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I have a 2011 Outback with trailer hitch. Been looking at pop-up campers. Reading my manual, I see that trailers without brakes should weigh less than 1000 lbs. When we bought the car I was just told that towing capacity was 3000 lbs. No mention that no trailer brakes limited towing capacity. Anyone towing a trailer without brakes weighing 2500+ lbs.? Is it really unsafe or damaging to transmission/engine?
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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Unsafe.

3000 is the towing capacity for the H6 Outback with trailer brakes.
 

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I have a 2011 Outback with trailer hitch. Been looking at pop-up campers. Reading my manual, I see that trailers without brakes should weigh less than 1000 lbs. When we bought the car I was just told that towing capacity was 3000 lbs. No mention that no trailer brakes limited towing capacity. Anyone towing a trailer without brakes weighing 2500+ lbs.? Is it really unsafe or damaging to transmission/engine?
Is that an h6 3.6l or the 2.5 cvt or manual? There are additional conditions besides trailer brakes. The empty weight of an rv trailer is not your packed weight. Google living lite aluminum rv trailers. The garbage built by the big brand rv companies are all too heavy with low quality materials any way.
 

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2005 Outback XT 5EAT: SSR Type C wheels, KYB struts, rear sway bar, exhaust tips, MC brace, MoMo shifter, tranny cooler, tow package
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Towing capacity

We have towed our pop top camper all over the Mountain West for years. You definitely don't want to skimp on brakes.

Get electronic brakes and a brake controller (offers more control, preferred for campers) or hydraulic surge brakes (preferred for wet applications like boat trailers) for your camper.

You're talking about adding another 50%+ more weight to the maximum gross vehicle weight of your car. You can't expect the vehicle's stock brakes to stop that much weight safely. There are physical reasons for why trailer brakes are required above the vehicle's lower limit. Even with trailer brakes, your stopping distances are going to increase substantially.

Read up on towing capacity, tow load balancing and braking before you commit to a trailer.

Here are the basic tow capacity formulas:
Gross vehicle weight = curb weight + payload capacity
Gross combined vehicle weight = curb weight + payload capacity + net trailer weight.
Net trailer weight = gross trailer weight - tongue weight.

You subtract the tongue weight from the gross trailer weight because it is carried by the car's suspension - you don't want to double-count it.

We have a 2005 XT. As an example on our car, we're looking at a gross vehicle weight of ~3500 + 900 = ~4400#
Net trailer weight = ~2100 - 200 = 1900#
Combined vehicle weight = 4400 + 1900 = ~6300#.

Our car has a maximum tow rating of 2700#. This implies that the maximum combined vehicle weight for our car with trailer brakes is about #6900.

You don't mention where you want to go. Mountain terrain requires that you go conservative on your figures. Don't buy a trailer that maxes out your vehicle if you're going to tow at altitude. In fact, I wouldn't advise buying a trailer that maxes out your vehicle under any circumstances.

Tow load balancing:
Notice also that you have to reduce the car's payload by the tongue weight. In other words, our car has a payload capacity of 900#, but the 200# of tongue load has to come off that, otherwise you'll overload the car's suspension.

The tongue load should also be 8-10% of the trailer's gross weight, otherwise the trailer won't track well. Since our cars have a 200# tongue weight limit, that implies a maximum trailer weight of ~2500#. Pushing the limit with a 3000# trailer and a 200# tongue weight is about as far as I would go. Stability in cross winds will suffer.

The Outback makes a fine towing vehicle as long as you respect its limits. I love being able to drive a vehicle that tows our camper and hauls our stuff but still handles like a car, not a snow-plow. Engine power matters, engine/transmission cooling capacity matters, braking capacity matters, weight distribution matters, trailer cross-section area matters (a pop-top camper will be fine). You need to look at the whole picture.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your shopping,

-brian
 

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2011 Subaru Outback Premium 2.5i w/CVT
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Tommyd, the towing capacities of the 2011 OB are 2,700 pounds for the 2.5i with manual or CVT transmission and 3,000 pounds for the OB with the H6 engine. This is under normal circumstances. These capacities are reduced in hot temperatures (over 104 deg. F.) or operation in mountainous areas.

Keep in mind that at weights above 1500 pounds, you should have trailer brakes installed.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5i
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Most popups will either come with trailer brakes or have the mounting tabs on the axles. Trailer brakes are needed. This is true for any tow vehicle. Unfortunately, a lot of truck/ suv owners ignore the manufactures requirement or don't pay attention to GCVW.
 

