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Old 02-18-2009, 09:36 PM   #1
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Will our 2007 Ford Escape pull our new AS 17' Sport?

Ok. Bought a 17' Sport. Our Ford Escape we discovered tonight after talking with the Ford dealership has a 4,500 GVWR. Now, everywhere I've read had said it was 3,500. So I look on the door sticker and sure enought it says 4,500. So I call the dealership and they said that the correct # is 4,500 and that the published GVWR is 3,500 after taking into account passengers, gas, load, etc.

It says it has a max tow capacity of 3,500 lbs. (trailer load). So that makes me feel alot better as first I thought it was 3,500 - passengers, gas, load ,etc.

Now the next issue is we bought the Equalizer system and found out our existing Class II hitch receiver isn't big enough for the EQ system. So hopefully not a bid deal to break off the Class II and add a new Class III. Geeesh !

Thanks, all.
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Old 02-19-2009, 01:30 AM   #2
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Just take it easy.. no need to buy a 1 ton for that small trailer... or a 1/2 ton... I'm renting an Escape right now... I think you'll be just fine. Just use a WD hitch (which you have), and a friction sway device... (I can't remember if the EQ system has that built in or not)...

Any hitch shop worth their weight should be able to fix you up...
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:32 AM   #3
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

I believe you are possibly in a marginal situation. That's a lot of trailer for such a small tow vehicle. Not to say that it's not doable, it's just that I think you should proceed cautiously.

Since you already have both the TV and TT, give it a try and see how it feels to you. Make sure that the brakes are up to the task. Also, I think that some form of sway control is in order, or the trailer might end up pushing the tow vehicle around. The shorter the wheelbase of the TV, the greater this tendency.

Good luck with your endeavor, and please keep us posted on how it works out.

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Old 02-19-2009, 08:45 AM   #4
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Here is the section of the 2007 Ford Towing Guide that pertains to your Escape. In it, you will find the Gross Combined Weight Rating of your particular Escape model. This is the maximum the Escape, hitch, and trailer can weigh. Fuel your Escape up, load it up with the people and cargo (perhaps ice chest, etc) you'll have in it while towing, and get it weighed on a certified scale. Subtract that weight from the Gross Combined Weight Rating and that's how much TRAILER WEIGHT your vehicle can PULL. If the tow vehicle is heavily loaded, don't be surprised if there is less than 3,500 pound Class II maximum trailer weight left for your trailer.

For example, if you have a 4x4 V-6 model with 7,180 pound GCWR, the most your loaded Escape can weigh and still tow 3,500 pounds is 3,680 pound scale weight.

You also need to subtract that scale weight from the vehicle's 4500 pound GVWR to make sure you have enough excess CARRYING capacity for the weight of the hitch head and trailer tongue weight. Trailer tongue weight should be a MINIMUM of 10% of the total weight.

The 17 Sport is a Class II trailer (Class II = 3,500 pound max total weight, 350 pound max tow weight). Your Ford Escape is a Class II vehicle. You should not use a heavy, weight distributing hitch with a Class II setup. Replacing the Class II hitch with a larger one is sufficient evidence of vehicle misuse to void the powertrain warranty, and probably that of the chassis as well.

If the rear of the tow vehicle sits low when loaded and hitched up, tempting you to use a weight distributing hitch, that may be evidence the rear axle is loaded beyond it's GAWR. You need to weigh that axle and ensure this isn't the case.

You can get advice here ranging from one end of the spectrum to the other. My recommendation is to get on the scales and find out for yourself where you really stand.
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:40 AM   #5
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Thanks all,

Ok. Getting schooled up on all this hitch business. RoadKing is correct, we can't put a Class III hitch on our Escape. I finally had to tell our Ford service guy that, as last night he said we could. These people don't have a clue, I swear!

So we are stuck with our Class II hitch, which only has a 1 1/4" receiver. So we found this nifty gadget - http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Hitch-8...5061741&sr=8-2 - which is a coupler from a 1 1/4" receiver to a 2" receiver. Now that is something the Equalizer will work with.

We will still be mindful of our 3,500 trailer weight, but I am feeling pretty comfortable with this as of now. We will see how it handles on Saturday for our first short trip.
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:57 AM   #6
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Ditto to Post #3...

There is a reason Escape did not come with a Class III hitch...As 2Air puts it "Not enough Mule". Using an adapter to overcome the design dimension may only serve to make an already marginal condition worse. My concerns with this combination would be wheelbase and tow capacity reserves. To each their own, but it's always best to have more control and pull than you need. Ninety percent of the time there's no problem, but when the unexpected occurs (and it has) I am grateful for the reserve capacity and stability.

If you proceed, do so with caution, and make sure you have properly functioning trailer brakes.

