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Greetings:

I have a 2014 Ford Escape Titanium 2.0 Ecoboost 4WD fitted with class II hitch and towing package, installed by the dealership when brand new, that is rated for 3,500 lbs.

Usually I drive my pickup when I haul my waterski boat, which weighs 2,760 lbs, when my boat completely full of fuel. My 1991 5.2L V8 4x4 Dodge Dakota extended cab pickup has a decent towing capacity, but unfortunately has an extremely-cramped backseat than my Ford Escape.

I want to know if I can use my Ford Escape, which has a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs, to tow my boat, which weights 2,760 lbs - to a mountain lake in the Colorado Rocky Mountains?

So...of course, you lose 3% of your 240 horsepower for every 1,000 feet in elevation. Nonetheless, it is unclear if the 3,500 lb towing capacity is due to the capacity of the engine, or limited to 3,500 lbs due to the weight of the vehicle, brakes and the hitch itself.

Another words, let's say that the towing capacity of Ford Escape was limited to 3,500 lbs based on the hitch, brakes, frame and vehicle weight - not the engine. If this was the case, then it would not make sense to reduce towing capacity on this basis, because the hitch, brakes, frame and vehicle weight are not affected by altitude. The real question would then be: what is the towing capacity of the engine?

However, if the towing capacity of the Ford Escape was limited to 3,500 lb based on the engine horsepower and torque, then it would make sense to reduce towing capacity, maybe proportionally, by 3% for every 1,000 feet in elevation above sea level. Therefore, my actual towing capacity would really become 2,945 in Denver at 5,280'; 2,817 over Monument Hill at 6,500' and down to 2,450 at 10,000' above sea level.

Obviously altitude makes a difference. Many people might just stop with the basic math of 3,500 - 2,760 = 740, and then fail to take into account all their gear, fuel and people - and feel like their 740 lb surplus then gives them license to drive up a 6% grade at 12,000 feet. I know better...

So my question is about what limits the Ford Escapes towing capacity? The hitch, rated at 3,500 lbs, would see to suggest that then when the towing capacity is ALSO limited to 3,500 lbs, then the Engine has potentially more juice to handle a little more. Again, the hitch, rated at 3,500 lb, is not going to be affected by elevation, regardless of what elevation that anyone is towing. The only thing affected by altitude is the engine.

My front GAWR is 2500; GVWR is 4840; Rear GAWR is 2352.

I tentatively feel confident that I could use my Ford Escape to tow my boat to nearby Cherry Creek Reservoir, which is lower in elevation that my native 6,500 feet. At 6,500 feet, taking altitude into consideration, then technically I should be able to tow 2,817 lbs, just a bit above my 2,760 lb boat. Of course, heat, barometric pressure

On the way from Elizabeth, Colorado to Blue Mesa Reservoir, I start at an elevation of 6,500 feet, would go over Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet and end up at ~ 9,504 feet at Blue Mesa Reservoir. Taking into account 3% horsepower loss per 1K feet in elevation, then I would technically need a tow vehicle that had an engine capable of towing at least 4,200 lbs to be able to tow a 2,760 boat at an altitude of 11,312 feet.

My understanding is that a Supercharged Engine will not be affected by altitude (i.e, if meeting SAE J2807 towing criteria) . However, my Ford Escape is Turbocharged, and would likely be affected by altitude. Perhaps 3%-4%, potentially less?

It is unclear to me however, if my 3,500 lb towing capacity is limited to this amount due to the hitch, or to the engine strength.

So will my Ford Escape make the journey?

Should I attempt to tow my 2,760 lb waterski boat to the mountains in my 2014 Ford Escape - at night with cooler temperature, without any fuel in my boat to make it as light as possible, and with a minimum about of gear (three life jackets and a waterski) ?

Thank you for your thoughts, ideas and expertise,
Sincerely,

Mark
 

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A turbo engine will lose a lot less hp than a normal aspirated engine - so your 3% assumption is high.

If you use 91 or 93, you should be able to easily tow the boat...

The Escape’s total GCWR is 7,639lbs, so when you take the vehicle weight and max towing capacity, you are still left with around 600lbs of people and gear....
 

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Greetings:



I have a 2014 Ford Escape Titanium 2.0 Ecoboost 4WD fitted with class II hitch and towing package, installed by the dealership when brand new, that is rated for 3,500 lbs.

