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Why Can't You Fit Towbars To Econetic Focus?

Econetic Towbar Focus

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#1 Seriousgeograher

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 10:30 AM

I've just bought an Ford Focus Zetec 1.6 CDI Econetic Estate. I am feeling really foolish because I just assumed that you could fit a tow bar to any car. However, I am told that towbars are not available for this model. I am not sure why. Other forums suggest that it is something to do with the electrical system, the tyres fitted and even the braking loads. It is really not clear whether a product will become available in the future that has electrical looms compatible with econetic models. Does anyone know whether a towbar is available and whether this would invalidate a warranty if fitted?

The worst case scenario will be that I have to buy a smaller tent for the family holiday this year. I have also been told that you cannot fit a rear bicycle carrier to the Econetic model, so bikes will remain on the roof and there is no option for a roof box to save the day.

I am sure there will be many others buying econetic estate cars with the intention to fit a towbar who will be really disappointed. And I wonder whether other manufacturers with eco-brands have the same problem e.g. Blue Motion?

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#2 NorthSussex

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 11:21 AM

It may be due to the higher gear ratios on the "Econitec" making unsuitable for towing. :(

#3 jeebowhite

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:51 PM

I have to say it doesnt make sense to me, I appreciate the gear ratios are different, but I cant see the car being unsuitable for shifting a small trailer... I bet if you asked a salesman they would tell you that its possible to fit to it, it probably wont be that publically known...

#4 NorthSussex

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 02:27 PM

I have to say it doesnt make sense to me, I appreciate the gear ratios are different, but I cant see the car being unsuitable for shifting a small trailer... I bet if you asked a salesman they would tell you that its possible to fit to it, it probably wont be that publically known...


I guess you could be right, but I'm sure it would be difficult to get a strait answer from Ford.

#5 artscot79

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 06:27 AM

as far as im aware only ford do the detatchable tow bar with electrics for this car which was £500 at the time.
to be honest adding all that gumph really takes away from the point of the econetic since ford went so far to reduce the drag on the car maybe thats why a lot of the stuff isnt available as we know many people who fit all that stuff dont remove it.not sure ide want to tow a caravan with a car on low resistance tyres and start stop hard enough towing them at the best of times lol

#6 Wayne Brian Pearsall

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 02:12 AM

not sure ide want to tow a caravan with a car on low resistance tyres and start stop hard enough towing them at the best of times lol


true... but for a trailer...

£500 for a ford part seams pretty reasonable... i paid 240 for my tow bar fitted last june... and that was an aftermarket backstreet garage...

#7 NorthSussex

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 09:01 AM

true... but for a trailer...

£500 for a ford part seams pretty reasonable... i paid 240 for my tow bar fitted last june... and that was an aftermarket backstreet garage...


It may be OK to tow a small trailer, but once a tow bar is fitted and sold on, the next owner may want to to tow a caravan and would not be aware that the car is possibly unsuitable or unsafe to tow heavy weights. Ford and the garages selling the car need to be clear and up front as to the towing capabilities of this car. Normally in the handbook it gives the maximum towing weight the car can safely tow.

#8 Wayne Brian Pearsall

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 01:46 AM

Normally in the handbook it gives the maximum towing weight the car can safely tow.


my towbar has a very prominent blue plate attached with max nose and kerb weight, torque ETC on, AND the final "Always check vehicle handbook for safe weights before attaching a trailer" (or something to that effect) - i was told that this was the law now- when i said "dont like the idea of that blue sticker"

#9 james_60

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:52 PM

doesent the econetic use lowered suspension components

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#10 ToolBox

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 07:57 PM

If you want to know what or if your vehicle can tow you look at your registration document (used to be V5) and it tels you.
This is difinitive, if it dosn't say you can not tow legaly.
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#11 RB2004

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 10:40 PM

its a type approval thing...

not many people realise, but some models of focus arent type approved or certified for towing.

The ST, RS, and Econetic being some of them.

From what I gather, each model a manufacturer sells, has to gain type approval for different things... But because the ST and RS arent to ford considered "Towing" models.. even though its no different to a regular focus apart from the boot floor, and drivetrain.. you arent supposed to be towing with it, and apparently if insurance companies find out or if you have an accident while towing your insurance is rendered void... as the car is not type approved for towing. Also as above there maybe technicalities like gear ratios not being ideal for towing.. again because ford never intended it for towing.

