Ford Escape e/x Build

Great build! Def thinking outside the box. Like kojackJKU i went the route of the Patriot with the 6 speed auto. It will eventually get some of the FDII goodies like the alt and tow hooks for sure. The design of your skid plate mounting has me thinking of some ideas however...May look into the idea of a similar multi part design that uses the stock mount points for the stock plastic FDI skid. Baring that...may just replace a few of the stock bolts with studs to mount an alloy "Bash plate" over the stock skid. That way the alloy is the sacrificial portion of the skid vs the plastic. That all said... I have always liked the Gen I Escapes ever since they came out.
 

fugitive

Master of Escape
Great Build! My girlfriend and I are planning to use our 2012 Escape to explore AK this summer. We have dreams of a RTT but its a base model with no roof rack. :( Maybe I'll just bite the bullet and take the stupid headliner out and get it over with...lol The only mods we have planned other than that are a set of General AT2s, a full sized spare, and some sort of auxiliary power. I'm interested to see how much space is under the plastic thingy in the rear cargo area, seems like a good spot for spare parts and tools.
Colintrax, Slick78, I have the storage box completed. I need to do a bunch of photo editing and put the process to print. Hopefully have this posted up soon.
 

fugitive

Master of Escape
Oh yeah! I almost forgot to ask, which trailer hitch did you use to allow room for the full size spare tire?
I originally had a custom hitch from Tork Lift. It fit the donut spare, but more importantly, the receiver tucked nicely under the bumper to prevent unnecessary shin damage while loading/unloading groceries.

e20342.jpg

e20355.jpg

The requirement for a full size spare meant dunking my donut and ditching the hitch.

I went to eTrailer and ordered a Curt class III hitch.
https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Ford/Escape/2005/13650.html?vehicleid=20059838
hitch1.png hitch2.png
eTrailer has a very nice mounting kit that has cool wire gizmos that make it easy to fish hardware through frame openings. it also provides rectangular hardware that fits on the monting bolt to jam inside the frame and not allow the bolt to just spin in the frame when trying to tighten or loosen bolts. (ala tork lift)

kit.png

It's a fine looking tube-type hitch that doesn't completely destroy my departure angle.

I have a 235/75/r16 Cooper AT3 down under. This is just a hair shy of 29" and fits snuggly.

The only downside, is to fit the larger tire, the receiver sticks out past the bumper. So far no shin damage, but it will occasionally drag when transitioning from steep incline to level. No real damage to the receiver and it nicely protects my bumper cover.

I use a receiver shackle as a rear recovery point.
receiver.jpg

Cheers
 
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fugitive

Master of Escape
Great build! Def thinking outside the box. Like kojackJKU i went the route of the Patriot with the 6 speed auto. It will eventually get some of the FDII goodies like the alt and tow hooks for sure. The design of your skid plate mounting has me thinking of some ideas however...May look into the idea of a similar multi part design that uses the stock mount points for the stock plastic FDI skid. Baring that...may just replace a few of the stock bolts with studs to mount an alloy "Bash plate" over the stock skid. That way the alloy is the sacrificial portion of the skid vs the plastic. That all said... I have always liked the Gen I Escapes ever since they came out.
DR, thanks for the input. sounds like you have some good ideas to protect the sensitive under-bits.

ADAPT, IMPROVISE, EXPLORE!!!

063.jpg
 
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fugitive

Master of Escape
TOOLS AND SPARES
Part one: CREATING SPACE-

From the time I bought my first rig, I did my own wrenching. As the many decades have taken their toll, my days of “heavy wrenching” are a distant speck in my rear view mirror.

That said, I still like to be prepared for those gremlins that hide both in urban and outback settings. If I can avoid a costly tow-job with simple tools, I’ll fix it myself.

Fixing it myself will require tools and spares. Carrying tools and spares requires space. The Escape doesn’t have much in the way of hide-away storage space.
After buying my Escape, I noticed that the rear cargo compartment was supported by a large chunk of plastic.

This large chunk-o-plastic appears to be some lazy car designer's solution to filling the battery storage compartment in non-hybrid Escapes.

1eIMG_0565.jpg

Open that little lid and this chunk contained a few items for changing a tire, but little else. What a waste of space!

