2009 Ford Escape Dinghy – Flat Towing Problems

May/4/2011 71 Malia Lane
Ford Escape - Towing Issues, RVing
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I’ve decided to post my experience with towing the 2009 Ford Escape here in hopes that by drawing attention to the issues I’ve had, it will help others and maybe get some definitive help from Ford and assurance that this car is indeed safe to be flat towed per the representations by the dealer and in the Owner’s Manual provided.

As a legal assistant, I know how important it is to outline the facts with an established timeline, so I have prepared that and will keep it updated.  I have also started keeping a record of all of my correspondence with Ford.  That and other documentation is linked below.

I’m sharing here and on the website in hopes of saving others some of the time and trouble I had.  Link to website page of what I’ve learned through this process.

April, 2013: I’ve escaped the Escape!

For my birthday, I treated myself to a new toad! I absolutely love my Honda Fit and it does fit the bill perfectly for me. See Facebook page for pictures and more details (it’s public so you don’t need FB account to view). Since then, I’ve towed it from Austin to Tennessee with no problems at all – very quick and simple process. Plus I love how I can zip around much better while exploring and never a problem fitting into a parking space! I’m thankful my Ford dealer (Leif Johnson in Austin) worked it out so I could trade it in. As I’ve said, I have no problem with them, but I will never, ever buy another Ford car due to the unscrupulous way Ford as a company has handled this matter.  If you’ll read any of the info below or on my website, you’ll see why.

August 1, 2011:

The left front axle fell off!  See blog post: Ford Escape Problems Even Worse Now!


As for my overall experience with Ford, I detailed all of that in the documents linked below, but to recap, for the most part, if my only problem was the friendliness of the Ford people, I’d have had no problem whatsoever.  My unhappiness was due to the car I bought not being reliable and possibly even dangerous, whether it was being towed or not.  Do a Google search for “Ford Escape transmission problems” and you’ll see enough to get what I mean.

At first I thought the transmission issues were related to it being flat towed.  That was my particular interest so that’s what I concentrated on.  I started seeing, though, that it’s not only towed cars that are having these issues, and was surprised at the number of other folks in the same boat with these cars.

I learned a lot in this process, I’m used to doing research, and I looked all over to see if I could find an official statement from Ford about these continued transmission failures.  Nothing could I find.  It does look like Ford is trying to take care of the customers, replacing transmissions multiple times in some cases, replacing parts as needed, etc.  But sometimes that is of little consolation, especially to RVers whose entire trips sometimes have been ruined by having to deal with these dangerous breakdowns over and over again.  So I’d still like to see some official statement from Ford and assurance that they are really working on a permanent fix to these issues and that continuing problems will be resolved even when the cars are no longer under manufacturer’s warranty.

The inconvenience I experienced with my departure being delayed briefly was mild compared to some of the horror stories I heard from other RVers.  But the anxiety I experienced when they couldn’t tell me how long it would take to even get the part after almost 3 weeks of waiting was certainly no fun.  And the thought of 2,600 other people out there waiting for the same part didn’t help.

Kathy at the regional level of the Customer Relationship Center was also a huge help, made me feel like she was on my side and assured me she would be my contact to get me any help I need no matter where I am in the country should I have further problems.  I’m really grateful to her for that!

I do encourage anyone else going through this to post comments here and on the forums I’ve linked below.  I think we all should stick together and share information to help each other through this as Ford figures everything out on their end!

Questions for Ford about recurring transmission failures

I’ve been told by reps via Twitter on May 18 that engineers will answer my technical questions, so I’ll post here if they do.  If anyone has any questions to add, please post here!

Brief history:

In 2009, when the Saturn I had flat towed behind my motorhome since 2001 needed to be replaced, I was going to buy another Saturn because I had been so happy with the trouble free towing of it for so many years. But once I discovered that Saturn was basically going out of business, I decided to research to see what other cars with automatic transmissions were okay for flat towing.

Even though I had not been traveling for a couple of years at that point, the most important consideration was that it could easily be flat towed because I still intended to resume my fulltime RVing lifestyle as soon as I could. The 2009 Ford Escape looked like the best option to me. I didn’t see anything to cause concern at that point, it was highly rated by Consumer Reports, and the flat towing instructions clearly outlined in the owner’s manual were not complicated or burdensome.

I purchased my 2009 Ford Escape XLT (4 cyl., automatic transmission) on November 19, 2009.  The first time I flat towed it was in February, 2010.  That’s when the saga begins…

My first letter/plea to Mr. William Clay Ford, Jr., Executive Chairman of Ford: (link to pdf copy)

No response from anyone on corporate level on this either…

May 4, 2011

Mr. William Clay Ford, Jr.
Executive Chairman
Ford Motor Company
P.O. Box 6248
Dearborn, MI 48126-2798

Dear Mr. Ford,

Although I have addressed my concerns via the comment form on your website and Twitter, I am old fashioned enough to prefer to address a real letter to a real person.  But besides that, my problems are of a pressing nature at this point and I am not at all assured that they will be addressed by these impersonal, anonymous methods.  But I guess this is a long shot, too…

I am a solo female fulltime RVer travel writer. I bought a 2009 Ford Escape because of its ability to be flat towed behind a motorhome. I’ve towed it less than 2,000 miles now and even after the transmission was replaced in 2009 and the axle bushing, seal & axle assembly replaced in 2010, I am now being told my transmission shows early signs of failure and the same repairs need to be done again. I am meticulous about following the manual and the May 2010 supplemental bulletin’s towing instructions. I flat towed a Saturn for 8 years with no problems at all before the Ford, so this is not a new concept for me.

I am on assignment for MotorHome magazine and will need to tow my car all over Michigan this summer. I am now in SC waiting yet again for the back ordered parts to be sent to the dealer. They cannot tell me how long it will take or that the car is safe to drive in the meantime.

I really need some top-dog help here, Mr. Ford. Most of the dealers and people I’ve talked to have been very nice, but the last person I talked to at Customer Service (Connor) was of no help whatsoever. And I need more than friendly voices or expressions of concern that you want to keep satisfied customers. As a woman traveling alone, driving a 36’ motorhome towing a car, I have enough to worry about. I need assurance that I have a safe car that does what Ford says it was built to do. I can’t afford to spend my time sitting in service centers while your engineers figure out how to fix a problem that should have been addressed a long time ago.

I’ve written about my experience with as much information as I can provide at http://www.maliasmiles.com/blog/2009-ford-escape-dinghy/. I beg you to please help me keep the faith in Ford and contact me with a real solution to this problem so I can go about my business in Michigan this summer without constantly worrying about my car giving out on me in the middle of the Upper Peninsula with limited resources. I hope and pray that a real person with a warm heart and real conscience receives this and is moved to provide some real help!

In a 11/15/2009 press release, you were quoted as saying “I want us to be a company that makes a difference in people’s lives; one that delights its customers…“to do that we are focused on delivering desirable products…”

So I beseech you, Mr. Ford, make a difference in this one woman’s life.  Deliver the desirable product I bought and help relieve the tension and anxiety I now feel with this unreliable car.


Malia Lane

Monday, May 16:

I’m sending another snail mail letter to Mr. Ford with recap of all communications with Ford to date.  Am I a fool to believe that if someone at corporate actually takes the time to review my case, I’ll have better success than with the canned responses from the not-appropriately named “Customer Relationship Center?”  Here is link to that letter with all documents attached.