Just an FYI, if the tow package didn’t come from the factory, then you don’t have a tow rating of 3500lbs. Technically you only have a rating of 2000lbs. There has been a ton of debate here on that. Some could care less about this and others don’t think you should tow anything over your actual tow rating.
 

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Mark -

Suggest one place you might start is download the estimator and play with the numbers.

Try this sequence on the AWD 2.0 line (since you're going to claim 3,500# towing capacity and I don't want to argue that point per @jshel101 's post above):
  • Plug the payload value from your door-jamb sticker in the "Rated Maximum Payload" column
  • Your boat weighs 2760#; plug 10% of that into the tongue wt box (2760 x .1)=276#; That's the minimum you want on the tongue for safe towing (lower risks sway episodes, higher up to the 350# limit is better from a sway control standpoint, but cuts into payload). But in any case be realistic about the actual tongue weight you can get by shifting things in the boat; use a bathroom scale to measure it - Don't Guess.
  • Now start playing with realistic occupant and vehicle cargo numbers you expect to carry and watch what happens - you'll see a red highlight when you bust the payload limit and you'll see the trailer weight maximum drop when you bust the GCWR.
IMHO you can overthink 'chassis limitations' vs 'drivetrain limitations' until you're blue in the face. Bottom line, if you exceed ANY of the multiple specified limitations (GCWR, Payload, Tongue Weight, Trailer Weight) OR if you undercut the rule of 10% minimum trailer weight on the tongue, you invite some sort of problem. It doesn't matter if that manifests as drivetrain stress, chassis problems, braking problems, handling problems or whatever, it should be avoided. IMHO.
 

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..... The Escape’s total GCWR is 7,639lbs ....
That is NOT a correct blanket statement.

Readers are cautioned to note that the Escape's GCWR varies significantly dependent on model year, engine, AWD/FWD and with/without factory trailer tow package.

E.g. in 2014 the highest GCWR is 7,591 for 2.0 AWD with factory tow package; 6,091 for 2.0 AWD without factory tow package; and so forth ....

See your Owner's Manual for the GCWR for your vehicle; it's on a table in the Towing section.

AND your payload limit (maximum weight of people and gear in the vehicle) can be easily exceeded** with no trailer at all. The Payload Limit is found on the color "Tire and Load Information" sticker in the driver's door jamb. Note that if towing, the tongue-weight of a trailer counts against Payload (counts the same as 'gear in the vehicle').

**Four 'healthy' adult fishermen (clothed) and a six-pack of Gatorade (with no ice) will about do it ;)
 

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..... The Escape’s total GCWR is 7,639lbs ....
That is NOT a correct blanket statement.

Readers are cautioned to note that the Escape's GCWR varies significantly dependent on model year, engine, AWD/FWD and with/without factory trailer tow package.

See your Owner's Manual for the GCWR for your vehicle; it's on a table in the Towing section.
It is for the 2.0T class II as claimed by the poster...which is the engine in question here.

And while the owner’s manual is great, some people might not have it anymore....Ford puts out a great towing guide: https://www.ford.com/cmslibs/content/dam/brand_ford/en_us/brand/resources/general/pdf/guides/18RV&TT_Ford_Escape_Oct9.pdf
 

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It is for the 2.0T class II as claimed by the poster...which is the engine in question here.

And while the owner’s manual is great, some people might not have it anymore....Ford puts out a great towing guide: https://www.ford.com/cmslibs/content/dam/brand_ford/en_us/brand/resources/general/pdf/guides/18RV&TT_Ford_Escape_Oct9.pdf
The OP also has a 2014 model year ... both the owner's manual AND the 2014 Trailer Towing Guide publish different (lower) GCWR values than your 2018 (perhaps because the engine is single-scroll turbo and the equipment with trailer tow package is different in '14 - aux trans cooler was not included w/factory trailer tow in '14).

Anyone can get their Owner's Manual here if needed; use the drop-down "Find or add vehicle" to change year or model.

;)
 

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It is for the 2.0T class II as claimed by the poster...which is the engine in question here.

