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Old 05-22-2014, 05:04 PM   #1
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Towing a 2012-2013 Ford Focus automatic

Hi everybody,
We've been rving towing a dinghy for quite awhile. First was a chevy tracker 4wd and currently a 2006 Ranger 4wd automatic. We're seeking a family car that can be towed. We like the Ford Focus, 2012 - 2013 with automatic transmission. Problem is it appears to be a pain in the rear to do it. Instructions are to disconnect the negative terminal cable.
Here's my question(s) 1- how will my new brake buddy work with dingy battery disconnected?
2- What will a disconnected battery do to computer settings etc?
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:34 PM   #2
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Hi

I may be wrong but I do not think the Ford Focus can be towed 4 wheels down with an automatic trans. I would check with Ford before trying to tow. Others on this site might have additional info.
Bill
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:53 PM   #3
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Family motor coach keeps a good list of toads.. also Remco rv towing.. they make lube pumps for many cars, and have a good list of what is tow-able.. Have you looked at Honda CRV???
My opinion worth what you paid for it, maybe less.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:09 PM   #4
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Hi again

After I sent my first reply I decided to Google "Can a Ford Focus be tow 4 down behind an RV ". There was some interesting sites discussing this subject. You might look at the same area on Google. It was interesting on how people were handling the battery disconnect. It seems like Ford might allow the 2012/2013 Focus to be towed but the battery neg lead needs to be disconnected. So I stand corrected. My son has a 2010
Focus and it can not be towed behind a RV. Good luck.
Bill
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:28 PM   #5
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You can definitely tow the 2012-2014 Focus four down. The owners manual will tell you to disconnect the negative battery cable. Wow, that obviously sounds extreme, especially after you discover that disconnecting the negative battery cable is VERY difficult, at least on my 2014 Focus.

However, putting a disconnect on the positive terminal is pretty easy. So, if I decide to tow the Focus, that's what I plan to do.

Now, the better question is why. Why do I have to disconnect the battery? Like most of you, I don't want to lose all those radio, seat, navigation, etc. settings every time that I tow. So, I'd sure like some more information from Ford on what power they really want removed and what power could remain. I suspect, and this is just speculation, that they want power removed from the engine and transmission computers. With all the automation going on in these new cars, putting the transmission in neutral and leaving power connected to the computers might result in some undesireable behavior of the transmission. I think that is why Ford takes the all or nothing approach. I'm betting there is a more elegant solution.

Right now, I'm towing my RX330 and will keep doing that until the car or the lube pump gives up. After that, I'm going to tow the Focus. Then, me and Ford are going to get very conversant!
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:29 PM   #6
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I tow a 2014 Ford Focus with an automatic transmission. To flat tow it, you must disconnect the negative battery terminal. That means that there is no battery available for my Patriot braking system. What Carpenter's Campers recommended, and what I did, was to purchase one of the 12 volt jump start systems at the auto parts store. The unit has a 12 volt cigarette lighter type receptacle on it that I use for my braking system. It is good with no problem for a full day of towing. It does need to be plugged in each night after a full days towing. The battery is easy enough to disconnect. I bought a ratcheting wrench I keep in the car. It takes about 5 minutes to connect, and about the same time to reconnect it. As far as your settings, the only thing required is resetting the clock each time you reconnect. The Focus is not as simple as a Jeep, but I wanted something bigger than the Jeep. I am happy with it.
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Old 05-23-2014, 03:34 AM   #7
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I'm thinking that you could run a12VDC supply from the coach to the toad to power the brake.
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:41 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. We like the Focus but not sure about the towing procedure. If disconnecting the positive battery cable is easier and is the same as the negative cable, wonder why they didn't specify disconnecting the positive one?
We have the Brake Buddy Vantage Ultra (?) or something like that and need the 12 volts.
It seems that there is quite a market for towable cars. We like the Chevy Cruz too but that automatic is not towable.
Both the Focus and Cruze make manual transmissions but only basic models.
Can not find either one (2012-2013)with manual transmission, sunroof and a few goodies.
Don;t you think focused advertising in Motor Home mag or Trailer life would be fruitful for them?
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlabit View Post
I tow a 2014 Ford Focus with an automatic transmission. To flat tow it, you must disconnect the negative battery terminal. That means that there is no battery available for my Patriot braking system. What Carpenter's Campers recommended, and what I did, was to purchase one of the 12 volt jump start systems at the auto parts store. The unit has a 12 volt cigarette lighter type receptacle on it that I use for my braking system. It is good with no problem for a full day of towing. It does need to be plugged in each night after a full days towing. The battery is easy enough to disconnect. I bought a ratcheting wrench I keep in the car. It takes about 5 minutes to connect, and about the same time to reconnect it. As far as your settings, the only thing required is resetting the clock each time you reconnect. The Focus is not as simple as a Jeep, but I wanted something bigger than the Jeep. I am happy with it.
X2 - I do the same thing. The only downside is the loss of all the "learning" the engine/transmission computer had about how you drive, as well as your trip mileage and MPG data, but this is not the end of the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by f14av8r View Post
You can definitely tow the 2012-2014 Focus four down. The owners manual will tell you to disconnect the negative battery cable. Wow, that obviously sounds extreme, especially after you discover that disconnecting the negative battery cable is VERY difficult, at least on my 2014 Focus.

