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Ford 2012 Escape, Fusion No Longer Towable


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#1 FMCANationalOffice

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 02:22 PM

FMCA recently learned that Ford Motor Company has amended its information concerning flat-towing 2012 Ford Escape and Fusion vehicles equipped with front-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive, or all-wheel-drive systems. In February 2012 the company published an Owner Guide Supplement for these vehicles. It states:

This Information Replaces The Recreational Towing Information In The Tires, Wheels And Loading Chapter

Recreational Towing

Note: Put your climate control system in recirculated air mode to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the vehicle. Refer to the Climate Control chapter.

Follow these guidelines if you have a need for recreational (RV) towing. An example of recreational towing would be towing your vehicle behind a motorhome. These guidelines are designed to ensure that your transmission is not damaged.

Front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicles CANNOT be flat-towed (all wheels on the ground), as vehicle or transmission damage may occur. The front wheels must be placed on a two-wheel tow dolly. If you are using a tow dolly, follow the instructions specified by the equipment provider.

All-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles CANNOT be flat-towed (all wheels on the ground), as vehicle or transmission damage may occur. It is recommended to tow your vehicle with all four (4) wheels off the ground such as when using a car-hauling trailer. Otherwise, no recreational towing is permitted.

The owners manual for 2013 Escape vehicles includes the same information; therefore, new Escape vehicles with FWD, AWD, or 4WD cannot be towed four wheels down. FMCA has not yet confirmed whether 2013 Fusion vehicles can be flat-towed.
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#2 devoyrjd

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 10:51 AM

I originally posted this over in the Miscellaneous/General discussion area, but thought that maybe it should also be posted here.

I purchased a 2012 Ford Escape Hybrid back in December, 2011, had it outfitted for towing 4 down this past March, and then started hearing/reading all the conflicting reports about Ford now declaring the Escape as non-flat towable.

After much digging around, on these forums along with others, I think I've got a handle on what the real situation is. The V-6 Escape (both FWD and AWD) have the 6F35 (6-speed) transmission. This is the tranny that has caused all the grief (and confusion) with regards to flat towing. It seems that after a number of toasted transmissions, Ford decided (with TSB 11-7-15) that so long as the tranny fluid level was lowered to just above the fill mark, these affected cars were still towable. Supposedly this would prevent the ATF from foaming, being forced out the dipstick tube (due to heat buildup), and eventually ruining the transmission. Many people have had success with this alteration, but there have still been some cases of fried trannys. Ford has even suggested installing a transmission pump to keep the fluid flowing, and therefore cool (Remco has come up with a pump specifically for the Escape and the 6F35 transmission).

My assumption is that since there are still cases of transmission failures, even with the lowering of the fluid level, that Ford has just thrown up their hands and declared these affected cars as non-towable. The owners manuals for the affected cars are now including an insert stating the non-towability, and the cars now being purchased are not covered by warranty if the owners try to flat tow them. It is my understanding that cars purchased before the owners manual changes are still covered by warranty (when flat towed), but you're rolling the dice and taking your chances.

Now.......to *my* case, I bought the hybrid version. It has the eCVT (electronically controlled variable transmission). This transmission is sealed (no dipstick), and there is no way to add/adjust fluid. Apparently it was, and still is, flat towable. I have not been able to track any cases of someone having problems when towing.

So-o-o-o-o, it looks like the $750 I spent to outfit my 2012 Escape hybrid (hitch hardware and wiring) is not money thrown out the window. You can bet that I'll be keeping a close eye on things, as I start out with short trips before venturing too far!

And if anyone here knows of any eCVT failures, keep them to yourself! No news is good news, right?! ;)
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#3 rmatteucci

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 03:41 PM

Greetings . . .

