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andyhaussler

Does Anyone tow a Tent Trailer?

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I am looking into getting a tent trailer for the family...I have a Subaru Legacy 2004 Wagon, A/T...I live in cali so most of the interstates are flat but there are some decent grades to head into the mountains. I think the towing cap. is 2000# but is that realistic, shoul I be looking for a lighter trailer....any experience/wisdom/knowledge would be great on towing a tent trailer and what the weight of it was!

 

Andy

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I am looking into getting a tent trailer for the family...I have a Subaru Legacy 2004 Wagon, A/T...I live in cali so most of the interstates are flat but there are some decent grades to head into the mountains. I think the towing cap. is 2000# but is that realistic, shoul I be looking for a lighter trailer....any experience/wisdom/knowledge would be great on towing a tent trailer and what the weight of it was!

 

Andy

 

I tow a small travel trailer (Casita 13', 2200lb) with a 05 OBW Turbo and it does just fine. I believe until 2005 all Legacy class wagons were 2000lbs limit in the US, 05/06 years have limits of 2700lb for the H4s and 3000lb for the H6. I've pulled some heavy loads with a 96 OBW without any problems - other than it takes longer to get up to speed, and the auto shifting up/down frequently in hilly terrain (just shift it into 3rd and drive a little slower).

 

That said you want to calculate the total gross vehicle capcity, with family member and cargo weights to make sure your in the limits. I will also mention that when researching my travel trailer, someone on the Casita forum stated they towed a 16" footer (2400lb dry weight) with an older model legacy for thousands of miles without any problems. It was also stated that Australia has ratings of 3000lb for the same vehicle, suggesting the U.S. ratings are on the conservative side. (Can anyone here from down under confirm?).

 

If you don't already have one installed, go with a good aftermarket class II hitch (Draw-Tite, Hidden Hitch, Reese, U-haul, etc.) 3000/3500lb rating, over the Subaru brand accessorie add-on "dealer" options. Aftermarkets are beefier, higher limit on load and tongue weights, and cost less - my opinion.

Wanna install it yourself? I recommend http://www.etrailer.com/ for everything you'll need.

 

 

Get a tranny cooler installed if you don't already have one. Hilly terrain and hot climates will be harder on the tranny, especially when towing and fully loaded.

 

Make sure to perform periodic tranny/coolant fluid flush/checks if you'll be towing. Make sure brakes/tires are in good condition.

 

Allow longer stopping distances, etc. If you plan on doing a lot of traveling/towing, owning your own trailer, and the trailer is approaching 2000lb or more AND the trailer has electric brakes, consider installing a brake controller in the car such as the Tekonsha "Prodigy". Better braking control when fully loaded and takes some of the wear and tear of the main vehicle brakes. Occassional towing with a tent trailer - this is not needed though.

 

These are very capable tow vehicles for occassional towing -summer vacations, bringing home garden/building materials from the local supply store, etc. This ability just adds to their usefullness/value as a good around wagon.

 

My .02 worth, and then some....:)

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Any suggestions on a tranny cooler, there is a trailer here in town for sale that is 2500#'s GAWR but I think is too heavy...any thoughts?

 

On the tranny cooler, I'll defer to others on the board who have experience with the different brands.

 

Do you the 2.5 4cyc or the 3.0 6cyc engine?

 

How many family members? How much gear are you going to be carrying?

GAWR is Gross Axle Weight Rating, the amount the axle of the trailer can hold (trailer weight plus weight of filled propane and water tanks, cargo, passengers, etc). I'm guessing the actual trailer is probably around 1800 to 2000lb dry weight?

 

Still, If your traveling in the mountains, and you load the trailer to capacity with gear, 2500lb is a little high (and over subaru recommendations for your model year, which by the way would void any warranty you may have left if something should arise) And with added family members and cargo, you'll need to take your time on the mountain grades.

 

If you do it, I'd highly recommend adding a brake controller to your vehicle (does the trailer have electric brakes, or maybe hydralic/surge brakes?)

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it might not hurt to install outback struts in the rear, so the bottom of the car is a little higher for towing, but otherwise you should be fine. my uncle pulled a 12 foot pop-up with his forester on many family trips (his forester is a 2.5ltr) he towed over many mountains with it too. as long as you kick the tranny down to 3rd manually, it won`t loose much speed on the hills. he was running 60mph up hill and 70 on flat ground. his milage was around 19 with the cruise on.

 

the trailer was a rockwood 12ft, not sure of the wieght, but i was not able to pick up the front of it.

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I have the H4...the trailer electronic brakes..I have one kiddo, shouldn't be too much stuff...but it looks liek this trailer is too heavy, probably should get one that is 1500#'s to give some extra room.

