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poontanghooligan

My '20 Edge ST Towing Experience

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In doing my research about towing with an Edge ST, I found very little info or experiences. So I thought I would post mine because I'm quite impressed! I think the platform is very underrated, not from a what it can't tow but from how it tows within its ratings. 

 

I am towing a 7.5x14 foot, all aluminum, v-nose, dual spread axle cargo trailer that I've converted to a camper. It was totally stripped and bare bones weighing 1,500 pounds. I insulated it, added holding tanks, paneling, vinyl floor planks, cabinets, beds, shower, propane tank, tv, refrigerator, microwave, air conditioning, etc. I think it weighs around 3,200 now but I'll be weighing it soon to make sure. Tongue weight is an estimated 350. So it would seem all within the towing specs.

 

Now for the good parts. I have H&R lowering springs so you might be wondering, "How is the sag from all that tongue weight?". Isn't the ride harsh over bumps? So I also installed air bags and an auto-leveling pump which serves 2 purposes: the first is to take up any sag with the trailer hitched up (which was only about 2 inches) and the second is I can inflate the air bags to the max PSI so I can get better launches once I'm tuned.

 

The trailer also has electric brakes and so even though the ST has pretty good brakes, having the trailer brakes makes stopping fast very controlled. I use a brake controller that goes inline with the 7-way plug (had to install that too) and a phone app to adjust it's settings. Works quite nicely.

 

The ST has the 21 inch wheels and the tires are pretty low profile. Most say this is a terrible combination for towing. At the weight I'm towing, I beg to differ. I set the rear tires to 40 PSI cold and there is absolutely no squirm or wheel lip road rub when turning sharply. With the stiffer sidewalls and stiff suspension with air bags, even cross winds are comfortably handled.

 

Towing power is crazy good. I live in the mountains and have no issue maintaining speed up any grades. I don't know the trans or engine temps while climbing, but I have the A/C on and with the temps outside over 100, there is no overheating. The ST just handles it. Acceleration from a stop is really good which helps merging in to traffic and passing power is awesome. Can't wait to get a tow tune though.

 

So there you have it. I believe there is more the ST can handle but it's limited by the hitch specs. With a proper hitch, it could probably handle 4500 pounds safely and without unibody damage. If anyone wants a list of parts I used for setting up for towing, let me know. Cheers!

 

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Finally got the trailer weighed. Came in at 3280 pounds with 440 tongue weight. Going to have to load more stuff to the rear to offload some of that. 1000 mile roundtrip next week and I'll report back mileage.

IMG_3330.jpg

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Returned from 1000 mile roundtrip to the Redwood Forest yesterday. Averaged 11.6 mpg doing 62 to 64 mph most of the way. There were several climbs and a lot of rolling hills. Temps were in the upper 90's until we got closer to the coast. Power and handling was great. 20 psi in the air bags, 40 psi rear tires, 35 psi front.

 

One issue I had: every time I started an ascent, after a minute or so climbing, I got a notice indicating "AWD temporarily disabled". What causes this? There was no overheating of the PTU/diff that I could tell. No gear smell, no power loss. After the start of the descent, AWD was re-enabled and everything seemed fine.

 

Maybe it thinks there's too much power going to the rear because of the incline? Anyone have this happen to them? 

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This PDF is for a 2015 Sport but it would explain why I might be having the issue. If the RDU is getting hot even after the clutch is fully engaged then it disables RWD and power goes through the FDU.

 

Four­Wheel Drive Systems ­ System Operation and Component Description

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13 hours ago, poontanghooligan said:

Returned from 1000 mile roundtrip to the Redwood Forest yesterday. Averaged 11.6 mpg doing 62 to 64 mph most of the way. There were several climbs and a lot of rolling hills. Temps were in the upper 90's until we got closer to the coast. Power and handling was great. 20 psi in the air bags, 40 psi rear tires, 35 psi front.

