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Towing with XT

16506 Views 45 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  OCRentAPopo
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.
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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.
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.
Problem is where that 400 lbs is located. Directly above the rear axle is no problem. Behind the car is the problem. The rear springs will help slightly, but all of the struts are way underdamped to deal with those forces. You'll end up with the trailer telling the car where to go.
You'll probably be ok with that setup as long as the dolly has brakes.

The issue with the underdamped struts will still be a problem though. It is also the fronts that will cause problems. There aren't a lot of aftermarket shock options for the xt. But if you're willing to drop the height to legacy height, you'll have more options. The tail wagging is not fun, but you'll figure out what conditions cause it and it can be avoided. When i was towing, it only happened above 55. It got scary at 60!
You'll be fine with the dolly. Just make sure it has brakes. Also you'll want front struts with a bit more control. You'll want to replace the rear struts whether you're towing or not. Problem is there are no decent ob strut options. You'd have to switch to LGT suspension to get konis. But you could go with the 04 kyb front and rear struts. It will at least be better than the stockers. You might want to switch to legacy gt brakes as well. It's a simple swap and worth it. OB brakes are not made for towing duty. Even though mine did ok, they smoked if you breathed on them a bit too hard while towing.
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