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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be replacing a vehicle soon and I'm very interested in a 2015 Outback.


Off-road motorcycling is my main hobby. I currently own an SUV with a hitch. I carry my off-road bike on a Carrier mounted in the hitch. This is not a trailer, it is a hitch carrier carrying the full weight of the bike, which is about 260 lbs. The carrier itself weighs another 60.


I have seen hitches for a 2015 Outback from a couple manufacturers (Draw Tite is one) rated at a 500 lb carrying capacity. So the hitch is capable of carrying the load.


My concern is that this would be too much weight to carry on the back of an Outback. I don't want to damage anything.


Does anyone have experience with this situation. Maybe some other dirt bikers that use their Outback to carry the bike in the back.


If it won't handle the load my only other option is a big SUV like I have now and I really don't want to do that.
 

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The hitches out there can hold many times what the Outback's attachment points can hold.

The Outback has a 200lb limit for tongue load regardless of whose hitch you use- and that's when there is a trailer axle to absorb some shock.

The SUV is a better plan.
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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The tongue weight limit from Subaru is 200lbs.
 

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2015 Outback Limited 2.5i Venetian Red
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2nd...I too was in a similar situation...I've always driven SUV's with full frames and the OB is our first unibody constructed vehicle.

I have a rack with 2" bar that I use to carry deer when hunting...I have carried a LOT of deer on this rack on my SUV's...I was surprised by the 200# tongue load rating on the OB...but after I thought about it the unibody and crush zones were something I simply was not used to as I was used to full frame railed vehicles. I ended up buying a small 40" x 48" 1000# rated utility trailer to haul behind the OB.

What still confuses me is that the European OB's have a near 400# tongue load...no one on here has been able to confirm or deny if the European built unibodies are any different or they just change ratings...in the end I'm not taking a chance of damaging my beautiful OB...so I'll stick with the small utility trailer which will be a beach to store but will probably come in handy in so many ways...so it should be a win. I got it from Harbor Freight shipped to my door for like $150...is it the best thing out there...probably not...but I only use it a few times in the fall for hunting each year.

Based on what I have found on here...the OB is not the optimal vehicle for hanging something off of the hitch like a rack...the SUV is a better option or a small trailer to haul the dirt bike...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all of the excellent real world feedback. I have no place to store a trailer that's why I'm using the hitch carrier.
It sounds like the smart move would be go with the SUV or Truck option. Disappointed though, I really like the Outback and wanted to add it to the Forester and Legacy we now own.
 

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Here's a decent read on some of the US/Europe differences:

Tow me down!

I think more people just need to consider the OB towing as a bonus, and not look at it as a tow-vehicle.
 

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2019 2.5i Limited Forester (hers) (4th Subie), 2014 Impreza Premium (mine)(#5)
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What still confuses me is that the European OB's have a near 400# tongue load...no one on here has been able to confirm or deny if the European built unibodies are any different or they just change ratings...in the end I'm not taking a chance of damaging my beautiful OB...so I'll stick with the small utility trailer which will be a beach to store but will probably come in handy in so many ways...so it should be a win.
Europe has a diesel engine available because they have different emission standards over there, too. While the unibody itself is built the same, the lawyers here in the U.S. have effectively set up different standards than the ones in Europe (or Australia, which is different from both the U.S. AND Europe).
 

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I know the Euro hitches look different. Maybe they hang on the car differently and give it the extra tongue weight limits?
 

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2015 Outback Limited 2.5i Venetian Red
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Europe has a diesel engine available because they have different emission standards over there, too. While the unibody itself is built the same, the lawyers here in the U.S. have effectively set up different standards than the ones in Europe (or Australia, which is different from both the U.S. AND Europe).
Carl,

Thank you for the info.

My reasons for asking are that I have a rack I wanted to put on the rear receiver. On this rack that does hang out there by ~30" I plan to place deer that I have harvested in the field while hunting. A deer typically weighs 100-200#'s alone...the rack probably weighs 40#'s alone...granted these are STATIC weights and as you bounce down the road the lever arm the rack enjoys will exert more than that on the hitch. There are also times when both my daughter and I both are fortunate to harvest an animal at the same hunt...in the end I went with a small trailer to not exceed the SOA ratings...but I am still curious as to how the Euro version is so different.

What is curious to me is if the unibody part is the SAME...why is there a lower tongue weight on the US cars than the Euro cars? I further understand that "typically" the tongue weight is synonymous with a trailer being hitched to the vehicle and typically those ratings are "complimentary" of each other. In my case as in the OP's case...we're both looking to "suspend" a weight off the hitch which can handle the load but the OB rating from Subaru is at 200#'s here in the states and near 400#'s in Europe...if it is near 400#'s in Europe there is probably STILL margin on top of that number if that is what is "acceptable".

