Towing with a Subaru Outback

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Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby msemanuel » Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:27 pm

I recently bought A Subaru Outback and I am going to build a camp trailer to tow.I was thinking of doing a cargo conversion. This is the one I was thinking of buying If I kept it to minimalist level how will she tow it.
http://www.trailersplus.com/Utah/Ogden/5-Wide-Cargo-Trailers/trailer/4YMCL081XER000833/
Thank you in advance for the answers.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby citylights » Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:13 pm

I used to have an outback and towed with it some. It works if you don't overdo it on the trailer weight and drive smart.

Towing capacity is listed at 2700 lb for an outback and that trailer is 890 empty. Also the trailer does not have trailer brakes. Watch your tongue weight. Sube unibody with trailer hitch is rated at 200 lb. if you front load that trailer you are going to be over that real quick.

If you are going to tow in hilly or warm temperatures, do yourself a favor and get a tranny cooler. Sube's are known for not having extra cooling capacity and towing is going to give it a workout. All flat land would be fine without the cooler.

Don't push it too hard on the grades, let your speed drop to keep the RPMs reasonable and don't let the tranny hunt for gears.

Bottom line... With a tranny cooler and smart driving, I would do it.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby whitefishpoint » Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:17 pm

I tow with a 2011 Subaru outback 4 cyl. My trailer weights 1000 lbs empty. Fully loaded it pulls ok. It strains some on hills but not bad. Our Subaru has the CVT transmission and actually the paddle shifters (which lock the CVT at one location to simulate manual) work great for going up steeper hills. Our trips are 600 miles one way 9 hours of pulling. You need to check the tongue weight. Many cargo trailers have serious tongue weight.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby Crabapple » Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:42 pm

Depends on the MY. Subaru (as well as other brands) have been reducing towing capacity in many of their current models, as they lighten vehicles to gain fuel efficiency.
If it's a very recent MY, best to check a spec sheet, or talk to Subaru dealer. Subaru forums are another resource.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby dguff » Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:54 pm

I tow with a 2011 Outback but it has the 6 cyl engine and 5 speed automatic. The 6 has 256 hp and plenty of power and I can stick it in any gear I want both up and down hills. I estimate that my trailer weighs under 1000 pounds loaded and I have probably towed it 15000 miles with the Outback . No problems whatsoever. :thumbsup:

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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby Shadow Catcher » Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:21 pm

We tow with the H6 and yes you do want the transmission cooler and absolutely positively do not even think of not have brakes, period! Our tear is at about 1600#
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby jonnyo » Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:07 pm

depending how heavy is your conversion and how heavy is your tongue weight. if you keep it near 1000lbs and 100-120lbs tongue weight, brake wont be necessary. if you get much heavier, you might want to look into brakes.

as for towing, it should be very easy for the outback. I have tow much bigger with the same engine and it did very well in the mountain of canada.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby msemanuel » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:44 am

Thank you all for your opinions. I was hoping to keep weights to maximum of 1200# with equipment. I am already having the trailer wired for brakes (somethings are easier to leave to the professionals). I will look into a transmission cooler I haven't thought of that one. Please feel free to add more suggestions and opinions. Thank you
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby Catherine+twins » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:06 pm

Good on you for getting the brakes. I towed a 1500 lb pop-up, no brakes, with my Outback. No avoiding grades for me, I live on a mountain! I could really feel that trailer pushing me on the down-hills. :frightened:

That car and trailer were a real learning experience for me, though. It got me wondering why my dad and grandpa never mentioned trailer brakes. Turned out the trailer Grandpa built in the 1940s (a tent top to hold a family of 5) weighed just over 800 empty, probably about 1200 loaded the way my grandparents and then parents camped (my dad was a backpacker, and always packed as light as possible). Both Grandpa and Dad also towed with huge Ford wagons (most of Grandpa's pictures in the 50s and early 60s were of a 52 wagon, and Dad had a 53 wagon that we used in the mid-60s when Grandpa gave the trailer to us) up until about 73, when we got a 63 International Travelall. The didn't HAVE to worry about the weight like I do!

