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Towing 2012 Ford Focus

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I don't know this to be a fact, but I don't think towing will register miles because either you have installed the battery disconnect or disconnected battery or the key is off... in either case I can't see how it could register miles.

I have not towed mine yet so I cannot answer from personal experience... soon I will be able too let you know though... will be heading south! :D

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jlef123--

Installation was not too bad... couple of things in the installation instructions missing that I had to figure out. My biggest problem was the hole that you have to drill in the cap of the frame tube. That metal is ridiculously hard... I went through 5 hole saws... the metal cutting type, before I gave up and used a Sawzall... went through 5 blades with that but got the hole made. That hole has to be made in order to attach the baseplate bolts to the frame of the car.

As soon as I have towed a few miles I will report back but I don't expect any problems. Follow Ford's procedures and recommendations and I think all will be ok... at the very least you should be covered if there is a failure. That's the way I look at it.

I bought the Focus specifically because Ford states in their car manual that it can be towed four down and because of the great milage the car gets... Highest I have gotten is 47 MPG lowest about 31 MPG. Huge improvement from my Explorer Sport Trac which I like a lot and tow but only gets around 16 to 17 MPG.

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I have a 2013 Focus SE 5-speed and this info helps me. Thank you for that.

However, I do have a question; does removing the ignition key lock the steering column?

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To answer rmmpe question does removing the key lock the steering .

When towing the key stays in the ignition and in the on position.

The battery is disconnected so no miles add and the steering remains unlocked.

When all set to tow we manually lock the drivers door with a second key for security.

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We have a 2013 Focus Titanium hatch which we are towing with a Jayco Greyhawk 31DS. Took it out on the road for the first time down to Florida and back. We probably put on about 2,500 miles without a problem. After a lot of thought, we had a disconnect knob installed for the battery so that we did not have to reach into the back to disconnect every time. The instructions for setting up the Focus were fairly straight forward. We also had the Roadmaster Invisibrake system installed with a power lead from the coach so as not to drain the toad's battery.

The Titanium model is push button so there is no key, but once the car is set for towing the car is in neutral so there is not steering wheel lock. Also no miles are calculated while being towed.

The real strange thing about the car, however, is that Ford says in the manual that once the battery is disconnected that one has to lock the doors with the manual key (which is hidden in the remote). We did that and found later that night that only the driver's door and the hatch were locked. This car only has a central locking system and no other method of locking the doors. We ran into another Focus owner who was also surprised by this. We called Ford and they were, allegedly, not aware of the problem.

We chose the Focus over the Honda CRV as we wanted something that was more "fun" to drive day in and day out. If the door issue is not deal killer for you, this car fills the bill nicely as a toad.

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In answer to the door lock problem.

We lock all the doors with the electric lock,before we disconnect the battery. Then un lock and unlock the drivers door manually

With the key as needed when the battery is disconnected .

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I researched to find a towable car and the 2012 Ford Focus fit the bill. I was given instructions for towing which I follow to the letter. I traveled 2000 miles before the first transmission died, 1000 miles before the second transmission died and 30 miles before the third transmission burned up. Now Ford is blaming my after market wiring done by a Blue-Ox dealer. I am not yet agreeing to paying for the new (4th) transmission. Need to find a certified electrical person near Palm Springs ASAP.

I had no trouble disconnecting the negative cable to the battery, but the transmission seemed to jump into gear anyway. Why is this vehicle listed as towable when clearly it is not, Ford will not acknowledge any of these forum comments as they don't come from Ford.

When I can get rid of this car, I will never buy another Ford.

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I have now towed my Focus about 1500 miles with no issues to report from a towing perspective. Compared to towing my Sport Trac, it is a much lighter load to tow... almost like nothing is there.

The only issues from a non towing perspective that I ran into was a light wiring mistake I made... I mis-wired the lights socket that connects the Focus to my motorhome, and the issue about the door locks which the poster Pocono1 explained.

If you want to have all doors locked while you are towing (and/or parked), you MUST lock the doors with the on dash lock switch or the key fob BEFORE you disconnect the battery. The door locking mechanism is electronic only on this car (annoying).... something that also caught me by surprise the first time and had me reconnecting the battery. It requires just a minor adjustment in the sequence and procedures I use when preparing for towing.

One final thing about disconnecting the battery. When you disconnect the battery, you will lose all the trip mileage information you may have... the average and trip mileage info will reset to zero. This of course does not affect the total miles.

One other question that I see came up is about the key and steering column lock. My experience with that is that on this vehicle, the column does not lock at any time. However with the transmission in neutral and the battery connected you cannot remove the key from the ignition as you cannot turn the key to the off position. BUT, once you remove the power from the system, you can turn the key to off and remove the key.

I have no idea why some folks are having trouble while towing their new Focus, but my only guess is that their cars may not have all power removed while towing... that the battery is not totally disconnected and that there is no power is being applied through the RV lights connection to the Focus electrical system.

