New- Subaru Forester-What Can it Pull? - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-20-2016, 10:18 PM   #1
Member
 
Name: Harriet
Trailer: Wtd: Something Tiny!
California
Posts: 34
New- Subaru Forester-What Can it Pull?

Hi there! My name is Harriet and I live an hour North of San Francisco. I'm a wanderluster, and finally have a little bit of money to put towards a little trailer my dog and I can tow (fairly easily) behind a 2003 Subaru Forester. Most of our trips would be to the beach on the Sonoma Coast and Tahoe.

I have no idea, aside from a Lil Joe-type camper, what would be fairly easy for us to tow? That style isn't interesting to me, and I need whatever I choose to be mold-free - so maybe that means I simply can't do a vintage trailer. I hope not though, because I <3 them!

Thanks for any help you may be, and I hope to learn more about you and your adventuring!

Thanks! Harriet and Monkey
__________________

__________________
Veggiegirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2016, 10:44 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Bobbie Mayer's Avatar
 
Name: Bobbie
Trailer: 2011 Escape 15A
Washington
Posts: 3,234
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veggiegirl View Post
Hi there! My name is Harriet and I live an hour North of San Francisco. I'm a wanderluster, and finally have a little bit of money to put towards a little trailer my dog and I can tow (fairly easily) behind a 2003 Subaru Forester. Most of our trips would be to the beach on the Sonoma Coast and Tahoe.

I have no idea, aside from a Lil Joe-type camper, what would be fairly easy for us to tow? That style isn't interesting to me, and I need whatever I choose to be mold-free - so maybe that means I simply can't do a vintage trailer. I hope not though, because I <3 them!

Thanks for any help you may be, and I hope to learn more about you and your adventuring!

Thanks! Harriet and Monkey
You should be rated to pull 2000 lbs but you need brakes on anything over 1000 lbs. (I think- models changed in 2003 and eventually got to 2400 but still nothing over 1000 without brakes.). The brakes are required over 1500 lbs no matter what you tow with in California. Without brakes you are probably looking at something like a Campster. With them you could go up to about 1500 lbs dry weight (you have to allow for carrying stuff, too.) Someone will reference the Trailer Weights in the Real World spreadsheet to give you an idea. Look at the lightly loaded ones- those are likely to be other people who need to be concerned about not overloading.

Mold isn't likely to be an issue if you buy something in a dry climate but something that has sat around for years in a wet climate could be different. It will also make a difference how you store it and where you live. My Campster did fine garaged in Fresno but when it wintered over outside in Washington I got some mildew in the under-seat compartments (no obvious leaks but obviously enough moisture got into the air.) It wasn't an issue as once I removed the stuff that had picked up moisture (things I was storing there) the fiberglass itself was fine, but I've heard of people finding a lot of mold in old, new to them trailers. If you are sensitive to it, though, you'll be able to tell when you look at it if it is a problem.
__________________

__________________
Bobbie Mayer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 12:56 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
David B.'s Avatar
 
Name: Dave & Paula Brown
Trailer: Lil Snoozy
Arizona
Posts: 1,662
Registry
Happier Camper makes the HC1 in California, and it should be within the weight limits you have. Relic is another new company on the west coast that may work out for you. Trillium, Scamp, Casita, and just about any of the trailers listed in our registry will work, in the 13'-16' range. Best of luck with your search.
Dave & Paula
__________________
David B. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 01:11 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Glenn Baglo's Avatar
 
Name: Glenn
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 4,272
First, see your vehicle manual for the maximum tow weight and the maximum tongue weight. I believe you will find that the max tongue weight is 200 lbs.
You'll not likely find any trailer that is 16' that has a tongue weight that low. Even a 13' trailer, loaded for camping, will likely be over your tongue limit.
__________________
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
Glenn Baglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 06:50 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Jon in AZ's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 5,352
Registry
New- Subaru Forester-What Can it Pull?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
First, see your vehicle manual for the maximum tow weight and the maximum tongue weight. I believe you will find that the max tongue weight is 200 lbs.
You'll not likely find any trailer that is 16' that has a tongue weight that low. Even a 13' trailer, loaded for camping, will likely be over your tongue limit.
Tongue weight is an issue with most Subarus- limiting but not insurmountable. Towing guides typically recommend maintaining a tongue weight of 10-12% of the total trailer weight for stable, sway-free towing. Assuming the 200 pound limit applies to your year and model, you could (theoretically) tow up to 2000 pounds, which includes many 13' molded fiberglass trailers.

