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Old 02-19-2013, 01:51 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post

So I looked up some fitting instructions for a Euro 'towbar' (=hitch) as under Euro law, these must can only be fitted onto mounting points specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Witter Forester 2013- towbar This is quite a different approach, requiring removal of the bumper and unusually putting the hitch inside the frame rails, coming out the back.
I think this may be similar to the N.A. market factory hitch/installation for the 2013 Outback, at least in its use of the built-in "frame rails/tubes".

If I'm recalling his posts right, I do know per member Raz's description of his install of an aftermarket hitch on his Forester that it differs from Subaru's factory hitch in that the OEM uses some sort of reinforcers for the frame "tubes", while the aftermarket substitute does not.

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Old 02-19-2013, 05:32 PM   #42
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Can Am RV... Really?

I just want to thank you all for your input and advise.

So I called Can Am this morning having pretty much decided to take the drive to London.
Well it turns out the hitch installation will cost me almost as much as I paid for my '75 Trillium.
So here's the scoop

1 - 2" Class 3 equalizing hitch system, installed
1 - 7 pin connector with brake control, installed
1 - Transmission cooler (apparently I need it)

Total Damage....wait for it.....$2,254.

Dylemma is not a happy camper
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:44 PM   #43
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You must be kidding!
I had 2" class 3 hitch receiver installed along with wiring and installation of the brake controller for $650 including tax. I paid an extra $25 so the installer could buy the #10 ground wire that I specified. The actual WDH came from Escape for $350. Brake controller I got from etrailer.com for ( I don't remember, but I think less than $150 ). Transmission cooler was standard on the vehicle. All the work was done at the Toyota dealer by an outside installer.
So, what's the damage for the transmission cooler alone?
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:45 PM   #44
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Ye gads!

And to think some think that a Subaru factory hitch installation is expensive at under $700.00 (U.S.) Here's a link with that number in it: $660.00 installed by dealer.

Even with the wiring, you should be able to get the whole shootin' match done for under a grand!

Also:

I think it's a big mistake to put a weight distributing hitch on this car. In the first place, if all you're towing is a Trillium, you don't need weight distribution. (I tow one with a vehicle with the same limits yours have, so believe me, I know).Secondly, I believe that Subaru advises against the use of w/d's for this vehicle. And in the third place, it will cost you at least thirty pounds of your already marginal hitch weight capacity, effectively lowering available capacity for trailer tongue to 170 pounds or less.

And lastly, if you care anything at all about your new vehicle warranty:
I advise you very strongly to get Subaru's approval before you decide to go through with installing this system.

Best of luck to you...

Francesca
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:49 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Living in what many call the Mountain Bike Capital of the world
You live in Moab, UT? I so wanna do some riding there.
Though, I did hear there is lots in Western BC too, and even in the mountains here.

I know lots of riders, and to every one of them, Moab is the ultimate riding place. I was just west of there last fall, but could not afford the time to check it out. Maybe this year.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:32 PM   #46
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$2,254!!!! Gezzzz I know if you got a quote from them it was going to be a big one but not that big!

Now here is what I did and most of the other people here who have been towing heavier trailers than yours for a number of years thousands of miles with an Outback without any issues what so ever.

1) Talk to your dealer - they will tell you that you should not put an equalizer hitch on the car - as per your manual. The simple fact is it is not needed if you are towing within the cars specs and you are well within the specs with the trailer you have. Forgetting about the equalizer should drop your bill down by about $4/500.

2) Ask the dealer to recommend a shop to have a class II hitch. Mine sent me to U-Hual. If they dont have a good answer for you call U-haul yourself. Hitch install along with the 7 pin wire harness was about $500 & it charges the trailer battery as it should. The car is prewired from the factory for everything to work with the correct plug and play harness attached so the only wire that needs to be added is the brake controller wire.

3) I didnt have U-hual put in my brake controller wiring I had it done privately at a cost of about $100 in my driveway. You can pick up a Tekonsha P3 controller for about $120 or less.

4) re the transmission cooler. Nice to have but not necessary if pulling a trailer within the cars specs! When I talked to Subaru about adding one - that was the response I got. Thus the reason they dont make them or offer them. I have pulled a 2500lb trailer without one for six years over 40,000 or more tow miles so far over lots of terrain without any issues. Have had the transmission fluid checked yearly and recently changed and I am told there is no evidence of any issues on that front.

Good luck - you will get it all hooked up sooner than you think and for less than you were quoted!
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:40 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dylemma View Post
I just want to thank you all for your input and advise.

So I called Can Am this morning having pretty much decided to take the drive to London.
Well it turns out the hitch installation will cost me almost as much as I paid for my '75 Trillium.
So here's the scoop

1 - 2" Class 3 equalizing hitch system, installed
1 - 7 pin connector with brake control, installed
1 - Transmission cooler (apparently I need it)

Total Damage....wait for it.....$2,254.

