Aliner and Subaru Outback questions

Discussion in 'A-Frame PopUps' started by Marash, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Santa Clarita, California
    That was a smart buy, Wakita46! You chose a smart route by buying Highlander with tow package. that is what I did with my current Explorer. Truly a peace of mind with tow package.
     
  2. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    JoePAZ,

    It is your decision whether to listen to dealer or manufacturer concerning weights. You can always buy many TVs if you want. Often dealers do NOT know what they are talking about. Some of us laughed at Bob, a salesman in video trying to explain how to set up a popup!!! Sure there are good dealers or salesperson who took their time to understand popups.

    It is safe common sense to have a tow package and it can become a problem for other drivers if a vehicle without tow package (non-TV) parked on side of road, obstructing the flow of traffic and possible cause a wreck from rubbernecking.
     
  3. JoePAz

    JoePAz Active Member

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    Mar 28, 2017
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Where do I say I listened to my dealer? I have and will always do my own research. You seem to have fallen for the idea that every vehicle needs the "factory tow package" to tow anything. That is total BS. Read and understand what is in the tow package and understand what features determine the effectiveness. Do your own homework to understand. My Volvo did not come with a factory tow package. I did not care. The factory package had hitch and wiring. That was all. I have an aftermarket hitch I installed myself to the "frame" and factory wiring that I installed myself. I did have to pay the dealer to update the software for it. I never rely on sales people. Most of the time when buying things I know more than the sales people since I do hours of research before I walk in and talk to someone. I often ask questions that I know the answer to just to gauge that level understand so I know who I am dealing with.

    My XC70 tow capacity is 3300lbs and same car and spec europe is rated at 4400lbs. I know my 1750lbs trailer probably not over 2500lbs loaded so I have margin even if choose to pack my car full of crap. If I had a 2200 capacity I would be more concerned.

    Now how does this related to the original?

    Outback 3.6R = 2700lbs towing capacity
    Outback 2.5 = 2700lbs towing capacity

    Mfg stated claim in both cases.
     
  4. NothingsChocking

    NothingsChocking Active Member

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    The biggest threat with a newer Subaru and towing is the CVT transmission. The CVT is what I believe to be the reason Subaru lowered the tow limit to 2700 with the 3.6R. As for the 4 cyl, it is rather limited in power but it will handle load within its listed weight limit moderately well; best to opt for the 3.6 if you can (especially if hills, mountains and some light rough roads are going to be normal). I chose a Low-mileage 2014 Subaru Outback 3.6R as our second tow vehicle -- the reason for the used model was because it had the traditional 5 speed automatic and not the CVT (slightly more allowable tow weight). Also, it has the 6 cyl which gives me 75-80 theoretical HP over the 4 cyl model. I believe my tow limits in pounds are 300Tongue/3000Max. I haul a Rockwood A-frame with a base weight of 2100 lbs. It is the bare minimum I could get away with and I have to be careful to keep it safe. Do yourself a favor and splurge on the factory hitch, it places the tow stresses appropriately on the frame.
     
    Rik Peery likes this.
  5. Marash

    Marash New Member

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    Apr 1, 2018
    All good advice. I think we've decided against a trailer at this point, until we're ready to upgrade our tow vehicle to either a Pilot or Highlander. Thanks again.
     
    BigRedTruck and Halford like this.
  6. NothingsChocking

    NothingsChocking Active Member

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    Cool, coincidentally our primary tow vehicle is a Pilot, we installed an auxiliary tranny cooler before towing. If you get the 4 wheel drive model it is rated for more weight. Towed almost 3000 miles with no issues so far.
     
    DJS12354 likes this.
  7. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Santa Clarita, California
    If you do not have the factory installed tow package, it is your business and your problem. It will come to a time when one would wonder why the tow package was not important until now.

    To us all who have the factory installed tow package understand the peace of mind of having a tow package as required part of the TV search/purchase. Sure it would cost a little more but its cheaper in the long run.

    If you disagree with the idea of having a factory installed, that is not our issues but it is just the safest, best way to have in the TV. my mechanic said that the transmission in my previous Explorer was damaged by towing and that the Explorer was not up to its par to tow a popup.
     
    Rik Peery likes this.
  8. CivilizedOne

    CivilizedOne Member

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    We have a 2017 Outback 3.6 and an Aliner Ranger 12. It’s not as loaded as yours, with 132lb tongue weight and 2500 MVWR. Weighed at 1632 lbs so I am confident the Subie will have no issues. I think you could get an aliner but I would look at those with fewer options. It’s amazing how fast options add weight. The only thing I didn’t get was the off-road package but it wasn’t in inventory and I got a great deal so I’m happy.