I am in the similar situation I purchased a Ford Escape in December and in April had it outfitted for flat towing. On Friday I was looking through my newly arrived FMCA magazine and found the notice about flat towing. Today I called my dealer and at first was told that I could tow it and I explained the notice in the FMCA magazine. He send an email via their internal email system which they enter a VIN number and a few minutes ago he called me and the response came back that this (no flat towing) only effects 2012 Ford Escapes built after February 17th and as mine was built in October 2011 it can be flat towed. While I know of no difference between the ones built before and after the February date I will be flat towing it and hopefully it is one of those that has no problems.
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#4 bmcfaror

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 08:56 PM

We just bought a 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid (two weeks ago) for the sole reason that this appeared to be one of the few Fords that was not having any problems or warnings regarding flat towing. I am scheduled to have the tow bar installed on Monday so certainly hope to find something out on this before then. I will update everyone when I hear back..and if anyone else gets official word from Ford I would be very interested!

Brett
Oregon

2004 Holiday Rambler Endeavor
2012 Fusion Hybrid Toad (maybe)
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#5 echiappe

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 10:47 AM

In looking at the various sites, it appears that Ford has had problems with this transmission being flat towed for some time. Some people complaining of having several transmissions replaced, some within short distances of towing.

We have a 2010 Escape with about 6,000 miles on the odometer. I experienced a problem with the transmission overheating on my last trip. This was after having towed it about 5,000 miles within the last year. I was very careful to start the engine and cycle through the gears at the start of the day and at every stop (usually 2 to 2-1/2 hours). Near Raleigh NC it began to smoke, so I had It towed to a local dealer where they refilled the fluid, checked it out and said all was ok. On the first tow of the day we blew out about a pint of fluid. I surmised that the fluid was being blown out of the breather tube along side the filler tube. Making a stop at a hardware store for some hose and a plastic quart bottle, I was able to rig up a fluid catching system. At the beginning of every day it would blow out a copious amount of fluid, The first run would be about 60-100 miles, where I would take the fluid and pour it back into the transmission. We limped it home (1,300 miles) where we took it to our local dealer and they had to replace the transmission. Ford took care of it in a satisfactory and timely manner.

Here's the problem. Do all of us that own these vehicles continue to tow them til they break? Ford will stand behind them until the warranty runs out. The level of inconvenience it causes us is undeterminable. Apparently they will break. When? We love the vehicle, but are very uncomfortable towing it knowing that we could have a problem at any time. This takes away form the motorhoming experience and one I can do with out.

Ford Customer Relations is ignoring the problem since it is not a safety problem. They don't have a resolution to the problem other than to suggest a lower level of fluid (suggesting the dealer can set it for you). They are happy just to let us flounder out here and replace transmissions when they fail. I believe they expect to resolve the problem by hoping we'll go away.
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#6 JohnNjus

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 10:11 PM

We purchased a 2011 Escape a year ago April for the purpose of towing it 4 wheels down based on Ford's information. We religiously followed the towing guidlines in the owner's manual. By July, the transmission had "burned up" twice (with just over 2,000 miles on the Escape). The transmission got so hot that the transmission fluid boiled away and the transmission was destroyed. Ford did cover the transmission replacement for both occurances, however did not offer any assurance that they had solved any problems with their transmission design. On a third occasion we found the fluid level one quart low. It was clear to us that this was not a vehicle that could be succesfully flat towed. Long story short, we tried to get Ford to take the Escape back. Lemon law failed, Ford initially refused, however, with the engagement of a law firm we were eventually able to get Ford to buy the Escape back. Of course we lost the investment of setting it up to tow.

John

Wenatchee WA

FMCA #F264170

2002 Coachmen SportsCoach

2003 Tahoe (now)
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#7 williambeaty

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 02:46 PM

I'm looking for information on flat-towing a Ford Fusion. Any info regarding causes of transmission failures. If no failure, what were the towing conditions that resulted in no failure.
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#8 echiappe

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 01:25 PM

Hi Guys,

I too have been towing a Ford Escape. I towed it about 5,000 miles before having had a problem. We were very conscientious about the towing limitations, and stopped every two to three hours to run the engine and cycle the transmission.

On our last trip, we were 1,300 miles from home when the transmission overheated. We got it home by doing some creative engineering (blown out fluid collection and recycling).