Regards,

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Old 02-19-2009, 11:02 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by OnSafari View Post
So we are stuck with our Class II hitch, which only has a 1 1/4" receiver. So we found this nifty gadget - Amazon.com: Hidden Hitch 80304 Class II Receiver Adapter: Automotive - which is a coupler from a 1 1/4" receiver to a 2" receiver. Now that is something the Equalizer will work with.

We will still be mindful of our 3,500 trailer weight, but I am feeling pretty comfortable with this as of now. We will see how it handles on Saturday for our first short trip.
Please don't. That nifty gadget is only good for carrying a bicycle rack designed for a 2" receiver. The Class II hitch is not designed to take the torsional loads of a weight distributing hitch, and certainly not an Equal-i-zer brand hitch, which has limited vertical travel compared to others out there.

It's possible that the Escape will work to tow your trailer, but you are going to have to: a) put aside the manufacturer's trailer weight recommendation; b) find a Class III receiver, which might mean getting a custom built.

I also haven't had a chance to look up the specs on the Escape, so I can't predict it's performance either. What model do you have, i.e. engine, drivetrain, transmission?
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Old 02-19-2009, 11:58 AM   #8
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Be wary of what the local service department tells you. For small repairs, they can overlook certain things--if they choose to do so. Sometimes they chose not to because the reimbursement from Ford leaves them losing money on warranty work. The manufacturer almost always gets involved with big ticket repairs and is usually looking for a reason not to pay the dealer for the repair, and the dealer isn't going to do it without reimbursement regardless of what they told you.

The 1.25 to 2 inch adapter is a bad idea. It moves the ball aft, increasing the forces on the vehicle chassis, including the effect of trailer sway.

Airstream created a Class II trailer for Class II vehicles like your Escape. Adding the weight of a weight distributing hitch right on the tongue means you'll have to put the load in the trailer further aft to keep from overloading your Escape rear axle. Aft-loading increases the probability and severity of sway. Tongue weight isn't THE measure of sway resistance. It IS an indication of how the trailer is loaded fore-aft. Adding the weight of spring bars, etc. may increase your tongue weight, but it has no bearing on the propensity of the trailer to sway.
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Old 02-19-2009, 12:24 PM   #9
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Ya, we are finding out our Ford dealership doesn't know squat. And I have been told they welded our Class II hitch on which I am finding out is a big no no if, its true. Heading over to my wifes office to see for myself. I was told by a hitch guy we haven't been welding hitches on since the late 60's. Is this true? And that it voids the warranty of the truck altogether!

I have also confirmed there is a Class III hitch rated for the Ford Escape made by Drawtite, HiddenHitch and Curt. So hopefully, I will confirm it is bolted on and we can just swap out hitches.

If it is welded on then Rancho Santa Margarita Ford will have some splainin' to do !
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Old 02-19-2009, 12:41 PM   #10
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Receivers (incorrectly described as "hitches") are bolted on. There is no need to weld. Welding might be fine, but I'd prefer not to. Receivers are made of ordinary mild steel, while vehicles are made of a variety of mild steel alloys formulated for greater strength with less weight. Welding the dissimilar steels may create issues, e.g. brittleness around the welds.

You would need to understand the metallurgy to know for sure.
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Old 02-19-2009, 12:54 PM   #11
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The continuing saga

Ok. My wife confirmed the hitch was in fact bolted on, not welded on as our Airstream service said after crawling out from under our truck last night. Not sure what he saw under there that made him think it was welded to the frame, but needless to say that small incorrect bit of info had us up all night worrying about it. And wasted 4 hours of our time today online trying to figure out ways around it.

I spoke with our Ford dealer and they said no way in hell it was welded on, and Tricia confirmed it (bless her heart, getting under there in her office clothes ).

So now we are simply getting Class III hitch that is spec'ed out for our 2007 escape and swapping them out. We will be using the Equalizer, and have confirmed with them no problem with our set up.

I think this has finally come to an end. Now I hope it all works the way it is spec'ed out to work.
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Old 02-19-2009, 01:01 PM   #12
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Let me take back part of what I said previously.

I checked the specs on the Sport 17'. Unloaded weight is 2800 lbs, GVWR is 3500, unloaded tongue weight is 300. That probably doesn't include propane, but if you load carefully, over the axle, you may be able to stay within the 350 lb tongue weight limit for the Escape.

It's possible to use a friction sway control without a weight distributing hitch if you get a ball mount with an "ear" to the side.

You'll be experimenting, to be sure. Make sure you've got a good brake controller.
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Old 02-19-2009, 01:03 PM   #13
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I think for the most part you've been given some sage advice, particularly from Road King Moe.
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Old 02-19-2009, 02:00 PM   #14
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I think for the most part you've been given some sage advice, particularly from Road King Moe.
Agreed.

I think you've learned not to listen to salesmen and even guys in the service dept. Every situation is loaded with variables and learning is a steep curve, but it looks like you're up to it.

Take it slow and learn what you're dealing with.

Enjoy your new toy.

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