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Flat Tow failure

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My dealer said that even though there were a bunch of codes when they diagnosed it, none of them were useful in determining if it was or was not put into neutral tow mode correctly. Ask for proof. I think Ford has an issue here, and flat towing these things is rolling the dice with horrible odds.
yea, i lost that bet. $6,800.00 later and ruined vacation 5 days drive from home. dealer blamed me for not following flat tow protocols. [on the 18th time]
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aknavy

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yea, i lost that bet. $6,800.00 later and ruined vacation 5 days drive from home. dealer blamed me for not following flat tow protocols. [on the 18th time]
That sucks and is why I traded it in. We full time RV, so I can't be having this happen again - rental cars are expensive and inconvenient when you're moving locations, and I'm sure a second self destruction would be on me to pay for. And as full time RV'ers, flat towing is a must for us.
 

Dirtrider

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That sucks and is why I traded it in. We full time RV, so I can't be having this happen again - rental cars are expensive and inconvenient when you're moving locations, and I'm sure a second self destruction would be on me to pay for. And as full time RV'ers, flat towing is a must for us.
I just got back from 5,000+ miles towing the Bronco. I haven't had any issues with the transmission (7 speed manual). I always check that the transfer case is in neutral after I see the 'Neutral Tow Enabled' message by putting it in gear and rocking it back and forth then putting the transmission back in neutral. That checks that the parking brake isn't on as well. The parking brake light apparently gets confused when in 'Neutral Tow' and some people have left the parking brake on when hooking up (I don't, I learned that lesson years ago). I also always have my wife watch when I first move after connection the tow bar to make sure the legs 'lock', the Bronco front tire steer and that I'm not skidding the Bronco rear tires (I'm obsessive-compulsive:)). I'm hoping that if I do have an issue with the transfer case not going into 'Neutral Tow' that the manual transmission in neutral won't have issues. As far as I know the manual is splash lubricated and shouldn't have lubrication issues.

I do have the noisy synchros in the transmission when it is cold but that started before I ever flat towed it. There is a Technical Service Bulletin out for that, a common issue with the manual but doesn't seem to be causing anyone problems.

My only issue is that sometimes after I come out of the 'Neutral Tow' mode I get a brake system warning. I was alarmed the first time it happened, which was also the first time I flat towed, but it doesn't concern me now, just a glitch that is intermittent. Turning the engine off then back on generally makes it go away.
 

aknavy

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I just got back from 5,000+ miles towing the Bronco. I haven't had any issues with the transmission (7 speed manual). I always check that the transfer case is in neutral after I see the 'Neutral Tow Enabled' message by putting it in gear and rocking it back and forth then putting the transmission back in neutral. That checks that the parking brake isn't on as well. The parking brake light apparently gets confused when in 'Neutral Tow' and some people have left the parking brake on when hooking up (I don't, I learned that lesson years ago). I also always have my wife watch when I first move after connection the tow bar to make sure the legs 'lock', the Bronco front tire steer and that I'm not skidding the Bronco rear tires (I'm obsessive-compulsive:)). I'm hoping that if I do have an issue with the transfer case not going into 'Neutral Tow' that the manual transmission in neutral won't have issues. As far as I know the manual is splash lubricated and shouldn't have lubrication issues.

I do have the noisy synchros in the transmission when it is cold but that started before I ever flat towed it. There is a Technical Service Bulletin out for that, a common issue with the manual but doesn't seem to be causing anyone problems.

My only issue is that sometimes after I come out of the 'Neutral Tow' mode I get a brake system warning. I was alarmed the first time it happened, which was also the first time I flat towed, but it doesn't concern me now, just a glitch that is intermittent. Turning the engine off then back on generally makes it go away.
Yeah, we always check that tires are spinning. Even do that after just about every stop, and they were all day the day that it broke. With the manual, you have to push the clutch to get it out of neutral tow, correct? That may be a huge difference - the computer can't push the clutch.
 

Dirtrider

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Yeah, we always check that tires are spinning. Even do that after just about every stop, and they were all day the day that it broke. With the manual, you have to push the clutch to get it out of neutral tow, correct? That may be a huge difference - the computer can't push the clutch.
Correct, you have to push the clutch and brake in at the same time and hold for 7 seconds. I keep a list of the procedure for both enabling and disabling the Neutral Tow and follow it (again, obsessive-compulsive:))
 

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aknavy

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Correct, you have to push the clutch and brake in at the same time and hold for 7 seconds. I keep a list of the procedure for both enabling and disabling the Neutral Tow and follow it (again, obsessive-compulsive:))
Yep. The automatics need some fail safe for coming out of neutral tow that only a human can do. Having it all computer controlled is not good. Even the brake has an electric brake booster on the 2.7.
 