    I too was restricted by tow vehicle. I wasn’t going to buy another car and the Aliner fills almost all our wants. Only thing missing is a shower but we can work around it. If it’s keeping you from getting outside I’d look again at less configured ones. The Outback can do it.
     
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  9. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

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    Austin , Texas
    And on some models it may not include the spare tire and mounting hardware.

    The rear axle rating is important and must be not exceed too.
     
  10. nhlakes

    nhlakes Well-Known Member

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    Arriving late to this thread, but the 4cyl Subaru is one of the best little tow vehicles (with marginal capacity) out there, even with the CVT. Not sure if there is another AWD vehicle that can match the reasonable MPG and reasonable tow capacity of the little subie. While it may be rated for 2K+lbs, I preferred to try to keep mine to loads of under 1000lbs or so and it handles that with ease. I wouldn’t hesitate to tow a QuickSilver 6.0 cross country with it. FWIW QS6 = Unloaded 694, Hitch 92, GVWR 1,200. And since I brought up unloaded and GVWR….

    If you want to camp with some sort of trailer now, just find a real light weight camper that your vehicle can live with. They are out there.

    No offense Halford, I think the “Factory Tow Package” on that subie was simply a hitch and wiring harness. And I believe there are other vehicles out there that are similar. So, I’m with JoPAZ in that don’t agree with the blanket statement that all tow vehicles must have factory tow packages to tow safely. It’s fine that many feel better with one, and that as a rule you may be better off with the pkg on many vehicles - but I have towed many things many miles very safely without factory tow packages.

    I also agree with JoPAZ that unloaded weight is not ‘meaningless’. It’s data. I’m an engineer and it’s a piece of information that can be used when comparing similar data from manufacturers. No one is saying that is the only data you need to make decisions. You could just as easily say that GVWR is meaningless because we don’t know what is being loaded, how many axles the trailer has, their capacity, what tires are on it, etc….

    IMHO, the relevant data is the ACTUAL weight of the unit being towed, assurance that it is well under GVWR, that it is well within the safety limits of the tow vehicle - and skills of the driver.

    I have had more boat, camper, snowmobile, utility, cargo, motorcycle, etc. trailers than I can count and have towed coast to coast and north to south, many times. While I’m a high tech guy, I grew up wrenching, was factory certified mechanic while still in high school , so I sold tow-behind motorcycle trailers for a few years as a hobby just to keep my hands dirty and hangout at motorcycle rallies. I sold lots of trailers and installed lots of hitches on motorcycles to tow the trailers :eek:. Had to stop because I was getting too much business – and knew my primary bread and butter was running large engineering organizations, so I had to focus on what was important.

    Again, no offense intended, just offering different opinion.
     
  11. Tukee44

    Tukee44 Member

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    I just crawled under my daughter 2018 Outback. While this vehicle performs well off-road, its structure is like a toy compared to my 4Runner :).
    I would not want to tow my A-Classic with it.
     
  12. John Rock

    John Rock Member

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    +1 on the usefulness of dry weight. As a PUP newb, knowing the empty weight of a trailer allowed me to compare campers in relation to my Outback limitations. For example, choosing a 8' box over a 10' box to save 200# or less in dry weigh made no sense to me. I could also eliminate a bunch of campers quickly. With the dry weight of the camper and the weight of everything else I can weight myself with a scale, I can optimize things theoretically before bringing the PUP to a station for an official weighting. Knowing the total max is great too, but I can't max my camper anyways so it's not THAT useful to me. I also get personal satisfaction in trying to optimize my resources and if I can tow with a cheap to buy/replace Outback, I will!!
     
  13. nhlakes

    nhlakes Well-Known Member

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    True, a subie is a car and a 4runner is (or at least was) a truck. Really haven't looked at the recent versions. I bought a new 4runner in `99 and the family put close to 200K on it if memory serves correctly. That version was built extremely well. My oldest son bought a new Highlander a couple years ago that he really likes, and I am sure that is much more heavy duty than the subie as well - although I'm sure the subie wins in the mileage departement. ;)
     
  14. DanLee

    DanLee Member

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    Apr 28, 2015
    Virginia
    We tow with a 2011 Forester equipped with dealer installed hitch and wiring. Our camper is one of the last Coleman Columbias with an advertised dry weight of 990 lbs. I know the gross weight is a couple hundred pounds more. I have never felt that the Forester was underpowered, but then I take my time and don't feel the need to charge uphill at 75 mph. The trailer tires are only rated for 65 mph anyway.
     
