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Old 08-17-2016, 04:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Any rating of the aftermarket hitches is validated by testing (according to the VESC V-5 and SAE J684 standards) which does not involve the tow vehicle at all - the hitch is attached to a test structure which is as strong as massive as the hitch builder wants, so only the ability of the four bolts is tested. With an aftermarket hitch, there is no testing to ensure that the points used of the vehicle structure can withstand the forces applied to them.
A very good point. And, if a WDH is involved, it can stress the hitch further. This thread reminds me why I don't like aftermarket hitch systems, and much prefer the factory setup.

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Old 08-17-2016, 04:16 PM   #12
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A very good point. And, if a WDH is involved, it can stress the hitch further. This thread reminds me why I don't like aftermarket hitch systems, and much prefer the factory setup.

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That would work, but, the factory hitch for my RAV4 would have been class 2 and I wouldn't be able to use a WDH.
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Old 08-17-2016, 05:29 PM   #13
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Brian, thanks for your response. Again the forum is very helpful!!
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Old 08-17-2016, 09:43 PM   #14
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Be sure to check Ford's web site for towing with a Ford Flex - we have a 2011 Flex and a WDH is REQUIRED to tow with it. We rarely tow with it anymore and use the F-150 instead but it was an OK TV while we used it for that.
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Old 08-17-2016, 10:22 PM   #15
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Be sure to check Ford's web site for towing with a Ford Flex - we have a 2011 Flex and a WDH is REQUIRED to tow with it. We rarely tow with it anymore and use the F-150 instead but it was an OK TV while we used it for that.
Good info. If a WDH is required on that model, I would think that's another good reason to make sure it has the factory hitch.

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Old 08-17-2016, 11:14 PM   #16
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Be sure to check Ford's web site for towing with a Ford Flex - we have a 2011 Flex and a WDH is REQUIRED to tow with it. We rarely tow with it anymore and use the F-150 instead but it was an OK TV while we used it for that.
It would be unreasonable to require WD for all trailers, so it is presumably required for trailers above a particular weight, or tongue weight.

Ford's 2011 towing guide says this about the Flex:
Quote:
... will easily tow up to 4,500 pounds when properly equipped.
Quote:
4,500-lb. towing capability when equipped with Class III Trailer Tow Package, which includes a class-exclusive Trailer Sway Control
4,500 pounds is more than 3,500 pounds, so a Class III hitch is required, whether weight-carrying or weight-distributing. "Class III" means only a maximum trailer weight of over 3,500 pounds but not more than 5,000 pounds, although in practice all Class III hitches have a 2-inch receiver size and most can handle WD systems. The whole package is required to reach this maximum capacity, which means all of the features Ford includes in the package (which may include, for instance, increased transmission cooling).

So what's in the 2011 Flex manual? First, a note attached to the 4500 lb rating for a suitably equipped 2WD Flex:
Quote:
For towing trailers up to 3500 lb (1588 kg), use a weight-carrying hitch and ball which uniformly spreads the trailer tongue loads through the vehicle’s underbody structure. For towing trailers over 3500 lb (1588 kg), up to 4500 lb (2042 kg), it is recommended to use a weight-distributing hitch to increase front axle load while towing.
This is normal - although technically nonsense as loads are not "uniformly" spread by any hitch - and clearly says that if a trailer is heavy enough (by which they really mean if the tongue weight is over 350 pounds), WD is recommended... but not required. The reason for WD is explained: it is to avoid loosing drive traction at the front tires due to hitch weight transferring load off the front and onto the rear axle.

Then, an interesting statement for a suitably equipped AWD Flex:
Quote:
For towing trailers up to 4500 lb (2042 kg), use a weight-carrying hitch and ball which uniformly spreads the trailer tongue loads through the vehicle’s underbody structure.
This doesn't even mention WD; it doesn't require WD, and doesn't even recommend it. The reason would presumably be that the AWD version doesn't have the issue with loosing drive traction due to hitch weight, the way a front-wheel-only-drive vehicle does.

Dave - who told you that WDH is required?
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Old 08-17-2016, 11:30 PM   #17
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My question would be, 'does Ford Flex AWD actually drive all the wheels all the time'? Or, is it mainly front wheel drive and engage the rear wheels when it detects slippage?
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:12 AM   #18
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My question would be, 'does Ford Flex AWD actually drive all the wheels all the time'? Or, is it mainly front wheel drive and engage the rear wheels when it detects slippage?
It appears to be closer to the latter. Very few current AWD systems actually drive all the wheels all the time - instead of having a centre differential (like RAV4 up to 2004), they drive one end all the time, and drive the other end through a clutch as appropriate (like RAV4 starting 2005). With modern computerized control of the clutch, the result works pretty well (although performance varies widely between brands, models, and years). They even anticipate the need for rear drive, based on factors such as engine power requested (accelerator pedal position), so there is no need to wait for front tire slippage.

The Flex is on the same platform as the current Ford Explorer, which started as a Volvo design with Haldex AWD, but has evolved to a Ford-built system. Its AWD system is indeed front-always and rear-as-required, but can put all the power to the rear tires if the front tires have no traction. It appears that Ford sees no issue with traction when towing.

Anyway, the thread topic is a Ford Flex hitch mounting failure, and while the use of weight distribution systems does affect loads on mounting points, that's not the reason Ford recommends WD with the Flex, in those limited cases that it makes that recommendation.
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:31 AM   #19
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Brian,

Have you ever thought of a career as a technical writer? I think Ford could use one.

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Old 08-18-2016, 05:55 AM   #20
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Now on to the OP's thought to "pick up a 4Runner".
I originally towed my 21' with a 2003 4Runner V6 4WD that did very well, all things considered. However if picking up a used one, some 4Runners came with a lighter duty weight carrying receiver which bolted only into a rear cross-member--all bolts within about 4 inches of each other. I switched that out for a weight distributing receiver that bolted more securely to both frame rails.

These terms are important since the weight carrying receiver was rated at 5000 lbs and would not allow a weight distributing hitch (Andersen) but the weight distributing receiver was rated at 6500 lbs and would allow a WDH. I'd hate to see a repeat of the Flex adventure with just the weight carrying hitch on an older 4R.
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