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Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate Kit Installation - 2020 Jeep Gladiator

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How to Install the Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate Kit on a 2020 Jeep Gladiator


Connor: Hey guys. Connor here at etrailer.com. Today we're going to be taking a look at the Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plates for our 2020 Jeep Gladiator. Our base plates here are just going to be one of the many components we're going to need in our flat towing setup. We're also going to need some sort of lighting system for our towed vehicle. We need our required safety cables, as well as the supplemental braking system for the towed vehicle.

Last but not least, our tow bar. The reason I really like these Roadmaster direct base plate kits, is for starters, we don't have any visible cross tube that connects the two arms together. Now, this looks a lot nicer in my opinion, and it also just, if you will, it cuts down on the install time it takes for these. Now these Roadmaster ones are super easy to use. We just pull our pin and clip out.We can move our arm out of the way, and then we have a little ring here on the side.

Now, what this ring here does, this releases the arms. The Roadmaster base plate kit has what we call the removable arms. Essentially, this is going to be used when we're not towing, and we're just driving the vehicle around town, so we don't want these bulky arms sticking off the vehicle. What we do is, we just pull the inaudible 00:01:07 , pull the pin there, simply twist it, and then it'll slide out of place. As you can see, we have a nice clean finish here.

The arms here that the slide into, are going to be completely hidden from view, from outside the vehicle. You're only going to be able to see them if you get down underneath and really start to look for them. On the side here, you see we have our safety cable tabs, so those are welded to the main cross tube here.For our base plates, they're real easy to access. They're right where we need them to be. Again, everything is pretty hidden on this Jeep here.

