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Old 08-26-2014, 09:30 AM   #1
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Engine idling while towing!

Hello out there,

Newbie Danny here with a recurring subject. Taboo or not I need to bring it up again.

We bought a 2008 Ford Escape V6 AWD after doing the required homework for choosing a proper toad. Obviously not enough. But then, as I have been reading, we are not alone. The honest folks at Ford did what they needed to do to sell cars and made us believe we could flat tow their Escapes safely with no harm done to components.

Well, so here we are getting ready to tow from Montreal to Puerto Vallarta, a toad that can't do it. We have no place to park a dolly or trailer ( we are full timers) and Remco has no pump for our model! Even came across a thread that said Ford had purchased Remco's pumps to install them by them (Ford), at a cost of basically twice that of Remco. $3K

We have the Escape up for sale but nothing is going down. Besides, we prepped the SUV for the trip. New oils,new brakes, new U joints, engine shampoo, wax job etc... $1400 worth! We would for sure lose about $2.5K selling it with taxes and all.

So, we are sitting here with only one last card to play. Idle the engine while under tow. Yes I have read all I could on the matter here and other web sites. It feels like being pulled by both arms but in different directions! Some say yes some say no. Of course I will be checking with Ford directly but do not expect an honest answer from them. They will probably brush my problem away with a NO just to cover themselves.

Now, speaking of toads, that is just about the speed at which my wife and I travel. Our last trip to Tampa took about 2 weeks from Montreal!! Lots of people do it in 3-4 days! We stay away from interstates when we can and stop when we see a place we like. How long we stop for depends on how much we like it! So much for schedules!

This said, our trip to PV, Mex. could easely be a 5-6 week thing which means not many miles a day, and lots of opportunities to unhitch the Escape and go for rides, thus giving the trany lots of pump time. Note: being a Canadian vehicule, the daylight driving lights remain on when engine is running even in idle and neutral, and we can see them in the backup camera. So, should the engine quit, the lights would go out and we would see that something is wrong.

Any thoughts, ideas, experiences or stories from anyone would be of help of course. Guess that is why we are here! As we stand, we are leaning about 70% on a GO with the idea.

Love this site!
Regards
Danny and Johanne
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:39 AM   #2
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I have a friend who did this twice a year. From Michigan to Arizona in the fall and return in the spring. He did this for 5 years with no troubles. They have since bought a winter home in AZ so no tow needed for that. ;-)
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:57 AM   #3
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#1, the daytime running lights are not controlled by the engine running. They are on when the ignition switch is in the run position hence the engine could quit, switch still on, lights would still be on.
#2, REDICULOUS idea to idle a car from Canada to Mexico . Face it, you didn't do your homework and bought the wrong car no matter what the stupid salesman said.You should be working with the sales manager or general manager at that dealership to get a vehicle that suits your needs.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:55 AM   #4
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DanQ,
Well, without "chastising" you any more than you've done to yourself already, I'd say you've learned your lesson about Ford and, it's incompetence of what models/versions can be towed and not towed. Ford has goofed up way more than once in this category. I too have made my share of mistakes in life. It is what it is, PERIOD! With that being said, my thoughts for you would be, suck up the loss, get rid of the Ford and, go get any one of a zillion PROVEN AUTHORIZED FLAT TOWABLE VEHICLES!

Yes, you will lose what you've put into your "mistake" but, you're not alone in this situation and, most likely you're not made out of money so, it might "sting" a bit. Like stated, there's lots of authorized, flat towable vehicles out there for the choosing. Honda CRVs are close to the top choice in flat towable toads. They're "reasonable" on gas, not all that heavy, (ours was exactly 3700 lbs. with a full tank of fuel) on a certified scale and, easy to setup as a toad. I'm not trying to steer you to Hondas, it's just an option for you.

But, for me, there's no way on this planet that I would "idle" ANY CAR ENGINE while towing it. To me, that's just plain seriously DUMB! I mean, like stated, there's ten zillion flat towable toads out there that do not require any specialty operations, just hook them up and go. I don't care how many claim they've done it without issue for a billion miles, it's still dumb to me, to idle a car that you're towing. Your choice. Good luck.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:02 PM   #5
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On the flip side, I ran into a guy one winter towing a Caddy Deville behind his motorhome. As he was fueling it was obvious the Caddy was running as there was vapor coming from both tailpipes. I mentioned it to him and he basically said that's the way he tows it all the time since it can't be towed 4 down. I ran into him in Kentucky and he was from Michigan.