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2012 Outback, 2.5i,Auto Lineartronic CVT
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OEM Class I hitch vs. Class 3 Aftermarket
The OEM max tow rating of 2700 Lbs and max tongue weight of hitch do not make sense--. Most info I've gathered estimates the tongue weight to be 8-10% of the trailer weight, or 216-270 lbs. Max tongue weight in the manual is for the OEM hitch is 200 lbs. I'm considering trailer ultralites (i.e., Amerilite, Spree) in the 2400-2600 lb range, and I'm concerned that an OEM hitch install will limit my choices to pop-ups. The etrailer site lists hitches with greater wt. ratings, but the manual says "fumes and rust" are the consequences of installing a frame-bolted, aftermarket hitch. The UK Subaru site has higher tow weight maximums, so I'm wondering if the manual specs are more driven by the lawyers rather than the engineers. Any experienced campers out there towing an Ultralite camper using the OEM hitch?
 

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Brian, that is good info. I'm going to an RV show in Portland, OR today and taking a close look at those figures you mentioned. Thanks for that. I have toyed with the idea of the Sylvan GO trailer, but a bit pricey. I have a 2013 3.6 Outback. 1 inch trailer mount. Not like my Expedition that this replaced. Just big concern on the towing as you mentioned in your comments to Tommyd. I think I'll stick to Pop Ups but still watch the weights. R/
 

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2007 Subaru Outback 3.0 (now 256,000 km, bought @120,000 km)
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Here in Europe, the limitation without brakes is mostly 750 kg (1650 lbs).
 

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2010 OBW limited 2.5 CVT
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OEM Class I hitch vs. Class 3 Aftermarket
The OEM max tow rating of 2700 Lbs and max tongue weight of hitch do not make sense--. Most info I've gathered estimates the tongue weight to be 8-10% of the trailer weight, or 216-270 lbs. Max tongue weight in the manual is for the OEM hitch is 200 lbs. I'm considering trailer ultralites (i.e., Amerilite, Spree) in the 2400-2600 lb range, and I'm concerned that an OEM hitch install will limit my choices to pop-ups. The etrailer site lists hitches with greater wt. ratings, but the manual says "fumes and rust" are the consequences of installing a frame-bolted, aftermarket hitch. The UK Subaru site has higher tow weight maximums, so I'm wondering if the manual specs are more driven by the lawyers rather than the engineers. Any experienced campers out there towing an Ultralite camper using the OEM hitch?
The tongue weight limit does not change for your car with a change in hitch. It is what the suspension and structure of the vehicle is designed to support. A heavier hitch will only subtract from that load capacity (it's weight vs the weight of the lighter rated stuff). You can not do anything to your vehicle that will increase any of it's ratings (from a legal standpoint). The heavier hitch might give you piece of mind, but the actual failure point of the lighter equipment is most likely able to withstand peak loads 2-3 times the rated weight. Again, your tow ratings as stated in the manual will not change no matter what you change. They are what they are. part of the reason for the higher ratings in Europe have to do with the fact that all of Europe limits tow speeds to about 50 mph. They also run much lower tongue weights in Europe. If they tried to run the speeds we do here, they would get passed by their trailers in short order.
 

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2012 OB Limited, 3.6, AT
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I need a "toy-hauler" that the OB can handle and since there is not one on the market I am going to build one.

With 2 bikes and with the trailer built-out I am figuring a total weight of 2,265 pounds so loaded with camping gear and such I should be at about 2,600 pounds, this is as far as I am willing to go with a 3.6 and a stock hitch.

What I need now is a small single-axle trailer with 2 axles (so flats are not devastating!) and I have not found one yet.

So far:
Empty 950# Air conditioner (with cover) 120# BMW /5 465# Triumph TRW 300# Norton Commando 400# BMW R2 290# Insulation/wiring/stereo/construction materials 300# Spare tire 45# Electric brakes 10# Jackstands 25# Bunks (Army issue) 15# Yamaha 2KW generator 45# = 2265# (with both BMW's)

Vince
 

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Outback 3.6R, 2011 (36,000 miles)
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Towing questions?? HELP !

My Outback 3.6 R has a towing limit of 3000 lbs, and hitch rating of 200 lbs. I have never towed before, and am trying to educate myself.

I wanted to pull a small travel trailer (Scamp, dry weight 1400), but was told I need a 2 inch receiver. If I get a Subaru dealer installed hitch, they are only 1 1.4 in. But I have been told if I install a non-Subaru hitch, it could invalidate my warranty on the Subaru, and also my car insurance, since I would not be following Subaru recommendations.

Can a 1 1/4 in hitch pull a 2000 lb scamp? Is it safe? I would be a single, 60 year old woman driving alone on cross country trips for 2 years, so I tend to be conservative.
 

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My Outback 3.6 R has a towing limit of 3000 lbs, and hitch rating of 200 lbs. I have never towed before, and am trying to educate myself.

I wanted to pull a small travel trailer (Scamp, dry weight 1400), but was told I need a 2 inch receiver. If I get a Subaru dealer installed hitch, they are only 1 1.4 in. But I have been told if I install a non-Subaru hitch, it could invalidate my warranty on the Subaru, and also my car insurance, since I would not be following Subaru recommendations.