 

One issue I had: every time I started an ascent, after a minute or so climbing, I got a notice indicating "AWD temporarily disabled". What causes this? There was no overheating of the PTU/diff that I could tell. No gear smell, no power loss. After the start of the descent, AWD was re-enabled and everything seemed fine.

 

Maybe it thinks there's too much power going to the rear because of the incline? Anyone have this happen to them? 

 

If I were you, I would definitely drain & replace the PTU & Transmission fluids, maybe even the RDU. Getting 11.6 mpg driving 62-64 mph over 1000 miles means your Edge was really working hard.

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I kind of think you have the wrong trailer or wrong tow vehicle for such trips. 

Hanging out on a limb.png

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7 hours ago, omar302 said:

 

If I were you, I would definitely drain & replace the PTU & Transmission fluids, maybe even the RDU. Getting 11.6 mpg driving 62-64 mph over 1000 miles means your Edge was really working hard.

I averaged 17.5+ at 68 MPH on a 1450 mile trip for Arizona to Washington last month. I think this is more in line with Ford's intended towing for the Edge. 

Edge trailer in Wells, Nv.jpg

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11 hours ago, omar302 said:

 

If I were you, I would definitely drain & replace the PTU & Transmission fluids, maybe even the RDU. Getting 11.6 mpg driving 62-64 mph over 1000 miles means your Edge was really working hard.

 

Yes it was working hard for sure. However, I've learned that there are specific safety measures taken by the ECU to ensure conditions don't allow for failures to occur, within reason of course. The RDU is disengaged if it can't be kept cool enough which might the case in my situation. Still don't know without knowing temps.

 

In most 4WD (not AWD) vehicles, you don't get this kind of management by the ECU. It's mechanical and up to the driver to manage so in a rear diff overheat situation, it's the gear oil burning that lets you know you have a problem. Then it's too late.

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3 hours ago, Snoking said:

I kind of think you have the wrong trailer or wrong tow vehicle for such trips. 

 

Hmmm...I don't see why either is wrong. I am within the manufactures limits on tongue weight (340 now), max trailer weight (3280), frontal area of trailer above vehicle roofline not exceeding 30 square feet and GVWR below 5700 lbs. The trailer also has dual axels with electric brakes. The ST has additional cooling capacity as well. I'm also following the special operating conditions maintenance schedule as outlined in the manual. 

 

So how is what I'm doing wrong?

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4 hours ago, Snoking said:

I averaged 17.5+ at 68 MPH on a 1450 mile trip for Arizona to Washington last month. I think this is more in line with Ford's intended towing for the Edge. 

 

Nice! You have much less drag with that setup. While there might be "intended" towing, I am within all manufacturers specifications for my setup. I'm not trying to justify doing something I shouldn't. And overall, the trip went great. I had all the power I needed, braking was really good and handling was what I would expect when towing a trailer. 

 

I have a lot of towing experience (30 years) with many RV's and vehicle combinations. None of the vehicles were AWD though. So my question was around why the AWD was disabled under specific conditions, like starting up a grade. If the RDU is overheating and I am within manufacturers specs, then Ford's RDU cooling capacity is overrated.

Edited by poontanghooligan

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13 hours ago, poontanghooligan said:

 

Yes it was working hard for sure. However, I've learned that there are specific safety measures taken by the ECU to ensure conditions don't allow for failures to occur, within reason of course. The RDU is disengaged if it can't be kept cool enough which might the case in my situation. Still don't know without knowing temps.

 

In most 4WD (not AWD) vehicles, you don't get this kind of management by the ECU. It's mechanical and up to the driver to manage so in a rear diff overheat situation, it's the gear oil burning that lets you know you have a problem. Then it's too late.

 

Ford's ECU measures to protect the AWD has been present since at least the 2011 Edge model year, yet many PTUs have failed. Ford even made later versions of the PTU with oil drain plugs to allow for oil changing on some newer models.

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