2017 Ford Escape FWD 2.0L Ecoboost

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
Hey Folks,

Just looking for some thoughts on air bags vs. weight distribution hitch for my setup.

So, my PUP is just a touch over 2700lbs before loading up. I have a TC of 3500lbs ... I'm within my TC and my GCVWR. There isn't a lot of margin left though.

I have a bit of sag, it's not horrible, but it's not great either. It tows pretty good to be honest, but I'd like to get rid of that sag.

I can't decide on air bags or a weight distribution hitch.

Air bags are less costly (if you have an Escape with them, which Air Lift kit did you use) but only beef up the rear suspension, whereas the weight distribution hitch moves the weight to the front axle and trailer axle.

I also understand that a WDH doesn't work for all vehicles due to the added tongue weight?

Thoughts? Experiences?
 

Ladiesman

Super Active Member
Feb 6, 2018
840
Hey Folks,

Just looking for some thoughts on air bags vs. weight distribution hitch for my setup.

So, my PUP is just a touch over 2700lbs before loading up. I have a TC of 3500lbs ... I'm within my TC and my GCVWR. There isn't a lot of margin left though.

I have a bit of sag, it's not horrible, but it's not great either. It tows pretty good to be honest, but I'd like to get rid of that sag.

I can't decide on air bags or a weight distribution hitch.

Air bags are less costly (if you have an Escape with them, which Air Lift kit did you use) but only beef up the rear suspension, whereas the weight distribution hitch moves the weight to the front axle and trailer axle.

I also understand that a WDH doesn't work for all vehicles due to the added tongue weight?

Thoughts? Experiences?
So the general school of thought is if your trailer weight is over half the weight of your tow vehicle which your is then you should consider a wdh. Also with front wheel drive transferring some weight back up front will be a good idea. Air bags will take the sag out but not transfer any weight. personally I think if your escape and PUP can handle a WDH thats the route to take. You can find used ones on Marketplace all the time for a good price.
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
12,156
Ontario
WDH don't work with some vehicles because of how the unibody is built.. they also don't work with open C channel trailer frames.

Are you sure your particular Escape has a tow rating of 3500lbs? That is a oot to ask out of a small turbo 4 banger..

Question is, do you just have a sagging rear-end or do you have a sagging rear end with more the an inch of lift on the front end?
 

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
WDH don't work with some vehicles because of how the unibody is built.. they also don't work with open C channel trailer frames.

Are you sure your particular Escape has a tow rating of 3500lbs? That is a oot to ask out of a small turbo 4 banger..

Question is, do you just have a sagging rear-end or do you have a sagging rear end with more the an inch of lift on the front end?

Trailer frame is a closed box frame. What are the frame requirements on the TV?

Yes, confirmed with Ford website. 2017 Ford Escape Trailer Towing Selector

The 2.0L Ecoboost puts out 245HP and 275ft/lbs torque. It's a beastly little engine and pulls it effortlessly, including passing. I keep it in sport mode and manual shift to keep it out of OD ... I leave it in 5th gear at highway speeds and keep it out of 6th (overdrive). I monitored the engine temperatures as well, and it already has a transmission cooler. I installed a Liberty Tow Pro and 7-Pin myself. Works fantastic.

With regard to lift, hard to tell ... something I'll need to measure I suppose.

For reference though, I had a near miss this past weekend ... I mirror / shoulder checked several time before pulling out, turned my blinker on and started to slowly pull into the oncoming lane for a pass when a motorcycle flew past me like I was standing still at highway speeds. I had to jerk the wheel back quickly to the right, very little sway.
 

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
WDH don't work with some vehicles because of how the unibody is built.. they also don't work with open C channel trailer frames.

Are you sure your particular Escape has a tow rating of 3500lbs? That is a oot to ask out of a small turbo 4 banger..

Question is, do you just have a sagging rear-end or do you have a sagging rear end with more the an inch of lift on the front end?

