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Hitch Tongue Weight: 500 lb Ascent, vs traditional 200 lb Outback (2000-2019)

37914 Views 72 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  ELPTXJC
I got a factory hitch for my 2017 3.6 OB from the dealer when I b

I'm looking at something like the attached picture. I was just at the rv dealer and we put the the trailer hitch on a scale and it came in at 350 lbs.

The factory hitch max tongue is 200 lbs?

This is empty. I'll likely add 50 to 80 lbs of battery which goes in the front.

So is this out of the question?


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The towing capacity is listed as 200# tongue wt. Factory hitch or not, that's the limitation based on the frame of the vehicle.
So all of the discussion here about ecohitch or drawtight does not make a difference? Whether I had a hitch that was "rated" at 350 or 600 lbs, that much tongue weight is out of spec for the vehicle?

At first I was bummed that I spent over $500 on the OEM setup. Now I'm bummed that it doesn't matter.
Yeah, be satisfied with what you have, and have fun with it. It will be OK.

Hitch classifications fit various towing capacities, but they can outperform the vehicle they are mounted to. In the case of Subaru, and probably many other car manufacturers, the frame strength is less than the full capacity of the hitch. Just because the hitch can take a 600lb load, doesn't mean the frame of the vehicle that supports the hitch can take it. For a truck or full size SUV with solid beams on the frame that's one thing, on a Subaru or other vehicle with thin, lightweight, box-beams that's a totally different story.

The discussion about ecohitch or drawtite DOES make a difference, just not in towing capacity or tongue wt capacity because they both out-spec the Outback. The differences are how they are mounted, how much ground clearance they provide, looks, ease of installation, price, and probably others.

The 200lb tongue weight is pretty light, I think, but that's just the way it is, and it's a limitation of the frame and not necessarily the hitch.
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I went to my dealer (Austin Subaru). I spoke with a "design consultant" and she got back to me with the suggestion that she can get me a hitch with a tongue weight rating of 600 lbs.

OK, how much faith would y'all put in what she has told me?

The you say about the frame of an OB being the limiting factor makes sense to me.

And maybe I should just consider an Assent.
My own hitch (aftermarket) has a hefty tounge wt rating, too. So, yeah, technically she's telling the truth.

But the Outback limit is still #200 because of the frame.
FYI y’all, the number was from an Assent brochure. So not just a sales dude talkin outa hiz... uhm... knowledge. Said on the specs page... towing capacity 5,000 lbs, tongue weight 277 lbs.

That is a really weird number. Maybe a Kg to Lbs conversion?

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277 lb ... 125 kg
... all US ratings must accommodate 10% of the rated max trailer weight. ...
New rules?

My '13 has a 200 lb tongue wt and 2700lb towing capacity don't add up.
277max tongue weight would never ever work with 5000lb towing capacity. Either the tongue weight is wrong which is oddly identical to the Torque spec on the 2.4 DIT engine at 2000rpm or the 5000lb marketing is wrong.

My money is on the weird 277 being a typo from the engine torque specs

Says, "... available Class III hitch." That implies up to 6000/600. Since they are advertising 5000 lb, I think you're right about that 500 lb tw.
Base, Premium, Limited, Touring

The specs on the Premium are the only one that say 500/5000. The other statement, "...with base models rated at 200 lbs. tongue weight and 2,000 lbs. maximum towing capacity" implies that the Base is 200/2000, the Premium is 500/5000, but there's nothing about the Limited and Touring.
That's an interesting picture. I can't make out too many details from just that photo, but it looks like it attaches to the bolts that hold on the bumper and replaces the original steel bumper. The two arms look like they fit *inside* the frame rails. That extra support on the inside of the frame rails might counteract the downward forces and torque of the extra tongue weight.
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