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Old 07-24-2018, 06:06 PM   #1
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Subaru Ascent as tow vehicle

Does anyone have experience yet pulling an Airstream with the new Subaru Ascent which claims a 5000lb towing capability. I have an '03 International CCD 22 ft and am interested.
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Old 07-24-2018, 07:31 PM   #2
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Picture of one towing an Airstream on the Subaru website, so someone must know something. Pat
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:16 PM   #3
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And companies marketing material and advertisements are totally true to life and accurate with reality?
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Old 07-25-2018, 04:38 AM   #4
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I have owned two Subaru Outbacks with the 2.5 engine and CVT trans. I really like Subarus. I have been looking at the Ascent. It is a super nice crossover SUV but I am reluctant to view it as a good tow vehicle for a 5000 lb trailer. The Ascent is rated for a 500 lb tongue and 1571 lbs payload. I would think your trailer would be a heavy lift for the Ascent and not a very pleasant experience towing. But then CanAM Airstream in Toronto has successfully setup all kinds of tow vehicles I would have never thought of as good tow vehicles.
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Old 07-25-2018, 09:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TROB View Post
Does anyone have experience yet pulling an Airstream with the new Subaru Ascent which claims a 5000lb towing capability. I have an '03 International CCD 22 ft and am interested.
https://youtu.be/ywMwLW0PFXI

We looking at the Ascent, but not for our Classic
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Old 07-25-2018, 11:35 AM   #6
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To date, have read many inquires / recommendation requests regarding Tow Vehicle vs trailer with way to many, in my opinion, numbers running to close to the maximum rating of both.
Let me share an experience from just 2 months ago. Heading West out in West Texas doing 65mph, flat lands, two way highway, slight to gusty side-wind. Passed by an SUV pulling a 21 foot trailer, both very new. The hookup appeared correct, both TV & TT riding level also noting when passing a WD set-up.
Could see on-coming traffic especially trucks mostly dirt haulers & tankers. Noted some sway by the TV / TT combo that had just passed us. A truck with "very" large square load, speeding, in our opinion, because he had just passed a couple trucks same direction. When the truck passed the TV & TT, now far in front of us, noted the TV / TT combo sway really bad until they lost it. Stopped to help best we could until help arrived. Both folks were injured, their rig pretty much a complete loss. After things settled down, reports were made remember the State Trooper saying, in his opinion, the TV was not adequately sized for the TT, seen this combo far too many times.
I'm a retired Engineer, Space Program where we tested primarily for margin / worst case scenario situations, money was not always the driving factor especially on manned flights, just common sense / goal.
Bottom-line highly suggest / recommend when considering your TV & TT combination put some safety margin into your calculations. You may never experience a worst case scenario such as the one we witnessed or a panic stop, blow out etc. and hope none of us never do. When the same truck passed us, we essentially felt nothing. I have several 1000# of margin most say I'm overkill, my intentional choice. The extra money spent, in my opinion, peace of mind, ease driving, long run worth it especially now after witnessing what looked like a good match, perhaps not enough margin for safety? Just my opinion.
One more suggestion, A "good" brake controller mounted where the panic red button can be easily accessed.

Travel SAFE
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Old 07-25-2018, 11:38 AM   #7
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Hey TROB,

I'm going to attempt towing my 22' Sport (~3700#dry) in the Fall with an Ascent. I'll keep it in the flatland and rolling hills here in Oklahoma though. I'm using my old man's Dodge 2500 diesel right now which is way more than enough and I have a Blue Ox rated at 10k (I could do 30'+ with the setup). If it's not working out I'll continue with the Dodge until I trade in my 2011 Outback for a truck. The Ascent is replacing a Forester as a kid tote, more or less. The tow capacity is an added benefit but we'll see. Definitely will keep this thread updated!

Mark
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:08 PM   #8
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Don't do it. Just don't even think about it. Too dangerous.
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Old 07-26-2018, 01:27 PM   #9
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Hi

The big (and generally unstated) part of this is always - how much "stuff" will you really have with you. It's nice to look at this as just you and a six pack running down the road. Reality for most folks involves loading more than a little into the TV. One of the gotcha's with the smaller trailers is that they don't have a lot of spare capacity.

Based on:

https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...tional2003.pdf

page I-1, your trailer maxes out at 5,000 pounds. It has a tongue weight of 590 pounds. Empty it weighs 4,043 lb. Once you fill the tanks, you have 511 pounds for "stuff".

