Towing with a Subaru baja - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-14-2014, 11:50 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post

Since neither one of us has access to sales figures I guess we'll never know for sure....
According to Wiki the sales numbers were dismal. Note they were sold only in the USA, Canada and Chile.

"With Subaru projecting to sell 24,000 per year, only 30,000 were sold over four and a half years. Subaru discontinued Baja production in April 2006. Subaru stock-piled an inventory of 2006 models before discontinuing production, allowing dealers to continue to sell 2006 models as late as February 2008."

The last part of the above may be why you are seeing some used one with relatively low miles on them for their year.

As a comparison they sold 10,773 Foresters & 8,969 Outbacks in only one month ( Feb 2014) in NA only. Who knows how many they sold in Europe and Down under on top of that.
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Old 03-14-2014, 11:55 PM   #30
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Could you not make your own? Buy a Subaru sedan and remove the trunk lid?
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Old 03-15-2014, 04:25 PM   #31
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Could you not make your own? Buy a Subaru sedan and remove the trunk lid?

If they'd stretched one and put the 4-cyl. turbo in it, I'd consider that.
But as far as I know, the Baja's the only 4-cyl of any size that Subaru ever put that horsepower booster in.

Guess the O.P.'s left the building, but thought I'd report back on what I've learned anyway.

The Baja in Seattle turns out to be an autotranny, which is definitely Subaru's weakest link, towing-wise. Or at least according to what I've read in online forums on the subject. Subaru itself acknowledges this sad truth-sort of- by advising in owner's manuals that load capacity is reduced by around half under certain conditions like long uphill pulls in hot weather. No such restrictions on the manual tranny. And from what I've gleaned from various Subaru forums, towing-related damage on almost all smaller Subies is usually related to the automatic transmission.

The deficiency has to do with transmission cooling capacity; info is mixed as to whether more such cooling can be added, but I'd prefer to just start out with the less problematic manual tranny instead. Which according to what I've read makes better use of the turbo version engine, anyway!

I am re-a-a-a-l-y likin' what I've read about that engine and intend to keep my eyes peeled for a stick version of the car. Too bad about the one in Seattle- only 34,000 miles on that puppy!
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Old 03-15-2014, 04:34 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post

If they'd stretched one and put the 4-cyl. turbo in it, I'd consider that.
But as far as I know, the Baja's the only 4-cyl of any size that Subaru ever put that horsepower booster in.

!
Nope the turbo is available on the Outback as well... with it the tow capacity goes to 3000lbs.
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Old 03-15-2014, 04:55 PM   #33
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We originally bought a 1300 Trillium because we had a 2000 Subaru Outback with a 2000# towing capacity. We made four trips to Arizona with this combination and experienced no problems. The Subaru was stick and we sold it at 80K miles.

On "Trailer Weights in the real World," ours is Number 21

We just returned from the same trip with our new 2014 Outback with an automatic CVT tranny. I can report that this car has more pep than the 2000 did. It is rated for 2700#. The trip was from Jan 21 - March 14 for 5790 miles total. One of our routes was west on California 190 out of Death Valley National Park.

Just figured the mileage for the trip: 22.99 mpg. (Not all miles were towing)
(The mileage for the break-in 1000 miles is 24.16 mpg)
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Old 03-15-2014, 11:55 PM   #34
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Glad to hear you like your new Outback Rodger. Happy to hear it pulled the 1300 well, not surprised. It is a great car for that size trailer. I also noticed a big difference each time I changed Outbacks in regards to pep as well. Had a 98 Legacy wagon before switching in 2000 to the Outback, then to an 04 Outback before the 07. The 07 was my first automatic and frankly never had/have had any issues with the tranny or the cooling system on any of the Outbacks I have owned but the 07 is the only one I have towed with. Had the transmission fluid checked as well as changed a few times on the 07 and as far as the mechanics are concerned it all looked fine, no indication I had over done it. I know *lots* of folks here are pulling 13's with the Outback and the even more with the Forester and so far I haven't heard anyone indicate they have had transmission or cooling system issues with either. Yup the manual of the 07 does have warnings about towing over high passes in warm weather and for the most part I tried to avoid doing so but admit to having done it a few times but as I said no issues with the cooling system or tranny as a result of that. I don't recall if both the 2000 & 2004 Outback's didn't have any warnings about towing in warm weather etc but they also had a lower towing capacity 2000lbs? than the 07 does. If I was pulling only a 13' trailer with the Outback I probable wouldn't be overly concerned about such warnings based on my experience with pulling the 16' and the cooling system.
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:54 PM   #35
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I don't recall if both the 2000 & 2004 Outback's didn't have any warnings about towing in warm weather etc but they also had a lower towing capacity 2000lbs?
Both models had the same reduce-by-half-if-autotranny injunction for uphills in hot weather; in that circumstance the 2000 Outback's base capacity of 2,000 pounds drops to 1,000 and the 2004's base of 2,400 drops to 1,200. Link to 2000-2012 owner's manuals