I will be heading home shortly and will put another 1500 miles or so towing my Focus and if there is anything new to report I will report it here.

Oh and by the way, my combined mileage (city / highway with probably 80% highway miles) on my Focus is about 32.2 MPG. which looks to be about average for this car according to the site fuelly.com.

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I purchased a 2012 Ford Focus after quite a bit of research. Had a Blue Ox tow system installed and a Patriot Brake buddy system. I towed it 2000 miles before the transmission died, 1000 miles on the second transmission and only 30 miles on the third transmission. Ford sent an engineer to investigate and claimed the after-market wiring was to blame. I had to pay for the fourth transmission and will have someone drive it home (2000 miles).

Has anyone had this? Why could I drive it so many miles the first and second times, but not the third?

I wish Ford would declare Focus completely untowable.

I never had any trouble disconnecting the battery.....

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We are looking at purchasing a Focus. We looked at a used 2012 and according to the owners manual, all you need to do is place transmission in neutral and disconnect the negative battery cable. The owners manual does not limit on number of miles but does say not to exceed 70 mph. Don't plan on going that fast anyway. I am leaning towards towing with a tow dolly. Would I need to do anything at all towing this way? Going tomorrow to look at a couple of 2013 models.

Thanks

Dave

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I found this after purchasing a 2013 Ford Focus that I intend to tow 4 down. After seeing the many transmission issues that have popped up after doing the same thing, I hoping that I didn't make a big mistake with this purchase. Even though Ford says that both model years can be flat towed, I'm curious to find out if anybody has experienced the same problems with the 2013 Focus.

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Does anyone know if the 2013 Focus EV can be flat towed? It is not listed in 2013 Towing Guide but don't think it was available when the guide was published. Towing it behind my MH will solve the 80 mile range problem ;-)

Thanks

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I now have about 2700 miles flat towed on my Focus and have not experienced any problems at all.

I believe this car is towable four down, but you must follow Fords direction to doing this to the letter. My guess is that those who have experienced transmission failure have not TOTALLY disconnected the battery. I disconnect the positive side instead of the negative because the negative post is just not easily accessible.

I don't know that others failures are due to a partially connected battery, but that is my suspicion.

One can easily be misled into thinking that the wire that leads from the negative battery terminal connection to the the bolt on the frame is the ground, and it is, but it is not the only ground... there are other grounds still attached to the negative battery terminal connector. That is the reason I chose to disconnect the positive terminal. It is more accessible and because of it's accessibility it becomes visually obvious that the battery is truly disconnected.

l do know that so far, doing it the way I chose has worked for me. I do worry that I could be in same boat as others at some point.

The 2012 Focus is a great handling and riding small car that also gets very good gas mileage, about 31.7 MPG combined right now. It is effortless to tow. The door lock issue is an annoyance that you have to make note off and lock the doors BEFORE disconnecting the battery.

As to a 2013 Focus, I believe it is the same as the 2012. From the 2013 manual:

Vehicles with an Automatic Transmission but No Push Button Start

System


Note: There must be battery power to properly move the transmission’s

internal components to position N in Step 3. In addition, moving the

gearshift to position N without first turning the ignition to the on (II)

position limits the towing capability to 35 mph (56 km/h) and 50 miles

(80 kilometers).


1. Release the parking brake.

2. Turn the ignition to the on (II) position.

3. Press the brake pedal, then move the gearshift to position N.

4. Wait for TRANSMISSION READY to appear in the multi-function

display, then turn the ignition to the off (0) position and release the

brake pedal.


5. Disconnect the negative (black) cable from the battery. (emphasis is mine)


(The anti-theft system does not function until the battery

cable is reconnected.) See Changing the vehicle battery in the

Maintenance chapter when disconnecting and reconnecting the

battery cable.


The maximum towing speed is 70 mph (113 km/h).


There is no limitation on towing distance.


When done towing, start the engine within 15 minutes of reconnecting

the battery cable. When reconnecting that cable, tighten it until it is

snug against the terminal. Be careful not to over-tighten.

It is essentially identical to the 2012 manual.

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Finally got on road for 2013. Tried to lock the doors as described I above before disconnecting the battery. A bit of an inconvenience but it worked like a charm.

Jim

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Just finished getting my 2014 Ford Focus with automatic trans ready to tow. I think for the most part it's the same as the 2012's & 13's. I did use separate sockets and bulbs for the tail lights wired direct from the motorhome back. This eliminates any chance of power being feed back through the car wiring. I take the positive battery terminal off. And after I disconnect the battery I can turn the ignition to off and remove the key to lock the drivers door. I installed Roadmaster tow brackets listed as fitting the 2012, 13’s and 14’s and found several problems installing them on a 14. I understand the manual has been changed to ease the installation on the 2014 model.

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We did a 100 mile tow today on the 2014 Ford Focus. Happy to report it was a problem free trip. We are going to keep a detailed log of tows just in case at some point there is a problem.