I would take the tongue weight listed on any of these spec sheets to be a guess rather than a hard spec. A lot of people seem to find their trailers are significantly heavier on the tongue. With the standard hitch on the Subaru at 500 lb max, you could easily be over. There's still the weight of the WD hitch to toss into the mix .... some get up into the 200 pound range.

You are indeed very close to maxing out an un-modified vehicle. Of course there are always ways to weld this or that on and improve things. How much customization are you up for ?

Bob
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Old 07-26-2018, 02:09 PM   #10
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Hey folks look at the video and freeze at 25 seconds.

Where’s the 7 way?

Anybody spot any lights on trailer?
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Old 07-26-2018, 02:18 PM   #11
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Note that the test is probably being done in the UK, because it refers to the "Airstream Caravan" instead of an "Airstream Travel Trailer".

In the UK, they only use surge brakes, if any. The umbilical is not needed to power electrical brakes as in the US. It's daytime, so no lights required, I bet...

Also note the rather light weight of the Airstream. "Caravans" in the UK/Europe are built MUCH lighter than in the US...
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Old 07-26-2018, 02:22 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
Hey folks look at the video and freeze at 25 seconds.

Where’s the 7 way?

Anybody spot any lights on trailer?
Hi

Well, the 7 way is hanging loose in that picture. If there is a place to plug it in to the Subaru it's not being used .... No lights coming on in any of the video shots.

Gee... don't need anti-sway with a Subaru ( = I sure hope nobody believes this ....).

I wonder how people get confused about towing and wind up in an accident ....

Bob
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Old 07-26-2018, 02:27 PM   #13
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Note that the test is probably being done in the UK, because it refers to the "Airstream Caravan" instead of an "Airstream Travel Trailer".

In the UK, they only use surge brakes, if any. The umbilical is not needed to power electrical brakes as in the US. It's daytime, so no lights required, I bet...

Also note the rather light weight of the Airstream. "Caravans" in the UK/Europe are built MUCH lighter than in the US...


Seen in video:

American flag.
Warthog
Penske rental truck
Car driven in RH lane
Ford econoline

I didn’t see a surge brake unit on hitch.

And at the end driver says let’s head to Oregon coast.
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Old 07-26-2018, 02:47 PM   #14
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Then they are towing without the umbilical hooked up to get brakes working...more's the pity!
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Old 07-26-2018, 04:25 PM   #15
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What transmission does the Ascent have? Is it still one of the continuously variable? How do they hold up to towing? Marketing probably just rented a shiny trailer and posed it for a picture. Probably had it towed to the site by someone and something else. Not saying it won’t work but the picture does not mean much to me. Does Subaru offer a hitch that will work with weight transfer?
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Old 07-26-2018, 05:37 PM   #16
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Not picking on the TV, I'm not impressed by the test drive video. Never made highway speed, no uphill or downhill and that TV was empty I bet.
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Old 07-26-2018, 05:52 PM   #17
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What transmission does the Ascent have? Is it still one of the continuously variable? How do they hold up to towing? Marketing probably just rented a shiny trailer and posed it for a picture. Probably had it towed to the site by someone and something else. Not saying it won’t work but the picture does not mean much to me. Does Subaru offer a hitch that will work with weight transfer?
It has a chain drive CVT made by Subaru and is a good transmission for daily driving. But I would not abuse the CVT pulling a trailer. The engine is a 2.4 direct inject turbo charged four cylinder. Not exactly what anyone should consider a reasonable tow vehicle for a 5000# trailer.

On a side note, I would be concerned about installing a trailer brake controller in any configuration other that a "plug & play" install. Modern auto wiring is very high tech and probably easy to do serious damage. I notice in the video they appear to not have the umbilical cord hooked up to anything.
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:10 PM   #18
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It appears that there's a 7-way port on the Subaru, it's visible to the left of the hitch. It appears that no one bothered to hook it up. The Ascent doesn't seem to be doing too badly with the tongue weight with no weight distribution (or sway damping!) but there's no way to tell how the Airstream was balanced for this test of course.
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:18 PM   #19
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From the Ascent book (Airstream on the front cover).

"Note 1, Maximum towing capacity varies by trim level. Trailer brakes may be needed. Some safety features, including Blind-Spot Detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Smart Rear-View Mirror, and X-MODE may not function properly during towing. See your retailer for details."

This note is on three different pages, everywhere anything is mentioned about towing.

Looks like a 7-pin socket. Click image for larger version

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Old 07-26-2018, 06:22 PM   #20
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The dealer we visited said the built in antisway on the Ascent was great for towing and maybe mentioned a trailer brake control somewhere in the dash screen menus. We did a short drive by with little discussion, so didn't try to get all the details.

No mention of WD in the sales brochure.
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