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Old 12-19-2014, 11:26 PM   #1
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Frontal Area

From Towing 17B Thread: "The Jeep Grand Cherokee owners manual lists the maximum trailer frontal area as 55 sq ft." Ford states their 2014 Explorer is good for 40 sq. ft. with Class III Tow Package and 20 without. Explorer then not good for a 17 Escape.

This seems to be a spec most of us have been unaware of. Search it and you will probably agree it's a valid one. In my view ETI's first sentence on their homepage is not accurate for the 19 & 21(60/64 sq. ft. respectively). They do offer a disclaimer in the FAQ section under "do I need a truck?", but that is not a headline like the first statement. Not only do probably most V-6's flunk the frontal area test for 19 & 21 models, but apparently so does a V-8 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Now I probably know what happened to Gabe's transmission on his Ford Escape towing his 17B back to Vancouver Island from Arizona: too much drag. Saw that trans issue on Google.

I don't have any axe to grind and am happy with our 21, but believe full disclosure is in everyone's best interest.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:37 PM   #2
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I'm thinking this "total frontal area" "problem" is nonsense.
The more frontal area, the more gas you're going to use, until at some point, as you increase frontal area, you will come to a stop.
Is there a spec for if you only drive up hill, down hill or on the prairies?

In the Explorer example, how would a tow package double the frontal area that could be towed? Twice as many cylinders?
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:39 PM   #3
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Google before spouting.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:41 PM   #4
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Can't.
I'm watching Corner Gas, The Movie.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
The more frontal area, the more gas you're going to use, until at some point, as you increase frontal area, you will come to a stop.
Yup! and Yup! Makes me only want to tow highly-streamlined Escape Trailers, and maintain the gelcoat in a high-gloss low-friction condition.

Edit:
And, this is a very interesting thread:
http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f3...sold-3680.html
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:05 AM   #6
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Now I probably know what happened to Gabe's transmission on his Ford Escape towing his 17B back to Vancouver Island from Arizona: too much drag. Saw that trans issue on Google.
Actually, it's more likely that he was towing with the transmission in OD instead of D. Mechanic told me I came very close to blowing up my torque converter, towing a tent trailer with my Ford Explorer in OD. Not a lot of frontal area there.
My daughter pointed out that I had told her that the Explorer manual said to tow in D, not OD, and she wondered why I had forgotten that.
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:32 AM   #7
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Can't.
I'm watching Corner Gas, The Movie.
Me too Bet they get good towing mileage in that part of the country

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Old 12-20-2014, 01:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I'm thinking this "total frontal area" "problem" is nonsense.
The more frontal area, the more gas you're going to use, until at some point, as you increase frontal area, you will come to a stop.
Is there a spec for if you only drive up hill, down hill or on the prairies?

In the Explorer example, how would a tow package double the frontal area that could be towed? Twice as many cylinders?
I am surprised to see a SiteTeam person calling this 'nonsense'.

You might disagree but let's keep this constructive and friendly.

We used the term 'flat plate equivalent' and it is a serious consideration.... What ever you call it.
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:43 AM   #9
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I apologize for calling it nonsense.
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:37 AM   #10
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Hi: guys... Ever tried towing a parachute? Not much weight... but lots of frontal area.
Only trouble with Corner Gas...The Movie is I fell asleep!!! Alf
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Old 12-20-2014, 05:45 AM   #11
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I've got the feeling the rounded areas of the front don't count completely on the escapes, maybe half. What's the actual flat surface area of the 17 compared to the total front profile? With the box on the front you probably have even less flat area as it's streamlined too.

Are you counting the ground to trailer distance in your calculations?
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Old 12-20-2014, 07:52 AM   #12
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Interesting conversation and one I am sure many have not considered. Ford appears to be one of the few that is proactively publishing the Frontal Area information. For the majority of vehicle there does not appear to be much data, if any, available ... yet
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Old 12-20-2014, 08:30 AM   #13
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frontal area

I am aware of the jeep info and really notice the drag with head wind or tailwind. I figure a bigger engine compensates rather nicely.
Jack with a hemi V-8
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Old 12-20-2014, 10:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Can't.
I'm watching Corner Gas, The Movie.
Thanks for the movie tip. Never heard of it before! Looks like another Canadian gem that you folks kept to yourselves! I got hooked on Trailer Park Boys after seeing an episode a few years ago. Aside from the language, its hilarious!

Any other recommendations
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:22 PM   #15
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I am aware of the jeep info and really notice the drag with head wind or tailwind. I figure a bigger engine compensates rather nicely.
Jack with a hemi V-8
Jack, while I am sure the bigger engine helps, its the transmission that takes the brunt. I met a guy once that totaled his transmission in a full size Chev with 500 cu in. trying to buck a headwind crossing Saskatchewan with a camper on the pickup. A trans temp gauge would help monitor the situation.

However, having said this I think all of us have done our part by owning an Escape. If you can't pull an Escape you can't pull anything. Just take it easy and don't over do it when you are up against the wind.
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:32 PM   #16
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Thanks for the movie tip. Never heard of it before! Looks like another Canadian gem that you folks kept to yourselves! I got hooked on Trailer Park Boys after seeing an episode a few years ago. Aside from the language, its hilarious!

Any other recommendations
Aside from also being hilarious, Corner Gas is nothing like Trailer Park Boys. It helps to know a bit about life in Saskatchewan, and why grumpy old men like to say "Jackass".
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:44 PM   #17
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I apologize for calling it nonsense.
Don't apologize for using the word nonsense. If you think something does not make sense, then nonsense is the perfect word to use.
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:31 PM   #18
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Ford in their towing guide advises to take total frontal area into "consideration". They also indicate some low values as limitations. Our Ford Flex and 19 is well beyond the "limitations" Ford lists. I tend to feel the word consideration makes more sense when actually towing. I watch our fuel consumption and when headwinds cause the consumption to go up a lot we slow down.
http://www.fleet.ford.com/resources/...TTgde_Sep9.pdf
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:37 PM   #19
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I have noticed that Dolly Parton has no problem touring the country.
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:37 PM   #20
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Yeah but in this case it isn't nonsense and feel my main point has been entirely ignored- that V-6 engines are a dubious choice to pull both 19 (but especially) 21 Escapes when both weight and frontal area are factored. As mentioned in many a discussion, there's a lot more to consider when choosing a TV than just the stated tow rating given my the manufacturer. This is a spec that hasn't been discussed here before but has on several other forums. Slippage on the torque converter is a problem when the engine doesn't send enough power to it resulting in more heat. Jack's V-8 most likely does help reduce this effect.
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