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Happy to find this topic.

Just purchased 2014 Ford Focus and have run into many unanswered and conflicting statements from Ford and Dealer and this really clears the air for my install . The battery cable is one that no one can clearly answer. I also believe by the disconnect of positive all should be good. We are now in Rio Grand Valley of South Texas and will this next week make contacts for the install.

Plan on purchasing Blue Ox base plate and wiring that use seperate sockets and bulbs, just as you did, to avoid warranty problem.

One concern I have is that I have a Brake Buddy and with no power to plug into cig lighter will have to do something different. I think BB has supplement wiring.

Thanks for all of the above info.

Will keep posted on progress

Bob

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Happy to find this topic. Just purchased 2014 Ford Focus and have run into many unanswered and conflicting statements from Ford and Dealer and this really clears the air for my install . The battery cable is one that no one can clearly answer. I also believe by the disconnect of positive all should be good. We are now in Rio Grand Valley of South Texas and will this next week make contacts for the install.

Plan on purchasing Blue Ox base plate and wiring that use seperate sockets and bulbs, just as you did, to avoid warranty problem.

One concern I have is that I have a Brake Buddy and with no power to plug into cig lighter will have to do something different. I think BB has supplement wiring.

Thanks for all of the above info.

Will keep posted on progress

Above in the thread I have posted some of my experience with the 2014 Ford Focus. As to the issue of supplying power to the Brake Buddy I arrived at this. I bought a Clore Jump & Carry, model JNC660, then simply plug the Brake Buddy into the JNC660. I found the best deal for the Clore JNC660 at Amazon. com, but do a Google search there may be a better deals out there. My 660 easily holds a charge 3 to 5 days on the road without recharging. I do set my Brake Buddy so as it only activates on heavy braking needs. A bonus of the Jump & Carry is you have a added 12 volts with you for other needs if needed.

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Hi Folks,

You WILL DAMAGE the transmission on the Focus if you tow it with power applied. One of the posters here recommends powering the vehicle using a charge line from the coach. BAD IDEA. Once the transmission is set for towing, all electrical power must be removed to ensure the electronic transmission is not receiving power. Otherwise, the transmission is in an unknown state and my be engaged under certain conditions. The guy that burned up four transmissions almost certainly didn't completely remove power which is why Ford is denying his claim.

Pulling the black cable from the terminal to the frame, at the frame, WILL NOT accomplish the objective. The reason that cable is exposed is to make it easier to connect a jumper cable. The negative cable must be disconnected at the battery terminal. Or, as others have suggested, the positive cable can also be disconnected at the terminal and is a much better approach due to the location of the negative terminal.

Follow Ford's well written directions exactly and you can tow your Focus with total peace of mind.

I agree with others that say the door lock thing is a pain but the workaround is acceptable.

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I have a new 2014 Ford Focus SE hatch back and have finally got the towing set up.

My question is this: I have a Brake Buddy which requires the cigarette plug. BB said to use their 12 volt kit and when installed have the black wire to a negative post. Did all that and when tested or ready to tow following ALL of Fords instructions I have NO power to the inside of the car EXCEPT to the plug [12 volt BB kit install] for the BB.

So with all that said DO I STILL HAVE POWER TO THE TRANSMISSION or running into the car.

No we have not towed with this set up as of yet.

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We have 2012 Ford Focus..It has been towed about 3500 miles. So far everything is OK.At first we disconnected just neg.cable from the firewall, but after reading all the posts, we now disconnect the neg. at the firewall and remove the positive at the battery.

To solve the brake buddy power problem, we had the front cigarette lighter DISCONNECTED and powered from a line from the coach.
The only down side of this is, when not towing there is no power to the lighter. so you have to reach around and use the rear lighter
Socket to plug in GPS or Phone Chargers etc.

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To solve the brake buddy power problem, we had the front cigarette lighter DISCONNECTED and powered from a line from the coach.

Perhaps I am not picturing how you are powering the brake buddy, but if only from a line from the coach, I see two problems:

What happens in a break-away situation-- no power to the brake.

The brake buddy takes a lot of amps (for a short time). It is a LONG way from your alternator/coach chassis battery to the cigarette lighter plug of the toad. High amp draws are likely to substantially reduce voltage and therefore brake buddy performance and perhaps life. With coach engine running, check voltage at the brake buddy when you activate it to make sure it is at least 12.0 VDC.

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While your all arguing, pulling fuses, disconnecting batteries, burning up transmissions, I'll be sailing down the road with my manual transmission Focus, nothing to do except hook up. Plus its a ball to drive. Cigarette lighter can be wired hot all the time for the brake control. Charge line from the coach keeps the battery up. No steering column lock, put her in neutral lock the doors up and go. I'm sure all you old duffers like me can drive a stick, if the wife can't, too bad, she can ride her bike.

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