Towing with a 2008 Ford Sport Trac - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 04-17-2018, 02:42 PM   #1
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Towing with a 2008 Ford Sport Trac

I have a 2008 ford sport trac with the 4.6 V8 has any one pulled a 21 foot with one. Thanks
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:18 PM   #2
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My son had a Sport track with the V-8 (according to the tow rating I've found it's rated at 3,500 lbs) and he was disappointed at the tow capabilities. A 21' with passengers and camping equipment will be easily up to 5,000 lbs. At that point you could be unsafe both to yourself and to others.
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:50 PM   #3
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I tow and live in your back yard. Half ton truck with 8k towing a ~4200lb classic 21. It's a comfortable tow, except in heavy cross winds.

My 2 cents is update the vehicle or look at small tear drop trailers or fabled Escape 15 or 13, if the tow rating is indeed 3500lb for your vehicle.
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Oldman View Post
My son had a Sport track with the V-8 (according to the tow rating I've found it's rated at 3,500 lbs) and he was disappointed at the tow capabilities. A 21' with passengers and camping equipment will be easily up to 5,000 lbs. At that point you could be unsafe both to yourself and to others.
According to Ford (and no one else's numbers matter), a 2008 Sport Trac is rated for up to 7,160 pounds of trailer (depending of course on option and equipment choices). As the manual explains, this vehicle comes in two levels of towing capability with the same engine: 3,500 pounds or 7,160 pounds with 2WD; 3,500 pounds or 7,000 pounds with 4WD. As I recall, the hitch receiver is integrated with the rear bumper support, and is a 1.25" Class 2 hitch for the lower capacity, and a 2" Class 4 hitch for the higher capacity.

Hitch load limits from the manual:
Quote:
Class II receiver: 350 lb. (159 kg)
Class III/IV receiver: 500 lb. (227 kg) (weight carrying); 740 lb. (336 kg) (weight distributing)
The Class II hitch is not sufficient for an Escape 21' (or for most Escape 19's, or even most Escape 17's). Norm (campingrus), I hope you have the 2"-size, Class 4 version.

Just to be clear, any danger would result from towing above the rating provided by Ford, potentially resulting in a lack of sufficient control... not from a lack of performance. In this case, since the capacity is related to the hitch (and possibly powertrain changes such a fluid coolers), the risk of exceeding capacity with the 3,500 pound version would be hitch failure (very bad) or loss of reliability (expensive but typically not dangerous).

The perceived lack of performance (in the opinion of one owner) is not a danger - any loaded heavy transport truck hauling 40 tons with less than 600 hp accelerates much more slowly and climbs grades much more slowly than a Sport Trac with a 292 hp engine and even a 5,000 pound trailer.

The second-generation Explorer Sport Trac has longer wheelbase than any SUV, and both more power and higher tow rating than most SUVs used to tow Escapes. It seems like a pretty reasonable match to any Escape (other than the 5.0 or 5.0TA) to me.
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:16 PM   #5
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The second-generation Sport Trac is a "half-ton" truck. It is narrower than a "full-size", and similar to the current Colorado/Canyon.

I agree that a Sport Trac without the higher towing rating is not for any current Escape, although it could certainly handle much more than a typical teardrop; it would be very capable for a 13' or 15' Escape, for instance. On the other hand, if owning and liking a Sport Trac and wanting to tow a travel trailer, I think it would make sense to trade it for another Sport Trac which is more appropriately equipped, rather than severely limit the trailer choice.
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:17 PM   #6
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Thanks for taking time out to research that info Brian.
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:24 PM   #7
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In a quick search of the forum, I found that most discussions of towing with a Sport Trac were about towing the fifth-wheel Escapes - it's not suitable for that.

The one discussion that I found about towing a non-fifth-wheel with a Sport Trac was this one:
Buying a new Escape 19
This forum member had a Sport Trac with the proper towing package, but the smaller engine, and was buying a 19'. That seems like a good match, but there wasn't any follow-up, and the member has not been back for the forum for over four years... but might still be reachable by email.
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:52 PM   #8
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Thanks for taking time out to research that info Brian.
Some research, some from memory. I have always found the Sport Trac to be an interesting and misunderstood vehicle.
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:20 PM   #9
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I was actually looking at buying a used one a few years back, but bought something else.
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Old 04-18-2018, 01:31 AM   #10
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the sport trac is a AWD rated for 7000 lbs and has a class111 hitch factor installed.
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Old 04-18-2018, 01:33 AM   #11
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thanks for the info.
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campingrus View Post
the sport trac is a AWD rated for 7000 lbs and has a class111 hitch factor installed.
With the AWD and factory installed class III hitch it would seem your capable to haul a 21'as long as you are including a WD hitch which is indicated in the FORD tow rating brochure.
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Old 04-18-2018, 06:27 PM   #13
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The AWD actually reduces the trailer towing capacity a bit (due to the weight of additional mechanical parts), but will be desirable for traction while towing... and the Sport Trac's 7000 pound limit is enough, even allowing for a full load of passengers and cargo in the truck.

An Escape 21' may be over the Sport Trac's weight-carrying hitch weight limit of 500 pounds; if so, a weight distribution system (WD hitch) would be required. The manual does not suggest use of a WD system other than that limit, so if you're under 500 pounds you would not need WD (and in a truck with 130 inches of wheelbase you shouldn't need it), but many choose to use WD anyway.