HOW can the unibodies be the same and yet the ratings be so far apart? (that is 100% difference in Europe over the US rating).

Thoughts?
 

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I know the Euro hitches look different. Maybe they hang on the car differently and give it the extra tongue weight limits?
Their hitch is slightly different however your still levering off the crush zone behind the rear axle / safety cage of the passenger compartment the structure the hitch is bolted to is designed to bend and give in an accident so you can see why sticking with the rated 200lbs limit is probably wise and levering loads off the hitch you need to consider the levered effect of the weight given its not the same as a trailer tongue resting on the hitch.
 

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Carl,

Thank you for the info.

My reasons for asking are that I have a rack I wanted to put on the rear receiver. On this rack that does hang out there by ~30" I plan to place deer that I have harvested in the field while hunting. A deer typically weighs 100-200#'s alone...the rack probably weighs 40#'s alone...granted these are STATIC weights and as you bounce down the road the lever arm the rack enjoys will exert more than that on the hitch.

What is curious to me is if the unibody part is the SAME...why is there a lower tongue weight on the US cars than the Euro cars? I further understand that "typically" the tongue weight is synonymous with a trailer being hitched to the vehicle and typically those ratings are "complimentary" of each other. In my case as in the OP's case...we're both looking to "suspend" a weight off the hitch which can handle the load but the OB rating from Subaru is at 200#'s here in the states and near 400#'s in Europe...if it is near 400#'s in Europe there is probably STILL margin on top of that number if that is what is "acceptable".

HOW can the unibodies be the same and yet the ratings be so far apart? (that is 100% difference in Europe over the US rating).

Thoughts?
The cars are slightly different structurally but also keep in mind that Euro market is like a micro market for Subaru and over there they play the same games we see here in the US regarding load and towing capacity with Trucks. Except over there its with cars. If you only sell 100 cars in all of Europe a month its a low risk to push the rated limits to make your car appear competitive with all the other over rated sedans and wagons sold by the competitors. The local dealers around me sell over 100+ cars a month and I have 10 dealers within an hour of my house the risk goes up exponentially not to mention we tow trailers at higher speeds here and longer distances also. So yes higher probability of having major lawsuits and vehicle failures and structural issues so we get lower rated weight which will not pose a structural issue and lawsuits and such coming back to the auto maker.
 

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i wouldn't think twice to load more than the Subaru recommendations. i've done it countless times and have done enough fabrication, welding, disasssembling Subaru it's clearly not a big deal. it's not as if those numbers operate like this:

1. at 200 pounds it handles perfectly
2. at 201 pounds the hitch and unibody deteriorate and catastrophically fail.

i would ask questions like how often are you doing this, how easy/hard is the bike to load, do you need access to the rear hatch (where getting in the OBW will bea nnoying....how many miles, is groudn clerance a issue?
 

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Their hitch is slightly different however your still levering off the crush zone behind the rear axle / safety cage of the passenger compartment the structure the hitch is bolted to is designed to bend and give in an accident so you can see why sticking with the rated 200lbs limit is probably wise and levering loads off the hitch you need to consider the levered effect of the weight given its not the same as a trailer tongue resting on the hitch.
If I have 200#'s applied through a ball hitch or 200#'s applied by a bike rack AT THE HITCH HEAD...they BOTH have the SAME 200#'s applied and have the same lever from the hitch head to the crush zone.

What is different if the 200#'s is STATIC on the levered rack and it WILL increase (and decrease) as the load bounces up and down...just like a trailer tongue weight measured statically at a CAT scale...that same weight will go UP and DOWN as you drive down the road...but the lever effect from the hitch head to the crush zone is EXACTLY the same geometry as that distance is constant in both cases...what is different is how the DYNAMIC load changes...but don't kid yourself...a trailer tongue weight DOES CHANGE with dynamics and enjoys a mechanical advantage too...my last trailer had ~1250#'s of tongue load and depending on the road conditions/expansion joints, etc...that 1250#'s was never always 1250#'s...
 

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Carl,

Thank you for the info.