Dylemma is not a happy camper
Wow, did they at least kiss you first?

I paid $240 shipped for my class 3 2" receiver and a circuit protected wiring converter.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:59 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
You live in Moab, UT? I so wanna do some riding there.
Though, I did hear there is lots in Western BC too, and even in the mountains here.
Nay Man! The North Shore birth place of Free Riding or at least according the Provincial Tourism department and Wikipedia! Rough, wild, muddy gnarly riding!

Would love to go to Moab and hope to in the not to distant future but afraid my old bones told me that kind of riding is over for me - they still protest loud all winter thoughl as I have refused so far to stop slamming them into snow

If you go Jim have a ride for me please!
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:48 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
If you go Jim have a ride for me please!
I certainly will, Carol. I just got myself a nice new bike that needs lots of exercise to justify its cost.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:20 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
If I'm recalling his posts right, I do know per member Raz's description of his install of an aftermarket hitch on his Forester that it differs from Subaru's factory hitch in that the OEM uses some sort of reinforcers for the frame "tubes", while the aftermarket substitute does not.
Do you mean post #20 in 5th wheel hitch & Tacoma composite beds? Raz shows (but doesn't mention) a thick steel plate which the mounting (carriage) bolt passes through; this is normal component of the hardware for hitches which mount through body holes without a factory-supplied welded-in nut. The aftermarket hitch on my Focus has similar parts; no hitch (OEM or aftermarket) for my Sienna needs or has them.

This post by Raz also illustrates the in-the-end installation method mentioned by Jared, albeit on a Forester rather than an Outback/Legacy.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:26 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post
This post is not saying 'right' or 'wrong', just throwing in some info from elsewhere. That CanAm hitch doesn't appeal to me much...
... since it appears to put the biggest load (the rearmost attachment) on sheetmetal in the spare wheel well, rather than the frame rails (even unibodies have frame rails - they're just welded in).
Exactly the same for me.

The vertical strength of the rear mounting point probably matters little to Can Am because their intended configuration involves massive application of a WD system, to the point that the rear mounting point may not be pulled down at all. Based on various published work by Andy Thompson of Can Am, I suspect that they are more concerned about lateral stiffness of the rear mount than vertical strength, and this design would likely be laterally stiffer than long flat plate arms up to the factory rear mounting points.

I leave it as an exercise to the reader to reconcile Subaru's guidance regarding weight distribution with Can Am's design approach.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:31 PM   #52
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Below is the post by Raz I was referring to, #27 from the thread mentioned above.

I took his meaning to be that while the factory hitch makes use of what he calls a "stiffener" in the frame rails, aftermarket hitches like the one he installed do not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
The factory hitch bolts to the 3 studs surrounding the tube with a stiffener that feeds into the tube. The after market hitches all bolt to the bottom of the tube. While I removed the bumper, the etrailer folks place the bolts in the tube a little differently..... Don't forget to make pop corn.

Trailer Hitch for 2012 Subaru Forester - Curt 13147
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:32 PM   #53
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Francesca posted this comment about using a weight distribution system with this vehicle (Subaru Outback):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
... it will cost you at least thirty pounds of your already marginal hitch weight capacity, effectively lowering available capacity for trailer tongue to 170 pounds or less.
I agree. This is entirely sound logic and math.

However, I believe that, with their special custom hitch and WD setup magic (which allegedly accomplishes what mere mortals cannot using the same hardware), Can Am intends to completely disregard the factory hitch weight rating. Although this is only my guess, it is based on everything Andy Thompson of Can Am has published, and every forum post by a Can Am customer that I have seen (which is, of course, only sporadic anecdotal evidence). They don't need no stinkin' factory limits!
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:52 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Below is the post by Raz I was referring to, #27 from the thread mentioned above.

I took his meaning to be that while the factory hitch makes use of what he calls a "stiffener" in the frame rails, aftermarket hitches like the one he installed do not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
The factory hitch bolts to the 3 studs surrounding the tube with a stiffener that feeds into the tube.
Thanks Francesca I had read that later post but forgotten it.

I think that Raz is describing something similar to the typical European practice, with the ends of the receiver structure inserting into the open ends of the frame rails, secured in this case to those bumper mounting studs.

This is entirely different from the typical North American practice. None of the Outback hitches mentioned in this thread mount this way, although the Euro suppliers would presumably have this style for Dave... although I suspect that the last thing he wants at this point is another expensive and even more obsure option!
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:10 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Eddie Longest View Post
Checking into the EcoHitch from Torklift Central suggested by Eddie resulted in a copy of the installation instructions from them. I would attach them to this post, but the file is too large; instead, it is posted in the Miscellaneous section of the FiberglassRV Document Center.