Timeline and other Documentation:

Timeline of issues with towing Escape

Communications with Ford via Twitter

Communications with Customer Relationship Center – Ford Motor Company (CRCFMC)

Forum Posts:

From FMCA Administrators on their forum:  Ford 2012 Escape, Fusion No Longer Towable (May 2012)
FMCA recently learned that Ford Motor Company has amended its information concerning flat-towing 2012 Ford Escape and Fusion vehicles equipped with front-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive, or all-wheel-drive systems. In February 2012 the company published an Owner Guide Supplement for these vehicles. It states:

This Information Replaces The Recreational Towing Information In The Tires, Wheels And Loading Chapter

Recreational Towing

Note: Put your climate control system in recirculated air mode to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the vehicle. Refer to the Climate Control chapter.

Follow these guidelines if you have a need for recreational (RV) towing. An example of recreational towing would be towing your vehicle behind a motorhome. These guidelines are designed to ensure that your transmission is not damaged.

Front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicles CANNOT be flat-towed (all wheels on the ground), as vehicle or transmission damage may occur. The front wheels must be placed on a two-wheel tow dolly. If you are using a tow dolly, follow the instructions specified by the equipment provider.

All-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles CANNOT be flat-towed (all wheels on the ground), as vehicle or transmission damage may occur. It is recommended to tow your vehicle with all four (4) wheels off the ground such as when using a car-hauling trailer. Otherwise, no recreational towing is permitted.

The owners manual for 2013 Escape vehicles includes the same information; therefore, new Escape vehicles with FWD, AWD, or 4WD cannot be towed four wheels down. FMCA has not yet confirmed whether 2013 Fusion vehicles can be flat-towed.

Forum posts with similar problems (pdf document)

I wondered if an option was to trade up for a 2010 model, but this forum doesn’t make that choice look attractive, either:
2010 Ford Escape Transmission Failures (RV.Net)

I also posted a question on RV.Net to see if there were any happy campers towing my kind of car:
Anybody towing a 2009 Ford Escape with no problems?

And it’s not just those who flat tow who are having major transmission problems:
Ford Owners Online: 2009-2010 transmission issues
Escape City:  2011 Escape 6f35 Transmission Problems (see 8/14/11 post)

Technical Stuff:

Ford 2009 RV and Trailer Towing Guide (ok to flat tow)

6F35 Transmission type info (with info on its “ability to provide lubrication when flat towed…”)

Service Bulletins:

  • TSB 11-7-15 – (July 12, 2011) – re: 2009-2012 Escape (and others) – supersedes TSB 09-20-13 below to update model years. This goes into more detail about the dipstick and how to read, but basically information is the same.

However, at the bottom they do mention that there is an accessory cooling pump available from Remco that “may provide an alternative to the Owner Guide Flat Tow guidelines…however, Ford does not warrant this aftermarket product. further, the use of an aftermarket product may void your … warranty…”

So big ole’ Catch 22 from Ford – basically in my mind they’re saying “We haven’t figured out how to make the car do what we said it would do in order to get you to buy it – or at least not so that it doesn’t mess with our profits too much. And if you find a fix from somebody else (after spending money you shouldn’t have to spend if the car towed like we said it would) – you’re totally on your own after that and we won’t even keep putting our little band aids on the gaping wound anymore.” And I can hear the last remark under their breath, “…and good riddance to you, too!”

They continue to recommend that customers follow the Owners Guide Flat Tow guidelines, even though they’re obviously not working!

  • TSB 09-20-13 (October 5, 2009) – re: 2009-2010 Escape (and others)
    6F35 Transmission – Recreational Towing – Vehicle With All 4 Wheels on the Ground – Expanded Guidelines to Prevent Transmission Damage

Issue: “The transmission shieft concern may be caused by heat build up in the transmission due to the transmission fluid level being too high, towing speeds above 65 mph and/or not stopping to run the engine at idle for 5 mnutes ever six hours or less, to cool the transmission”

Action: Transmission fluid adjustments (shows proper level on dipstick) repeats instructions from manual
Notes importance of checking readings at operating temperature per WSM Section 307-01

The above two are ones I’m currently aware of that relate to my 2009 Ford Escape. But I just found this neat website that lists all service bulletins on MyCarStats.com. The search results here are for Ford Escape, but they list for other makes/models as well.

  • Paisleypath

    What a bummer! Gosh, I hope you can get it fixed right very soon. I guess worst case you have to resort to a tow dolly?

    • No way do I want to deal with that! I spent a lot of money to get it all set up for flat towing, including Brake Buddy, etc. I can’t believe this can’t be resolved, so I’m keeping the faith for now – thanks for the sympathy! 🙂

      • Carolyn Britton

        Hi Malia,
        Thank God Iam not crazy, cause thats the way they treat me when I take my 2009 Escape in to dealers!! My family doulted my complaints of transmison problems, help Iam still getting no where!!! I to am flat towing behind 35ft RV, Help, and thanks. Lets all take are complaints to the FBI. Their investments should go down! zebra4427@yahoo.com

        • Nope, Carolyn, you’re not crazy – it most definitely is an issue I wish I had seen publicized like this when I was researching.  Ford was very responsive at first, and they have fixed the problems as they come up, but I’m not getting my calls returned anymore from my regional rep who promised me reimbursement for my last tow charge.  I think they just wish I (and others like me) will just go away quietly.  That’s not gonna happen with me and that’s why I’m sharing this info here.  I’ve been crazy busy since I got back to Austin, but am going in next week for scheduled maintenance and to interview the service manager at my dealership.  Will report back then…

  • Glenda Alexander

    Bummer, indeed! I’m sorry for all the trouble you’ve had. I used to tow a 1995 Saturn SL1 and loved it. I was really sorry that the company went out of business. Not a smart move by GM in my opinion. I’ve been very happy with my little 2005 Toyota ECHO with manual transmission. I bought it in 2007 and it hasn’t given me any trouble with flat towing. I use a Brake Buddy with it, too.

    • Thanks, Glenda! I hope it doesn’t come to me having to totally give up on this one because otherwise I really do love the car, and I really don’t like driving a manual transmission. No option is looking good right now except getting what I paid for and Ford delivering what it promised. So I hope I’m not living in la-la land waiting for that… I wrote a letter to Mr. Ford himself, trying to get it out to someone who just might give a hoot, so we’ll see. http://www.maliasmiles.com/RVTravel/Ford_letter.pdf

  • Glenda Alexander

    Your letter to Mr. Ford certainly should get the point across. If he doesn’t get the job done, maybe the Better Business Bureau can put a burr under his saddle. Best of luck!!!

    • I’ve been hearing from @FordCustService:twitter via Twitter and they say they’re going to have the right people contact me, including an engineer to put my mind at rest about towing it after it’s fixed – and hopefully really fixed for the last time! 🙂 I’m still sending the printed letter to Mr. Ford because as I said, I’m still old fashioned enough to believe a “real” letter has more of an impact. We’ll see what happens and I’ll keep everyone informed. Thanks, Glenda!

