New Forester, First Outing - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-27-2012, 01:21 PM   #1
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New Forester, First Outing

We picked up a new Forester to replace our Frontier pick up and finally got to take it out with the camper last week (no towing for the first 1000 miles). We were very happy with the way it towed our 1700 lb (loaded) Trillium. There was more than enough power to maintain the speed limit over three mountain passes, one being the Kancamagus highway in N.H. Going down, the 5 speed did a good job of braking despite the added weight of the trailer. We only got one mileage reading. With the trailer we dropped to 21 mpg from about 27. All in all we are pleased with the car but there is one negative and it's a big one. If you go to the Forester forum you will read lots of reports of clutch burning when folks tow. The reason; Subaru has incorporated a hill assist system that basically engages the brakes for a few seconds or until you have released the clutch. Without the trailer, everything works fine. But with the added weight of the trailer, getting underway on a steep hill becomes difficult. Basically you can't feather the clutch. If you wait long enough the hill assist will release the brakes but now you are starting off rolling backwards. Unlike older models there appears to be no way to disengage this feature. I read in other parts of the world they sell the car with a low range setting on the transmission. That would solve the problem but unfortunately they don't offer it here. With time I suspect we will learn to live it. Other than that the car exceeded our expectations. Raz
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:09 PM   #2
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Nice.

I'll bet there is a way to over ride the hill holding feature, though it may involve wire cutting pliers and a toggle switch.
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:37 PM   #3
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I'll bet there is a way to over ride the hill holding feature, though it may involve wire cutting pliers and a toggle switch.
Perhaps. The old system was cable driven. This version has been around starting with the 2009 model. As part of the integration of engine, transmission, and brakes, I believe this is software driven through the ABS. Clever, those automotive engineers. So far no fearless 19 year old has figured it out and lived to talk about it. But I'm keeping my eye out.
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:41 PM   #4
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Hmm, I didn't do so well towing my Campster, lower weight, same vehicle. I dropped to about 17 on flat roads. I was doing 55 most of the time. Thanks for the warning on hills. I've noticed that without the trailer sometimes the hill holder gets in the way, wasn't sure what was going on.

I wondered about not having my overhead Thule box being the reason for lower mileage with the new Forester than with the old one, as I haven't moved it to the new car yet (have to check height clearance first and get crossbars. ) And of course my trailer is square, so more wind resistance, but I was getting 20 with the old Forester towing. And your trillium is also pretty square.
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:44 PM   #5
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Never thought of that issue with the clutch assist. They do take some getting use to and I loved the clutch assist on my old Outbacks that were full manuals, although I didnt tow with them. They dont offer the full manual on my newer Outback so no clutch assist but they do have a manual sport option which I tend to use a lot when towing so happy to have missed that issue.
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:45 PM   #6
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I should add that my friend with a 2010 automatic says he went way down in mileage compared to his 99 Forester (he doesn't tow) but like you, I am getting over 27 in mostly highway driving. Was your mileage reading ALL towing? Mine has a constant gas mileage readout and when I reset it after a fill up (while towing) it dropped way down.
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:51 PM   #7
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I should add that my friend with a 2010 automatic says he went way down in mileage compared to his 99 Forester (he doesn't tow) but like you, I am getting over 27 in mostly highway driving. Was your mileage reading ALL towing? Mine has a constant gas mileage readout and when I reset it after a fill up (while towing) it dropped way down.
Only one fill up. Mostly towing. If it seems off to you it most likely is. I will have a better number after our fall trip.

Cross bars- I bought the Malone cross bars from Amazon. About $80. Amazon.com: Malone Auto Racks Universal Car Roof Rack: Sports & Outdoors

They've gone up, sorry
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Old 07-27-2012, 03:06 PM   #8
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Cool, thanks. I hadn't started researching crossbars except to figure out the old ones probably wouldn't work. I need to figure out total height with the box and decide if I am even going to be able to keep using it though I suppose for the main trip to and from California I could afford overheight ferry charges.
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Old 07-27-2012, 03:15 PM   #9
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Do you have a foot-operated emergency brake in the Outback?

My Mini (yes, a young lady's car being driven by an old man...) has hill assist but it only operates when the footbrake is pressed. If the handbrake (sorry, 'hand-operated emergency brake') is used the hill assist doesn't cut in - which has caught me out a couple of times now that I expect the hill assist to work. So a hill start from the handbrake is conventional and it's only a hill start from the footbrake that gets 'assisted'.

Does the Ouback work the same way? I'm guessing not, if the forum hasn't identified this as a possible solution.

Of course releasing a foot-operated emergency brake while slipping the clutch might be a hard trick to get right, but if it saved burning out a clutch, I think I'd work out some way to do it.
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:12 PM   #10
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I am getting over 27 in mostly highway driving. Was your mileage reading ALL towing? Mine has a constant gas mileage readout and when I reset it after a fill up (while towing) it dropped way down.
Bobbie I have found when towing small things can change my gas mileage a lot - even a slight head wind that I may not notice when driving will drop my mileage down by more than a few mpg. A side wind will also but not to the extend of a head wind. Its fun to watch the constant read out and see it jump from 99 to 8 LOL Pretty well the only thing the constant read out is good for is showing what speed is your best mpg. I tend to leave my trip gas mileage set for the whole trip to see how it all balances out over the long haul. Did a trip last winter where I had a head wind for the first 1000 miles - it was very strong at times (although I didnt really notice it driving) and I saw my gas mileage drop down to below 10 mpg on a road in the summer with no wind I would get an average of 21 mpg towing on - actually thought something was wrong with the car until I stopped for gas and realized how windy it really was. It took another 3 thousand miles of driving without a headwind before I started to see the total trip mpg start to creep back in to the mid teen range - after 5000 miles total it made it back into the 17 range but not anywhere near the low 20 range I had on the same drive under different weather conditions.
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:25 PM   #11
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Andrew both my older Outbacks that had the clutch assist option on them where manuals with a hand release emergency brake between the seats and just as your mini worked the clutch assist only engaged when the foot brake was used. The newer Outbacks are all automatics but with a sport manual option so they dont have the clutch assist on them.

Not sure what the situation with the newer manual Foresters is. Suspect Raz or Bobby will know the answer re the Forester.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:09 PM   #12
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Andrew, like the Outback, the Forester has a hand brake between the seats. While the hill assist does indeed need both foot brake pedal depressed and clutch pedal depressed ( and of course a hill ) to function, I would not use the hand brake in place of the foot brake. With the use of rear disk brakes, the hand brake no longer controls the rear stopping brakes but rather a very thin lined drum brake designed for parking only. I doubt it would hold up very long.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:25 PM   #13
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Raz, back in my manual driving days prior to the Subaru hill clutch assist when starting from a stop on a steep hill with a manual I would use the hand brake to keep from rolling back when starting out and would release it as soon as I started to move forward - in the case of your Forester would it really be a big load on it if you where to engage the handbrake once the assist was engaged in order to prevent the roll back happening in that very shot time that it takes for the assist to release? Would not think it would actually be holding the car/trailer for more than a second or so assuming you already have your foot on the gas.... just a thought.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:55 PM   #14
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Smile Hill Holder

Studebakers used to have this feature.

When stepping on the brake, the brake would stay engaged if the clutch was also stepped on. Then the brake would release with the clutch.

A couple of thoughts:

Is there an adjustment as to when the brake releases in the clutch travel?

Could you release the clutch in neutral, then step it down again without the brake, shift into gear and catch your travel with the clutch? This could be done faster than the telling...

BTW Nice looking rig you got there.
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