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Old 01-15-2016, 03:58 PM   #29
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I am not willing to risk a repair bill in the multiple thousands of dollars if there is an issue with the tranny while towing it behind the rv. There are reasons for disconnecting the negative and not the positive. I will keep my warranty in tact if the negative is the disconnect point. For me that's the biggie.
x2, blue ox
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Old 01-18-2016, 03:23 PM   #30
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So what happens to the active shutters when the base plate is installed?
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Old 01-19-2016, 03:37 AM   #31
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Good question.
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Old 01-19-2016, 02:46 PM   #32
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I installed a blue ox base plate, had to cut the shutters with tin snips.Go to Blue Ox and down load instructions..
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Old 01-19-2016, 03:05 PM   #33
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So what happens to the active shutters when the base plate is installed?
Are the active shutters only on certain models/engines? I have a titanium with 2.0 engine
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Old 01-19-2016, 04:53 PM   #34
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I installed a blue ox base plate, had to cut the shutters with tin snips.Go to Blue Ox and down load instructions..
Interesting. I did watch the roadmaster install and don't remember them mentioning the shutters. I'll have to check out the Blue Ox instructions. Thanks.
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Old 01-19-2016, 04:54 PM   #35
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Are the active shutters only on certain models/engines? I have a titanium with 2.0 engine
Pretty sure they're on all of them. Mine is the 2.0 SE and it has 1 upper and 1 lower set.
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Old 01-20-2016, 10:23 AM   #36
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Thanks to all that have posted, and thanks to E-Trailer for the videos. I have a 2015 Ford Focus Titanium Hatchback with the DCT automatic transmission. We chose this car because it handles like a sports car and gets great gas mileage. We average 35 MPG, and have seen 42 MPG in rural 100+ mile trips. Edmunds road test also noted this this: Edmunds.com


I’d like to share my experience with setting the car up for flat four towing. All I have done currently is the base plate accomplished in December. Too cold right now to continue in Rome, NY.

Baseplate: First, I downloaded the installation manuals for Blue Ox, Road Master, and Demco and studied them. Note than pre-2014, Road Master was a two piece unit. The Blue Ox required the least modification of the car, with the Road Master and Demco about the same. So I went with the Blue Ox M/N: BX2654 “BASE PLATE FOR A 2015 Ford Focus SE Hatchback (BX2654). Note that the 2015 Focus was updated (not a full redesign). The Blue Ox instructions were perfect and I have only a little to add. The fascia comes off very easy. For pre-2015, Blue Ox had you drill the hole in the front through the metal bumper. For 2015, they have you drill the hole from the top. I decided to go through the front because I thought it would be easier to attach the Handle Nuts which I have no experience with. I also selected a slightly larger hole – 1.5” versus the recommended 1.25” (Road Master and Demco recommended 1.5”). I destroyed four regular drills and four cobalt drills to make the pilot holes. I then destroyed (i.e. no teeth left) five 1.25” hole saws to make the two holes in the front. Now I see why Blue Ox changed where your drill the access holes. I believe the front bumper is Spring Steel which is very hard to drill through. If I were to do it again, I’d get industrial quality hole saws made out of unobtanium ;o)

A couple of notes on the Blue Ox instructions where I deviated from:


Step 11: I drilled the hole in the front where pre-2015 Blue Ox and 2015 Road Master and 2015 Demo recommended. In hind sight, following the 2015 instructions it would have been easier to drill through and easier to access the handle nuts from the top (which is not Spring Steel).


Step 12: For 2015, you don’t have to trim the plastic shielding (E-Trailer video calls it the 5 MPH bumper). Simply remove it to install the baseplate (very easy, two places on each side you squeeze the latches together). After the base plate is installed, this plastic shielding presses back on with ZERO modifications/cutting.


Step 13: The instructions have you trim the plastic intake in place. I removed the plastic intake, installed the base plate, then trimmed the plastic intake to fit. Comparing the pictures in the instructions to what I did, I think I had to cut less out of the plastic intake than they did.


Step 14: Because I have never done this before, I didn’t put Loctite Red on the bolts at first. I had no idea how long it would take me to thread the handle nuts (never used nor even heard of them before). Since the bolts are longer than they need to be, I got all handle nuts installed and lightly tightened with a wrench. Then one by one, I backed the bolt out until the bolt was level with the nut. I had plenty of space to put Loctite Red on the bolts then screw them back in.


