lilly.walters@verizon.net

Towing 2009 Ford Escape

94 posts in this topic

We just bought a 2009 Ford Escape, auto transmission about six weeks ago. We towed it about 500 miles, by the book, and the trasmission is burnt. They are getting us a new one.

They said it got too hot towing it. I wonder if the tow shield is covering up some kind of vent?

Anyone else have trouble?

- Lilly and Marty Schermerhorn

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Just had the same problem with a 2009 Escape V6 during a 1400 mile trip.

I had towed it on 2 previous trips that were about 200 miles round trip each with no noticeable problem. This trip I noticed transmission fluid on rear window at our first destination after about 5 hrs. of towing. Took it to a local Ford dealer and they checked it, filled it up with fluid and sent me on my way. The next leg was about 5 hrs. and it blew fluid out again. Had a local Ford dealer fill it up again. The final leg home I ran the engine and circulated the fluid after 2 hrs. of towing and no problems. Traveled another 1.5 hr. and stopped in a rest area. I checked the car and it had fluid on the back again. This time it would not start and the transmission was very hot.

I now have a new transmission. The dealer found that the transmission dipstick was marked wrong and it caused the mechanics to overfill the transmission every time. They suspect that the excess fluid would cause foaming and the lubrication would fail due to the foaming and blowing out excess fluid. This left us with a cooked transmission.

I'm curious if anyone else has had this problem and if the new transmission fixed the problem.

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This is good info. Thanks.

I personally like the vehicle for no towing restrictions, speed etc... The weight is okay and the mpg acceptable for everyday use.

Will address the dip stick with my local dealership and provide an update.

Transmission probably set for failure sooner or later if dip stick was the cause whether you were towing or not...

Follow up... Local dealership had no idea about possible dip stick problem let alone any towing issues.

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We bought a 2009 Ford Escape front wheel drive to tow behind our motorhome on May 4, 2009. First time we towed, it was only 60 miles, no problems. The next time we left home on cross country trip, nothing but problems. First day, towed 425 miles according to directions in owners manual. Ran for 5 minutes prior to leaving home, put into neutral, put key in accessory and stopped 3 times during the 425 miles to run the engine for 5 minutes, even though instructions state to do that when you stop to refuel. Also, never exceeded 65 mph as instructed in owners manual. When we arrived at our destination, transmission was totally burned up. Ford replaced transmission, we continued on our trip, went 126 miles after going through the process again listed in owners manual. Car on interstate pulled beside us and told us car being towed was smoking. We stopped, transmission fluid all over back window, and smoke coming from under hood. We called Ford dealer, were told new special service bulletin came out from Ford that morning with new directions for towing flat. Run for 5 minutes, check transmission fluid at operating temperature of 185-200 degrees, adjust fluid level between minimum line and bottom of hash marks on dipstick. If fluid level is higher than this, it can cause overheating, also run transmission through gears before towing, put transmission in neutral, ignition in accessory, do not exceed 65 mph. We became so paranoid that after that episode, we stopped and checked fluid level and ran engine for 5 minutes at least every 2 hours, even though new service message said you should check at 6 hours or less. Still having the same problem. Today, we towed for 3 1/2 hours, stopping to check fluid level after 2 hours, everything fine. Arrived at destination, transmission not working, no reverse, neutral is drive. Very frustrated, but Ford had it towed to Ford dealer and we will find out tomorrow what is going on. This particular 2009 Ford Escape

is not towable unless Ford comes up with some new directions. We love the car, but we are over 2000 miles from home and cannot tow it. What do we do?

June

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Oh well so much for Ford.

The Motorhome 2009 Dinghy Roundup Guide makes reference to a Escape V6 with auto transmission towing at 75mph no time limit.

Escape manual states 65mph with restrictions.

Thanks to all for the information.

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I have a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, and it works great. We have towed over 6,000 miles. It was my understanding that the non-hybrid could not be flat towed. The transmission is completely different on the hybrid. I don't know anything about the 2009.

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This is the first I have heard about towing the 09 Escape and having these problems. I just purchased one and really like the car. Just finished installing the base plate, brakes and electrical. Have not towed it yet but from what I am hearing here I am scared to do so. I have the 4 cyl. with 6 speed transmission. It sound like an aux trans cooler may be required. This was the main reason we purchased the Escape as it was flat towable. We have an 07 Explorer with 4wd that tows great. Until I can find out more info I will tow the Explorer. I look forward to anyone's comments, suggestions or fixes.

