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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know if the flat tow issues have been fixed ? The last I heard was to lower the fluid level on the 09's. That didn't sound like an acceptable fix to me. I also hear rumors the transmission case was being redesigned .
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What do you mean by "Flat Tow"?
All four wheels on the ground. This was burning up the new 6 speeds on the 09's although they were advertised to be flat towed . Many folks with large motor homes have purchased Escapes to tow .
 

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I recall reading a discussion of it, and if I recall correctly ford took the position that the trans needed less fluid, and the fix was to distribute a dipstick with different markings on it so that the trans is marked full at a lower level.


Further there was a recommendation that the car be started and the trans put in each of its drive and reverse positions every so many miles to lube it. I don't recall how many miles it was, but I recall that it might be a PIA on a long trip. I suspect that an updated owner's manual might discuss it.

http://www.fordforumsonline.com/forum/engine-drivetrain/57-online-owners-manual.html

EDIT: taked from the third printing of the 2009 owner's manual

RECREATIONAL TOWING​
Follow these guidelines for your specific powertrain combination to tow
your vehicle for personal travel (such as behind a motor home or a
truck).​
Note:​
Put your climate control system in recirculated air mode to
prevent exhaust fumes from entering the vehicle. Refer to the
Climate
controls
chapter for more information.
In case of roadside emergency with a disabled vehicle, please refer to

Wrecker towing​
in the Roadside Emergencies chapter.
These guidelines are designed to prevent damage to your vehicle.

Front Wheel Drive (FWD) vehicles:​
Tow your Front Wheel Drive vehicle with all four wheels on the ground
or with the front wheels off the ground by using a tow dolly. If you are
using a tow dolly follow the instructions specified by the equipment
provider.​
Note:​
If you tow your vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, follow
these instructions:

•​
Tow only in the forward direction.

•​
Release the parking brake.

•​
Place the transmission shift lever in (N) Neutral.

•​
Place the ignition to the accessory position (refer to Starting in the

Driving​
chapter).

•​
Do not exceed 70 mph (113 km/h) with manual transmission vehicles
and 65 mph (105 km/h) for automatic transmission vehicles.

•​
Start the engine and allow it to run for five minutes at the beginning
of each day and at each fuel stop.

Tires, Wheels and Loading​
194​
Four Wheel Drive (4WD) vehicles:​
Tow your Four Wheel Drive vehicle with all four wheels on the ground or
with all four wheels off the ground using a vehicle transport trailer.​
Do
not tow your Four Wheel Drive vehicle with the front wheels off
the ground (by using a tow dolly) and the rear wheels on the
ground.
This will cause damage to your 4WD system. If you are using a
vehicle transport trailer, follow the instruction specified by the
equipment provider.

Note:​
If you tow your vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, follow
these instructions:

•​
Tow only in the forward direction.

•​
Release the parking brake.

•​
Place the transmission shift lever in (N) Neutral.

•​
Place the ignition to the accessory position (refer to Starting in the

Driving​
chapter).

•​
Do not exceed 70 mph (113 km/h) with manual transmission vehicles
and 65 mph (105 km/h) for automatic transmission vehicles.

•​
Start the engine and allow it to run for five minutes at the beginning
of each day and at each fuel stop.

Tires, Wheels and Loading​
page 195



WRECKER TOWING​
If you need to have your vehicle towed, contact a professional towing
service or, if you are a member of a roadside assistance program, your
roadside assistance service provider.
It is recommended that your vehicle be towed with a wheel lift and
dollies or flatbed equipment. Do not tow with a slingbelt. Ford Motor
Company has not approved a slingbelt towing procedure.
On FWD vehicles, if your vehicle is to be towed from the front, ensure
proper wheel lift equipment is used to raise the front wheels off the
ground. The rear wheels can be left on the ground when towed in this
fashion.
If your vehicle is to be towed from the rear using wheel lift equipment, it
is​
required that the front wheels (drive wheels) be placed on a dolly to
prevent damage to the transmission.
On 4WD vehicles, it is
required that your vehicle be towed with a wheel
lift and dollies or flatbed equipment with all the wheels off the ground to
prevent damage to the automatic transmission, 4WD system or vehicle.

Roadside Emergencies​
page 253
Ford Motor Company produces a towing manual for all authorized tow
truck operators. Have your tow truck operator refer to this manual for
proper hook-up and towing procedures for your vehicle.​
If the vehicle is towed by other means or incorrectly, vehicle
damage may occur.​
Emergency towing​
In case of a roadside emergency with a disabled vehicle (without access
to wheel dollies, car hauling trailer, or flatbed transport vehicle) your
vehicle (regardless of transmission powertrain configuration) can be flat
towed (all wheels on the ground) under the following conditions:​
•​
Vehicle is facing forward so that it is being towed in a forward
direction.

•​
Place the transmission in N (Neutral). Refer to Brake shift interlock

in the​
Driving chapter for specific instructions if you cannot move the
gear shift lever into N (Neutral).

•​
Maximum speed is not to exceed 35 mph (56 km/h).

