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Parts Needed to Flat Tow 2012 Ford Explorer 4wd


What parts do I need to order? What about adding a trans oil pump so I dont have to stop every 5 hours?


Expert Reply:

First, I recommend checking your owners manual for any restrictions or limitations for flat towing your Explorer. I did some research on your vehicle, and the Explorer can be flat towed. However, Ford may have specific procedures and restrictions for flat towing that will be listed in your owners manual.

The parts needed to flat tow include a base plate, tow bar, safety cables, supplemental braking system, and tow bar wiring.

I recommend the Blue Ox Base Plates # BX2632 for your 2012 Ford Explorer. These base plates have removable bracket arms so that the baseplate won't interfere with the look of your vehicle when it is not being towed. This custom-fit base plate will bolt to the frame of your Explorer and works to evenly spread the towing force to minimize the weight on the vehicle suspension.

For a tow bar, I recommend the Blue Ox Alpha Tow Bar - Motor Home Mount # BX7380. This tow bar will fit into the 2 inch trailer hitch receiver at the rear of your vehicle. This tow bar features a swivel function and self-aligning arms to make hookup easy, even when on uneven ground. This tow bar includes the required safety cables to tow your vehicle.

I recommend the Blue Ox Patriot # BLU37TR for a supplemental braking system for your vehicle. The Patriot II is a proportional braking system, meaning your Explorer will brake with the same intensity as your tow vehicle. The Patriot II will set on the floorboard in front of the driver's seat and has an arm that will clamp around the brake pedal.

You have a couple of options for tow lighting for your Explorer. The easiest way to provide tow lights is by using magnetic towing lights, like the Optronics Heavy Duty Magnetic Tow Lights # TL21RK. These lights will mount to the top of your Explorer and provide brake lights, tail lights, and turn signals for your towed vehicle. The wiring is ran down the back of the vehicle, under the vehicle toward the front, and will connect with a 4-way vehicle-end connector on the back of your motorhome.

If you would like to use your vehicle's lights to provide tow lights, you can use the Roadmaster 6-Diode Universal Wiring Kit # 154-792-118158. This harness will work with the separate brake and turn signals on your Explorer to provide taillights, brake lights, and turn signals while towing your vehicle. I have attached a help article on wiring a tow vehicle with separate lighting for you.

Both of the wiring options come with 4-way flat connectors. If you do not have a 4-way flat, or will need additional length to connect your vehicle wiring to your motorhome, you may need a wiring extension. I have attached a link to all of our extensions for you.

The 2012 Ford Explorer owner's manual states that when flat towing the Explorer the engine needs to be started at the beginning of every day and every 6 hours after that. The engine needs to be ran for 5 minutes and the vehicle needs to be shifted into drive, then reverse, and then back to neutral. This is a step the manufacturer requires in order to protect the vehicle's transmission. Typically, fuel stops are necessary every 5 to 6 hours, so it is a good habit to start your towed vehicle each time a fuel stop is made.

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