And while the owner’s manual is great, some people might not have it anymore....Ford puts out a great towing guide: https://www.ford.com/cmslibs/content/dam/brand_ford/en_us/brand/resources/general/pdf/guides/18RV&TT_Ford_Escape_Oct9.pdf
The OP also has a 2014 model year ... both the owner's manual AND the 2014 Trailer Towing Guide publish different (lower) GCWR values than your 2018 (perhaps because the engine is single-scroll turbo and the equipment with trailer tow package is different in '14 - aux trans cooler was not included w/factory trailer tow in '14).

Anyone can get their Owner's Manual here if needed; use the drop-down "Find or add vehicle" to change year or model.

/forum/images/smilies/tango_face_wink.png
Hmmmmm doesn’t make any sense.

I am looking at the published numbers for the 2014 and they are actually higher, here: https://www.ford.com/resources/ford/general/pdf/towingguides/14prelimflrv&tt_escape_may13.pdf
 

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Hmmmmm doesn’t make any sense.

I am looking at the published numbers for the 2014 and they are actually higher, here: https://www.ford.com/resources/ford/general/pdf/towingguides/14prelimflrv&tt_escape_may13.pdf
For the 2.0 4wd your '18 guide shows GCWR=7639

For the same car the '14 Sheet you link shows GCWR=7626 (lower)

The '14 Owner's Manual I linked, on page 179 shows GCWR=7591 (even lower)

Granted all these differences are small in the big picture. Pick your number and run with it, whatever.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Conclusion after towing Personal Watercraft flatland

Today it worked out to tow my Sea Doo personal watercraft flatland to nearby Cherry Creek Reservoir as my '91 Dodge Dakota was having its transmission flushed for routine maintenance.

While my 2014 Ford Escape did a reasonable job pulling my Sea Doo + trailer, which likely weighed-in around 1,200 lbs, I could feel the weight of the jet ski back there, enough to not want to take sharp corners going very fast at all. My 2014 Ford Escape tows a Sea Doo with about as much stability as my '91 Dodge Dakota pulls my 17 foot Ski Nautique that weighs 2,760 lbs.

Launching was great with my Ford Escape with the backup camera. Normally I just use neutral and let gravity (augmented by my brakes) pull my boat or jet ski down the ramp, but using reverse let me perfectly-align and keep the trailer straight. However, backing up into the driveway and turning even at a moderate angle, caused all the warning bells and proximity sensors to go off and freak out.

My conclusion is that...just because my 2014 Ford Escape *could* tow my 17 foot boat...doesn't mean that I should.

Based on my experience today, my Ford Escape simply lacks the weight to be able to grip the road and hold tongue weight from breaking the rear tires loose, especially if pulling ~ 3,000 lb and ESPECIALLY if towing in the mountains.

Today's trial run made me aware that towing my boat in the Colorado mountains, over 11,000 foot in elevation passes with my Ford Escape, while possible, this is outside of my comfort zone and tolerance for compromising safety for comfort. It is not just the altitude, but the fact that high mountain roads and passes also come with switchbacks, windy roads that snake up and down each side, which is especially problematic for pulling a big heavy load (or having the big heavy load push down on the tow vehicle).

I think that my Ford Escape is a great vehicle, but like with any car, it is going to have limitations. I respect that my Ford Escape will likely endure towing 3,500 lbs, but the caveat would be "under ideal conditions", slowly, on level road, with minimum hills and curves, and with extreme caution and slowly. My comfort zone is going to end around 2,000 lbs, based on what tiny slippage I could feel on the rear tires at 1,200 lbs. With a boat weight nearly 3,000 lbs, I am going to error on the side of caution and be safe, not sorry.

In a pinch, I would be willing to flatland tow my boat with my Ford Escape, but mountains, hills and curves - no way. In my opinion, I am going to need a vehicle with at least a 5,000 lb towing capacity to feel like I have the power, weight and stability to tow a 2,760 boat over 12,000 foot mountain passes.

Towing ONE jet ski can easily be done with a Ford Escape. Anything more, I can attest, is inviting trouble, especially if adding additional conditions and variables to the equation.

This was a good test, on non-mountain roads, towing less than half the weight of my boat. If anyone decides to do much towing, be careful out there and hope this post helps you make good and safe decisions.