However, based on comments I've read about towing performance of Foresters and the fact that you will be doing some hill-climbing at higher elevations (Tahoe), I would recommend staying well under 2000 pounds and looking for a model with a reduced frontal area for less wind drag. Little Joe is one you have already hit on. A vintage pop-top (Hunter Compact Jr. or Trailswest Campster) is another if you don't mind some work. It's not molded fiberglass, but the San Diego-built Meerkat (clone of vintage Eriba Puck) is a third lightweight, low-profile hard-sided travel trailer option.

You could probably pull a traditional egg like a Scamp 13 if it were very basic and you were careful to pack lightly. The Happier Camper HC1 is also a possibility. It has the advantage of having no wood and limited fabric, so mold control should be easy. The empty shell is 1100 pounds and goes up according to the interior configuration. It's new, retro-styled, and not inexpensive, though.

Whatever you end up with, brakes on the trailer are essential, which means wiring and a controller in the vehicle. An anti-sway bar is another good safety upgrade, especially with a smaller tow vehicle. I'd also look into adding an auxiliary transmission fluid cooler (unless you have a stick shift, of course). Bottom line- make sure you leave room in your budget for towing set-up costs.
__________________
Jon in AZ is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 08:55 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Name: Alan
Trailer: 2000 17' Casita Freedom Deluxe...Tow vehicle 2015 Toyota Tacoma Dble Cab V6 Prerunner
California
Posts: 819
You might consider something like a compact / compact jr etc
There is currently one listed in so calif
You might want to drop the guy a note and ask about the weight etc
From what i understand they are very light

Good luck


Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV
__________________
alan H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 09:18 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Name: Steven
Trailer: Casita SD 2013
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 2,629
Based on the fact that your vehicle is a 2003 ( 14 years old) , it's towing capacity / tongue weight limits and that you wish to tow in the mountains , I would be inclined to purchase a more suitable tow vehicle before purchasing a trailer . Your present vehicle greatly limits your choice of trailers whether the trailer is new or used. If you want to stay with your present vehicle you will have to stay in the 13 ft range . My comments are based on the assumption that you want to conform to your vehicle manufacturers listed tow ratings but many people just disregard them and take the risk.

Good Luck
__________________
steve dunham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 09:25 AM   #8
sxj
Junior Member
 
Name: Bert
Trailer: Looking
Ontario
Posts: 7
Hi Harriet, welcome. You might want to investigate this manufacturer as they have several models that will meet you requirements Roulottes neuves ultra légères fabriquées au Canada : Roulottes Prolite
Their build quality and equipment quality is superior which will give you long and economical service. They are manufactured in Quebec which will be a plus on the dollar exchange rate, but could be a problem given the distance from where you live. I believe there are dealers in British Columbia which would be closer for you.
Hope this helps.
__________________
sxj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 10:07 AM   #9
Member
 
Name: Marge
Trailer: Casita
Oregon
Posts: 34
We have a teardrop trailer (not a fiberglass) that we towed with my 2010 Outback. The camper weighs about 800 pounds. It did fine, but as the car aged it felt like it was putting a strain on it. I wouldn't have towed anything more with that car. Check out tnttt.com for all the info you'll ever want about teardrops.
__________________
margeleept is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 10:16 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Bobbie Mayer's Avatar
 
Name: Bobbie
Trailer: 2011 Escape 15A
Washington
Posts: 3,234
Registry
I should have asked- manual or automatic? And how many miles?
My 2000 manual towed just fine until I bought my 2012, at about 200,000 miles. I towed a boat and then a trailer, both about 1000 lbs though I probably went as high as 1200 with stuff at times. My Mom had a 2002 automatic and I didn't think it had enough pep on hills but never tried towing with it.

