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Old 03-06-2012, 08:32 PM   #1
Racingaway
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2012 Focus Flat Towing questions

The manual says to unhook the negative battery cable from the battery. It's a major pain to get to the negative terminal. Is unhooking the ground strap sufficient? The ground strap is easy to get to and kills everything on the car, but is it good enough?

For those that do not know what flat towing is, it's pulling the car behind another vehicle, like an RV, with all 4 tires on the ground.


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Old 03-09-2012, 01:23 PM   #2
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Anyone else flat tow one of these?
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Racingaway View Post
Anyone else flat tow one of these?
I flat tow a 2013 Titanium with "automatic". Be careful about the ground disconnect. In addition to the main ground wire there are several smaller wires also connected to the post. Disconnecting the ground at the body leaves these wires CONNECTED.
I have talked with Ford about this as the ground is difficult to disconnect. I asked if a manual disconnect on the positive would work, they thought so BUT were unwilling to put it in writing.
Their reason for requiring the ground cable disconnect is because they think it is possible, if the battery is connected, for the transmission to go into gear because of vibrations from being towed down the road. If it does you won't know it until the transmission is ruined and depending on your speed and the gear it engages maybe the engine overreved and blown up.
I leave the top battery cover off and use a ratchet end wrench that has a flexible head angle. Angle it about 30 degrees and it works well. You only have to slightly loosen the nut to remove the cable. Make sure you set the car up to tow AND lock the doors before you disconnect the battery. The other doors WILL NOT LOCK except with power on. I had an extra key made to lock and unlock the door.
I have towed 5,000 mile with no problems.

Last edited by Texaswiley; 01-06-2014 at 03:21 PM. Reason: additional information.
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Old 01-06-2014, 03:30 PM   #4
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After several extended trips I have noticed a strong smell of burning oil or rubber AFTER the engine is started. There is no odor while towing or when parked only after the engine is started. My first thought was oil residue from the road and diesel soot from the exhaust was accumulating on the exhaust and then burning off when it got hot. I takes several days of local driving for it to disappear. It isn't an engine oil leak and I have verified the tranny is in neutral by rolling the car by hand after the tow sequence is completed. My previous toad a 4x4 Tahoe also had some odor under the same conditions. I have towed it about 7,000 mile including one 900+ mile day so sure the trans is ok or it would have failed by now. Any ideas??
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Old 03-09-2012, 06:27 PM   #5
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I'm not sure how many do this and since few seem to be responding I would contact your dealer and ask about it.
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Old 04-12-2012, 02:13 AM   #6
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I'm also planning to tow my focus behind my motorhome, and noticed the same thing about the negative battery cable disconnect. I'm contacting my dealer and I'll post what they suggest.
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Old 04-12-2012, 02:45 AM   #7
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first question is why does it have to be unhooked to tow it ?
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Old 04-12-2012, 02:58 AM   #8
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Sometimes those manuals can be stupid.
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Old 04-12-2012, 03:39 AM   #9
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they aren't just going to make something up though...

I will admit I'm not sure why they want it disconnected.
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:09 AM   #10
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Talked with a tech at my dealer about this. He suggests removing the cable connector from the negative battery post (not at the ground lug) to make sure ALL cables leading from the negative post are disconnected prior to towing.

If you remove the connector from the post, you can see there are TWO cables leading from the negative battery post, not just the one connected to the frame off to the side


Last edited by zetecDon; 07-06-2012 at 10:27 PM. Reason: Fixed it so you would have an image there instead of a red x.
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