Sincerely,
Mark
 

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What

I’m planning on driving my 2017 Ford Escape (Titanium, 4WD, 2.0L Ecoboost) from Illinois to California with a 6’x12’ U-Haul Cargo Trailer. The trailer itself is ~2,000lbs, so I’ll add no more than 1,500lbs of cargo between the car and trailer (no more than 3,500lbs total).

My Escape does NOT have a factory tow package.

I had a class III aftermarket hitch and 4-way wiring installed by e-trailer at their HQ in Missouri. They attempted to install an auxiliary transmission cooler (Derale Series 8000) but they could not find room for the part. It was a part they previously deemed compatible with a 2017 Escape. There was no time to install a different cooler, so I don’t have one right now.

The question is, can my Escape with its aftermarket hitch meet the 3500lb capacity for the same car that has a factory tow package?

I spoke with 3 Ford dealers. None of them had an answer right away… they all did their due diligence in trying to find an answer. Each of them eventually got back to me and claimed I can tow 3500, but I sensed a lack confidence in their statements.

The 2017 Escape Titanium, 2.0L, AWD WITHOUT factory tow package has a lot in common with the Titanium, 2.0L, AWD WITH factory tow package. There are only a few differences that Ford claims with the factory tow package (for 2017):

1: Trailer wiring harness (I had this installed aftermarket)
2: Hitch receiver (also installed aftermarket)
3: Trailer Sway Control

The only real difference is the Trailer Sway Control Feature. This was something I'm virtually certain Ford cannot manipulate in the vehicle’s software. It’s only a safety feature, but it sounds like there might be some hardware component to it. I suspect this is the primary reason Ford won’t outright claim that my vehicle with the same trim and engine isn’t capable of what the factory tow package can tow (3500).

In the most recent 2019 Escape, one of the differences in the factory tow package is an “auxiliary transmission cooler.” That’s the main question for me, should I have that installed? Ford doesn’t have the part for Escapes prior to 2018, but a properly installed compatible cooler definitely wouldn’t hurt, right?

I feel like the latest addition in Ford’s 2019 Escape tow package of the auxiliary transmission cooler is something that addresses my concern for my 2017 Escape. However, why’d they just now add it? Is it really necessary? Were customers with Escapes built prior to 2019 with the factory tow packages having issues with their transmissions?

There is nothing structurally different from my year’s model and the version with the factory tow package. I just don’t want to damage my transmission on a cross-country trip, especially going up the Rockies.

What do you all think?
 

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I have a 2015 Titanium AWD w/ 2.0, aftermarket hitch. I trailer the UHAUL 6 x 12 w/ ramp twice a year with a golf cart and misc campground stuff. Never any issues. I live in CT so it is not flat so I go up and down hills, on the highway you can feel the weight but not out of my comfort zone, still more power then my old Tempo growing up.
 

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This has been asked so many times here. You will get answers from people saying that it isn’t a big deal. To people saying that you shouldn’t do it as the maximum capacity is 1500 lbs with an aftermarket hitch. I guess it’ll come down to if you want to pull the trailer that is way over it’s maximum tow capacity. It is really easy for someone else to tell you that it isn’t a big deal. It isn’t their vehicle. Installing a class III hitch doesn’t really matter as the the capacity comes from the tow vehicle.
 

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U-Haul Trailer

I have a 2015 Titanium AWD w/ 2.0, aftermarket hitch. I trailer the UHAUL 6 x 12 w/ ramp twice a year with a golf cart and misc campground stuff. Never any issues. I live in CT so it is not flat so I go up and down hills, on the highway you can feel the weight but not out of my comfort zone, still more power then my old Tempo growing up.
Thanks for the input. To clarify, I'm planning on using a U-Haul Cargo Trailer, not the utility trailer you pictured. The empty cargo trailer probably weighs about as much as your setup with the golf cart.
 

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Tow capacity reply

This has been asked so many times here. You will get answers from people saying that it isn’t a big deal. To people saying that you shouldn’t do it as the maximum capacity is 1500 lbs with an aftermarket hitch. I guess it’ll come down to if you want to pull the trailer that is way over it’s maximum tow capacity. It is really easy for someone else to tell you that it isn’t a big deal. It isn’t their vehicle. Installing a class III hitch doesn’t really matter as the the capacity comes from the tow vehicle.
I realize it's been asked in various ways, but I don't see any discussion of the two identical Titanium trims (one with factory tow package, one without). I pointed out the differences, which nobody had done before.

