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Roadmaster Tow Bar Wiring Kit Installation - 2021 Ford Escape

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How to Install the Roadmaster Tow Bar Wiring Kit on a 2021 Ford Escape


Hey, everybody. How's it going Today, we're gonna be going over and showing you how to install the Roadmaster seven-wire to six-wire diode wiring kit here on a 2021 Ford Escape. So why do you need a wiring kit Well, it's simple. When we're flat towing our vehicle, more often than not, the vehicle is gonna be blocking the taillights on our motorhome. Therefore, others out in the road aren't gonna know what signals we're making. Now, what our wiring kit here does, it simply transmits the signals from the motorhome to the vehicle, so others out on the road know what we're doing and we can get to our destination safe.

So there's actually a few different options in regards to the lighting kits go. The diode one, which is what we're gonna be showing you today, is definitely the most popular and the one I recommend. Now, the other types, there's gonna be some that have a magnetic base that simply sit on top of the roof of our vehicle here. But that also means that we have to drape a wire down the roof of the vehicle. It's an extra component that we're gonna be fighting with each time.

It's not gonna be as easy to set up, get in our RV, and go. There's also another type of lighting system called a bulb and socket kit, and this actually requires drilling into the taillights, and I'm really not a fan of these because number one, drilling into your taillights is gonna void the warranty, the chance for moisture to get in there and ruin your taillight circuits is gonna be high, so it's really not the best option. The best option I feel is the diode wiring kit here. It does splice in between the taillight circuits on your vehicle, but the included diodes are gonna ensure that there aren't any issues that carry over from the motorhome and affect your vehicle's lights. So we got our hazards on now just to show you this for the demo to show you that they do work.

But the diode wiring kit here is gonna transmit a few different signals, our turn signals for the left and right hand side, our stop lights, as well as the running light circuit. And what I also like about this kit in particular here, so it plugs directly into the seven-way on the motorhome, that's gonna be the most common connector for our motorhomes, and then there's a six-way we're gonna mount on the vehicle. So the reason we have a six-way is there's gonna be a couple extra open circuits. If we need to run any additional accessories between the motorhome and the towed vehicle, since there's a battery charge line circuit, which is a pretty common one, and we actually do have one installed. Therefore, the seven to six-wire here is gonna be an excellent option.

