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Old 07-31-2018, 11:19 AM   #1
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2018 F-150 Toad Tranny Toast

We've got a 2018 F-150 King Ranch that we bought to use as a toad. It's been on 6 trips, and on 2 of them, we've found the battery dead after towing a few hours. Neutral tow mode was activated as per the manual, and we have no other modifications that could possibly drain the battery other than an Air Force One.

We got home from our trip on Sunday evening, and after boosting the truck, we found the mileage had accumulated and transmission had welded itself together... apparently when the battery goes dead, neutral tow mode no longer works.

Ford says $7,000 to replace, not going to be covered under warranty. The truck only has 2,000 miles on it. The dealership says it's the second instance they've seen of this, and admits "it's probably best just to put it on a trailer when behind your motorhome."

Anyone here have any experience with this? If not, I guess it's buyer beware. This is our 5th new Ford truck, and afraid it will be our last.
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Old 07-31-2018, 11:30 AM   #2
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Yikes, that is awful. Get online and start searching junk yards, you should be able to find a tranny out of a wrecked truck for half that. Also check with some tranny shops, should be able to get it rebuilt for a lot less.

Good luck!
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Old 07-31-2018, 11:54 AM   #3
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OH NO!! I have a 2017 F150 that is headed for the back of our DP. It will be a year or two before it happens (it's still on lease). It will also have the Air Force One brake system. The system is getting installed this fall on the coach. Doesn't the air force one have a battery maintenance circuit? Need to get this all figured out because me and my F150 are going out together its my last truck.
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Old 07-31-2018, 12:09 PM   #4
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I don't believe the AF1 had anything to do with the battery drain--- but it really shouldn't matter. Lots of towed vehicles have a battery drain problem when towing, and it seems crazy that neutral tow mode doesn't work if you get a dead battery.
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Old 07-31-2018, 12:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DegoRed View Post
Yikes, that is awful. Get online and start searching junk yards, you should be able to find a tranny out of a wrecked truck for half that. Also check with some tranny shops, should be able to get it rebuilt for a lot less.

Good luck!
Probably the route we will go if Ford doesn't want to help... and then I guess we will sell the truck, we have no need for a 1/2 ton at our place other than as a toad. I'll go back to pulling my $3,000 Saturn that's never given me the issues of a $60,000 truck. 😆
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Old 07-31-2018, 12:32 PM   #6
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Now that I had a moment to think about it, your king ranch has all the gismos that mine has like the lane change warning and more. There is a special wiring kit depending on what gismos you have and there are relays and diodes, basically a lot that has to be put in in the right direction or it can cause all sorts of issues and battery drain could easily be one of them. This all is of course if you wired up the truck lights and don't use add on lights.
When I wire mine I will add a battery maintenance circuit , belts and suspenders
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Old 07-31-2018, 12:35 PM   #7
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

WOW! Sorry for your misfortune!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 07-31-2018, 01:33 PM   #8
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We've towed our F150 tens of thousands of miles. Killed the battery once when the charge line failed. No mechanical issues.

Every modern toad should be set up with a charge line, they all have parasitic loads plus the demands of the braking systems and lights. Any computer controlled drivetrain can be in an unpredictable state if the voltage is too low.

Make a claim on your comprehensive insurance.

As an aside, the RVi brake we use warns us if the toad has low voltage.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:16 PM   #9
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This is why I do NOT trust Electric Or Electronic Transfer case controls.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:23 PM   #10
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Some rigs require a charge line to keep the battery charged. On my '14 CR-V I added the charge line as well as replacing the standard motorcycle size one with a larger one. Sounds to me like having a charge line might have solved the problem.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:26 PM   #11
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We feel your pain !! We HAD. 2017 that lost the left frt wheel bearing at 6300 miles ford said you tow it so no warranty! That was our last ford traded it on a new suburban.
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Old 07-31-2018, 04:27 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the replies-- good suggestions!

I've got no issue that the battery ran down for whatever reason. A charge line is a simple solution. However, I wish Ford would mention that a dead battery would cause extensive (and expensive!) damage. This probably wouldn't be an issue in a truck with a manual transfer case not completely controlled by electrons. I've flat towed other vehicles and a dead battery is a mere annoyance. I'm not sure I'll be able to tow the F-150 again without worrying about expensive damage, charge line or not. The fact that a service manager admitted even though the manual says it's okay, it's probably not a good idea to tow four down is probably a good indication that maybe it wasn't completely thought through.

