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2016 Outback 3.6R
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Discussion Starter #1
I owned a 2007 Outback H4 for 150K miles, and did a good bit of towing, both long and short distance, through the plains and up & down mountains.

I know that with the use of common sense while driving, the Outback H4 does live up to it's 2700 pound towing capacity.

What I don't know is what an Outback can pull up a boat ramp. I.E. what can an Outback pull at a steep angle from a dead stop???

I have seen much discussion and opinions in other threads, but wanted to start a thread based on PERSONAL EXPERIENCE what boats you have personally pulled up a boat ramp with your Outback.

I'm seriously thinking about coming back into the Outback family (this time possibly with a boat), but before I do, I'd like some basic first-hand accounts so that I don't get to the boat ramp and have an "Oh Sh*t" moment because I bought the wrong automobile for the job.

I'm aware of Subaru's towing specifications, but I want to see some raw data from other's experiences.

Please list the following information.

1.) Year of your Outback
2.) Engine (H4 of H6?)
3.) Transmission (4EAT, CVT, manual, etc.)
4.) Boat type (i.e. Carolina Skiff JVX 16)
5.) Weight of Boat, trailer, and boat cargo (combined total weight, approximate)
6.) Hitch Type (Class I/II [1.25 inch receiver] or Class III/IV [2 inch receiver])
7.) Hitch Manufacturer (Subaru OEM, Reese, Curt, UHaul, etc.)
8.) How did your Outback do? (Successful, unsuccessful, or in-between?)
9.) Other info you think would be beneficial for the rest of us to know. (i.e. My H4 did OK but I wish I had gone with the H6.)

Thanks!
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R
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184 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Anybody? Just trying to congregate all Outback owner boat towing experiences into one thread, complete with data and info.

Thanks!
 

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2003 Outback Limited 2.5L H4 5MT Regatta Red Pearl w/ lift and audio system
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1,256 Posts
Good thread idea. I've no personal experience (sorry).
 

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2014 6spd
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173 Posts
My 2014 6MT 2.5 pulls up a 1200lb 14' aluminum boat up a ramp fine, depending on driver skill. If its a steep ramp, may have to slip the clutch a little. I did have an OB 2.5 CVT for a year, and that also pulled up the boat fine. CVT is less drama as the MT first gear is a bit tall, and it requires the proper touch.

I tried to pull up a uhaul double axle trailer about 1700 pounds up a steep incline once. It was the entrance to a storage place and was equivalent to a very steep boat ramp. Couldn't do it. If I really slipped the clutch might have been able to, but I didn;t feel like destroying the clutch. In hindsite, if I blocked the tires with some chocks that were there might have done it since that would prevent rollback. Thanksfully the girl who worked there had a v8 suv that she let me use to pull it up. To say the least I was a bit embarrassed!
 

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One thing to consider, is that at least part of the boat is still floating when you start up the ramp. That means you are not pulling the full load from a dead stop. That is a big help.
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R
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184 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
One thing to consider, is that at least part of the boat is still floating when you start up the ramp. That means you are not pulling the full load from a dead stop. That is a big help.
That is a very valid point, phillipgo. The boat is still partially floating at the beginning, and you have some momentum by the time you are pulling the entire load.

I'm having a hard time justifying the extra price of the 3.6. Not really the sticker price difference, but the fuel mileage difference over the 150k miles I will own the Outback. At $2.50/gallom, price difference of $3,653. At $3.00/gallon, price difference of $4,383. Ugh. All for the extra 300 lb towing capacity....
 

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2010 CVT and steep CA boat ramps 21ft 1800lb sailboat. Easy as pie, manualy selected 1st just motors up the hill. Better than my old 5spd MT subie. But you need to manually select 1st. If you dont the cvt will alter gear ratio at about 5mph which is about mid steep ramp and nearly stall the car then catch just as you chug to a stop. Dont ask I forgot to use manual 1st.

We wanted a manual but the throttle response off the start with the new cars was a no go stall on a loaded car hill starting.
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R
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184 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I'm considering these two boats for use on the Intercoastal Waterway in NC.

This one for simplicity and lighter weight:
Boston Whaler 150 Super Sport
Boston Whaler | 150 Super Sport Boats | Small Boats For Sale | Sport Fishing Boat
Dry Weight - 900 lbs

This one for more features & "Bang for your buck":
Pioneer Venture 175
Pioneer Boats
Dry Weight - 1150 lbs

The second is pushing the weight limits of the Outback. Weight for trailer, cushions, gas, engine, cooler, etc etc. Well equipped, the prices are close.
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R
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184 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Just pulled the trigger on a new 2016 Outback 3.6R. I plan on doing some boat/trailer/camper towing in my next 150K miles, so the 6 cylinder made sense.