However, putting a disconnect on the positive terminal is pretty easy. So, if I decide to tow the Focus, that's what I plan to do.

Now, the better question is why. Why do I have to disconnect the battery? Like most of you, I don't want to lose all those radio, seat, navigation, etc. settings every time that I tow. So, I'd sure like some more information from Ford on what power they really want removed and what power could remain. I suspect, and this is just speculation, that they want power removed from the engine and transmission computers. With all the automation going on in these new cars, putting the transmission in neutral and leaving power connected to the computers might result in some undesireable behavior of the transmission. I think that is why Ford takes the all or nothing approach. I'm betting there is a more elegant solution.

Right now, I'm towing my RX330 and will keep doing that until the car or the lube pump gives up. After that, I'm going to tow the Focus. Then, me and Ford are going to get very conversant!
I agree completely, and I bet there is one or more fuses that would do the job. If you find any info about this please post it here.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:45 PM   #10
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OK, just called Ford. Had to use customer service option. Spoke to Jennifer who was very nice. She looked up the procedure for towing a 2013 or 2012 Focus automatic. It was a specific sequence ie: in a specific order. Then sure enough, remove the negative terminal cable.
I asked if the positive terminal cable be removed because it would be easier. She did not waver a bit. Procedure specifies negative cable. I asked why it had to be the negative cable and as expected "it is the procedure from the company. I asked if I could speak to a technical adviser as I had years ago about a different issue. She politely explained that ford no longer makes tech reps available to customers. I was to call a dealer. I asked this "if the dealer said that the positive side would work should I ask to have it in writing." She said " I don't think the dealer would do that".
I asked a bout the computer having to be reset each time battery was disconnected. She said just the clock and preset stations would have to be reset.
I did mention how the auxiliary brake system will not work without the battery connected. And something like doesn't ford want the focus to be towed. ......
No reason to go into that discussion. She was very nice and took a lot of time with me.
Bottom line ford will not provide technical info from them. Customers are to go to dealers who do have access to the tech reps.
So, I'll keep looking for a manual transmission, with a sunroof, for both the Focus and
Chevy Cruze. Believe me there are not many out there...
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Old 05-23-2014, 03:01 PM   #11
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Are you absolutely zeroed in on the Focus? There are a lot of very nice auto trans cars out there that can be towed 4-down will much less requirements than those two. Both Ford and GM have several other models that do a very nice job.

Ron
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim fm ct View Post
......So, I'll keep looking for a manual transmission, with a sunroof, for both the Focus and
Chevy Cruze. Believe me there are not many out there...
If you are looking for a Focus with a manual transmission, do a search for a Focus ST. It can only be had with a 6 speed manual transmission and a moon roof is available. It was/is made in 2013 & 2014 so far. You will have to put up with the 252 horsepower, 2.0L, turbocharged, 4 cylinder engine though!!! It's a little rocket!!

Fran
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:24 AM   #13
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Hi Ron,
Thanbks for the reply. I've seen a Fiesta but it's a bit too small. Cost is a factor too.
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:26 AM   #14
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Fran,
I didn't look at the ST. I thought the MPG would not be great. But what the heck. I should at least check it out.
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