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2011 Outback 2.5i Premium
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, quick question on towing a popup: I have a 2011 Outback 2.5i Premium with the 6-speed manual, and tow a small popup camper in the summer. For those who care about these sorts of things, it's a 2008 Viking 1906. The camper weighs in at about 1650 pounds loaded, and the tongue weight is right at the Subaru 200-pound limit. (I took the car/camper to a CAT scale last summer to get exact weights, so when I say "about 1650 pounds," i mean it may vary if I put an extra folding chair in the camper.)

The camper tows great. I installed electric brakes on it a couple of years ago when I bought the camper and have a brake controller and 8-pin connector all wired up for the brakes and to charge the camper battery as I drive. I try to keep speed on the highway pretty moderate -- 60-65 mph. I make sure all tires are fully inflated and haven't experienced much (if any) oscillation when towing.

My issue: With the manual transmission and the 4-cylinder engine, I feel like I'm struggling to maintain highway speed even on a gentle incline. I have to be very active shifting, and just have a bad feeling when I'm pushing it into fourth gear instead of hanging in sixth. I'm planning to buy a new tow vehicle in three to five years -- either an Ascent (I haven't owned anything but Subarus since the late 90s) or a Tacoma. In the interim, I'm pondering trading in my beloved 2.5i for a 3.6 Outback of the same vintage.

My question: Will I notice a big upgrade in towing capability with the 3.6? Does the automatic make more efficient use of the gears? Does the 6-cylinder increase in torque and HP mean towing a small camper is much easier?

The price difference between selling my car and buying a 3.6 with similar mileage/era will be a few grand. I'm thinking it's worth it for safety, etc., for the next few years until I can upgrade. But I wanted to check w/ the community to see what people's experiences have been. Thanks for any thoughts, etc.

PS: I've looked through the forums for similar posts and have found some, but wanted to ask about this particular scenario. Thanks for indulging me!
 

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The 2.5 with cvt is a big upgrade in towing capability. Thats from a former 2.5 5spd towing compadre that has a 100,000 now on the 2.5 cvt. Yes the 3.6 is step up in power but your cooling limits are the same so hot days and climbs you still need to be wary of temps.

But the cvt has more ratios to use and constantly adjusts even when not towing. Down hill or really long climbs were truckers are doing 35mph type of thing Ill manually lock it in 2nd or 3rd and hold 3200rpm and just let it grind its way up the hill.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, subiesailor. I hadn't even considered that the 2.5 cvt might address my issues. Interesting thoughts to consider!

Um, anyone looking to trade for a 2011 6-speed? :)
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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Thanks, subiesailor. I hadn't even considered that the 2.5 cvt might address my issues. Interesting thoughts to consider!

Um, anyone looking to trade for a 2011 6-speed? :)
post it up in the classifieds.

those are great, rare, and in demand. and not just for people that will not sit in a automatic trans car.


its one used subaru that does not have a extened warranty on it that stops at 100,000 miles.
as it has neither a FB engine or a CVT in it. (as it has one of the last EJ253 in it, and made with good head gaskets in this year).

so in a couple years time, it maybe one of the last 2011 subarus standing.
(maybe with subaru OEM / Aisin clutch kit every once in a green moon)


rare as in your asking price should be a few thousand over 2010-12 2.5 CVT ones,...and even more valuable then a 2010-12 CVT that has been fixed / rebuilt recently to the people that "need" a manual.

________

your trailer: try transferring some weight to the ass end. to get the tongue down a little. any subaru you buy outside of the new Ascent will have a 200# tongue weight limit. (no word officially on the Ascent. but more is expected).

2019 Subaru ASCENT - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
 

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2007 2.5 L Obsidian Black Outback XTL
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For me, the jury is still out on the Ascent; Sure it will be a turbo 4 where the numbers are a little better than a normally aspirated 3.6 but it is also lugging around an additional 500-600 pounds of vehicle in addition to whatever trailer you put behind it.

Being a new model it will certainly have some unanticipated limitations (I did "not" say bugs) and I would rather that someone else live on the bleeding-edge for a year before committing to the latest land-tank.
 
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