So thankfully, most of our components are gonna be behind the scenes. We're not necessarily gonna see them such as the diodes. Those are actually hidden behind the taillights here. And then we have a bonded four-pole wire that we run from the rear of the vehicle up to the front of the vehicle. And then we have a few things mounted on the front of the vehicle we'll show you next. So here's the six-way we talked about. We have a couple different options for mounting. In your kit here, you are gonna get this metal bracket. We can either use that to drill into the bottom or top of the plastic bumper fascia here or you can fabricate your own bracket, which is what we did. A lot of these connections are very snug in there. It takes a little bit of force to break them free. Therefore, I like a little bit more of a solid connection and attaching it directly to the base plate with a no-drill bracket is the preferred method and what we used here. So in regards to the umbilical, which is the connection between the motorhome and the towed vehicle, that's what actually carries the circuit from one side to the other, we actually have a few different options, which is, again, why I really like this kit. We have a coiled option, which is what we have installed here. So this is just one continuous coil from the front to the back, we have a little straight section of lead on each side. We also have a completely straight electrical connector, which is what you see here. And then over here, we have a little bit of a hybrid, which is a straight and part coiled. So choosing the right one, it's pretty easy. It's really gonna come down to your tow bar. So if we have a tow bar like this Blue Ox one here where we don't have any sort of integrated channels that we're gonna run our coils or our safety cables through, that's where we're gonna choose the coiled version here, meaning we don't have any channels on the tow bar at all. Therefore, we're not gonna have any way to secure the wiring and the coils are gonna help it from dragging on the ground. So if we did have a tow bar that had integrated channels on there that we need to slide our electrical and safety cables through, that's when we'd go with either the hybrid or the straight cable option. The hybrid one is a little bit better because sometimes, there is still some extra cable here if we get one that's too long, depending on the length of our tow bar, and it could still have a potential for dragging on the ground. Therefore, the hybrid one is really the preferred, but either of them will work great for you. So in regards to installation, it's another reason why I really like this kit. It's very simple and straightforward. As we said, we do need to splice into a couple wires on the vehicle, but everything else is pretty much straightforward, easygoing. The most time-consuming part is running your wire lead from the rear to the front. But aside from that, again, everything's straightforward, pretty easy to follow along. It's definitely something I think you guys at home can do. We can go ahead and walk you through this entire process, step by step to make you more confident. So to start off our installation today, we actually just went ahead and installed our base plate kit first. That's usually the standard practice to install this first and follow it up with our wiring. Now, the reason for that is with our base plate here, we're already gonna have the bumper off, so it's gonna give us a little bit more room to work here. We can, however, still install the wiring harness with the bumper attached, just gonna make things a little bit more difficult for the portion up here. But basically, we're just gonna find a fixed point on our vehicle, probably use the base plate crossbar here. We're just gonna tire wiring around that because that's probably where we're gonna be mounting our electrical connector here. I'm just gonna feed it up to this little rubber grommet that we have. And I'm just gonna tie some extra around the base plate crosstube here. That way, we give ourselves plenty of extra to work with when we mount our bracket. But now, I'm gonna take the other end of this. I'm gonna route it back to the vehicle all the way to where our taillights are 'cause that's what we're gonna have to splice into to make our connections. So after we have our wire tied around the crosstube, we came underneath this little plastic rubber part here, and we came up and above our crossbeam. And then I have it zip tied to some coolant lines here. These may be for the air conditioning unit, but it would be fine to go ahead and just tie off to them. We used a couple zip ties. Now, we actually used some of the included wire loom. So we have another connection point right here. Now, for our braking system, we actually have to splice into the diode wiring. So if you have a braking system that requires this, you're gonna wanna run a loop up into the engine bay there and then back down. If not, you can just go ahead and bypass that. So we have another zip tie here, securing it to that. And then we're gonna be just routing it up and over this little crossmember here. We'll show you where it comes out on the other side. So if you don't already have this piece hanging down here, we had to do that for our base plate installation. There's actually only a couple of screws holding it on in a few different parts here. We don't need to remove it completely, but we will wanna go ahead and remove a couple screws here so we can pull this down to give us more room to work and route our wires. So here, you can see we have our bonded four-pole routed out above this panel. Now, in order to get this panel hanging down a little bit, we're gonna have several of these little nuts here. We'll take an eight-millimeter socket and there's gonna be a few of them along the outside edges. So, again, we don't need to remove all of them, just a few of the outside ones, so we can pull down the panel. And then you can see, we have our wire ran up above here. We have it zip tied every so often to a few of the existing wires that are already up under here. And we have a couple back here as well. And then, we came out and around the gas tank over on this side. If we look over here, we can see where we came out here. And now, we need to be careful because we're gonna be going up and over this rear crossmember here that has all the suspension and our axle. So there's gonna be another wiring harness directly above the axle that we can tie it off to that's gonna stop our wire from falling back down, getting tangled up from the suspension. And then we have it ran up and over our crossmember here. I went ahead and just used a ring clamp to attach it to the bottom of the frame. And then I have another zip tie attaching it to the wiring harness over here. But this is where we're gonna stop. Now, we're gonna go up top there. We're gonna pull our taillights out. That way, we can pull our wire up into the taillight pocket. So now, we're gonna be removing our taillights here and it doesn't matter which side we start with. We do need to open up the hatch and we're gonna have a little knockout cover here. We're gonna take a flathead screwdriver or a small pick tool. We're just gonna pry out that little cover. That's gonna reveal a Torx bolt. So we'll take a T25 Torx bit, we'll remove that bolt. And once that's out, you should be able to pull the taillight housing out and away. We're gonna be pulling it out away from the vehicle. So now that we've done that, we're gonna go ahead and undo a couple of these connectors here. So we're just gonna turn these counterclockwise. Some of 'em are a little tight. You may or may not need a pair of pliers to undo them, but they have those little tabs there. We just twist to remove. These two gray ones, we will be removing. This one here, however, we're gonna leave in. There isn't actually a bulb attached to the other side. So now, we're gonna go ahead and we're gonna take off this electrical tape here. So it should be pretty easy to find the end. If you have a razor knife, we could just cut this as well. You would, however, wanna make sure that we don't pierce any of the wires. So now that we have that off, what we're gonna need to do next is we're gonna have to test each of these wires so we know which ones we need to splice into. So thankfully, we've already went ahead and done that beforehand for you guys, so we could just easily run