Go Back   Thor Forums > Thor Tech Forums > Towing | Hitches and Toads
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-30-2015, 03:54 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Challenger 37KT
State: Texas
Posts: 155
THOR #2871
Question New Toad - Ford Focus

Recently went from diesel pusher to a 2016 Thor Challenger 37KT. Was just tired of diesel headaches and expense (I'm not a mechanical person). Not to mention I got a luxury coach for $100,000+ less than a new diesel would have cost me. I was towing a Chevy Traverse, but at almost 4,800 lbs I thought it would be best to trade it for something lighter (I gave up a lot of power and torque, plus that would be awful close to the max tow weight).

Do any of you tow a Ford Focus? I traded my 2012 Traverse for a 2015 Focus yesterday (boy, does it look a lot smaller in my car port!). It is almost 1,700 lbs lighter, 2 feet shorter, and 6.6 inches narrower than the Traverse.

I have a Blue Ox Alpha tow bar and the Blue Ox Autostop supplemental breaking system with breakaway. I was getting ready to order the base plate when I realized I will probably need to drop the receiver a few inches (the Focus is much lower than the Traverse). I'll have to measure to know what size high-low hitch adapter.

Questions I have about this for any of you towing a Focus are:
1. What size high-low adapter do you use?
2. What kind of electrical connection do you use? (what pin cable, etc.)
3. Did you install a battery kill switch? If so, what brand?

Any advice, references, etc. you can offer would also be appreciated.

Thanks a lot,
__________________

__________________
Robert
Nacogdoches, TX
2016 Thor Challenger 37KT
2015 Ford Focus
rbmartiniv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 01:11 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chateau 35SK
State: Pennsylvania
Posts: 163
THOR #2366
Robert,

I also purchased a 2015 Ford Focus last week. In the owner's manual it states that you must disconnect the negative battery cable to flat tow. You would also have to run a power cable, either from the motorhome or before the battery disconnect to power the emergency break away and depending on the setup, the auxiliary braking system.

I haven't decided if I want to flat tow or use a tow dolly. Keep us posted on how you make out.

Fred
__________________

__________________
Fred g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 03:49 PM   #3
Axis/Vegas Enthusiast
 
JamieGeek's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Axis 24.1
State: Michigan
Posts: 7,941
THOR #1150
I had a 2012 Focus for 3 years but never towed it, and the owners manual to our Focus Electric says in no uncertain terms that towing it under any circumstances is strictly verboten--even in emergency situations I have to insist on getting a flatbed. Which is pretty sad as the Focus Electric would be perfect for touring locally around campgrounds (and you can use the 50A plug at the campground to charge up).

Towing a Focus with a dolly is probably very similar to our towing my wife's Escape with our dolly (the Escape is based off of the Focus although it does have a different transmission). On the dolly we just leave it in neutral and switch off. Have to start the engine at every stop, otherwise the battery will go dead (I'm rigging up a charge cable from the RV trailer plug to hook to the Escape's battery to rectify that situation).
__________________
2014 Thor Axis 24.1
2018 Chevy Bolt
blog - https://spareelectrons.wordpress.com/
JamieGeek is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 05:37 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Tuscany RX
State: Alberta
Posts: 16
THOR #1112
I am towing a 2015 Ford Fiesta. Using a 7pin cable. Had car wired to use lights when hooked to coach. Blue Ox Adveta hitch, no drop receiver. Transmission neutral & remove negative terminal. Been working great.
__________________
thirdrock44 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 07:57 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chateau 35SK
State: Pennsylvania
Posts: 163
THOR #2366
If we decide to tow the Focus on a dolly, I am still trying to figure out what dolly would be best. The steering column does not lock and all of the demco tow dollies would require the steering wheel to be tied. Acme tow dolly wants the steering column unlocked. Trying to figure out the difference in tow dollies as to which ones need the steering column tied or locked and those that don't.

Fred
__________________
Fred g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2015, 08:55 PM   #6
Axis/Vegas Enthusiast
 
JamieGeek's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Axis 24.1
State: Michigan
Posts: 7,941
THOR #1150
We use the Acme dolly with the Escape (which also doesn't lock the steering wheel). Works great.
__________________
2014 Thor Axis 24.1
2018 Chevy Bolt
blog - https://spareelectrons.wordpress.com/
JamieGeek is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2015, 06:00 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chateau 35SK
State: Pennsylvania
Posts: 163
THOR #2366
I saw the video on the Acme tow dolly and my concern was the size of the tires. They look kinda small, like 10" while other dollies have 14" and 15".

