Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 20 of 46 Posts

·
Registered
'99 Legacy Outback 5MT
Joined
·
342 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm hoping to tow a Spec3 racecar (spec weight w/ driver 2900lbs) on an aluminum double axle trailer with brakes (1300 lbs) with a 2005-2009 Outback XT manual. So, I'm looking at 4200lbs loaded trailer weight with a corresponding tongue weight of roughly 420lbs (10%).

The US towing specs are 2700lbs gross trailer weight and 200lbs tongue. Apparently, European models (self-leveling suspension?) are rated at nearly 4000lbs though I haven't found tongue weight.

I figure I can stiffen up the suspension and get that at least as good as Euro spec with King Springs, maybe stiffer struts of some kind, and upgraded swaybars. I'm not sure how to increase max tongue weight, though.

Long story short, any thoughts on how to increase the max tongue weight? What's the weak link?

I've done tons of searching on this forum, legacygt and subaruforester etc. with no luck. I'm aware that this might be dangerous. Please don't respond with safety first, buy a truck, think of the children etc. Thanks for any responses.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
Ocrent - you ever see that pretty famous video on Youtube? A BMW 5series wagon towing exactly what you just described? It ended up in a pile on the side of the road.

Also 420lbs tongue weight would make my 5000lb rated Landcruiser unhappy I know because I've done it. NO WAY in **** would I drop 420lbs on the legacy car frame first off you will tweak the unibody with that. Not to mention your trailer will dump you in a heap on the side of the road before you can say Oh Sh-t

Get a beater Yukon thats what my buddy hauls his track miata to the track with. He paid $10,000 bucks for a few years back we even took it from SF to Dillion Co two years ago worked fine not counting the failed fuel pump in Elko NV
 

·
Registered
'99 Legacy Outback 5MT
Joined
·
342 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Is this the video you're referencing? BMW 8 series getting towed by some sort of wagon.

 

·
Banned
2007 Outback XT Ltd
Joined
·
847 Posts
The only way you will get this to work is to:

Shift the axle(s) on the trailer toward the front to reduce tongue weight, AND

Install a quality weight distributing (equalizing) hitch into a FACTORY receiver. An aftermarket one won't be strong enough, nor will it have enough extra gussets and brackets to distribute the gross overload. It's not the dead weight that should scare you, but the heavy mass moving around on rough roads, that will try to make your XT swap ends and then roll.

Please don't do this! If you do, be sure to take pictures and post the story after you try this on a deserted road. Do not take anyone with you in the car!

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

·
Registered
'99 Legacy Outback 5MT
Joined
·
342 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Ah, yes I forgot that part. I'd use a class 3 weight distributing hitch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
Thats the one

I have towed many different types of trailers with many different vehicles over the years.

Lots of miles and 10+ years of towing various trailers with my 2001 legacy which is the same platform as your XT minus the wagon and a few minor body updates and suspension changes etc. #1 Your largest issue even with the XT is the cooling capacity not power! Even the non turbo 2.5 had plenty of power and ran short on cooling when hauling a large heavy trailer.

Your tongue weight will 100% bend the car no doubt about it. We have a well known city employee who must use a power chair which he puts on a lift mounted to a hitch. He uses legacy's and outbacks for this however this set up is 300lbs and every car gets bent after just a couple of years. He keeps them as long as he can and simply buys another used one and runs it till the trunk is nearly dragging on the ground. Your tongue weight will not work for the legacy platform period.

The XT will move that trailer but you will be wasting your money on the XT given #1 it will destroy the car #2 your a prime target for a lawsuit if you take out a family in a mini van.

Get the proper rated tow vehicle and get your kicks on the race course.
 

·
Registered
'99 Legacy Outback 5MT
Joined
·
342 Posts
Discussion Starter #7

·
Registered
'99 Legacy Outback 5MT
Joined
·
342 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Sailor,

#1: So you're saying I need to reinforce the unibody and use a weight distributing hitch. Got it.

#2: Add cooling capacity.

#3: Become a sleazy lawyer to defend against lawsuits. Already done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
I would love to see someone try and find a load distributing hitch on a unibody car - the rear frame on the legacy is designed to crush its not a body on frame vehicle. I have zero idea how a load distributing hitch frame can be built for a Unibody vehicle unless you build a under body frame that runs nearly half the length of the car.

Either way not even worth trying given no sane person would find this workable however there are plenty of insane people on the roads which is part of why car accidents are one of the single largest causes of premature death in the US.
 

·
Registered
'99 Legacy Outback 5MT
Joined
·
342 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
#4: Create steel subframe that runs nearly half the length of the car.
 

·
Registered
'99 Legacy Outback 5MT
Joined
·
342 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Ugh. Alright... point taken. By the end of all these ridiculous modifications I will have ruined a nice Outback and killed a family. Nuts.

So, next on the list is to try to find a sporty manual tranny vehicle with a decent towing capacity. My tow vehicle will be my DD. I really want to avoid driving a Yukon, Tahoe, Expedition or similar SUV as my DD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
If your a Sleazy lawyer then just ratchet up the hours billed during the 8hr work day and pick up a tow vehicle - then get your DD ride.