Here's a photo, not the best since the ground was uneven, I have a 2" rise currently, I may not need to get a high rise with a reduction in sag. But as you can see, it's not horrible in terms of sagging.

20220626_140610.jpg
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
12,156
Ontario
I know the Reese towing products website use to have really good info in determining if you needed a WDH as well as type and load bar size.
Basically you loaded everything and everyone as if you were going camping, with full fuel tank. Then on flat level ground, you measured from the ground to lower center lip of the wheel well arch at all 4 wheels. Then from top of tire to the center of the lower lip, again all 4 locations..

Then when completely unloaded for daily driving take all 8 measurements again.. I forget the exact dimensions but they were like more then a 2 inch drop in the rear and 1.5 inch rise in the front and they recommended a WDH, it Then went on to help you calculate the type and size of load bars required.
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
291
Niagara Region, ON
I run Timbrens but I don't think they are available for your Escape. They limit rear end sag but do not eliminate it.

I've thought about WDH but since the setup tows like a dream without it I can't justify the cost. Maybe if I towed more at night I'd do it to level out the headlights. If I did do it the Andersen would be at the top of my list, see Rob's thread here: https://www.popupportal.com/threads/wdh-prices.139075/

Does your manual say not to use OD when towing? Most (if not all) modern transmissions have no problem with it. On my 9 speed 1-4 are under-drive, 5 is 1:1, and 6-9 are overdrive so not using OD when towing would leave me short a lot of gears.

Older transmissions did not have locking torque converters and if the engine dropped below the torque converter stall speed it would generate a lot of heat, especially when towing.

Modern transmissions tend to be very aggressive at keeping the torque converter locked in order to maximize efficiency (wasted energy is rejected as heat). The ZF 9HP in my Odyssey actually has a transmission warmer, not a transmission cooler.

Not sure about the transmission in your Escape (6F35?).
 

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
I run Timbrens but I don't think they are available for your Escape. They limit rear end sag but do not eliminate it.

Does your manual say not to use OD when towing? Most (if not all) modern transmissions have no problem with it. On my 9 speed 1-4 are under-drive, 5 is 1:1, and 6-9 are overdrive so not using OD when towing would leave me short a lot of gears.

Not sure about the transmission in your Escape (6F35?).

Yah, Timbrens are not available.

Fords towing guide states I don't need a WDH for the Escape (odd ...). I think I'm just going to do some universal air bags from Air Lift.

Regarding the gearing, Ford states to use OD so long as the transmission isn't hunting gears back and forth. I've been running Sport mode and manually shifting gears and staying in 5th.

I actually find that in some instances, I get better mileage staying in 5th. I'd rather spend a little extra on fuel than put the strain on the transmission in 6th gear though.
 

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
How did you add the wiring for the electric brakes?

For the trailer lights:

Bought the Tekonsha plug n play harness to give me a standard 4-pin ... wired it in (though a line needs to be run to the battery which I ran through the interior of the vehicle and then through the firewall on the drivers side.

Then I bought a Curtis 7-pin (it takes the 4-pin on the vehicle side - then you wire in your 12v direct to the battery w/self resetting fuses and your trailer brake controller).

For the trailer brake controller:

I bought the Redarc Liberty Tow Pro. Module went under the drivers side dash and a line ran through the firewall to the battery with a self resetting fuse.

A blue line ran from the module to the 7-pin through the interior of the vehicle.
A red line was tied into the brake pedal switch.

All grounds either went to frame or body.

I laser cut a mount for the dial and used double-sided Gorilla mounting tape so that it could easy be removed and I wouldn't have to drill into the dash at all. Though, they make nice plates for the knockouts that some vehicles have in their dash for a factory look.

1657296053335.png

I see you have a Tacoma, Redarc makes kits specifically for the Tacoma (knockout plates, wiring harness, etc). I had to use the universal kit for my Escape.
 




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