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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2012 3.6R and recently installed the OEM Subaru tow hitch setup. Recently I have been looking into light weight trailers to tow and am finding that the ones I want come in closer to 230# - 250# tongue weight and of course the Subaru recommendations state that 200# is the highest. I just went and looked at the Curt 2" receiver and it states that the maximum tongue weight is 350# when installed on the Outback.

I watched the installation video thinking that the extra weight allowance must come from a more involved and stronger installation procedure but I was very wrong. Their hitch only uses four bolts through the frame which is only about 1/8" of an inch thick. When I installed the OEM hitch it used twice as many bolts, had re-enforcement steel plates placed into the frame and attached to the rear frame as well. IMHO it must have at least twice the strength of the Curt hitch.

Am I missing something? If I stretch the tongue weight by 30# will there be a disastrous event? Has anybody tried? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

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2013 OB 3.6R Limited, Black Silica
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If you are towing the trailer empty and the tongue weight is 30lb over I highly doubt you will have an issue. When loading and adding weight you can distribute the weight to lighten the tongue load. IMHO
 

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First off the 200lb limit posted by Subaru is the safe working load Subaru gives the unibody structure behind the back axles ie your crush zone. The hitch rating has nothing to do with the vehicle rating which is your end all of all the load ratings in this case. Hitch can safely handle working loads of 350lbs but the car its bolted too is not rated that high. Catch my drift?

Also I've been hauling lots of trailers in my life and a trailer that has a tongue weight of 250+lbs empty / Dry is not a light trailer!!!!!!!!

How about you list what type of use or trailers your looking at and we approach it from that angle?
 

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2012 Subaru Outback 3.6r, 1998 subaru impreza 2.5rs
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Typically OEM installed hitches are cheaply produced (whether there are more mounting point or not). I'd be leary of exceeding ratings, whether it was 1 or 30 or 300#.

You do NOT know what the weak link is. Is the weak link the hitch, I doubt it on a unibody vehicle.

Not to scare you, but if you are in an accident while towing (and your tongue weight is higher than OEM specifies), and the insurance company finds that the excessive tongue weight was the issue, kiss your insurance coverage goodbye. In a Litigious countrysuch as the US, I'd be very leary about exceeding any #'s given by OEM.

Now will 30# over cause an issue, No, but insurance is a good enough reason not to.

(And yes you see everyone towing everything with underequipped tow vehicles, trust me, I see EVERYTHING here in Alberta, and frankly it scares me).
 

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Unibody strength outside of the primary structure which in the case of the Outback consists of crush zones is for sure a weak point for levered loads. It is actually not a rare case to see bent cars from hauling chair lifts that exceed the levered load capacity of the crush zone rear wheels back. This bend takes place at the back edge of the passenger safety cage which also with passenger cars sits at the back edge of the rear doors. Everything past the rear doors and rear axle is more or less crush zone. Hence why a full frame vehicle has a higher load capacity vs unibody structures. Now 3rd row vehicles will have a much higher tongue rating even if they are a unibody structure given the 3rd row seat technically will be within the core structure of the vehicle and they tend to have a much smaller crush zone hanging off of that - ie shorter lever impacted by tongue weight on a hitch which also in many cases is connected or partially connected to the primary structure of the vehicle.

The outback none of the standard hitches attach to the core structure of the car at the rear axles. They all attach to the crush zone behind the passenger cage/Axles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Possible Trailers

Subiesailor,

Here are a few of the potential options:

LivinLite 14XLP. Dry weight of only 1500# but a hitch weight of 250#. It does have a rear storage deck so maybe if I load most of my gear on that it would alleviate some of the hitch weight. This is my main contender right now.

LivinLite 13BHB- this one falls within the specs but it is so small!

LivinLIte 16BHB. This one is at 230# tongue weight and 2700 lbs dry weight which I understand is basically already maxed out so probably not an option.

Jayco Jay 1006- This is the second runner up. Only 205# tongue but add a battery and propane and it will get to 230# easily I would imagine.

These are just a few of the ones I have found so far. Thanks for all the replies!
 

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Subiesailor,

Here are a few of the potential options:

LivinLite 14XLP. Dry weight of only 1500# but a hitch weight of 250#. It does have a rear storage deck so maybe if I load most of my gear on that it would alleviate some of the hitch weight. This is my main contender right now.

LivinLite 13BHB- this one falls within the specs but it is so small!

LivinLIte 16BHB. This one is at 230# tongue weight and 2700 lbs dry weight which I understand is basically already maxed out so probably not an option.

Jayco Jay 1006- This is the second runner up. Only 205# tongue but add a battery and propane and it will get to 230# easily I would imagine.

