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Old 06-17-2014, 01:40 PM   #1
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Exclamation Trailer too much for Ford Escape? (newbie)

Hi everyone,

I figured this would be the place to go to get some educated answers to my problem. I own a 2006 Ford Escape Limited with Class II factory tow package. We previously had a tent trailer and towed with no issues, we are looking to upgrade to trailer that doesn't involve a lot of set up/cranking/fighting/finger pinching. We are looking at a 2004 Kustom Koach Breeze BT165. The people that currently own it tow it with a minivan. The trailer weight is 2970lbs. I am concerned as I believe my Escape can only tow 3500lbs. That leaves 530lbs for passengers and cargo. Can my vehicle handle this? Do I need to buy a load equalizing hitch? Would I ever be able to tow through the mountains? I am in a bit of a bind as I have to let the sellers know if we are going to purchase this week and we are supposed to be camping this weekend. I really like the idea of a trailer with minimal set up but don't want to damage the vehicle or get into an accident. Any help is appreciated. Thank you!

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Old 06-17-2014, 02:00 PM   #2
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I would go with a weight distribution hitch and sway control. "Easy Lift" makes a good economical set. I would also have the electric brakes on the Ford.

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Old 06-17-2014, 02:49 PM   #3
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I towed a 2400 lb Coachmen Clipper 16B with my 2012 Ford Escape with the 3.o and tow package. It was not a pleasurable experience. While the engine, tranny and brakes were up to it, what was unavoidable was the buffeting and sway inherent with any small wheelbase TV. The truck would shake back and forth with every breeze and every time a vehicle would pass us. I personally think you would be overweight once you loaded everything up, as you mentioned you only have 530 lbs to play with and you'll hit that real quick.

another issue I ran into was the hitch on my camper. even though it weighed 2400 lbs, it had a 2 5/16 ball. I could not find a 2 5/16 ball to fit my factor receiver. had to install a class iv receiver. so check that receiver if you decide to purchase.

By the way that 3500 lb tow limit only applied to the V6 (3.0 liter) Escapes with the factory tow package which, on the newer Escapes included a transmission cooler. I don't believe the older Escapes came from the factory with a transmission cooler so I would ensure yours had a cooler before I towed anything.

By the way, I live in good old flat Florida. There is no way I would have towed my camper through the mountains.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:04 PM   #4
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A light weight short wheel base tow vehicle will wear you out trying to pull a trailer that is right at the max tow weight. Sway caused by wind or passing trucks will cause knuckle driving even on level highways. Forget about mountain driving. If you want to upgrade to a Travel Trailer, start the process by upgrading your tow vehicle first.
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1976 31' Airstream
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Old 06-17-2014, 06:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by E_E View Post
Hi I own a 2006 Ford Escape Limited with Class II factory tow package.
Assuming you have the 3L V6 with automagic tranny, then your tow rating is 3,500 pounds. But that doesn't mean you can tow 3,500 pounds without being overloaded.

4x2 has GCWR of 7,080 and 4x4 has GCWR of 7,240. To determine your real-world tow rating, load the Escape with people and whatever else will be in it when towing. Include your weight-distributing/anti-sway hitch. Drive to a truck stop that has a certified automated truck (CAT) scale. Fill up with gas then weigh your wet and loaded Escape with you and everyone in it. Subtract that weight from the GCWR and the answer is your real-world tow rating. But even that is probably optimistic.

The tow rating tells you how much weight you can pull without overheating anything in the drivetrain and without being the slowpoke holding up traffic on hills and mountain passes. But it ignores the limit of how much weight you can haul in the SUV and on the hitch. But you don't want to be overloaded there either.

So subtract the wet and loaded weight of the Escape from the GVWR of the Escape, and the answer is the max hitch weight you can have without being overloaded. The average hitch weight of small TTs is about 12.5% of the wet and loaded weight of the TT. So divide the maximum hitch weight you can have by 0.125 and the answer is the max GVWR of any TT you want to consider towing with that tow vehicle.

We are looking at a 2004 Kustom Koach Breeze BT165. ... The trailer weight is 2970lbs.
Which trailer weight is 2970? The GVWR of the trailer? I found that the Breeze TT is made by Travelair Canada in Alberta, but my internet connection refused to go there so I can see the specs for that trailer. So I'll assume the 2,970 is the dry weight and it will weigh closer to 4,500 pounds with over 550 pounds of hitch weight when wet and loaded for camping.
Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 06-17-2014, 06:21 PM   #6
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Another thing that really affects towing is the trailer frontal area. That has a larger affect on towing than just the weight in that class of towing. For example I have a 2013 Escape with factory tow package with the 2.0L ecoboost engine. BTW that combo tows really well within it's weight limits. But I have a jetski trailer with 2 ski's. It is close to 2000lbs. I pretty much have no issues towing with it in 6th gear. I also get 19 MPG towing that trailer. I also have a 6x12 hobby (utility) trailer that is just over 6' high and scaled in at 1300lbs. While the Escape tows it fine, it is definitely a difference in load with the lighter trailer with higher frontal area. I can command 6th gear but at highway speeds it is better in 5th. Havent taken a trip with that trailer like my jetski trailer but I have no doubt that MPG will we less with that trailer.
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Old 06-17-2014, 06:54 PM   #7
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The biggest challenge seems to be the frontal area at only 30 square feet. Most trailers are about 7'-8' wide, which means only 4' high before you are at the 30' limit. That sounds like a popup, even though I know the bigger trailer is appealing. A bigger front surface area will make your engine strain to fight against the wind, kind of like driving while towing an open parachute. The faster you go, the harder that will be, which will hurt MPG and possibly damage the transmission over time. It also sounds like the escape did not have wiring for a brake controller so you would need to have someone wire one up for you if that trailer has brakes.

