Hooked On My Escape
Installation of Light-Duty and Heavy-Duty Models

Step 1: Prepare what you'll need.

Gather the tools you'll need:

  • slotted screwdriver and needle nose pliers (to assist in the removal of bumper cladding tabs)
  • ½" (13 mm) wrench or socket
  • ¾" (19 mm) wrench or adjustable wrench
  • shop scissors (if removal of front license plate bracket wings is required)
  • rotary tool (for cutting away small portion of bumper cladding wings) - heavy-duty model only

Step 2: Unpackage "Hooked On My Escape"


 

Ensure that you have all the parts you need:

Light-Duty Model Heavy-Duty Model
  • 1" x 1" x 24" aluminum bar (x1)
  • 1½" x 2¼" aluminum mounting brackets (x2)
  • 5/16" x 2" hex bolts (x2)
  • 5/16" nuts (x2)
  • light-duty eye bolts (x2)
  • 1" x 1.5" x 24" aluminum bar (x1)
  • 1½" x 2¼" aluminum mounting brackets (x2)
  • 5/16" x 2" hex bolts (x4)
  • 5/16" nuts (x4)
  • heavy-duty eye bolts (x2) with nuts

Step 3: Cut off license plate holder wings

If your Escape is equipped with a front license plate holder it may contain "wings" that extend from the bottom of the license plate holder towards the engine. They are not connected to anything and server no purpose. Although they can be bent out of the way to allow the "Hooked On My Escape" bar to be positioned properly, you may choose to remove them. If so, bend back the bottom license plate holder wings and carefully cut 1.5" - 2" off using a pair of shop scissors.

Step 4: Remove bumper cladding tabs on both sides

Identify bumper cladding tabs to be removed - there will be one on each side. Using a slotted screwdriver, carefully begin to pry out the plastic tabs. Once partially removed use a pair of pliers to assist in pulling the tabs completely out. They should pull out with a slight tug. Discard the tabs.

Step 5: Cut bumper cladding wings to reveal additional bumper holes

Heavy-duty model only. Skip to next step if installing the light-duty model.

This is the only potentially difficult installation step. The bumper cladding wings that extend under the front bumper partially cover the holes that we will need. Identify the partially visible holes - there will be one hole on each side, approximately 1" toward the center of the vehicle from the plastic tab securing the bumper cladding to the underside of the bumper.

Using a drill bit or a rotary tool, carefully drill and/or cut away the bumper cladding wing to fully expose the holes (one on each side). If using a drill, start with a small diameter drill bit, drill a pilot hole centered on the bumper hole. Increase the bit size and use the pilot hole to guide the bit to enlarge the hole. Repeat as necessary to fully expose the hole. Caution: Due to the awkward position, be very careful not to allow the spinning drill chuck to touch the bumper cladding - it could "burn" the plastic and leave a visible mark.

Step 6: Thread bolts through bumper bracket

If not already threaded into the bracket, thread the 2" long, 5/16" bolts into the provided bumper brackets - one bolt per bracket for light-duty model, or two bolts per bracket for heavy-duty model. Thread completely through until hex head is snugged up with bracket surface. Hand-tighten only.

Step 7: Install bumper mounting brackets

With the bolts fully threaded into the brackets, reach under and behind the bumper and insert the brackets into the bumper such that the bolts extend through the holes (1 per side, light-duty, or 2 per side, heavy-duty) and the bracket sits flush on the bottom plate of the bumper. A bit of patience may be required to guide the bolts into the holes. The photo to the left is the view of the back of the bumper to help you visualize what you are doing.

You may need to gently pull or push the plastic bumper cladding slightly to better line up the cladding hole with the bumper hole. Ensure that the bracket is not sitting on top of any wiring that may be present. If there is any wiring or tubing in the way (expect on the passenger side), carefully pull it aside while inserting the brackets. When the bracket is positioned properly, ensure that the wiring/tubing is placed back in the same position inside the back of the bumper.

Step 8: Position "Hooked On My Escape" bar

The 24" bar is positioned by opening the vehicle's hood and inserting the bar vertically in front of the radiator and beside the hood latch (the passenger side of the latch has more space).

When the bar reaches the plastic barrier under the bumper, use your second hand to guide it as you allow it to tip to the side, until it is lying horizontal under the bumper.

Step 9: Secure "Hooked On My Escape" bar

With the bar's center notch facing upwards and the labels facing forward, raise the bar up such that the bracket bolts previously positioned extend through the bar and the bar lies flat along the bottom of the bumper, resting on the bumper cladding wings. Be careful not to push the bumper bracket bolts such that they are pushed out of position. If necessary, use one hand to reach under and around to the back of the bumper and hold the bracket in place while raising the bar into position. Once positioned, hand-tighten one nut on each side to hold it in place. Add a second nut on each side (heavy-duty model only). Secure the bar by tightening the nuts (1 on each side if light-duty model, and 2 per side for heavy-duty model) using a ½" (13 mm) wrench or socket.

Step 10: Insert eye bolts

Your "Hooked On My Escape" bumper bar is now in place and ready to use.

Insert the provided eyebolts or your own ½" eyebolts/hooks into the threaded holes and thread them fully through. Use an adjustable wrench to hold the back nut in place as you turn the eye bolt (with the aid of your screwdriver if needed) to thread it through the bar and the nut.

Warning: Do not thread too far. If you use an eyebolt that is too long or you thread too far, you can damage the radiator fins. Only thread the eyebolt through the bar far enough that you can attach a securing nut. Use a combination of self-locking nut and nut/lock washer combination to secure the eye bolt in the desired position.

Prevent the eye bolt from spinning by tightening the front nut and lock washer if they are included. The heavy duty forged eyebolt does not require a front nut due to the shorter thread length.

Congratulations! You're done.

Your "Hooked On Your Escape" is installed and ready to use. Get your canoe or kayak out of the garage, find a local or distant lake or river and start exploring.