These are just a few of the ones I have found so far. Thanks for all the replies!
I actually really like the livinglite products. You need to keep in mind that their weights are based on various options included. They will build you a custom trailer per your needs and address your weight concerns also. But to be realistic the 13 is more or less within the go anywhere while packed with some level of fairly normal gear for the trip etc.

Keep in mind the cooling limitations of the OB CVT 1350lbs the 3.6 is 1500lbs in 104+ temps and 5 mile climbs. So assuming you have a full 2700lbs of practical working weight is not really accurate way to view it. Dry empty weight before you add your gear is going to be ideal in the 1200-1600lbs before gear - water - etc. So the 13 in the optioned out package vs stripped down is more or less the practical fit for the Outback for any sort of longer distance haul involving crossing passes and summer travel etc.
 

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2011 Outback 2.5i Premium, CVT, Steel Silver, all-weather package. Upgrades: Tweeter kit, BlueConnect, media hub, remote start, Curt 2" receiver hitch.
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Look at European testing for more information about towing with cars. A lot of US information is based on towing with ladder frame trucks at high speeds. The old 10-15% tongue weight rule is bunk. Extensive testing has proven that as little as 4% tongue weight is safe, so long as you slow down a button the highway, as everyone should when towing. I hate to see people towing 30+ foot campers at 80+ MPH. I most European countries, they have STRICT trailer towing speed limits around 55 MPH (90km/h). Towing with compact cars is very common over there... They generally have a higher tow rating in Europe, but they also enforce the rules much better than we do.

I am NOT suggesting that you tow more than your rating. I am just pointing to data about safe tongue weights.

Don't trust the manufacturer's numbers. The tongue weight will almost always be higher due to options and fluids, not to mentions your cargo. However, there are things that you can do to adjust the tongue weight by redistributing weight and making certain changes, like going to a fiberglass propane tank instead of steel. Also, don't be tempted to go for a dual propane tank option on your trailer... It will add a lot of tongue weight. O my camper, I also relocated the battery to a rear compartment rather than being on the tongue. It just needs to be properly vented. The manufacturer of my trailer claims that it has a 90 pound tongue weight, but it was in fact 175 pounds. Even though that is within the OB's rating, it tows MUCH better now that I have the TW down to about 125 pounds.
 

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Mcbrew, what trailer do you tow?
Clearly he doesn't tow squat given he is stating details from Euro spec towing laws which are Dramatically different than US laws not to mention their trailers run very different axle set ups over there than we do. Much lower and very strict towing speeds - mandatory licensing needed for trailer towing - etc etc etc.

US is very different hence different type of trailer capacity ratings.

The tongue weight is a % of the total trailer weight going too light can cause very serious stability issues unless the actual trailer geometry is altered to adjust for this however that would mean making the trailer lighter also.

As I said Livinlite builds custom rigs and will review weight distribution concerns and the options with you. Most of the standard RV builders simply crank out spec particle board junk which is heavy and not well built to start with. Read up on the history of the Livinlite CEO and owner. Interesting Guy who knew that the crap the RV industry was producing was just that Garbage and knew there was a better way to go about things.

I will caution you about aluminum trailers though!! Aluminum trailers need a much higher skill set to build properly and you cannot over load them given Aluminum doesn't bend when it is pushed beyond its rated use. They crack. Which is why aluminum trailers for basic utility hauling are very rarely seen they simply are not a good choice for that type of trailer. Aluminum trailers are great for fixed weight hauling boat trailers - small RV trailers etc where your loaded weight will always be more or less the same weight and load and always within the designed load capability of the trailer.
 

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Regarding tank weight be it water - or propane etc etc. The fiberglass tanks are going to be equally as heavy as the standard tanks you cannot change the weight of the fuel and solid fiberglass is not going to be dramatically lighter than thin walled steel tanks. Why do they make fiberglass tanks? The primary reason is that you can have a fiberglass tank which has a see through gauge so you can tell just how much fuel you have.

When you have a tow vehicle which is being pushed close to its max towing or hauling capacity - your loading of the trailer gets very specific and deliberate. You may run a smaller tank up front to lower the tongue weight - or you might pack and haul water in water tanks in a manner that changes your working tongue weight etc.

One thing is for sure the basic printed load numbers regarding weight are rough numbers based on a trailer with certain base design features. Till you know what the exact numbers are with a trailer built with various options installed you really only have a rough number till your actual trailer is weighed.
 

