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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure this has been asked a thousand times, but here it is again. From a newbie.

I'm a new Outback owner and want a little advice on the towing/ cargo carrier capacity of my new Outback. I know the vehicle is rated to 2700lbs. My question is from a practical weekend warrior perspective. Will I have any problems towing a small 500lbs trailer with another 250-500lbs worth of gear in it? I can't imagine it would be any different than a cargo carrier on the top loaded down or a hitch hauler with gear. I just want your feedback from experience and opinions.

Thanks in adavance!
 

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2019 Bronze Limited
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I asked the same question a few weeks ago and the general consensus is with that small of a trailer, you won't even know its back there.

The only thing I was cautioned on was that if towing in the mountains with a trailer on the heavy end of the rating, you may need to watch your engine and transmission temps.
 

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2007 Outback XT Ltd
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Hi and welcome to the forums. Search SUCKS here, so the easy way to find stuff is to enter a Google query like this:

https://www.google.com/#hl=en&safe=...874,d.cGE&fp=f57bf628413e002&biw=1012&bih=568

Enjoy your Outback and don't worry about that light load unless you are driving straight up Mt Killimanjaro...... but make sure you carry a spare tire for the trailer, and a complete pre-lubed hub with bearings, (or else bearings and grease, and the tools to change the parts on the side of the road). The hub will cost very little, and if your bearings seize one day, 50 miles from any town, you will thank me for the advice. ... http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hubs-and-Drums/Dexter/34822BX.html

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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SCCO9803
You have not mentioned if you have OEM hitch or if you have added aftermarket one... aftermarket hitch (with 2" square) has a bit higher weight rating....
 

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2012 Outback 2.5i CVT
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SCCO9803
You have not mentioned if you have OEM hitch or if you have added aftermarket one... aftermarket hitch (with 2" square) has a bit higher weight rating....
I don't believe this is true. Even if the hitch itself is rated for a higher weight the car is not. By exceeding the trailer weight and/or tongue weight limits identified by Subaru you will likely void the warranty if something bad happens. Actually, looking at how the aftermarket hitches are installed as compared with the OEM hitch my gut feeling is that the OEM attachment method is stronger. Regardless, always follow manufacturer's towing limits.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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There are a lot of threads on this subject elsewhere on this forum... SCCO9803 also did not say what "new" Subaru is he/she buying - new 2013 or "new" to him/her.
There may not be a warranty issue... but, generally I agree with you vtmechng. However, people generally ignore these limits unless you rent one from a rental agency.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It's new to me and also new from Subaru 2013. The hitch is an after market one installed by the local hitch and trailer company in my town. I'm not concerned about manufacturer limits as I'm only planning to tow half of that limit. I just wanted to know what people's experiences or recomendations are.
 

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I have an aftermarket as well (from U-haul) but I mainly use it for my bicycles... I had an aftermarket U-Haul on my 2010 Forester XT as well and I followed the hitch specs, when towing U-Haul trailers/moving boxes - but - likewise, I never exceeded the limits.
In my opinion (contrary to vtmecheng) I think aftermarket hitch is attached to the car better than the OEM hitch.
 

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Tungsten 2017 2.5 Limited w Eyesight SOLD!
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hi and welcome to the forums. Search sucks here, so the easy way to find stuff is to enter a google query like this:

https://www.google.com/#hl=en&safe=...874,d.cge&fp=f57bf628413e002&biw=1012&bih=568

enjoy your outback and don't worry about that light load unless you are driving straight up mt killimanjaro...... But make sure you carry a spare tire for the trailer, and a complete pre-lubed hub with bearings, (or else bearings and grease, and the tools to change the parts on the side of the road). The hub will cost very little, and if your bearings seize one day, 50 miles from any town, you will thank me for the advice. ... Trailer Hub Assembly - 2,000-lb Axles - 4 on 4 - L44643 Bearings Dexter Trailer Hubs and Drums 34822bx

john davies
spokane wa usa
+1 ! :29:
 

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SCCO9803
You have not mentioned if you have OEM hitch or if you have added aftermarket one... aftermarket hitch (with 2" square) has a bit higher weight rating....
WRONG
In the case of the Subaru all 1 1/4 hitch and 2 inch hitches are limited to the cars specs. 200lbs tongue weight 2700lbs max flat towing mild temps.
 

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WRONG
In the case of the Subaru all 1 1/4 hitch and 2 inch hitches are limited to the cars specs. 200lbs tongue weight 2700lbs max flat towing mild temps.
But what if the hitch is welded to the cars frame? Many after markets do that and it might raise the tongue weight rating in that case.

All the same if it's me, I'll stick with the manufactures specs because I installed my hitch using the factory method with bolts.
 

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WRONG
In the case of the Subaru all 1 1/4 hitch and 2 inch hitches are limited to the cars specs. 200lbs tongue weight 2700lbs max flat towing mild temps.
My U-haul 2" hitch specs reads 600 lbs tongue weight and 4000 lbs towing..... Not that I would ever use it, but that is the rating of aftermarket U-Haul (manufactured by Cequent)....that I have on my 13 OB! I know the car specs are limited to lower numbers shown in user's guide (for 1 1/4 inch hitch) but the hitch itself is capable of 600/4000 ... The 2" is not OEM and therefore the car specs are not applicable; i.e. not the same as they would be with 1 1/4 OEM hitch.
 

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But what if the hitch is welded to the cars frame? Many after markets do that and it might raise the tongue weight rating in that case.