Fred
__________________
Fred g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2015, 06:52 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Brand: Still Looking
State: Texas
Posts: 3,816
THOR #2121
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
We use the Acme dolly with the Escape (which also doesn't lock the steering wheel). Works great.
Is there basically only one size, or did I miss read that?

It appears from their site that they are all 102 inches wide and can handle vehicles up to 79 inches wide from tire outside to outside (if I read specs/FAQ correctly), and vehicles up to 5,000 pounds as long as front axle is no more than 3,000 pounds.

For smaller cars like Ford Fiesta, Focus, or Honda Fit it would seem larger than ideal. I have a hard time thinking of the dolly being wider than the motorhome.
__________________
Chance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2015, 09:12 PM   #9
Axis/Vegas Enthusiast
 
JamieGeek's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Axis 24.1
State: Michigan
Posts: 7,941
THOR #1150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred g
I saw the video on the Acme tow dolly and my concern was the size of the tires. They look kinda small, like 10" while other dollies have 14" and 15".

Fred
Yes they are small tires and thus turn a bit faster. Whenever we stop I usually do a walk around making sure everything is ok. Part of that is feeling the wheel hubs on the dolly to make sure they aren't overheating--so far they never get too hot to touch; just lukewarm. They also use some really tough tires--I don't expect these to have any issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by "Chance'
Is there basically only one size, or did I miss read that?

It appears from their site that they are all 102 inches wide and can handle vehicles up to 79 inches wide from tire outside to outside (if I read specs/FAQ correctly), and vehicles up to 5,000 pounds as long as front axle is no more than 3,000 pounds.

For smaller cars like Ford Fiesta, Focus, or Honda Fit it would seem larger than ideal. I have a hard time thinking of the dolly being wider than the motorhome.
Yes there is only one size. It really isn't that big: Loading either the Escape or the Focus (yeah I had to try even though Ford says not to) leaves only a few inches to spare on either side.

Note that the track widths are about the same (Escape: 61.5, Focus 61.2).

It really isn't that much wider than the RV: not enough to even notice it back there--have to turn on the rear camera to see it.
__________________
2014 Thor Axis 24.1
2018 Chevy Bolt
blog - https://spareelectrons.wordpress.com/
JamieGeek is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2015, 10:07 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Brand: Still Looking
State: Texas
Posts: 3,816
THOR #2121
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
.....cut....

Yes there is only one size. It really isn't that big: Loading either the Escape or the Focus (yeah I had to try even though Ford says not to) leaves only a few inches to spare on either side.

Note that the track widths are about the same (Escape: 61.5, Focus 61.2).

It really isn't that much wider than the RV: not enough to even notice it back there--have to turn on the rear camera to see it.
Thanks Jamie, nice rig.

Why can't your electric Focus not be towed on a dolly if drive wheels are off the road? Does it have rear drive also?

Regarding dolly width, it looks from picture that fender support is closest interference -- other than that it looks plenty wide. It's hard for me to tell from pictures. It also looks like car tires may ride behind the dolly axle -- would have not expected that although I haven't looked at dollies closely.

My only concern with dolly tires being outside of motorhome's would be hitting a curve or construction barrier. To me the 102-inch width -- the maximum allowed by law and only on certain roads -- would be a problem mostly if driving a narrow Axis or other narrow motorhome.
__________________
Chance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2015, 11:11 PM   #11
Axis/Vegas Enthusiast
 
JamieGeek's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Axis 24.1
State: Michigan
Posts: 7,941
THOR #1150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance
Thanks Jamie, nice rig.

Why can't your electric Focus not be towed on a dolly if drive wheels are off the road? Does it have rear drive also?

Regarding dolly width, it looks from picture that fender support is closest interference -- other than that it looks plenty wide. It's hard for me to tell from pictures. It also looks like car tires may ride behind the dolly axle -- would have not expected that although I haven't looked at dollies closely.

