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Old 09-01-2013, 01:20 PM   #1
Dia
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Coastal , California
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Ford Flex as a TV - input, please?

Hi, everyone,

Me, again, with more questions for those of you towing with a Ford Flex, or, I guess, with anything less than a 1/2 ton.

First off, though, a disclaimer: It looks like we won't be starting with an AS as our first trailer. It's a combination of things, but we're strongly considering a Trailmanor (hard side popup) as our starter TT. I hope this doesn't mean I have to leave.

I asked about the Flex on a general interest RVing board, and the people there said such wildly divergent things from what I'm reading here that I'm terribly confused and I'm hoping y'all will set me straight.

I test drove a Flex (no EB) yesterday and loved it. It handled well and felt supremely confident on the road. My only quibble was when I punched it to do a tricky merge. It got the job done, but it didn't rock me back in my seat, which is what I'd been expecting based on reports from other drivers (possibly those drivers had EB).

The Trailmanor we're considering weighs about 2600 lbs dry, with a load capacity of #1333. According to my math, that puts it at #3,800, right? Tongue weight is about #350. (I can't find the tongue rating for the Flex. Anybody have it?)

I'm being told the following:

* The Flex (#4500 tow rating) won't cut it for this trailer, and I'll need a 1/2 ton, something like a Tahoe or a truck. I've never towed before, but do I really need a 1/2 ton for a pop up??

* Tongue weight takes weight off the drive wheels, so especially when maxxed out, a FWD vehicle is dangerous to tow with because so much weight has been removed from the drive wheels. AWD is mostly smoke and mirrors, and while a WDH might make a bad sitch a little less bad, it's still bad. I'm being told to get a real 4x4.

The other vehicle I'm considering is a Ford Edge. I like the Flex better for the long load deck because a teen or two could sleep there if we didn't want to bring a tent for extra sleeping capacity. I'm being told that the Flex is marginal at best (one person says it would probably be OK for a popup), dangerous at worst, and the Edge is right out.

So...

* What do you folks think of the Ecoboost (doesn't have to be specific to the Flex)? We live at sea level and do most of our camping above 6,000 feet. We like mountains. I've read that naturally aspirated engines can have problems in high altitudes?

* What about AWD? How necessary is it for towing in general? For towing a popup? For towing in the mountains? I ask because AWD+EB adds some serious bucks to the cost of the TV and drastically reduces the number of suitable vehicles. That said, if you kind folks recommend both, I'll get both.

* If I'm towing the above popup with a Flex (assuming it's actually possible), do I need a WDH or any other mods?

* Stoopid newbie question: The Flex I drove had a towing package, so there was a receiver (square pipe that looks like something slides into it), but no actual hitch (meaning the thingy with the ball). So I have to buy said thingy with ball, right?

Thanks you guys! You're awesome.
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:47 PM   #2
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It's not so much that modern naturally-aspirated engines have "problems" at altitude, since electronic fuel injection adjusts the mixture (old carbs didn't do this.) Even so, peak horsepower drops by something like 10 hp per thousand feet for naturally-aspirated engines. A turbo does a good job of compensating for altitude, and since you're starting out with more power (assuming you're comparing NA vs turbo for the same vehicle, such as the Flex) the improvement at altitude would be significant. I like turbos. I've put hundreds of thousands of miles on turbocharged cars in the last 33 years. They're not magic, but they make a difference.

Serious offroader 4x4 junkies like to spit on AWD because it's not as good for traversing the Rubicon trail, but most of them don't do that in 4x4 3/4-ton pickups, either... they'd use a modified Wrangler. A Jeep Wrangler is terrible tow vehicle, so different tools for different jobs. For highway operation and the occasional wet grass in a campground, AWD works fine.

Appropriately-sized weight distribution makes a difference unless your tongue-weight rating is so much more than the trailer's actual tongue weight that it becomes insignificant. I suspect that for a 400-ish pound tongue weight in a Flex loaded for camping with teenagers in the back seats, it would be well worth it.

Manufacturer tow packages generally only include the receiver, as you've noted, not a shank.
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:51 PM   #3
Dia
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Found this. http://www.ford.com/resources/ford/g..._FlexNov18.pdf

Says the tongue rating is 450 and a max loaded trailer requires WDH.
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dia View Post
Found this. http://www.ford.com/resources/ford/g..._FlexNov18.pdf

Says the tongue rating is 450 and a max loaded trailer requires WDH.
Just to point out why I chose the words I did when I said "appropriately-sized weight distribution". It seems from the experience of many people that companies prefer to sell you whatever they have on the rack if they don't have what you need in stock. Don't let someone sell you system rated for a 1000-lb tongue weight, because it own't work right at 500 lb.
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:53 PM   #5
Dia
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Thanks, again DTB. I'll ask for specific recommendations on an appropriate hitch once I have my exact vehicle and trailer nailed down.

I'm leaning hard toward the Flex but only moderately toward the Trailmanor.
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