My reasons for asking are that I have a rack I wanted to put on the rear receiver. On this rack that does hang out there by ~30" I plan to place deer that I have harvested in the field while hunting. A deer typically weighs 100-200#'s alone...the rack probably weighs 40#'s alone...granted these are STATIC weights and as you bounce down the road the lever arm the rack enjoys will exert more than that on the hitch. There are also times when both my daughter and I both are fortunate to harvest an animal at the same hunt...in the end I went with a small trailer to not exceed the SOA ratings...but I am still curious as to how the Euro version is so different.

What is curious to me is if the unibody part is the SAME...why is there a lower tongue weight on the US cars than the Euro cars? I further understand that "typically" the tongue weight is synonymous with a trailer being hitched to the vehicle and typically those ratings are "complimentary" of each other. In my case as in the OP's case...we're both looking to "suspend" a weight off the hitch which can handle the load but the OB rating from Subaru is at 200#'s here in the states and near 400#'s in Europe...if it is near 400#'s in Europe there is probably STILL margin on top of that number if that is what is "acceptable".

HOW can the unibodies be the same and yet the ratings be so far apart? (that is 100% difference in Europe over the US rating).

Thoughts?
Just throw the second deer on the roof wrapped in a tarp. Problem solved.
 

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If I have 200#'s applied through a ball hitch or 200#'s applied by a bike rack AT THE HITCH HEAD...they BOTH have the SAME 200#'s applied and have the same lever from the hitch head to the crush zone.

What is different if the 200#'s is STATIC on the levered rack and it WILL increase (and decrease) as the load bounces up and down...just like a trailer tongue weight measured statically at a CAT scale...that same weight will go UP and DOWN as you drive down the road...but the lever effect from the hitch head to the crush zone is EXACTLY the same geometry as that distance is constant in both cases...what is different is how the DYNAMIC load changes...but don't kid yourself...a trailer tongue weight DOES CHANGE with dynamics and enjoys a mechanical advantage too...my last trailer had ~1250#'s of tongue load and depending on the road conditions/expansion joints, etc...that 1250#'s was never always 1250#'s...
Correct but you lever a two foot wide platform off the hitch its levered effect on the hitch frame and car is very different than a trailer which is not levered the other end is supported by an axle and tires. Static load limits are set based on expected spikes in load weight not the same as levered action twisting the hitch and frame area where the hitch is mounted.

Have you installed any hitches on passenger cars built in the past few years? Unless the vehicle is a legal 3 row vehicle you will see that all the 2 row passenger cars have a crush zone that includes everything behind the rear suspension mounting point. The Subaru OB and Legacy are identical they are the same machine the trunk in the legacy platform has frame rails designed to collapse into the primary structure at the rear suspension. If you think levering more than 200lbs off that or exceeding the rated tongue weight by a considerable amount which is only say 50lbs or more won't have a negative impact on the lightly built crush zone structure I simply suggest you try it and don't complain when your car kinks at the rear doors.
 

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Just throw the second deer on the roof wrapped in a tarp. Problem solved.
LOL...getting her or him up there would be the issue...:grin2:

I hunt either alone or with my soon to be 16 year old daughter...getting a 100# critter up there wouldn't be easy and possibly damaging to the plastic parts hanging off the OB...I could haul the critter up into a tree and drive under it...but...:grin2:

Don't get me wrong...I have thought about all these options...and the fact that Subaru puts such a low rating has me nervous...a $150 small utility trailer seemed like the best option...but I'm still curious as to how the unibodies are the same but have such varied ratings is all...
 

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LOL...getting her or him up there would be the issue...:grin2:

I hunt either alone or with my soon to be 16 year old daughter...getting a 100# critter up there wouldn't be easy and possibly damaging to the plastic parts hanging off the OB...I could haul the critter up into a tree and drive under it...but...:grin2:

Don't get me wrong...I have thought about all these options...and the fact that Subaru puts such a low rating has me nervous...a $150 small utility trailer seemed like the best option...but I'm still curious as to how the unibodies are the same but have such varied ratings is all...
Easier to hose off the trailer too ;-)

Keep in mind your talking about a Legacy Sedan in wagon skin. Its not a Ford Explorer or a Mini Van Based SUV like the Lexus RX where the platforms are built for higher expected load weights. Its a Legacy Wagon on stiltz

Crash test ratings involve having enough crush zone to dissipate energy and having a primary passenger structure strong enough to stay intact. You can't get a good rating on a mid sized sedan with out having crushable zones front and back as a result your ability to hang heavy stuff off the end of a crush zone is going to be limited to lighter weights than a vehicle with less crush zone.
 

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I'm not recommending going over limits and such of course, it's a bad idea and should never be done or you'll die. I've got enough perspective it is simply a guide, not a hard number or an end-all-be-all.
 
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