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Towing 2012 Ford Focus


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#1 F337284

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 04:51 PM

I bought a 2012 Ford Focus after reading that is "towable" as published in the FMCA magazine. I was not that much enthused when reading that the negative battery lead must be disconnected prior to towing, but thought that should not dissuade me from buying an American made economy car. I am probably guilty of not doing a "complete" due diligence. After getting ready to install a Blue Ox base plate, I discover that it requires almost major surgery to detach the negative lead, let alone re-attaching it.

Has anyone here towed a 2012 Ford Focus? What have you done to ease the disconnect/reconnect procedure? What modifications would you suggest to make it easier?

Thanks for your input.

Ken
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12 Focus (hopefully)
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#2 roland9901

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 05:25 PM

Has anyone towing a newer Ford Focus had any transmission problems?
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#3 sasmit8

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:07 PM

We tow a 2012 Ford Focus with a 2002 32 ft Winnebago Adverturer. So far no Problems. Have towed around 1300 miles.

We disconnect the negative battery cable not at the Battery end but the other end of the cable where it bolts to the firewall. We use a 3/8 ratchet with a 1/2 inch deep socket.We then slip a piece on foam rubber pipe insulation over the loose cable.It is simple and it works.The only problem we had was after a long day of towing, when the car was unhooked and started the transmission smelled hot. It was just once and we have not smelled it since.

Hope this helps. IF you have any further questions just ask.

Thank you

Steve
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#4 Briarhopper

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:42 AM

We looked at the Focus last year. Don't remember the exact instructions, but seems there were specific things to do in a certain order. Miss the order and you reduce your towability, either mph or distance. Could possibly account for transmission issue.

Have not looked under the hood of one. If there was a safe spot to place it, could you mount a discconect for the negative battery cable so you could just throw a switch as opposed to the unbolt and bolt activity??
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#5 roland9901

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:28 PM

After discussion with a dealer for tow bars. He said that they have been installing a blade switch in the neg lead. Lift the blade switch and lead neg leg is disconnected. I'm thinking of a 2012 Focus and I plan on this mod.
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#6 wolfe10

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:43 PM

Sorry, I prefer to feed the toad battery off the coach battery when the coach is running. Many toad ECM's get cranky when continually disconnected from power.

Running one extra wire, two fuses and a relay is a more reliable way to go.
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#7 TravelRN

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:19 PM

Sorry, I prefer to feed the toad battery off the coach battery when the coach is running. Many toad ECM's get cranky when continually disconnected from power.

Running one extra wire, two fuses and a relay is a more reliable way to go.


I have a 2012 Ford Focus and just having it set up (baseplate and towbar) for towing. Please explain about the "extra wire" thing. I may be interested in following suit on that idea. Thanks for any advise. I have a 37' 2000 National V-10.
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#8 mdcbert

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:35 PM

NAPA auto parts sells a heavy duty manual on-off switch, made for isolating batteries. I have installed them in the middle of the grounding wire circuit, secretly located inside of a fenderwell to prevent theft. This could be used if your towd's lighting is getting its power from your RV.
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#9 wolfe10

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 08:08 AM

Please explain about the "extra wire" thing. I may be interested in following suit on that idea. Thanks for any advise. I have a 37' 2000 National V-10.


Fuse at the coach battery positive TO 8 gauge wire from coach chassis or house battery (the one closer to the back of the coach and/or easier to access) to the large IN lug/terminal of a relay near the back of the coach. Wire from any "ignition hot" source to relay signal terminal (very low amp draw, so any source acceptable). 8 gauge wire from large OUT lug/terminal of relay to gang plug at back of coach. The cable from coach to toad will need an additional wire to carry that charge wire. And 8 gauge wire from front of toad to fuse at toad battery. Sounds more difficult than it is. Cost of parts excluding wire which depends on length of wire run is around $25-- more if the coach to toad cable does not have an extra unused wire.
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#10 TravelRN

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:21 AM

We tow a 2012 Ford Focus with a 2002 32 ft Winnebago Adverturer. So far no Problems. Have towed around 1300 miles.

We disconnect the negative battery cable not at the Battery end but the other end of the cable where it bolts to the firewall. We use a 3/8 ratchet with a 1/2 inch deep socket.We then slip a piece on foam rubber pipe insulation over the loose cable.It is simple and it works.The only problem we had was after a long day of towing, when the car was unhooked and started the transmission smelled hot. It was just once and we have not smelled it since.

Hope this helps. IF you have any further questions just ask.

Thank you

Steve

But by disconnecting the fender end of the negative ground wire, you are not disconnecting the battery. The battery is still grounded by 3 wires coming from the BMS (Battery Management System) module still attached at the negative end of the battery and therefore to your car with 3 seperate wires in a shielded cover. I believe these go to the engine, car body and alt. The module that they come from has letters and numbers stamped on it like Fomoco C95Y0 SW 2 21 and
AV6N 10C679 88.

May be why there was a hot smell looming the first time out. Just a thought...

