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Brucey
'17 3.6
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Kinda thinking out loud here but:

Doing some preliminary work on planning a trip out west this summer and would like to tow the Gen 5.

I don't own a trailer or even a dolly so I would need to rent or purchase one and would need it for over a month of travel so renting is unlikely.

I don't know anyone with one either or I would borrow it. The wife isn't super comfortable driving the Suburban while towing a trailer.

What if I flat towed it from the east coast to say, Denver, and then we just drove both vehicles?

I know flat towing isn't possible on automatic Subaru and I have towed them on a dolly by disconnecting the driveshaft.

So what if I did that and removed the front axles and replaced with stubs?

I'm not sure if the axle is load bearing in the wheel bearing knuckle so I would replace with a broken one that is just the stub and doesn't actually connect to the front differential.

Upsides: No dolly or trailer required.

2000~ lbs lighter towing for the the Suburban.

Narrower than the Suburban.

Downsides: I would need to buy some broken stubs. These should be cheap.

Equivalent tire wear to driving.

Would require an hour or so on either end of the trip.

Car would be dead in the water until I could get the axles and driveshaft back in.

I would also need to have the ignition partially on or otherwise find a way to disable the steering wheel lock out.

But if it works then I'm OK with those downsides.

Anyone done this before?

Anyone know why this is a bad idea?

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2019 Outback Touring 3.6R
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Kinda thinking out loud here but:



Anyone done this before?

Anyone know why this is a bad idea?
Not sure how much of a bad idea it is. In fact, I like the creative approach to finding a suitable solution that is otherwise unorthodox on the surface but totally feasible when all variables are considered independently and combined as a whole.

One thought, is there any concern with leaving the power on and having the fuel system and ignition live but no action?

Second thought, what about just starting the car and putting it into neutral and just flat tow with the car idling?

I happen to know a guy who would regularly tow one of those Ford Explorer Sport Trac little truck. He would hook up the truck behind whatever he was using to pull the truck and would start it, let it idle the entire trip and just put into neutral. He said it saved him all kinds of connect and disconnect efforts on both ends of the tow. he would tow the vehicle regularly enough that the added effort on both ends was not worth the resource. He towed across multiple states doing this. i have no idea how well that would work with a Subaru, but another thought out loud. Of course the downside is that you are burning fuel on a vehicle being towed. I am sure that there might be other drawbacks as well that I have not thought out.

Food for thought, and sounds like an adventure is ahead.
 

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Something to try with the key, on my 2018 crosstrek all I had to do to keep the steering unlocked is leave the key all the way in the lock after turning it to off. But I also had to manually turn off the auto headlights. But I towed it everywhere behind my Motorhome. but it also was a 6spd manual
 

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2020 Onyx
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What if you didn't bring your Outback and rented a second vehicle in Denver? I'm just wondering if there are other alternatives to towing the car at all.
 
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Brucey
'17 3.6
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Not sure how much of a bad idea it is. In fact, I like the creative approach to finding a suitable solution that is otherwise unorthodox on the surface but totally feasible when all variables are considered independently and combined as a whole.

One thought, is there any concern with leaving the power on and having the fuel system and ignition live but no action?

Second thought, what about just starting the car and putting it into neutral and just flat tow with the car idling?

I happen to know a guy who would regularly tow one of those Ford Explorer Sport Trac little truck. He would hook up the truck behind whatever he was using to pull the truck and would start it, let it idle the entire trip and just put into neutral. He said it saved him all kinds of connect and disconnect efforts on both ends of the tow. he would tow the vehicle regularly enough that the added effort on both ends was not worth the resource. He towed across multiple states doing this. i have no idea how well that would work with a Subaru, but another thought out loud. Of course the downside is that you are burning fuel on a vehicle being towed. I am sure that there might be other drawbacks as well that I have not thought out.

Food for thought, and sounds like an adventure is ahead.
Running it short term isn't the worse idea. This is around 4000 miles though. I would worry about the idling engine not being able to pump enough fluid for the transmission to be safe and healthy.

Not sure about having the ignition on that long. I wonder if I could turn the ignition on then disconnect the battery to be safe?


Something to try with the key, on my 2018 crosstrek all I had to do to keep the steering unlocked is leave the key all the way in the lock after turning it to off. But I also had to manually turn off the auto headlights. But I towed it everywhere behind my Motorhome. but it also was a 6spd manual
I'll have to experiment with the push button. Assuming it's an electronic release I suppose I could jump it for the trip.

What if you didn't bring your Outback and rented a second vehicle in Denver? I'm just wondering if there are other alternatives to towing the car at all.
The car is some of the point of the trip. :) We plan to car camp around Utah for the trip. Similar to when we did the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a week.

We could just take the Suburban but trying to get that stupid gen 5 stuck out there sounds like fun and I am unlikely to be back in the area while I own the car.

We've also considered a small camper to tow with the Subaru and skipping the Suburban but that likely leaves some areas inaccessible.
 

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I dont really know much about how the electric power steering works but would there be any risk of damaging that without power and the turning force coming backwards from the tires through the rack?
 

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Towing tne AWD could have some odd effects on the alignment.
Normally, FWD/AWD cars carry some toe-out. When the front wheels are under power, they toe-in a bit. Without being propelled, there may be additional toe-out. Keep any eye on the tires for feathering. Raising the pressure might help.
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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12,948 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I dont really know much about how the electric power steering works but would there be any risk of damaging that without power and the turning force coming backwards from the tires through the rack?

Towing tne AWD could have some odd effects on the alignment.
Normally, FWD/AWD cars carry some toe-out. When the front wheels are under power, they toe-in a bit. Without being propelled, there may be additional toe-out. Keep any eye on the tires for feathering. Raising the pressure might help.
Subaru themselves said it was OK to tow manual cars up until 2016 or so. The Crosstrek had an electric steering rack through that era and it didn't seem to be an issue.

Good call on the toe out though. I'll likely pump up the pressures for the trip.
 

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Not the vacation I'd envision, but y'all do you!
 
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On the Super Mod Squad
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your added picture with the gen 5 beast towing a gen2 is confusing.

are you intending to tow the gen5 with the suburban ?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
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@Brucey

now you need to round up @AWDFTW 's old Oldsmobile for this trip. (probably still available as too tough for the flail machine to eat).

I have never seen a better video about emergency towing than that red buick 3.8 powerhouse saving the day. (I hope they all got where they were going, :oops: ...and onto better things)
 

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If wife isn't comfortable driving the Suburban towing a trailer, is she going to be comfortable driving the Suburaban towing the Outback?
 

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Just drive the Subaru.

If you want to explore more, rent a Jeep.

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