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Towing travel trailer with 2020 XLT

Skip Hood

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2020 XLT
Hi all -

We got our 2020 XLT with the Class III tow package to tow our boat, and it does just fine. But the boat trailer has pretty simple requirements. Self-contained surge brakes and needs power from the connector only to the tail and signal lights. This past Summer we joined the RV crowd, and that introduces several issues new to me:

1. Need for an electric brake controller. The RV dealer installing the various additional bits needed for towing the travel trailer couldn’t find a prewired connection for a brake controller under the dash. Claimed he checked with the local Ford dealer and was told Ford didn’t put one in the 2020’s. Even with the tow package. I saw another recent thread showing where the controller connection could be found on 2020 ST’s. Do the XLT’s really not have one?

2. 12V power from the 7-way connector to charge the RV’s battery and run various accessories. A site I was on for RV backup cameras said they won’t work with Fords newer than 2017 because they had changed the 7-way connector to no longer provide the necessary 12V power. Anyone know more about this issue? And if it’s true, was it fixed in the 2020’s?

3. Transmission cooler. Seems like a good idea. Towing the RV obviously puts more strain on things than towing our boat. I can find no mention of a transmission cooler in Ford’s description of the 2020 Explorer’s Class III tow package. Just an engine oil cooler. Does anyone here know for sure whether there is one? If not, advice on adding one, either DIY or letting the pro’s doi it?

Thanks!
 


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peterk9

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SES9

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2020 Explorer XLT
Confirming the XLT does have the plug under the dash for the brake controller. I put a controller one on my XLT
 




Skip Hood

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Thanks, folks. On the transmission cooler issue, I was referring to an auxiliary cooler in addition to the system all automatic trans vehicles have, in my experience, that runs the fluid through the lower part of the radiator. Not clear in the thread mentioning trans cooler leaks which type they meant. So if anyone has info on that, I’d still appreciate hearing. Also on the 7-way trailer connector 12 V power feed issue.
 




quickfix

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The factory towing package already has a larger capacity cooling system.
 




RickyG

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City, State
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2020 Explorer Limited
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I
Engine Coolant
Capacities

Variant Quantity
Without trailer towing.​
14.1 qt (13.3 L)
With trailer towing.​
15.2 qt (14.4 L)
 








baraban

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Sac-to, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2020, PIU, Base
Thanks, folks. On the transmission cooler issue, I was referring to an auxiliary cooler in addition to the system all automatic trans vehicles have, in my experience, that runs the fluid through the lower part of the radiator.
I guess on my 2020 PIU it comes standard, but I needed to replace it so was able to order from a dealer w/o a problem.
It is separate from the engine cooler radiator. In fact it's sitting in front of it, on the bottom(see pictures). Mine for some reason was painted black.

20210519_103630.jpg


Screenshot_20210519-104300_Gallery.jpg

As far as the towing, mine does have the hitch and 4+7 plugs but they are not connected to anywhere and no tow buttons. Now I'm curious if I even have a tow module or associated wiring.
(Will update after investigating it)
 




Mascdriver

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Question to those with the 2.3eco set up with factory tow.
I’ve been checking weights of open car trailers to carry my wheeling truck. It’s looking perilously close to 5300.
How well does the Explorer handle weights at or above 5000lbs? Typically routes will include holly interstates.
 




Skip Hood

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We towed our travel trailer from Florida to California and back with our tow package equipped 2.3 liter XLT a couple months ago with no evident problems other than horrible gas mileage. Mountain roads and all. Weighed before we left at 5,150 lbs., but I’m sure it was at the 5,300 lbs. rated tow capacity or a bit over at points along the way.

Our experience indicates that aerodynamics are the main factor, so long as weight is more or less within bounds. This is based on my assumption that the comparative mpg of a given engine under various conditions is the best measure of how hard that engine was working. Towing a 10’ high wall through the air, our mileage varied from 5-7 mpg against 40 mph headwinds to 17 mpg with the wind at our backs. That little engine was clearly working hard but still got the job done. I’d say you’re ok with your car trailer being at the 5300 weight limit unless it has a frontal area well over the specified 55 square feet,
 




jragones

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Thanks, folks. On the transmission cooler issue, I was referring to an auxiliary cooler in addition to the system all automatic trans vehicles have, in my experience, that runs the fluid through the lower part of the radiator. Not clear in the thread mentioning trans cooler leaks which type they meant. So if anyone has info on that, I’d still appreciate hearing. Also on the 7-way trailer connector 12 V power feed issue.
Skip, I am dealing with the same power feed issue. I am [attempting] connecting the Echo Bluetooth elect. brake controller, which has to detect the power feed. Echo instruct that on 2020 and later, drive mode must be set to Tow mode for power to be fed. Also read something to the effect that hitch/car must detect trailer be connected - through electrical draw to trailer lamps perhaps. In any case I am still not convinced any of this is correct as I have het to get Echo to connect or sense any juice through power feed. Sorry, I have nothing definative but you might try setting drive mode and connecting your trailer and test for power.
 




Skip Hood

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Thanks, jragones. I remain unsure myself whether the 12 V power feed on my 2020 Explorer’s 7 way trailer connector is working. The issue I referred to in my original post about it powering a rear view camera on the travel trailer is no longer an issue for me. Turns out the Furion camera I bought actually gets its power from the headlight/taillight circuit, so turning on the parking lights activates the camera. But I suspect the 12 V feed for things like charging the battery or powering your brake controller is still not working because I get the same voltage reading on my battery whether the engine is running or not. Normally you’d get 12 -13 volts on the battery alone and 13 -14 when it’s being charged by the vehicle’s alternator. Haven’t tried that in tow mode though, so thanks for the hint. Sorry I couldn’t help. BTW, the dealer who sold me our travel trailer and set up our Explorer to tow it couldn’t find a brake controller connection under the dash, so they installed a wireless controller. It does work. Let me know if you don’t get your issue resolved and may want more info on that option.
 




peterk9

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Did your XLT come with the factory tow package? If so, the brake controller connector is there. I also believe it may be there on those without the tow package.

Peter
 




Skip Hood

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Yes, it has the factory tow package. I presume the brake controller connector really is there. This RV dealer wasn’t familiar with my vehicle and just couldn’t find it. Said they called a Ford dealer who told them it didn’t have a brake controller connection. But who of us hasn’t gotten wrong information from our dealers?
 




peterk9

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Yes, it has the factory tow package. I presume the brake controller connector really is there. This RV dealer wasn’t familiar with my vehicle and just couldn’t find it. Said they called a Ford dealer who told them it didn’t have a brake controller connection. But who of us hasn’t gotten wrong information from our dealers?

Peter
 




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