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Old 02-06-2014, 07:02 PM   #1
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Ford Focus tow plate questions

My wife and I purchased a new 2014 Ford Focus Hatchback after learning that it could be towed four-wheels-down even with it's automatic transmission. (Yes the owner's manual verified this.)

So now comes the question/problem of deciding which tow plate will work best and require the least modification to the front air dam, grill, and bumper.
I see Blue Ox and Roadmaster base plates being advertised, the Blue Ox looking like it has more steel and perhaps requiring more cutting and potential exposure.

Does anyone on this forum have experience installing any type of tow plate to any of the recent Ford Focus models? If so, I'd appreciate a shout out about your experience.

Other opinions are also welcomed!

John
Athens, GA
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:35 PM   #2
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Ford focus towing

JDHoge: we r thinking the same exact thing! Like the focus?

Barry
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by acerv47 View Post
JDHoge: we r thinking the same exact thing! Like the focus?

Barry
Yes, I do. Traded our PriusC which got incredible gas mileage but wasn't much of a road car. It wouldn't tow four down either, of course.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:42 PM   #4
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I can't help you out with your search for the correct/best tow bar, but I can tell you I think that Ford Focus can rival the Prius for mileage. I've seen as high as 42.5 on our 2012. Lot less money also.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lloyd View Post
I can't help you out with your search for the correct/best tow bar, but I can tell you I think that Ford Focus can rival the Prius for mileage. I've seen as high as 42.5 on our 2012. Lot less money also.
Well, the PriusC did 55 consistently on the highway at 65 mph and regularly got 68 mpg going to the local food store and back. Driven conservatively it would do 60 mpg on flat two lane roads at 55 mph. I'd love to think that my new Focus could do that, but I doubt it.
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Old 03-07-2014, 01:03 PM   #6
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DW and I have been investigating our options for our next car. Our research has pointed out these considerations:
- Tire monitoring system, e.g.
http://www.greatrvproducts.com/TST_507RV_TPMS_INFO.html
- Protect A Tow, e.g. http://protectatow.tripod.com/
- Blue Ox products, e.g. Blue Ox Products Caution with respect to towbar angle
- Towing Flat guide, e.g. Downloadable Dinghy Guides | MotorHome Magazine (current year free)

- Vehicle In Tow sign, e.g. Car In Tow Signs for under front license plate (EZ-Pass) and Tow (state law)
We don't need the car today (retirement tbd), but if so we would buy a Ford Focus hatchback Standard Transmission for "turn key" operation.
btw reread the manual... the Automatic Transmission is NOT "turn key"
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Old 03-09-2014, 05:39 PM   #7
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Check this post out wrt automatic transmission. btw after reconnecting the battery, the engine module has to "relearn" your/it's driving characteristics to "recalibrate" (approximately 3 hrs.).
Dinghy Towing a Ford Focus
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:20 PM   #8
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I just purchased a 07 Ford Focus Hatchback 5 speed standard trans for our tow vehicle. It is at the RV dealership having the Roadmaster tow plate and invisibrake installed as I type this. Dont know how much modifications will have to be done to front grill/facia will be done but I will find out in a couple of days.
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:20 PM   #9
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My mom has that very exact car - well it is an SE (I don't know if the ST can be towed). And we have a 2014 Ford Taurus that I was going to tow, but when my mom bought her Focus, we bought her old car - a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am, which is also towable. I just could not see drilling holes in a new car.

I have bought the baseplate for the Pontiac, which came in on Monday, but the car is in the shop getting the transmission serviced along with brakes, etc. to bring it up to par so it can be towed.

After I get the car back from service, I'll start installing the baseplate.

Some of the research I did revealed that different towbars are easier to install than others, so you might want to determine which one to use.

I went with the Blue Ox baseplate as the Roadmaster baseplate required removing engine bolts and lifting the engine on my Pontiac... not something I want to do - or pay someone to do.