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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby Kharn » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:53 pm

Crabapple wrote:Depends on the MY. Subaru (as well as other brands) have been reducing towing capacity in many of their current models, as they lighten vehicles to gain fuel efficiency.
If it's a very recent MY, best to check a spec sheet, or talk to Subaru dealer. Subaru forums are another resource.

They're also dropping tow weights because they're beginning to abide by the new SAE standard (SAWE J2807) for determining the tow rating of a vehicle. It's actually a really difficult test, stuff like climbing 3000ft over 11 miles without dropping below 40mph (and with the AC on full blast :lol: ) and 0-60mph minimums, vs previously the manufacturers claiming whatever they wanted.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby Crabapple » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:21 pm

I have also been told by someone who has done a lot of TDnTTT towing (local Little Guy dealer) that the "sweet spot" weight is about 1/2 - 2/3 of the tow rating for your vehicle. I have a Suby Crosstrek rated for 1000 lb unbraked/1500 braked and my unbraked Prolite Suite is probably max 750 lb fully loaded. The Crosstrek pulls it great, but then again when travelling through very hilly country I wouldn't want it to be much heavier!
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby MtnDon » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:15 pm

Kharn wrote:They're also dropping tow weights because they're beginning to abide by the new SAE standard (SAWE J2807) for determining the tow rating of a vehicle. It's actually a really difficult test, stuff like climbing 3000ft over 11 miles without dropping below 40mph (and with the AC on full blast :lol: ) and 0-60mph minimums, vs previously the manufacturers claiming whatever they wanted.


.... 'bout time! The manufacturers agreed in 2008 and then dragged their feet. Ram will be compliant in 2015. Toyota was in 2013... that was for trucks... not sure about cars. But again, 'bout time we had a standard reference.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby highdesertranger » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:14 pm

I agree with the tow ratings being pretty much of a joke. that's funny about the new tow ratings have the ac on while climbing a grade. here in cali on many grades there is a sign that says turn ac off. this has nothing to do with towing. highdesertranger
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby eggsalad » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:41 pm

I'm not 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure that SAE J2807 only applies to trucks, not passenger cars.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby citylights » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:23 pm

Catherine+twins wrote:Good on you for getting the brakes. I towed a 1500 lb pop-up, no brakes, with my Outback. No avoiding grades for me, I live on a mountain! I could really feel that trailer pushing me on the down-hills. :frightened:

That car and trailer were a real learning experience for me, though. It got me wondering why my dad and grandpa never mentioned trailer brakes. Turned out the trailer Grandpa built in the 1940s (a tent top to hold a family of 5) weighed just over 800 empty, probably about 1200 loaded the way my grandparents and then parents camped (my dad was a backpacker, and always packed as light as possible). Both Grandpa and Dad also towed with huge Ford wagons (most of Grandpa's pictures in the 50s and early 60s were of a 52 wagon, and Dad had a 53 wagon that we used in the mid-60s when Grandpa gave the trailer to us) up until about 73, when we got a 63 International Travelall. The didn't HAVE to worry about the weight like I do!

Catherine


Those vehicles were very heavy, had low horsepower compared to modern vehicles, and had 4 wheel drum brakes.

What does that mean? For one, they drove a lot slower. 45-55 mph "highway" speed was normal. Towing ended up being 35 45 mph. The only vehicles going 65+ had wings and used aviation fuel. :lol:

Don't compare those vehicles to the ones you see in car shows! There are very few restored to original specifications (very expensive, and no fun!). Most are restored to look original, but they are a modern hot rod with double or even triple the horsepower of the original. They are also retrofit with disk brakes. :thumbsup:

Have you ever seen a movie where the driver in one of those cars looked like they were trying to stand up in the drivers seat? They were standing on the brake petal and praying for the car to slow down. :worship:

All that weight and very weak brakes made for very long stopping distance even at the low speeds. :thumbdown:
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