  • Pat

    Looks like you have your work cut out for you sis. Our Ford is an automatic four wheel drive, F150 pick up. It is very different from what you have. It tows great. There are two solutions that are more immediate. One is to get a tow dolley and travel that way. Another is to find a dealership and trade it in. This should be something Ford takes care of for you. I hope you find some good solution in all of this. I know what it is like to be out on the road and have something go wrong. Time is of the essence. There are also advocates in the travel magazines that can work on your behalf. But knowing lawyers like you do, I think you can handle this…LOL Pat and Mel

    • You’re right that being on the road with this weighing on my mind is not fun and that timing sucks – timing for getting fixed most definitely IS of the essense. I’m not willing to deal with a tow dolly and am not naive enough to believe that Ford will easily trade this one in at this point. And do they even have anything (other than the pickup you have that I don’t want) 🙂 that truly CAN be towed without all this hassle? But I am still hopeful that this can be fixed and that engineer will have answers to the questions I am compiling based on my research. Call from local Ford dealer today says part should be here next week. Thanks and love to you both!

  • Angelique

    I’ve no doubt that these problems have been long known by Ford.  It scares me to death to think of you or anyone else in danger because of yet another manufacturer’s shortcomings then cover ups.

    • I agree, and another thing that gets me is when I asked one service rep about all the forum posts indicating these problems have been going on for quite a while with no real fix from Ford, she said, “Well, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.”  So I guess people are just randomly posting these experiences for fun just to bash Ford…

      Oh yeah, and in response to me saying I bought the Escape specifically in order to flat tow it, another one said, “But the transmissions problems are not because of towing it – I have two customers who had the same thing happen who don’t tow.”  Oh, well, now THAT makes me feel a lot better!  So does that mean the Escape’s transmission is just defective no matter what?

  • JC

    It is very disconcerting to find Ford new of this issue.  Yesterday, while flat towing our 2009 Ford Escape, a good samaritan flagged us down to indicate we had a problem with our towed vehicle.  I pulled off immediately and found smoke rolling from under the hood.  Examining the transmission dip stick I found it dry and fluid leaking below.  Called a tow truck and the driver indicated he suspected a damaged transmission.  I went on line to see if anyone else had issues and found you.  It’s at a Ford Dealership and is to be examined today or tomorrow.  Any suggestions?

    • Oh, JC, I am so sorry to hear you’re yet another victim of this Ford fiasco.  I’m still waiting on the part that has supposedly been on “emergency” expedited order since April 29.  Although as I’ve said repeatedly, I’ve found almost every single person at Ford to be friendly and understanding, that’s not the issue.  The point is that Ford represented the 2009 Escape as being flat towable.  I say that if so many of us are finding that is not the case (or at least not without having new transmissions installed – sometimes as many as 4 times – and/or the repairs repeated every few hundred miles) Ford needs to officially address this issue and I’m certainly not seeing that being the case.  People are being told different stories, official Ford service centers are sometimes woefully unknowledgeable about the issues (including the proper level for transmission fluid) and some have even gone so far as to say the car shouldn’t be flat towed at all!

      You use the word “disconcerting” – I’ve moved on to “disgusted” while still trying to keep the faith that my continued communications with Ford reps at all levels will eventually result in a real solution to this problem.  It seems inconceivable to me that they just don’t care about the RV market at all and will continue to simply ignore us.

      As for suggestions, you need to make sure the dealership is totally up to speed with all these issues because I’ve certainly not found that to be the case.  I’ve spent a lot of time compiling the information that I’ve linked on the blog and website.  Today I sent another letter to “the” Mr. Ford in charge with copies of all communications with Ford reps to date – and I will continue to do so until I hear an official corporate response instead of all the “canned” concern I’ve gotten from the Customer Relationship Center instructing me to work with the dealer.  That document is linked above with the most current update.

      I’ve shared everything I have at this point.  I hope you will do the same and keep me informed of your experience.  I really appreciate your commenting here and I hope others will do the same so I’m not just a lone voice howling into the wind. 

      Where are you and how is this affecting your planned travels?

  • Wandering Gnome

    I can understand your problems.  It appears that our Ford Escape 2010 does not like Atlanta.  Almost every time we attempt to go back to Atlanta (where we live) the Escape starts smoking up a storm.  So far we have replaced one transmission, a battery, that cracked while being towed.  And this time who knows what is wrong, we went to California and back and only had issue 17 miles from Atlanta after leaving Memphis.  The dealership gave us a loaner car, but that will not do us any good when we get back on the road in 3 weeks.  This 1st transmission was August 2010; cracked battery October 2010 and June 2011.  We had been towing the Escape since February 2011 until we returned yesterday.  It is a great car when it works, but who has time to fool with a car when you have places to go and things to do.

    • Oh, my – your car hates your home town – that’s really bad!  🙁 

      Really it’s not funny that we can’t rely on Ford’s representation that the Escape is safe and reliable to flat tow.  I’m sure they really believed that it was and I do appreciate the fact that Ford seems to work with people to get them back onthe road, but like you said, “who has time to fool with this when you have places to go and things to do?  And I also agree it’s a great car when it works.  From when mine was last fixed in SC, I’ve towed it about 750 miles with no other problems noticed yet.

      Are you getting good response and help from your dealer other than the loaner car?  I haven’t heard of problems with the battery cracking while being towed.  Yikes!  What have they told you about that particular problem in regards to it being towed?  Thanks for sharing – I hope we can keep this going and share our experiences with this issue here and that Ford comes up with the final fix soon!

  • Ouch!  I wondered how much difference there is in the troubles with the 2009, 2010 and the 2011, but research and comments on RV forums sounds like all 3 years are equally troubled. I’ve towed mine about 700 miles since the last fix in SC on May 18.  No problems noticed and I checked the transmission fluid level a couple of days ago (using all the instructions on how to get the proper reading).  It was just a tad bit on the low side, so I’m going to really watch it because the tech who fixed it said it shouldn’t get low on fluid unless there’s a leak.  And since the last problem involved a leak at the left axle assembly, I intend to watch it closely.  Would love to be kept informed about your experience with the 2011 and if Ford is still at least treating people right who are going through this!

  • Chuck Bennett14

    I bought my new 2011 Ford Escape April 28th. I had all the requisite bars and adapters installed. I flat towed the Escape twice, for a distance of 100 miles each time with no problems. This last weekend I was flat towing the Escape from Jacksonville, Fl. to Port Charlotte, Fl. a distance of about 300 miles. I stopped a couple of times with no issues. The third time I stopped, I was checking cargo straps in the back of my pickup. As I was checking the straps, I noticed smoke coming from under the hood of the Escape. I opened the hood and detected the distinctive smell of transmission fluid. At this time I had traveled a distance of about 230 miles.  My vehicle is now at the Ford dealership in Bradenton, Fl. awaiting repairs. Frustrating, to say the least.

    • Chuck,

      First off, I so relate to your frustration and feel so bad for you.  I know we have to expect these kind problems in life, but this deal with Ford is really the pits for us RVers!

      I’ve been keeping in touch with Azdjobe by email and he just recently got his Escape back after they installed new transmission. We’ve also been discussing the battery issue because his kept dying the same way I described on the page linked above about what all I’ve learned.  I’m hoping to hear from him that everything is going well and he’s not having any more problems.

      I hope you will keep in touch, as well, and let me know how it’s going.  Azdjobe said he felt lucky to get a friendly, helpful group of Ford people to work with. I agree that almost everyone I ever dealt with about it was great and really wanted to be helpful, but that doesn’t really make it better when it totally screws up your travel plans, does it?

