Transmission Cooler and Towing Accessories for Towing 3000 lb Trailer with 2011 Ford Escape


I am a first-time tower, thinking of pulling a 3000-pound trailer with my V6 3 liter engine. I have a Class 3 receiver on already and know I need a wiring harness for lights. Would I also need a coolers if I go into hills? Anything other advice?

Expert Reply:

According to my research, the 2011 Escape has a tow rating between 1500-3500 lbs, depending on how the vehicle was equipped. You can call your Ford dealer with the VIN number, and they should be able to tell you the tow rating of you vehicle as it is equipped. If you should find that the actual tow capacity of your Escape is exceeded by the weight of the trailer, you will either want to get a trailer whose weight falls within the tow capacity of the Escape or use a different vehicle to tow the trailer.

If you find you can tow the trailer without exceeding the manufacturers towing capacity, you will also need the # 118551 to provide a 4-pole flat trailer wiring harness that will provide power for the lighting functions of the trailer.

Assuming that the tow capacity of the vehicle is 3500 lbs, the weight of your trailer is pretty close to the maximum. I would strongly recommend a transmission cooler, like part # D13502. You would also need the Ford transmission line fittings, part # D13025. The best spot to install a transmission cooler is directly behind the grille, in front of the radiator and A/C condenser. You would need to measure the available space to see if it will accommodate the 11x7-1/4x7/8 inch cooler. A transmission cooler is inexpensive insurance that will protect your transmission.

Any time the weight of the trailer is more than 50 percent of the vehicle weight, we recommend using a weight distribution system. My research tells me that the curb weight of a 2011 Escape is between 3200 and 3550 lbs, so a weight distribution system would be recommended to tow a 3000 lb trailer.

Weight distribution systems are classified according to the tongue weight of the trailer. The weight of anything stowed behind the rear axle in the cargo area of your Escape also needs to be considered as tongue weight. Assuming that the tongue weight of your trailer plus the weight of anything stored behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle does not exceed 600 lbs, the Reese SC Weight Distribution System, part # RP66151 would be ideal. The system provides weight distribution as well as sway control, which is important for tow vehicles that have a relatively short wheelbase, like your Escape.

If your trailer has electric brakes, you will need to install a brake controller to actuate them. I can highly recommend the Tekonsha Prodigy P2, part # 90885 because it is very user-friendly. You will also need our Brake Controller Install Kit, part # ETBC7, which includes everything necessary to install a brake controller on your vehicle.

I have linked you to some FAQ articles that provide more in-depth information about how to determine your trailer tongue weight, weight distribution and transmission coolers.

expert reply by:
Michael L

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