Maybe Wolfe 10 can help us out here with some info on this module and 3 wires on the negative battery post end of the battery cable on the 2012 ford focus. Purpose, function and where they go and why.
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#11 wolfe10

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:58 AM

Sorry, that is something to discuss with a Ford dealer-- I have no first hand info on the 2012 Focus.

Again, if they suggest pulling only ONE fuse, that is what I would do, OR as I posted above, run a charge line from coach OR use an insert into the fuse slot of the fuse to be pulled and run that through a switch that you can turn off.
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#12 roland9901

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:12 PM

I just purchased a 2012 Ford Focus. After reading about the problems disconnecting the battery. I found on the internet a Side Post Battery Master Switch (Part Nbr. BS100), made by GAMA Electronics, P.O. Box 1488, Crystal Lake, Il 60039, Phone 815-356-9600, Fax 815-359-9603. I removed the negative battery cable at the firewall and installed the switch inline. Had to bend the lug on the cable a little. Now I turn the konb 1/4 counter clock wise and the battery is disconnect and 1/4 turn the other way the battery is reconnected. Works find for me, They have a good video on line
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#13 Briarhopper

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 09:20 PM

roland9901

referencing post # 10 above and the mention of multiple ground wires all connected at the battery post: Not sure at all what the wires do, but I think the instruction from Ford for an automatic is to disconnect the cable from the battery, so leaving the cable attached at the battery may be an issue if there are indeed multiple wires. May not be, but thought I would raise a flag, just in case.
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#14 RelationshipDoc

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 06:45 AM

I have a new 2012 Ford Focus, and like some others, evidently, I did not realize I had to disconnect the neg. lead until after I got home and read the owners manual. I looked at the Roadmaster switch; it specifically says it is NOT for the 2012 and later Focus.

From all everyone is saying, disconnecting the battery is going to be a major pain, not only for the connect and disconnect itself, but also having to reset all the electronics (radio, cell phone, etc.) every time I tow.

Since the new base plate is going to cost me right at $2000 plus what ever the additional wiring to make my Brake Buddy Classic work, what are the down sides of using a tow dolly? That seems like it may be the simplest solution at this point but since I don't know much about using a tow dolly, there may be something I am not aware of.

Any thoughts on using a tow dolly for the auto tranny Focus?
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#15 curley9946

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 01:24 PM

Join the thousands of us that have had the pleasure of the Ford Motor Co lay. I have had three rebuilt trans going for Number 4 (GOOD LUCK)
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#16 derh2o

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 08:26 AM

We purchased a 2012 Focus a few months ago and have towed it only about 750 miles so far. What I like about the Focus is it's procedure simplicity.

The requirement of disconnecting the batter concerned me also.

While at Roadmaster, (I live in the same town as their headquarters), I spoke with Mike Cannon who happens to be the developer of all Roadmaster braking systems. He recommended a Battery Brain and gave me a remote. All I do is push a button on the remote and the battery is disconnected. Can't get any simpler than that. The cost was $277 installed.
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#17 accalex

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:59 PM

I am getting ready to install my Blue Ox Baseplate on my 2012 Focus SEL and set it up for towing. Here is what I have learned.

As others have discovered, Ford's procedure, specifically the battery disconnect portion, is not something that anybody will do regularly (I certainly will not) as, from what I can tell, it involves removing the battery from its tray in order to access the negative terminal. Here is a picture that shows, sort of, the location of the negative battery post. It also shows the ground cable some have discussed.

https://www.dropbox....%2009.43.17.jpg

I have been searching for an accurate answer about the fact that 3 wires stay connected if you only pull off the frame mounted portion of the cable. At this point I will digress a little to a minor rant.

I like my Focus a lot. It is a very nice riding small car and is a heck of a lot of fun to drive. The Sync system... not so hot. Having said that, my experience with Ford customer service has been attrocious, one of the worst customer service experiences I have had.

I have tried to get a couple of simple (for them, I would think) answers from Ford and they are not interested in getting the customer a good answer. They gave me erroneous garbage, unrelated and nonsense answers. They try to get you to go talk to a dealer. The dealer did not know the answer. In fact the dealer gave me the wrong answer, something I expected because of the nature of the question. Though he tried to get the answer to my battery question, he did not seem like he was confident in the answer he received from Ford on the issue. In any case, Ford told him that the negative terminal had to be disconnected at the battery.

In my experience, Ford's Job One is not currently customer satisfaction. It is like talking to technical support in India. Usually you talk to a pleasant person, but the information you get is useless. Little gets accomplished.

As much as I like my Focus, I may never buy another Ford. The frustration in dealing with them has been too high... and this is on two relatively simple issues. When the problems get bigger as they sometimes do, the frustration levels will be that much higher. Recently, a fulltime RVer who blogs regularly blew an engine... His experience with Ford customer service was very similar to mine.

End of rant.

Ford's standpoint, at least according to my dealer, is that you have to disconnect the battery at the terminal and not at the frame because of the additional wires attached to the ground post.