      As for me, so far I’ve towed my 2009 about 1,000 miles since it was last fixed on May 18.  So far, so good but will keep this page updated.

      Wishing you all the best, Chuck!


    I am on my 4th transmission on my 2009 Mercury Mariner (same as Ford Escape mechanically) after going above and beyond what Ford has required for flat towing. I want to let people know that Johnson Brothers Ford has been exceptional when I could get the car back to them. My worse experience I ever had was while enroute to my home in Virginia and the transmission over heated while towing boiling out the fluid and I had to leave the vehicle at Two Rivers or Twin Rivers Ford for a week and they did absolutely nothing but try to blame everything on me. I had to dolly it back to Johnson Brothers Ford in Temple, Texas (where I bought it). They did an exceptional service to me the customer. I was told that a more robust trans was installed this last time about a year ago and it has been flat towed to Va. and back once but this unit has never quite shifted right especially at full throttle, it seems to jerk back and forth some times as if it cannot decide if to hold the gear a little longer drop back a gear. and it almost always hits the rev. limiter on full throttle before shifting.  I am retired U.S. Army Sergeants Major and former Assistant Inspector General and I wrote a detailed and extensive letter to Mr. Mullaly and Ford’s power trains chief along with suggestions but I never got any replies back. I am also a drag racer and I build my own engines so I am not new to this either. Plus, I have been RVing for years. I start my vehicle often at rest stops and shift through the gears let it run longer than is required and I have even put a Hayden electric cooling fan tapped into the RV 12 volt system and this seems to have finally done the trick!. The fan runs constantly while towing and blows almost directly on the upper part of the transmission. The trans is now only warm to the touch after towing and not like touching the burner on in electric range like before. This is relative inexpensive option. However, care must be taken to make sure the fan blows down on the transmission as this fan will run in either direction by just reversing polarity. I am about to go on the road again next week and I am confident the trans will not over heat. However, I still believe they need to adjust the shift points on this transmission for full throttle acceleration though. I will address that when I return as long as the trans does not over heat and burn up again. I really do not thank it will. This fan has really made a big difference. My name is Thomas J. Brown, Jr. and I can be reached at 254-634-8554 if anyone is interested in trying this simple remedy. This really is a good vehicle, good fuel economy , excellent performance and basically flawless except that it is not ready for prime time when it comes to flat towing as it comes from Ford. In fact, this is the only reason I have ever had the vehicle back to a dealership. Unfortunately, it has been back 4 times for this same thing and that ain’t good.

    • Wow, Thomas, thank you so much for such great detailed information, but especially for the offer to help with worked for you. With your type of experience, you obviously know what you’re talking about.  I so hope that you continue down the road trouble free.  So far so good for me, too, but if I’m forced to start looking for other solutions, I’ll contact my service rep about your fan solution. 

      But I have to respond to your comment about it being a good car “except…when it comes to flat towing as it comes from Ford.”  I figured flat towing was the issue that caused all the transmission problems, also, but found from looking at RV and Ford Owners forums that is not the case.  Many people with 2009-2011 Escapes are having major transmission issues and they’ve never towed theirs, so it’s a broader issue than for us RVers.

      I also know what you mean about having exceptional service at some Ford dealers.  I found that from Leif Johnson in Austin (where I bought my car) and from Lugoff Ford (SC dealer who did the last fix).  But while I sincerely appreciate that, I still say the time and hassle this causes when you’re on the road, trying to enjoy a long planned for trip is unacceptable. 

      And I still want an interview with Ford engineer or rep to address these issues from the RV community and am still totally being ignored despite several requests to several sources, certified mail, etc.  It seems hard to believe their approach is just to keep quiet, try to fix individual cases as they come up with best guesses at what seems to be temporary fixes, and keep selling these cars with the same representations and no official warnings that they’re not working out as they thought.  Just not right in my book!

  • I’m going to include the latest update I received from Azdjobe by email today because I want to keep everyone as informed as I can:

    I’ve now towed my Escape from SD to Indiana.  No problems.   700 miles

    But,  I monitored it closely all the way, stopping and checking temp. and running it for 5 occasionally.  Running 62mph.
    The trip took extra time with all the stopping.   Transmission model is  6F35
    I  stopped at a couple of transmission shops to see if someone would install a cooler pump or temp gauge.  No luck.  Both said this car is not towable, and told war stories about people that had tried.
    I noticed that the tran fluid level is really low on the stick.  I went to Jordan Ford here in Indiana.  The guy, (Chad) checked it out and my records and said I was good to go.   He said not to mess with the pressure port or the drain plug with temp gauges.  So I’m using my Grille thermo.  But this whole thing is driving me crazy.  I drive by anything smelly and I stop and run back to ck out the temp.

    I checked out the battery draw with an ammeter.  I could not see a significant difference but I’m running the ignition switch in the far counter clockwise position.    

    Happy Trails

    • Wschmidt1467

      Hi MaliasRV
      We had the same problem with our 2009 Escape.  After 5 transmissions and some engine trouble we filed lemon law papers with the BBB and Ford bought our car back for the full purchase price.  We had to take the tow bar stuff off the car.  The first transmission failed at 4,000 miles and the last at 17,000.  We had our check in less than 3 weeks.  I just wanted you to know not to give up hope.
      GOD is GOOD !!!!
      Bill and Kathi

      • That is great news, Bill and Kathi – thanks so much for sharing!

  • Thomas J. Brown, Jr.

    Hello all, just wanted to let everyone know that I completed over 3000 miles roundtrip from Killeen/Fort Hood to St. Louis Mo., through the mountains in West Va. and finally on to Bedford Va. and back in blistering temperatures and towing most of the time at the 65 mph max. towing speed and I had absolutely zero problems!!!!!!!!!! The Hayden cooling fan works flawlessly and it fits like it came from the factory that way (maybe it should have). It is cheap insurance until Ford get their stuff together. The alternatives are not good. I am on my 4th transmission and this is the second time I have made this trip with out problems since installing the Hayden fan. This is the longest I have ever gone on a transmission when flat towing. This latest trip, I consider to be the ultimate test since it was almost done exclusively in triple digit heat!!!!! I still followed the Ford flat towing instructions to the letter. This may not be the fix but it is a fix in the mean time. I hope this helps some one. If you have a 2009 Ford Escape, mercury Mariner or Mazda Tribute, and you make this simple change along with following the instructions Ford gives you for the flat towing, I am sure you will tow trouble free. Just do not forget to connect the fan when you start your day and disconnect it when you are done for the day. I actually leave it hooked up for stops and fueling as this will bring down the temperature even more. Failure to disconnect it for overnight parking, could possibly run down the coach/chassis batteries.  I hope this will helps 254-634-8554. If you have questions.

    • Hey, Thomas,

      That is great news all the way around – mostly that you had a good trip!  I haven’t had any other problems, either, since the fix in SC, but when I get back to Austin will get my dealer to check everything out and see what he says about this fan.  

      You’re great for sharing – thanks so much!

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  • Rhkfnk

    Hi Malia, While sitting here in Flagstaff, AZ waiting for Ford to order and install a new transmission in our 2010 Ford Escape 4WD, that started smoking while being towed behind our motor home yesterday, I looked on the web and found your Blog. This is the second time our Escape transmission has burned up. Last year in August 2010 same thing happened near Cedar City, UT on the first day of an extended vacation. We have done short tows of 100 miles or so with no problem. This time was also on the first day of our 2 month vacation this year.

