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Towing a Subaru


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20 replies to this topic

#1 Pontiac6KSTEAWD

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 07:05 PM

I am looking at this Subaru GL 4wd, automatic, turbo..

Now the question is, can subaru's be flat towed, where all 4 wheels are on the ground, without causing damage to the car, or drivetrain or???

Thanks in advance if you can answer this..

#2 Durania

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 09:32 PM

I want to say that you should tow it with the front two off the ground and the driveshaft disconnected. Or all 4 wheels off the ground. "IF" this was a manual you could do it with all 4 on the ground and in neutral.

#3 Pontiac6KSTEAWD

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 10:16 PM

Well damn, that sucks...

Anyone know how much this car weighs? Trying to see if my Tribeca can handle it on a tow dolly..

#4 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 11:43 PM

I`m not Sure about the Weight, but I Kindly Suggest to Avoid the Use of a Tribeca for Towing such car in a Long Distance; Those old Subies are Heavy Weighted...

The Automatic Turbo GL that you Want is not Roadworthy? ... Maybe you can Fix the Problems it may have, enough to make it go for itself on the Road.

Kind Regards.

#5 TomRhere

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 03:04 AM

I tow-dollied a 4WD Auto 385 miles without disconnecting the rear driveshaft. Had no issues with the trans after the trip.

#6 shadetreemech

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 07:17 AM

A concern in towing an automatic is the lack of lubrication to the transmission. If the car's engine is not running, the pump on the tranny is not turning, and ATF is not circulating in the trans. If you then tow with wheels on the ground, and force the transmission shafts and gears to turn without oil (ATF) flow for many miles, excessive wear is likely. This depends on the tranny design.

385 miles of unlubricated towing may have not caused transmission failure, but how about excessive wear?

A company called Blue Ox makes towbars for RV use. They have a large database which details best towing methods for many individual vehicles, as well as info on auxiliary oil pumps for towing use, etc. You may want to try a websearch for their online info.

#7 shadetreemech

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 07:41 AM

I just checked the Blue Ox site, they now ask you to verify towability with the vehicle manufacturer. My 2003 RV catalog had more information from them on vehicle characteristics. I guess they don't want to be responsible for problems caused by improper towing. They do show the 2008 Subarus as not towable with 4 wheels down.

#8 Gloyale

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 10:26 AM

I tow-dollied a 4WD Auto 385 miles without disconnecting the rear driveshaft. Had no issues with the trans after the trip.


This means the transfer clutch *driven* plates were spinning between the *drive* plates with no lubrication.

May not have killed it, but it surely did wear them down, probably alot.


All Subaru automatics should be towed on a flatbed.


AWD manual trans subarus can be towed *Flat* with all 4 wheels on the ground.


4wd manual with part time 4wd are the only Subarus that can be towed on a dolly. (without removing driveshaft)

#9 MilesFox

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 11:09 AM

the car weighs about 2700 lbs

you can tow this car on a towdolly. leave the car in FWD, the 4wd off. the only drive wheels will be ON the dolly itself. in front wheel drive mode, the rear diff and driveshaft are disconnected from the trans, and roll along idle.

you will be fine using a front wheel tow dolly, since this is part time 4wd rans and not a full time awd, no center diff

yhis car is approved on a u-haul dolly, and you can tow with any vehicle that weighs more than the subaru, any v-6 size car or chryslervan is approved by u-haul. the trbeca should do it.

i towed a wagon with a hyundai elantra over 300 mi with no problems

#10 Pontiac6KSTEAWD

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 12:12 PM

Now I am getting confused.. 2 say yea, 2 say nay..

This Automatic does have push button 4wd. So its not a part timer, full time or not. I already checked, and my tribeca can tow it no problem. Its just a matter of do I have to remove the drive shaft, or just load it up and go..

The Uhaul website states taht you MIGHT have to remove the driveshaft, but it doesnt say it definitivly.

#11 NorthWet

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 12:47 PM

With all due respect to Miles (Hi, Miles! :) ), you should not tow a Subaru Automatic with a tow-dolly without disconnecting the driveshaft.

The "transfer" function of the Subaru autos uses a standard automatic clutchpack, where the driven plates are solidly connected to the tranny's rear output shaft. Whenever the rear output shaft turns, the output plates in the clutchpack turn. Without the engine running to drive the ATF pump, there will be no lubrication and the moving driven plates will scuff against the then-stationary driving plates. You will end up with a bunch of black dust/goo in the ATF which tends to clog the valve body of the tranny (no filters in the system...).

I believe the Owners Manual on the pre-88 turbos (pre-4EAT, with the 3AT tranny) says that you can tow-dolly them as-is for up to 70 miles at speeds below 35mph, but I would still prefer to unbolt the driveshaft from the rear diff and just wire-and-tape it out of the way. (No need to totally remove, which can be a PITA!)