#12 ijustwantafile

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 08:07 AM

The worst case scenario will be that I have to buy a smaller tent for the family holiday this year. I have also been told that you cannot fit a rear bicycle carrier to the Econetic model, so bikes will remain on the roof and there is no option for a roof box to save the day.


Are you saying they've told you NOT to fit one of these?
Posted Image

I used one of these and think they're great. I've had 2 bikes sat on it and had no problems even on the motorway.


Could you not use one of those and install a roof box as well?

if all bikes don't fit on the back you could also look into one of these? bikes on back and roof and roof box. Just make sure you don't put to much weight in the car.

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#13 NorthSussex

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 09:58 AM

Are you saying they've told you NOT to fit one of these?
Posted Image

I used one of these and think they're great. I've had 2 bikes sat on it and had no problems even on the motorway.


Could you not use one of those and install a roof box as well?

if all bikes don't fit on the back you could also look into one of these? bikes on back and roof and roof box. Just make sure you don't put to much weight in the car.

Posted Image



quote
I carry 2 bikes on a rear strap type carrier with no problems, but had to opt for the 2008 Estate as the plastic spoilers on Hatchbacks and some later Estates were not strong enough to support that type of carrier, carrying bikes on the roof limits you to height barriers on some car parks; so you really need to a lot of checking as to what you want to use the car for and if it is suitable, before laying down the cash.

#14 jeebowhite

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 02:00 PM

Ronald, very nice post, shame the like button isnt in place yet!

Didnt realise they had to be sub approved per model, pretty sad me thinks...

#15 RB2004

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 05:20 PM

Thanks, :) just got a couple of these extracts from 2 other sites as well... 2nd one is a discussion about the ST and towing... funnily enough in that same thread there was even a picture of an RS towing lol.. but unfortunately like the ST its not type approved for towing and legally shouldnt be.

"
2. I have a type approved car, but no train weight is shown on the VIN plate, may I still tow with it?
If the manufacturer has not authorised the towing of a trailer by declaration during the type approval process, no train weight will be shown and it is not permitted to fit a coupling device or tow a trailer.
For example the [color=blue !important][font=inherit !important][color=blue !important][font=inherit !important]Ford[/font][/font][/color][/color] KA has no declared train weight, and no mounting points for a tow bar. There are a number of other vehicles, which do not have a declared train weight and are not able to tow a trailer."

http://www.solentrib...equirements.htm

"As has been previously hinted, the ST has no type approval for towing.

Therefore any time that you do tow something you are operating the car outside of its approval unless you have arranged an SVA or similar through VOSA.

Please be aware that if you are involved in an accident whilst towing it is highly likely that your insurance company will want nothing to do with it."

"So, as you have shown (and proven);
> Technically it is possible to have a Tow Bar fitted to an ST - which is good news for all those who want to have one fitted as for many years it's always been said that it isn't possible.
> Legally - the ST has no type approval to have a tow bar fitted and therefore might be legally "unfit to use on the road"
> Insurance - it is possible to declare a tow bar on an ST to an insurance company who will confirm such notification and charge you a premium for it.

There is still an open question of whether the insurer really understands that the ST is not type approved to have a tow bar or have they just assumed that as it's a Focus it must be, and in the event of an accident whilst towing a trailer/having a bike rack fitted etc etc will they pay out?"

"Agree with everyone above saying it's stupid and voids the insurance etc. Just because insurance will insure a car with a tow hook or mods doesn't mean that it is legal in VOSAS point of view.

The ST is not approved for towing. But yes places will still fit a tow bar and yes insurances will still insure it, but insurance also insure de-cats which are illegal.

An ST isn't designed to tow so shouldn't be used for that."

"As said above unless you have special clearance from DVLA/VOSA to tow then you are breaking the law and your ins will be void when they find out that the car is not approved."

http://www.focusstoc...-bars-on-an-st/


its a kinda split oppinion, you will find lots of people who say yep you can tow, the car is capable, no harm, insurance companies dont care etc lol... but like most things its down to the individual to make that choice and take that risk.

but the fact remains, if the car has no towing type approval, it should not be legally towing, and your insurance can be deemed void.

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