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Old 02-27-2012, 08:37 PM   #1
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General ?s about towing Ford Escape Hybrid

We are researching which towing and braking system to add to our planned Winnebago diesel/Escape-Hybrid combo. We are considering the SMI Air Force One.

(1) Has anyone installed that braking system on their Ford Escape (Hybrid or not) and what are your thoughts?

Also when I went to get a non-chipped key for towing, the guy at Lowes said he wouldn't recommend using a non-chipped key as it would ruin the electronics/ignition. My assumption was that I would use a non-chipped key, turned only to the first click (and locked in the car), so that it would unlock the car's steering wheel but not allow my car to be stolen because there was a key in it.

(2) Is there any concern with using a non-chipped key? [i.e. -- non-chipped key, turned to first click so that the steering is unlocked but car is not "on".]

(3) Maybe the more basic question is that I am assuming the car and its electronics are not energized when the car key is in the first position and that is how I am suppose to tow it. It that correct or am I going about this all wrong?

Thank you for your expertise.
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:00 PM   #2
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Ford Escape Hybrid TOAD

We have been towing the Ford Escape Hybrid since 2006 and have had no problems. We use a non-chip key to unlock the steering, just make sure the radio is off. We have a Brake Buddy and just use a magnetic light set instead of wiring into the wiring harness. Makes a great combination for us.
Ken
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:15 PM   #3
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We have been towing a 2008 Escape Hybrid since 2009, about 40,000 miles, with a non-chip key and no problems at all. I think the guy at Lowes must have been smoking something Put the key in, turn to on, put gearshift in neutral, turn the key to the off position and leave it in. The steering wheel stays unlocked when using these steps.

I installed full wiring harness and diodes for the lights.

I am using the Unified Tow Brake from US Gear Unified Tow Brake
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:51 PM   #4
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You're going to love the AF1. I've got over 100,000 tow miles on our system and wouldn't use any other system. We've had the same system on 2 diesel coaches and 2 toads. Only problem we ever had was the cylinder cable broke last fall coming down from Alaska. I was able to "patch it" (with a bolt and 2 washers) to get it home. After calling the manufacturer, I sent them the cylinder and they replaced the cable. I had it back in less than 2 weeks and it cost less than $30 including postage. By the way, before you anchor the cable to the firewall, slightly round the sharp edges on the cable clamp. Could have saved me $30 after 4 years of use.
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