I just received the 2012 Dinghy towing guide with my Motorhome magazine. I like to run through the vehicles just to see what the different manufacturers are offering.
The one that caught my eye as being a big pain in the bottom is the Ford Escape 4 and 6 cylinder units. It says that the transmission fluid level must be lowered during four-wheel-down towing.
Are they kidding? How would you 'just lower' the fluid level? Do you put back the same fluid when you're ready to drive?
To me, that car shouldn't have been offered for four-wheel-down towing. I can see removing a fuse or even adding a pump to the transmission, but who is going to remove fluid?
The Jeep products are probably the less fussy to set up to tow. I just didn't have good luck with the two new Jeeps that I owned and didn't want to try my luck again.
2013 Honda CR-V EXL, AWD, w/Nav, SMI Air Force One vacuum-assisted braking, Blue Ox base-plate, Blue Ox tow bar.
2015 Liberty Coach Elegant Lady, 45 ft., one and a half bath, 4 slide, 500 hp Volvo.
On the Ford units that are authorized to be flat towed and, if it's one of those that has to have the transmission fluid lowered, the dealer will do it for you. And, according to all the Ford folks, dealers, and trans people I've talked to, it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE REPLACED PRIOR TO DRIVING. It's only a small amount, around a pint or so. The reason is because the trans gets hotter when towing it and can, expand that fluid enough to puke some out. During normal operations, as in driving the unit, it will operate just fine with a pint low.
This Ford transmission thing has lots of folks cruising on over to other vehicles for their toads. Some have put up with it and are quite happy. I was interested in the Escape prior to our pick of the Honda CR-V but, I was not happy about that trans issue. So, we never even took a test drive in one. We did try the Chevy Equinox though. Not a bad unit. Drove real nice, very quiet, pretty good response for a 4-banger. But, as much as the War Department liked it, I could not get over the looks. It just wasn't appealing to me. We opted for the CR-V and it's been flawless in our journeys so far.
Scott and Karla SDFD RETIRED
2004 Itasca Horizon, 36GD Slate Blue 330 CAT
2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Ext Cab 4x4 Toad 2008 Caliente Red LVL II GL 1800 Goldwing KI60ND
Mr Mark,On the Ford units that are authorized to be flat towed and, if it's one of those that has to have the transmission fluid lowered, the dealer will do it for you. And, according to all the Ford folks, dealers, and trans people I've talked to, it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE REPLACED PRIOR TO DRIVING. It's only a small amount, around a pint or so. The reason is because the trans gets hotter when towing it and can, expand that fluid enough to puke some out. During normal operations, as in driving the unit, it will operate just fine with a pint low.
Come on, how can anyone buy into that?
The manufacture requires so many pints of oil or trans oil and then turns around and says..."oh, it's ok to run with it low if you want to buy one to tow"!?
It might be ok to do according to the "Ford Folks" which btw who are they? But I'll bet come warranty time and problems the Ford Folks won't be around to represent you! Have you ever seen the tests they did on engines and what happens to them when you run just one quart low? There's a reason the manuf decide how much oil a vehicle needs.
Just saying I thought I'd hear it all regarding toads but this one takes the cake!!!
We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
We're totally satisfied with our 2003 Suzuki XL7 for 4-down towing. Been towing it now for 8 years with zero issues. Easy to set up, transfer case selector in "N", gear selector in "P" ignition on "ACC" to unlock steering wheel. Going to hang on to it as long as possible.
Jim & Sherry Seward
Las Vegas, NV
2000 Residency 3790 V-10 w/tags & Banks System
2003 Suzuki XL/7 toad
The Ford Escapee transmission must be lowered to the MINIUMUN level not below safe levels and Ford does back up their warranty.
If that's the case they should put it in writing!!!
My Saturn Vue has 49K miles on the odometer and based on my MH mileage it has been towed an additional 40K miles. I don't even think about the transmission oil. OK, they don't make that car anymore.
If I were to purchase a new car within the next year, and we have been thinking about it, it would be the Honda CRV. I'd rather purchase a Ford Escape, but not unless Ford permits towing in clear print.