Exploring with a motorhome gives you great fun. At any time, you are only a step away from a hot meal, a hot shower, and your own bed. But bigger is not always better when you visit some tourist attractions or busy roadways.
This is where you need to bring a second vehicle and a Ford truck or SUV can be a great choice. Automakers are yet to create an easy way for RVers to just plug any vehicle behind a camper and drive off for an adventure. Nevertheless, with a few tools and hardware, you can connect several Ford models to your camper.
What Ford Vehicles Can Be Flat Towed Behind a Motorhome?
You can flat tow Ford vehicles with a 4WD system and a two-speed transfer case. Most of the Ford vehicles offer this configuration, and they include the ST 2.7L, Escape Hybrid, Expedition, Expedition Max, F-150, F-150 Raptor, F-250, F-350, and F-450 Super Duty, Ranger, Fusion Hybrid, Fusion Plug-In Hybrid, and the new Ford Bronco.
Ford has approved most of its vehicles for flat towing. However, there some settings that you have to do on your specific Ford model to facilitate dinghy towing. Ford explains the setup process on the user manual.
Which Vehicles are Approved for Flat Towing?
The best place to check whether you can flat tow your Ford is on the user manual. If the car is not approved for flat towing by the automaker, connecting it to your RV can damage its engine or its transmission system. The problem comes when components of your engine or your transmission system do not get enough lubrication, and they end up damaged.
If the car cannot be flat-towed, thanks to its configuration, you should consider adding a couple of hardware such as transmission lube pump to make it flat towable.
When shopping for a Ford to flat tow, you need to check the towing capacity of your camper and compare that with the curb weight of different Ford vehicles. By looking at weight, you will eliminate several vehicles, making it easier for you to choose.
The HD and Super HD Ford trucks will only match the towing capacity of the largest rigs. If you have smaller rig, cars such as the Fusion Hybrid and light trucks will be your best option.
The camper’s hitch receiver also determines the weight of the vehicle you flat tow. You can upgrade the hitch receiver, but that doesn’t mean you can increase the weight limit that the chassis manufacturer sets.
Most vehicles approved for flat towing do so smoothly that you do not even realize they are there. The best vehicles to flat tow are front wheel drovers with a manual transmission or 4WD vehicles with a two-speed transfer case. Most Fords approved for flat towing are 4WD with a two-speed case transfer.
Even for the vehicles approved for flat towing, you still need to perform some procedures to ensure the vehicle is ready for flat towing. One of these procedures involves running the engine for about five minutes every 200 miles. This is done to circulate oil in your engine and transmission system, and you cannot avoid it by filling your transmission system with oil.
While such a procedure can be an inconvenience, it is the only way you avoid damaging the drivetrain. Another procedure involves leaving the ignition switch in a position that allows the vehicle to deliver power to the electrical system and keep the steering unlocked. As you tow, this procedure causes a significant battery discharge.
You can solve that problem by pulling one or two fuses while you tow or by installing an aftermarket switch. You will know what to do by looking at the user manual. Note that not all model years of a specific model are flat-towable – always check your manual.
Which Ford Models Can You Flat Tow?
The Ford Edge has a base curb weight of between 3,912 and 4,095 pounds. The only configuration you can flat tow is the one with a six-speed automatic transmission. It offers a smooth flat tow.
Although the Edge doesn’t have any distance restriction, it has a speed restriction of 65 miles per hour. You may never need to drive that fast, so you are good to go.
To flat tow the vehicle, start your engine and allow it to run for five minutes for enough lubrication. After that, you need to run the engine every six hours after the journey starts. While your engine is still running, set the vehicle on Neutral mode by pressing the brakes, shifting it into Drive, then to Reverse, and finally to Neutral.
Before you start the tow, disconnect the battery’s negative cable. After the tow, when you reconnect the battery, start your engine within 15 minutes.
Ford Expedition and Expedition Max
Ford Expedition and Expedition Max are full-size SUVs. They have a base curb weight of between 5,692 and 5,793 pounds. They are an ideal choice when you need an option with ample cabin space for the family.