The base, dry, empty, tongue weight of an Escape 21' is only 360 pounds, but with optional equipment, propane, and cargo, it can go much higher. The 360 pounds is about 11% of the trailer weight, a minimum of 10% is usually recommended, Escapes routinely run about 12%, and some people run up to 15%; the trailer ready to hit the road could easily exceed 500 pounds tongue weight, and some Escape 21' owners do run over 500 pounds.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:53 PM   #14
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2008 Ford Sport Trac towing experience

Hi, we've towed our 2019 Escape 17B over 6,000 miles now, including an indirect trip home to Boulder, CO from Chilliwack.

Our 2008 Sport Trac has the 4.6 liter V8 and the 4WD (not AWD!) system and the towing package (Class 3 hitch, 7-pin connector, 700 pound hitch rating, 500 without WDH).

The 4WD system in the Sport Trac is 2WD until the system detects a loss of traction at a wheel. It then switches over to 4WD within 120 degrees of wheel spin. (Details are available at Wikipedia.) I only mention this because you can manually select 4WD-High and 4WD-Low as you like with buttons on the console. Handy on poor (sand and gravel) roads for maneuvering the trailer back into a tight camp site. :-)

Towing our 3200 pound trailer and the loaded truck up and down passes in the mountains between home and Chilliwack was no problem at all, but I'm a conservative driver and limit speed to 65 mph, 60 mph strongly preferred.

The cruise control works very well, up hill and down. Some say never tow using the cruise control, but in my (admittedly limited) experience, the cruise control in the Sport Trac is brighter than I am. The transmission (you will very likely have the 6R60, same as mine) is also very bright and was designed to be shifted manually. So, I tow with the cruise control on about 95% of the time and manually shift down as required to hold speed on the downgrades.

Vehicle limits: The rear suspension on the Gen 2 Sport Tracs is independent, and a bit "soft" (but gives decent ground clearance). Have a look at the "yellow sticker" on your door jamb and note the maximum payload number. On ours, the maximum payload is 1144 pounds. Not a typo - eleven hundred pounds! Our is heavily optioned (power moon roof, running boards, fancy leather seats, dual-zone climate control, heavy locking tonneau cover over the bed and on and on. All that "lard" has to be carried around all the time and it reduces your payload. The soft springs make for a nice ride but at a price.

We bought a WDH with the trailer from Escape. As delivered, it was not transferring much weight and the trailer and truck felt "odd". After about 50 miles, I pulled over and measured how far the fenders were off the road and tightened up the chains on the hitch until the truck was level again. (Stock, empty but full of fuel, the truck sits about a 1/4" low at the front measured to the top of the wheel well above the center of the tires.) My wife commented a few minutes after I'd made the change that everything felt better. =) A visit to a CAT Scale showed that everything was within limits. While you can tow without a WDH, that soft IRS (independent rear suspension) will have you porpoising a bit and the front end will come up enough that you notice.

The transmission fluid is supposed to last forever, but my Ford mechanic and I agreed to change ALL the fluids before I towed anything with the truck. I bought the truck with 100,000 miles on it (it looked new, and had never towed) and although it shifted alright, it was much smoother after the transmission fluid was changed. The running temperature of the transmission also dropped about 15oF after the change. (I installed a ScanGauge II and it is great for keeping an eye on the engine while towing, especially up the long steep passes in these parts.) The transmissions are known to get hot under heavy load (climbing mountain passes on hot days) and I've seen my transmission hit 220oF twice for a minute or two on 95oF days. This was on the long pull out of Salt Lake City on I-80 at Parley's Pass. I've read of 240oF transmission temperatures on hot days on the Eisenhower approaches, which are long and "steepish". My mechanic says I worry too much, but changing the fluid regularly is so much cheaper than changing the transmission.

If you do not have a brake controller, consider the Australian RedArc Tow-Pro Elite unit ($200 from etrailer.com). The only visible part is a knob you can mount pretty much anywhere. Thus, no box hanging off the lower edge of the dashboard where you scrape your shin on it every time you get in the truck. (You might find that there really isn't a great place to mount a Prodigy or similar unit. The RedArc "box" can mount in any orientation anywhere, so I buried it in the console.)

The 17 tows beautifully. The 19 would be about the same, I imagine. The 21 is 8" wider - you might want add-on mirrors, and I'd look at the most excellent Ford towing guide for advice about frontal area limits. The Escapes have rounded corners so they are not as bad as boxy cargo trailers, but you still have to pull the trailer through the air. Slowing down helps though! A bunch.

If somebody reads this one day and wonders about a 5.0 fifth wheel, um, not a good plan, as Brian mentioned above. Even if the bed could hold up the weight, the bed on the truck is about 49" square! Honestly, this thing is a half-ton car with a big trunk! You'd have no clearance for tight turns. And mounting the hitch would frighten the installer... the bed is made of a plastic composite! Nothing to rust, but you'd have to do a bit of work to transfer all the load to the frame.


Dave
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Old 10-19-2019, 05:01 AM   #15
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My local Airstream dealer CANAM RV has a Jetta our front setup to tow a 21’ Airstream.

Personally with 15 years experience towing, I advise people to not exceed 50% of your vehicles capacity when pulling a camper. I have no problem pulling a huge boat with no wind resistance or 5 yards of dirt from the landscape depot, but camping trips are generally really hard on a tow vehicle.

Get WDH and use a ScanGauge2 to monitor your transmission temperature and from what you say, the SportTrac should do the job.
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