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Old 10-31-2015, 07:14 PM   #1
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THOR #2871
Ford Focus Battery Disconnect

I just purchased a 2015 Ford Focus to use as a toad. The owner's manual says to disconnect the battery's negative cable when towing. The negative post is very difficult to access. However, the battery cable runs from the negative post, out of the battery enclosure, and then is bolted to the chassis. Is there any reason I can't attach a kill switch where the cable is bolted to the chassis?
Thanks.
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Old 10-31-2015, 07:53 PM   #2
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I have the same 2015 Focus and I am also thinking of where to put the battery disconnect. I also need to run a hot wire to the auxiliary braking system so the emergency disconnect will work. Undecided to go with the hassle or just put it on a tow dolly.
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Old 01-17-2016, 12:12 AM   #3
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I have a question, yes, the manual says to disconnect the negative side of the battery, BUT why? Why does it have to be disconnected. We are not using electric from the system except for the controller, and there are diodes between the tail lights and the system, I don't get it. Is it for the guy who doesn't have diodes, then it could do damage. Again, why?
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Old 01-17-2016, 12:33 AM   #4
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On Focuses with push-button-start you have to leave it "on" if you are to leave it in neutral. Leaving it "on" is a sure way to kill the battery in about 6 hours.

(On the push-button-start Ford's we've owned: Leaving it in neutral and pressing the start/stop button immediately shows a "Put in park" message on the dash which stays up until you put it in park. Thus the dashboard stays alive.)
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Old 01-17-2016, 01:48 AM   #5
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OK, yes, that makes sense. But I have a wrangler, everything is off even the key, there is no column lock. I put the manual trans in any gear and the transfer case in neutral. Other than that nothing is on. That is primarily why I ask do I have to disconnect the negative on the battery, it just doesn't make sense in my case.
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Old 01-17-2016, 11:22 AM   #6
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The manufacturer recommended towing setup is different for each vehicle.

For a Wrangler, I don't think you need to do anything other than put the transfer case in neutral. You would not necessarily need to disconnect the negative lead of the battery.

For my Pontiac Grand Am, I have to remove 3 fuses when I tow.

For the Focus, Ford recommends disconnecting the battery (if you want to power a brake system, generally there are cables available from the brake manufacturers (at additional cost) to connect the brake system directly to the battery.

Each vehicle is different.
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Old 01-18-2016, 01:25 AM   #7
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Supplemental Braking System for Ford Focus

For our 2015 Ford Focus, I decided to go with the Blue Ox Autostop braking system with break away. It easily goes with my Blue Ox Alpha tow bar and is only about a third the cost of a Brake Buddy type of system. I also had to get a Hi-Low drop hitch because the Focus is so much lower than the hitch on the Challenger.
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Yosemitebob View Post
OK, yes, that makes sense. But I have a wrangler, everything is off even the key, there is no column lock. I put the manual trans in any gear and the transfer case in neutral. Other than that nothing is on. That is primarily why I ask do I have to disconnect the negative on the battery, it just doesn't make sense in my case.
Jeep recommends the disconnect.. I believe they also say to leave key in accessory position... (I'd have to check the owners manual again).
Accessory would power some things - and potentially drain the battery.

As you said - no steering lock - so no reason for the key at all. And with the soft top - I didn't want the key in it.. too inviting...

The only difference I noticed with battery connected vs disconnected is that the 'high mount' third brake light on the jeep only activates when the battery is connected - and then only for the time the invisibrake is active (max 15 seconds). That light isn't activated with battery disconnected (OEM wiring harness to power Jeep brake lights.)

I do disconnect the battery - but keep the key in my pocket.
Trans in Park with Transfer Case Neutral (mine is automatic obviously).
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:21 PM   #9
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High Low drop down hitch

What size drop down did you have to use? We have a Hurricane 34 J and I just had the tow system installed on a 2015 Fiesta and it looks like I will need either a 6 or 8 inch. Not to crazy about the 8 because it comes so far down, but I think the 6 would put us within the plus minus 3 inches. Just curious as to how far you had to drop it on the Focus, the Fiesta is pretty low to the ground.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:33 AM   #10
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I had to use an 8" to get within the requirement. The center of the Challenger's receiver is 20" above the ground. The base plate/tow bar connection is 12" above the ground.
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by gmc View Post

The only difference I noticed with battery connected vs disconnected is that the 'high mount' third brake light on the jeep only activates when the battery is connected - and then only for the time the invisibrake is active (max 15 seconds). That light isn't activated with battery disconnected (OEM wiring harness to power Jeep brake lights.)
I do disconnect the battery - but keep the key in my pocket.
Trans in Park with Transfer Case Neutral (mine is automatic obviously).
I talked to the tech guys at the dealer, not the service writer, and he thinks, it's easier to write it up for all than to write separate manuals. But he did say no you don't need the key in for a manual trans. He didn't say anything about the third brake light, that is interesting. I'll have to check that one out.
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:21 AM   #12
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Thanks, mine is 23 and 15 so I'm thinking a 6 will put me with in the limit by one inch. About the transmission, I have an automatic and the owners manual says to turn on the ignition, take the parking brake off, turn the key to on, put it in neutral and when it shows in neutral turn the key off and disconnect the battery. You can't take the key out until the battery is disconnected. The shop that installed mine was going to put a battery disconnect on it, but this car for some reason states do not install one.
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Old 03-01-2016, 02:07 PM   #13
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We bought a 2015 Focus last night because the owner's manual gave the following instructions for flat tow.
1. Release parking brake
2. Put the transmission in neutral

Simple - right? Then last night when I was reading a bit more of the owners manual I found the following notice about the 12 V Power Point where I had intended to power the brake controller.

Note: After starting your vehicle, you can use the socket to power 12-volt appliances with a maximum current rating of 20 amps. After you switch your vehicle off, the power supply works only for a maximum of 30 minutes.

Looks like it isn't quite as simple as I thought.
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Old 03-01-2016, 02:42 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by pstandiford View Post
...I found the following notice about the 12 V Power Point where I had intended to power the brake controller.

Note: After starting your vehicle, you can use the socket to power 12-volt appliances with a maximum current rating of 20 amps. After you switch your vehicle off, the power supply works only for a maximum of 30 minutes.

Looks like it isn't quite as simple as I thought.
A direct line to the battery (fused) shouldn't be too difficult - of course depends where they hide the battery... My Acadia is under the rear passenger floorboard. My Wrangler is in the open under the hood.
My Invisibrake draws power from the RV for all but a breakaway - connects to - and keeps charged - the toad battery in case it's needed.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pstandiford View Post
We bought a 2015 Focus last night because the owner's manual gave the following instructions for flat tow.
1. Release parking brake
2. Put the transmission in neutral

Simple - right? Then last night when I was reading a bit more of the owners manual I found the following notice about the 12 V Power Point where I had intended to power the brake controller.

Note: After starting your vehicle, you can use the socket to power 12-volt appliances with a maximum current rating of 20 amps. After you switch your vehicle off, the power supply works only for a maximum of 30 minutes.

Looks like it isn't quite as simple as I thought.
On our 2015 Focus the shop that installed our tow bar and light harness wired a cigarette lighter type plug and another small plug for the break away and they run off of the motor home power. I have to disconnect the toads battery after putting the transmission in neutral.
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:10 AM   #16
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THOR #2871
You also have to disconnect the negative battery cable.
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:55 AM   #17
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Our new Focus is a manual so we don't have to disconnect the battery like with the automatic.
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Old 03-02-2016, 03:41 AM   #18
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Oh, didn't know that.
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