Towing with a Subaru Outback

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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby gudmund » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:58 pm

this maybe off subject, but brakes were mentioned here and something that I had a problem with, with the PU I bought recently was with the ceramic front brake pads that I am being told are used on most newer vehicles. I found out ceramic pads create less brake dust which looks better with the wheels but they do not brake as good as the tried and proven semi-metallic brake pads of yesteryear. Had a 4-cyl 2000 S-10 5-speed before which used a variation of the brakes of the Chevelle/GTO's from years past (front 10 inch disc rotors w a single piston caliper and 9 1/2 inch rear drums) which braked BETTER than the 11 inch disc rotors w duel piston calipers and 11 1/2 rear drum brakes on the 2007 Colorado which has replaced it. I expected these to be much better being they were bigger but they SUCKED!! After some research, I replaced the front pads with the same semi-metallic pads I had had on the S-10 and what a difference!!!!!!!! THEY STOP!!! along with having more feel to them. Have found out since that ceramic pads are NOT recommended for towing!!!! and most cars today come new with them from the factory (am towing the same teardrop/load with the Colorado that was being towed with the S-10 with no trailer brakes - 1200lbs loaded) Do not know what Outback's use for brake pads, but just a thought or suggestion for maybe checking what pads they are using.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby mustangcats » Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:44 am

In addition to the transmission cooler, I would also install a transmission oil temperature gauge (unless the car already has one). It's nice to be able to monitor the temperature, since overheating is what ruins many transmissions.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby Shadow Catcher » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:51 am

Addendum to brakes Tear #1 did not have them 48922
and was nearly identical and we stayed in the flat lands and I vowed not again.
#2 does have them and it is a huge difference96131
Coming down Tioga pass two years ago we had the brakes on the Subaru smoking and that was with trailer brakes.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby citylights » Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:29 pm

Shadow Catcher wrote: we had the brakes on the Subaru smoking


Need to learn engine braking! Modern automatic transmissions are designed to do it. There is no reason to smoke brakes on downhill grades. :thinking:

Omg, I drive up (and down) from about 4,000 feet to a 10,000 foot high ski resort once and sometimes twice a month. Parowan, Utah to Brianhead. It is about 15 miles to go up that elevation. It kills me how many times I see cars and trucks of all types pulled over with smoke pouring out the wheel wells. :x

For my run down it is simple... 2nd gear and about 20 mph through the two long Sss turn switchbacks at the top (they are posted advisory 15mph) and 3rd gear and 40 mph until you get off the down grade. Never any smoking brakes for me. :thumbsup:

Same thing applies in the winter with ice on that road (although maybe a little slower). Use the engine braking and no control problems. Idiots using the regular brakes are sliding off the road left and right with or without chains. I run 4WD, all terrain tires, and no chains. :applause:

Down hill, a little momentum, shelf roads, some ice... Bad News! Better know how to drive it.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby highdesertranger » Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:24 pm

i must agree with citylights. if your brakes are smoking or even if you just smell them, you are driving to fast for conditions or worse yet, you just don't know how to drive down hill and yes i have been down the tioga pass road many times. highdesertranger
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby Corwin C » Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:30 pm

A fact that was beat into my brain while I was learning to drive (in very mountainous conditions) ... "You can go too slow down a hill forever, you might go down too fast only once."

Take your time and be careful out there.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby Sheddie » Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:45 am

It is nice to see some common sense finally come in to this thread. Thanks to citylights, highdesertranger and corning c. After reading this thread and another similar one, I get the impression that there are a lot of people out there that don't think it is necessary to alter their driving habits when they hook a trailer to the back of their vehicle. I have done a fair amount of towing in the 42yrs I have been driving. Towing boats, caravans, car transport trailers etc, with all sorts of tow vehicle, without incident. Our current trailer boat is 28ft and 3500kg (7700lbs), which we tow with a vehicle specifically set up for the job. Our TD, which weighs 500 -600kg, depending what we have in it, and does not have brakes. We were towing it with a 3.0l Outback and it was having no problem at all. We now have a 2013 Nissan X-trail 2.5l cvt, and this also does the job very well. Most of the time it is behind one of our Ford Capris, one of them is 52 years old 1.5l, and has no problem with it. Whether your trailer has brakes or not, when it is on the back of your vehicle, it is going to change the handling characteristic of your vehicle dramatically. People just need to slow down and drive to the conditions.
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby rainjer » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:43 am

I have 2014 Outback with the 2.5L motor. It is rated to tow 2700# with breaks and 1000# without. I have not towed my teardrop with it yet but last week I did tow our 4 X 8 utility trailer with it for 600+ miles from western Washington over the mountain pass and in 90+ degree weather. I stopped and weighed the trailer at a truck scale and the trailer weighed 980#. (not connected to the car) It towed like a dream. I also used some common sense. I turned the AC off on long hills and keep the speed at 60 or so. I plan on weighing my teardrop again before I tow it with the Outback. The only time I weighed it was fully loaded for a week long trip. right now it is empty so I can now get a base weight.

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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby catinmoon » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:52 pm

This is a naive question and will display my scant understanding of transmissions, but is a tranny cooler is only something for a vehicle with automatic transmissions? For some reason I have in my mind that a manual transmission (such as my 2006 4 cylinder Legacy Wagon 5 speed) vehicle is it's own cooler by virtue of how you shift. Please correct me if I am wrong. Also, any manual transmission subaru tow experiences to share?

Best,
Stephanie in the So. Cal desert
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Re: Towing with a Subaru Outback

Postby kd8cgo » Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:41 pm

Manual transmissions (and differentials) do not have a pump as such to circulate fluid through a cooler. They generally transmit the heat they generate to the oil, which is circulated by the meshing gears, the heat then gets transmitted to the case. They do not generate as much heat, primarily because heat is a form of energy transfer due to what are often called pumping losses. Traditional automatics have friction clutches, torque converters (fluid couplers) and hydraulic pressure pumps that all can generate heat in excess of what simple gear teeth mesh can create.

Manuals almost always provide at least a equal if not superior towing experience, not too many would disagree here unless a very specific manual transmission in a particular car has some unusual weakness. The Subaru manual boxes hold up really well to stock and even elevated power levels quite well, there is no real need to add an extra cooling system to a manual in most applications. Towing in a lower gear under high load conditions like hills, like you said, is the best way to manage heat and wear in a manual most of the time. The main concern is burning your clutch, depending on how you drive, and that is not something you can cool externally or with an add-on. You can get a higher rated clutch made from materials with better properties, but it can be a compromise, sometimes they can be grabby or have heavy pedal pressure compared to stock. I have a upgraded clutch in my car, but that is for added power levels (torque) not for towing.

There are some manufacturers offering automatics that are basically automatically-shifted manual transmissions, often times called direct shift gearboxes or DSG. These should be good for towing you would think, but some manufacturers have recommended not towing with them on certain model years, like VW.
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