You're only going to see the components when you get down underneath and really look for them. Our Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plate kits here, are going to work with most of the Roadmaster motor-home mounted tow bars. However, if you have a different brand of tow bar, Roadmaster, as well as those are the brands, make some adapters that we could use to connect the two. Our Roadmaster base plate kits here, they come with all the major components we need for installation. However, you will obviously ,need to supply your own tools. Now ,in regards to the installation process, this is something I'd say you can do at home. In regards to this particular application, it's definitely going to be easier than some of the other ones I've done in the past.The bumper is a lot easier to remove. We don't have any fascia trimmings, so there's no real permanent modifications to the front fascia there, which is something I really like about these. There's also no bulky cross tube that goes between the two sub-frame components, which is a feature that a lot of other base plate kits have, and it just makes installation more challenging, as well as the modifications required. Now, in regards to permanent modifications to the vehicle, we actually only really need to drill two holes. We're going to be enlarging in these holes. So it's not like they're new holes, so I wouldn't be too hesitant if you're worried about permanently modifying the vehicle because there are no major components that we need to really install, that are going to require permanent modifications. Depending on your application here, the hardest part of this installation is going required to be to this lower skid shield here.We have a metal skid shield here, so we actually had to do some trimming, which I will admit, it's not difficult. It just takes some time, and we do need some tools such as a die grinder or a cutoff wheel. However, a lot of these Jeeps come with a plastic skid shield, which completely eliminates you having to do this. We would have to make some cuts to the plastic, but we could use a pair of tin snips to do that, which are pretty easily attainable. But again, not something I would want to deter you from installing this product on your Jeep. It just takes a little bit more work if we do have this metal skid shield. Now that we've gone over some of the benefits and features, let's show you how to install this yourself. The first step of our installation process is going to be dependent on whether or not our vehicle has fog lights.If our vehicle does have fog lights, we're going to want to come to the passenger side of the vehicle here, in front of the front tire. Then behind the rear bumper we're going to see on the frame rail here we have this pigtail connector. This pigtail connector has the wires for our fog lights. Since we are going to be removing the bumper, which has the fog lights in it, we need to go ahead and remove these two connectors. In order to do this, we're going to want to depress this tab here and then pull outward on this connector at the rear here. Just like that. Now if we have some trouble with this, we can take a small metal screwdriver with a flat head and just stick it right there to depress the tab. Or if we want, we could take a trim panel tool, sort of pull that little push fastener off, so we have a little bit more room to work with.Now that we have that free, we can move on to the next step. Our next step here, we're going to make our way to the front bumper, behind the front bumper, and in front of our grill here, we have this little dip rail, this little plastic trim piece here, and there's two fasteners on this, attaching it to the frame row, one on each side. Now these are push fasteners, pretty standard. What we need to do is, we are going to take a pick tool, with sort of a bend on the end here. Whatever tool you have that has this 90 here. We're going to go ahead and try to pry up the top of this little push fastener, just like so. We want to be careful we don't damage the plastic.Then, once we get the head up a little bit we can go ahead and take our standard trim panel tool. I like the metal ones because they're a little bit easier to use. You can go ahead, pull the center out. If the bottom part doesn't come out with it, and normally does, we can just go ahead, and again. Take our little 90 pick tool here. Just fish that out as best we can. Just like so. Again, we have one on each side. We need to remove those both. The next part of our installation here, again, is going to vary depending on what options we have. Our particular Gladiator here has a metal skid shield, so that's what we're going to be removing next. However, if you have a plastic skid shield you can go ahead and skip to the instructions because there's a different portion which goes over this. Since we have the middle skid shield, we're going to be removing fasteners here on the bottom here, using a 13 millimeter socket.Looks like we have one there, one there, then two on the other side that I could see. That's a total of four now. Now, I don't want to undo these all the way because I don't want our metal skid shield falling on us. We're just going to loosen them. Yeah, it looks like it's just those four fasteners there. So, go ahead and remove the bottom two. Put those bolts aside. Now the next part, I'm going to use my left hand and hold this up. Hopefully it doesn't come crashing down. We can set this aside. The next step of the installation, we're actually going to be taking the front bumper off. Now, in order to take the front bumper off, we have a total of eight nuts we need to remove. We're on the inside of the frame here. We see we have two nuts here, which are going to be holding the bumper to the vehicles core support. Now, we have two on the inside on each side, and we also have two outside the core support on each side.We need to remove all eight of these in order to get the bumper fascia off the vehicle. Again, we're using our 18 millimeter socket. I'm using a half-inch inaudible 00:07:29 here because the bolts are on there pretty good. We are going to need to get some torque on them to take them off. I'm just going to loosen these off for now, and I'm not going to take them completely off because again, I don't want the bumper falling off. We're just going to leave a couple of threads on them so it can.t. Those are the two inside ones. We have two more on the outside on this side, and then another four on the other side. Let's go ahead and remove those. We're down to two bolts now on each side. Once we get these the majority of the way off, I am going to leave a couple threads, so again, we don't have to worry about our bumper falling off.Now once we have most of the bolts removed, I went ahead and left the two top ones on the outside. The reason for this is, I'm going to be able to reach into the fender well here and undo those by hand, while I'm using my body to press on the bumper so it doesn't fall off. Looks like we need to get a couple more threads before I can get it out by hand. Here we have one of the bolts. Again, just going to use my body to brace it to make sure it fall off. I'm going to reach behind here, see if I can get the bolt remaining. It looks like I still need a couple more threads as well, so keep your tool handy for this. Almost got the last one here. There's our last bolt, so now we should be able to