MarkKathy

Flat Towing Rookie

17 posts in this topic

I need help!

My wife and I have been towing a dingy by means of a tow dolly for a couple of years. We shopped around and using the dingy towing guide purchased a new 2013 Ford Taurus last year.

We finished the season with the tow Dollie, as we prepare for flat towing this year it occurred to me the flat towing instructions from Ford did not specify what position the ignition should be in while towing. When I called Ford customer care, they said to place the transmission is neutral and leave the engine...... "Running" (?) this can't be right? Towing a car with the engine running in neutral for 4-6 hours?

Someone, please set me straight!

Mark & Kathy F436820

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What does your owners manual say? Make sure there have been no revisions to the manual also...some models were sold as towable but after destroying automatic transmissions Ford re-wrote or issued a supplement to the manual.

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Mark,

I flat tow a 2012 Ford Explorer. I tow with the transmission in neutral and the ignition in the off position. I have the keyless starting system without an ignition lock. I had to add a charge circuit from my coach to the Explorer battery because my battery would drain.

I run the engine for about 5 minutes every 4 hours of towing per my owners manual.

I have towed the Explorer for about 16,000 miles now without any problems.

However, I suggest researching what is recommended for your vehicle.

Good Luck,

RJ

2005 CC Inspire #51264

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Thanks, I appreciate both comments. I talked again to the local Ford dealership and they essentially stated exactly what ronandsue74 has said. As a followup comment to the "added charge circuit" I am looking at a Invisibrake for my supplemental braking system which claims to provide a trickle charge to the towed vehicle's battery. I am hoping with 3 hour stops between startup's coupled with a small trickle charge I won't experiance any issues, however these comments are still invaluable and again, thank you both so much!

Mark H

2004 Itasca Horizon #436820

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Interesting, this is the first I have seen referencing disconnecting the black terminal from my battery. I am wondering if installing a battery disconnect in that cable would suffice. Also wondering how much information would be lost with all the electronics associated with the Ford "My Touch" sync system?

Thank you!

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Dobt really know about the Ford "My Touch". I work with electronic daily, and most that require staying in sync, will have an internal battery, or use a capacitive charge in the absence of an external battery. But of course, that is a question for the Ford engineer's.

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I would think that the disconnect will be fine, just make the disconnect is heavy duty enough for the job, thats what I have used for years.

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Actually this brings up yet another question, which is if I do indeed disconnect the battery (which I believe is to save the drain the battery that the remaining functions and displays would do) then a supplemental braking system, reliant upon internal "toad" power, would be rendered useless.

Bottom line is I believe folks at Ford answering questions regarding flat towing are not Motorhome/RV owners and do not fully understand what qualifies as user friendly. No offense intended, I have been using a tow dolly all along and only have a conceptual grasp of the flat towing process, hence I too am learning.

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I have a trailer, a tow dolly, and a Geo Tracker 4wd that can be towed 4down. I really prefer to trailer my favorite vehichle, as I can back the trailer anywhere, and it has electric braking which plug and go, only problem with trailer is some parks have no overflow where it can be parked, and most lots can't accommodate 63 feet. Tow dolly works great, goes most everywhere, and very little is ever need to be done to the towed vehicle. Then there is the good old Geo, tow it 4 down, just not as pretty as the newer rides.

I don't think many manufacturers really worry how difficult it will be to tow their rides. I would really like to see somebody produce hub locks, like the ones used on the older 4 wd front axle, to add on any make front wheel drive vehicle, all you would have to do is unlock the steering wheel, if it has a lock, unlock the hubs, then go. But I can dream can't I?

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Regarding manufacturers and their "concerns" I'm sure when it comes to towing that's true and understandable. You are also correct that trailer or tow dollies do allow complete flexibility with regards to what you tow. Again, thank you and everyone else for their feedback, it has been very helpful. Like so many things regarding motorhome ownership, personal preferences and trial and error are simply part of the "experience"! Now if old man winter would just let go, we could actually enjoy our passions.

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Mark, this is directly from the 2013 Ford Taurus manual. I have a 2013 Lincoln MKX and it reads similar excepte I put my keyless ignition in the accessories position.

"Vehicles Equipped with a 3.5L Engine

Note: Put your climate control system in recirculated air mode to
prevent exhaust fumes from entering your vehicle. See the Climate
Control chapter.
Follow these guidelines if you have a need for recreational towing, such
as towing your vehicle behind a motorhome or truck. We designed these
guidelines to prevent damage to your vehicle after it is hooked-up to the
recreational vehicle or tow dolly.
You can tow your front-wheel drive vehicle with all four wheels on the
ground or with the front wheels off the ground by using a tow dolly.
If you are using a tow dolly, follow the instructions specified by the
equipment provider. If you are towing with all four wheels on the ground,
see the following instructions.
You can tow your all-wheel drive vehicle with all four wheels on the
ground or with all four wheels off the ground using a vehicle transport
trailer. Do not tow your all-wheel drive vehicle with the front wheels off
the ground (by using a tow dolly) and the rear wheels on the ground.
This causes damage to your all-wheel drive system. If you are using
a vehicle transport trailer, follow the instructions specified by the
equipment provider. If you are towing with all four wheels on the
ground, see the following instructions.
If you tow your vehicle with all four wheels on the ground:
• Tow only in the forward direction.
• Release the parking brake.
• Place the transmission in position N.
• Do not exceed 65 mph (105 km/h).
• Start the engine and allow it to run for five minutes at the beginning
of each day and every six hours thereafter. With the engine running
and your foot on the brake, shift into position D and then into
position R before shifting back into position N."

Doesn't say a darn thing about leaving it running.

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Wayne, thanks so much for the feedback. It really helps to get this kind of feedback from someone with a similar Ford/Lincoln product.

Do you have any battery drain issues?

Do you use a supplemental Brake and if so what kind?

Mark H

2004 Itasca Horizon

2013 Ford Taurus

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I have a 2013 Edge that we flat tow and the battery will go dead MOST every time after only 3 hours, I have talked to Ford and had the car checked by their service department and the only thing they can come up with is that when when the brake system compresses the brake in the toad and brings on the third brake light it also wakes up the system in the car and causes a drain on my battery. They don't have a fix for this problem. I guess I will need to add a charge circuit from my coach. Anyone have a solution ?

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Wayne, thanks so much for the feedback. It really helps to get this kind of feedback from someone with a similar Ford/Lincoln product.

Do you have any battery drain issues?

Do you use a supplemental Brake and if so what kind?

Mark H

2004 Itasca Horizon

2013 Ford Taurus

Hi Mark,

I am using the Air Force One breaking system and a diode seperating the power from the coach braking system and the original lights. So far I have not had any battery drain issues. From what I understand, after 10 minutes in the accessory position the system goes dormant. I activating the brakes would cause the system to "wake-up." I don't think so. I have the keyless system. After pressing the start/stop button, I push it again and the system goes into accessory mode. Prior to performing that I turn off all accessories, including the 7" display via the settings. When I stop and disconnect the display automatically comes on when I start the engine.

Typically I drive only 250 miles at a time. I'll usually stop one time during that time but I do not go back to start the MKX. The manual states a time limit or fuel stop but I am not on the road that long so I ignore that part.

I have had no problems with the battery.

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Again, thanks so much for the feedback and again hearing from someone with essentially the same product line is tremedously helpful. I find it rather appropriate that a Military man would choose the "Air Force One: :) I actually would have chosen that system but got an exception deal on a siimilar system, Invisibrake.

Thank you Wayne!

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A charge line is simple to add and the cost is around $20 and then battery problem solved.

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