You can only flat tow the 4WD model with the two-speed transfer case. Set the transfer case to Neutral and the 4WD in low setting and engage the flat towing feature to get started.
You can flat tow the Ford Explorer with the 3.5L Duratec engine with either 4WD or AWD and the 3.5L EcoBoost 4WD. These models have a base curb weight of about 4,458 pounds and a speed limit of 65 miles per hour. However, there is no distance limitation, so you can bring the Explorer on your longest trip.
For all the Explorer trims approved for flat towing, you need to run the engine for five minutes at the start of the tow for sufficient lubrication. After that, you need to run the engine for five minutes every six hours during the tow.
With your engine running, press your foot on the brake and shift into Drive, then shift to Reverse, and back to Neutral. Disconnect the battery’s negative cable and once you reconnect it after the trip, be sure to run your engine within 15 minutes.
Ford F-150 and F-150 Raptor
Ford F-150 is a full-size truck engineered to handle heavy cargo and drive off the road. It has a base curb weight of about 4,069 pounds, which means you can tow it with any class of a motorhome without mush hassle. The Raptor is heavier at about 5,525 pounds.
Only 4WD models are flat-towable. Place the transfer case on Neutral and switch on the four-wheel-down towing feature. Put your vehicle ignition On, but do not run your engine. If your F-150 has an ignition key, turn it On and if it has an intelligent access, press the Start/Stop button and do not press the brake pedal.
After turning the ignition on, press the brake pedal, and twist the 4WD switch so that it is on 2H. Shift your vehicle transmission to Neutral. From there, twist the 4WD switch from 2H to 4L and then back to 2h – repeat this for five times within seven seconds.
Leave the transmission in Neutral position. If your F-150 has an ignition key, leave it in the ignition, and if it has intelligent access, press the On/Off button once and do not press the brake pedal while at it.
Ford F-250, F-350, F-450, and Super Duty
If you are looking for a heavy machine to venture off the road and for cargo, these heavy duty trucks will meet your needs. However, they are not the easiest car to drive on busy roads or the lightest on the category. However, when you need power and aggressiveness during the trip, you will have it with one of these trucks.
The trucks have a base curb weight of about 6,106 pounds or more. This means that you need the largest and most powerful rigs to tow one of these work machines.
Only the 4WD model of these trucks is flat towable. You will find most new models with an electronic shift transfer case, but they will still be flat towable. If your truck has an electronic shift transfer case, set the transfer case in Neutral position and engage the flat towing feature on your truck.
Without pressing the brake pad, turn the ignition of your truck on using the ignition key or the intelligent access, whichever is offered on your truck. However, do not run the engine. Press the truck’s brake pedal and turn the 4WD switch to 2H.
Set the transmission to Neutral then twist the 4WD knob to 4L then to 2H, for five times continuously. While the transmission is in Neutral position, turn the ignition OFF.
If your truck features a manual shift transfer case, set the transmission and the manual transfer case to Neutral position. Then set your front hub locks to FREE mode, and you are good to go.
All models of the Fiesta except the ST are flat-towable. This is a light weight car that you can tow even with the smallest camper. It has a base curb weight of about 2,537 pounds and has a speed limit of about 70 miles per hour.
The limit does not restrict most people as you may never need to drive that fast. It doesn’t have a distance restriction, so you can bring it on those long trips. If your Fiesta has an automatic transmission, release the parking brake and switch ON ignition to (II) position.
Place the car on Neutral Mode, switch the ignition OFF, and then release the brake pedal. Disconnect the negative battery cable. After towing, reconnect the battery cable and run the engine within 15 minutes after the connection.
If your Ford Fiesta has a manual transmission, release its parking brake and set the car on Neutral Mode.
All models of the Ford Flex can be flat towed. The car has a base curb weight of about 4,439 pounds and a speed limit of about 65 miles per hour. There are no distance limitations, so you can take the car on a long trip.
To tow the car behind your RV, release its parking brake and set the car on Neutral mode. Keeping the ignition OFF, disconnect the car’s battery negative cable. Note that you need to run your engine within 15 minutes after reconnecting this cable after the tow.
