Anyone towed with 2011 Subaru Tribeca - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-15-2014, 09:58 PM   #1
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Anyone towed with 2011 Subaru Tribeca

I was just wondering if anyone has towed with a 2011 Subaru Tribeca. I checked on the Subaru Canada website and it states that with optional transmission cooler the tow capacity is 3500 lbs. and the hitch weight capacity is 350 lbs. This vehicle has third row seating so it must be beefed up in the rear end compared to my 2012 Outback that has a tow capacity of 3000 lbs. and hitch weight rating of 200 lbs. I'm thinking of trading vehicles to increase my hitch rating. I really love my Outback and this way I will still have a Subaru. it has the same engine (3.6L) and transmission. I've got lots of power but, with a hitch weight rating so low (200 lbs), I'm very limited to trailer size.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:14 AM   #2
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Both Sabaru and Toyota get top ratings from Consumers Report. Sounds like you doubt the Sabaru website's information on towing. Talk to a service tech at your local dealership as they seem to know more than most salesmen. I am very familiar with the 4.0 Ltr V6 tow specs for Toyota and they show a maximum of 5,000 lbs for the majority of the line in both SUV and trucks. My personal pick would be. Toyota Highlander V6 for added weight when towing. I currently tow with a Toyato FJ Landcruiser, but that is a whole different class of SUV that allows the option of shifting from 4X4 to rear wheel drive when towing. The FJ also weighs about 4,700 lbs and tows 5,000 lbs. It gets 21 MPG average in two wheel drive when not towing ( real MPG as I check this at every fill-up).
The bigger heavier tow vehicle does a better job than smaller SUVs and avoids the "tail-waging-the-dog" problem often encountered when towing with too light a tow vehicle.

After towing for well over 40 years I can suggest you never exceed the manufacturer's maximun weight when towing....always use weight distribution and sway control....trans cooler a must and brake controler....never tow using overdrive in an automatic transmission (this insures proper engine RPMs under tow load and avoids excessive down shifting).

Reading this website for several months I read again and again about people trying to exceed the tow ratings of their vehicle. I guess they think the people who post here know more than the folks who made their vehicle!

Happy Camping.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:27 AM   #3
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Patrick,

Part of the problem is that manufacturers have different tow ratings for different countries (as well as different recalls for different countries).

We happened to tow with a lighter tow vehicle and never had the trailer wag the tow vehicle over 7 years and almost 8 months a year of towing.

There's a lot more to wagging the tow vehicle than tow vehicle weight, a number of people with heavy tow vehicles have had it happen. I believe trailer loading, tire pressure, and ... are very important and definitely under discussed.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:40 AM   #4
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Uplander,

I have given up responding to these threads. In general the OP wants somebody to say "sure, go ahead, tow your Bigfoot with a skateboard, what can happen"?
And, there will be those who will say that.
And, that's the advice the OP will take.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:48 AM   #5
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Glenn, I should have said that in my post...I tried to take the high ground and supply pure logic and a list of must have items to the question of safety when towing...you are correct in assuming most are looking to tow a long, long trailer loaded with rocks with their bicycle ( or skate board) up and over the Rocky Mountains!...but facts keep blocking that road over the mountain.
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:09 PM   #6
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Peter for whats it worth I am also a long time lover of Subaru's and as a result have owned a number of them over the years. I would not doubt Subaru in regards to what they say the Tribeca can safely tow, providing you follow all their towing guide lines.

My only question would be was the option transmission cooler available in 2011? or is it something new for 2014/5? If something new what other changes may have been made to the Tribeca's design since 2011 that may have speared headed Subaru's decision to start to offer the additional transmission cooler & the added tongue weight limit? Perhaps some other changes such as beefed up rear end? Might be something to talk with your local service manager about.

My best guess would be that the Tribeca with the added transmission cooler giving you the extra tongue weight capacity would be just fine pulling a 16' fiberglass trailer. My disclaimer is I haven't pulled with a Tribeca but have towed a lot with an Outback. The one real big draw back to pulling a light 16' behind the Outback, was the 200lb tongue limit although I was towing well under the total towing capacity of the car. The low tongue weight limit was a BIG issue & a bit of a worry (as I really do not like exceeding manufactures stated capacities) for me. I had to exceed it by about 40lbs (composted for that by not carrying rear passengers & not much of anything in the rear of the vehicle) in order to obtain a good balanced solid stow.

I did put a LOT of miles towing on the Outback (not your typical week-end camper), more miles than I did when not towing and as a result I did experience wear and tear issues I had not experienced on previous Outbacks I had owned with more miles on them over a shorter time frame but that never towed anything. Having said that I never have had any transmission issues or rear suspension issues. Even though I was pulling with the stock transmission cooler as Subaru did not offer an additional one for the Outback & the service manager assured me the stock cooler was good enough. I am also not sure what the transmission on the 2011 Tribeca is but I can tell you my 07 Outback's transmission was an automatic but not a CVT. So YMMV on that front.