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I have a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, and it works great. We have towed over 6,000 miles. It was my understanding that the non-hybrid could not be flat towed. The transmission is completely different on the hybrid. I don't know anything about the 2009.

For 2009 they adopted the 6 speed, which I assume is the one they did jointly with GM at a cost of over $1 billion. They initially said it was not towable in other Ford/Lincoln units in 2008. I even phoned them and pointed out that their engineers said, in a technical article, that is was towable flat. Someone later got to the right level and they changed all their manuals (I would have purchased a Lincoln MkX but because they said NO I got a Tahoe).

This morning a package of material arrived on the Escape from Ford. Now I read these problems. Certainly will have to look at the new Terrain (updated Equinox) now.

Don

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This is the first I have heard about towing the 09 Escape and having these problems. I just purchased one and really like the car. Just finished installing the base plate, brakes and electrical. Have not towed it yet but from what I am hearing here I am scared to do so. I have the 4 cyl. with 6 speed transmission. It sound like an aux trans cooler may be required. This was the main reason we purchased the Escape as it was flat towable. We have an 07 Explorer with 4wd that tows great. Until I can find out more info I will tow the Explorer. I look forward to anyone's comments, suggestions or fixes.

How much work was required to put on the baseplates? Whose plates did you use?

Tx

Don

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I've owned a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid for 2 years. (We got one of the first ones off the production line I guess because the dealership still had the 2007s available. Anyway, I've towed mine at least 10,000 miles in that time and have had no problems at all. I've towed a Dodge Caravan (with transmission lube pump), Honda Civic and Saturn L300. This Ford is the easiest towing vehicle I've had. I love it! I had a vacuum breaking system installed in it (Toad Stop II) because my other tow brake (Apollo) will not work on the hybrid. I love not having to worry about the 65mph speed limit I had on the Saturn. There are no fuses to mess with! I had trouble with the angle of the towbar with the Saturn because it was so low to the ground. None of this is an issue with this wonderful little car! I recommend the Ford Escape Hybrid for anyone considering a new toad. I don't know about the 2009. If I had it to do again though I'd investigate the Brake Buddy as a tow brake because it was very expensive having the vacuum system installed. I learned afterward that the Brake Buddy can be adjusted to properly work with the braking system on the Hybrid.

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How much work was required to put on the baseplates? Whose plates did you use?

Tx

Don

Roadmaster makes it easy to view the complete installation instructions on-line.

Go to: Roadmaster Base Plate Applicaton Guide

Go down to: "Roadmaster Tow Bar Mounting Brackets and Braking Systems " and enter your vehicle data.

After your vehicle data is entered, at the bottom of the page will be the appropriate base plate.

Click on that part number and you will get a pdf with the complete installation instructions.

Example-- here is the one for our new Ford Focus: Roadmaster2008 Ford Focus base plate installation guide

Brett Wolfe

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Here's more info if you want the correct answers. I walked away from two Ford dealerships because instead of finding me the correct answer about towing, they made up an answer. If I was going to buy the car and live with it, I wanted to see the manufacturer towing guidelines in writing. The dealership where I bought my 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid did it right. The service advisor told me the car was towable four wheels down and all I needed to do was put it in neutral and of course put the ignition in accessory so the front wheels would turn. He showed me the user manual instructions that confirmed it. When they don't know, they find out instead of making up an answer. I recommend the Bob Allen Ford dealership in Overland Park, Kansas (913) 381-3000.

Note: They had never had someone who was going to tow this vehicle so they declined to install the Blue Ox tow baseplate or braking system so I had my rv service people do that for me. I'm happy they were honest and sent me elsewhere rather than doing a poor job.