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Just a quick link to etrailer recommendations for tranny coolers/2004 legacy:

 

http://www.etrailer.com/products.asp?model=Legacy&category=tran&year=2004&make=Subaru&t1=&h=e

 

 

And for brake controllers (As stated before, I like my Tekonsha Prodigy note: you should be able to find it for $99 if you shop around):

 

http://www.etrailer.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=E&Category_Code=BC

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I am looking into getting a tent trailer for the family...I have a Subaru Legacy 2004 Wagon, A/T...I live in cali so most of the interstates are flat but there are some decent grades to head into the mountains. I think the towing cap. is 2000# but is that realistic, shoul I be looking for a lighter trailer....any experience/wisdom/knowledge would be great on towing a tent trailer and what the weight of it was!

 

Andy

you might want to check out q liesure lite quicksliver tent trailer they weigh between 1500-2000lbs gawr there around 800 lbs dry if i remember right

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We tow a Coleman Laredo Camper, it's about 1500lbs loaded. No electric brakes needed, etc... No problems ever noted, car runs great. Towed in hills, etc, no trouble.

 

Didn't install a tranny cooler, but keep up on the ATF and Coolant changes about every other year, or 30k.

 

We have a 2001 OBW 2.5l Automatic with 85k on it now... and can't wait until the camping season starts here in upstate NY.

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I am looking into getting a tent trailer for the family...I have a Subaru Legacy 2004 Wagon, A/T...I live in cali so most of the interstates are flat but there are some decent grades to head into the mountains. I think the towing cap. is 2000# but is that realistic, shoul I be looking for a lighter trailer....any experience/wisdom/knowledge would be great on towing a tent trailer and what the weight of it was!

 

Andy

 

Andy

I have a 1997,2001, & 2002 H6. I pull a 17 ft fishing boat which weighs in at 1500 lbs up and down alberta highways during the summer and sometimes into the mountains. As long as you change oil and transmission fluids, no quick accelleration everything will be fine.

Vern

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I tow a small travel trailer (Casita 13', 2200lb) with a 05 OBW Turbo and it does just fine. I believe until 2005 all Legacy class wagons were 2000lbs limit in the US, 05/06 years have limits of 2700lb for the H4s and 3000lb for the H6. I've pulled some heavy loads with a 96 OBW without any problems - other than it takes longer to get up to speed, and the auto shifting up/down frequently in hilly terrain (just shift it into 3rd and drive a little slower).

 

That said you want to calculate the total gross vehicle capcity, with family member and cargo weights to make sure your in the limits. I will also mention that when researching my travel trailer, someone on the Casita forum stated they towed a 16" footer (2400lb dry weight) with an older model legacy for thousands of miles without any problems. It was also stated that Australia has ratings of 3000lb for the same vehicle, suggesting the U.S. ratings are on the conservative side. (Can anyone here from down under confirm?).

 

If you don't already have one installed, go with a good aftermarket class II hitch (Draw-Tite, Hidden Hitch, Reese, U-haul, etc.) 3000/3500lb rating, over the Subaru brand accessorie add-on "dealer" options. Aftermarkets are beefier, higher limit on load and tongue weights, and cost less - my opinion.

Wanna install it yourself? I recommend http://www.etrailer.com/ for everything you'll need.

 

 

Get a tranny cooler installed if you don't already have one. Hilly terrain and hot climates will be harder on the tranny, especially when towing and fully loaded.

 

Make sure to perform periodic tranny/coolant fluid flush/checks if you'll be towing. Make sure brakes/tires are in good condition.

 

Allow longer stopping distances, etc. If you plan on doing a lot of traveling/towing, owning your own trailer, and the trailer is approaching 2000lb or more AND the trailer has electric brakes, consider installing a brake controller in the car such as the Tekonsha "Prodigy". Better braking control when fully loaded and takes some of the wear and tear of the main vehicle brakes. Occassional towing with a tent trailer - this is not needed though.

 

These are very capable tow vehicles for occassional towing -summer vacations, bringing home garden/building materials from the local supply store, etc. This ability just adds to their usefullness/value as a good around wagon.

 

My .02 worth, and then some....:)

This is very good info.

 

Before I decided to tow my 17.5 feet boat with 2000 legacy I did a lot of research and also discovered the fact that Australia's subaru towing limit was 1400 kg (~3000 lbs) with the only difference being self leveling suspension. Many towing sites in Australia specifically said that Subaru was the best car available there for towing tent trailers. They would say it was unbreakable but meant 2.2L of course.

I saw an european site describing subaru towing a sailboat (at least 3500 lbs) across the continent.

And finely there was a Boating Magazine test tow of 2400 lbs boat with subaru with 2.5L H4 passing with flying colors. The 2000 lbs limit in USA was purely for liability and to limit a chance of abuse of the car.

 

My experience towing a 2500 lbs boat confirms what I read. The package is more stable than I thought it would be. I can go as fast as 70-75 mph in flat areas with no major effort of the engine. In hilly area, I slow down a bit and use 3rd gear. For safety and to protect the drivetrain I use trailer brakes, ATF cooler, ATF temp gauge (very informative), heavy duty and/or synthetic fluids (no 5W30 for me). I only miss the self leveling suspension as the car's rear sags some when loaded and with trailer.

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Thats for that info. I'd be interested on what's involved with installing a self-leveling suspension on a Legacy/Outback, and it's cost?

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