Here are the installation instructions for the Blue Ox baseplate:

http://blueox.com/Uploads/Docs/BX2633.pdf

If you go with the Roadmaster baseplate, I think Camping World still has their $16 installation deal going until the end of the year, so it might be a bit cheaper if you do not want to do the install yourself.

Generally - you have to buy the towbar and baseplate from the same manufacturer, but for some baseplates, there are conversion brackets that allow use of a competitor's towbar.

The only real concern I would have is that many current model Fords have a dynamic air shutter that needs to be taken off the vehicle for some baseplates. This may reduce the gas mileage slightly, but probably not by much.

Here is the install instructions for the Roadmaster baseplate:

http://www.roadmasterinc.com/pdfinst/524430-1.pdf

The Blue Ox baseplate seems beefier to me, but the Roadmaster bracket seems simpler to install.

One odd thing though that I see for the Focus, you need to disconnect the battery. But for my Taurus, you don't need to do anything, just put it into ACC position (not ON like for the Focus). Wonder why vehicle manufacturers cannot have some consistency among their models (for example, the 2014 Fusion cannot even be towed, unless it is the electric or hybrid version).

Also, I think the Focus can use a "bulb" kit for the brake lights. For the vehicles that can use it, you basically drill a hole in the backside of the brake light bezel and mount a dedicated bulb that goes directly to the brake light connector from the RV.

This alleviates messing around with diodes and keeping the tail light systems independent.

I could not do this with my Taurus as the LED lights don't allow for mounting another light bulb as there is no room in the tail light bezel. But the Pontiac does have room, so that is how I am going to connect brake lights.
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:11 PM   #10
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We are towing a 2012 Ford Focus SE 4 door with standard transmission. We have a Roadmaster Falcon All-Terrain tow bar and Invisabrake. We are very happy with the set up.
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:13 AM   #11
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I'd like to warn people who might be thinking of getting a recent Ford Focus with their 6 speed automatic transmission to tow four wheels down. It turns out that the tranny is unique and consists of two manual 3 speed shafts connected with some fancy clutches that "learn" how you drive and adapt.
The transmission itself is a bit of a pickle; it downshifts when slowing sort of like a manual transmission driver might do if he or she was expecting to accelerate out of a turn, for example. You'll see the RPMs bump up slightly as you slow down in some instances. Also, at least in our case, the transmission seems to have a Jeckle and Hyde nature as it goes from being a slow poke to a race car attitude at the touch of the gas peddle. This might be nice for some drivers but may make grandpa and grandma a bit nervous.
The car is fine on the highway; very stable and wind resistant. Wide tires and good stance make it track well. Also it tows easily, at least in my opinion.
I've seen rumors that each time that the battery is disconnected that the transmission has to go back through its learning period. Maybe that is true. I just don't know.
Ford has a customer service bulletin that explains these things, telling customers not to be concerned with the strange noises and behavior--that they are normal. It even recommends that concerned owners drive another Focus in order to see that such behavior is normal.
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Old 08-29-2014, 06:30 AM   #12
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That is interesting about the Focus transmission. I drove my mom's car the day she bought it, when it still had less than 50 miles on it, and it seemed to shift through the first two gears rapidly, then the third (or perhaps fourth) gear seemed almost a bit sluggish.

But I suppose it will be sort of quirky like that until it learns her driving habits.
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:03 AM   #13
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Yep. That would be a classic symptom. Ford doesn't see this as being a problem, but I've been in situations where I expected and needed a fairly quick pace of acceleration and when it didn't happen and I punched the accelerator the vehicle almost smoked its tires...
Perhaps it was still learning my driving habits...
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Old 08-29-2014, 01:35 PM   #14
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I have to tell you though, I am 6'2" and her Focus has plenty of room, and I can even get into the back seat. I was really impressed by that for such a small car.

It is kind of like a go-kart.

Told my wife we should sell our Taurus and buy a Focus. I got that "whatchutalkinboutwillis" look.
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:50 PM   #15
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I tow a 2012 Ford fiesta ( very similar to the focus) and installed the Road master myself in a day. Had to take the entire plastic front end off the car to install, but it bolted right on with ease.
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