Before the tow, run your engine for at least five minutes to lubricate the transmission system and the engine. After that, run the engine every six hours to keep the parts lubricated. Again, you need to set the car on Neutral mode by setting it on Drive, then to Reverse, and then back to Neutral with the engine running and your foot on the brake pedal.
The Ford Ranger is a workhorse. It weighs about 4,534 pounds and doesn’t have any speed or distance restrictions. Only the 4WD model is flat towable.
You can bring this truck on your next adventure if you want to go off-road and carry cargo. To set it up for flat towing, set it on neutral tow, which gets it ready for recreational towing. Set the transfer case on neutral position and switch on the four-wheel down towing feature.
Ford Focus 2.0L
All Ford Focus models except ST are flat towable. This is a small car with a base curb weight of about 2,928 pounds. It has a speed limit of about 70 miles per hour with no distance limitations. You can tow the models with automatic and manual transmission.
For the automatic transmission model, release the parking brake and set the car in Neutral position. Turn the car ignition to ON before you set the car to Neutral position. From there, turn off ignition and with the brake pedal released, remove the negative battery cable.
If your Focus has a manual transmission, release the parking brake and set the car on Neutral Mode.
All Ford Fusion Models are flat towable. These include models such as Fusion 2.7L EcoBoost, Fusion Hybrid, and Fusion Hybrid Energi. The cars have a base curb weight of between 3,472 and 3,986 pounds.
The Fusion 2.7L EcoBoost has a speed limit of 65 miles per hour while the others have a speed limit of 70 miles per hour. To flat tow any of these vehicles, you need to release their parking brake and set the car on Stay-In-Neutral mode. Every day before you tow, start the engine and allow it to run for about five minutes.
Run the engine after every six hours to keep the parts lubricated. With your foot on the brake pedal, set the car on Neutral mode by first setting it on Drive, then Reverse, then Neutral. Re-enable the Stay-In-Neutral mode and start your tow.
The Bronco is the latest addition to the list of flat towable Ford vehicles. If you have an older model Bronco, it may not be towable, but the 2021 model is ready to tow anywhere.
The Bronco rivals the Jeep Wrangler as a go-anywhere and do-anything vehicle. It has a powerful engine, big tires, and other off-road features that make it a great option for off-road driving.
You need to check the user manual to understand how to tow the vehicle.
Ford Escape Hybrid
The Ford Escape Hybrid is also a new addition to the list of flat towable Ford vehicles. This small SUV is still new on the market. Unlike its predecessors that offered off-road features, the Escape has a host of features that makes it better as an on-road SUV.
The new flat towable model has high-strength steel features that make it lighter and tougher. It has a base curb weight of about 3,554 pounds and a speed limit of 70 miles per hour.
To tow, the car needs to Stay-In-Neutral mode. Run the engine for about five minutes at the start of the tow to lubricate the engine and the transmission. After that, run the engine every six hours.
Set the SUV on Neutral Mode by switching it to Drive, then to Reverse, and back to Neutral. Re-set the car to Stay-In-Neutral and start your tow.
Always Check the User Manual
If you have an older model Ford Bronco, it is not towable. This is the same case with the Ford Escape Hybrid. As such, even if a Ford vehicle appears on the list, there are model years that are not flat towable.
Models such as the F-150 and the Ranger have been flat-towable for a long time. Others have only been engineered a few years ago, and their older models are not towable. This is why you need to check the user manual to understand which model is towable and which is not.
Better still, the user manual will outline the flat towing procedure for the specific models so that you can follow with ease.
If your Ford vehicle is not dinghy towable, you can make it towable by adding aftermarket add-ons. These add-ons include driveshaft decouplers and a transmission lubrication pumps. These hardware will make your car towable, but it will cost you more than it would if the car was already engineered for dinghy towing.
If your Ford is flat tow ready, all you need is a baseplate, a tow bar, and a few accessories such as auxiliary brakes to get the Ford ready. The process of connecting the vehicle for towing is simple, but you can always seek help from a mechanic if you are not sure what to do.
When shopping for the connecting hardware, check the weight ratings vis a vis the curb weight of your truck. The Motorhome Magazine updates the list of flat towable vehicles every year, and you can check it out.