Bottom line, I would say if you plan to camp close to home and understand that low speed is likely you could maybe make due until you move to a bigger tow vehicle. You will be in one of those "Just because you CAN, doesn't mean you should" situations. If you don't plan to get a different vehicle any time soon, I'd suggest keeping to the popup. See if the current owners will let you hook up and tow it on the freeway for a few miles to see what that feels like before you agree to buy it. I think it will be eye opening for you. Good luck!
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Old 06-17-2014, 08:45 PM   #8
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The only trailers i would tow with your escape are:
1. Lil Snoozy
2. Scamp or Casita or Escapetrailers
3. T@da or T@B trailers

Even then, i'd use a hensley arrow or Propride hitch since you have a such a short tow vehicle.

True Fiberglass trailers like numbers 1 and 2 last forever like airstream trailers. The woodframe style of camper you're looking at has a 15-20 year life tops.

People are hung up on the frontal area, but really it's the straight rear end that causes just as much drag. The teardrop shape eliminates much of that.

Actually if you really wanted a trailer you could potentially drive anywhere, probably even without a weight distribution hitch. I would get a small teardrop camper. You can't stand in them, but they are nice and cozy for sleeping in, and have air conditioning and heat so you don't have to worry about freezing and can sleep comfortably on those hot summer nights.

And if you just can't live without a bathroom, you can get a T@B S floor plan.
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:06 PM   #9
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The answer is yes and no. It depends on how you set them up.
1. You can figure out the weight for cargo and occupants in TV by deducting hitch weight from CCC or payload allowance from the driver door sticker. It may be close to 500 lb anyway.
2. Class 2 hitch is no good, is not compatible with weight distribution and you dont want 350-400 lb hanging on your tail. You need class 3 hitch, brake control, at least one sway bar.
3. Does the trailer has aerodynamic front. Boxy structure will affect your highway performance and mileage more.
4. Mountains are not a huge problem, from my experience steep climbs on the secondary roads@ 30-40mph cause much less strain compared to pushing speeds above 70 mph on the level road, but we shouldn't be doing this anyway.
5. I doubt you will see any excessive wear off the vehicle has adequate cooling and your electric trailer brakes are set up. Definitely, not from running your engine at 4000 rpm for 15-30 min total per day of trip.
6. Every trailer is different. My Passport with spread axles is suprisingly docile when it comes to sway. On the contrary I sometimes see twice shorter trailers on the road fishtailing wildly, i would not want to tow them.
Go figure. Overall, I would not tow anything with Escape before taking it to Canam in order to get the hitch receiver reinforced and connected to unibody vehicle right way. 90% of success in towing with unconventional vehicles (non pickup trucks) hide there.
Gene//////'16 Passport 2670 BH
'11 Mercedes ML 350 gas, Reinforced OEM hitch receiver,1000 lb Eaz-Lift with custom welded head, 2 sway control bars, P2, tst 507 trailer TPMS
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:49 AM   #10
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Very risky.
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:58 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the answers. I figured the towing capabilities and trailer weight weren't matching. We really like the trailer, it's perfect for us and a great price. We may purchase it and either upgrade the Escape to a vehicle with better towing or trade in our second vehicle (that is currently parked) for a truck. Again, we appreciated the advice
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:00 PM   #12
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You are on the correct path if you are thinking of upgrading your tow vehicle.

Did you look at the T@B yet? If not, it is a real head turner. Even motorhome people will notice.

Upgrading your tow vehicle. Wow, there are a lot of very nice choices. I would wait and look at the new 2015 aluminum body F-150 with the 2.7litre eco-boost engine. To me this would be an ok daily driver. The 3.5 eco-boost current truck is a very fast. That engine in a 2015 F-150 truck that is 700lbs lighter should be a real fun truck. But from what I have read only the newest Ford 2.7 litre Eco-Boost will have stop / start technology.

And don't discount any of the other trucks Ram, Chevy, Toyota, Nissan. They are all very nice trucks.

But remember, any tow vehicle should stay well under the semi-bogus towing claims. It just makes towing more enjoyable.

Good luck

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