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How Close to Vehicle Tongue Weight Capacity Can You Go

Question:

My wife and I have a 2016 Ford Escape with the 2.0 liter eco past engine. The tow capacity is 3500 lbs and a class 2 hitch with a maximum tongue weight of 350 lbs. We are considering purchasing a travel trailer with a dry weight of 2320 lbs and a tongue weight of 240 w/o propane and battery. I am estimating the weight of the propane and battery at 90 lbs. That would put the tongue weight at roughly 330 lbs. My question is how close to the maximum tongue is it safe to get. I believe the receiver is welded to the bumper on the escape. I am concerned that the 330 pounds is too close to the maximum. Thank you for any insight you can give me.

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Expert Reply:

As long as you don't exceed the maximum tongue weight capacity of the hitch or the vehicle, whichever is lower you should be fine, but I'd consider adding a transmission cooler. You'll also want to do everything you can do to keep that trailer weight down if possible.

A transmission cooler would install in front of the radiator, directly behind the grille. It would tap inline to the transmission return line running from the radiator back to the transmission.

If you have an 11 x 7 inch space available on the front of the radiator, the Derale # D13502 would be an excellent choice. The cooler would provide inexpensive insurance for your transmission. I'd especially recommend a cooler if you'll be towing in hilly areas.

I'll link to a typical installation video that will give you an idea of how the cooler installs. I'll also link to some help articles with more information about transmission coolers.

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Mike L

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