The hitch itself looks like a good choice (mostly hidden as shown in this photo, soundly constructed, reasonably installed), but the mounting details are the interesting part... (continued in next post)
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EcoHitchOnSubaruOutback.jpg  
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:21 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
... according to notes on the eTrailer page for 2013 Outback hitches it looks like Subaru did not properly accommodate hitch installation on the Legacy/Outback, and a bunch of messing about is required (including dropping the exhaust, trimming a heat shield, and drilling a couple of 1-1/8" holes in the frame rails)... the installation is not the trivial bolt-on it could be.
Although Subaru did not provide threaded inserts for hitch attachment, they did provide holes in a suitable structural member, as shown in the installation instructions of the common brands. The rear point is even through a doubled-up area of the structural box, and the forward point is substantially forward to handle torque. My concern with accommodating installation was only that Cequent calls for a hole to be drilled in each frame box to insert the mounting bolts; however, Torklift Central's instructions for the EcoHitch show that there are access holes provided for this purpose - see the photo (in which the holes are still covered by black decals). While not incredibly convenient (compared to welded-in nuts), this seems like an entirely reasonable accommodation - Subaru in fact has done much better than it first appeared to me. Live and learn, sometimes get good news...


My guess is that the Subaru OEM hitch mounts using these interior access holes to install the hardware; in hindsight, an OEM accessory installation would not likely require any metal drilling or cutting. If anyone knows how the OEM hitch is bolted in to this model, I would be interested in hearing it. The EcoHitch instructions still call for one of the access holes to be enlarged to clear their hardware - I wonder if the Subaru OEM mounting hardware would avoid this requirement, and if it would work with other brands of receiver. The Subaru hardware would also likely be metric - it annoys me to put a 1/2" bolt requiring "inch" wrenches in a vehicle which is otherwise entirely metric, requiring only metric wrenches. Mixing the two systems runs the risk of someone using a not-quite-right-sized wrench and damaging fasteners.

While Jared's excellent bumper-removal suggestion (post #12) would work, it appears to be unnecessary. Ironically, the black stickers which cover the access holes used by the EcoHitch are visible in Jared's fifth installation photo.

The most astounding part to me is that Cequent would be so dedicated to installing entirely from the bottom that they would have their customers make large holes in structural members - and leave the raw hole exposed to outside conditions and rusting - when a much better option is apparently available.


My original point was that the receiver installation is usually easier than the electrical work, but it appears in this case that specific knowledge of hitch installation on this model would be valuable... with any brand of hitch. And, again, selecting the installer limits the choice of hitches, and they are not all quite the same.
Attached Thumbnails
OutbackHitchBoltAccessHoles.jpg  
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:32 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by dylemma View Post
So I called Can Am this morning having pretty much decided to take the drive to London.
Well it turns out the hitch installation will cost me almost as much as I paid for my '75 Trillium.
So here's the scoop

1 - 2" Class 3 equalizing hitch system, installed...
This may be a custom-built hitch, or at least a modified version of a production product. Hitch classes are defined by SAE standard J684, which describes required testing methods and results; in this case, Class 3 means suitable for a trailer weight of up to 5000 lb, including ability to withstand a pulling force of 7500 lb and both lateral and vertical forces of 2500 lb. Is Can Am certifying that their hitch design is tested and meets this standard?

I don't have much confidence in the products of any North American hitch manufacturer, and I'm not really sure that any of them actually test anything, but I would have even less confidence in a custom fabricator unless I personally understood and assessed the design.

I'm sure that Can Am can built an adequate hitch for the rated capacity of the vehicle, but there's no need to custom-build that, and in this case they are claiming a substantially higher capacity.


Dave, sorry to make this whole question even more complicated, but once a choice goes beyond common products used in accordance with manufacturer's instructions, there are more factors to consider.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:49 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post


Dave, sorry to make this whole question even more complicated, but once a choice goes beyond common products used in accordance with manufacturer's instructions, there are more factors to consider.
A good point Brian. We know in many cases Can Am will strenghten or improve on many factory or aftermarket receivers because they were not up to the task they were designed for. Their rep wrote about it a number of times. For sure this type of knowledge/experience/skill is beyond the scope of the average folk.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:16 PM   #59
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I really fear that we are making this far more complicated for the OP then it really needs to be. I recall all to well the fear moguling that I was subjected to when I first started looking at what my hitch options where on my Outback and at the time Subaru didn't offer any of their own hitches.