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I just purchased to tow a 2009 Mercury Mariner, which I am told is the same vehicle as the Ford Escape, with more bells and whistles. After seeing these post I wonder if there have been any problems towing the Mariner? The manual says 65 MPH and run the engine 5 min. before and after a trip or while fueling. I towed it about 90 miles to a Rally in May without a problem. I will be towing it again next week to a rally, about 100 miles. It appears there is no problem with the short trips. I sure hope the same problems don't present in the Mariner as I have read about with the Escape. I would appreciate anyone having a Mariner to post their experience. Thanks

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We purchased the 2009 Mazda Tribute Touring model which is the same as the Ford Escape. The owners manual says that it can be towed 4 wheels down, starting the car and running it for 5 minutes, putting it in neutral and the key in the accessory position. Not to exceed 65 miles per hours, stopping to run the car at each fuel stop. On our first trip of only 50 miles we had no problems. The next trip we went 200 miles stopping every rest area to be sure all was well, when a passing motorist said our car was smoking. There was transmission fluid all over the back and top of the car, and the car would not start. We had the car towed to the Mazda dealer and they said that the transmission was in drive. After about a week they said that Mazda agreed to put in a new transmission, which they did. Now after reading all the problems with the Ford Escape we are very concerned about trying to tow the car again. Has anyone else heard about this problem with the Mazda Tribute?

Lyn

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I've owned a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid for 2 years. (We got one of the first ones off the production line I guess because the dealership still had the 2007s available. Anyway, I've towed mine at least 10,000 miles in that time and have had no problems at all. I've towed a Dodge Caravan (with transmission lube pump), Honda Civic and Saturn L300. This Ford is the easiest towing vehicle I've had. I love it! I had a vacuum breaking system installed in it (Toad Stop II) because my other tow brake (Apollo) will not work on the hybrid. I love not having to worry about the 65mph speed limit I had on the Saturn. There are no fuses to mess with! I had trouble with the angle of the towbar with the Saturn because it was so low to the ground. None of this is an issue with this wonderful little car! I recommend the Ford Escape Hybrid for anyone considering a new toad. I don't know about the 2009. If I had it to do again though I'd investigate the Brake Buddy as a tow brake because it was very expensive having the vacuum system installed. I learned afterward that the Brake Buddy can be adjusted to properly work with the braking system on the Hybrid.

I have had a 2008 Mariner Hybrid for over a year and towed with no problems (several trips of 700+ miles each way as well as shorter trips of <100 miles each way). I installed the baseplate, wiring, and the Unified Tow Brake. What I especially like about the brake system is that there is absolutely nothing to do to change back and forth between towing and not towing.

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Roadmaster makes it easy to view the complete installation instructions on-line.

Go to: Roadmaster Base Plate Applicaton Guide

Go down to: "Roadmaster Tow Bar Mounting Brackets and Braking Systems " and enter your vehicle data.

After your vehicle data is entered, at the bottom of the page will be the appropriate base plate.

Click on that part number and you will get a pdf with the complete installation instructions.

Example-- here is the one for our new Ford Focus: Roadmaster2008 Ford Focus base plate installation guide

Brett Wolfe

Thanks Brett but I'm not the least bit interested in the Focus - DW doesn't want one - case closed - and as you well know, installation and what you might have to trim and cut is specific to the particular model.

I have Blue Ox equipment now and won't switch unless there is a good reason. Blue Ox may have given me one when I got the Tahoe. They said nothing would have to be cut and they were wrong. They were not helpful nor cooperative when I talked to them. We had to cut and I didn't like that. Not good when it comes time to sell or trade. On the other hand, I think the Roadmaster baseplates work with the Blue OX tow bar if adaptors are used.

I had a look at the new Equinox today (towable) and I'm now going to have to see if any surgery is required to get the baseplates on properly. If the tranny problem with the Escape is resolved I'd sure like to include it on my list. I may have to consider the Hybrid Escape as it doesn't have the same tranny - has a CVT vs the 6 speed.

Don

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Don,

No, I was certainly not suggesting that you consider the Focus (or any other toad for that matter).

What I was suggesting is that you can see exactly what is involved in installing a base plate on any toad of your choice using that link.

I found the Roadmaster website/pdf files to be a good tool to use when shopping for a toad-- we just went through the process, buying a new car yesterday, retiring our old toad of 9 years. You can see how much modification is needed and also evaluate whether this is a project you want to tackle or one you want a pro to handle.

I LIKE to have access to the information before making a final decision on a toad.

Brett Wolfe

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You all have me concerned....................I have just pulled my towed 2009 Mazda Tribute 4Cyl (same as Ford Escape)into Greybull, Wyoming after travelling 1900 miles in the last week. The vehicle only has 4000 miles on it. I have followed the manual on towing, starting and running it for 5 minutes before start and at Gas up........No problems as of now. I will keep my fingers crossed.

