type appearance. And really that's due to the fact that our base plate just takes the place of the factory tow hook.

So before this is on here, we just had a tow hook there. And so this blends in and honestly it doesn't really look that much different. What is nice and, see base plate does come out through these factory openings here that we're there for the tow hook. We're going to have a ton of space to work whenever we are ready to hook it up. And since the kit has removable arms, it's going to be a super easy, not complicated at all. All you're going to have to do is take the arms, you gotta put them in, rotate it about a quarter turn, until it locks into position. And it's set up the exact same way over here on the other side. A really nice touch is the base plate does come with a mounting bracket for your wiring, might not seem like a huge deal but it actually makes things really convenient. You don't have to try to fabricate things on your own and figure out where they need to go. They've done that for you. And so it looks really good, easy to get too, and it kind of doubled as a spot to mount up our braking system air intake. Since we have an Air Force One, you needed to mount this up. And so I simply just attached it to that bracket and gave us a really clean look here. So once the arms are in, you're actually ready to hook up your tow bar and your other components just as easy. These are quick connects here and you're just going to line it up. The pin Put it through. Push that in place. Even the safety chain openings there, super easy to get too, works the same way on the other side of your base plate. And then you would just hook up your other components like your braking system and your wiring. And that's really all there is to it. You're not going to have to worry about setting this up and spending a whole lot of time on it. So compared to some of the other base plates available for the Ranger, I will say they all look about the same as far as appearance goes. But what I found is that the Roadmaster ones go on a little bit easier, as far as the installation. The bracket that they give you and everything else, it just goes a little bit smoother and takes a little bit less time. Speaking of which let's go ahead and put it on together now. To begin our installation we're going to be here at the front of our Ranger and the first thing that we need to do is remove the five 10 millimeter head bolts along this bottom edge here. We'll have these two 10 millimeter bolts. A nut too. And while we're right here, there's also going to be some pushpin fasteners, which are these there, it looks like there's a total of five of them. Let me get them out. You can use a trim tool or even a flat head screwdriver. Just going to kind of pry underneath ahead of it and work the whole fastener out. Now we can go ahead and just get our license plate frame out of the way. The only thing holding it on is two tabs that are kind of in this recessed portion. And all you're going to have to do is take a flat head screwdriver and just kind of pry up on them. So this have one on each side and you pull it out and just kind of a better look at the tab. So when you lift up on that, it releases it. This point what we can do is remove this lower grill portion. These things are on here pretty tight. All the clips holding it in. So what I like to do is just kind of work around it, wiggle it a little bit and try to loosen it up and then what you can do is grab it and pull straight back. You are going to have to use a little bit of force. As I said, these are pretty tight. If you can't get it from the center it may help to start kind of on each side. Work it like that. And once it's released, you can go ahead set off to the side. Now we can do is, your lucky if we have these tow hook covers here. You can remove these, you won't be reinstalling them. These, more or less just kind of pull right off. Work that out. And then we're going to have three 21 millimeter nuts holding our bumper on. So go ahead and remove those. With this one here what I like to do is pull it off and then just put it back on a few threads. That way, when you remove all of them the bumper is now just going to come falling off. The other two will completely pull off. And we'll just repeat the same exact process on the other side of our truck. Now with extra set of hands, we can loosen up those nuts that we left on hand tight. We're just going to pull straight back on our bumper. We should have a connector plug over here on the driver's side. It's going to be right up here behind the driver's side front area. And to do that, just to get a push down on that center tab, separate the two, and then we can get our bumper removed and set it off to the side. Now we can remove this metal skid plate. It's going to be held in place by four fasteners there it have two, here in the center. These are all going to use a 15 millimeter socket. We'll pull those out. We're going to have one on each side, here towards the front. I do want to support this for the last one. Get that set aside, lower this down and set it to the side. Now we can remove our tow hook. So these are going to be held in place again by two 15 millimeter head bolts. It will lower down. These will not be going back on. And once you have this one off, set it to the side and repeat the same process to get the other side removed as well. Now we can do this move to the side of our frame rail and enlarge this hole here. And we're going to do this on both sides of our truck. So we'll drill through this hole, making it the size indicated in the instructions. And there's a hole just like it on the inside portion of our frame rail. And we want to make sure that we go through both sides. So I'll take my bit and get that opened up. So the holes that we enlarged now have exposed bare metal and just to help keep them protected I'm going to take a paint stick. You can also use some spray paint and just put a coating over them. That way we have a layer of protection there against any rust, things like that. Now we can do is grab our base plate and these are going to be side-specific. So make sure to see the diagram in your instructions make sure you have the right side. Quick way to tell is that you want the safety chain, hook setter to be facing towards the outside of the truck but the way it's going to work is this going to slide up and around our frame. Here you have some holes up top and that hole on the bottom there, it's going to line up with one of those factory-threaded holes there in our frame rail. So what I'm going to do is just kind of put this into position. I'm just going to grab one of the bolts and just temporarily put it through there. That way the base plate will kind of hold itself up. And we're going to grab one of these brackets and get that installed. Alright, so we'll go on there like this. What we're going to do, is use one of the factory tow hook bolts and all of the hardware that is going to hold our base plate is going to receive some of this red Loctite. It doesn't come with the kit. So definitely make sure to pick some up. You can grab it here at etrailer. So that's going to lineup with that. Take your bolt and just get it hand tight for now. Now what we can do is grab the pipe spacer that comes with the kit. And this is going to go inside of the frame rail. Alright, and it's going to line up with the holes that we enlarged. That way when we put the bolt through the base plate it's going to go through the base plate through the frame rail, through our height space and off to the other side. To make this easier I just grabbed a pair of vise-grip here and kind of put that in, roughly hold it in place. Then we can grab that large bolt, put on our Loctite, and put a flat washer on it and this is going to go from the outside all the way through. Over here on the driver's side we're going to be using the top hole on our base plate. We'll push that through all the way out to the other side. Take a flat washers, a split lock washer and a hex nut. we'll get this started hand tight. So I went ahead and repeated that same exact process over here on the passenger side. With one exception, instead of using the upper most or the top hole on the side of your base plate. You're just going to use the one right below it. When I went ahead and did was this kinda loosely re-install that metal skid plate. And the reason behind it is these brackets that we put on. Those are going to hold the front edge of it and they're adjustable, they slide back and forth. And I want to make sure that they're in the right spot once we tighten everything down. So I'm just going to loosely install everything, kind of get that bolt go in. That way it'll be in the correct position when we tighten everything down. Once it's tight, we can remove this if we need to. And we know we're not going to have to make any adjustments in the future. So with our skid plate, roughly in place and come back and tighten down our hardware. Start with these first. run that up and then through the side bolts here, we're going to use a 19 millimeter socket and wrench and get these tightened down as well. And we'll do the same thing over on the other side. Now we can come back with a torque wrench and tighten down all of our hardware to the amount specified in the instructions. So now it'd be a great time to install some of your other flat towing components like a braking system and wiring, for example. And I say that because we're going to have all this extra room to work and it just makes things a lot easier. That's exactly what I'm going to do. So once you have those other components installed you can simply just put your bumper back in its original position. Don't forget to replug in that connector over there on the driver's side. And really the only difference is going to be, if you're using the bracket that comes with the base plate to mount up your electrical it changes a pretty good guard. You're just going to put that over the driver's side inner most bumper beam stud. Like so, let's take our factory hardware put it all back in place and re-secure everything. And that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate Kit with Removable Arms on our 2021 Ford Ranger..


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