All the same if it's me, I'll stick with the manufactures specs because I installed my hitch using the factory method with bolts.
Nope the crush zone is engineered for x levered weight. Has nothing to do with the hitch or welding that can weaken metal when different metals are attempted to be welded. Besides the bolts are not the issue and have a rating higher than the hitch or the car. The limit is set by the cars structure rear crush zone.
 

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Nope the crush zone is engineered for x levered weight. Has nothing to do with the hitch or welding that can weaken metal when different metals are attempted to be welded. Besides the bolts are not the issue and have a rating higher than the hitch or the car. The limit is set by the cars structure rear crush zone.
Ahhh. Okay, that makes sense then thanks!
 

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My U-haul 2" hitch specs reads 600 lbs tongue weight and 4000 lbs towing..... Not that I would ever use it, but that is the rating of aftermarket U-Haul (manufactured by Cequent)....that I have on my 13 OB! I know the car specs are limited to lower numbers shown in user's guide (for 1 1/4 inch hitch) but the hitch itself is capable of 600/4000 ... The 2" is not OEM and therefore the car specs are not applicable; i.e. not the same as they would be with 1 1/4 OEM hitch.
Those numbers would hold true if that hitch were installed on say, a bridge truss or something. But when it is installed on an Outback, you have to use the car's lower numbers.

Again, the hitch is much stronger than the car you're bolting it onto and you must ignore the hitch numbers unless you are considering transferring it to something other than an Outback.
 

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I have a '12 OB Premium 2.5 CVT and I tow my Teardrop trailer with no problems. My Teardrop probably weighs around what you are looking at pulling ~ 1000#. My wife and I went to Yosemite last year which is about a 4-5 hour trip each way, and if you have ever been to Yosemite you know that the drive includes a lot of hills (some pretty steep) and switchback roads into and pout of the valley. The OB performed admirably. The paddle shifters especially came in handy uphill and especially downhill. I was quite satisfied and pleased with the OB's capabilities.
BTW I have a self installed Draw Tite 1 1/4" hitch and wiring harness I purchased from eTrailer.com. I installed per mfg's recommendations drilling holes in the frame with no problems on the install or while towing. And the wiring harness took all of 5 minutes to install. As I have purchased a number of times from eTrailer I cannot say enough good things about them!
 

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subiesailor is spot on here. All of the aftermarket hitches bolt into the bottom of the crush zone frame. The rear most hole is reinforced with an additional layer of steel but the forward most mounting hole is remarkably thin. What the Subaru OEM hitch does is bolt to that rear most hole and further reinforce the hole with a bracket that fits into the tubular frame, bolting a bracket to the hitch mounting hole and a hole on the side of the tube. The OEM hitch also uses the bolts that hold the metal bumper on the car to further strengthen it's attachment. So the aftermarket hitches don't use these bumper bolts and only have a strip of steel as a backer for the bolts going into the tube frame instead of the large bracket.

OEM Hitch. Notice brackets 2 and 3 that conform to and reinforce the tubular frame by using two bolts into the double walled section of the vehicle. Also, you can see that it uses the four existing bolts that hold the metal bumper on the car. It is all these extra attachments that parts that are bent to conform to the Outback that likely make the OEM hitch more expensive.
OEM.JPG

A typical aftermarket hitch. Notice it only uses two bolts per side. The rear bolts are in the double walled section of vehicle frame but the forward ones are in a thinner section. Note that the forward holes are not designed by Subaru for attachment of a hitch so who knows how much load they can take (by how thin the material is I am guessing not much). Also the reinforcement plates are just rectangles that do not conform to the tube's shape or bolt to the sides of these frame tubes.
Aftermarket.JPG

Sorry if my descriptions don't make sense, I did my best without having pictures of the cars opened up with both designs side by side. Also, I'm not saying the aftermarket can't take that 200 lb. tongue and 3,000 lb. total trailer weight capacity. It just seems that it's unlikely the aftermarket attachment method is stronger so I wouldn't go beyond the Subaru identified limits.
 

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vtmecheng - now it makes sense, how you've described it...I take it back, what I've said earlier - learn something new every day!
 

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vtmecheng - now it makes sense, how you've described it...I take it back, what I've said earlier - learn something new every day!
In the end I have a Torklift aftermarket hitch instead of the OEM one. Towing my little utility trailer that's under 2000 lbs I'm not worried at all. Actually, our bike rack with 4 bikes on it probably puts more stress on the hitch than the trailer. No question it is a higher equivalent tongue weight.
 

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Hey all. I have a 3 week old OB Limited and I'm trying to research hitches... I say trying because it's all kind of confusing to me. I am not knowledgeable about cars and I'm trying to learn. It is not an option for me to install a hitch myself, so I'm going to have to go with an aftermarket one.

My questions are:

- Are aftermarket hitches not as secure as OEM hitches/ are OEM hitches better? Or is this just a preference thing? From things I've read on here, people seem to prefer OEM hitches due to the way they are attached to the car, right? But I've read that some of you have aftermarket hitches as well, and I haven't read about any problems.

- From what I'm reading, no matter what kind of hitch I get, I should stick to the manufacturer's guidelines concerning weight. Is this right?

- When contacting a local company to get this done, is there anything I should be asking them? Am I going to have different options on what kind of hitch I can get installed?

I really have been reading all of your posts about hitches... I just think some of it is a bit over my head. I appreciate your input!
 
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