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Old 04-15-2013, 09:46 AM   #1
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Suburu outback towing

Hi new friends,
I am getting a new car this summer and have been looking at the Suburu Outback. It meets many of the things I want in a car, however, I am also looking at buying an airstream within the next few years and want to make sure the car I purchase is capable of towing it. I am most interested in something like a 23' safari or 21' flying cloud. I assumed I would be able to tow it with a 6 cylinder, but wanted to get advice from experienced travelers. With the right towing package and engine could I still get a suburu outback or will this be too hard on the transmission? Thanks for your help.


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Old 04-15-2013, 10:01 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. What is the tow capacity of the Outback?

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Old 04-15-2013, 10:03 AM   #3
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Thanks! Hopefully ill have a picture of my dream on wheels to post within a few years too....
6 cylinder 3.6L, 3.0L: 3000lbs with trailer brakes, 1000 w/o brakes, hard towing 1500lbs.

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Old 04-15-2013, 10:04 AM   #4
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Hannah, do a lot of research before you buy a Subaru as a tow vehicle. You're going to be very disappointed if you don't. It's more appropriate for pulling a teardrop.
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:04 AM   #5
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The Outback with tow package is rated by Subaru at 3000 lb towing with 200 lb. tongue weight. I'm sure that careful mods by someone like CanAm could increase that, but the Tribeca starts out with 3500 lb capacity (with tow package plus extra optional transmission cooler.) It might be a better choice from Subaru.

My car is an '05 Legacy GT wagon. It has lots of power, but the drivetrain and suspension are somewhat lightly built to save weight, and I wouldn't tow a modern Airstream with it if I had other alternatives. The heavy trailer, big tongue weight and big frontal area would each be challenges for it.

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Old 04-15-2013, 10:08 AM   #6
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I don't think Subaru makes anything that can tow more than a popup trailer. I like Subaru but they don't seem to make capable tow vehicles. The Germans seem to have the market cornered on small SUV type vehicles that have decent tow capacity.

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Old 04-15-2013, 10:18 AM   #7
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if you are planning to buy an airstream you will unlikely be able to tow it safely with any subaru. you can still buy a subaru, you will just have to get something in addition to tow your airstream. i have a honda for my daily driver and a 1996 to tow my airstream.
the older the airstream the lighter and even my 2800 pound 1957 flying cloud would be too much for a subaru.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:13 AM   #8
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The V6 Sub would have the power but like DKB suggested a link up with someone like Can Am would be the best idea to get the connection right.

They would also know the right size Airstream for your vehicle choice.
Airstreams..... The best towing trailers on the planet!
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:00 PM   #9
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. As to your question about a Subaru Outback being an adequate tow vehicle for a 22 foot Airstream, the answer is maybe.

A 22 foot Sport will weigh in at well over 4,000# ready to camp, and the tongue weight will easily exceed 400#. This is considerably over what the stock outback is rated to tow.

There are possibly some measures that can be taken to beef up the Outback to handle the job, but it will probably be fairly costly as you will be basically redesigning the Outback to be something that it was not intended to be.

Do your research carefully. If you really want to tow a 4,000# trailer, a Subaru Outback is probably not the best choice.

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Old 04-15-2013, 03:32 PM   #10
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I have owned two Subaru Legacy models and my father had an outback. These ranged from years 1990 to 2006. All three were used to pull trailers (boats at about 1800 to 2000 lbs with 100-150 lbs tongue weight). All three had the hitches tearing loose from the "unibody". My definition of unibody is "tinfoil frame". There is no frame to attach the hitch to. Power and handling were good, but that does no good when the trailer rips off a chunk of your car and then wanders off on its own. An equalizer hitch would, in my opinion, probably accelerate the destruction.
I think you can guess my recommendation. I've been there. Disregard if Subaru has changed the design to add a frame of substance.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:42 AM   #11
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It amazes me the people who are looking for solutions to modify a vehicle not designed to tow over "X" gross weight / tongue weight. I wonder what their insurance company would do if it were involved in an accident

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