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Coach & Powertrain: Dinghy Difficulties

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

In your December issue an inquiry from Scott Peters in Oklahoma City caught my attention. Ford and GM are both having many problems with towing four wheels down. GM no longer allows the 2011 and later Chevy Cruze to be flat towed due to transmission failures. Ford has had many problems with Fusions and Escapes experiencing failures although I have not heard of many Flex problems. The owner’s manual is a little confusing in that it gives instructions on how to set the car up for towing, and then reminds you to be sure that fluid levels are correct with a page number to direct you to. I would think that most people (like me) assumed that it meant the fluid level was full, but in fact requires you to have Ford drain transmission fluid to a much lower level to help stop foaming and overheating while towing.

During our trip last summer our 2011 Ford Fusion had its first transmission failure around 150 miles from home. After waiting a week for the transmission to be replaced the second failure happened another 250 miles down the road. Ford rented us a car to use, and ordered another transmission to be installed. We could not wait, so Ford again had a car waiting at our next location and eventually got the car delivered to us 100 miles down the road. This transmission started acting up again within 150 miles of towing and driving the car. We cut our trip short and returned home. Ford offered many options to solve our problem, and in the end they installed a Remco lube pump and also a charging system, at their expense. So far this fix has solved our problem.

Larry Wagner | Phoenix, Ariz.

Yes, Larry, this situation with vehicles that are approved for towing having frequent problems and failures seems to be growing, and I think we haven’t heard the end of it. From your description, it appears that Ford did everything it reasonably could to accommodate you during repairs, so kudos to them for customer service. The Remco lube pump seems to solve these problems with these Ford transmissions, and I suggest that readers having this problem contact Remco, (800) 228-2481 or www.remcotowing .com, and request that the car manufacturer pay for the conversion.

– Ken Freund

Man smiling and standing next to truck driver side

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