2013 or 14 Subaru Outback 2.5L CVT - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-10-2013, 08:04 PM   #1
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2013 or 14 Subaru Outback 2.5L CVT

Anyone towing with one of these? I'm looking for a new tow vehicle for my Little Joe. Loaded it's a bit over 1800#.

All wheel drive, by the way.

Thanks.
Clif
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:36 AM   #2
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I towed a Scamp 13 front bath with 185lb tongue weight with a 2011 OB CVT W/elec brakes. Normal gas mileage was >30 mpg. While towing I got around 22 mpg. flatland towing it had plenty of power and towed great. Even though the towing capacity is 2700lbs. the issue with towing with the OB is the 200lb tongue weight limit. I have owned a light house in the past and am sure you should have no issues. I think anything towed over 1K lb. reg. elec. brakes with the OB.
Now the rest of the story: The OB has a soft rear suspension and if you ever want to up size your trailer you can't. Also you can't load up the rear of the car when towing because of the light suspension. Only the 2010 early 2011s???? and had a transmission cooler. I tried to purchase one since mine did not have one and was told by the dealer the CVT was a sealed unit and you could not add a cooler. (The dealer has too check the fluid level.) The later model OB's >2013 have a HD stabilizer bar to reduce roll and improve the ride but it does not raise the tongue weight limit.
I just moved up to a Scamp-16 and am back to towing with my Frontier due to increased tongue weight. I Keep looking at the Ford Escapes but my wife says we are keeping the Outback.
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:37 PM   #3
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Should be doable

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Originally Posted by The Minimalist View Post
Anyone towing with one of these? I'm looking for a new tow vehicle for my Little Joe. Loaded it's a bit over 1800#.
I have towed an outback on loan to me, with about the same weight loaded, using a 2011 Jeep Patriot and had no difficulty at all. My car has a 2.4L engine and also uses a CVT.

People have commented that perhaps a CVT couldn't handle it. This is NOT true. For this size of engine the CVT is BETTER than a 5-speed. Having driven a 5-speed Patriot I would NOT like to tow with it--4th gear the engine runs too fast most of the time and 5th gear it lugs too much. In my own car that has a CVT, when I tow it picks a gearing ratio almost exactly between what 4th and 5th would be, and on hilly areas there isn't abrupt shifting so it drives exceptionally well when towing considering the modest engine.

So I'd say what you have is quite reasonable. BTW I have recently installed a brake controller and my new outback will be equipped with electric brakes, but the "test drive" model I had did NOT have brakes. It was manageable (didn't feel unsafe) but I would NOT be comfortable if road conditions were less than good without brakes. If you are towing over 1000lbs in a car like yours or mine I'd invest in electric brakes and a good controlller--1500 to 2000lbs is a bit taxing on the car's brakes and in situations like going downhill on dirt or gravel trailer brakes I think would be a really useful.
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:42 PM   #4
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My $.02, I would get a manual. I have a 2011 legacy, the cvt I test drove couldn't get out of its own way, forget getting up to speed on a steep on ramp. My 6 speed manual drives like there's another 50hp available.
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Old 10-11-2013, 04:28 PM   #5
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Yes, trailer brakes are in the plan. Thanks for the info.

The TV will be the Subaru "Outback" towing a Little Joe trailer though.

Clif
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:49 PM   #6
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Just bought a 1982 16' scamp and towed it over 300 miles home with Crosstrek at 70mph with Jo sway. I love it!!!
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Old 10-12-2013, 07:08 AM   #7
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Just bought a 1982 16' scamp and towed it over 300 miles home with Crosstrek at 70mph with Jo sway. I love it!!!
FYI, trailer tires are rated for 65mph max. Its not recommended to tow anything at 'highway' speeds. Towing a trailer at higher speeds decreases your recovery ability and increases the severity of the resulting accident if the unforeseen happens. Please verify with your car and trailer manuals, just trying to keep everyone safe.
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Old 10-12-2013, 07:14 AM   #8
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Pam has the good advice!
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:19 AM   #9
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Clif, I pull a 16' Scamp with an 07 Outback (appears on the Real World Weight list twice & is one of the lighter 16's) no CVT but it did come with a large transmission cooler that as someone mentioned may not be on your newer Outback. Mine also has a different rear end design than the newer Outbacks and as such I dont have any issues regarding rear drop with the trailer attached so if there has been changes in that area your experience may differ.