Also, for the last several years our local U-Haul has denied my using my Aerostar (3500-3800 lbs) to tow any car on a tow-dolly or trailer. They said that their Insurer wouldn't allow it. I have had to drag out a big truck to rent the dang thing. The Aerostar towed pre-Legacys just fine. (Legacys would push the Aerostar around too much, especially going downhill. :eek: )

Edited by NorthWet, 30 March 2009 - 12:49 PM.


#12 Twitch de la Brat

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 02:01 PM

OK, my turn to chime in.
If it's an auto, BUT its a part time 4wd, you do NOT have to flatbed it.
You can tow it with a dolly, no problems.
Just make sure that the drive wheels (front in this case) are on the dolly and
not rolling and that its not in 4wd.

And a Tribeca shouldn't have any problems towing it.
I believe the towing capacity is 2400lbs, or at least that's what SOA says for
the 2009 model.

So, to wrap this up, YES you can tow it on a dolly with a Tribeca.

Twitch

#13 Gloyale

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 02:10 PM

the car weighs about 2700 lbs

you can tow this car on a towdolly. leave the car in FWD, the 4wd off. the only drive wheels will be ON the dolly itself. in front wheel drive mode, the rear diff and driveshaft are disconnected from the trans, and roll along idle.

you will be fine using a front wheel tow dolly, since this is part time 4wd rans and not a full time awd, no center diff


You are not understanding that this is an Automatic 4wd.

The 4wd is not engaged by gears and collars like a manual. When a manual is disengaged the gear sets physically are not connected. Although they are still not lubricated, these heavy gears can *idle* as the car rolls relatively harmlessly.


Now, in THIS case, we are talking about an automatic, which uses a hydraulic clutch pack set. It is just like all the other clutches in an automatic transmission, with sets of multiple plates, stacked alternately connected to an inside and outside drum. One set is drive, the other set is driven. These plates are in constant contact, even when not pressurized (and lubricated) by the pump.

Towing an automatic subaru (parttime 4wd OR AWD) creates a situation where the driven plates in the transfer clutch are being dragged over completely stationary drive plates with no lubrication.

DO NOT TOW AN AUTOMATIC SUBARU WITH 2 WHEELS UP (unless you disconnect the center driveline.)

Edited by Gloyale, 30 March 2009 - 02:21 PM.


#14 Gloyale

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 02:15 PM

OK, my turn to chime in.
If it's an auto, BUT its a part time 4wd, you do NOT have to flatbed it.
You can tow it with a dolly, no problems.
Just make sure that the drive wheels (front in this case) are on the dolly and
not rolling and that its not in 4wd.


NO offense man, but htis is bad advice, and wrong.

As has been said.

There is no lubrication to the transfer clutch when the engine is off.

The driven clutch plates are in constant contact with the drive plates, and towing them on 2 wheels will destroy (or at least wear) the transfer clutch plates.

Plus if for any reason, the plates began to heat and lock toghether, the car could try to buck itself of the dolly.

#15 Durania

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 03:42 PM

Posted Image

#16 TomRhere

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 06:54 PM

Pull the 4 bolts that attach the driveshaft to the rear diff. Straighten out a coathanger, and use it to tie the DS off to the side. Tie it to the exhaust pipe if you want, it's there right handy. Put the vehicle on the dolly and haul it.



edit:

be sure to leave the ignition unlocked, so the front wheels will turn around corners....

#17 ()__1337_CRAYOLA__()>

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 07:01 PM

:banana::banana::banana:easy fix leave the enigine running while your towing it on the dolly and you get the lubrication you need and all is well:banana::banana::banana:

#18 Gloyale

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 07:08 PM

:banana::banana::banana:easy fix leave the enigine running while your towing it on the dolly and you get the lubrication you need and all is well:banana::banana::banana:


If the engine runs, why would you need to tow it?

#19 ()__1337_CRAYOLA__()>

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 09:37 PM

hmmm good point... maybe the tranny is fried... although then it wouldnt matter if it was towed i guess i didnt think that one through:grin: and it was a joke anyway :-p

#20 Pontiac6KSTEAWD

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 10:29 PM

I am towing it cause I have to go 950 miles to pick the thing up. Its much cheaper for me to get a tow dolly, and drive out to get it, versus me flying out, and driving a Unknown car 950 miles back. Althou I am sure it can drive back fine, I rather be safe than sorry..

Not to mention the digi dash doesnt work, and I would have no idea how fast I am going, or how much gas I have. It would just be safer...

Oh and another thing.... I have 2 months to put 5000 miles on my Tribeca befor it goes back in on lease. I want to get my money out of it..

#21 ()__1337_CRAYOLA__()>

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 10:39 PM

well since your gonna tow it please pull the rear driveline or else those 950 miles will destroy your tranny




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