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Old 03-18-2015, 08:35 PM   #1
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Subaru Outback Towing

We're new to forum. Is anyone out there hauling an Escape with an Outback? If so, what size Escape and what year Outback? Thanks, Don
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:51 PM   #2
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If you are thinking about buying an Outback, it's not a contender because of the low tongue weight it can handle.
My 17B tongue weighs 320 lbs.
Escape made a very few 13s that might have a low enough tongue weight, but would be hard to find one.

See post #14 on FGRV forum, for the voice of experience:
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ack-67835.html
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
If you are thinking about buying an Outback, it's not a contender because of the low tongue weight it can handle.
My 17B tongue weighs 320 lbs.
Escape made a very few 13s that might have a low enough tongue weight, but would be hard to find one.

See post #14 on FGRV forum, for the voice of experience:
Eggcamper Weight, Tongue Weight & Towing with Outback - Fiberglass RV
Thanks for quick reply. Outback factory hitch (small 1.25in receiver) has max. tongue load of 200, but we have a beefier U-haul hitch rated to 600lbs tongue load. Outback manual says max total trailer weight of 2700lbs, so I think we would only be able to add 600 lbs to a 17 ft Plan B to stay under.
We already have the Outback and it is much more comfortable than our older Toyota Tacoma which could easily tow the 17 ft Escape. The Escape web-site Spec sheet shows 3500 lbs Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, but it appears maybe they are meaning the minimum towing capacity??
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CathyAndDon View Post
Thanks for quick reply. Outback factory hitch (small 1.25in receiver) has max. tongue load of 200, but we have a beefier U-haul hitch rated to 600lbs tongue load. Outback manual says max total trailer weight of 2700lbs, so I think we would only be able to add 600 lbs to a 17 ft Plan B to stay under.
We already have the Outback and it is much more comfortable than our older Toyota Tacoma which could easily tow the 17 ft Escape. The Escape web-site Spec sheet shows 3500 lbs Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, but it appears maybe they are meaning the minimum towing capacity??
The reason the Outback has a factory hitch that's 200# max. is, structurally, the frame of the Outback cannot handle more than 200# in gravity loads (weight straight down) and lateral loads (front-rear, and side to side). I would not argue with the automotive engineers at Subaru.
So, the U-haul hitch rating is immaterial. It would be like putting a railroad car coupler on my Honda and saying that I can pull a freight train.
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:43 PM   #5
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The hitch receiver you have does not increase the tongue capacity. It is still 200#. It's the vehicle that determines that, not the hitch you add on. My hitch is rated for 14,000 lbs. towing, but that doesn't mean I can tow that. I am still limited to 3,500.
I think the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating you refer to is the capacity of the axle that is used in the 17. It is the maximum weight that the trailer can be loaded.
Maybe Brian B-P or somebody will point you to the link that explains all the weight measures that are used and what they mean.
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Old 03-18-2015, 10:10 PM   #6
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Part of the tow rating for a vehicle involves the transmission torque available and braking capacity. Burning out the trannie is less risky than not having sufficient braking capability when coming up fast on a stopped school bus, however.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:05 PM   #7
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These folks towed a 15b with a Forester. There was a(n unanswered) question of how they got the tongue weight down low enough. Maybe they got it "close enough" and went from there.

Having a Forester myself I researched how to deal with the low tongue weight spec, read countless posts at the Subaru site on advantage/disadvantage of factory tow hitch vs. after market (they attach quite a bit differently, causing speculation on the low tongue rating being only for the factory model), etc. Some interpretations of the tongue weight limit suggested that any weight in the back of the Subie would have to be added to the trailer tongue weight, which was cause for consideration since we have the cargo area of our Forester all set up for our 50 lb mutt. I'm not sure that interpretation was accurate, though.

Over on FGRV there Is a woman who towed a 16 Scamp with her Outback, for years. She has a zillion posts or so (Carol). She eventually wore out her latest Outback doing this and bought a Nissan Frontier (which just happens to be what I somehow ended up with as a second vehicle). She regularly weighed her Scamp to make sure she was keeping the tongue weight down. She actively discouraged me from attempting to tow anything but a 13 with our Forester when I first joined that forum and posted such a question over there.