What makes the factory tow package able to tow 3500lbs that an aftermarket hitch can't do with the same trim? It's not the frame and it's not the addition of an auxiliary transmission cooler (prior to 2019 edition). As far as I can tell, it's only the Trailer Sway Control feature. I'm simply asking, does anyone have useful input that we don't already know?
 

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This has been asked so many times here. You will get answers from people saying that it isn’t a big deal. To people saying that you shouldn’t do it as the maximum capacity is 1500 lbs with an aftermarket hitch. I guess it’ll come down to if you want to pull the trailer that is way over it’s maximum tow capacity. It is really easy for someone else to tell you that it isn’t a big deal. It isn’t their vehicle. Installing a class III hitch doesn’t really matter as the the capacity comes from the tow vehicle.
I realize it's been asked in various ways, but I don't see any discussion of the two identical Titanium trims (one with factory tow package, one without). I pointed out the differences, which nobody had done before.

What makes the factory tow package able to tow 3500lbs that an aftermarket hitch can't do with the same trim? It's not the frame and it's not the addition of an auxiliary transmission cooler (prior to 2019 edition). As far as I can tell, it's only the Trailer Sway Control feature. I'm simply asking, does anyone have useful input that we don't already know?

I wonder this same thing. I normally use my old 2006 F150 to tow my 2500# boat/trailer 5 miles to my local lake but would rather use my 2017 2.0 ecoboost Escape. Been thinking about getting Uhaul to install a hitch for me. My other worry is hauling my boat out of the lake with a slippery boat ramp.
 

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I wonder this same thing. I normally use my old 2006 F150 to tow my 2500# boat/trailer 5 miles to my local lake but would rather use my 2017 2.0 ecoboost Escape. Been thinking about getting Uhaul to install a hitch for me. My other worry is hauling my boat out of the lake with a slippery boat ramp.
My instinct would say the F-150 should always be your go-to (I mean, it's an F-150 haha!)

I think it's clear that Ford never installed factory tow packages on Escapes that had anything LESS than the Titanium trim. It appears the only asterisk coming from Ford with towing capacities of its various Escape trims comes from the Titanium itself.

Just look at my attachment (directly from Ford’s website). The “(2)” clearly states “Does not offer factory-installed towing equipment for this application; only available as dealer accessory.”

My point is that it appears the actual towing capacity has [mostly] everything to do with the engine itself. The 2.5L and 1.5L can only max at 1500lbs and 2000lbs, respectively. The 2.0L can max at 3500lbs with a factory tow package. That is what brings into question the 2.0 engine… can it handle the max 3500lbs with a professionally installed aftermarket hitch? I don’t see why not…
 

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As you mentioned, the 2017 model brochure listed the tow package as,

1: Trailer wiring harness
2: Hitch receiver
3: Trailer Sway Control

The older models also had sway control with the factory tow packages.

The 2018 model added,

4: Paddle Shifters
5: Auxiliary Transmission Oil Cooler

The late 2017 models may also have a trans oil cooler since the oil cooler ford part # EJ7Z7A095B is compatible with both the 2017 and 2018 models.

Why did they add a transmission oil cooler to the later models? Maybe to improve reliability, or meet the SAE standard for tow vehicles (see https://www.natda.org/news/know-your-pickups-weight-carrying-limits/ ). High temperatures caused by high tow loads under severe conditions will break down trans oil and cause major problems. Only a Ford engineer can tell you why they added the oil cooler. They certainly didn't do it to increase build cost.

As far as Trailer Sway Control, it's a software feature that activates individual brakes and controls the throttle when a sway condition is detected. This is probably included for safety reasons and marketing, or to meet the SAE standard.

You're driving from Illinois to California, so you'll be crossing mountains, how high depends on the route you take. According to the owners manual, you'll need to reduce the tow weight by 2% for every 1000 ft over 1000 ft altitude. So if you cross a 11,000 ft pass, you have to reduce the max tow weight by 20%, or 700 lbs. This brings the theoretical max tow to 2800 lbs.

So going across the Rockies will be an adventure. To ease your mind, you may want to get a trans oil temp readout app for your phone that hooks up to the OBD port. You can also make sure the trailer is properly loaded to prevent sway.
 
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