2eIMG_0566.jpg

If I just take out the plastic chunk, I no longer have a flat cargo area. Eh, what are you going to do about it anyway?

A few years later I had an epiphany. That big chunk of plastic wasn’t solid. Underneath could be air, space, capacity, and volume.

I pulled it out and I was right. Mostly just nothingness

woo hoo.jpg

(Note: I never buy fancy bottled water. Mineral water flows freely from our taps. And water-spots everything it touches).

3eIMG_0571.jpg

I needed this chunk to maintain its structural integrity under load, but maximize storage. I decided to cut out all the squares that contained small vertical supports, leaving all the long supports intact.

I was able to mark it from the topside and using a drill and sabre saw created access holes.

5eIMG_0570.jpg

6eIMG_0572.jpg

Access holes complete!

7eIMG_0573.jpg

The actual storage space is larger than the openings, so I can tuck small items under the overhangs.

I used a thin piece of water resistant plywood and a piano hinge to create a proper lid. When flat, there was now an 1/8th inch unsupported gap between lid and base, due to the original press board cover being removed.

My solution was to cut the retaining tabs off the old lid, and using contact cement, attached old lid to the bottom of the new lid. This provided complete support for the lid and added some reinforcement.

8eIMG_0596.jpg

While the lid was drying, I prepped the inside. I didn’t want to hear a bunch of tools bouncing around while driving. I didn’t want sensitive items to rattle apart on washboard roads, and I wanted a bit of thermal insulation to protect perishables.

I used a large piece of floor padding to protect and insulate to bottom of the storage compartment. This is the padding used to stand on at a workbench.

Cut to size and fitted.

10.jpg

Re-installed. Lots of space for new tools and spares.

11eIMG_0599.jpg

to be continued: Part 2- "Tools & Spares"
 
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fugitive

Master of Escape
Part 2: Tools & Spares

I reinstalled the storage box in the Escape. I grabbed a few of the larger items to load up, then do a test retrieve. I started with the 12v air compressor and the large can of Inflate-o-Tire. I quickly ran into a problem of geometry.

While the holes/openings were sufficiently sized, the vertical supports between holes were too tall and left insufficient clearance between the bottom of the support and the floor. Ingress was difficult. Egress was a complete pain in the buttocks. The angles just weren’t there. What should I do?

sweep.jpg

Sensei: Do you have a problem with that???!!!

fugitive: Actually I do, Sensei. While I love that move (second only to the Crane Technique), it’s not the answer to all problems.

I needed the supports to be shorter, but wanted to maintain the overall strength of the box, with respect to loads placed on top. After a brief brainstorm, I chose to pilfer a simple idea from the clever Etruscans… The “arch”. (also pilfered by the crafty Greeks).

eIMG_2458.jpg

I used blue masking tape to provide cut lines. I started with a Dremel cutoff wheel. Well, it was more like melting my way through, rather than cutting or grinding. This left a very melty, ragged, harsh edge. I don’t want to tear up my hand, nor shred any protective packaging stored below. More work was needed.

Next up, dremel barrel sander. This took out all the large nasties, but still left a very abrasive edge. I finished up with hand sanding. It took hours longer than estimated, but will it work?

eIMG_2460.jpg

The box was once again bolted back in the Escape. Time for a test fit. I again began with the 12v air compressor and Inflate-o-Tire. Both went in and were retrieved with ease. The mod also allowed me greater flexibility in final placement of the items. I loaded up my initial load of tools and spares and had plenty of room for more. It was well worth the effort to grind the arches for a much better outcome.

Tools/Spares Inventory:

eIMG_2462.jpg

Pre-mod:
Scissor Jack, small OEM lug wrench.
Tool Bag-Socket set, screw drivers, pliers.
Safety Vest, Safety Flag
Utility Light
Work Gloves, Mechanic Gloves
Tire Plug Kit
Reflective Safety Triangle

eIMG_2463.jpg

Post Mod:
12V Air Compressor
Can-o-Fix-o-Flat
Volt/Ohm Meter, Spare fuses, conductive grease. WD-40.
Epoxy putty, glues, 3-in-1 oil, free creams and lotions. But my life is good. Reeeeally good!
Hose clamps, bailing wire.
Electrical wire. Asst connectors, crimp tool.
Electrical tape, Teflon tape, silicon tape.
Serpentine belt.
Lithium Jump Start battery & cables.
Spare lug nuts, spare roof rack bolts

eIMG_2465.jpg

Still have room for and will add- (Not pictured)
Upper and lower radiator hoses
Generic engine hose. Spare fuel line, Fuel filter.
Vacuum hose and connectors.
Ground Tarps, Disposable cover-alls.
Large lug wrench., breaker bar.
1qt Engine Oil, 1qt Transmission fluid.

