Disaster Averted - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Towing and Hitching
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-17-2016, 11:29 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
BRietkerk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Surrey B.C., British Columbia
Trailer: 2012 Escape 19
Posts: 132
Disaster Averted

For 5 seasons and 40000+ kM we have successfully towed our 19 with a Ford Flex. The hitch is after market with a 450lb tongue rating. It is bolted to the bottom of the quarter frame with 4 bolts into the weld nuts provided. We use a load leveller, Last week as I backed off our driveway I heard a loud clunk. The hitch had begun to sag. Off to a frame shop where upon inspection it was discovered the two rear most nuts had pulled through the frame. A third was ready to go. Repairs would be expensive and would never be solid enough to pull an Escape. It was explained that the factory hitch is connected to the frame and also to the thick bumper brace.
I have always had to drive vehicles that form part of my pay packet and the short list to choose from never had an off road version. The Flex was my last company vehicle and I can honestly say it was the best car I ever had. That said we now are about to pick up a 4 runner. It will not have the same highway handling but I will be confident the integrated hitch receiver is solid.
__________________

__________________
Brian
BRietkerk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2016, 12:23 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
2yax2go's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Upstate, South Carolina
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 100
We purchased a 2008 4Runner which pulls our Escape 21. In the last 3 1/2 months we have hauled she and Mis-Adventure almost 9000 miles...many, many of which have been over your Canadian Rockies, the Cascades, US Rockies and Sierra Nevada Mts with a few more to go before we end our Madventure. I can say that Runner has handled it all magnificently. No, she doesn't go up the hills as fast as an 8 cylinder would, but she chugs right along without complaining or overheating...and the last 2 weeks have been blasting hot across the California Central Valley and into the Sierra's. The gas mileage has averaged around 14 mpg, which isn't awful considering the grades we've been over.

I hope you have the same good fortune with your 4Runner as we have had so far with ours.

Josie and Craig
__________________

__________________


"Not all those who wander are lost." (J.R.R. Tolkein from Lord of the Rings..."Strider's Poem")
2yax2go is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2016, 02:14 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 8,826
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRietkerk View Post
The hitch is after market with a 450lb tongue rating. It is bolted to the bottom of the quarter frame with 4 bolts into the weld nuts provided.
...
Off to a frame shop where upon inspection it was discovered the two rear most nuts had pulled through the frame.
...
It was explained that the factory hitch is connected to the frame and also to the thick bumper brace.
I'm glad to hear that you caught this, but sad to hear that the apparent incompetence of the aftermarket hitch manufacturer ruined a good vehicle. Unfortunately, there is no regulation of hitch designs, and there is not even a standard for testing the attachment of the hitch to the vehicle.

What brand (and model if you know) is the aftermarket hitch?
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2016, 02:55 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
BRietkerk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Surrey B.C., British Columbia
Trailer: 2012 Escape 19
Posts: 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
What brand (and model if you know) is the aftermarket hitch?
Not sure. It was either a Reese 44636 or Hidden Hitch 87571.
The hitch shop I used carries both. They are similar.
__________________
Brian
BRietkerk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2016, 03:26 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Sublimity, Oregon
Trailer: 2016 Escape 19
Posts: 9
I'm picking up a 19 in November and was going to use a 14 Ford Flex to tow. Was the issue with the hitch, the installation, or the structure of the Ford Flex to tow. I too have enjoyed my Flex very much.


Paul
pcrichter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2016, 03:28 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
LarryandLiz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Maple Ridge, BC, British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 17B;2012 Nissan Frontier SV 4
Posts: 567
Brian,

Quite the story. I'm so glad you heard the clunk. Another take-away is Stay Focussed when hooking up and as you leave. Note to self - no radio for the first bit of travel.

Larry
LarryandLiz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2016, 03:49 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
BRietkerk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Surrey B.C., British Columbia
Trailer: 2012 Escape 19
Posts: 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcrichter View Post
I'm picking up a 19 in November and was going to use a 14 Ford Flex to tow. Was the issue with the hitch, the installation, or the structure of the Ford Flex to tow. I too have enjoyed my Flex very much.


Paul
If your Flex has an integrated factory hitch you will probably not have the same experience.
The factory hitch is fastened to the car much better than an after an market hitch.
The after market hitches all are limited to only fastening to 4 weld nuts provided in the frame. The 350 lb. tongue weight in my case eventually caused metal fatigue and the weld nuts tore out. I was told by the hitch shop that the aftermarket hitch had a 450 lb tongue rating. The web sites now indicate the rating is 400 lb so I was getting close to todays rating.
__________________
Brian
BRietkerk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2016, 03:56 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 8,826
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRietkerk View Post
Not sure. It was either a Reese 44636 or Hidden Hitch 87571.
The hitch shop I used carries both. They are similar.
Thanks

Those Reese and Hidden Hitch models are not just similar; they are the same product. It is common for Cequent to sell their hitches under all three of their hitch brand names. In this case:
  • Draw-Tite: 75679
  • Hidden Hitch: 87571
  • Reese: 44636
  • U-Haul: 78189
U-Haul is not part of Cequent, but gets hitches from Cequent, Curt, and others, then gives them U-Haul part numbers and labels.

Both the Cequent receiver and the product from Curt (13551) attach only to the four weldnuts provided by Ford. It is normal with many vehicles to use only those nuts, and they are intended for a hitch, but it in this case they do appear to be inadequate. My Toyota Sienna's dealer-installed genuine Toyota hitch receiver - like the aftermarket models - mounts to two welded-in nuts on each side at the rear end of the bracket, plus one at the front of the bracket... with a rated towing capacity of only 3500 pounds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRietkerk View Post
It was explained that the factory hitch is connected to the frame and also to the thick bumper brace.
The actual situation is far more extreme than that. The actual Ford factory hitch (part 17D826 or 9A8Z-19D520-D) is the bumper support bar, and is supported by the bumper mounts (two bolts each side), and a centre mount (two more bolts into the rear frame crossmember), plus those four welded-in nuts (which serve as the less-stressed lower part of the bumper mount). To build and sell an aftermarket hitch which is attached to only the four lower weldnuts - not even close to the ten bolts used by Ford - seems highly irresponsible to me.

These diagrams show the Ford hitch (with the bolts going into those lower weldnuts labeled HS2), then for contrast the Cequent design, attached only two those four minor mounting points:
Attached Images
File Type: png CequentHitchForFordFlex.png (56.6 KB, 28 views)
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2016, 04:00 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 8,826
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcrichter View Post
I'm picking up a 19 in November and was going to use a 14 Ford Flex to tow. Was the issue with the hitch, the installation, or the structure of the Ford Flex to tow
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRietkerk View Post
If your Flex has an integrated factory hitch you will probably not have the same experience.
The factory hitch is fastened to the car much better than an after an market hitch.
Paul, I agree with Brian - the problem with his hitch clearly appears to have been inadequate design of the aftermarket hitch. I would have zero concern with Ford's proper design... but I would not tow with the aftermarket setup.
Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2016, 04:08 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 8,826
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRietkerk View Post
I was told by the hitch shop that the aftermarket hitch had a 450 lb tongue rating. The web sites now indicate the rating is 400 lb so I was getting close to todays rating.
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.
__________________

Brian B-P is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off






» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:37 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.