    After the new transmission was installed last year, we noticed a problem with the automatic shift between 3 and 4 gear. It seemed to not know what gear to go into and kind of hiccuped. We thought it could be the low oil level causing it because after driving it awhile and it was warmer, the hiccup stopped. Our Ford dealer re set the internal computer which didn’t eliminate the glitch. They said to always keep the trans oil at the low level even when not being towed.

    The only reason we bought the Escape was because it could be towed. We love the car otherwise: comfort, smooth ride, economy. Wouldn’t you think Ford could engineer a fix to this problem? or quit claiming it to be a tow car. It doesn’t make sense to just replace transmissions over and over without fixing the problem.

    Luckily, both times, our trips have flexibility built into them. We make the best of a situation to the best of our ability. Last year we enjoyed the Shakespheare Festival in Cedar City and 3 National Parks in the area.
    Now we’ll explore Flagstaff for 10 days or so. Last night we ate at the oldest cafe in Flagstaff – opened in 1944 – still owned by same family – The Grand Canyon Cafe – delicious Chinese American home cooked food. YUM!!!!!

    Love your blog and personal story of your adventures out on the road with your RV. You are so brave to be doing it alone. You have lots of courage, obviously!!!!!

    San Clemente, CA

    • Wow, Fran, you echo my thoughts and frustration as well, especially your paragraph that starts with, “The only reason we bought the Escape…”
      Because as much as I also love my Escape for every other reason, I would have NEVER bought it if I knew it couldn’t be flat towed without all these problems.

      And of course, reliability and safety is an important factor and from everything I’ve seen, it’s not just those that are flat towing the Escape that are having multiple transmission failures and fixes.

      I so agree that it seems inconceivable that Ford hasn’t come up with “the” fix to this!  Thankfully, they are fixing the problems that come up and are replacing transmissions, sometimes several times at no cost to the owners, but still… not what we signed up for.

      And I don’t think that Ford has done anything to warn people that they shouldn’t expect that they can flat tow it without all these serious problems.  And obviously the dealers will tell you anything to sell the car no matter what they know or don’t know.

      While it has caused several problems with my schedule this summer, I’ve heard much worse stories from other people that just break my heart.

      Anyway, thanks for commenting and for the compliment on the site!

  • Tjhwrd

    9/6/2011 Merc Mariner purchased 12/20/2010.  3rd tranny replacement as I type.  3500 driving miles, 6000 towed miles.  Ford only wants to replace the
    trannys, not solve the problem!

    • So sorry you’re in the same boat – Mariner or Escape – all the same issues. 🙁

      Maybe I’m way too naive – and really still want to think the best of Ford – but I can’t help but believe that they WANT to solve the problem rather than having to keep replacing transmissions left and right over and over again. It would seem that a final fix would be more financially feasible for them, and I assume they’re still working on one, but I just don’t think they’ve come up with it yet. I just wish they’d be more forthcoming about the whole situation rather than not really giving full answers and avoiding the tough questions about what’s going with this issue…

  • Rhkfnk

    Hi Malia,
    Update from Fran in Flagstaff. Our second new transmission is now installed. Drove it to Grand Canyon for a test drive. Beautiful day!
    Getting ready to leave tomorrow, my husband tried to hook up this evening and discovered the service people took our hitch apart and put it back together upside down. They took it apart rather than undo two pins to remove it……… It will take some serious wrenches to fix.
    Also we noticed that front bumper was not aligned to the car properly and there is a big gap on passenger side.
    So guess we’ll be in Flagstaff a bit longer, hopefully only a couple of hours.
    Even though the people in Flagstaff are friendly and helpful and we’ve enjoyed
    seeing the sites and county Fair, we’ve been here 9 days today and we really would like to get on with our trip.
    Another thing: the service man gave us some info about a pump for the transmission oil to hook up while in tow. This came to him from Ford for information. He thought we might like to look into it.
    Later, the service manager gave us the memo TSB 11-7-15 that said if the customer does put in the pump, Ford does not warrant the aftermarket product and it may void your Ford Motor Company warranty coverage. “Ford Motor Company continues to recommend that customers follow the Owner Guide Flat Tow Guidelines.”
    We were also told that while there have been some continuing modifications to the baffling in the new transmissions, they are still having problems with them.
    Hope this is helpful………

    • Hey Fran, I definitely appreciate the updates!  Wow – and now besides the time and inconvenience of getting the actual Ford transmission related repairs done, they have to mess up your hitch???  Unbelievable!

      I’ve seen the same thing about the TSB 11-7-15 and the “Catch 22” that Ford says it might fix the problem they can’t fix, but they won’t be responsible if you use it.  Kinda leaves us in the lurch yet again then, doesn’t it?

      As for me, after my axle fell off in Sault Ste. Marie, my next stop the ABS light came on and stayed lit.  Since again it was related to that left side, they don’t know if it was damaged back then or not.  At least that was a quick fix, but again, still a hassle and still hours of time spent at Ford dealers instead of what we’ve planned for our summer RV tours, is it?!  🙂

      • Rhkfnk

        No, It’s not what we planned for our RV travels!!! Our dilemma now is to trust towing our Escape again – now that it’s “fixed again” -or do I drive the Escape separately! After mulling it over, the answer is definitely – we’ll pull it because Ford recommends that we can – and that is why we bought the Escape in the first place.
        We’ll stay one more day in Flagstaff to let our nerves recuperate and hitch up tonight, in preparation to our journey tomorrow.
        It gives me hope that you have been towing without problems with your new transmission since August. Because of your experience with the wheel falling off, we had the service manager re check our front axels today after they fixed our hitch properly.
        Our goal this trip is to meet up with the Adventure Caravan at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque on Sept 30th, with pre travel to Santa Fe, Taos, and Salida, Co.
        Hopefully we’ll at least get to Albuquerque NM before Sept 30.
        Glad it was an easy fix for your ABS.
        Will keep you posted….
        Fran -still in Flagstaff!

        • Well, Fran, I definitely agree and understand your dilemma! We paid good money for a car for the main reason it was represented as towable with reasonable restrictions. To have the extra gas expense to drive it separately (I don’t even have that option as a loner) is ridiculous! I’ve been told that some people tow it leaving the engine running so the fluid is still being circulated. Again, I say that’s wasted gas money and not what we signed up for.

          I’d appreciate hearing your towing style. I’ve been told that because I generally don’t go over 200 miles a day (and usually less), that I never drive over 65, and always run it through the gears when I stop has contributed to my towing success. However, the other factor I’ve heard of is outside temperature. Those that are towing in high heat seem to have more frequent failures. I’m spending the summer in MI and the weather has rarely been above the mid 80’s so mabye that’s a contributing factor, also. However, I again assert that that restriction of not towing in high temperatures was not revealed or printed in their instructions, either.