eIMG_2469.jpg

I am pretty pleased with both the functionality and stealth of this simple mod.

miyagi2.jpg

fugitive: Hey, Mr. Miyajee, what do you think of my mod?

Mr. Miyagi: It's Miyagi.

fugitive: My faux pas. So... What about the mod, Miyagi?

Mr. Miyagi: Wax on... Wax off. Wax on... Wax off.

fugitive: Uhhh, I’m not following you man.

Mr. Myagi: Walk left, safe. Walk right, safe. Walk in the middle, you get squished like a grape.

fugitive: Leave the fly alone brah. Tell me what you think of my mod?

Miyagi: Don't know. First time you, first time me.

fugitive: Well, I figured you knew about this stuff. I figured you’ve done these before. Oh great, I'm dead! I am dead! You told me you modded a lot.

Miyagi: For life, not for build threads.

fugitive: Never mind. I was just askin’ for a friend.

miyagi2.jpg
 
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fugitive

Master of Escape
ET,

The fix-o-flat is for a quick, temporary fix. If a tire goes flat in a sketchy neighborhood, Spray-n-Pray or Shoot-n-Scoot might be the preferred solution. Even if the can only partially fills the tire, I can limp on to a safer location (without shredding my tire and rim), then sort out the problem.

Redneck-Meme-how-to-fix-a-flat-tire-wheelbarrow-tire-diy-mod-car_thumb.jpg

Also, in So Cal the average driver is so distracted by checking their online status, taking selfies, and admiring themselves in the mirror, that they are not watching the road. I routinely hear reports of disabled motorists, Highway Patrol, and road workers being maimed/killed by inattentive drivers. If the traffic speed and volume is such that I do not want to risk life and limb spinning lug nuts on the side of the road, the f-o-f gets me quickly rolling again.

Once I'm in a safer place, I can pay a tire shop to clean out the snot, or pitch the tire and get a new one. Fix-o-flat is temporary...Death is forever.

f2d16e404c684d3cbccd128805312772--spare-tires-flat-tire.jpg

The tire plugs allow me to fix my own flat in a quick, semi-permanent, and non-messy way. I know these days tire shops will pull the tire and patch it, but for the first 30 years of my driving, plugs were the fashion. I've never had a plug leak or fail.

If I am out in the boondocks and get a flat, I don't want to have to end the adventure because I no longer have a spare. The plugs get the tire back in action.

1aj46v.jpg

I have even seen some great videos where clever off-road explorers have used a combination of stitching and plugs to repair what would have been a fatal sidewall gash.

Bottom line, between Can-o-snot, tire plugs, and a spare tire, I have options. Choose the solution that best fits the situation.

screwed.jpg

It's a "Belt and Suspenders" strategy for "When Tires Go Bad!!!"

Cheers
 
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Part 2: Tools & Spares

I reinstalled the storage box in the Escape. I grabbed a few of the larger items to load up, then do a test retrieve. I started with the 12v air compressor and the large can of Inflate-o-Tire. I quickly ran into a problem of geometry.

While the holes/openings were sufficiently sized, the vertical supports between holes were too tall and left insufficient clearance between the bottom of the support and the floor. Ingress was difficult. Egress was a complete pain in the buttocks. The angles just weren’t there. What should I do?

View attachment 481628

Sensei: Do you have a problem with that???!!!

fugitive: Actually I do, Sensei. While I love that move (second only to the Crane Technique), it’s not the answer to all problems.

I needed the supports to be shorter, but wanted to maintain the overall strength of the box, with respect to loads placed on top. After a brief brainstorm, I chose to pilfer a simple idea from the clever Etruscans… The “arch”. (also pilfered by the crafty Greeks).