Once I get past the break-in period and I decide on which boat I will get, I'll post how my Outback performed on the boat ramp.:wink2:
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R
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184 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
1.) Year - 2016
2.) Engine - H6, 3.6R
3.) Transmission - CVT
4.) Boat - Pioneer Islander 180 (18 foot)
5.) Total Weight Being Towed - 2500 lbs.
6.) Hitch Type - Class II Hitch [1.25 inch receiver]
7.) Hitch Brand - Subaru OEM - Dealer Installed Hitch
8.) How did your Outback do? - Pulled the boat/trailer/gear up a steep ramp, no problems!!
9.) Other info you think would be beneficial for the rest of us to know. - After deliberating on the H4 or the H6, I am SO GLAD I got the H6. When pulling the boat up the ramp, I put the transmission in manual mode (first gear).
 

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'11 VW Golf TDI 2-D hatch 2" Lift
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great thread... watching as i'm considering doing a 2016/2017 2.5 and hauling my 1500 lb/ 177 lb tongue aluminum boat. really wondered how the smaller engine would do on steep, wet or unimproved ramps.
 

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I don't know if it is a older Whaler you are looking at, but some will have waterlogged foam adding to the weight. I have a 1013 3.6 Outback and it pulls my 1500# (total weight), boat up the ramp with no problems. I haven't towed it any great distances so I don't know how it will do.
 

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I'll be towing an aluminum boat quite a bit this summer. The hill-holder function seems pretty handy for steep boat ramps.
 

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1.) Year - 2008
2.) Engine - H4, 2.5i
3.) Transmission - 5MT
4.) Boat - Boston Whaler 50th Anniversary Sport 150 (15 ft) ~900 lbs
5.) Total Weight Being Towed - ~2000 lbs
6.) Hitch Type - Class II Hitch [1.25 inch receiver]
7.) Hitch Brand - Uhaul on car, Curt 5 in raise ball mount
8.) How did your Outback do? - Could not pull boat out of water, up ramp (not too steep). Stalled out many times
9.) Other info you think would be beneficial for the rest of us to know. - I am new with manual transmissions and may just not know the proper way to start in first for optimal power on a hill with the boat. Any advice would be appreciated
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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1.) Year - 2008
2.) Engine - H4, 2.5i
3.) Transmission - 5MT
4.) Boat - Boston Whaler 50th Anniversary Sport 150 (15 ft) ~900 lbs
5.) Total Weight Being Towed - ~2000 lbs
6.) Hitch Type - Class II Hitch [1.25 inch receiver]
7.) Hitch Brand - Uhaul on car, Curt 5 in raise ball mount
8.) How did your Outback do? - Could not pull boat out of water, up ramp (not too steep). Stalled out many times
9.) Other info you think would be beneficial for the rest of us to know. - I am new with manual transmissions and may just not know the proper way to start in first for optimal power on a hill with the boat. Any advice would be appreciated

@subiesailor

I think use to put his old subaru in 1st, rev the engine, and pop the clutch.
 

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I tried 1st time yesterday pulling my 14 ft aluminum (est. 1400 lb total weight) up boat ramp with new to me 2010 Outback 2.5 with CVT. My previous car was 09 Forester with 4 spd AT and manual parking brake handle. Question I have is how people handle the roll back when you take foot off brake on steep boat ramp? With the Forester I have the parking brake engaged and time its released while applying the gas. The parking brake is manual so I have better feel for when to release it. The electronic parking brake on Outback I have no feel for what it is doing. Do you apply gas at the moment you pull the parking brake switch or wait for it to go through its disengagement cycle? My second option is do the two foot thing one on brake and one on gas however I can see this will take some practice. The third option is to engage the hill holder but this require me to put on seat belt (really at boat ramp??) and I feel the engine is laboring some of its power just to overcome all of the hill holder logic permissives before it will release the parking brake.
 

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'13 2.5 Premium
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2,383 Posts
I tried 1st time yesterday pulling my 14 ft aluminum (est. 1400 lb total weight) up boat ramp with new to me 2010 Outback 2.5 with CVT. My previous car was 09 Forester with 4 spd AT and manual parking brake handle. Question I have is how people handle the roll back when you take foot off brake on steep boat ramp? With the Forester I have the parking brake engaged and time its released while applying the gas. The parking brake is manual so I have better feel for when to release it. The electronic parking brake on Outback I have no feel for what it is doing. Do you apply gas at the moment you pull the parking brake switch or wait for it to go through its disengagement cycle? My second option is do the two foot thing one on brake and one on gas however I can see this will take some practice. The third option is to engage the hill holder but this require me to put on seat belt (really at boat ramp??) and I feel the engine is laboring some of its power just to overcome all of the hill holder logic permissives before it will release the parking brake.
The hill holder works the same as if you manually engage the electronic brake, it just turns itself on automatically.

The e-brake releases when you step on the gas. The strain you are feeling is the engine pulling against the brake as it is being released. Hill holder or the auto-release function of the brake both require the seatbelt on. The alternative is to two-foot it, release the brake as you feel the engine strain. It's the same thing that the car does for you with the electronic parking brake.
 
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