          I honestly don’t know what I’ll do once I get back to Austin. I also don’t trust this car anymore and lots of times when I’m simply driving it, I don’t turn on the radio so I can listen for any weird noises. For now, I’m still just simply hoping it gets me through MI without any more rude interruptions to my plans and fun! 🙂

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  • Anonymous

    Hi, Malia,
    I am a 63 yr old single female who has been full-timing for almost 6 yrs.  Until a couple of months ago I had always had a truck and 5th wheel, but decided to downsize and simplify and traded them in for a smaller class c.  Then, like everyone else on this blog, bought a new 2011 Ford Escape because of its marketed ability to be flat towed.  My car had only 1500 miles on it and towing it only 1 1/2 days when the transmission failed.  I’ve learned a lot just from the  comments by other bloggers.  I was in a dangerous situation on an Interstate when this happened, and now just feel sick about this car.  I wanted  an SUV because I like to explore and get into some really out of the way places and terrible roads.  Last year I explored the Oregon Trail but only got half of it done and want to do the rest but I shudder at the thought of what might happen with this car!  What really strikes me, though, is Ford’s dishonesty about the car – marketing it as being capable of flat-towing, but when I did my online research before buying this car never heard anything of transmission problems and never saw the service bulletin about running it with a lower transmission fluid.  Obviously Ford is making enough money that they don’t feel it “necessary” to solve the problem.  I would like to get rid of this car but apparently lemon law definition is having the same problem 3 times within 2 yrs.  This is only the 1st time, but most of the comments seem to report additional problems.  Also, I’m on a really tight budget and can’t afford to just trade in the car for another one.  I’m supposed to be in NM at a National Wildlife Refuge for volunteer work (they provide a free site and utilities) but I’ve been stuck here for 5 days and may be here for several more, and I can’t really afford it and it’s not even a really interesting area I’m in to explore.  Thanks for your website and all the comments – it’s like group therapy! 

    • Hello fellow fulltime solo woman RVer – sooo nice to meet you!

      That being said, I’m sorry we had to “meet” because we had something so crappy in common.

      What you said really scared me about you being in a dangerous situation on the highway when your transmission failed. I’ve at least avoided that so far – knock on wood!

      After they fixed the axle that fell off in August, I haven’t had any other issues.

      I had my oil changed at a dealership last week and made them put in writing on the ticket that my transmission fluid would not be touched! At least the service manager there knew what I was talking about – something that can’t be said about every Ford dealer service tech I’ve talked to, despite Ford’s position that the dealer is our best resource in this matter.

      Even though I haven’t had any other problems since then, I still don’t trust this car, either, so I totally understand what you’re saying. I’m on my way back to Austin and should be there in a couple of weeks. I plan to visit my local dealer where I bought the car, do more research and figure out what to do.

      Like you, it would be a major financial (as well as time) burden to try to figure out what other car to get, buy it, install another tow bar, etc.

      And I still love the Escape in every other way.

      I really don’t know what to think about Ford’s position about this. I’ve talked to a retired Ford engineer who I really believed when he said that Ford really does take these things seriously and he absolutely believes a true fix is being worked on.

      However, I don’t think they’ve been honest or forthcoming about the extent of the problem, that’s for sure.

      And at first the regional representative I talked to when I first had the major problem in SC was great about responding, that’s no longer the case and that really concerns me. I was able to speak to her when I had to have the car towed when the axle fell off. She assured me Ford would reimburse me for that charge, but despite sending the bill, calling and emailing her more than once, I haven’t even had the courtesy of a response. That kind of thing really makes me mad! It’s one thing to make a mistake and take the steps to deal with a problem like this – but when the person who is supposed to be your contact stops contacting you, that’s unacceptable!

      That’s another thing I will deal with when I get back to Austin. As you know, these things are more difficult to handle when you’re on as heavy a travel schedule as I’ve been on this summer.

      Speaking of that, I’ve got to get ready to hit the road today. I just left Michigan yesterday and it’s definitely time to head further south for this southern gal! 🙂

      Please do keep me informed – I’m really interested! I love your analogy of group therapy – therapeutic or not, I do believe we should stick together in this and keep each other informed!


  • Anonymous

    Hi, in reading all the comments, I just wanted to mention:  according to Ford’s towing guide, the Escape, including the FWD and 4WD, cannot be towed on a dolly.

    • While I don’t know about the 2011, I’m pretty sure the 2009 owner’s guide shows using a tow dolly as an option.  I’ll have to check it out, but need to get ready for travel now.  But in any case, that’s not an option for me.  If I had thought I would have needed a tow dolly, I most defininitely would not have bought the Escape!

  • dennis boylan

    HI, we purchased a 2009 ford escape front wheel drive after being assured that it could be flat towed as confirmed by the owners manual after we purchased we were told by a friend that he had seen comments on the internet were a lot of people were having problems we also saw the comments and went to Texas without it the first year. when we returned home our ford dealer informed us that the problems had been solved and the answer was to have our transmission fluid reduced so that when the fluid heated up it would not blow the transmission,we then went to  Yuma and back to Canada with no problem but every time I stopped I would start the escape and run it through the gears the following year, we just got back, we went to Florida, no problem to Florida but on our return we stopped in St Louis to see our son and we noticed transmission fluid on his concrete drive, I added 4 quarts of oil and drove it to a ford dealer and they flushed out the transmission and assured me that there was no damage, I will not be flat towing this vehicle again, on our way back from Arizona we happened to be in a park next to a lady who could not get her 2011 escape started, would not go into gear, oil all over the back window of her vehicle. Den from Canada

    • That’s especially scary for me to hear, Dennis, since I had hoped that by keeping the fluid at that “magic” level mark, and did all the right stuff like you mentioned, running through the gears, etc., that would keep my luck steady as it did since August.

      But now I’m back in Texas for a while and won’t be traveling much this summer, so I worry that this stuff still keeps happening over and over despite the assurances from Ford that it’s taken care of.

      I plan to talk to my dealer when I bring it in for regular maintenance to see if he has any news I haven’t heard of yet.  I updated information on the main website page – http://www.maliasmiles.com/RVTravel/ford-escape.htm – about some people getting the Remco auxiliary pump, but there’s different into on who pays for what and how it works.

      I’ll keep that main web page updated as best I can and respond to comments here, so I appreciate your taking the time to let me know of your own experience.  Please do keep in touch and let me know what happens.  You say you’re not going to tow it again.  Are you selling and trading for something else or what?

      • Roscoe Craft

        BELIEVE ME: When you have a transmission which is over heating and boiling the fluid at the full mark. You are going to BOIL that fluid even at a higher temp when you lower it and pull the car.

        • Drat – foiled again! And of course, that’s what Ford’s biggest defense is: to blame the customer for not following their procedures and ridiculous conflicting advice.

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  • Guest

    I just bought a 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid that was towed behind a motorhome, am I in for trouble ?? 

    • I sure understand your concern, but it sounds like you’re not towing the Escape yourself, but that the former owner did?  But in any case, according to what I’ve read elsewhere and the following discussion on RV.net, the hybrid has a completely different transmission.  Hybrid owners here report that they have had no problems.


      I would check out the Ford Forums Online to see what other hybrid owners are saying though:  http://www.fordforumsonline.com/

      I sure hope you don’t experience any problems, but am interested to hear if you have any other feedback.


  • Gregonline

    Things have not improved…..2012 Escape Ford stll says its is great to tow…..  First time towing stopped every 2-3 hours and ran the engine, shifted gears and all.  On way home after a total of about 800 miles of towing and stopping as above,  burned up the tranny…  Ford in Forsyth,  GA  said before they even looked I will bet on the tranny being gone (it would not start).   Sure enough Ford has not done anything to fix the problem.   Now have to drive 600 miles R/T to get it after its fixed.  I am going to work very hard to get a Remco installed, Ford has done it for others and I for one will not  be able to put up with their idea of just replace them when they burn up….Like you I can not do that.

