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Old 10-16-2019, 07:53 AM   #1
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F150 Neutral Tow Failure

Iíve learned that if the battery dies while flat-towing a 2018 F150 in Neutral Tow Mode that it will throw the tranny into gear. That destroyed my transmission, and Ford says mine is NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY. Iím out $8K for a dead battery!
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Old 10-16-2019, 08:10 AM   #2
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Yes, that can happen. That's why its best to have a battery charge line running from the motorhome. I still start and run my tow vehicle at least once a day when traveling more than a day.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:53 AM   #3
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Oh ouch.
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:27 AM   #4
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

WOW! That was an expensive lesson!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Campwhitt View Post
Iíve learned that if the battery dies while flat-towing a 2018 F150 in Neutral Tow Mode that it will throw the tranny into gear. That destroyed my transmission, and Ford says mine is NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY. Iím out $8K for a dead battery!
A question or two.
When you set up your 2018 F-150 to be towed, did you follow ALL the instructions in the owners manual?

Did it say to leave the key on?

If so, did it not occur to you that, if you the key ON, that it would drain the battery?

If the owners manual does not say to leave the key ON, while towing, then the battery should not have died, unless the braking system you have requires power, from the truck.

If the owners manual states to leave the key ON while towing, maybe they (Ford) should also state that, "due to leaving the Key in the "ON" position while towing behind an RV, the battery MUST have some form of charging applied to it, from the RV, so no issues will develop from continued towing with the key "ON". At least that's the logical approach.

Good luck on your fix.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:17 AM   #6
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If the battery should die, the xfer case stays in whatever state it is in. To change states, it requires power to activate the xfer case shift mechanism , so if your battery dies, it just stays in whatever state it was in. You can test by putting the xfer case in neutral and disconnecting the battery.... it will stay in neutral. At least that's how both of the ones I've had work. Maybe they changed something in the later models ?

I've towed my 2011 Ford and 2015 Ford pickups with automatic,4x4 and neutral tow for over 100,000 miles. I've never had a battery die as a result of towing as you are supposed to turn off the ignition, so nothing is being powered. On the newer one, even the power port(aka cigarette lighter plug) is deactivated after about an hour to prevent battery depletion.
Now, as Scott mentioned, if you have a brake system that requires power, and you wired it direct to the battery and not thru the power port you may have depleted the battery, but even so, the xfer case stays in its current state.

On our return home last month, I had the truck on the tow bar for 3 full days without running the truck and the battery was fine when we did get home and unhook.I have an air activated aux brake system, so there is nothing to drain the battery.
I hope you find out what happened and let us know....
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:34 AM   #7
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Why would Ford cover a transmission failure that was caused by recreational towing? Once you add towing gear to your vehicle you assume some responsibility for damage caused by the towing. Even though you might have followed all the book requirements it's still the vehicle manufacturers call on warranty coverage. Sorry abiut the trans though.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Campwhitt View Post
Iíve learned that if the battery dies while flat-towing a 2018 F150 in Neutral Tow Mode that it will throw the tranny into gear. That destroyed my transmission, and Ford says mine is NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY. Iím out $8K for a dead battery!
Consider contacting your insurance company. They may cover this as it is damage and not actually a mechanical failure.
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Old 10-17-2019, 05:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by PanJH View Post
If the battery should die, the xfer case stays in whatever state it is in. To change states, it requires power to activate the xfer case shift mechanism , so if your battery dies, it just stays in whatever state it was in. You can test by putting the xfer case in neutral and disconnecting the battery.... it will stay in neutral. At least that's how both of the ones I've had work. Maybe they changed something in the later models ?

I've towed my 2011 Ford and 2015 Ford pickups with automatic,4x4 and neutral tow for over 100,000 miles. I've never had a battery die as a result of towing as you are supposed to turn off the ignition, so nothing is being powered. On the newer one, even the power port(aka cigarette lighter plug) is deactivated after about an hour to prevent battery depletion.
Now, as Scott mentioned, if you have a brake system that requires power, and you wired it direct to the battery and not thru the power port you may have depleted the battery, but even so, the xfer case stays in its current state.

On our return home last month, I had the truck on the tow bar for 3 full days without running the truck and the battery was fine when we did get home and unhook.I have an air activated aux brake system, so there is nothing to drain the battery.
I hope you find out what happened and let us know....
I have a 2018 and agree with you. I find it hard to believe that a dead battery equates to the same thing as "To disable neutral tow, press the start/stop button (or turn the key to the on position (not too far to crank it)), hold the brake, and shift back into park from neutral." Do any of those things wrong and it won't shift. Some of those steps rely on the truck battery.

Once it says it's in neutral tow mode, I turn the key as far as possible to the off position. All of the lights on the dash go out. After a set amount of time, all of the 12-volt sources also shut down. I tested that before buying all my tow gear. I then lock the door and use the keypad to get back in later. Locking the door turns off the lights.

Brake power comes from the RV and I had to add a Roadmaster brake-lite relay. It disconnects the brake lights from the truck battery and uses power from the RV just for the brake lights. Placing the key into off switches it automatically between sources.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:18 PM   #10
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this seems awful like a few months back same almost identical post about f150


HEY my expedition has neutral tow and if the battery is disconnected it will not shift back into 2wd




on our edge we ran a dedicated charge line to keep battery up as the patriot break thing does use power. and the 10 minute time out on the accessory plugs will leave you with 12 v


same on the expedition

it sounds like the proper tongue out, slap knee 3 times procedure was not followed and no safe to tow indication on instrument panel. it tells you you are in neutral tow
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Old 10-23-2019, 08:52 PM   #11
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Well I'm leaving Texas for Tennessee in the morning and I will be towing a 2018 F150 4x4.
I don't have a charge line as I figured the electrical system bascely shuts down after 20 mins or so.
I do not draw any power as I have a M&G air braking system.
It never occured to me that it could possibly lock up. That just doesn't seem likely but I'm not one to argue. Don't ask that to my wife.
I will update this post if I have any trouble but hopefully it will go along with me just fine.
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Old 10-23-2019, 09:48 PM   #12
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2018 F-150 Toad Tranny Toast
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:33 AM   #13
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Yesterday, we pulled ours about 450 miles. I donít have a charge line. At the time, I didnít see where I needed it, but now Iím thinking there is no reason for me not to install one. Iím basically only using the brake connections from the RV.

Do I just run two wires from from the constant 12 volts from the RV and then permanently connect to the truck battery? I suppose itís no different than connecting a charger on the battery.
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