I’ve seen posts about cutting the active shutters, but the 2015 Blue Ox instructions didn’t mention it and I didn’t have to.
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Old 01-20-2016, 06:26 PM   #37
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Sorry - a few corrections. I don't see an "Edit" option so I'll follow with changes:

"Note than pre-2014, Road Master was a two piece unit." Should have been pre-2015. 2015 was the first year for the Road Master 1-piece on 2011-current Focus.

..."destroyed five 1.25” hole saws"... should have been 1.5"

New: Blue Ox states installation time of 3-4 hours. That's about right if you don't include how much time it took to drill the 1.5" access holes, and running back and forth to Wal-Mart buying more pilot drills and 1.5" hole saws. I probably should have bought higher quality drills and hole saws up front. The hole saws were for metal door lock installations.
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Old 01-20-2016, 07:11 PM   #38
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Thanks to all that have posted, and thanks to E-Trailer for the videos. I have a 2015 Ford Focus Titanium Hatchback with the DCT automatic transmission. We chose this car because it handles like a sports car and gets great gas mileage. We average 35 MPG, and have seen 42 MPG in rural 100+ mile trips. Edmunds road test also noted this this: Edmunds.com


I’d like to share my experience with setting the car up for flat four towing. All I have done currently is the base plate accomplished in December. Too cold right now to continue in Rome, NY.

Baseplate: First, I downloaded the installation manuals for Blue Ox, Road Master, and Demco and studied them. Note than pre-2014, Road Master was a two piece unit. The Blue Ox required the least modification of the car, with the Road Master and Demco about the same. So I went with the Blue Ox M/N: BX2654 “BASE PLATE FOR A 2015 Ford Focus SE Hatchback (BX2654). Note that the 2015 Focus was updated (not a full redesign). The Blue Ox instructions were perfect and I have only a little to add. The fascia comes off very easy. For pre-2015, Blue Ox had you drill the hole in the front through the metal bumper. For 2015, they have you drill the hole from the top. I decided to go through the front because I thought it would be easier to attach the Handle Nuts which I have no experience with. I also selected a slightly larger hole – 1.5” versus the recommended 1.25” (Road Master and Demco recommended 1.5”). I destroyed four regular drills and four cobalt drills to make the pilot holes. I then destroyed (i.e. no teeth left) five 1.25” hole saws to make the two holes in the front. Now I see why Blue Ox changed where your drill the access holes. I believe the front bumper is Spring Steel which is very hard to drill through. If I were to do it again, I’d get industrial quality hole saws made out of unobtanium ;o)

A couple of notes on the Blue Ox instructions where I deviated from:


Step 11: I drilled the hole in the front where pre-2015 Blue Ox and 2015 Road Master and 2015 Demo recommended. In hind sight, following the 2015 instructions it would have been easier to drill through and easier to access the handle nuts from the top (which is not Spring Steel).


Step 12: For 2015, you don’t have to trim the plastic shielding (E-Trailer video calls it the 5 MPH bumper). Simply remove it to install the baseplate (very easy, two places on each side you squeeze the latches together). After the base plate is installed, this plastic shielding presses back on with ZERO modifications/cutting.


Step 13: The instructions have you trim the plastic intake in place. I removed the plastic intake, installed the base plate, then trimmed the plastic intake to fit. Comparing the pictures in the instructions to what I did, I think I had to cut less out of the plastic intake than they did.


Step 14: Because I have never done this before, I didn’t put Loctite Red on the bolts at first. I had no idea how long it would take me to thread the handle nuts (never used nor even heard of them before). Since the bolts are longer than they need to be, I got all handle nuts installed and lightly tightened with a wrench. Then one by one, I backed the bolt out until the bolt was level with the nut. I had plenty of space to put Loctite Red on the bolts then screw them back in.


I’ve seen posts about cutting the active shutters, but the 2015 Blue Ox instructions didn’t mention it and I didn’t have to.
Thanks for all that info. Curious which brake system you are installing? Light kit? And how you are disconnecting the battery?
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:48 AM   #39
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Great info JoeCar. Thanks.


computerguy, I'm also interested in his brake choice and battery disconnect choices. Unless he has an option I haven't seen, I've decided to go with Readybrake (surge type brakes)and do the Battery Doctor type disconnect that is posted in another thread. I decided to do the Readybrake because it seems really simple and mostly because that's what came with the MH when I got it Once the cable is ran it seems it would be easy to maintain. I haven't figured out how to do the toad brake activation light in the MH yet. Still researching that.
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Old 01-21-2016, 07:58 AM   #40
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Continuing with the 2015 Ford Focus. Note that the baseplate for 2015 is different from prior years, but the rest should be the same for 2011-2017 (2018 is to be a full redesign). Following is what I plan on doing. I’d appreciate any comments and/or recommendations to this approach.