Can a 1 1/4 in hitch pull a 2000 lb scamp? Is it safe? I would be a single, 60 year old woman driving alone on cross country trips for 2 years, so I tend to be conservative.
Couple of things the only 2inch receivers are aftermarket hitches subaru dealers will not install them. Uhaul will at 1/4th the dealer cost.
This will not invalidate your warranty unless they cut holes in your frame and your warranty claim is on frame damage caused by improperly installed hitch. My Hidden Hitches on both our cars Legacy and OB are bolted to the factory hitch mounting points and were installed the same way Subaru installs theirs.

Warranty void does not happen easily and the damaged must be both blatant and obviously caused by non OEM parts on the car or improper use of the vehicle etc.
 

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I need a "toy-hauler" that the OB can handle and since there is not one on the market I am going to build one.

With 2 bikes and with the trailer built-out I am figuring a total weight of 2,265 pounds so loaded with camping gear and such I should be at about 2,600 pounds, this is as far as I am willing to go with a 3.6 and a stock hitch.

What I need now is a small single-axle trailer with 2 axles (so flats are not devastating!) and I have not found one yet.

So far:
Empty 950# Air conditioner (with cover) 120# BMW /5 465# Triumph TRW 300# Norton Commando 400# BMW R2 290# Insulation/wiring/stereo/construction materials 300# Spare tire 45# Electric brakes 10# Jackstands 25# Bunks (Army issue) 15# Yamaha 2KW generator 45# = 2265# (with both BMW's)

Vince
Vince I think your numbers are on the light side. My simple 4x6 which is designed as a single ATV hauling trailer with a tent that sits under a heavy top grate that supports the ATV is about 890lbs with a 110lb tent on the floor of the trailer. Thats empty weight no AC or any other item. The AXLE is a Torsion Axle rated for 2000lbs max GWVR.

My other rig is a 21ft racing sailboat all up race weight with trailer is 1800lbs behind the car that is bare minimum gear no extras. The boat is 1300lbs by its self with all critical ie mandatory sailing gear on board. I've found that 1800lbs and a very lightly packed car meaning me and maybe one or two other people with only a light duffel bag each makes for a heavy but comfortable tow effort regarding suspension and handling not to mention cooling capacity for hot temps vs climbs being kept to the minimum. Meaning flat towing..

2000+Lbs is not a weight that the Ob will be good at towing for long trips with any sort of climb or outside temps pushing 80+ degrees. Its still just a Legacy Wagon with car cooling capacity. Regardless if your hauling with the 2.5 or the 3.6.

If you were hauling one bike I could see it as being totally workable. But just the weight of a simple trailer needed to handle the load of multiple bikes no your estimated weights are too light. Keep in mind the heavier axles needed for the say 3500lb axle rating add to the trailer weight too.

If that were my need I would simply buy a used Tundra given your going to get better mileage out of the tundra towing that load than you will with the Subaru.

We get about 16-17mpg towing the boat with the Sequoia and we get about 16mpg towing the boat with the Subaru with any sort of head wind or climb involved. Down hill or flats with no head winds the top mileage we see with the subaru and say 1800+LBS is around 20mpg but thats pretty rare. The Sequoia on the other hand will haul through very hot temps and long climbs with zero issues and the AC running full blast the Subaru < thats not happening.

Our typical Subaru camping trip is the 890lb trailer with two adults two kids + one dog. And maybe 150lbs of camping supplies lashed to the top of the trailer. Back of the car packed with a roof box on the roof also. We typically in this configuration run between 19-26mpg and the car is heavy but can easily handle hot temps and long climbs with no issues.
 

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Towing max weight

I need to tow my boat and trailer twice a year (put the boat in the lake and take it out) for a total distance of 6 miles. The trailer has electronic brakes. The problem is the total weight is 3550. What are thoughts about my doing this?
At the moment I have no problem since I have a Toyota Highlander 6 cylinder, but I want to buy a 2015 Outback 2.5i to replace the Toyota.
Thanks for all input.
 

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I need to tow my boat and trailer twice a year (put the boat in the lake and take it out) for a total distance of 6 miles. The trailer has electronic brakes. The problem is the total weight is 3550. What are thoughts about my doing this?
At the moment I have no problem since I have a Toyota Highlander 6 cylinder, but I want to buy a 2015 Outback 2.5i to replace the Toyota.
Thanks for all input.
How about getting the vehicle you want, then renting or borrowing a truck two times a year?
 

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I have considered what you suggest, but just wanted to see if anyone thought I could do it with an OB.
OK.:)

I am pretty sure I've towed a lot more than I expected, but just through town for no more than 3-4 miles.

But being over the rated towing capacity by 850 lb might put the 2.5 into a lot of extra work when pulling the loaded trailer back up the boat ramp.
 

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Kansas just borrow a bigger rig for the twice a year effort. Heck even just a 30 min Home Depot rental. The weight at that range is heavy the bigger issue is the load on the suspension and rear sub frame, dragging the boat up the ramp wouldnt be a big concern.
 
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