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This is in regards to the 2001-2004 Escapes. I don't know if it applies to later models or not.
Also, please note that I have not actually done this yet but have read several how-tos on the topic.

If you have an older Escape, you may want to provide a means for accessing the rear hatch rod in the event your locking mechanism breaks. The lock actuator is known to fail on the Escape. Without access, you have to peel off the interior plastic panel below the window: it seems like doing this will damage the plastic. So....

The basic procedure is to remove the hatch's interior plastic panel, drill a hole in-line w the rod, then install a plastic button into the hole. Before drilling the hole, get a plastic button from the dealer. There are round plastic buttons located elsewhere on the car's interior, which are used to cover screws n such. I would guess one of those would be what the dealers use when they do the repair, and I'm assuming you can buy them.

The plastic panel has four screws that are only accessible when the hatch is open. Remove the screws, then remove the plastic panel. You'll have to figure out where to drill the hole. I would operate the hatch release handle to see which way the rod moves, then do it by hand. Next, decide where to drill the hole & take measurements. etc.
 

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Seems like a worthy (Low or No $) project to perform on your Escape.
 
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