just take our bumper off, slide it back and forth, and now we can set this aside.Then, the next thing we're going to do once we get the bumper fascia off, is remove these little frame stiffener brackets on either side of the frame rail, here on both sides. In order to remove these, we're going to need a 16-millimeter socket. It should come out fairly easy. There's going to be a total of four, again, two on each side. Once we have those out, we can go ahead and set these aside and move on to the next step. Once we get the frame stiffeners off, we're going to go ahead and work our way to these brackets down here, which are again ,held on by two 16-millimeter bolts. We have one on each side. We need to remove both. Our next step here, we're going to need to enlarge some holes on our brackets and on the frame rail here. Keep in mind we're not drilling any new holes. We're just enlarging two holes that are already in place.The two holes we're going to use are going to be directly above and below the bolts we'd use to remove the frame stiffeners in step five. There's the bolt hole we use, that holds the frame stiffener on. Here's the one directly above it. We're just going to give us a slight little indication and mark that one. Here's the one directly below it. These are the two that we're going to have to enlarge to a half-inch diameter. Before we enlarge our holes in the frame, we want to go ahead and set our base plate tab up on the vehicle, just so we can again, double and triple- check that we're drilling the right holes. However, there's going to be a bracket in the way. It didn't say to remove this in the instructions but this is obviously going to have to come off before we slide the bracket up on there. We're just going to go ahead and remove these brackets on each side of the frame at this time, using our 16-millimeter socket.Now we need to go ahead and enlarge the holes which we'd marked, and then we verified fit, by test-fitting our base plate up on the vehicle here. Again, top hole here, bottom hole here. I've marked it with a paint marker just to stand out a little bit. Then we're going to take our half-inch drill bit. If you have some trouble getting the half-inch drill bit through, we can go ahead and work our way up, using a smaller size, and keep in mind for this top one here we need to enlarge this to a half- inch hole, and the other side there's going to be this exact same hole that needs to go to a half-inch as well. Now we're going to go ahead and take a black paint marker. If you have any sort of spray paint on hand, that'll work as well. Basically, we just want to cover that bare metal so we don't have any rust issues. The next thing we're going to do is, we're actually going to fit our base plate up onto our frame rail here.Now, keep in mind you may have a tighter fit. Ours is going to be a little bit tight, so we're actually going to use a hammer to coax it into place. However, yours might just slide right up in there. In order to get this on here, we do need to come in at an angle, clear those tabs there. Go around back here. As you can see here, we can't really get it in any further by hand. We need this little hole here to line up with the one up there. This one there, and so-and-so. What we're going to do is, we are going to take a hammer here just lightly, as lightly as we can, I guess you could say, to try to get those holes line up and get it in place. If you're a little bit, if you're worried about damaging the finish on your base plate tab by hammering it in place, then again that may not be needed. Yours may just slide right up in there. However, we can use a block of wood, hit it to help coax it in the place without damaging the finish.Now that once we have the base plate tab up into position on the vehicle, we can go ahead and start inserting our hardware. We're going to want to start with this top bolt hole here. We're going to be using this half-inch hex head bolt we see. Before we insert it in there, we want to place a flat washer on, and then we're also going to take our spacer block here, and we're going to insert that between the frame rail and the base plate. There should be a pretty obvious gap there. We're just going to line that up, and again on the other side we're going to take our other spacer block here and search it through that hole. Try to line everything up, and then we can come around o.n the backside here we're going to want to use three bits of hardware here, which we can see. You have a flat washer, a lock washer, and then our hex nut, and before we put those on, come around to the other side here.We're going to place a dab of red Loctite on the threads here. Just a little bit, is all we need. Then we can come back with our flat washer, our lock washer, and then our hex nut. We're just going to hand tight that for now. Then again, we're going to use this other half-inch bolt we have here, on the lower most hole. Insert it through with our flat washer, and we're going to use the same combo that we used on the other side. However, for this bottom one we don't have any spacer blocks like we did up above. So again, take a Loctite, just a drop on the threads here. Follow that up with our flat washer, our lock nut, then our hex nut, just to get the nuts started for now. Okay, now for this next part, once we have the first two holes, the first two bolts here, we're going to move on to this inaudible 00:15:39 bolt hole. We're going to take our other half-inch hex nut or hex bolt included with the kit.Again, just another dab of Loctite. Please keep in mind this Loctite is required, and it doesn't come with the kit. So, I do recommend picking this up from etrailer when you order your base plate kit. We're going to have our lock washer, our flat washer, and then we're going to have our nut plate here. What we're going to do, is we're just going to fish the nut plate up into the frame here, and try to line it up with the hole we have. Get it as flush as we can. We can see this lined up pretty well there. We lost it again. You may need to stick your finger up there and just try to stabilize it a bit more. Caught it there. I'm just going to get a hand tight for now. Now that we have our three bolts in place, we're going to go ahead and just snug everything up so we don't let the Loctite dry. To do this, we're going to be using a 19-millimeter socket and wrench.Again, this isn't the final torque sequence, but we are just going to snug everything out for now. We have one more at the bottom here. We might as well get.this one tight We'll go ahead and repeat the same process on the other side. Well, the nut plate is actually going to be pinned in upside against the frame rail, so we don't have to worry about getting a wrench on it. That should be good for now. Now we have one final bolt we need to install on the side here. We're going to go ahead and take that again, just a dab of our red Loctite. There is a factory weld nut that we're going to be screwing this into, so we don't need any hardware on the backside. Now we can go ahead, take a 17-millimeter socket, set that down. Now we also have one more bolt on the inside here which was used for our factory frame stiffener.We're again, just going to take the factory bolt here and our 16- millimeter socket. Now, before we repeat this process on the other side, we have Roadmaster's three factory bolts in here. We do have one more bolt which we need to