If your running track days and can't afford a beater tow car for the track rig then all I can say is pick another hobby and take a finance class.

I replaced the old Landcruiser this summer with an 07 mint condition 4.7L limited Sequoia we have two grand parents who live close by, two kids and two parents and it generally is full of asses sitting in seats every weekend. The 4.7L toyota V8 is nearly a carbon copy of the V8 in the Yukon but the toyota name commands a higher price tag.

Paid 22K for single owner all records 64,000 mile ride good friend paid $10,000 for a single owner all records Yukon with 98K on it. He got the better deal.
He gets around 17-18mpg non towing as do I. Towing we both run between 12 and 16mpg pending how fast and how heavy we are.
 

·
Registered
'99 Legacy Outback 5MT
Joined
·
342 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I just don't have room for a race car, tow vehicle, trailer and additional DD. The Washington D.C. area is crowded and I'm not moving to the country just to find garage/driveway space. I love the country but the commute isn't worth it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
LOL well thats what you call a dilemma. I have family in DC right around the corner from Georgetown spent many days in DC and your traffic it fits quite well with the 405 in LA on a normal day. Get the full size tow car your going to need it.
 

·
Registered
05 OBXT 5eat stg1.2
Joined
·
2,105 Posts
As mentioned, the problem is the tongue weight. The rest can be made up for by simple mods. Getting a better radiator to deal with the heat, rear springs, making sure your trailer brakes are up to the task.

I had heat issues when towing similar weight with my xt. It was only an issue when going up mountain passes below a certain speed due to excessive transmission heat. It was also below 50F almost the entire trip. If I dealt with higher temperatures and hills or mountain passes, it would have been a very different outcome! Have you taken a good look at the oem radiator? I had to laugh when I saw how thin the core is.

IMO, look into modding the trailor or trading it in for another one and then reconsider.

My other concern would be clutch wear! I would not do that with a manual xt, but that's just my opinion.
 

·
Registered
'99 Legacy Outback 5MT
Joined
·
342 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Seabass,

Clutch wear would definitely be an issue but I'd be willing to replace my clutch every 50k if it meant I could have a decently fun tow vehicle.

It's my understanding that manuals are significantly less prone to overheating under load. I'm not aware of any available tranny coolers for manual transmissions.

I have not looked at the OEM radiator... I don't own an Outback XT, just an old '97 Legacy Outback. I'm still weighing my options on a tow vehicle / daily driver. Looks like it won't be a Subaru.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
As mentioned, the problem is the tongue weight. The rest can be made up for by simple mods. Getting a better radiator to deal with the heat, rear springs, making sure your trailer brakes are up to the task.

I had heat issues when towing similar weight with my xt. It was only an issue when going up mountain passes below a certain speed due to excessive transmission heat. It was also below 50F almost the entire trip. If I dealt with higher temperatures and hills or mountain passes, it would have been a very different outcome! Have you taken a good look at the oem radiator? I had to laugh when I saw how thin the core is.

IMO, look into modding the trailor or trading it in for another one and then reconsider.

My other concern would be clutch wear! I would not do that with a manual xt, but that's just my opinion.
Seabass hes in DC you ever drive there? MT with wide over tow rating trailer would be a disaster in the DC traffic. "News at 7 Man's Ob goes up in flames on the bla bla bridge snarling traffic for 15hrs ha ha. Even the AT I wouldn't even consider it. Big radiator proper heavy cooling for AT type full size truck yes that will make it with AC on etc without shutting down a major DC road way LOL
 

·
Registered
05 OBXT 5eat stg1.2
Joined
·
2,105 Posts
Have not driven in DC. Also didn't realize he didn't already have the car. If looking for a good DD/tow vehicle, the xt is not it! Not even close.

You don't need a cooler for the MT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
Have not driven in DC. Also didn't realize he didn't already have the car. If looking for a good DD/tow vehicle, the xt is not it! Not even close.

You don't need a cooler for the MT.
No cooler for the MT but the clutch with 4000+lbs in 2mph stop and go DC traffic would be a disaster. LOL Heck even my old 600lb racing sailboat through a LA traffic jam with the 5spd MT took some effort to keep the clutch happy and smoke free.
 

·
Banned
2007 Outback XT Ltd
Joined
·
847 Posts
To the OP - maybe you should start a new thread asking what fun daily driver would be safe to haul your load.....

Have you thought about a compact V8 powered SUV like a Trailblazer SS? It will easily tow (and stop) 6700 pounds and is a hoot to drive. Or maybe a Grand Cherokee SRT8? It has a 5000 pound rating, but I doubt your trailer would worry it much.

If you don't need 4wd you could maybe go with a Dodge Magnum RWD, but I think the tow rating is borderline ....

Look for serious power and cooling, and a factory tow package. Whatever you decide on, it most likely won't be fuel efficient, but the Outback XT is a gas hog, especially in the city.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
Top