Tail Light Wiring: I really wanted the “Hopkins Custom Tail Light Wiring Kit for Towed Vehicles”, M/N HM56008. This is based on Y-Connectors with diodes that use the existing bulbs and simply plugs in – no cutting/splicing. But I’ve seen several posts where others have had diodes fail. The problem with diodes is when they fail under low and medium power, they fail closed (i.e. a connection). When they fail under high power, they normally fail open (i.e. no connection). Because of the DCT automatic, I have to guarantee that there is no chance power is introduced to the Focus wiring harness. So I'm looking at the Blue Ox kit with bulbs (P/N: BX8869). Road Master makes a nice kit also. Stay away from the Blue Ox LED kit, many users complain it is very dim and cannot be seen in normal daylight. Also required is the electrical cable, I’m looking at Blue Ox P/N BX88206 7-6 Coiled Electrical Cable. It’s $17 more than the 4 wire, but I may need another connection (i.e. rear view camera for the Dashcam) down the road.


For those (like me) that are interested in LED, here’s a possibility. The reviews are very positive, brighter than OEM.
https://www.superbrightleds.com/more...ofit-car/1688/
https://www.superbrightleds.com/more...ts-wired/1148/


Braking System: I was leaning toward the Blue Ox Patriot. However, I came across a disturbing link that essentially claims the electric based systems are too slow to work in emergency situations. You came make your own determination: RViBrake Comparison Chart for flat towing | Brakebuddy, Blue Ox Patriot, Delta Force


They even have a video showing how slow the Patriot is to press the brake. Then after reading many posts, I decided to focus only with a braking system that uses dual signals: 1) Inertia change, and 2) Motorhome tail light brake activation. Even in some of the videos, RVibrake 2 states in some mountain driving conditions, the brake could activate for a couple of seconds even if the motorhome brakes were not applied. And without the second signal (motorhome tail light activation), diesel with exhaust brakes activates momentarily only inertia-based systems. My Ford E450 (V10 gas) will automatically downshift when the speed exceeds 4-5MPH above what the cruise control is set. For portable units, that left the SMI Delta Force as the only Portable Brake solution with the second signal. Then after seeing a video on E-Trailer of the SMI Stay-in-Play Duo installed on a Ford Fiesta, I determined it may be worth the effort for a Permanent Brake solution that is dual signal and not too hard to install (I hope). To power the SMI Stay-n-Play Duo and not kill the DCT auto transmission, see Battery Disconnect.


Tow Bar: Blue Ox Alpha with a 2” drop receiver. My motorhome to Focus tow bar mismatch is 3.5”, and most of the Blue Ox tow bars limit you to a 3” mismatch. Some other brands limit you to 2” difference. I may also consider the Blue Ox BX7445 Aventa LX Towbar that is good for 10,000 lbs should I ever upgrade to a big Class A and tow a Ford F-150 ;o)


Battery Disconnect: Ford is very specific in disconnecting the negative terminal, not the positive. The main objective is to totally separate the Ford Focus electrical system from any possible “leaks” into it. I will duplicate the solution posted by hdmoxness on post 19 in the “2014 Ford Focus Battery disconnect” thread, but use the 4-position WirthCo 20393 Battery Doctor Rotary Dial Disconnect Switch. On position 1, the Focus ground will be connected to the battery. On position 2, the SMI Stay-n-Play Duo and a 12V BatteryMinder battery charger will be connected to the battery.


Since I live north of Rome, NY in the Tug Hill Plateau (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tug_Hill) attempting any outside work in Jan/Feb is out of scope. If you’re a snowmobiler visit the area.


Thoughts?
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:14 AM   #41
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Just a note on the Hopkins Custom Tail Light Wiring Kit for Towed Vehicles”, M/N HM56008. I just ordered it this morning. Etrailer had it for $79, but I found it on RVUpgrades for $61. I emailed Etrailer and they matched the $61, plus gave me 10% off on top of that.

Here is the cheap link: https://www.rvupgradestore.com/Ford-...8.htm?CartID=1

I hadn't read anything on the diodes failing. I hope they have that fixed.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:08 PM   #42
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Coincidence – I just mailed mine back to E-Trailer returns this afternoon. I’m not taking any chances with the DCT. I haven't decided yet to do the Blue Ox or Roadmaster wire and bulb kit, or my own LED version.
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