  15. Enigmacamper

    Enigmacamper Member

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    @Marash, sorry I just saw this today! I haven't read the whole thread yet but here's my 2 cents.
    LOL, well we do have almost the exact setup you're considering, a 2015 subaru outback 4cyl and we purchased a 2017 Scout! Ok after towing it from GA to IL and from IL to MI and back etc. I think the Subaru handles it quite well. THAT BEING SAID, I definitely wish it was a beefier car as I feel like the tongue weight strains it just a hair. We also have had difficulty keeping our tongue weight under 200lbs just with the scout (no propane etc.) and have to pack almost everything at the back of the trailer to come in near 200lbs, which concerns me a little having the trailer rear-heavy (though we've had no issues with sway, we do have an anti-sway bar). My husband would say he thinks it pulls like a dream, so maybe it's a difference threshold for nerves ;). He says the RPMs and engine heat have never gotten near concerning for him (worth noting we've not really done anything mountainous at all).
    I can say FOR SURE I personally would not go up to the ranger 12, I feel we're on the edge as is and we're definitely under the Outback's weight capabilities as we are pretty light packing it. However I'm not a gear head and might just be overly concerned with the car's wellbeing ;). I like the trunk empty when pulling it too to try to keep the tongue weight lighter.
    Takeaway, for me being over cautious I think the Scout and Outback are a good pairing in the midwest. The Ranger 12 in Colorado would have me in a tizzy of concern, but that's just me ;). Great camper btw, we adore it!
     
  16. Enigmacamper

    Enigmacamper Member

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    @Marash, we have 2 small children too, so far so good as far as camper size goes, it's tight yes but super fun, we have plans in mind for as they grow. Be aware storage TRULY is the issue with this, if keeping the dinette a bed during a whole trip you can use underneath both beds as easy access storage but getting into the actual dinette/big bed storage is a huge pain. Try to limit yourself to just under the beds where stuff can easily slide in and out and it's much easier! We don't bring our dog, that could get interesting but if you're patient and have a sense of humor (and reasonable expectations) there's no reason you couldn't enjoy it :).

    Ok, I don't remember exactly but we called Subaru dealer and headquarters and I *think* I remember they do not recommend an additional cooler (I think it may already have one), and also the weight ability of the outback I believe actually might not include the gear and persons IN the car. But again I don't truly remember anymore, it would be worth a call for your peace of mind. I try to keep us as light as possible anyway just to stay away from the limits.
     
  17. John Rock

    John Rock Member

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    Quebec
    Would you have a picture of your loaded Outback? I took my first trip with a pup last weekend and rear end seemed to sag a little too much, with 200# tongue weight.
    20180609_115756.jpg
     
  18. Enigmacamper

    Enigmacamper Member

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    I don't have a pic right now, I'll try to remember to take one next time we hook it up though. I remember when my husband brought it home from about 8hrs away and it stayed hooked up all night the next morning the back end was sagging more than I felt comfortable as well. Because of this we don't leave it attached to the car when we camp for just one night etc. That was an unloaded camper as well, though mine seems to have a higher-than-usual tongue weight for Scouts...I believe it's over 140lbs dry.
     
  19. KJ Knowles

    KJ Knowles Member

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    Feb 23, 2015
    North Central Texas
    We towed our Aliner Classic (around 2000 pounds loaded and 200 pound tongue weight) for a little over a year with a 2015 Outback 2.5i. It worked well for us, but this was almost entirely towing in fairly flat Texas/Louisiana roads. We did take one trip into the Arkansas "mountains" but those are just bumps when compared to the Rockies and some others. :grin: There was never an issue with power or transmission issues.

    When Subaru ran a promotion with good pricing and 0% financing, it was traded for a 2017 3.6R. It tows noticeably better, but it is not really night and day. It is noticeable on starts more than anything. It also gets about 3 mpg poorer fuel mileage than the 2.5, whether towing or not.
    [​IMG]

    On those times when my wife does not want to go on the camping trip, I tow with this as she won't drive my manual trans vehicle:
    [​IMG]
    A 2016 Subaru WRX. :grin: Not rated by Subaru for towing at all anymore (interestingly, the WRX was sedan tow vehicle of the year a few years ago in a British Caravanning magazine). I think it tows better in many ways than the Outback, although any side-to-side motions of the hitch from rough roads, bumps, etc. are more noticeable. Probably the lighter weight and shorter wheelbase of the WRX chassis.

    I only use the WRX for short camping trips, 150 miles away, max. Despite the turbocharged engine (who knows, maybe because of it) the WRX gets better mileage towing than either of the Outbacks. The clever hitch is made by Torklift and is invisible when not being used. A factory cover plate goes in the opening where the ball mount exits.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Enigmacamper

    Enigmacamper Member

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    Joe, do you have any idea how to check if the torque converter is open or locked on an outback? I have no idea what this is really, just don't know if it even applies to CVT but if it's important I want to check it [:D]
     

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