I have all Blue Ox equipment.

Can someone who has the latest suggested info on do's and don,ts, let us know.

Really concerned now as I am a long way from home and on a 2 month trip west.

Dave A

Ontario,CDA

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Tow Car--I have heard the same report on the 2009 Ford Escape from many people when they flat tow. After much research, I purchased a Suzuki Grand Vitard 4WD with an electronic transfer case. It is a terrific tow car and easy to set up with a single knob on the dash that you use to transfer it to "double neutral". I have pulled it as much as 500 miles in a day---but I keep it around 55 to 60 MPH for economy. I have not had any problems other than some transmission fluid smell when we first stop. I also try to stop around every 3 hours and run the car for a few minutes in Park--the position you pull it in. This car had a great write-up in the towing guide 2 years ago and it still performs great. I have checked the transmission fluid and after 2 years I have not had to add any fluid. Another nice feature of the Suzuki Grand Vitara is it is moderately priced starting around $17K. Good luck and I am afraid the Japanese car manufactures are again way ahead of the americans on reliability and engineering. Larry :rolleyes::)

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After much help from this forum on the Ford Escape problems I have moved on to another vehicle. Ford will get it right one day. I understand this is the first year for the 6 speed transmission being used for flat towing in the Escape.

Good information on RV.Net forum concerning Ford Escape, same issues as in this forum. However, the Hybird had favorable comments.

I am now looking at GM's 4wd Colorado or Canyon. Still under 4Klbs. MPG not so good but 4wd known to do okay as a tow vehicle. At least haven't heard or read of any problems, yet. Any feedback on this vehicle?

Again thanks to all for the feedback on the Ford Escape.

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Don,

No, I was certainly not suggesting that you consider the Focus (or any other toad for that matter).

What I was suggesting is that you can see exactly what is involved in installing a base plate on any toad of your choice using that link.

I found the Roadmaster website/pdf files to be a good tool to use when shopping for a toad-- we just went through the process, buying a new car yesterday, retiring our old toad of 9 years. You can see how much modification is needed and also evaluate whether this is a project you want to tackle or one you want a pro to handle.

I LIKE to have access to the information before making a final decision on a toad.

Brett Wolfe

Brett, I know what is involved, my NO. 2 son is an MEng who works in the auto biz in Detroit. He put on the baseplates on the Tahoe (his company has front end parts on the Tahoe so he was more than familiar with it) and I "assisted" (aka - watched and handed tools - he has everything at home including lathes and welding equipment as he has built his own SCCA DSR).

My point is that every car is different and one sees that when you look at the instructions (in our case Blue Ox) for a dozen vehicles. When I was changing from the Colorado to the Tahoe I looked at a variety of vehicles and in each case checked the Blue Ox instructions. Some are easy and some involve MAJOR surgery or a lot of front end parts removal and replacement. That is why I was asking someone who actually did an Escape for their experience since I don't put total faith in the comments of the baseplate manufacturers. The amount of work required (and in particular any cutting) will definitely have an impact on choice of vehicle.

I enjoy my Tahoe enough that it will be the first vehicle in 30 years+ that I will keep for more than 3 years (probably 5 or 6) and right now we tow it (it was a nothing behind the Ambassador but now we have a Jayco Kodiak 8.1L Greyhawk [only made for a year] and while it does the job of towing OK - just not the same without all that torque the diesel had). If it had not been for the cutting required (and BO said there was none required - but they were wrong - and the solution they suggested would have shattered the front end) the Tahoe baseplates would have gone on very quickly - simply remove the tow hooks, insert the plates which were to protrude right through the tow hook openings, use Loctite and bolt them in with a torque wrench, put on the safety cables and that would have been it. But, they did not protrude through the tow hook opening without some cutting. Because of the very strong frame on the Tahoe it does not require the cross support bar necessary on most vehicles.

Don

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We tow a 2008 Lincoln MKX and have about 3,500 miles on it with no problems to date. We travel 60-65 mph and always run motor in neutral for 5 minutes at every rest or gas stop. We also follow advice from our previous Honda CRX and never go to neutral from reverse. We have Blue Ox Base plate & tow bar plus US Gear Braking system.

Terry

Vancouver, Canada

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