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Old 04-13-2020, 07:51 PM   #1
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Tongue weight

Getting a 2007 Safari 20 SE. Lists tongue weight at 600 lbs. TV is a 2019 Subaru Forester. Says tongue capacity 500 lbs. How definitive is that? If tongue was 450 lbs and I had 150 lbs in back of the SUV what’s the difference?
Can I move things in the trailer to make tongue weight less?
Hoping to be new owner soon.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:13 PM   #2
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Forester tow 20' AS

You need to check your tow ratings for your Forester. I think it is not rated to tow the weight of a 20' Airstream. It has a CVT transmission that will have a very short life with 4000 LBS behind it.

NEVER a good idea to shift weight to the back of the trailer to lighten tongue weight to match tow vehicles Max Tongue Weight rating. Makes for evil unsafe sway.

You going to need a tow vehicle with the proper capacity to safely tow your 2007 20' Airstream. The Subaru Ascent may possibly be rated to tow your 20' Airstream, but even that vehicle is going to be right at capacity.

Welcome to the world of Airstream. Be safe and Happy Travels.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:49 PM   #3
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I do not see any way the Forester is going to be able to tow an Airstream. They are great cars, but not built to tow.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikerb View Post
If tongue was 450 lbs and I had 150 lbs in back of the SUV what’s the difference?
Since you'd probably be over your rear-GAWR either way, the main difference would be if the hitch failed first or your axle. Let us know which one it is.

BTW, I have a 2013 FC20, basically the same trailer, the base weight is a bit heavier. The tongue weight is nearly at least 50lbs. over spec unloaded and nearly 100lbs. over loaded. Most of the storage in the 20' is in front of the axel. And, if the 2007 is the same it has a 5000lbs. GVWR, so even going with the European weight of 3300lbs. you are not close.

Is the Forester receiver rated for a weight distribution hitch? That will be required on anything but a very large tow vehicle.
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Old 04-13-2020, 10:25 PM   #5
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The published tongue weight will be well below what it is in reality. Forester is not a sufficient or safe choice. The Ascent will be maxed out, and maybe slightly short on capability as well. Sorry
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Old 04-13-2020, 10:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikerb View Post
Getting a 2007 Safari 20 SE. Lists tongue weight at 600 lbs. TV is a 2019 Subaru Forester. Says tongue capacity 500 lbs. How definitive is that? If tongue was 450 lbs and I had 150 lbs in back of the SUV what’s the difference?
Can I move things in the trailer to make tongue weight less?
Hoping to be new owner soon.
Mikerb

If it is at all possible theses guys can tell straight off

https://www.canamrv.ca/towing-expertise/videos/


Although I think you should be looking at something with more iron like a 1/2 ton pickup
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikerb View Post
Can I move things in the trailer to make tongue weight less?
Mikerb
Yes...but it won't make the Subaru a capable tow vehicle for a 20ft AS.
I like, and have made several trips in the Forester, but wouldn't tow an AS with one.

Good Luck...👍

Bob
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Old 04-14-2020, 06:20 AM   #8
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Please let us see the tow rating for your Forrester from the manual. I am a long ways from the manual for my Forrester right now but I bet the tow rating is around 2000 lbs. And I would not be comfortable doing that. A utility trailer or small boat is a different and much more forgiving tow that a Airstream trailer. It is not just about weight. Shifting weight in a trailer to lower the TW can be a recipe for disaster.

Do you have the CVT transmission? You better keep a transmission shop on speed dial.
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Old 04-14-2020, 07:15 AM   #9
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When I was considering towing a trailer behind a Forester, the only trailer I could find that was within the car's towing specs was a Scamp. And only the 13 foot model at that. Even the 13 foot model was pushing it. The 16 foot Scamp was too heavy. And, my Forester was a manual transmission, no CVT transmission. I gave up on the Forester and got an F-150 and my Airstream.

ON EDIT: I just downloaded the manual for a 2019 Forester, and it says the car has a 1500 pound tow limit and a 150 pound tongue weight limit. What are those two weights on the Airstream again?
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Old 04-14-2020, 01:51 PM   #10
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Hi Mike

Over the years we have configured a few hundred Subaru's for towing. They tend to be pretty bullet proof and they handle well. The 2.5 Litre is more powerful than its specs would suggest. Weight is not a big issue for it powerwise but air drag is so we most often set these up with 22 Sports which are 6" narrower and a little lower. They cruise nicely at 60-65 MPH but you slow to 55 in head winds. The 20' would be 5-7 MPH slower in the same conditions.