One other piece of information that may be valuable to other 2012 Focus owners that are towing 4 down is that when the dealer made the inquiry to Ford about my towing and the battery questions, they did recommend that I bring my Focus in to get an updated program in one of the computers before I started towing.

If I learn anything new when I get this programming done I will post it here. He also said he had some Technical Service info he is going to share with me.

Because of the much better location of the positive post, I am going to put a disconnect there instead of the negative side... probably not as 'safe' as disconnecting the negative but I think it will be much easier and accomplish what needs to be accomplished... removing power from the system. I cannot see a reason that this would be any different than disconnecting the negative. If anyone can see a problem doing it this way, your input would be appreciated. I will discuss this with the dealer too.

Alex
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#18 curley9946

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 05:51 PM

I have a 2010 fusion,in shop now for number 4 transmission and 1 lube pump! I have done all that Ford has asked me to do. I just cannot understand this behavior. I am retired and this was my toad!!The FMCA said that I could tow this car-- look for yourself, I would like an honest answer to a simple question. What have you people had luck towing 4 wheels on the ground?? I have put an ad in paper looking for a car,mfg USA that I can tow.. :(
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#19 accalex

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 08:19 PM

I have some things to report about my 2012 Focus baseplate installation and wiring. My baseplate is Blue Ox. My car is a 5 door hatchback.

Baseplate installation was fairly straight forward with a couple of problems. The current baseplate installation instructions for the Blue Ox basplate are incomplete as there is a step involving the removal of the front fascia that is not in listed. One other thing I ran into in the installation is the hardness of the metal where I was supposed to drill 1.25" holes. I have never worked with metal this hard and ultimately had to cut the opening with a sawzall. The metal ate up metal cutting hole saws.

Tail light wiring was also straight forward. I ran the 4 conductor wire from the connector mount on the baseplate, to the right side then along the side of the battery case to the back and I wire tied it to some tabs that hang across the back near the firewall.

In order to get the wires to the back of the car, you have to get it into the cabin and the easiest way I found is to go in the rubber grommet that lets wires into the engine compartment from the cabin. Using a a straightened coat hanger, I securely taped the wire end to one end of the coat hanger. I used some lubricant on the coat hanger and on the rubber and the wire to make feeding the wire easier.

On the cabin side, it is easier to to retrieve and pull the coat hanger if the glove box is removed. First you remove the felt cover that is in the top of the foot space by removing two black round plastic clips... the just pull off. Remove the felt cover and set aside. The glove box is held by 5 torx screws: 2 underneath and in the back of the glove box... they are accessed in the space where the felt cover was removed, 2 are at the top of glove box inside after the glove box door is opened and the 5th, is on the right side accessible after the side cover is removed. The glove box can be now removed. Now you have a nice open space that allows much easier access to the rubber grommet. I pushed the coat hanger through. I then went to the cabin side and pulled the wire through.

I ran the wire to the right side. Running it to the back is quite easy. Just pull rubber door trim up and slide the wire into space between the plastic trim and metal body frame material. At the center pillar area you can use the coat hanger again to push wire through and again at the rear felt panel. The rubber trim can be pushed back on.

I chose to wire the tail lights using diodes. You can get the ones available from Roadmaster or others. I used some inexpensive full wave bridge type of enough capacity and very inexpensive... buck a piece.

The vehicle wire colors used on both sides are purple / green, 2 per side. I marked one of the wires so as not to mix them up when I cut them for the diodes. One wire drives the brake light and the other drives the running light. It is a tight job as there is not a lot of extra wire to work with. Not sure why they are both purple/ green as they are not both the same.

For the battery disconnect I decided to use plus side of the battery instead of the negative as it is MUCH easier to access. I am lucky to have a very good dealer to work with and I discussed this with him and he could not think there should be any issue in doing this.

He also suggested that I bring the car in for new updated programming of the computer that controls the transmission and affects recreational towing. Part of the new programing also results in a dash indication when the the transmission is in the proper mode. Indeed the the panel between the dash gauges now indicates "Transmission Ready" when properly set.

I was able to look at the electrical wiring book for the Focus which shows that power is still applied to one of the modules if you pull the negative from the frame. This may mean that there is a possibility that the transmission could shift out of its towing mode. I wish Ford provided more clarity on this.

Battery drain is not the reason that Ford is saying to remove the negative terminal from the battery. Some of the suggestions that have been made regarding running a charge line from the RV would address a battery drain issue, but that is not an issue with this car. Someone else talked about installing a Battery Brain. This also leaves power applied to the car. In my view, anything that leaves power on to the vehicle may be asking for trouble.

The procedure Ford defines says to turn the ignition key to off. Turning the key to off on this car does not lock the steering column. Having the key off means that anything that has significant battery drain is turned off.

I want to make sure that all power is disconnected from the battery. I want to take no chances. Again it would be nice to have a more detailed explanation from Ford.

I hope this information might be helpful for anyone wanting to tow a 2012 Focus four down.
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#20 wolfe10

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 07:35 AM

Accalex,

EXCELLENT write-up.

One question-- assume this is an automatic transmission Focus, but want to confirm.

Brett
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