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2011 Outback 2.5i Premium, CVT, Steel Silver, all-weather package. Upgrades: Tweeter kit, BlueConnect, media hub, remote start, Curt 2" receiver hitch.
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Clearly he doesn't tow squat given he is stating details from Euro spec towing laws which are Dramatically different than US laws not to mention their trailers run very different axle set ups over there than we do. Much lower and very strict towing speeds - mandatory licensing needed for trailer towing - etc etc etc.
WTF??? Did I not make that clear in my post? Read it again.
 

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2011 Outback 2.5i Premium, CVT, Steel Silver, all-weather package. Upgrades: Tweeter kit, BlueConnect, media hub, remote start, Curt 2" receiver hitch.
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I tow this:

It is a Scamp 13. It weighs about 1,200 pounds empty... 1,500 ready-to-camp, and has about a 130 pound tongue weight, depending in how it is packed.

I also have a 4x8 cargo trailer that I tow at least once a week.

And, as far as Euro towing information.... It can be VERY helpful, since (as I already mentioned, but was hard for some people to understand) they are towing with CARS and most people in the US are towing with TRUCKS.
 

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2011 Outback 2.5i Premium, CVT, Steel Silver, all-weather package. Upgrades: Tweeter kit, BlueConnect, media hub, remote start, Curt 2" receiver hitch.
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MY fiberglass propane tank is about 12 pounds lighter than a steel propane tank... Whether it is filled or empty. As I mentioned, but was ignored by some, I also relocated the battery and did other mods to bring the tongue weight down. The batter was most dramatic, since it was about 60 pounds and was relocated to just behind the axle. The propane tank was the next most dramatic mod. As mentioned by the resident self-appointed towing expert, subiesailor, it is also see-through, so you can see exactly how much propane you have.

I have towed with EVERY car I have owned since the age of 16, when I bought my first camper. The cars I have towing experience with range from subcompact to mid size. I can help you out more through private messages if you like... There's too much background noise here.
 

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2010 Outback 2.5i Sport, 6MT
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Subiesailor,

Here are a few of the potential options:

LivinLite 14XLP. Dry weight of only 1500# but a hitch weight of 250#. It does have a rear storage deck so maybe if I load most of my gear on that it would alleviate some of the hitch weight. This is my main contender right now.

LivinLite 13BHB- this one falls within the specs but it is so small!

LivinLIte 16BHB. This one is at 230# tongue weight and 2700 lbs dry weight which I understand is basically already maxed out so probably not an option.

Jayco Jay 1006- This is the second runner up. Only 205# tongue but add a battery and propane and it will get to 230# easily I would imagine.

These are just a few of the ones I have found so far. Thanks for all the replies!
I've ordered a Jayco 1207. It's actually the same travel length as the 1006, but it's laid out differently. You get a queen bed in the back, the kitchen in the middle (better weight distribution and fridge access with the top down), so the base tongue weight is actually 35# lighter. If you add a fridge & furnace to the 1006 (furnace up front rather than behind the axle), along with propane and battery, then fill that front compartment, you'd probably be over 300# on the tongue.

I'm hoping to have under 250lbs on the tongue, and won't load the trailer much.

Whatever you do, definitely get electric brakes.

http://www.jayco.com/products/camping-trailers/jay-series/floorplans-specs
http://holidayhour.com/2012SpecGuide.pdf
 

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Derek, you can probably load most of your gear in the back and bring the tongue weight down a bit. I used to tow a large popup quite a bit, and it was a lot more comfortable to tow when the tongue weight was closer to 100 pounds. I was towing it with a Benz at the time. Never had any issues. I was young and dumb and drove too fast, too... It was a Starcraft Galaxy 6 that I bought second hand. I believe it was a 1973 model.

Unfortunately, American campers tend to be a bit porky... Especially when it comes to tongue weight. They assume you are towing with a big honkin' truck.
 

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Casita 16 foot or Trillium 4500 with 2014 Outback 2.5 CVT

I have a 2014 Subaru OB with the 2.5 CVT combination. I had a 2013, which was demolished by my ex wife, so have a total combined of about 20,000 miles on this year model, and this is my fifth Subaru, fourth new.

Factory spec is 2700 lbs tow capacity with 200 lb hitch weight.

That said, I've pretty well decided on a 16 foot Casita which weighs at 1970-2185 dry weight, and 215 to 255 lbs "approximate" hitch weight, or a Trillium 4500 FS, with a 1700 dry weight, tongue weight unknown. I'm guessing the hitch weight can be lightened by shifting the propane to the back bumper and rear-loading any provisions, waiting till arrival at the campground to fill the water tank, etc. I will be traveling light, with one companion, one or two bicycles and weekend provisions, and intend to remain within a couple of hundred miles of home for the most part. I may travel longer distances alone. So, all totaled, laden weight for the car and trailer combined might go up by 500-600 lbs including the two people, belongings and provisions. That 500-600 lbs can be distributed either in the car or the trailer or both.