    • Greg,

      So sorry nothing has been resolved since 2009 if the 2012 models are still burning up transmissions.  I have heard that Ford is paying to install the Remco pump, but I have also heard of instances where that option was refused.  I’m interested to hear what you come up with, so please share when you find out what they offer in your case.  Thanks for staying in touch!

      I shared what info I had about the pump on the main website page at http://www.maliasmiles.com/RVTravel/ford-escape.htm

    • Roscoe Craft

      Watch that Remco pump as once your warranty is over your bill for the next tranny is yours. I have seen the pumps go bad while the car was being towed.

      • Roscoe, that’s not good to hear! I thought that sounded like a good prevention method for Ford Escapes, but apparently not. 🙁

  • Linda k

    We have our one owner 2009 super dooper high cost Escape AGAIN in the service department.  Three transmissions and now a powertrain problem.   We bought a motorhome with our retirement savings (over $250,000) and was given a list of SUV’s we could flat tow.  So Ford Escapes were on the list…why not buy a Ford??? They were one of the car companies that did not take a handout, and it is on the CAmping World list of SUV’s and the salesman did gurantee that they were flat towable.  SO like FOOLS we bought it, paid $4000 for a towing package and NOW after 3 transmissions and less than 48,000 miles on it, we are told we should have drained some of the transmission fluid, yada yada yada.  Now we find ourselves broke down again with a power train problem which of course they said it might be covered by our warranty….you can bet they will stick it to us again.  Why can’t large money making companies make good what is wrong?  We were stranded in Tn ofr over 11 days with the first tranmission failure, and the local dealer told us when we got back that there was nothing they could do.  We should trade it in.  I am ready to file a class action lawsuit, so if any one has had the same wonderful customer service with Ford please contact us so we make it right.  They know we all cannot fight their big lawyer, but with a group having the same problems, we can do this.  I am fed up with being ripped off.  My husband and I are Christians and we have been patient, but with the economy like it is, we don’t have the money to keep pumping into Ford when it is their problem.

    • Linda, I don’t know what happened to my original reply to your comment, but I just noticed it didn’t post and I can’t find it. It’s not only Ford that’s so frustrating sometimes! 🙂

      Your story is another ridiculous example of Ford not taking the responsibility they should in a situation such as this.

      You mentioned a class action lawsuit. Strangely enough, I was contacted by an attorney with a firm with this kind of experience in Georgia. You may want to contact Christopher Hall at Cook, Hall & Lampros at 404-876-8100. I just spoke to him briefly at this point and they’re still in the research stage, but I plan to keep in touch with him and see what they do in that regard.

      And I hope you keep in touch as well and wish you the very best of luck in resolving this issue.


    • Roscoe Craft

      Been there done that. 3 transissions overhauls and 2 replacement in 34,000 miles so we lemon law it back to Ford who fought all the way trying to make it look like it was my fault. They were ordered by the court to buy it back so now wwe pull a Honda CRV..Pulls easier and gets better gas mileage.

      • Thanks so much for the update, Roscoe! It’s good to hear from another that Honda’s CRV is a good towing choice. I have had no time to deal with this issue lately since life threw me some curve balls and I haven’t been able to travel since 2011, but since I’m planning a new trip this summer, I’m going to my dealer next week to see what his latest position is regarding this and will post update here, too.

  • There is now a case action suit being filed by a large firm in Atlanta. Looks like maybe one of the partners has this same problem!
    Read this today on an FMCA Forum site:

    Posted Today, 02:44 PM

    If you have had failures of the Ford 6F35 transmission as used in the 2009, 10,
    11, 12, & 13 Escape, Fusion, Mariner, & Milans you might be eligible to
    join a Class Action suit filed by Chris Hall of Hall and Lampros, 1230
    Peachtree Street, N.E., Suite 3700, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404-876-8100 . I am one
    of the plaintives in that suit. Ford has really slammed all of us on this
    matter. Also, if you know of other Ford owners of these models who have had
    their transmissions fried while being towed tell them about this law firm. The
    more people we get signed on the better. You can contact me at briact07@hotmail.com

    • Hey Greg,

      Thanks for this update! I hadn’t seen the FMCA post, but I spoke to Chris a couple of weeks ago after he had seen this blog. I plan to keep in touch with him on progress in this regard. As for me, I’m still researching the hybrid model Escape since I’ve heard that because they have a completely different transmission, the same problems haven’t plagued those owners when they tow. While I am totally disgusted with Ford as a manufacturer, my selling dealer has been great, so will report back as I hear more.

      Thanks again!

    • Cathy Walling

      We’re sitting in an RV park right now with the trans burned up for the 2nd time in our 2010 Ford Escape with less than 45,000 miles on it. Along with an AC system that needs a complete repair because Ford didn’t put a guard protecting the condenser. And we had to pay to have the throttle body replaced; which isn’t part of the drive train according to them. Thank-you,

      • Cathy,

        Thanks for the info and I sure can relate to your pain and frustration!

        I haven’t had time to deal with this issue much lately and I haven’t been traveling since my Michigan summer, but the last trip I took a week ago to New Orleans, I decided not to tow my Escape because I was traveling with my kids and great-grandkids and didn’t want to take the chance on having problems since it was such a quick trip and important we get there with no delays. It’s such a shame that we can’t rely on the representations made by Ford in this (or much of anything else)!

        Hope you will keep us informed!


    • Roscoe Craft

      As of now ford just bought back my 2011 ford exscape due to 3 transmission overhauls and replaced it twice. I pulled it behind my 2006 forest river georgetown motor home. Each time it burnted up I had only pulled it from Jacksonville,Fl. to Savannah, Ga. 130 miles one way, replaced tranny, towed it back to Jacksonville and replaced it again. Ford tried there best to make the arbitrator let them put a Remco pump in it and say it would be ok. While mine was being replaced in Georgia there was a Escape next to mine that had a burnted up with a Remco pump in it andthat guy was not a happy camper as FMCO told him it would fix his problems to. The pump may be fine till it breaks and your Escape is out of warrenty THEN all the exspense is yours and it will not be cheap.
      I now pull a Honda CRV and it is perfect for this task…Not to sure if I will ever trust a ford salesman again.
      My advise to all is to RESEARCH that tow before you buy it..
      Roscoe Craft
      Jacksonville, Fl.

      • Roscoe, I really do appreciate your keeping us updated! I admit that as much distrust as I’ve built up against Ford salesmen myself, I’ve been thinking of trading mine for an Escape hybrid model which has a completely different transmission and no reports of flat tow problems that I’ve seen anyway. I figured that would be the least expensive option because the tow base-plate I now have should work on that. Plus, the Service Manager where I bought mine really has been helpful and cooperative and is now waiting for me to decide what I want to do. Part of my problem is that I really like my Escape in every other way and just still find it hard to believe they don’t have a real fix! Oh well, I’ve gotta get real soon and am glad to hear another testimony that the CRV does tow well.

        • Roscoe Craft

          My son in law works for Ford and you cannot tow a Ford Escape no matter what kind it is they do not recommend it.

          Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

          ——– Original message ——–
          Subject: [maliasmilesblog] Re: 2009 Ford Escape Dinghy – Flat Towing Problems

          • Aw, man, that is really bad news since nothing I’ve read so far indicates any problems with the Hybrid’s transmission when flat towed. I know they’re now saying no new Escapes with the 6F35 transmission can be towed and have sent supplemental letters about 2012s, but I’m gonna dig deeper about the Hybrid. Would you mind clarifying that with him since I’ve been told by one Hybrid owner that: “It has the eCVT (electronically controlled variable transmission).
            This transmission is sealed (no dipstick), and there is no way to
            add/adjust fluid. Apparently it was, and still is, flat towable. I
            have not been able to track any cases of someone having problems when
            towing.” Would like your opinion on this one when you get a chance. Thanks!

  • Randy Sheive

    I just took a trip to Tennessee From Kissimmee Florida towing a 2010Ford escape. Transmission burnout hundred miles south of Alanna Georgia So I left it in Alanna Georgia Continued to Tennessee Return One week later they had it repaired with a new transmission return to Kissimmee and burn another transmission out on the way to Kissimmee. Ford told me they will put a Remco pump on it if I contribute $1500. I told her to stick it and I’ll just continue let them put transmission in it for me. We need to all get together and file lawsuit against them!!!!

    • Randy,

      Isn’t it crazy – look at how many others just on this post who are in the same boat that are getting the run around from Ford! The other thing that kills me is the conflicting information I keep hearing, especially about the Remco pump – some people are having no problem getting Ford to install it at their cost. Others are being told it would void their warranty. Now they’re telling you they’ll install it, but it will cost you $1,500! Have you seen this page about all that misinformation and back-and-forth BS? http://www.maliasmiles.com/RVTravel/ford-escape-remco.htm .

      My other concern is that I’m now hearing from people who have had it installed and they’re still frying transmissions.

      I wouldn’t be relying on Ford to keep replacing your transmission, either. At some point your warranty will end and you’ll still have a car worthless for towing.

      I imagine they’ve put you through all the hoops about proper fill level for transmission fluid

      Look at my response above to Linda about 6 months ago about an attorney who contacted me who was researching in preparation of filing a class action suit. I haven’t talked to him since then, but you can look him up and see what he says. I sure would appreciate an update if anything changes for you.

  • 37db

    I am on my 2nd transmission also with 19000 miles on my 2011 escape. First one burnt up at 8900 miles after 185 miles. This time I made it about 110 miles. Battling with ford customer service, multiples mails to e. ford himself (no replies). Regional manager offered $1500.00 in assistance payment for the $3300.00 Remco lube kit. The ford svc mgr told me it will take about 6 tranny replacements before ford will cover the cost of kit. What a joke and I am hopeful to dump this POS before warranty is up.

    • Again, more conflicting info from Ford and their dealers. I know of others who have had the Remco pump installed at no cost to them. Maybe it depends on the dealer. Still….. no confidence in Ford at all for not stepping up to the plate and making it right for all the people who bought Escapes under false representations by Ford as a corporation. Even if they didn’t know it then, they certainly do now and what they’re doing (or not doing by just trying to sweep it under the rug until everyone just goes away) is reprehensible to me. Definitely don’t blame you for getting rid of it ASAP!

  • Mike

    I recently setup my 2010 Escape for towing. The tranny blew after 300 miles. Ford wanted to see any service records on the vehicle. Since its still under warranty. I had the tranny serviced at my local SpeeDee service center. Ford sent a sample on the fluid to a lab for analysis. They suspect the fluid used was not up to Ford specs. Which is why the tranny overheated. Ford customer care center is a joke. They stated if the fluid used is not up to ford specs the warranty is void and I would have to go after the shop that did the work.


    • OK, well now, this is definitely a new low for Ford just when I was wondering if they had even one scruple left! Obviously they hope you just haven’t heard of all the thousands of customers with transmissions replaced multiple times (towing or not), who used nothing but Ford products installed by Ford service centers, the incalculable hassle, lost time and ruined trips due to repeated failed repairs, and not the least of which is dealing with misinformed (or simply lying) Ford dealers and customer “service” reps?? I would no longer say Ford’s customer care center is a joke – I now think this is deliberate and malicious fraud perpetrated or at least condoned by the highest heads at Ford who would rather pass on the financial consequences of their mistakes onto their customers. Unfortunately, Ford’s Mission Statement of One Team, One Plan and One Goal does not include honesty in either area.

      I have not seen one public official statement from Ford about this mess – just “supplemental bulletins” with instructions sent out to present owners, and then finally deciding to let owners of the 2013 models know that they were no longer flat towable.

      See http://www.maliasmiles.com/RVTravel/ford-escape-service_bulletins.htm and http://www.motorcraftservice.com/pubs/content/~WOD204/~MUS~LEN/35/13204om4e.pdf

      I would definitely be proactive here, Mike, and not just wait for Ford’s analysis of the fluid. I’d contact the SpeeDee center to inform them of Ford’s possibly trying to cast the blame on them and get a statement in writing from them. I certainly wouldn’t take Ford’s word on their “analysis.”

      Gather evidence from the documents and testimony from other owners, some of which is found on my website at Ford Escape: Flat Towing Problems. http://www.maliasmiles.com/RVTravel/ford-escape.htm

      You might also be interested in One Ford Resolution sent to me from an owner and their complaints with the NHTSA, the FTC, Florida’s Attorney General’s office and finally successful arbitration through the BBB Auto Line Program. http://www.maliasmiles.com/blog/one-ford-resolution/

      I was fortunate to have a dealer who stood by me and did everything they could to help me through this mess, and finally assisted in helping me get out from under that nightmare. See last post I did on “My Escape From the Ford Escape.” Obviously, that’s not the case with everyone, but I’d surely contact whoever sold you the car to get their position on your situation. Assuming it’s a Ford dealer, get the name of their regional service representative and contact them as well in writing and by phone to at least get your complaint recorded.


      Even though this is no longer my problem, my heart still bleeds for those who have been and continue to be negatively impacted by Ford’s conduct in this matter.

      I hope people will continue to comment and share their experiences so that we can all be better informed.

  • Bob A

    I am new to your discussion Blog, but my wife and I have a similar problem with our 2012 Ford Escape. To make matters worse, our Ford dealer is out of business. We bought the car used, so corporate is giving us the cold shoulder. Like all of your commenters we had to have the transmission replaced and luckily, we were still under warranty. Ford replaced the transmission but we now have a Toad that we can’t tow. No good trying to sell the car either since the minute we disclose the new transmission story buyers get turned off. Trading it in doesn’t seem to work either as the dealers want to low ball the trade in while pumping up their car’s value. Insult to injury.

    Has anyone tried to go at this with a class action lawsuit? If so, do you know who to contact? Another frustrated RVer.

    • Wow, Bob, with your dealer out of business, you’re really in worse shape than I was in since my dealer was the one who helped me out the most in getting rid of that lemon by facilitating a trade in with Honda. Anyway, as for a class action suit, there is a comment below from Greg Henderson that tells of one, but that’s been a couple of years ago, so I have no idea what the current status is. Since he gives the name of the firm and his contact email, you might try that. Again, I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this and that Ford is so uncaring about it all! If you don’t mind, I’d love it if you keep us updated.