Towing with a Subaru baja - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-12-2014, 06:28 PM   #1
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Name: Scott
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Towing with a Subaru baja

Looking for input about towing a 16' Scamp base model with no bath with a Subaru Baja with a 2400lb tow rate..
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:37 PM   #2
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I pulled with one of the lighter Scamp 16' a side bath with an Outback with a tow spec of 2800lbs and don't recommend it. Keeping the tongue weight below the 200lb limit was not possible and the pull was a tough go for the car at times..... I would stick with a 13' Scamp.
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:13 PM   #3
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Did the turbo Baja ever make it into production? If so and you have one, I'd say go for it. That puppy had some major torque goin' on.

Even if not, isn't the Baja more or less based on the Legacy, the workhorse version of the Outback? I'd think it would do O.K. with a Scamp 16 equipped like you describe. It'll be at its upper limits, but if you don't mind not being the fastest thing on the road it should last for many miles.

Just like Carol's Outback did before she got all hankerin' after pickups...right, Carol? ..........
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post

Just like Carol's Outback did before she got all hankerin' after pickups...right, Carol? ..........
Yup it lasted.... right up until last year when it started having a number of issues/repairs that were starting to add up both in occurrence and price ... not any of a type that I had experienced on any of my previous 3 Outbacks all with way more miles on them ... so I would suggest as does my mechanic that the wear and tear of towing a 2600lb trailer was starting to take its toll. Would have retired it from towing the 16' long ago but it was a brand new car when the Scamp found me so I just had to wait for the money tree to grow some more cash before I could afford to retire it. Actually wasn't really hankering' for a truck either just ended up with one as I couldn't afford the SUV I have been hankering for pretty well since the first summer of towing the Scamp with the Outback.

It did tow the trailer pretty well but not without a few headaches. One was having to be extremely careful about loading it. Also doing a few rethinks on some long/steep hills in warm weather, watching my speed, that type of thing.

As I said based on my experience in having towed with the Subaru I would if stating out from scratch with no trailer seriously consider sticking to a trailer that weighs under the Baja's 2400lb tow capacity & as hard as one might try i don't think there is a 16' Scamp thats total weight loaded comes in at under 2400lbs.... unless of course its been really stripped out.
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:34 AM   #5
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When I call scamp they said my trailer weigh's 1500lbs I do know that it only has a 2000lb axle in its 4 bolt lug.. I live in N.H. so I would be going up the coast of maine.. I bought the Baja because I like the idea of having 4 doors and a little cargo space. I have a dodge cummins diesel truck, but I thought a car like ride would be nicer for the wife and I...
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Old 03-13-2014, 04:49 AM   #6
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Manufacturers numbers are always low. Have your trailer weighed. Truck stop, transfer station, scrap yard, etc. Less than $10. Also, this is an interesting thread.
Trailer Weights in the Real World

Enjoy your new Scamp, Raz
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gilles1 View Post
When I call scamp they said my trailer weigh's 1500lbs I do know that it only has a 2000lb axle in its 4 bolt lug.. I live in N.H. so I would be going up the coast of maine.. I bought the Baja because I like the idea of having 4 doors and a little cargo space. I have a dodge cummins diesel truck, but I thought a car like ride would be nicer for the wife and I...
Well thats where the problem is. What Scamp and other manufactures do not explain well to those new to towing is that the dry weight they are quoting does not include any optional items and in many cases that means it doesnt even include the weight of the battery, propane tanks, fridge, stove top, awnings, porta potty, fresh water tanks etc....... Adding to the problem is that many people seriously underestimate what all their own belongings and camping gear will weigh. A good rule of thumb is to add about 600lbs to actual empty trailer weight (with all the options, battery and propane tanks on it). That is not a joke!

I have a friend who like myself is a former back packer and as such used a lot of light gear in their trailer but they realized their truck was struggling with the new trailer they had purchased even though they had run the trailer over the scales when new so they know what it weighed empty. I suggested they take everything out of the trailer and weigh it and add the weight of the full propane tanks onto that... they were more than a little shocked as to what their gear, clothing and food actually weighed in total.

Do you know what the Baja's actual Tongue weight spec is? Trust me trying to tow a 16' Scamp of any model with under 240lbs on the tongue is not going to be a pleasant tow. Subaru does not recommend the use of a WDH on their vehicles so that is not an option.