Staying under 200 lbs tongue weight is not an issue if the trailer is under 2000 lbs. I had to pack things forward in both boat trailer and Campster in order to get sufficient tongue weight to prevent sway. One nice thing about the Forester is that even towing you still have a reasonable amount of payload allowed in the car so you don't have to pack all your heavy belongings in the trailer.

Downside- you'll find uphills can be slow going, especially if you have an automatic. Subaru rates it only 1000 lbs for towing long uphills in heat- which means things like the Bakersfield side of the Grapevine or climbing out of Redding on 5. That's regardless of brakes.

The newer Subarus are worse for towing. I was wrong- 2003 was the first year that went to 2400 lbs. I would not tow 2400- your tongue weight will either exceed 200 or be too low (they claim 8-12% but I don't like to be below 10%). I'm towing about 2000 lbs now (with brakes) with my 2012 manual Forester and it is fine but I have to be careful how I load the trailer as lower than 200 lbs on the tongue would sway and over that is outside of specs. As I'm not thrilled with those restrictions, I'm looking ahead to a new tow vehicle that can do more. But with the Campster it was just fine, towed that for 4 years with the 2000 and 4 more with the 2012.
__________________
Bobbie Mayer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 10:17 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Jon in AZ's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 5,352
Registry
New- Subaru Forester-What Can it Pull?

Counterpoint... Have you researched the prices of new(er) vehicles? For some, the cost of a new vehicle would put a trailer off the table for a while. Nothing wrong with starting small. Some people find small is all they need. Even if not, selling a 13' molded fiberglass trailer in decent condition is rarely a problem.

Sometimes an older vehicle whose history you know is a better bet than a newer used vehicle whose problems you don't know. We started towing with a 12 year old vehicle, 170K miles, rated for 2000 pounds, and bought our trailer accordingly. It had been solidly reliable up to that point, and I did have our mechanic give it a good going over with the understanding that we were going to tow. That wouldn't be a bad idea with an older vehicle.

We did eventually upgrade our tug, but only after our bank account recovered from the trailer purchase.
__________________
Jon in AZ is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 10:50 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Bobbie Mayer's Avatar
 
Name: Bobbie
Trailer: 2011 Escape 15A
Washington
Posts: 3,234
Registry
Yeah, I agree, a 2003 Subaru is by no means dead, and can tow plenty. If I were buying a new trailer, though, I'd decide on the trailer I want and then find the tow vehicle to work with it, not fit a trailer to a 13 year old vehicle. But buying an older trailer isn't a huge investment and there are lots of little trailers that Subaru can tow. Like my Campster, which is a great match and could be towed even by a wimpy new Subaru.
__________________
Bobbie Mayer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 01:41 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 4,246
Weren't the older Subarus noted for head gasket failures. A coworker had it happen twice while towing a small pop-up camper. I think his was about a 2006 Outback
__________________
mary and bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2016, 01:51 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Glenn Baglo's Avatar
 
Name: Glenn
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 4,272
Quote:
Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
Weren't the older Subarus noted for head gasket failures. A coworker had it happen twice while towing a small pop-up camper. I think his was about a 2006 Outback
Probably thinking of Ford Explorer ( blew mine up ). The Subaru, however, has a timing belt, not chain. It needs to be replaced according to the service manual. If it breaks, you can have pistons flying every which way. Mine broke before replacement was called for. Got lucky though and didn't have to replace the engine.
__________________

__________________
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
Glenn Baglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Anyone towing with a Subaru Forester competitor? Bobbie Mayer Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 50 07-13-2011 05:22 PM
More Subaru Forester Towing Questions Michelle A Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 12 04-04-2009 10:18 PM
Subaru Forester Diesel? Bobbie Mayer General Chat 11 03-07-2009 06:23 PM
towing a 13' burro with a Subaru Forester Pamela H Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 5 07-23-2008 08:15 AM
Electric Brake Control for Subaru Forester Todd Sleeman Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 20 10-27-2007 10:08 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:52 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.