The Casita factory rep has told me they have had plenty of experience with the OB without difficulty towing the 16 foot models. I can't, however, find much if any information from owners about their direct experience using 2013 or 14 OB's to tow a Casita or a Trillium 4500. LivinLite is just too expensive, and other models I've found are not suitable for a variety of reasons. The Casita Spirit 16 has a perfect layout, and it looks like the Trillium 4500 could be modified to make it work.

If anyone out there has direct experience with the 2013 or 14 model OB and a 16 foot Casita or Trillium 4500 would you please post a reply to this? I'd like to find out if the OB really is suitable, how stable it is, fuel economy, how the CVT does, etc. Lots of opinions so far on fiberglassrv.com and elsewhere, especially about older Subarus but no direct experience posted with the newer models.

Thanks
 

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I have a 2014 Subaru OB with the 2.5 CVT combination. I had a 2013, which was demolished by my ex wife, so have a total combined of about 20,000 miles on this year model, and this is my fifth Subaru, fourth new.

Factory spec is 2700 lbs tow capacity with 200 lb hitch weight.

That said, I've pretty well decided on a 16 foot Casita which weighs at 1970-2185 dry weight, and 215 to 255 lbs "approximate" hitch weight, or a Trillium 4500 FS, with a 1700 dry weight, tongue weight unknown. I'm guessing the hitch weight can be lightened by shifting the propane to the back bumper and rear-loading any provisions, waiting till arrival at the campground to fill the water tank, etc. I will be traveling light, with one companion, one or two bicycles and weekend provisions, and intend to remain within a couple of hundred miles of home for the most part. I may travel longer distances alone. So, all totaled, laden weight for the car and trailer combined might go up by 500-600 lbs including the two people, belongings and provisions. That 500-600 lbs can be distributed either in the car or the trailer or both.

The Casita factory rep has told me they have had plenty of experience with the OB without difficulty towing the 16 foot models. I can't, however, find much if any information from owners about their direct experience using 2013 or 14 OB's to tow a Casita or a Trillium 4500. LivinLite is just too expensive, and other models I've found are not suitable for a variety of reasons. The Casita Spirit 16 has a perfect layout, and it looks like the Trillium 4500 could be modified to make it work.

If anyone out there has direct experience with the 2013 or 14 model OB and a 16 foot Casita or Trillium 4500 would you please post a reply to this? I'd like to find out if the OB really is suitable, how stable it is, fuel economy, how the CVT does, etc. Lots of opinions so far on fiberglassrv.com and elsewhere, especially about older Subarus but no direct experience posted with the newer models.

Thanks
Like you my TV is a ’14 Outback with the 2.5 and CVT and I’m looking at the Trillium 4500 Classic CR with the Legend Package. I was hoping you would've had a reply by now so perhaps this will help get somebody’s attention.
 

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Anyone know why the U.S. spec for towing is 1000lbs less (3000lbs vs 4000lbs) than the rest of the entire world? Also, why do U.S. spec cars get half the tongue weight rating (200lbs vs 400lbs) as well? I have searched the specs on UK, AU, ES and other countries and they all get the higher ratings. Is it purely a US legal/DOT issue?
 

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Anyone know why the U.S. spec for towing is 1000lbs less (3000lbs vs 4000lbs) than the rest of the entire world? Also, why do U.S. spec cars get half the tongue weight rating (200lbs vs 400lbs) as well? I have searched the specs on UK, AU, ES and other countries and they all get the higher ratings. Is it purely a US legal/DOT issue?
Speed vs stability US trailer specs are based on higher speeds, longer trips, longer climbs and hotter temps.

You don't see VW Jettas doing 70mph on the Autoban in Spain towing 3400lb caravans. You might see one doing 45mph though. Been there done that. In the time it takes to cross CA, NV Utah to get to Colorado you can drive from Spain to Croatia ok maybe a little exaggerated but you get my point.

The last time I crossed NV and Utah pulling a trailer it was a 1800lb trailer with a sleek racing boat on it which we had towed for 15yrs it was the most beautifully behaved trailer I've ever towed. The tow car was a V8 Yukon with some minor modifications. We crossed Nevada and Utah doing 70-75mph and were PASSED! by a few Truckers!

We took the Yukon because I knew no way the Subaru was going to be an enjoyable experience even at 1800lbs which by the way the Subaru towed that trailer lots!

Some numbers for you 70mph with the Subaru I got 16mpg with that trailer. 70-75mph with the V8 Yukon we got 13mpg.
 
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