A great thread that is on this forum is called Trailer Weights in the Real World. Most of the weigh ins where done at a trailer meet at a full service campground so it is doubtful that many people where traveling with water in their tanks. #33 & #37 is my older very lightly loaded 16' Scamp. One of the weigh ins you will note I was running at 200lbs on the tongue - as I was trying to see what would happen if I did try and run it at Subarus tongue weight spec - I was traveling back roads doing only 55 mph max..... would not do that again was not a nice stable tow! There was no water in any of my tanks by the way when either of those weigh ins took place & and do not have much in the way of extra appliances etc... no ac, no micro wave, no electric coffee maker etc and in fact no flat screen TV when those weigh ins where done... admit to having one of those now though ;-)

The other thing I would be concerned about is the Baju wheel base length and its actual weight and the actual height from the ground of the rear hitch. One of the reasons the Outback actually tows well a trailer that is set up correctly to within its its specs with 10% on the tongue, is that it is a fairly heavy vehicle for its size & the back end of it where the trailer hitch sits is higher than the Legacy - actually some years the Outback has outweighed a Toyota Tacoma. My guess would be the Baja weighs a lot less than a newish Outback and probable doesnt have the same HP either.
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:15 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Gilles1 View Post
When I call scamp they said my trailer weigh's 1500lbs I do know that it only has a 2000lb axle in its 4 bolt lug.. .
hummm you might want to call Scamp back on that. If you take a look at their website the 16' Scamp Standard Specs show it to have a 3500lb torsion axle. Mine does.
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:16 AM   #9
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Scott perhaps you could post a pic of your trailer as well as what year it is... starting to wonder if you actually have a 13'
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Old 03-13-2014, 02:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Gilles1 View Post
I bought the Baja because I like the idea of having 4 doors and a little cargo space. I have a dodge cummins diesel truck, but I thought a car like ride would be nicer for the wife and I...
I'm with ya on that one Scott. Have used commercial diesel trucks a number of times for various reasons but for vacations and traveling you can't beat the comforts, ride, and performance of a well made car. My wife appreciates it too! Everybody is happy.
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:04 PM   #11
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I'm with ya on that one Scott. Have used commercial diesel trucks a number of times for various reasons but for vacations and traveling you can't beat the comforts, ride, and performance of a well made car. My wife appreciates it too! Everybody is happy.
Yup so am I! which as why I am a bit disappointed in having to retire my Subaru Outback from towing with only 50,000 miles on it .... would not have had to have done so if it had been a nice comfortable ride and performed as well as I had hoped it would.

Anyone who actually knows me knows that going with what I have now was definitely not my first choose & a change I made very reluctantly and not with much glee! I still think my Subaru is the better all round drive - just not the best for pulling a trailer of the weight/size I have, because I do what a nice comfortable ride - it did not give me that when towing. Thats life, sometimes things don't always work out the way we had planned or hoped.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:08 PM   #12
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Yup so am I! which as why I am a bit disappointed in having to retire my Subaru Outback from towing with only 50,000 miles on it .... would not have had to have done so if it had been a nice comfortable ride and performed as well as I had hoped it would.

.
Hmmm.....not to put too fine a point on it, Carol, but this is inconsistent with what you've been telling us for what- six years? Frankly, you sound just like my husband talking about why he "needed" a new motorcycle this last fall. Had to justify the expense somehow- and we both knew what he was doing when he was doing it, too.

It's great that you got the truck you wanted- just please don't go all "reformer" on us!
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Old 03-13-2014, 06:53 PM   #13
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Carol is migrating toward a V8, just like me. Just kidding.

Gilles1, here's what you need to do.

1. Load up that Scamp like you would for camping. Take it to a place with a scale and weigh it. Surely you have a Flying J, a rock quarry, a landfill, or someplace with a scale nearby. (There is simply no substitute for knowing the weight, when you're running close to the limit.)

2. Then go home and weigh the hitch with your bathroom scale. Just put the scale under the ball socket, with a 2x4 or metal rod in the socket area going to the scale, then crank it down slowly.

If you can keep the weight on the axle under 1800 lbs and the hitch weight under 200 lbs, you're probably ok for a short, slow and easy trip up the coast. Figure on going 55 max, and if you feel any sway be prepared to use the brake controller to apply trailer brakes and bring it back into line. If the rig handles fine, great. If it feels unsteady, figure on using the big truck instead.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Hmmm.....not to put too fine a point on it, Carol, but this is inconsistent with what you've been telling us for what- six years? <cut>

It's great that you got the truck you wanted- just please don't go all "reformer" on us!
Actually Francesca its not at all inconsistent. What I have said is the Outback might surprise a few people here just how solid a tow it will give. Still stand by that.

I have also for a number of years now also suggested that those considering towing with it stick to a it 13' not a 16'. Have indicated many times that I have struggled with keeping the weight on the tongue down to get a nice safe solid tow - but still need to tow over its tongue allowance to do it! Also have acknowledged that it will not win an uphill race. And for more than a year anyone who asks has been told that I have started to have wear and tear issues - also publicly acknowledge here and at any meet I have attended. Over the past year the repairs/replacement parts have started to increase and add up to $$ - not the type of performance I expect from a car with such few miles on it. Having owned a couple of the same model/make of car previously all having had far more miles in a shorter time frame put on them so I have a pretty good idea as to what I should expect in regards to normal wear and tear repairs/replacements vs what isn't.

Also as I said - I didn't NOT want a truck! ... still getting use to & if I could afford it I would trade it in tomorrow for a particular SUV I have actually wanted for sometime.
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