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'16 3.6R
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
In the off roading world, it seems there's a fair amount of talk about sticking to using "rated recovery points." The logic is that if you're going to all the effort of determining safe working loads and working load limits of all the bits you're using for the recovery (shackles, straps, kinetic ropes, etc), you should be making sure the attachment point on the vehicle itself is strong enough as well.

Well, as you probably are aware there aren't any great spots to put one on our OBs, and I'm not even sure there is an aftermarket for it. Seems most of us have been using the threaded OEM tow hook with good success. My question is about using a hitch receiver instead, as it seems to me that this would be even safer and stronger than using a single threaded eye bolt that screws into a sheet metal bumper bar on the back of the car. Anyone have first hand experiences they can share being recovered or recovering someone else with their hitch receiver?

I see two main designs for receivers:

One kind bolts to the back of the bumper where the OE bumper bar is, and this is typically the style that is used for the more hidden designs. Example: https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/EcoHitch/306-X7266.html

The second kind bolts underneath the frame rail by the muffler heat shields, and typically have the larger crossbar visible from the back. Example: https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Curt/C13206.html

It seems to me the second type of design would be stronger when dealing with recovery type loads in the longitudinal direction. The type that bolts to the back of the bumper just looks like a big lever arm waiting to get bent off during a more vigorous dynamic recovery. Am I overthinking this? Looking forward to hearing about your experiences, thanks in advance.
 

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2005 Outback 3.0R VDC/VTD/LSD 5eat , 2.8'' lift
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1,770 Posts
they both should work fine. Its not that you will go off road in mud so much that you will drown half car in it anyway. Get shackle soft or omega one and some snatch strap or rope,never let anyone recover you with normal tow strap or rope, so better just have all in your car just in case.
 

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Premium Member
2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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7,331 Posts
The structural load limit for the Outback is 200 pounds, static, regardless of the hitch rating. I'm sure there is a designed-in safety factor, but it would seem to be hard not to exceed that limit in most recovery situations.

On the other hand, you have some assurance that the Subaru-designated recovery attach points have been engineered with those kinds of loads in mind.
 

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2010 2.5 CVT Limited
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1,598 Posts
The offset recovery hook is okay for light tugs and simple recoveries. If I were doing something that was going to take more energy, I'd opt to use the tow receiver.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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11,879 Posts
When I've used the hitch I've just use the pin.

Put the recovery loop through the hitch and pin it in place.

No need for any other accessories.

The structural load limit for the Outback is 200 pounds, static, regardless of the hitch rating. I'm sure there is a designed-in safety factor, but it would seem to be hard not to exceed that limit in most recovery situations.

On the other hand, you have some assurance that the Subaru-designated recovery attach points have been engineered with those kinds of loads in mind.
I worry about those some. They've been documented to rip out under major load.

504421


I wish there was a recover point on both sides so they could be tied together. One can dream.
 

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Registered
'16 3.6R
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
When I've used the hitch I've just use the pin.

Put the recovery loop through the hitch and pin it in place.

No need for any other accessories.



I worry about those some. They've been documented to rip out under major load.

View attachment 504421

I wish there was a recover point on both sides so they could be tied together. One can dream.
Yesss I was hoping you'd chime in! Which hitch receiver are you using? Have you snatched from it before?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,554 Posts
I wish there was a recover point on both sides so they could be tied together. One can dream.
your green machine could use such. and if someone can put a fancy swing out tire carrier on a 2010-19 outback, I am sure you can dream up "twin eye hooks", front and rear.

Haiku, in the tradition of the Ronin :coffee:

world is your oyster,
and youtube is the great pearl,
such dreams a sand grain.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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11,879 Posts
your green machine could use such. and if someone can put a fancy swing out tire carrier on a 2010-19 outback, I am sure you can dream up "twin eye hooks", front and rear.

Haiku, in the tradition of the Ronin :coffee:

world is your oyster,
and youtube is the great pearl,
such dreams a sand grain.
I'm editing a video when I get done working today.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,554 Posts
I'm editing a video when I get done working today.
does not the "Empress 👑 de Brucey" take on video editing duties as a means of making you 🔧🔨 toil in the frozen garage. ?
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
Joined
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11,879 Posts
does not the "Empress 👑 de Brucey" take on video editing duties as a means of making you 🔧🔨 toil in the frozen garage. ?
Well yes. But I get to have input making the video and we get to hang out with the pups while editing.
 

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Registered
2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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4,428 Posts
I wish there was a recover point on both sides so they could be tied together. One can dream.
Just need a welder.
When I bought a used rear bumper beam to install on my Outback when I swapped the factory hitch for one with a 2" receiver I remember thinking that would be a good time to weld a plate and a nut to the opposite side to have dual recovery points. The hardest part would be making a clean cut in the bumper cover and making a cover to keep things looking neat (assuming you find such things important). Of course I just wanted to get my hitch installed right then so I never took on the project.
 

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Registered
2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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4,428 Posts
The structural load limit for the Outback is 200 pounds, static, regardless of the hitch rating. I'm sure there is a designed-in safety factor, but it would seem to be hard not to exceed that limit in most recovery situations.
The tongue weight limit of 200lbs would be the downward force on the ball. I don't know that there is a published number of a limit on pulling straight out rearward.

But I do have concerns on using the hitch as a recovery point because the ball attachment point is so much lower than the hitch mounting point on the body. That distance acts like a lever and multiplies that load to the mounting points. Kind of like putting a pipe on a ratchet handle to get more leverage. With the factory recovery point you are pulling straight out from the unibody structure where the bumper attaches.
 

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Registered
2019 Crystal White Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited
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47 Posts
I see two main designs for receivers:

One kind bolts to the back of the bumper where the OE bumper bar is, and this is typically the style that is used for the more hidden designs. Example: https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/EcoHitch/306-X7266.html

The second kind bolts underneath the frame rail by the muffler heat shields, and typically have the larger crossbar visible from the back. Example: https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Curt/C13206.html

It seems to me the second type of design would be stronger when dealing with recovery type loads in the longitudinal direction. The type that bolts to the back of the bumper just looks like a big lever arm waiting to get bent off during a more vigorous dynamic recovery. Am I overthinking this? Looking forward to hearing about your experiences, thanks in advance.

I JUST ordered the EcoHitch 2". I had this thought in mind, as I've seen people driving around with stuff like this...
504663
 
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