The Ford dealer at home replaced the transmission and all is OK now. The problem is that in doing some research (which I should have done before buying the vehicle) it appears that this is a common problem with late model Escapes. In contacting Ford customer service all I got was lip service with no resolution of the problem. All were sorry to hear we were having problems, but no one has the ability to fix it. They reiterated that they will repair any problems (within the warranty period, then you're on your own) that occur.

That is all fine and good, but I don't really feel comfortable towing a time bomb that could fail at any moment. Several mentions were made that I could install a circulation pump (Remco). That's the $1,000 for the pump plus installation, and that besides the cost of setting up the vehicle for towing to begin with. I really think that THIS IS NUTS!

We really like the vehicle and it's utility. But I think I'm going to swear off Ford and it's new image of "quality".
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#9 CHER2715

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 12:27 PM

WE BOUGHT A 2012 FUSION IN DEC 2011 TO TOW BEHIND OUR MH. WE SPENT $4300 TO HAVE THE CAR AND MH SET UP TO TOW 4 WHEELS DOWN.

WE ARE NOW IN CONTACT WITH FORD TO SEE HOW THEY ARE TAKING CARE OF THIS PROBLEM. HAS ANYONE TRIED TO GET COMPENSATED?

WILL KEEP EVERYONE POSTED WHEN WE GET AN ANSWER FROM FORD.
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#10 mantsch7

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 04:07 PM

Anybody considering a class action suit?
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#11 Marcie

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 07:56 PM

Yes, I would love to joing you in a class action suit against Ford selling the 2012 Escape as a 4 wheel down towable vehicle. This is a lie! Many blogs I've seen people have had to replace 3 or 4 transmissions. Dealership that replaced mine recommended a Remco Pump be installed to prevent further tranny burn ups but Ford will not pay for this after-market product. It should have been installed by them, not by me, to prevent this occurrance. There are hundreds of blogs of people who have faced the same situation with the Ford Escape. Mine had less than 5,000 miles on it when the transmission burned out and I had to leave it at a dealership to get the tranny replaced which was under warrantee but the vehicle could not be use when I was on vacation because it was in the shop being repaired. Ford will not pay for the Remco Pump but would rather pay to have a new tranny installed. I believe this is not good business sense as they are loosing the confidence of the public. I plan on spreading the word about their lack of addressing the problem so others do not go through the experience that confronted myself. My e-mail is mrnmrsgj@aol.com Talk soon
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#12 donwells

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 02:00 PM

We are FT rv'n and have a 2010 Escape Ltd, which is at a dealership having it's 2nd xmission replacement! Ditto all of the above; really frustrated getting stranded on the highway and getting useless "caring" from Ford Cust Svc people. Remco says they have worked with Ford and developed a pump for the Escape. However, Ford currently has a Tech notice out that if you have subsequent xmission problems, the pump installation could void your warranty. What a "catch 22". Looks like Ford is currently happy sticking their heads in the sand with the customer to avoid any recall to fix the problem...just replace the ones that get "fried" and be nice in the process. I would love to hear from anyone that has found a way to get Ford's attention, especially the above respondent "JohnNjus". Moreover what is FMCA doing to intervene with us to address a critical issue impacting a number of members? Hopefully it does not have to be a fire, accident or injury before Ford wakes up and proactively addresses this problem....just get the pumps installed on our Ford "towables" and let us get safely back on the road! My email is don.wells10@gmail.com. Hope to hear from ya'll.
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#13 CoEisele

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 05:15 PM

We own a 2010 Escape, which is now awaiting its new transmission from Ford. We planned to be in cooler climes by now, but now we are stuck in 108 to 110-degree weather for a full week or more.

Ford sold the 2010 Escape as a 4-wheel drive towable vehicle, which clearly it is not. Many RVers bought this vehicle becase it was designated a tow vehicle by Ford and was lightweight, yet fairly comfortable.

We would love to be included if anyone is starting a class action suit.

Also, we would like to hear from Newbie (who posted on 31 May 2012) that they were able to get Ford to buy back the Escape once an attorney was involved. Would Newbie be willing to share the name of the attorney? I expect to be in Washington in a few weeks and would like to speak to the lawyer about this situation.