That risk of overheating eliminates the autotranny versions of this class of Subarus from consideration for tow vehicles as far as I'm concerned. I can think of plenty of steep FS roads I've had to travel at slow speeds for some time. Even in temps "only" in the seventies or eighties, that's as sure a scenario for heat buildup as a prolonged climb at highway speeds.

Side note:
Same applies to the first-gen Kia Sportage I've been so happy with for so many miles- Kia, too, reduces capacity by half if equipped with autotranny. A lower mileage version of the same car remains a replacement contender at this point, but I'm stickin' with the mannytranny!
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:18 PM   #36
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LOL Just for clarification as to what Subaru means by hot weather etc. the clause as it appears in the 2000 manual under the AT section reads:

"When towing a trailer on a long uphill grade continuously for over 5 miles (8 km) with an outside temperature of 104F (40C) or above."

Max towable 1000lbs under above conditions.

Don't know about anyone else but it wouldn't matter what I was towing with but I would sure avoid pulling up a 5 mile long hill if it was 104 outside... not a good thing for any vehicle regardless of what transmission it has in it.
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:28 PM   #37
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As I said before, towing at slow speeds on moderate grades in moderately warm weather will produce just as much transmission heat, Carol.

Not a risk I'm willing to take, nor would I recommend that anyone else do so. Especially when it's a risk as easy to avoid as this one.

No load-restricted autotrannies for me.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:23 PM   #38
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We alternate between towing our 16' Scamp with our 4 cylinder A/T Subaru Outback (2700 lb rating) and our V8 A/T Dodge Dakota quad cab (6000+ lb rating). Our Scamp is a standard side dinette, but has most options like larger fridge, hot water, front bath, awning, furnace, A/C, so is toward the heavy end of the scale. Towing with the Subaru means we have to remove one of the 2 propane tanks from the tongue, fill the fresh water and hot water tank, and load our clothes under the rear dinette to lighten the front enough to get down close to the 200 lb tongue limit used on US spec Outbacks.
Our weight based on the scales at that configuration came out to 2600 lbs, with 240 of that on the tongue. It's less than the 2700 lbs tow rating, but slightly above the tongue limit. I now reconfigure some of the "stuff" I keep in the front closet so that I'm down to 220 on the tongue, but haven't reached 200 yet, and don't know if I want to go any lower even though Subaru is happy recommending an 8% tongue weight.
I believe the Subaru handles the load very well on the flats and the rolling hills of GA, but if mountains are involved we take the Dakota. We use a sway bar on the Subaru just as added insurance, but even so, my wife prefers driving the Dakota when it's her turn to drive.
When we purchased the Subaru, it was to provide us a large cushion over our then 1750 GVWR pop-up camper, so we weren't really expecting to be able to tow the Scamp with it. We're just happy that we have the option, and will probably use the Subaru on our long trip to TX from GA next month, but probably use the Dakota on our trip to Canada again this summer.
Our fuel mileage on our last 2 trips were not great with either vehicle. The Dodge only averaged 14.2 going to FL and back, and the Subaru only returned 17.9 on a trip to AL and back. At least the Subaru had an excuse, we had 20-30 kt headwinds all the way to AL, and the thunderstorms coming back today caused mostly crosswinds and headwinds.
I would rather be pulling a lighter Camper with our Subaru, but as long as you maintain it as required and keep your speed down it should be faithful. We have about 97,000 miles on the Subaru now and hope for many more.
If your Scamp only has the 2,000 lb axle, then you might have one of the earlier ones that seemed to be lighter than the newer ones.
Good luck in whatever you choose!
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Old 05-26-2014, 02:54 AM   #39
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The list provided early on lists the Legacy. As I understand it, the Legacy was not rated for towing, only the Outback was because it had a more robust suspension.

This is from the Trailer Life Towing Guide:

"Most automatic transmissions offer increased tow ratings over their manual counterparts. To be sure, always check with the manufacturer."

It is my understanding that automatics can tow more because of their torque converter.
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