The chassis can easily handle the hitch weight but it needs a stronger hitch to transfer weight properly. We custom build most of our hitches. If you decide to go ahead with the combination it will need to set up precisely. If you like send me an email andy@canamrv.ca and I can send you more information.

Here is a 2.5 Subaru in Japan with a 22'.

Andy
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Old 04-14-2020, 02:01 PM   #11
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Hey Mike. To answer your question directly, hitch weight is not up for negotiation. If it says 500 and you put 600 on it, the thing will likely damage the vehicle. The car can likely carry the payload, but the frame and hitch themselves are not designed for it. I installed a "Class II" hitch into our outback and towed with it. The hitch is only rated for 500 pounds. I can tell you that the unibody mounting is not up for carrying the extra weight. We towed our small camper with 300 pounds of tongue weight with it. I hope this is helpful.
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Old 04-14-2020, 02:34 PM   #12
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Redesigning Forester tow exceed capacity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew T View Post
Hi Mike

Over the years we have configured a few hundred Subaru's for towing. They tend to be pretty bullet proof and they handle well. The 2.5 Litre is more powerful than its specs would suggest. Weight is not a big issue for it powerwise but air drag is so we most often set these up with 22 Sports which are 6" narrower and a little lower. They cruise nicely at 60-65 MPH but you slow to 55 in head winds. The 20' would be 5-7 MPH slower in the same conditions.

The chassis can easily handle the hitch weight but it needs a stronger hitch to transfer weight properly. We custom build most of our hitches. If you decide to go ahead with the combination it will need to set up precisely. If you like send me an email andy@canamrv.ca and I can send you more information.

Here is a 2.5 Subaru in Japan with a 22'.

Andy
The CVT transmissions in the later model Subaru will not live towing an extra 4000 LBS behind it. You may have reconfigured some of the older model Subaru with a regular automatic transmission and the more powerful 6 cylinder engines, but the 2019 4 cylinder forester is already not exactly a [powerhouse. I recently ran across a couple towing a 34' Airstream with a Dodge Caravan. You set it up for them. It was a replacement do to the fact that the lady rolled there last rig over on its side coming up an entrance ramp onto an expressway. She blamed the rollover on a passing semi truck that induced nonrecoverable sway. I do not remember exactly what vehicle they were towing with but I do remember thinking that it was not up to the task of towing I think a 29' Airstream. You may know who I am referring to. I told them I thought they were risking more than just there lives towing a 34' Airstream with a Dodge Caravan. I know that you have altered hundreds of vehicles to enable folks to tow trailers that are beyond the Manufacturers specs. IMHO that is a liability not to be taken lightly.

As to the original poster, you need more than a 4 cylinder Forester to tow a 20' Airstream.
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Old 04-14-2020, 03:05 PM   #13
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The old timers always add an extra 15% or greater safety factory. Variables such as gusty winds, semi trucks going the other way on a 2 lane road, tire blowout, issues with trailer brake controller, etc can be lacking even in a properly rated TV. Try stopping a Subaru with a pallet of blocks in tow. You might rent a pop up tent that is rated for your Subaru and drive with the flow of traffic and see how it works. .



Quote:
Originally Posted by uraljohn View Post
The CVT transmissions in the later model Subaru will not live towing an extra 4000 LBS behind it. You may have reconfigured some of the older model Subaru with a regular automatic transmission and the more powerful 6 cylinder engines, but the 2019 4 cylinder forester is already not exactly a [powerhouse. I recently ran across a couple towing a 34' Airstream with a Dodge Caravan. You set it up for them. It was a replacement do to the fact that the lady rolled there last rig over on its side coming up an entrance ramp onto an expressway. She blamed the rollover on a passing semi truck that induced nonrecoverable sway. I do not remember exactly what vehicle they were towing with but I do remember thinking that it was not up to the task of towing I think a 29' Airstream. You may know who I am referring to. I told them I thought they were risking more than just there lives towing a 34' Airstream with a Dodge Caravan. I know that you have altered hundreds of vehicles to enable folks to tow trailers that are beyond the Manufacturers specs. IMHO that is a liability not to be taken lightly.

As to the original poster, you need more than a 4 cylinder Forester to tow a 20' Airstream.
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:01 PM   #14
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I never really bought into the "Little Engine that Could" stories anyway.
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Old 04-14-2020, 06:50 PM   #15
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Although I am being a bit redundant to the other posts, let me add my perspective from an engineering and physics slant.

1. The frame and structure is fine to haul the load you want, just as Andy claimed.

2. The hitch is not up to the task and must be replaced, again Andy confirmed this.

3. The Engine and transmission is not up to the task, if you stay away from steep hills and mountains and accelerate modestly, you can get away with it so long as you don't drive in traffic where you will create a hazard for yourself and others. To be perfectly candid, you are putting yourself and others at risk because you will not be able to accelerate or swerve when needed.