Colette Eisele
Tillamook, Oregon
2010 Tiffin Allegro RED
2010 Ford Escape
FMCA member F254313 (since 1999)
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#14 CoEisele

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 05:20 PM

Sorry, just noticed the member commenting on how he got Ford to buy back the 2011 Escape was John Njus. Guess I just learned what 'newbie' means on this forum!
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#15 CHER2715

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 06:13 PM

IN MY LAST POST I SAID I WAS WAITING FOR FORD TO CALL ME BACK, THEY DID AND GAVE ME SOMEONE ELSE TO CALL WHO TURNED OUT TO BE THE DEALERSHIP WHERE I BOUGHT THE CAR. NOW I HAVE TWO DIFFERENT ANSWERS FROM THE SAME DEALERSHIP WHO DO I LISTEN TO??????????? ONE PERSON TELLS ME TO LOWER THE OIL LEVEL IN THE TRANSMISSION AND NOT TO DRIVE OVER 65 IT "SHOULD" BE FINE IF NOT THEY WILL FIX IT BUT CAN'T GIVE ME A CAR TO DRIVE WHILE IT IS BEING FIXED IF I AM ON VACATION OUT OF THIS AREA. THE OTHER PERSON TELLS ME DO NOT FLAT TOW IF WE DO AND THEY SEE THAT WE HAVE FLAT TOWED THEY WILL NOT HONOR THE WARRANTY!!!!!! SO WE ARE BUYING A TOW DOLLY JUST TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE.
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#16 tmoning

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 06:38 AM

Anybody considering a class action suit?

Please refrain from garnering support for legal action here on these forums. It violates the Forum rule: "Posts on matters in which legal counsel is/has been involved, including posts related to future, current or past lawsuits, are not allowed."

You may contact forum members privately, but posts within this thread will be edited or removed.
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#17 bairman

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 05:03 PM

I just got my 2011 Fusion back from the dealer after the 3rd transmission replacement and 3rd Remco pump. Ford will not buy the car back according to my attorney because it then needs to be titled as a lemon and sold at auction for nothing. The way they explained it to me is that once Ford is notified by my attorney they will start to negotiate with me to keep the car and offer me a cash settlement so I can sell or trade the car in. They do not want to go to court, again because it becomes a lemon. You must know the law as it pertains to the Lemon Law in your state, you must have at least 3 breakdowns (this does not include the original transmission) and have been with out the car for at least 30 days (in my case it was 88 days). As Ford told me, and my attorney agreed, they will just keep repairing until either the warranty runs out or you take other actions. On page 273 of my owners manual it states "In the United States, a warranty dispute must be submitted to the BBB AUTO LINE before taking action under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, or to the extent allowed under state law, before pursuing replacement or repurchase remedies provided by certain state laws. This dispute handling procedure is not required prior to enforcing state created rights or other rights which are independent of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act or state replacement or repurchase laws." If you meet the requirements most attorneys will take it on for free as they will charge the manufacture for their time.
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#18 danorske

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 04:21 PM

This thread makes me wonder if any of the new Lincoln's ever have this problem. Anyone know?
Thanks,
Ron
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#19 twopyes

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 10:35 AM

Just to add to all the confusion of Ford products being flat towed, Ford has taken the 2.0l ecoboost in the Edge off the towing flat down but says you can still tow the 3.5 l 6 with fwd all 4 down. My thoughts are isn t the same trans. in both engine models? We just bought a 2013 Edge that with the 3.5 l and it says we can tow it. I hope we didn t screw up. We traded in our 2010 Ecape for it. :o
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#20 jaburton

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 02:26 PM

We have a 2012 Ford Fusion with the 4 cyl. which we specifically bought for flat towing. One transmission has already been fried and replaced by Ford. With the recent recanting of the towability of this vehicle by Ford, I am going to start my squeaking wheel in motion. If we have to get an attorney, I guess we'll decide that down the line.
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