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Yep. The automatics need some fail safe for coming out of neutral tow that only a human can do. Having it all computer controlled is not good. Even the brake has an electric brake booster on the 2.7.
I guess my being cheap and getting the 2.3 with the MT was a lucky choice. I was trying to keep it light for flat towing and I'm cheap (frugal?) as well.
 

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Here is the final bill of $6,287.14 We are in the process of suing ford now. I have little hope of them making this right. Boo/Hiss on ford.
 

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SuperDave150

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@Ford Motor Company
i got the “System off to save battery“ message today on my 2023 OBX with Advanced 4WD. (It had been parked for about 5 days)
I noticed that the transfer case mode had switched itself from 4A (which I always leave it in during snowy weather) into 2H.

While this isn’t a big deal as a daily driver, it would be catastrophic if I were flat towing - for the transfer case to shift itself back to 2H in the event of low voltage, etc.!!! That would certainly explain some “mysterious“ contested transfer case and/or transmission failures when flat towing (recreational towing).
 

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@Ford Motor Company
i got the “System off to save battery“ message today on my 2023 OBX with Advanced 4WD. (It had been parked for about 5 days)
I noticed that the transfer case mode had switched itself from 4A (which I always leave it in during snowy weather) into 2H.

While this isn’t a big deal as a daily driver, it would be catastrophic if I were flat towing - for the transfer case to shift itself back to 2H in the event of low voltage, etc.!!! That would certainly explain some “mysterious“ contested transfer case and/or transmission failures when flat towing (recreational towing).
Interesting. I've had mine switch to the save battery mode but not while flat towing and I generally leave it in 2H so I've never noticed a change to the transfer case when the save battery mode was enabled. I have a battery charger that is connected to the RV so it charges the battery while towing. I wonder if it measures battery voltage or there is some other condition that enables the save battery mode. Is there a way to disable the save battery mode? It might be an interesting experiment to set it in the 'flat tow' mode, let it sit long enough for the save battery mode to be enabled then see if it changes the transfer case to 2H. It might be difficult to tell though since you might have to go out of flat tow mode to see or perhaps just see if it rolls freely before doing anything.
 

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...or put in in tow mode and loosen the battery ground and see if it shifts.

If battery charge turns out to be the actual issue with toweds it would be simple enough for @Fordmotorcompany to reprogram so it does not shift to 2H with low battery.

Which brings to mind another solution. Shift to neutral tow, disconnect wiring harness at TC shift motor...done??
 
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Dirtrider

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...or put in in tow mode and loosen the battery ground and see if it shifts.

If battery charge turns out to be the actual issue with toweds it would be simple enough for @Fordmotorcompany to reprogram so it does not shift to 2H with low battery.

Which brings to mind another solution. Shift to neutral tow, disconnect wiring harness at TC shift motor...done??
If I get a chance this winter I may do a test to see if it shifts out of flat tow TC neutral when it goes into battery save mode. I'm retired so sometimes the Bronco sits for a week or more without being started. I flat towed it about 5,000 miles last fall with no issues but, again, I have charge the battery from the RV while towing and if we were stopped the Bronco didn't sit for long enough to go to the save battery mode. I also have the manual transmission (in neutral while I tow) so even if it did shift into 2H, I don't think I would have an issue.
Many/most/all of the people having transmission issues are experienced with flat towing so I find it hard to believe that it is operator error in all cases and this is something that Ford should look into and resolve.

P.S. When my Bronco goes into Battery Saver mode, the headlights/marker lights don't come on when the door is opened or closed, including the interior lights. I just noticed it, is that normal? I just got it back from the dealer for service (manual transmission rebuild) and thought it might be something in the settings but couldn't find any reason for the interior lights in particular to not come on. I took it for a drive and it was back to normal so I'm assuming it wasn't a settings error but must be the battery save mode that did it.
 

SuperDave150

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...or put in in tow mode and loosen the battery ground and see if it shifts.

If battery charge turns out to be the actual issue with toweds it would be simple enough for @Fordmotorcompany to reprogram so it does not shift to 2H with low battery.

Which brings to mind another solution. Shift to neutral tow, disconnect wiring harness at TC shift motor...done??
@dgorsett I also thought about what you say regarding disconnecting the TC shift motor, but I’m not sure my wife would like it when I tell her it is her turn to crawl under the Bronco on 125 degree pavement. 😂
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