Throwing photos into the mix of generic after market failed draw bars with no markings or labels to indicate who's brand it was or what it cost and that has nothing to do with the hitch itself is IMO not helping matters. If the OP if concerned about that they can walk into Canadian Tire or any RV supply store and pick up a name brand draw bar. Yes even the Go Big or Go Home crowed frequently uses Reese products. The OP should wait until the hitch is installed & at home and set it up with the trailer anyways as they are most probable going to need a drop bar of more than a couple of inches in order to get the trailer to ride level.

With a 180 to 200lb hitch weight which the OP's trailer is going to have I personally dont think the OP is going to see much if any squat from the Outback. If the car was for some strange reason or another to squat then I suppose if one wanted to totally ignore the manufactures recommendations in regards to an equalizer hitch, a few here would put forward an argument as to why the car should have one but one would have to ask why not just add air bags to the rear of the car & avoid the equalizer/warranty issue all together? I have no doubt that most who have never towed with an Outback a trailer that falls within its tow specs would be very surprised as to how well the car actually does handle towing in even in the most adverse conditions & would themselves have a hard time justifying the added expense of an equalizer hitch or even a sway bar for that matter.

I have not seen or heard of anyone having a hitch failure on a Subaru here or elsewhere and there are a larger number of people pulling with Subaru's than some may realize. Not saying it has never happened just as I have no doubt it has happened on pretty well every make of car or truck at one time or another. I just do not believe that its a common of a happening as some here would like us to believe it is and warrants someone spending the kind of money on upgrading a standard hitch setup to the level being suggested here. I totally get that its always way more fun to spend someone else money when weighing the options heck on that front I would suggest if the OP wanted the ultimate small SUV tow vehicle he trade in the Subaru and buy a VW Touareg - assuming he has a extra $50,000 burning a hole in his pocket

As Subaru only started putting a Class I hitch on their cars a couple of years ago (not sure but I dont think they even offer a Class II still) the vast majority who are towing with a Subaru are using right off the shelf after market hitches and I assure you far more where installed by a local hitch installer or U-haul than have been installed by CanAm. ;-)

The OP is pulling a 13' Trillium which Real World Weights comes in loaded between 18/1900lbs loaded. The OP hasn't said what model of Outback they have but regardless the tow cap is either 2700lbs or 3000lbs and the tongue cap is 200lbs. The tongue cap will keep most people who choose to follow safe towing practises from towing a trailer that comes close or over the cars towing capacity. A Class II hitch leaves them with more than enough margin of error IMO in regards to the actual weights he will be towing. Regardless, most of the major hitch manufactures make a Class II and Class III hitch for the Outback. Subaru's are pretty popular cars in my area (actually have 6 on my block alone) and the most commonly seen hitch on them are Class II Hidden Hitch or one from U-Haul which looks exactly like the Hidden Hitch (some say its made by the same people) & a few Outbacks are starting to appear on the streets with the factory installed Class I hitch but I havent seen any with a Class II from the factory as yet. It took less than 2 hours to have the hitch & wiring harness install on mine - no removal of bumpers or cutting away of parts but as with most hitch installs the exhaust system did need to be dropped while they did the install.

My local mechanic does a check over of the hitch attachments every time he puts the car up in the air for an oil change or brake inspection - its a bit of a standing joke with us as he also tows but is a member of the Go Big or Go Home crowd and at first had problems believing that the set up was good to go. Often rubs his hands together and grins with anticipations when I tell him how far and where I towed the trailer on my latest trip. The hitch continues to remain secure to the car after 6 years and a lot of miles of towing with no issues with the hitch or the cars mechanicals. Funny enough my mechanic is actually starting to become a believer. ;-)) Only recent issue I have with the hitch is that it is starting to show surface rust at the draw bar box that I do need to address - but in all fairness I drive a lot in winter on very salted roads & not had a cover over the box hole.

I also know the local dealer may not be able/willing to install a class II or III hitch for the OP. Especially not a Class III as it would open the door to far greater abuse of the cars tow specs. It was pointed out to me recently by a member here that even some U-Haul shops are refusing to put on hitches that far exceed the towing specs of the vehicles. The dealer may not be willing to add a hitch simply because not enough of their customers want or need a hitch to justify the training of their staff to install them correctly or they just don't carry/make a Class II hitch.

If the OP takes the car to a reputable hitch installer I am very sure they will be able to have a name brand hitch which more than exceeds their vehicles tow specs and have it installed for far less than what they have been quoted by CanAm. Pretty sure they will still be able to enjoy many miles and years of safe Happy Happy camping with little to no worries just as many folks here have.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:28 PM   #60
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Well said. For $240, my receiver and wiring was done on my '11 legacy (no brake controller, I don't tow that much).

I have no doubt at all that the receiver will take all the car can, and lots more. You would rip the car in two before there was an issue with the hitch. You're putting a hitch fit for a pickup on a subaru. No matter how you slice it, the car is the weak link, and you can't change that.
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