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 > 2015 Ford Focus flat tow damage

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Elk_traveler

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Posted: 10/06/21 06:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I read this topic with some concern as I tow a 2017 Ford Focus and have done so for more than 20K miles with some four trips from the east coast across the rockies of Wyoming, montana and colorado. It appears the towbar could have been connected to the bumper assembly instead of to the chassis properly. I remember when I had baseplate installed the mechanic had to remove the entire front end of vehicle in order to make the correct connections since he said it would be literally impossible to properly hook up the tow bar unless he remove the front end. Once removed I could see why because the Focus being subcompact is very cramped and you simply cannot reach anything unless you have clearance. Anyway he did a good job as I have never had any problem associated with the baseplate mount which is critical for any flat tow.

D.E.Bishop

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Posted: 10/06/21 06:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In my opinion Ford says that the car can be towed four down, it does not say that it can be towed four down with any specific method of attachment. Roadmaster says/infers that their baseplates are a valid method of attaching a tow bar to a vehicle without causing damage.

In as much as you installed the base plate and tow bar and not Ford, and Ford has not approved the use of those base plates, they are not going to be held responsible.

The photos you posted appear to show that the base plates were not the point of failure, so Roadmaster isn't the responsible party.

Who is then responsible, "YOU". Why, because you made an unauthorized modification to the vehicle. All this responsibility stuff has been hashed out in Court and while it appears that there was a mechanical failure of the vehicle's frame, it would likely fall into that grey area of what really caused the failure.

Should there be a history of failure of the frame, and I mean hundreds of similar failures, or several deaths or... Do you get the point.

It may seem to you that Ford should should cover the damage under warranty but the warranty does not cover any owner modifications that they did not approve. Read the warranty, it says you are responsible from the time of modification until the failure. Sorry.

Your post is a valid and helpful bit of information and thank you for that important post.


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j wackerly

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Posted: 10/06/21 07:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

carringb wrote:

1) How would a 2015 Focus be "under warranty" when the factory bumper-to-bumper warranty is only 3-years?

2) The baseplate was attached to the bumper assembly, not the chassis aka "unibody". The section affected is part of the crumple-zone.

3) Rust indicates the welds were cracked a long time. Could be from towing stress. Could also be from a low-speed collision that maybe didn't even cause visible external damage. I'd put my money on a tow-bar that wasn't level however. This causes tremendous stresses under braking and accelerating.
It was completely level . I had to use a drop hitch on my RV to make it level. Believe me i did everything posable to make every thing correct.

j wackerly

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Posted: 10/06/21 08:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Elk_traveler wrote:

I read this topic with some concern as I tow a 2017 Ford Focus and have done so for more than 20K miles with some four trips from the east coast across the rockies of Wyoming, montana and colorado. It appears the towbar could have been connected to the bumper assembly instead of to the chassis properly. I remember when I had baseplate installed the mechanic had to remove the entire front end of vehicle in order to make the correct connections since he said it would be literally impossible to properly hook up the tow bar unless he remove the front end. Once removed I could see why because the Focus being subcompact is very cramped and you simply cannot reach anything unless you have clearance. Anyway he did a good job as I have never had any problem associated with the baseplate mount which is critical for any flat tow.
If you look at page 2 you can see the Roadmaster base plate is still installed to the unibody . The base plate was installed correctly loctite and torqued per instructions .

hohenwald48

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Posted: 10/06/21 11:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I went back and looked at the pictures posted by the OP. I think they are on page 2. At any rate, if you look at the first picture, at the bottom of what I suppose is a box frame member, it looks like there is a saw cut in the frame metal. Am I just looking at it funny?


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j wackerly

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Posted: 10/06/21 11:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

After reading all the post . It looks like if you have a unibody car you are on your own when you have any base plate installed to it . The only sure way is not to tow a unibody unless you you know the stresses points on your car . A full frame car would be the best way to go .

willald

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Posted: 10/09/21 01:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

j wackerly wrote:

After reading all the post . It looks like if you have a unibody car you are on your own when you have any base plate installed to it . The only sure way is not to tow a unibody unless you you know the stresses points on your car . A full frame car would be the best way to go .


How many cars are still made that way, with a full frame, flat towable, and fit within the 5k towing limit many have?

Unless you want a small SUV or pickup, I’m thinking, none.


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Posted: 10/10/21 06:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A Jeep Wrangler or a base model 1/2 ton 4X4 will be under 5k lbs.


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hohenwald48

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Posted: 10/10/21 11:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

willald wrote:

j wackerly wrote:

After reading all the post . It looks like if you have a unibody car you are on your own when you have any base plate installed to it . The only sure way is not to tow a unibody unless you you know the stresses points on your car . A full frame car would be the best way to go .


How many cars are still made that way, with a full frame, flat towable, and fit within the 5k towing limit many have?

Unless you want a small SUV or pickup, I’m thinking, none.


Flat towable vehicles are getting more and more scarce for sure. However, even the Focus can be towed flat with a properly designed and installed tow bar. Your experience shows that not all tow bars are properly designed and installed.

j wackerly

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Posted: 10/11/21 08:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have done some research on base plates and nobody makes a base plate that extends past where my failed at . If you look at the photo on page 4 . This is where the base plate should extend to .

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