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Old 12-06-2022, 10:16 PM   #1
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Battery disconnect for 2015 Flex

Setting up a 2015 Ford Flex as a toad. I want to put the recommended battery disconnect in, but with a top post battery, there is not a lot of room. I could create something, and use a side to top post converter to make the connection back to factory connection. But I don't want to reinvent the wheel if I don't have to.


In a perfect world, I would disconnect the feeds for everything but the starter. The less connections in that feed the better. Or should I do the disconnect on the ground? It had less cables / connections and no fuses.



Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-07-2022, 08:37 AM   #2
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I towed a 2015 Edge & I think shares the same underpinnings as the Flex. Best way I found to tow was to use the "emergency" tow instructions in the owners manual instead of the flat tow instructions. After toad is hooked up place in park and turn off vehicle. Then remove a small trim piece left of shifter & with finger release shift lock & shift into neutral. This way vehicle is OFF & no need for a batt disconnect. Check your manual & if this procedure is listed I recommend it. If it's not listed disregard this post.
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Old 12-07-2022, 12:46 PM   #3
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I think that would apply to a keyed version. Mine has the IA, so no physical key. Just got the baseplate installed, will do some testing on flat towing in a few days when I can borrow the neighbors truck.


What did you use as a battery disconnect? Pos or Neg?


Edit: Duh, you said you put it in Park so no disconnect needed. But with it in Park, wouldn't that lock the steering up?
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Old 12-07-2022, 01:35 PM   #4
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Dave
I linked a copy of the 2015 Ford Flex owners manual. Look on pgs 264/265 for the emergency tow instructions. I have no idea why there is a 35 mph and 50 mile distance limit towing this way. I towed mine using the emergency towing method for many thousands of miles. I chose this way so vehicle could be OFF when towing.
https://www.fordservicecontent.com/F...US_10_2014.pdf
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Old 12-07-2022, 11:38 PM   #5
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Several questions:

1. How were the front wheels able to turn corners if you had it in park, I'm assuming that with it being in park with a key, that it locked the steering wheel.

2. I'm going to be pulling this behind varied utility trucks, not an RV. Is the 65 mph noted in the book like the 45mph on U-Haul fenders, that being a legal / liability thing. Or is there a reason I can't seem to find that it needs to stay under 65 mph?

3. I'm approaching this VERY cautiously. There is no physical key / column lock with the IA system. Nothing I've read explains just how the steering is left free with it in neutral. I'm again making assumptions that with the shifter in N, that somehow the steering is unlocked.

On further looking, nothing in my manual says anything about disconnecting the battery, so is it even necessary? Almost everything I've read on flat towing says disconnect, but nothing in the Owners Manual on that.


4. I've installed a Blue Ox baseplate but not purchased a two bar, as I believe I can adapt one I have for a narrower tow tab distance. There is nothing in the baseplate instructions saying anything about a hitch to tow plate height difference / restriction. But the tow bar I'll get if I have to but suggests a max +/- 3" height difference. Because I'm pulling behind utility trucks with a pintle hitch, the height difference will be a tad over 6". Should I be worried or have a custom tow bar welded up? ( $$$ )


Part of the reason to ask, the baseplate drops several inches below the frame it's bolted to. The pintle will actually be only inches in differences from the actual frame.
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Old 12-08-2022, 08:25 AM   #6
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Dave we are not communicating very well. I never said you could tow this vehicle in PARK. My Edge Limited also had keyless ignition. I had a charge line to keep Edge battery up but would have a dead batt after very long tow days. I believed the culprit was vehicle used a lot of juice while being towed with ignition left in accessory mode. The emergency tow procedure provided by Ford in your owners manual has the vehicle in the OFF position so no battery drain & no disconnect needed. One more time; after you have hooked up your Flex to RV, or truck, or whatever, put shifter in Park and turn vehicle OFF. Since vehicle is off shifter is locked (in Park) and won't move. You'll follow the instructions in your owners manual that I included in previous post on manually moving shifter to N for towing. My Edge had no steering lock so wheels turned freely when in N. The Recreational and Emergency tow methods are almost the same but differ in vehicle being left OFF with the emergency instructions. This solved my issues with battery drain. It sounds like you may be a very light tower so the Recreational tow instructions would probably be fine for you.
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Old 12-08-2022, 08:39 AM   #7
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Ah, the light comes on.


