Originally Posted by Gary - K7GLD
And that "procedure" can get pretty intrusive - something like stopping alongside the road every hour or so, go back to the Escape, start the engine for 10 minutes or so, move the shifter thru all the ranges a few times, then head on out for another hour or so...
And even at that, a fairly high percentage of tranny failures last I heard. I think we'll wait until the dust settles and Ford has a bullet-proof setup for toad usage with the Escape - or else get something different if we choose to go the toad route...
Gary, that is a bunch of garbage and you shouldn't spread false info like that - shame on you.
For the 2011 Escape the transmission fluid dipstick has the upper and lower brackets for towing marked on it very clearly and my dealer lowered the level properly and gave me a work order showing it was done. After that, the process is no different than other Ford unit with this family of transmissions - warm it up for 5 minutes before towing, run it through a described gear pattern and then turn the engine off and tow it. You should go through the same routine whenever you stop for gas or at least every 6 hours.
We towed ours 1225 miles to Florida in October. We have a infrared laser thermometer that I use to check tire heat and occasionally when we stop I lift the hood and check the temperature of the transmission housing. I also pull the dipstick and feel the heat of the fluid on the end to make sure it seem reasonable. So far no problems.
The key to making sure you have a valid warranty is to get the dealer certification that the fluid level was lowered properly. All of this is described thoroughly over a couple of pages in the operator's manual. Our dealer did not charge to do the work. When we bought the Escape AWD Limited (also bought a Flex AWS Limited at the same time) we made it very clear to the dealer that we were buying this solely for the purpose of towing it behind a motorhome.
In Feb 2010 Ford put in either a new or revised baffle. To date we've only heard of one 2011 that has burned out the transmission but we've been unable to find out from the owner if he had the fluid level lowered as specified by Ford. If we are able to get that info I'll post it here.
As to the CRV, well, our dealer told us that when someone drives on to the lot with a NEW CRV to have baseplates installed, they shudder because of how difficult the task it compared with others.
From Ford Manual (photo of dipstick not included)
RECREATIONAL TOWING (from a couple of sections)
Follow these guidelines for your specific powertrain combination to tow
your vehicle for personal travel (such as behind a motor home or a truck).
Note: Put your climate control system in recirculated air mode to
prevent exhaust fumes from entering the vehicle. Refer to the Climate
Controls chapter for more information.
If you tow your vehicle with all four wheels on the ground:
• For vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission, have your
transmission fluid level checked by an authorized dealer. For the
correct transmission fluid level when flat towing (all four wheels on
the ground), refer to Transmission fluid in the Maintenance and
• Tow only in the forward direction.
• Release the parking brake.
• Place the transmission shift lever in N (Neutral).
• Place the ignition to the accessory position (refer to Starting in the
• Do not exceed 65 mph (105 km/h) if the vehicle is equipped with an
automatic transmission or 70 mph (113 km/h) if equipped with a
• For vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission, 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 D (Drive) and then into R (Reverse) before
shifting back into N (Neutral).
Checking transmission fluid level for recreational flat tow
Before recreational flat towing your vehicle, the transmission fluid level
may need to be set to a lower level. These guidelines are designed to
prevent damage to your transmission. Before you recreational flat tow,
your fluid level must be verified by an authorized dealer.
This fluid level is within the normal
operating fluid range and does not
require that you have your fluid
level readjusted after recreational
flat tow operation.