One thing that might surprise a few people is just how stable towing with the Outback was in all sorts of really bad weather! It also handled fast stops and lane changes to avoid a bad situation amazingly well. Actually wish I had as much faith in my current larger tug as I did in the Outback in that regard. Due to my experience I have no problems suggesting to folks considering pulling with the Outback that it would be a great tow vehicle providing you stick to a lighter trailer such as a 13' Will the Tribeca give you the same solid tow with a well balanced trailer? Sorry can't say for sure due to the differences in body design but would be surprised if it did not. Perhaps someone on one of the Subaru specific forums might be able to advise on that.

With the Tribeca I personally would not hesitate to give pulling a 16' a go, just keep in mind that even with the 3.6L engine you may at times (such as when on long really steep climbs) finder your wishing for a bit more power when pulling a trailer of 2500/2600lbs total weight, but having said that it is very doable & it would not be a show stopper and you will probable find you rarely if ever have a long line of folks stuck behind you. I have traveled frequently with some other members here who have tugs with a lot more power than my Outback pulling trailers of similar weight and I'm pretty sure they would say I never held them up and in fact they occasionally found themselves trying to catch up. :-)

Sorry can't give point you to anyone with more hands on experience towing with the Tribeca, although Subaru's are a very popular vehicle in these parts (a lot of Foresters and Outbacks but not that many Tribeca's) I have not actually meet anyone who has pulled with the Tribeca.
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Uplander,

I have given up responding to these threads. In general the OP wants somebody to say "sure, go ahead, tow your Bigfoot with a skateboard, what can happen"?
And, there will be those who will say that.
And, that's the advice the OP will take.
While I agree with you Glenn that does happen here a lot, the OP in this situation based on their profile will be towing a 13' Trillium Outback! which is just a tab different weight wise than a Bigfoot. Suspect they would have in the range of about 1500lbs of unused towing capacity with the vehicle they are considering.
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:14 PM   #8
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I was just talking in general terms.
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Old 12-17-2014, 04:09 PM   #9
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Anyone towed with 2011 Subaru Tribeca

Peter, I think you will find the Tribeca a fine tow vehicle. It has more than enough rated capacity for the trailer you have, and Subaru's AWD system should enhance stability. The relevant section of the owner's manual for a 2011 Tribeca is here: http://techinfo.subaru.com/proxy/695...02CSTIS_15.pdf

I noticed that the full towing capacity requires the cooling package you mentioned, and maximum trailer weight is limited if you tow up long grades in very hot weather.



I suspect the reason you are not getting any actual user experience is that they are relatively rare. I haven't run into anyone on this forum yet using one. Highlanders, Pilots, and the like are far more common, but few can match Subaru's AWD system in the snow. I owned a 1993 Legacy for 14 years and 205K miles.
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:29 PM   #10
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Hey there Peter. I saw a Tribeca the other day and they look like a nice vehicle. I am a fan of researching TV's but I have not read anything about them nor do I know anyone who uses one for towing.

What I can say is that using the tow rating to judge vehicle performance when towing a trailer is very sketchy. Many folks have bought vehicles with a stated tow rating and found out early the vehicles did not perform up to there expectations. So if you are going to spend a lot of money upgrading to another vehicle I would really do a lot of research to understand it's true performance value for the task at hand. There are many cases out there of folks who thought they were trading up to a better performer and later found out the vehicle they had in the first place was in fact the better choice.

Personally I would go with a vehicle with a proven track record when used as a TV. There are many quality choices and many links available to research such vehicles. Google is your friend. Best of luck with your search.
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
One thing that might surprise a few people is just how stable towing with the Outback was in all sorts of really bad weather! It also handled fast stops and lane changes to avoid a bad situation amazingly well. Actually wish I had as much faith in my current larger tug as I did in the Outback in that regard. .
Carol, I agree. Towing with our Subaru Outback is more enjoyable than towing with our Dodge Dakota (especially at the gas pump). It handles much better and gets much better fuel mileage when unhitched (24-30 vs 14-19). The only downside, and the reason we have to do most of our towing with the Dakota is the 200 lb tongue weight limit on the Subaru. I can barely achieve that on our 16' Scamp if on a short trip by minimizing, redistributing weight, and removing one of the propane tanks, but when going for longer trips and having both propane tanks I'm closer to 300 lbs which is way too much. I don't like having to minimize in order to use the Subaru, so the Dakota gets used most of the time.
I've recently queried Subaru of America if there is anything I can add (stiffer suspension, etc) to raise the allowable tongue weight, but I don't expect an affirmative answer.
Some of the things that keep me from considering a Tribeca is poor estimated fuel economy and initial expense. It gets the same combined fuel economy as a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with 4WD, which is still my "not yet achieved" favorite.
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:42 AM   #12
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Why can't the OP stick with his 2011 Outback to tow his Outback?
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Old 12-18-2014, 06:29 AM   #13
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Why can't the OP stick with his 2011 Outback to tow his Outback?
A good question Roger. We see a class III trailer package is built and designed for the Outback and many folks are buying and using them. It is much more substantial than the stock, timbit, Subie offering. One would need to research the idea in more detail.

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Old 12-18-2014, 10:10 AM   #14
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What I neglected to say in my post is that we are thinking of getting a larger trailer that will have a heavier tongue weight than my 13 ft. trillium Outback and therefore thought the Subaru Tribeca would be a good fit with it's 350 lb. hitch weight rating. I'm sure any reputable transmission shop can install a transmission cooler if a vehicle does not come with the factory one.
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