The dealership is running the issue up the chain; hopefully we come out with a positive outcome!
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Old 07-31-2018, 05:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finance View Post
We've towed our F150 tens of thousands of miles. Killed the battery once when the charge line failed. No mechanical issues.

Every modern toad should be set up with a charge line, they all have parasitic loads plus the demands of the braking systems and lights. Any computer controlled drivetrain can be in an unpredictable state if the voltage is too low.

Make a claim on your comprehensive insurance.

As an aside, the RVi brake we use warns us if the toad has low voltage.
Well, not necessarily. We have two fairly new toads. One, a 2015 Jeep JKUR and the other, an '11 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Extended Cab and, I could tow either one to China and back (if there was a road across oceans) and the batteries in either one of them would be just fine, WITHOUT A CHARGE LINE. The need for a charge line is dictated by whether or not there is a known drain in the toads electrical system, that is of enough draw, to cause a potential or dead toad battery situation, at the end of a days towing.

I setup a charge line on our previous toad, an '11 Honda CRV because, the key of the Honda had to be in an "ON" position for multiple reasons. So, KNOWING THAT, rather than yanking a dumb a$$ fuse each and every time, I just installed a charge line. Never, ever had a dead Honda Battery at the end of a days towing. But our Jeep and our GMC do not have any charge lines and, we've towed for miles and miles and hours and hours and, both will fire right up when disconnecting.
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Originally Posted by sv20 View Post
Thanks for all the replies-- good suggestions!

I've got no issue that the battery ran down for whatever reason. A charge line is a simple solution. However, I wish Ford would mention that a dead battery would cause extensive (and expensive!) damage. This probably wouldn't be an issue in a truck with a manual transfer case not completely controlled by electrons. I've flat towed other vehicles and a dead battery is a mere annoyance. I'm not sure I'll be able to tow the F-150 again without worrying about expensive damage, charge line or not. The fact that a service manager admitted even though the manual says it's okay, it's probably not a good idea to tow four down is probably a good indication that maybe it wasn't completely thought through.


The dealership is running the issue up the chain; hopefully we come out with a positive outcome!
sv20,
You know, this is not the first time a Ford product has been damaged by towing, WHEN ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED. We saw a whole bunch of the "Ford Escape" issues back a few years ago from towing. Ford, in its infinite wisdom, sold the Escapes to folks, telling them they could be flat towed. Well, shortly after many had just procured the car/SUV, Ford came back with: "Oops, we goofed up, they're not flat towable". Smart move Ford!
And, on some, there was even a goofy situation where, you had to DRAIN A PINT OF TRANNY FLUID at the onset of towing, only to replace it when you were done towing, EACH AND EVERY TIME, another Smart move by Ford.

For the most part, Ford did not have any of its F-150 lineup authorized for flat towing, all the way up to the 2012 year. After that, they finally made the decision to allow for the F-140 4x4 to be flat towed. They created a "NEUTRAL" position in the transfer case that was not there before. There's a bunch of other hoops you have to jump through (as you already know) that are needed for prep, for towing.

If you followed ALL the sequences you were supposed to for prep for towing, it seems it would be pretty tough for Ford to back out of ownership of this problem. But, Ford's been there before, many times, and knows the ropes. They're big enough to know that they can play the game, all the way to the end, where it bites them in the a$$ and they finally pay. But, they're counting on you to back down and pony up with the coin to fix THEIR PROBLEM. Good luck.
Scott
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Old 07-31-2018, 05:33 PM   #14
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F150 Neutral Tow

Yikes, I have a 2017 F150 Lariat, I just took my first trip towing the truck, we towed about 2,000 miles with no issues at all and no odometer change.

I ran into this, when I put the truck in neutral tow per the manaul, then lock the truck, and then start to drive the alarm horn alarm goes off, I had to leave the truck unlocked then drive with no horn blaring issue, any one else run into this issue.?

I turn off the media screen and the climate control before I tow, to save any power, I did not have a battery issue

I have to wonder where in the Ford warranty it says that if you tow the F150 four down and you have any issues like the tranny frying, how Ford/ dealer can say too bad you towed, when the manual clearly talks about four down towing and the ability to do so.

I am over all length at about 63 feet and it is tough to figure out how far the truck is back there when merging in heavy traffic as in construction or rush hour traffic, a I can not see the truck in the mirrors only the camera even then it is tough

I would like to know the outcome on the tranny issue so we all can be aware,someone else had the same tranny issue on a Lincoln MKX with the electronic transmission on the forums.
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