•​
Maximum distance is 50 miles (80 km).

Roadside Emergencies​
page 254
 

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Escape transmission towing issues

There have been continued issues with towing the 2009 and 2010 Escapes, as well as the 2010 Fusions. The 2010 models show the correct fluid level to tow these at in the owner's manual. The 2009 has a technical service bulletin regarding this. The lowered fluid level seems to be correcting MOST, but not ALL of the problems.
 

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is yours FWD or 4WD? if it's FWD just put it on a car dolly. if 4WD put the front on car dolly, and disconnect the drive shaft in the rear like we use to have to do when towing the older cars, and trucks
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
There have been continued issues with towing the 2009 and 2010 Escapes, as well as the 2010 Fusions. The 2010 models show the correct fluid level to tow these at in the owner's manual. The 2009 has a technical service bulletin regarding this. The lowered fluid level seems to be correcting MOST, but not ALL of the problems.
I've also heard Ford has added internal baffles to some of the transmissions .
See thread below .
http://www.fordforumsonline.com/forum/ford-escape/1103-flat-towing-2009-escape.html
 

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Does anyone know if the flat tow issues have been fixed ? The last I heard was to lower the fluid level on the 09's. That didn't sound like an acceptable fix to me.
The good news is, all of the posts I have read on various forums on the internet say that adjusting the level of the trans fluid as described in the 09 owners manual addendum, plus starting and idling before your trip and at each fuel stop seems to resolve any problems.

There is a newer dipstick that is a bit easier to read.
 

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There have been continued issues with towing the 2009 and 2010 Escapes, as well as the 2010 Fusions. The 2010 models show the correct fluid level to tow these at in the owner's manual. The 2009 has a technical service bulletin regarding this. The lowered fluid level seems to be correcting MOST, but not ALL of the problems.
Can you be specific?

It seems to me that people just keep reiterating the same problem with overflowing of the transfluid when flat towed. Ford issued a TSB on that issue, and as the oldwizard stated made new dipsticks with clearly understandable markings on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Can you be specific?

It seems to me that people just keep reiterating the same problem with overflowing of the transfluid when flat towed. Ford issued a TSB on that issue, and as the oldwizard stated made new dipsticks with clearly understandable markings on them.
This has been a much bigger problem than overflowing of the fluid , many owners have had 3 or more transmissions replaced because of over heating while being towed , apparently because of foaming of the fluid .Many of us didn't feel having to lower the fluid to the minimum standard level was a acceptable long term fix. Apparently the later production transmissions have modified internal baffling which I assume eliminates this band-aid . Some folks adjusted the fluid appropriately only to have it topped off by someone when in for other service such as an oil change .
 

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I understand.
Does this issue still exist for the 2010s?
I thought that I read that Ford will make changes to the 2009 trans IF it was brought in for a repair under warranty. And with that thought in mind, I suspect that the 2010s have the modification built in.

Am I wrong?

Those who bought their escape becuase it was advertised that it could be flat towed, towed it and had a problem certainly have a legitamite gripe IMO. But I don't think that it is fair to continue to bash a company on an issue that I believe was addressed.

So I am asking LittleE, what are the other issues? in the 2010 escapes and fusions that are not addressed by lowering the fluid levels to the flat tow specs?
The lowered fluid level seems to be correcting MOST, but not ALL of the problems.
 

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I understand.
Does this issue still exist for the 2010s?
I thought that I read that Ford will make changes to the 2009 trans IF it was brought in for a repair under warranty. And with that thought in mind, I suspect that the 2010s have the modification built in.
There is an unconfirmed rumor that Ford has some type of baffle in the sump, but this does NOT change the requirement for lowering the fluid level while towing.
 

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I understand.
Those who bought their escape becuase it was advertised that it could be flat towed, towed it and had a problem certainly have a legitimate gripe IMO. But I don't think that it is fair to continue to bash a company on an issue that I believe was addressed.
I concur !

Hopefully, the sales force has been instructed to inform the customers of the requirement to adjust the fluid level prior to flat towing.


  1. Adjusting the fluid level is a pain. Even some Ford trained technicians don't do it correctly. Informed consumers should know this before they purchase the vehicle and decide whether this should affect their purchase.
  2. Ford seems to be honoring all warranty claims. Even for customers who have had multiple failures. If they have not made any design changes by now, then their warranty analysis indicates that the problem does not justify them. (In a perfect world, they would add an extra oil pump, driven by the wheels, that would circulate the fluid when the vehicle was towed. This is expensive and superfluous for vehicles that are not towed.)

So I am asking LittleE, what are the other issues? in the 2010 escapes and fusions that are not addressed by lowering the fluid levels to the flat tow specs?
While there have been some issue with harsh shift, etc while driving (not towing), the towing issue has always been about fluid level. Here is my analysis.