I know I probably won't attempt towing any Escape with our Forester. The Outback is constructed differently as far as suspension goes, so maybe more doable, and it does have a whopping 300 lb higher tow rating than the older Foresters, even though the tongue rating is still 200 lbs. But if you have an Outback model with CVT transmission...I've read bad things about those being used for towing. So, either manual transmission or pre CVT, which I think they introduced in 2010.

If you really are going to pursue this, I suggest joining a Subaru forum and searching there for your answers. If you want to stir things up, join FGRV and post this question. You'll get both encouragement from some members followed by accusations from others of endangering their children's lives with your wanton recklessness. Folks on this Escape site mostly are a bit conservative, perhaps more into not wanting to do anything that would require the level of constant vigilance that such an undertaking would entail. You'd definitely be skirting the edge.

There was a 13 for sale recently in Vancouver. They are a bit rare, but those are within towing specs of Subaru Outbacks. Both the 13 and 15 are no longer offered for sale by Escape.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:19 PM   #8
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There is this feeling of a great weight being lifted off your shoulders when you pay off your mortgage.
You get that same feeling when you have a tow vehicle that is more than capable of towing your trailer.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:42 PM   #9
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Thanks. More good info and I looked at the FGRV posts. I'm not wanting to argue with the Subie engineers, just trying to get good information. We've had differing info. from 2 Subaru dealers and our Tacoma mechanic. We have been pulling a 13' Scamp as long as we've owned the Outback. So it seems clear (sorta) that the tongue rating is based on the frame, not on the tongue or the vehicle suspension system.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
There is this feeling of a great weight being lifted off your shoulders when you pay off your mortgage.
You get that same feeling when you have a tow vehicle that is more than capable of towing your trailer.
Amen on both accounts. Loren
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:11 AM   #11
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Yes, our Escape is a 17B. We have a 2008 Outback 2.5. We have traveled from Oregon to Arizona and back a couple of times and have taken several other camping trips. We pack with food clothes and other things without too much weight. We have two batteries and two tanks. It works pretty hard on the passes, but overall we have had good luck. DL
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CathyAndDon View Post
Thanks. More good info and I looked at the FGRV posts. I'm not wanting to argue with the Subie engineers, just trying to get good information. We've had differing info. from 2 Subaru dealers and our Tacoma mechanic. We have been pulling a 13' Scamp as long as we've owned the Outback. So it seems clear (sorta) that the tongue rating is based on the frame, not on the tongue or the vehicle suspension system.
The tongue weight allowed is usually said to be 10% of the max allowed for trailer weight. In this case, that would be 270 lbs. for tongue weight but the official figure should be easy to find. You also need to meet the GCWR.

When you say dealer, don't know if you mean sales people or not but they are not a good source on towing. The manual for your particular model should have much of what you need.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:25 AM   #13
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Dan,

So how do you keep your tongue weight down to max 200#? My 17B tongue weight is 320#.
Are you using a WDH?
Have you weighed your trailer loaded?
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:27 AM   #14
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The Escape web-site Spec sheet shows 3500 lbs Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, but it appears maybe they are meaning the minimum towing capacity??
No, they mean the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the trailer - not the GVWR of the tug or anything else about the tug or its capacity.

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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I think the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating you refer to is the capacity of the axle that is used in the 17.
3500 pounds is both the capacity of the 17 axle, and the GVWR of the 17 - the axle capacity and GVWR are often equal.

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It is the maximum weight that the trailer can be loaded.
Exactly
If you don't load the trailer up with 3/4 of ton of water and stuff it doesn't have to get that heavy, but you are allowed to load it up to that total weight if you want... and if your tug can handle it.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:32 AM   #15
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Outback manual says max total trailer weight of 2700lbs, so I think we would only be able to add 600 lbs to a 17 ft Plan B to stay under.
That's right for the trailer... add 600 pounds of options, water, propane, and your stuff to the 2100 pound base dry weight of the Escape, and you have 2700 pounds of trailer to pull. That's about how much water and stuff we carried in our similar trailer when we were using it - not packing feather-light but also not stuffing it full.

Unfortunately, you may find that the Gross Combined Weight Rating of the Outback doesn't let you haul a 2700 pound trailer at the same time as having passengers and cargo in the car.