My only concern with dolly tires being outside of motorhome's would be hitting a curve or construction barrier. To me the 102-inch width -- the maximum allowed by law and only on certain roads -- would be a problem mostly if driving a narrow Axis or other narrow motorhome.
We're not really sure why Ford doesn't want you to tow it (We because I have a coworker with the exact same Focus Electric and we've discussed it frequently). Near as we can figure Ford is concerned about the weight transfer to the back wheels as all the batteries are back there. Mechanically the rear end is the same as a gas engine'd Focus. Although for my test tow of 3 miles the ABS & Traction control really were not happy at all--took 3 ignition cycles to clear all the alarms! LOL (I'm sure that could be avoided if I just disconnected the - 12V battery). Thus our primary toad is my wife's FWD Escape.

I believe that the front axle of the car rides slightly forward of the dolly's axles to give it a smidge of tongue weight:


We've never hit a curb simply because of the Axis' rear-axle overhang: When we turn the rear of the camper goes in the opposite direction thus moving the dolly away from the curb. I would imagine this affect would even be greater on a Class-C with much larger distance between the rear axle and the rear bumper. (I also keep an eye on the rear-view mirrors when we turn as that is the only way to see the car back there without the rear view camera.)
__________________
2014 Thor Axis 24.1
2018 Chevy Bolt
blog - https://spareelectrons.wordpress.com/
JamieGeek is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2015, 12:31 AM   #12
Junior Member
 
Brand: Still Looking
State: Montana
Posts: 2
THOR #3070
I will be purchasing and Axis/Vegas next year. I will also buy an aluminum trailer so I can use my 63 Triumph TR4 as my tow vehicle. An aluminum trailer with a 4100 lb carrying capacity weighs about 850 lbs runs about $6000. If your use a trailer you can have your pick of "toads."
__________________
Montana Mark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2015, 12:38 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Brand: Still Looking
State: Texas
Posts: 3,816
THOR #2121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Mark View Post
I will be purchasing and Axis/Vegas next year. I will also buy an aluminum trailer so I can use my 63 Triumph TR4 as my tow vehicle. An aluminum trailer with a 4100 lb carrying capacity weighs about 850 lbs runs about $6000. If your use a trailer you can have your pick of "toads."
Are you referring to Trailex Model CT-7541? Certainly light but at a cost.


The subject of trailers was discussed in different thread not long ago. I personally like the simplicity of trailers in concept, but others pointed out that many camp grounds may not have enough space for the motorhome, the trailer, and the toad once off loaded. It's a valid point that may not apply to all equally depending on how they use their motorhome and car.
__________________
Chance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2015, 12:47 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Brand: Still Looking
State: Texas
Posts: 3,816
THOR #2121
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post

....cut....

I believe that the front axle of the car rides slightly forward of the dolly's axles to give it a smidge of tongue weight:


....cut....
Thanks, looks a little clearer from that angle.

I'm curious if the dolly has any suspension built in, or if it's rigid and system relies on the car's front suspension to absorb impacts? I guess the car is self protected, but wonder if the dolly itself takes a beating if it doesn't have any springs at all.
__________________
Chance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2015, 01:36 PM   #15
Axis/Vegas Enthusiast
 
JamieGeek's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Axis 24.1
State: Michigan
Posts: 7,941
THOR #1150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance
I'm curious if the dolly has any suspension built in, or if it's rigid and system relies on the car's front suspension to absorb impacts? I guess the car is self protected, but wonder if the dolly itself takes a beating if it doesn't have any springs at all.
Correct: No springs on the dolly. It does make use of the car's front suspension. Acme has a decent video describing the dolly and how its used on their website (including some footage from under the car as its being towed):
Acme "EZE-TOW" Tow Dolly - Car Tow Dolly

Another thing to note is that you have to leave the car in neutral to allow it to pivot with respect to the dolly (for going over hills, entrance ramps, etc.).
__________________
2014 Thor Axis 24.1
2018 Chevy Bolt
blog - https://spareelectrons.wordpress.com/
JamieGeek is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2015, 01:51 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chateau 35SK
State: Pennsylvania
Posts: 163
THOR #2366
Thanks for the pics and feedback on the Acme. So far, the Acme is the only tow dolly were the steering wheel must be unlocked. All other tow dolly manufacturers require the steering wheel to be locked. In fact, Remco even sells a strap to tie off the steering wheel if it is not a locking steering column.
Trying to figure out what system is best. The Focus has an unlocked steering column.
The smaller wheels of the Acme would lower the approach height thereby making it easier to load. Some of the other tow dollies have a release allowing the ramps to pivot down to make loading easier. Wish there was someplace close to compare them.

