Subaru Outback + Scamp 16?? Doable, or a mistake? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-21-2010, 03:22 PM   #15
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
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Donna, if it is an official view of FinerglassRV forums thatbwe cannot discuss such things, please let me know. I don't want to step on any toes around here.

However, I have dealt with bringing grey market cars to the US. Emissions systems are one difference, for sure. I have never seen a case where this could impact towing, though. If an engine has not passed EPA testing then it cannot be brought over. If a car has not been crash test here, then it cannot be brought over. That doesn't mean it wouldn't pass either test... it just means it hasn't been tested here. Other than that, most differences are subtle, like the style of headlights.

There are no special differences when it comes to towing, other than the types of trailer hitches available in different countries. Most of the hitches made in Europe are rated higher, but US-made trailer hitches are almost always made for 2,000 pounds or higher.
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Old 08-21-2010, 03:54 PM   #16
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I personally have no problem discussing the differences. I wish I could find the article about a woman who had a car brought over from Australia because the fuel mileage was so high. It never drove out of the Port of Portland due to the fact it didn't have safety glass (DOT) and there wasn't safety glass for it, so it went to the crushers. Now this doesn't have anything to do with towing. I'm just mentioning it that's not just the mechanicals that cause a vehicle to fail the final import into the U.S. don't want to see a bunch of folks trying to import high towing vehicles into the country.
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Old 08-21-2010, 07:42 PM   #17
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If the same car model has a considerably higher tongue weight allowance in another country, that seems like a pretty significant fact in favor of that car's true capability.

It seems like tongue weight limits have less to do with drive train and more to do with [a] the suspension (especially in the rear), and [b] the strength (or lack thereof) of the hitch's mounting points on the vehicle frame. It's a given that we're discussing a class 2 hitch here anyway, so the hitch's strength is less likely to be the limiter.

Is it possible that Subaru is putting a softer suspension on US-bound cars? We in the USA are known to like our cushy ride, and a "euro" suspension is one we think of as a stiffer, sportier one. Well if so, one can modify the suspension with aftermarket parts to stiffen it up. That might be all it takes.

As for [b], it seems unlikely that Subaru would have weaker frame attachments designed for the US market than for others. So I would think it likely that this is strong enough already for a heavier rating.

Sure, it could also be simple legal overcaution. Hard to say without a source inside Subaru... anybody know a VP there?
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:03 AM   #18
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Name: Gianine
Trailer: Burro 17 foot
Texas
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Subaru Outback

I am planning to full time in a travel trailer but will be staying put in mostly one location for several months. I have not purchased my egg yet. Originally, i was looking at old tiny airstreams but now I'm rethinking. I have a Subaru Outback 2.5 l 4 cilinder and I noticed some postings here about that. The manual says I can tow up to 2700 pounds but I would imagine that by the tiem I load something up, I'll be hitting 3000. My question is this --- is there anyone here using a Subaru for a 16 foot trailer? I'm planning on driving halfway across the US with this thing and am considering trading my outback in for a used tiburon or a RAV 4 - both which have a higher towing capability. Any suggestions? I don't want a truck - but a mid size SUV would be OK
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:29 PM   #19
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I believe Elizabeth, who started this thread, decided to purchase a RV4 for towing purposes. She was considering an Escape 17 at that time and I believe has since ordered one.

The numbers are just not there to safely tow with a trailer equal to or exceeding the vehicle rating. Look smaller for a trailer (I do not believe lighter is possible in a 16) or upgrade the tow vehicle.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:59 PM   #20
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thanks
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:22 PM   #21
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Gianine I tow a 92 16' Scamp with a sidebath with a 07 Subaru Outback - mine has a tow cap of 3000lb with trailer brakes. You need to check the Outback models as they are all different on tow cap and the are also different from make year as well.

My trailer has been weighed loaded a number of times and most recently last summer when it was done twice in the same week. It came in at about 2500lbs total trailer weight give or take 20lbs each time. I don't normally tow with any water in the tanks but both times it was weighed it had some water in the hot water tank and the black tank - about 4 or 5 gals in each (just lazy on my part and going on a short move) and it was fully loaded with a few weeks worth of gear and food. The trailer pretty well has everything but an AC unit. I have towed this combo for over 3.5 years over *many* miles in lots of different conditions, but mostly on the West Coast with lots of hills/mountains.

The big and only real issue I have with towing with a Subaru Outback is the tongue weight - its hard to keep it down to the Subaru limit which is also different by model and year. Thus the reason for the two weigh ins last summer. At the first weight in the tongue was at 240lbs - about 40lbs more than what I had expected based on past weights. I carry one propane tank and battery on the tongue -so the weight can change depending on how full the tank is (or how much water in the black tank) but what I had not thought enough about was a change I made to my normal stow which resulted in more weight on the tongue than normal. On that trip I had moved two mountain bikes that use to be carried inside the trailer onto the roof of the car - which resulted in taking weight off the back of the trailer and bringing the weight up on the tongue. I had actually thought about putting the bikes on a reciever on the back of the trailer but worried that would be taking way to much weight off the tongue resulting in an unwanted/unsafe wag when towing. After I put the bikes on top of the car resulting in the 240 tongue weight I moved a few heavier items out from under the storage under the front bunk and the side closet to the back of the trailer and moved some light stuff up front, so at the second weigh in it came in with a tongue weight of abt 200lbs. So you do need to watch how you stow things in the trailer - even a small change can have a big impact.