As Eddie mentioned the issue with pulling anything with any of the Outbacks is the tongue weight limit of 200 lbs - with my 16' carefully loaded up (but only a little water in the bathroom tank only) it comes in at between 2300/2400 lbs on the axle making the 200lb tongue weight limit a problem. If I stay under 55mph its solid - not so much at 65mph going downhill, so I have to push the tongue weight up over the manufactures specs by about 40lbs for a stable tow but I dont carry any passengers in the rear or put much of anything in the rear of the car to compensate for that. Subaru also does not recommend the use of a WDH so that's not a fix. Have gotten away with it for 6 years of towing but I do recognize its not the best of situations and it requires me to be very careful on how I stow the trailer, so currently looking for something with a bit more tow cap.

Putting the above aside the Outback handles the trailer pretty well. Have pulled it through lots of various terrains - *high* mountain passes (its been to 10,000') as well as through deserts. Have pulled it through high winds as well as an unplanned pull through a snow storm and it did it all way better than what I might have expected. Towing I get about 19 MPG average. A bit better if I avoid mountain passes and stick to straight freeway runs or stick to under 60 mph.

Subaru requires brakes on anything you tow over 1000 lbs. Stopping wise the Subaru handles it really well. Have had to do over the years a couple of panic stops and its actually amazed me as to how well it handles those. I guess it should not be that much of a surprise as as far as smaller tugs go its not really all that light - some of the year models out weigh a Toyota Tacoma for example.

I would think as your Little Joe loaded is only at 1800 lbs that you should find the OB pulls it well assuming it doesn't have an unusually high tongue weight.
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Pam Garlow View Post

FYI, trailer tires are rated for 65mph max. Its not recommended to tow anything at 'highway' speeds. Towing a trailer at higher speeds decreases your recovery ability and increases the severity of the resulting accident if the unforeseen happens. Please verify with your car and trailer manuals, just trying to keep everyone safe.
I will take your advice to heart and check my tire limits. The whole trailer had been redone, by military engineer, and I was told it could handle
70 mph. This is my first trailer. Learning...
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pam Garlow View Post
FYI, trailer tires are rated for 65mph max. Its not recommended to tow anything at 'highway' speeds. Towing a trailer at higher speeds decreases your recovery ability and increases the severity of the resulting accident if the unforeseen happens. Please verify with your car and trailer manuals, just trying to keep everyone safe.
65 mph (at least for most trailer tires), is the max speed ONLY FOR THE GIVEN MAX PRESSURE AND LOAD RATING. Contact the tire if you want the details.
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:33 PM   #12
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I will take your advice to heart and check my tire limits. The whole trailer had been redone, by military engineer, and I was told it could handle
70 mph. This is my first trailer. Learning...
No Prob MKS. Learning is a good thing. Your trailer may be good for very fast speeds as far as the hardware is concerned but the towing experience and trailer tires may not.

Here is an example of a trailer being towed at over 90MPH at a test facility but I am sure they were not using ST tires on the trailer.
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:01 PM   #13
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My st tires are rated to 85 mph under proper pressure/loading.
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:35 PM   #14
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I feel secure towing our 16' Scamp with our 2008 Outback 4 cyl, A/T, but it takes a lot of planning to keep the tongue weight down to 200, since our Scamp weighs 2460 lbs loaded. We therefore have only used the Outback if we're not going too far and don't have a lot of gear to carry. I was actually thinking of getting either a 13' Scamp or even a Little Joe next time since we like the utility of the Outback so much, it should work well with your Little Joe. Next weekend a lot of us are getting together in Cherokee, NC for a gathering, it would be great if you could bring your Little Joe so we could check it out!
Here's a picture Of Eddie's Outback (white) and mine (silver) at Cherokee last year.
I'm interested in learning more about how the Subaru CVT holds up. The 2014 Subaru Forester has been getting great reviews, but they dropped the tow limit down to 1500 lbs for both the CVT and the manual on the Forester.
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