4. The brakes are not up to the task, again you must avoid steep hills and mountains or slow down and put others and yourselves at risk.

5. The Forester tires are not up to the task and you need to replace them with stiffer higher load range rated tires. They will not hold the road when the trailer exerts lateral forces on the vehicle.

6. The vehicle is too small and too light relative to the trailer. The trailer inertia and momentum will push the vehicle around and induce hazardous and unstable movements generally ending in a rollover. Another post spoke to this with a different example. the problem is the trailer has large surface areas and significant lateral inertia. the only way to address these issues is by managing your speed, but then you risk getting hit from behind or sideswiped.

You can partially compensate by installing a high quality anti-sway hitch and smart brake controller but you are way safer to choose a more capable tow vehicle. This is an accident waiting to happen. Slowing to a safe speed (45-60 mph depending on conditions) will alleviate the physics issues but will make you a hazard to the other traffic. Do yourself a favor and pick a more capable combination.
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Old 04-14-2020, 07:13 PM   #16
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Brian, you are preaching against the cold, quite a few here accept the cold.
I don't worry about, it is very unlikely their decisions will interact with mine, and vice versa....hopefully.

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Old 04-14-2020, 09:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAWBC View Post
If it is at all possible theses guys can tell straight off

https://www.canamrv.ca/towing-expertise/videos/


Although I think you should be looking at something with more iron like a 1/2 ton pickup
Just an aside re CA...pulled into Jalama Beach ( not an easy approach) i CA and parked next to Cayenne pulling a new 28 Int...all set up by Andy @ CA. many more andy @CA comments on fofums. BTW, so much for the argument against shorter wheelbase TV's! Interestingly...they had just traded their fc20 for the new int 28.
B

BTW, this is pro CA comment. Agree wuth others of the buru being shy of capacity for a 20 which is our TT.
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Old 04-14-2020, 09:55 PM   #18
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So just to jump in and not to talk about the buru but just touch on tongue weight. I have a highlander xle/ w tow package. My published TW is 631, but i never carry two full propane tanks and generally balance with about 3/8 FW, bikes and shower as driving storage. I have a county scale a mile from storage and have checked all weights often. Axle well under specs at about 45-4600. Tongue weight 500-525...adjust with FW/bikes and under bed loading etc. Still close to my 12% goal. I have an equalizer hitch and have swapped the OEM shoes an smalldr higher profile oem equalivent with a much higher load rating.

Been x country 3 times, currently over 55k since 2017 (serious after retirement) ...very high winds in east WA, texas/ok, bakersfiekd... over cabbage hill and donner WB...u name it. Tows sweet. So my point is that you can and should know how to load the TT and how that can affect TW. I know some will disagree, but the scales show me that with WD, the net add to the hitch is well within acceptable hitch range.

Happy trails.

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Old 04-15-2020, 08:24 AM   #19
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Hello,
As a 6 time Subaru owner. I have a little bit to add to this discussion. First Subaru are not wired for electric brakes. Wiring it yourself can be done. But, you void the warranty. And getting the right wire is harder than you think. If you tap into the wrong wire you risk frying a computer.
Ok, so a little story. I had a New Subaru Outback. I purchased a 2008- 15’ Airstream. Much smaller that your purchase. I had wired the electric brakes and took it to an RV shop to check my work. Me, Do I have brakes? Yes, you have brakes. Ok good. I found out after I rolled the trailer and totaled the New Subaru with 900 miles on it He was talking about lights and I was talking about electric brakes.
I was lucky to live though this. The recovery diver told me he expected to see dead body’s. It only took an instant for that trailer to take control and pass me up, then flip us over. Imagine looking to your left and seeing your trailer pass you? No I was not speeding and no other cars were on the interstate on that Sunday morning. I got a ticket for Failure to Control. But, I hit nothing and I was the only one who suffered loss. But Virginia has a policy to ticket.

I read here in the forums That you never heard anyone complain about having to much truck.

They say good lessons are not cheap or easy. Well I now tow my 30 Classic with an F250 diesel. And i am very careful about my hitch up.
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Old 04-15-2020, 08:52 AM   #20
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Do NOT try this. Please watch some safety videos on proper towing. The fact that you’re asking about shifting weight in the trailer and about how adding 150lbs to the back affect the tongue weight and wondering if your TV is capable of this tells me you really have no idea what you’re doing, to be frank. You’re putting yourself and everyone else on the road in total danger.
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