I'm not saying it's a good idea, but it looks like it's possible.

I would think it would be fairly easy to wire up some sort of running light that you could stick to the grille or on the dash that would only light when the engine was running.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:36 PM   #6
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The easiest way to monitor if the engine is pumping tranny fluid is with the pressure senser from REMCO, this should be Cut-in-able on any ride. (But I can not guarantee it). It is part of the LP-1 kit but you should be able to order just it.

Page 2: What are you towing with.. IF a Diesel, consider trailiering the Ford.

Page 3: Drive it to a JEEP dealer and get a 4wd JEEP with a MANUAL transfer case.. Specify it must be towable.. They can do it. (NOT all jeeps can be towed)
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:52 PM   #7
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Consider sucking it up and getting a functional toad. Towing a running car is wasting $$$ on gas and long idle time isn't the best for the engine. On top of that if the engine overheats the results could be catastrophic.

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Old 08-26-2014, 02:03 PM   #8
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Dan Q, this may be just what you need ! Coolest thing I've seen in a while.

The gadget plugs into your car (toad) and then a free app running on your iPhone or iPad connects to the wifi signal given off by this box.

Let's you see all engine operating parameters in real time from the cockpit of the coach !

Cool

You could monitor engine and transmission for overheating while towing with the engine idling.



http://www.ot-2.com/overview.html

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Old 08-26-2014, 02:50 PM   #9
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I'll throw my dos centavos in with the guys that say you should get a different tow car. There are enough things to bother you driving down the highway without wondering/worrying if the car motor/transmission are going to be OK. And what happens to your budget if the idle does not cool the transmission - usually a couple grand or more for a transmission rebuild, no?
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Old 08-26-2014, 03:13 PM   #10
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Danny and Johanne, Glad you're aboard. Best of luck on a solution to your situation. My $.02 is to get with the Ford dealer that mis represented the towability to you and see if they can work out some arrangement on a towable vehicle. You already have the detailing done for them. Maybe a call from your barrister would be in order to help them in that process. Enjoy your adventures and be safe.
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Old 08-26-2014, 03:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky_Boss View Post
Consider sucking it up and getting a functional toad. Towing a running car is wasting $$$ on gas and long idle time isn't the best for the engine. On top of that if the engine overheats the results could be catastrophic.

Sky Boss has put it as gentle as possible. During our "Due Diligence" looking for a toad, we really liked the Escape. But, after some investigation we soon realized it was Not Flat Towable so drove down the street to look at the CRV Honda.
There are a number of choices but for us the Honda CRV has been an excellent choice. No regrets!
Ditch the Escape, look into your requirements a little closer and make a choice based on solid research, not what some slick salesman tells you. In the end you will save yourself $$ and won't have blood vessels poking out of your forehead. .
If you are Full Timers, you do not need the aggravation on a regular basis the Escape will cause.......
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Old 08-26-2014, 04:14 PM   #12
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You say that your escape is a AWD vehicle. I don't know of any AWD vehicles that can be towed 4 down or even on a dolly without trashing a tranny/transfer case idling or not.
IMO, the only way you're going to be able to take that vehicle along is with it sitting all fours on a flat bed trailer.
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Old 08-26-2014, 04:51 PM   #13
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You say that your escape is a AWD vehicle. I don't know of any AWD vehicles that can be towed 4 down or even on a dolly without trashing a tranny/transfer case idling or not.
IMO, the only way you're going to be able to take that vehicle along is with it sitting all fours on a flat bed trailer.
UMMM...Honda CRV can.
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Old 08-26-2014, 05:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by DieselTech39 View Post


Danny and Johanne, Glad you're aboard. Best of luck on a solution to your situation. My $.02 is to get with the Ford dealer that mis represented the towability to you and see if they can work out some arrangement on a towable vehicle. You already have the detailing done for them. Maybe a call from your barrister would be in order to help them in that process. Enjoy your adventures and be safe.
Unfortunately, sales personnel are NOT all that smart. Every time I have walked into a car or RV for consideration of purchase I have had more information on my target vehicle then they have. Anyone that takes a sales person's word on such critical needs without verification from authoritative sources is asking for trouble. Granted, there is a lot of opinion and old information out there to easily confuse a person.

The dealer might consider playing nice but I doubt they will play nice enough to cover the stuff the OP did to the car after purchase. Proving the sales person clearly said it was flat 4 towable is another hurdle. Getting a lawyer involved will probably only result in more $$$ spent and little chance of success but if they can make that call for a minimum "retainer" charge might make it worth the gamble.
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