The car has stood up well to 3.5 years of towing and no negitives to report in so far as wear and tear - in fact this Outback has had fewer issues than my previous Outback at the same age that did not tow. Do I feel it is safe to tow with. Yes. Can the car stop the trailer fast in a fully loaded state. Yes its been done in real life situations many times. Can I keep within the posted speed limit - yes but I do need to take the slow lane on long mountain passes but even then I find myself passing most larger rigs.

Having said that I will say that due to the tongue weight issue when I go out looking for a replacement vechile I will be looking for something with a bit more cap on the tongue weight and a little bit more in tow weight as well. Not that I worry at all about the current Scamps weight on the car, although it would be nice to keep the tongue weight within the manufactures specs but more importantly I would like the option of changing trailers some day - have my eyes on an Escape. Like Donna I am waiting for the owners of Escape to cave in and give me one! :-)

Also note if you go with a Subaru Outback you will find a lot of well meaning people will tell you that you need to get a weight distribution hitch. Weight distribution hitchs are a **big No No** on a Subaru.

Hope this info helps.
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:38 PM   #22
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Carol,

We also would like to lower our tongue weight, cheapest way for us to do that would be to carry water in the rear. But what I really want is to drop from group 27 battery to group 24 (saves about 10 pounds) and get one 10 pound fiberglass see though tank. We don't have any water/waste in the rear so our tongue is a heavy 200 lbs for our 1500/1600 lb trailer. The rear end of our van sinks down and night time driving would be uncomfortable for oncoming cars. Not a problem driving in July!

Nancy
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Old 11-02-2010, 05:51 PM   #23
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Name: Gianine
Trailer: Burro 17 foot
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thanks everyone. I think I'm going to trade in my outback for a RAV4 or a used Tribeca. I love my outback and hate to get rid of it, but I'd feel safer with something more substantial...mine is a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder and max of 2700 pounds
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:33 PM   #24
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Nancy I could add water but my freash water tank but its at the very rear which would result in to much weight off the tongue. I would rather error on the heavy side of tongue weight rather than going to light to stay way from wagging. Touching wood thats something I have managed to avoid doing with the current set up. Found that just watching what I stow under or on the front bunk has helped a lot - no more filling it up with axe, canned goods or wine etc. Funny enough just moving a bag with 3 weeks full of dirty clothing off the front bunk to the back can make a difference. :-) The thing that I have found that makes a biggest difference though is just making sure I put my cooler and big tote box full of trailer stuff (hoses, extension cords etc) mid trailer just at our behind the wheels rather than up front by the door.

Its easy to forget that we can change the tongue weight a great deal by moving very little. I was reminded of this at the Bandon meet when a longer traiiler of greater overall weight than mine came in with 2 full propane tanks on the tongue buts its tongue weight was 40lbs less than mine. Turns out they had two heavy bikes on the rear and a *lot* of stuff stowed under the back bed and not much up front. If you were to have taken the bikes off or just moved some of the stuff from under the bed up to the front and reweighed that trailer I'm pretty sure it would have come in with a tongue weight more in line with the other trailers of the same make and size.

The idea of going with a smaller 10 pound propane tank is not a bad idea as I know I actually go through a fairly small amount of propane - especially when camping in the summer at State parks that have power.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:28 PM   #25
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Name: Jesse
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
The idea of going with a smaller 10 pound propane tank is not a bad idea as I know I actually go through a fairly small amount of propane - especially when camping in the summer at State parks that have power.
Carol, you don't necessarily need to change your tank. If you take it to get it filled, many places will pit in only what you tell them you need. At my work, we refill CO2 tanks, and often times people come in with a 20lb tank and only want 5 or 10 pounds.

I remember when I was 16 or 17 I had a popup camper. I went to a gas statin that filled propane tanks, but I had forgotten my wallet. I scrounged up about $5 in change and they put that much in. Of course, back then it only cost $7 to fill a 20lb tank.

My 13 foot Scamp is still a little nose heavy, even after I removed the battery from the tongue. I'm sure it will be even better once I relocate the battery under the rear dinette seat (properly vented, of course). We still pack most of our gear at or behind the axle when we travel... and the tongue weight is still more than 10%.

Even so, 10% tongue weight has a pretty good margin of error in itself. Our European cousins only put 5% on the tongue. They tend to drive a bit slower with a trailer in tow than we do, but anyone towing with a car should be taking it easy, anyway.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:40 PM   #26
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Thanks Jesse was having a blonde moment and did not actually think about that option although I got to think there is a bit of difference in the weight of the tanks themselfs - perhaps not enough to make it worth it.
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