Fred
__________________
Fred g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2015, 03:56 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
dstankov's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2015 Challenger 37ND
State: Virginia
Posts: 3,175
THOR #1469
Fred,

I use a Master Tow 80 with surge brakes. I believe the reason for the locked steering column on the Master Tow may have to do with the rotating carrier pan. The rotating pan allows for better tracking of the car around corners and eliminates some of the effect of the coaches tail swing.

The Master Tow requires the wheel locked and trans in park when towing.

I primarily tow our 2008 Ford Fusion but have also towed the Ford Flex.

The reasons for me choosing the Master Tow were

The rotating pan
Fenders over the tires
LED Lights on the Dolly (I do use magnetic lights on the car trunk as well by using an adapter that allows plugging in two sets of trailer lights)
Normal size tires and wheels.

I did install a crank down trailer jack (purchased from Outdoor world) after this pic was taken.

Click image for larger version

Name:	tow dolly.JPG
Views:	772
Size:	174.1 KB
ID:	1004

Here is the dolly connected to my prior coach with the Fusion loaded. We were heading to Fort Wilderness this past January.

Click image for larger version

Name:	TD Loaded.JPG
Views:	339
Size:	148.0 KB
ID:	1005
__________________
Dave
US Army (Ret)
Chester, VA
2015 Thor Challenger 37ND
FMCA - F432054
dstankov is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2015, 04:15 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chateau 35SK
State: Pennsylvania
Posts: 163
THOR #2366
Dave,

Thanks for the info. I know Master Tow is a quality product, just not sure about trying to tie down the steering wheel and what will happen if it loosens up. I have read horror stories of the tow dolly scraping on the side of the car.

Fred
__________________
Fred g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2015, 05:37 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Brand: Still Looking
State: Texas
Posts: 3,816
THOR #2121
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Correct: No springs on the dolly. It does make use of the car's front suspension. Acme has a decent video describing the dolly and how its used on their website (including some footage from under the car as its being towed):
Acme "EZE-TOW" Tow Dolly - Car Tow Dolly

Another thing to note is that you have to leave the car in neutral to allow it to pivot with respect to the dolly (for going over hills, entrance ramps, etc.).
Thanks again for clarification Jamie. I had seen the video but couldn't tell if it had torflex-type suspension or not. I figured it probably didn't but wanted confirmation because car trailers, which really aren't that different in how they handle bumps, usually have suspension instead of relying on car's suspension to absorb road shocks.

I have to admit that the video shows that loading and securing a car on dolly is more involved and takes more work than I expected. On the other hand a trailer probably isn't that much easier if it requires ramps and securing car down to trailer anyway. Not really all that different in the end -- except trailer can be backed up, but takes up more space and weighs a little more.
__________________
Chance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2015, 06:07 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
dstankov's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2015 Challenger 37ND
State: Virginia
Posts: 3,175
THOR #1469
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred g View Post
Dave,

Thanks for the info. I know Master Tow is a quality product, just not sure about trying to tie down the steering wheel and what will happen if it loosens up. I have read horror stories of the tow dolly scraping on the side of the car.

Fred
I can see where that would be a concern on any dolly with a pivoting pan. Not locking the wheel could cause the wheels to turn instead of remaining straight with the pan as the pan pivots which could cause the dolly fenders to hit the side of the car.

I can also see where a non-pivoting pan dolly could tear out the under carriage of a car, without locking wheel, going through a curve or turn on a decline. This could happen when the dolly and front of the car start the curve and decline before the rear of the car starts reacting to the curve and decline. It is hard to explain but I see it in my mind.

I'm not sure if any of this could be minimized by using a wider 80 inch dolly rather than a narrower 77 inch dolly. The wider dolly may allow for the pivoting pan to stop its pivot before fenders come in contact with the car.
__________________

__________________
Dave
US Army (Ret)
Chester, VA
2015 Thor Challenger 37ND
FMCA - F432054
dstankov is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Thor Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.




All times are GMT. The time now is 01:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2