More importantly, that hitch weight limit that has already been explained is the real limitation for towing Escapes, or most other travel trailers.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:32 PM   #16
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OK. So the Specification on Escape web site that has the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is confusing because it is actually the GTWR.
from CPAHarley Understanding RV weight Terms:
GTW: Gross Trailer Weight Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) is the same as Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) when referring to a trailer. While GVW can be applied to tow vehicles and trailers, GTW makes it clear that we are speaking of a trailer.

Our Outback has GVWR of 4585 lbs; Max. Total trailer weight 2700 lbs.; and GAWR for Rear axle is 2340 lbs. All seems doable with a 17A or 17B w/ caution on loads in water tanks.
The problem with the Outback is that the tongue load stay w/i 8 to 11% of total trailer weight and not exceeding max. of 200 lbs.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:36 PM   #17
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In other words you can not tow with an Outback an Escape because the tongue weight set by the car company is 200 lbs, irregardless of what the GVWR. You have to meet all of the criteria of both the tongue weight and GVWR. It is not advisable, plus I believe you have the CVT transmission which is not good for towing. I have a Forrester and looked at the Outback, both are nice cars but not for towing an Escape.
Check with your dealer, here in Pennsylvania they will not install a hitch for towing.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:49 PM   #18
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In other words you can not tow with an Outback an Escape because the tongue weight set by the car company is 200 lbs, irregardless of what the GVWR. You have to meet all of the criteria of both the tongue weight and GVWR. It is not advisable, plus I believe you have the CVT transmission which is not good for towing. I have a Forrester and looked at the Outback, both are nice cars but not for towing an Escape.
Check with your dealer, here in Pennsylvania they will not install a hitch for towing.
Check with your dealer, here in Pennsylvania they will not install a hitch for towing.
I hear you. 1 Subaru dealer recommended the U-haul hitch for towing; 1 dealer says only their factory hitch.
Does anyone still have the specs. on the Escape 15-- i.e. Approx. Dry hitch weight
We initially got interested in the 15 because we wanted to move up a bit from the Scamp13; was disappointed in decision to stop making the 15.
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:10 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by CathyAndDon View Post
OK. So the Specification on Escape web site that has the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is confusing because it is actually the GTWR.
from CPAHarley Understanding RV weight Terms:
GTW: Gross Trailer Weight Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) is the same as Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) when referring to a trailer. While GVW can be applied to tow vehicles and trailers, GTW makes it clear that we are speaking of a trailer.
... and it is actually the GVWR. It's the specs page for a trailer, what other vehicle would the GVWR specification refer to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CathyAndDon View Post
Our Outback has GVWR of 4585 lbs; Max. Total trailer weight 2700 lbs.; and GAWR for Rear axle is 2340 lbs. All seems doable with a 17A or 17B w/ caution on loads in water tanks.
Okay, it's good to have those values, but isn't there more information needed to reach the conclusion that it is all doable?
  • Outback GVWR of 4585 lbs... which is useful if you know how much the Outback will weigh with passengers, cargo, and the trailer tongue weight, because GVWR is the limit for that total. What does an Outback weigh, and how much passenger and cargo weight is expected?
  • Outback GAWR-rear of 2340 lbs... which is useful if you know how much load there will be on the Outback's rear axle when loaded and towing, because GVWR is the limit for that total. How much load is on the rear axle when empty, and how much passenger and cargo load will be added to it?

I agree that 2700 pounds is enough for an Escape 17 with minimal options and careful loading.

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Originally Posted by CathyAndDon View Post
The problem with the Outback is that the tongue load stay w/i 8 to 11% of total trailer weight and not exceeding max. of 200 lbs.
I agree, that's the most immediate problem.
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:12 PM   #20
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Check with your dealer, here in Pennsylvania they will not install a hitch for towing.
Seriously? Why?

For a number of years now Subaru US website says you can get a Class II hitch direct from the factory - its an option cost $550 and I have seen them on lots of Subaru's on lots both in the US and Canada. A number of years back all they offered from the factory was a Class I hitch and the dealers sent the cars out to a local hitch shop to have the Class II hitches installed on the Outbacks with the tow ratings of 2700 or 3000lbs.

Regardless as someone who has pulled with an Outback I wouldn't try hauling a 17' Escape with one as the tongue weight would be well over the 200lb tongue weight limit set by Subaru.
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