Too crazy or good fun? Legacy pulling 13ft'er across country - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-18-2012, 12:45 PM   #1
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Too crazy or good fun? Subaru Legacy pulling 13ft'er across country

Hello,
I'm hoping for either some support, or for someone with experience to knock some sense into me. Am I crazy for trailering a 13 foot camper with a 2005 Legacy 2.5i, which is rated to tow 2700 pounds? It will be a 2 month cross country trip that has prolonged stays in VT and Colorado. The power is 168 HP SAE @ 5,600 rpm; 166 ft lb @ 4,000 rpm , 28mpg highway, and a 3200 curb weight, but with me at 170 pounds and 230 pounds of gear, my 3700 vehicle will weigh quite a bit more than the 1400 pound trailer.

I have not purchased this vehicle yet, and I really want a manual. But I will get an auto w/a tranny cooler if it is much smarter financially. Because I am scared that I could roast my clutch. To avoid this, I would do my absolute best to never start on an incline.

Question 1: Should I definitely get a automatic, or do you think the manual is fine?

I am also scared that is overly dangerous, since with my gear in it, I think the setup will weigh about 1400 pounds wet. I plan on upgrading the brakes for sure, and the suspension if people feel that it is recommended. I can also purchase some chains if I get caught in a storm. I will be avoiding any inclement weather whenever possible.

Question 2: Should I upgrade the rear suspension to something stiffer (which usually means an inch lower or so)


I found a 13 foot Uhaul in my area for $3800 asking price. My priorities would be to have heat, a refridgerator, and hopefully a shower (it does not have one but I'm pretty handy and would like to install one). For the majority of the time, I could run an extension cord to the camper, or use a friends bathroom. But I'd like to make trips to Jackson Hole and other attractions and have a self sustained camper for a few days when I need it.


Any thoughts or suggestions? It would be greatly appreciated to hear any advice or criticism.

Thank you,
Andrew
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:59 PM   #2
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A 13 foot Uhaul weighs about 1250 lb. I don't know how you could put a shower into one. How about one of those shower tents. We had one from Cabelas, didn't use it for showers, just as a changing room.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! Not that I trust this information 100%, but this listing says that it weighs 1050 pounds dry for a 1984. 1984 UHaul CT-13 Camp Trailer | Lake Oswego, OR | Fiberglass RV's For Sale

And yes, I like the idea of the shower tent. I would need to get creative with a way to drain it though. Unless they make a self contained one.

Another issue I did not think of, is insurance required by law on these?
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:04 PM   #4
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A tow vehicle rated for 2700 pounds will easily pull this trailer.

Per the transmission:

I'd check the ratings very carefully, as some vehicles' tow ratings go down substantially for the auto-tranny model, and others may require the addition of certain equipment, for example, a transmission cooler.

Francesca

P.S.

In most jurisdictions, you're required by law to carry liability insurance that provides coverage for anything/everything you might do with the tow vehicle/car...you may want to check with your auto insurer to verify this in your case.

Comprehensive coverage is another story...in the event of an accident, the comprehensive on your tow vehicle likely won't extend to paying for trailer damage unless you've added such coverage to your policy.

F.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:07 PM   #5
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Another thing, I don't think the UHauls came with trailer brakes, which I think would need to be a necessity. I am assuming that these can be installed by someone?

Francesca: So are you saying that in general, it would almost be better to have a manual when towing?
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:14 PM   #6
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I could be wrong, but didn't U-hauls come with surge-type brakes???
I hope another U-haul owner chimes up with an answer to that one...

Per manual vs. auto:

I prefer manual myself for lots of reasons, not all of them having to do with towing (my tug's also my daily driver).
Many folks like the auto tranny....I only brought it up since some manufacturers differentiate between the two when stating towing capacity. I think you should double check the tow limit stated above to see if that's the case with the vehicle you have in mind.

Francesca
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:17 PM   #7
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Thank you for the tips! I have researched the towing capacity quite a bit and have not found a difference for the auto vs. manual. But in this article, the manual is rated to tow 2700 pounds.

I too would prefer to have a manual because I want to keep this car after the trip as my daily driver.

2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sedan 2.5L 4-cyl. AWD 5-speed Manual Features and Specs

I will make sure to call my insurance company and talk to them about my plan. I'm hoping the quotes will not be too expensive.

If the UHaul had surge brakes, that would be one less thing to install!
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:31 PM   #8
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I think you should check into this vehicle's capacity more deeply...I looked at the link, and at the next for the auto tranny-

The good news is that they're both "rated to tow" 2700 pounds
BUT

There may be bad news in the fine print qualifier given for both models:

Quote:
** When adequately equipped, which may require engine and/or other drivetrain upgrades.
It doesn't say what exactly is required, but there's obviously something...

Francesca
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:49 PM   #9
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It's odd that we all keep trying to teeter on the edge. Buying the least capable tow for the most trailer.
Travel without anxiety should be the goal.
Which is why I leave the bocce balls and the cast iron pans at home...
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:07 PM   #10
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I wouldn't call a 1200 pound U-haul a whole lot of trailer, or 1500 pounds of extra towing capacity "teetering on the edge"!

The thing that amazes me is that so many folks will buy a trailer for which they must then purchase a big tow vehicle...how many pickups just sit in the driveway while the smaller daily driver does the errand-running?

Andrew's daily-driver tug approach is in sync with my own, and I think he's probably on a very doable track.

Francesca
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:20 PM   #11
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Another thing, I don't think the UHauls came with trailer brakes, which I think would need to be a necessity. I am assuming that these can be installed by someone?..........
The 16 foot VT UHauls came with surge brakes, but the CT13s have no brakes. Worse, they use a non standard, automotive type bearing hub that does not easily adapt to brakes.

The simplest fix is to have a new axle with electric brakes installed at about $600.

Other brake options are possible, but probably not for the novice. I machined spindle adapters for mine allowing the use of standard brakes. Another option is to install the 16 foot VT surge brake system, but that takes a lot of scrambling to find parts.

I use a separate shower tent as Bob suggested, with a doggy wading pool as a base to collect the gray water, plus a portapotty.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:26 PM   #12
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I am assuming your Legacy 2.5i, is the wagon? and not the Outback? Either way I have been pulling with an Outback for a number of years with the same tow specs. You should have no problem pulling a 13' trailer with it. Just need to watch your tongue weight. I have had both a manual and automatic and the automatic got a little getting use to but the one on the current Outback I have has a Sports Mode I can put it over to that & it acts much the same as the manual transmission. Normally only use it when the transmission starts to hunt up or down on steep hills etc.

As far as brakes on the trailer goes - if the Legacy is the same as the Outback you will need brakes on anything you tow over 1000lbs.

Cant comment re the type of trailer you are considering re having brakes. But if the trailer you are looking at doesnt have brakes - yes they can be added if the trailers axle already has a brake flange that you can use to attach the brakes. Many of the 13" trailers dont so you would need to replace the axle in order to put electric brakes on. A new axle for a 13' trailer can cost about $450/550.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:36 PM   #13
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I can also purchase some chains if I get caught in a store.
My partner Robert does all of our shopping, and He's quite frugal. Don't tell him about the chains... he thinks I need a leash now.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:50 PM   #14
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My comment was a general observation, not specific to this trailer / tow combination.

I would certainly equip the trailer with brakes, if it doesn't have them. I towed a tent trailer with my '87 Subaru wagon, with no brakes on the trailer and discs on the tow that were about the size of a soup can lid ( and just as effective ). Obviously, the Subaru has evolved and improved in twenty years, but I'd make sure I looked into brakes.
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