over the signals with you guys. If you wanted to test them yourself though, you would just get inside the vehicle, have somebody activate each of the signals while we're probing each of these wires, checking for power. Keep in mind, this vehicle has separate lighting, meaning the brake and turn signals are on separate circuits. So this red wire here, that's going to our amber bulb, this is gonna be for the turn signal. We're gonna have a purple wire back in here. That's gonna be for the stoplight signal. Then, finally, our yellow wire here, that's gonna be for the running light. So now that we've identified all our circuits, we can go ahead and start splicing in our diodes once we pull our wire up into the taillight pocket. So now, in order to get our wires up into the taillight pocket here, we're gonna be taking a magnetic rod. If you have a wire coat hanger, basically we just need something solid to sorta tuck back down behind this little pocket here in between the bumper and the body. So we're just gonna be fishing this down. You should be able to see an opening down there. But once we have it down there, here's the other end of it, we're gonna go ahead and tie our wire to this. That way, we can pull it up back here in this area. So now that we have our wires here behind the taillight pocket, we're gonna take our purple wire. We're gonna go ahead and cut this about midway. So this end here, we're gonna go ahead and strip some of the wire back. And then I'm gonna crimp on one of these spade terminals here. Take that off our diode. So because these wires are so small, I actually went ahead and just overlapped the strands that we had there, so we get a nice tight connection. And then we're gonna crimp on another one of our spade terminals to the other end of this purple wire. Once we get that crimped on there, we're gonna take one of our diodes here. So the outside of the diode is gonna go towards the light and then we can attach this other side to either of the two ends. So now, we're gonna take part of the wire that we fished up here into the taillight pocket. I'm gonna be separating the yellow wire here. We're working on the driver's side here, so we wanna attach the yellow wire to that diode that we just connected. So we're just gonna peel back the strands here just like so. Now, we're gonna go ahead and route this over here. We don't wanna cut it too short. We wanna give ourselves a little bit room to work, but we don't need all this excess. So I am gonna be cutting some of this off. And then we'll simply crimp on another one of our spade terminals on the other end of this yellow wire. And we'll attach it to our diode. So next, I'm gonna take the yellow wire here and pretty much be doing the same thing here. This is for the running light circuit. However, the wire that comes from the wiring that we ran up to the front of the vehicle, we are gonna make a little jumper wire and run that from this side to the other side. So a small difference, but pretty much the same for the rest of the process. If you want, you can actually pull this rubber grommet out of that hole here. It gives us a little bit more room to work. So we've got our other diode in place here for the running light circuit. It's just currently in between our yellow wire here. So our other connection here, we're gonna separate the brown wire from the bundle that we ran back here, came from the front of the vehicle. So, again, we have more than we need, so I'm just gonna go ahead and cut off the excess. And I'm gonna be stripping some of the jacket back as well. But before we attach this to a butt connector and attach it to our diode, we mentioned earlier we need to run a jumper wire. So the excess wire that we cut off here, or you can actually get some new wire just depending on how much you need. We're gonna crimp on this other bundle here to the yellow spade terminal that comes in our kit here. So the yellow spade terminal that attaches to the diode, this one, the opening here is a little bit bigger. It's gonna allow you to accommodate the larger strands here. So we're gonna twist those two wires together. And then, I'll crimp on the spade terminal here. And once that's done, then we can go ahead and attach it to the diode. So make sure you get a nice, solid crimp, and then we can make our connection. So next, we're gonna take our white wire here. And, again, we're gonna be trimming off some of the excess. And then for this wire, this is gonna be for our ground. So I'm gonna take off some jacket, and then in your kit, you're gonna get a ring terminal, and that's what we're gonna crimp onto the end of the white wire. There's what our ring terminal looks like. As far as this goes, we're gonna take the self-tapping screw that comes in our kit. We're just gonna secure it inside to the pocket somewhere that's not gonna get in the way, but we're gonna have a nice, sturdy, and solid ground connection. So now, as far as our brown wire and our green wire, we're actually gonna be running that back down through the hole that we just came out of. We're gonna be running those to the other side of the vehicle. So now that we have all of our connections made, we'll go ahead and reinstall our taillight. It may take some maneuvering here of the diodes in order to fit everything behind the pocket here. But don't forget to plug in each of your bulbs first. So now that we have our taillight secure, we're gonna route our green and our brown wires over to the passenger side of the vehicle where we're gonna be making pretty much the same connections. So now, we're ready to attach our trailer connector. Now, in your kit, you're gonna get this bracket here. So we can actually just drill into the bottom of this plastic here or down here to attach this. However, usually, I find that these connectors here, the tolerances inside aren't really the greatest. The plugs can sometimes get stuck in there. It's usually a tight fit, so you have to put a lot of pressure on this. Therefore, I'm gonna opt for a much more sturdier option and that's by attaching it to the crossbeam of the base plate. Normally, the base plate comes with two tabs. Depending on what base plate you're using, it may or may not come with those standoff tabs. You can just mount the connector right to that. But if not, like ours, you're gonna need to purchase an additional no-drill bracket, which we sell here at etrailer. I actually modified this a little bit. I went ahead and cut it down and then drilled two holes, so I can mount our trailer connector like so. But once we have the mount in place, first thing we're gonna do is slide the boot over our wires here. And now, we'll just begin making the connections here to the back of the connector. Now luckily, they're labeled, so everything is gonna have a right place. GD is gonna be for ground, LT is left turn, RT is right turn, TM is gonna be for the taillights, and this center pin here will be for the battery charge line. You may or may not have that. So we're just gonna go ahead and begin making our connections now. So it's just a small screwdriver there. You wanna make sure that you don't remove those pins completely or the screws completely rather 'cause they are pretty small. So if you lose one, it can be hard to find. But basically, I just stripped back some of our wire. Find the correct pin here. Insert it like so. And then tighten down our screw here. We'll just repeat that same process for the rest of our connections. So now that we have our trailer connector wired up and everything buttoned up at the rear, we're gonna go ahead and test out all of our circuits to make sure everything is working correctly. So we're gonna be using a tester box here. You could obviously use your motorhome as well, assuming you didn't have any issues with the motorhome's wiring. We're gonna go ahead and turn on our taillights here. We have our left turn, our brake lights, and then finally our right turn. So there we go. Now, we know everything's hooked up and working correctly. So before we mount the connector and slide our boot back over, you're gonna wanna take some silicone here and just fill up all that loose space there 'cause water can get in there over time and create lighting issues. And that's gonna do it today for our look and installation of the Roadmaster seven-wire to six-wire diode wiring kit here on a 2021 Ford Escape..


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