reuse, that we used to take off the factory frame stiffener, so we're just going to go ahead and insert this. We have one on each side of the frame rail here. Use our 16-millimeter socket to zip that down. Again, we have one on the other side here. Zip this down as well. Once those are zipped down, we can go ahead and move on and repeat the same process we did for this, on the other side of the vehicle. Now for the passenger side here, what we have found is there's actually not going to be a hole to enlarge at the top frame rail here.What we've gone ahead and done, is we've installed the side bracket here or our base plate bracket, excuse me. What we're going to do is, we're just going to use this as a template to drill our half inch holes on either side. Now I do recommend starting out with a smaller drill bit for this portion because we are going to have to make a completely new hole. Now that we have our smaller hole drilled, come back with our half-inch drill bit and enlarge it to the final size. Now, we just want to go ahead and make sure that we use our black paint marker, and get the bare metal, so we don't have to worry about any rust issue with these holes we just drilled. Now that we have both sides installed, we want to go ahead and torque down all of our fasteners to the specifications in our instructions. Again, using our 19-millimeter socket and wrench.Don't forget to repeat this process on the other side. N.ow our next step here is to reinstall our lower rock guard mounts, which removed in step six. We're just going to use the factory hardware, place these in the factory locations. It should fit only one way, so it should be pretty easy to determine which side goes where, if you didn't mark this when you took it off the vehicle. We're going to use our 16-millimeter socket to zip these down. We have one on the other side as well. Now we can go ahead and take our bumper here and set it back on the vehicle, aligning these studs with the holes and our sub-frame here. Just like that. Then we can take our nuts that we took off earlier. Just get a couple of threads started to hold it in place. We can go ahead and behind it, and tighten everything up. Don't forget here on the passenger side frame rail, we do have our fog light connector, we need to reattach. We should hear it click into place, just like that.Now we're just tightening up our factory bumper bolts, starting with the inside ones, and working our way out. No, in order to finish reinstalling our bumper fascia, don't forget we do have these two push fasteners here at the top, in between the bumper and the grill. Just stick them down there and press the top in. That's all you need to do. Again, we have one more on the other side as well. The next step we have here is to go ahead and trim our metal splash guard here, our rock shield, skid shield, whatever you want to call it. Please keep in mind this process is going to be specific to the Rubicon. So, there may be a different set of instructions and measurements and cutting you need to do, depending on if you have this metal splash shield or not. We're just going to go ahead and loosely mark out where we think we need to trim ,according to the dimensions provided in the instructions. I'm going to make a part marker here. I'm just using a paint marker now, to roughly guide out where I think we need to cut.We actually use some masking tape to give us some straighter lines here. We didn't have to mark up our skid shield here, so we're going to go ahead and cut this out. This is made of metal, so this next process we're going to require a die grinder or a 90 cutoff tool, such as we have here with the cutoff wheel. You just need to be very careful with this process. We're obviously going to be cutting metal, so we need eye protection. We need protection from our hands. We're just going to try to cut this out as carefully as we can. We see we have a pretty good cut-out here. We're going to go ahead and grind down the edges with a little grinding disc. We're going to repeat this process on the other side, and then we can go test fit it on the vehicle. Now as you can see here, we have our rough cuts made ,so we can allow the tabs and the safety chain loops on our base plate to clear the skid shield here.Before we go ahead and secure this, we're going to go ahead and clean these cuts up, using a metal file here, and then we're going to coat all the bare metal surfaces with our paint marker again that we used earlier. Then once we get that all cleaned up, we can go ahead and repeat this process on the other side. Now, the last step of our installation here is going to be we need to be to install these skid shield mounting brackets. What these are going to do is, these are going to mount to this plate we have here with the two nuts certs, and there's going to be another fastener here at the rear of the skid shield. We just want to go ahead and place this up, align it with those two holes. And then we're going to be using our Phillips head machine screws which come with the kit, as well as a lock washer and a flat washer that we can see here. We're going to align these as best as I can with the holes up there.Try to get a couple of threads started. There we have one go. Go ahead and take our other one. It's going to be kind of hard to see, but it is directly below that. Just going to have to feel for it, and we're just going to tighten these up for now. We're not going to get all the way tight, so we have the rest of the fasteners in place. Our last connection point is going to be here on the bottom of the skid shield. We're going to be using our factory bolt as well as a flat washer, a lock nut and a regular nut. We're going to pace the bolt through that hole like so. Then we're going to follow it up on the other side. We'll see flat washer, followed by the lock washer, followed by our hex nut. You going to have to reach over here, in order to get it threaded on. We can repeat that process on the other side. Then we'll go ahead and zip everything down to tighten it up.The next thing we're going to do here, is going to be to install our bracket for our wiring harness. Now, keep in mind this is optional. You can mount this wherever you want or you can leave it off the vehicle altogether. But we are going to show you an easy way to mount this, if you do want to retain this and use it. What we're going to do is, we're going to remove these two seven-millimeter screws right here. We're actually going to mount our venting bracket up here. We're actually going to use one of these holes, and then we're going to drill a hole in our bracket here to line up with that hole. That way we aren't drilling any additional holes into our bumper fascia here. We just have one hole we need to drill in our mounting bracket. That's going to allow us to reuse the factory holes here as well as the factory hardwareAgain, we're going to reuse our factory hardware here. However, we are going to use the washers that we're supplied with the kit. Place those over there like so. We can mock it up in place. A couple of threads on. Take our other flat washer here, other factory hardware. Let a couple of threads, that we can come back with our seven-millimeter socket. Screw everything down and that's going to do it for the installation of our Roadmaster Direct-Connect Base Plates for our 2020 Jeep Gladiator.


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