View attachment 481629

I used blue masking tape to provide cut lines. I started with a Dremel cutoff wheel. Well, it was more like melting my way through, rather than cutting or grinding. This left a very melty, ragged, harsh edge. I don’t want to tear up my hand, nor shred any protective packaging stored below. More work was needed.

Next up, dremel barrel sander. This took out all the large nasties, but still left a very abrasive edge. I finished up with hand sanding. It took hours longer than estimated, but will it work?

View attachment 481630

The box was once again bolted back in the Escape. Time for a test fit. I again began with the 12v air compressor and Inflate-o-Tire. Both went in and were retrieved with ease. The mod also allowed me greater flexibility in final placement of the items. I loaded up my initial load of tools and spares and had plenty of room for more. It was well worth the effort to grind the arches for a much better outcome.

Tools/Spares Inventory:

View attachment 481631

Pre-mod:
Scissor Jack, small OEM lug wrench.
Tool Bag-Socket set, screw drivers, pliers.
Safety Vest, Safety Flag
Utility Light
Work Gloves, Mechanic Gloves
Tire Plug Kit
Reflective Safety Triangle

View attachment 481632

Post Mod:
12V Air Compressor
Can-o-Fix-o-Flat
Volt/Ohm Meter, Spare fuses, conductive grease. WD-40.
Epoxy putty, glues, 3-in-1 oil, free creams and lotions. But my life is good. Reeeeally good!
Hose clamps, bailing wire.
Electrical wire. Asst connectors, crimp tool.
Electrical tape, Teflon tape, silicon tape.
Serpentine belt.
Lithium Jump Start battery & cables.
Spare lug nuts, spare roof rack bolts

View attachment 481633

Still have room for and will add- (Not pictured)
Upper and lower radiator hoses
Generic engine hose. Spare fuel line, Fuel filter.
Vacuum hose and connectors.
Ground Tarps, Disposable cover-alls.
Large lug wrench., breaker bar.
1qt Engine Oil, 1qt Transmission fluid.

View attachment 481634

I am pretty pleased with both the functionality and stealth of this simple mod.

View attachment 482408

fugitive: Hey, Mr. Miyagee, what do you think of my mod?

Mr. Miyagi: It's Miyagi.

fugitive: My faux pas. So... What about the mod, Miyagi?

Mr. Miyagi: Wax on... Wax off. Wax on... Wax off.

fugitive: Uhhh, I’m not following you man.

Mr. Myagi: Walk left, safe. Walk right, safe. Walk in the middle, you get squished like a grape.

fugitive: Leave the fly alone brah. Tell me what you think of my mod?

Miyagi: Don't know. First time you, first time me.

fugitive: Well, I figured you knew about this stuff. I figured you’ve done these before. Oh great, I'm dead. I am dead. You told me you modded a lot.

Miyagi: For life, not for build threads.

fugitive: Never mind. I was just askin’ for a friend.

View attachment 481636
I've been wondering about doing this exact same mod to my 2012. Thanks for showing your steps, the problems you ran into and the finished product!

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

fugitive

Master of Escape
It's the 'Great Escape'. Awesome build, great work!
Morgan, Thanks. I am currently planning a lighting upgrade. Before my night run in the Oceano dunes, I didn't really see the need.

Now it's time to become "enlightened".

I cleared out enough space in the back for you to join the ride. Glad to have you along.

cooler.gif
 
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fugitive

Master of Escape
Totally. What is your plan for better lightning?
Still kicking around multiple needs/configurations. I am having to deal with the limited space and limited mounting solutions on the small front end.

Step one is replacing the halogen bulbs in the OEM fog lights, and finding a LED that plays well in a reflector housing. The stock fogs suck. I plan on converting them to LED DRLs.

From there, probably put high performance halogens in the hi-beam housings. I would like to upgrade the lo-beams, but the high output halogens have dismal lifespans. Probably stay stock on lo-beam.

From there I just can't decide on light bar/fogs/driving/LED/halogen/size.

I am also wrestling with the reality that sick souls will strip anything valuable off a rig. One of my son's friends put a LED light bar above the windshield of his truck. Didn't last one week. In SoCal, we just can't have nice things. :(

lights.jpg
 
Personally I would look for the best halogens available for your factory housing and in the future if you choose to add a winch mount or bull bar then add some brilliant light force fog lamps or equivalent to brighten the night with some flair.
 
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