I was associating turning it off with putting it in park, thereby locking the steering column. I didn't realize there was no physical steering lock on your Edge. Makes all the sense in the world now. I'll have to check my Flex to see if it is also equipped that way. I'm hoping there is not an electrical solenoid pin that is retracted to unlock the steering. If there is, that may be the reason behind NOT disconnecting the battery in some models.


It's always the little things that will bite you in the ass.
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Old 12-08-2022, 10:19 AM   #8
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Back to your original question. Disconnecting the Neg. post is usually the best, no spark when you re-connect. IMHO the disconnect that uses the round knob to turn and disconnect suck. Too much hidden corrosion area and I personally have had failures. I'm a slow learner. I recommend the knife switch as it can't fail and since my Chevy Spark MUST be disconnected while towing I can't have a failure while towing! The Spark area was tight too but mine fit with some wiggling and some four letter words. It might be easier for you to add a longer battery cable where necessary. Good luck!



https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 12-08-2022, 10:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Labrat46 View Post
Back to your original question. Disconnecting the Neg. post is usually the best, no spark when you re-connect. IMHO the disconnect that uses the round knob to turn and disconnect suck. Too much hidden corrosion area and I personally have had failures. I'm a slow learner. I recommend the knife switch as it can't fail and since my Chevy Spark MUST be disconnected while towing I can't have a failure while towing! The Spark area was tight too but mine fit with some wiggling and some four letter words. It might be easier for you to add a longer battery cable where necessary. Good luck!



https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
If there is a current draw, there will be a spark on positive or negetive cables. It's a circuit ( circle), what go out has to come back.

It's recommended that the negetive be removed only so that if the wrench touchs metal while undoing the nut, it don't spark.

You can use a switch on either cable.

The knife switch adds 2 more places for corrosion to shut you down. A short cable and remote switch away from the battery is best.
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Old 12-08-2022, 12:55 PM   #10
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Well, I went out and tried to turn the steering wheel, and damned if it didn't turn freely. I have grown up with locked steering columns since just after I got my license. It's just became a normal thing.


The utility trucks have a 6 pin connector, so I will usually have power to trickle charge the car battery there. Looking to put a PV panel on the roof rack with a Li-Ion battery somewhere. Will have a 'jump start ' relay between it and the vehicle battery in case the vehicle battery does get down there.


Anybody know how hard a limit that 65mph flat towing is? Most of the utility trucks are governed for 65 max anyway, but occasionally the smaller ones aren't.


Then I have to deal with the 'offset'. The pins on the Flex baseplate are 15" off the ground. The pintle adapter for the towbar I have adds just a little under 3", but that still leaves a little over 6" difference up to the pintle that's 24" off the ground. Blue Ox doesn't say anything on the baseplate, but depending on the particular tow bar, ball or pintle, there is either no mention of offset restriction, a 3" +/-, or a 7" rise. My head says this is a towbar restriction, not a baseplate restriction since it varies from towbar to towbar.
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Old 12-08-2022, 01:04 PM   #11
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BTW, lighting will be totally isolated. I have some small LED units. Not sure if I'm going to drill into the taillight assemblies and put the clear in, or make a bar to go into the receiver and put the red ones on it. Clear in the taillights is cleaner, but they will have to go with the car. Red in the receiver can be moved as I want. I'm leaning toward the clear in the taillights as the baseplate will have to stay, and it will make it sellable as a complete towable vehicle when I sell it a few years down the road.
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Old 12-09-2022, 06:22 PM   #12
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twojayhawks, what do / did you use for a braking system? I'm looking at the Stay-in-Play Duo right now.
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Old 12-10-2022, 11:00 AM   #13
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twojayhawks, what do / did you use for a braking system? I'm looking at the Stay-in-Play Duo right now.
I'm a 20 year user of the ReadyBrake tow bar/aux brake system. One of its biggest selling points IMO is requiring no power. The toad pushing against the RV when braking activates the brake.
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Old 12-10-2022, 04:28 PM   #14
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I'm a 20 year user of the ReadyBrake tow bar/aux brake system. One of its biggest selling points IMO is requiring no power. The toad pushing against the RV when braking activates the brake.

I'll have to look into that. No power would be a definite plus if it can work on the towbar and not the hitch. I'll be switching between utility trucks every few days, and most will be hard mounted pintle hitches to boot.
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