  1. High fluid (when towing) gets "whipped" by internal rotating parts (likely the differential).
  2. This whipping causes the oil to foam (there are anti-foaming additives in the fluid, they just can not keep up).
  3. Once the fluid has been sufficient air (foam) in it, the fluid overflows out of the dipstick/fill tube.
  4. This now causes a low fluid condition and overheats the transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I personally think Ford deserves some bashing when they advertise a vehicle flat tow capable and apparently don't even test it under those conditions to confirm there are no serious issues , which to me is inexcusable . To have to adjust the fluid level differently than normal for flat tow when advertised as a flat tow vehicle in my opinion is a band-aid and a pain in the [email protected][email protected] . I'm not trying to throw Ford under the Bus , I think Ford is one of the better car companies , but in this case they got caught with their pants down . Many vehicles today including some Ford products don't even have transmission dip sticks since there should really be no need to play around with levels unless there is a leak ie. bad seal , etc . Just my 5 cents worth ! We're all human and make mistakes , but it's about time everyone stand up and take responsibility for their errors , company's included . Look at the mess Toyota got it's self into by not doing the right thing . As far as the 2010's , other than adjusting the fluid I haven't seen it confirmed if the baffels were added or any mechanical changes were made . If in fact , if sufficient modifications were made I would think the proper fluid level should be the same regardless of flat toe or not . If the low level for flat toe is OK and Ford says it's OK to leave it there for normal driving why not do the same with all Escapes ? I think we all know the answer to that .
 

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is yours FWD or 4WD? if it's FWD just put it on a car dolly. if 4WD put the front on car dolly, and disconnect the drive shaft in the rear like we use to have to do when towing the older cars, and trucks
Mine is FWD, but the only reason we bought this vehicle is it is advertised to be towable 4 wheels down. We have spent over $2000 on tow bars and backing plates, and I won't be spending another $1000 on a tow dolly, which is also a pain in the rear. The car is advertised to be towable 4 wheels down!
 

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IMPORTANT
I just received a copy of the "Customer Satisfaction Program" noted above, which we have already have performed. ALSO ENCLOSED was a notice that the towing instructions in the Owner's Guide are incorrect. They included an "Owner Guide Supplement" with the notice. While reading the revised instructions (which all have to do with the reduced fluid level that we have already discussed), I noticed an important instruction. The booklet says that you must have the fluid level verified by an authorized dealer before towing. I feel this is definitely a way for them to start denying paying for a new transmission if there is still a problem and the fluid level hasn't been verified by a dealer. We will be stopping at the dealer for verification before every trip. What a pain! But paying for the transmission if there is a problem and we DON'T have it verified will be a bigger pain. Anyway - I thought this was important info to share.

To Poppy and The Old Wizard - I know of at least 2 people who had the reduced fluid level and still burned up a transmission while towing. I firmly believe the outside temperature is a factor. We will be leaving Arizona on July 16th for a trip to Oregon (after stopping at the dealer to verify the fluid level, of course). If we tow it to Oregon and back with no issues, then I will be convinced the fluid level is the problem. Until then, I will not. I hope I am wrong and we make it with no problems. I don't look forward to another trip like last summer, when we had to leave the car in Albuquerque and go to NY (where we were meeting friends) and spend the entire trip with no tow vehicle. Then we got it back and burned up another one between Durango and Phoenix. If you had these problems, you would be a little paranoid too.
 

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IMPORTANT
I just received a copy of the "Customer Satisfaction Program" noted above, which we have already have performed. ALSO ENCLOSED was a notice that the towing instructions in the Owner's Guide are incorrect. They included an "Owner Guide Supplement" with the notice. While reading the revised instructions (which all have to do with the reduced fluid level that we have already discussed), I noticed an important instruction. The booklet says that you must have the fluid level verified by an authorized dealer before towing. I feel this is definitely a way for them to start denying paying for a new transmission if there is still a problem and the fluid level hasn't been verified by a dealer. We will be stopping at the dealer for verification before every trip. What a pain! But paying for the transmission if there is a problem and we DON'T have it verified will be a bigger pain. Anyway - I thought this was important info to share.

To Poppy and The Old Wizard - I know of at least 2 people who had the reduced fluid level and still burned up a transmission while towing. I firmly believe the outside temperature is a factor. We will be leaving Arizona on July 16th for a trip to Oregon (after stopping at the dealer to verify the fluid level, of course). If we tow it to Oregon and back with no issues, then I will be convinced the fluid level is the problem. Until then, I will not. I hope I am wrong and we make it with no problems. I don't look forward to another trip like last summer, when we had to leave the car in Albuquerque and go to NY (where we were meeting friends) and spend the entire trip with no tow vehicle. Then we got it back and burned up another one between Durango and Phoenix. If you had these problems, you would be a little paranoid too.
I don't think that you must have the ATF level check by a dealer before flat towing. There wouldn't be any reason to include all the pictures and instructions of how check the level, adjust, etc. and the caution about using non-approved ATF.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I don't think that you must have the ATF level check by a dealer before flat towing. There wouldn't be any reason to include all the pictures and instructions of how check the level, adjust, etc. and the caution about using non-approved ATF.
Page 6 of the addendum supplement I received says , " before you recreational flat tow , your fluid level must be verified by an authorized dealer . "
 
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