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Old 08-19-2010, 06:54 PM   #21
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Re: Subaru Outback and Escape 15

One more consideration.....

I had the Subaru Legacy ( 1987 ) and towed a tent trailer. Went up the hills very slowly, but it was coming down that was the issue. The trailer didn't have brakes and my mechanic said the brakes on my car were about the size of the lid on a can of Campbell's soup. They were barely capable of stopping the vehicle, never mind the trailer. I "glazed" the brakes a couple times when I was forced to use them while towing.

The 17 has electric brakes and I presume the 15 does too, so that is going to help. And presumably the brakes on the Outback are much improved, but it's still something to think about.

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Old 08-19-2010, 06:58 PM   #22
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Re: Subaru Outback and Escape 15

Yeah, one of the nice things about the Escape is that the electric brakes come standard ... but I hear you about the brake issue. Sure wish there was someone out there with our (possible) setup who could conveniently provide all the answers I need!



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Old 08-19-2010, 07:01 PM   #23
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Re: Subaru Outback and Escape 15

I would think that the most important of those numbers is the overall weight of the trailer. Can you have heftier hitch with a higher tongue rating installed? Or (and I am shooting from the hip about the physics here) with a WDH even if the static tongue weight is over 200 isn't the actual tongue weight applied to the hitch lowered - because some of the hitch weight is distributed to the front of the vehicle?

All that said. I do NOT want to encourage you to tow more than your vehicle is rated and capable of. All these numbers are based on safety and I am always leery of pushing things too close to the safety factor.
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:18 PM   #24
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Re: Subaru Outback and Escape 15

I forgot to say, loaded tongue weight is not a static number. (Dry tongue weight - empty trailer is a different story) You can adjust loaded tongue weigh with how you load the trailer. More weight ahead of the front trailer axle means more tongue weight, more weight behind means less. I used to have to play with loading of our Scamp 16 to get the tongue weight where I wanted it. I was always shooting for my tongue weight to be about 12% of the total weight. Lots of people use vastly different formulas though.
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:48 PM   #25
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Re: Subaru Outback and Escape 15

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.. I tried pulling our AS with the Highlander as it was within the weight & specs of the vehicle, but at times I was white knuckling it, especially down hill. We upgraded to a proper tow vehicle and "wow" what a difference. It was really nice not to worry and be all stress-out over "if"... We ended up with a F150 & are very confident about climbing grades and more importantly the stopping.

I'm not too sure where you live, but Escape offers a "test drive".. you can rent one of the trailers and then see how it works out for you. There are plenty of hills and long grades on the way up to Merritt BC (from Chilliwack).

Another thought is, check out your local RV dealer, see if there's a comparable weight trailer that you can test pull in your area. Again just to get the feel of it.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:02 PM   #26
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Re: Subaru Outback and Escape 15

Sadly, we live in SW Michigan so I don't think the test drive is an option for us, sadly ... but we could check into a test tow of another vehicle, if y'all think it would be comparable.

The weird thing is that Tammy indicated that the tongue on the 17A is 350 pounds, but many of the trailers listed on that link Eric sent me are listed lower than that. And that's with a load in them. And most of the loaded trailers are under 2,700, which again seems doable, according to the manufacturer specs.

I'm so new to this that I admit I don't quite understand the physics of it all though, so I'm probably missing something very obvious here.

And you guys are suggesting that the brakes may be an issue even when towing w/in specs, yes?

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Old 08-19-2010, 08:22 PM   #27
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Re: Subaru Outback and Escape 15

Elizabeth, the tongue weight Tammy gave you is the weight it would be if the trailer is fully loaded at its maximum, 3500 pounds. In real life, most of the time the trailers out there are not maxed out with load.
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:28 PM   #28
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Re: Subaru Outback and Escape 15

Hmm. Greg, is that what manufacturers usually give? I noted with Scamp that the tongue weight they offered was routinely WAY BELOW what people actually worked with.
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:06 PM   #29
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Re: Subaru Outback and Escape 15

E,

Most trailer companies under list weights it seems. They want to make it look like they will be easier to tow with most any vehicle. The most often recommended safe tongue weight range that I have seen is 9 - 11% of the trailers total loaded weight. [I have seen computer simulations that show that keeping too low a tongue weight can be quite dangerous. The demos I saw ( I tried Google to see if I could find them again, but had no luck) showed that establishing tongue at too low a % made the vehicles quite susceptible to dangerous sway. ]

Anyway to not go on boringly forever - it looks like Tammy and Reace are one of the few manufacturers that use fully loaded trailer weights and list a then safe tongue weight based on that. In other words - real life information.

For comparison, I just looked on the Scamp site for the 16'. It lists approximate empty weight at 1750 and tongue weight at 165. That 165 would be 9% of the EMPTY weight (and there is a lot of doubt about those empty weighs being accurate.) So, the lowest possible safe tongue weight of that Scamp would be 165, but you would have to travel with absolutely nothing in the trailer.

I hope this all makes sense - as my wife always tells me --- way too much info, Eric!
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:45 PM   #30
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Re: Subaru Outback and Escape 15

Eric, you're actually a godsend. Not way too much info at all. You can probably tell we're pretty meticulous on this end, and we both like to have an actual understanding of things as opposed to just taking someone's word for it. We're truly grateful for all the info and suggestions.

And what you say about Scamp's tongue weight makes absolute sense ... it's consistent with the "real life" numbers we were seeing ... and one of the reasons we got really uneasy with what the Scamp people were telling us. It'd be nice to know more of an "average" tongue weight for the 17A -- I guess you could probably come up with a ballpark somehow, right?

But the bottom line remains: Tammy emailed and said that the 17A would not work with our Subaru. She's probably playing it safe as it seems like it MIGHT -- but it probably would really be pushing it. The tow weight still seems okay, it's more that I'm not sure how much that special hitch would actually help with the added weight on the tongue ... and then we have the possible braking issue some of you have mentioned.

Sigh. Sigh sigh.

I'm going to post in a more appropriate topic here asking how people manage when traveling with dogs. God love 'em, they're making this very complicated.

Elizabeth (aka ~e!)
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