4 cylinder auto - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-09-2015, 07:23 AM   #1
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Name: Carolyn
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Question 4 cylinder auto

Still trying to figure out.... I am going to replace Forester with Outback which has higher towing weight rating. But it is still the same engine. So it can take the weight (I plan for a 13 ft. Scamp) but is it enough power or would it be no better on hills? I don't plan on going over mountain passes but I live in western Washington so can't avoid doing some hills... even getting to my house. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-09-2015, 07:58 AM   #2
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Unfortunately, we often don't know the reasoning behind towing ratings, especially when there are similar or identical parts in two vehicles with different ratings. But some of the considerations, besides engine size, used to determine towing limits MAY be:


Brakes: ya gotta be able to stop that train
Suspension: Higher towing limits = higher tongue weights
Drive line: From transmissions to differentials to driveshafts and constant velocity joints, pulling a heavier weight, especially up hills, will put more stress on components
Frame strength and hitch attachment provisions
Handling Characteristics: AKA "The tail wagging the Dog"


And I am sure that there are several more, (except for the oft mentioned "Conspiracy Theories"), considerations mfgs. use to determine towing limits.


FWIW: I have driven from Chelan to the dark side (LOL) and back many times, and I don't think that you will encounter any grades that will require more than downshifting and slowing down to 45 MPH on occasion. We towed both a 13' Scamp and a 13' Lil Bigfoot with a Honda CRV/automatic all over the western states and prudent driving proved to be the only precaution needed.



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Old 10-09-2015, 08:20 AM   #3
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Carolyn,

We also towed allover Washington state towing 2 different 16 foot trailers with a Honda CRV, 4 cylinder manual transmission without any issues.

Our son lives in Washington and has a Scamp 13 towing with a 4 cylinder automatic, 2005 Honda Accord. Again no issues. He has added a transmission cooler to his Accord. His Scamp 13 is a 1977 Samp 13 and does not have brakes, personally all Scamps should have traielr brakes, at least in my mind.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:23 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you! what quick responses from this group!
So the vehicles you are both talking about are 4 cylinder? Yes and I guess you are supposed to go 45 MPH anyway!
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:35 AM   #5
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You can move a freight train with an eggbeater motor if it is geared right.
Chassis is what matters most.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:18 AM   #6
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I pull with a Nissan Frontier 4 cyl. I personally would not pull anything larger than my 1800lb 13' Scamp. If you enjoy hearing a motor "labor" up the hills in Tenn. then it probably wouldnt matter. It does to me. FWIW, mine is also a manual shift. I personally would not drive this truck and pull my trailer if it was an automatic.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Carolyn N. View Post
Thanks to both of you! what quick responses from this group!
So the vehicles you are both talking about are 4 cylinder? Yes and I guess you are supposed to go 45 MPH anyway!
You can go as fast as you are comfortable. 45 mph will only frustrate drivers behind you and you won't like it either.

The owner's manual will tell you how much your car can pull.

Most engines can have different power levels depending on fuel amounts injected, and speeds. And, as Floyd points out, the total reduction ratios of the transmission and differential.
Your task will be to learn how to downshift on up or down grades. i.e. to keep it out of overdrive.
Some transmissions do not retard speed going downhill when in overdrive. But in the lower gears you get engine braking. Saves your wheel brakes from overheating.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:50 AM   #8
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Even though I believe that the maximum towing speed in WA is 65MPH, I still tow at 55MPH or less, and stay in the right lane and/or pull over as required.



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Old 10-09-2015, 10:15 AM   #9
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Most people find somewhere between 55-65 to be a maximum safe towing speed under ideal conditions (flat, straight, uncongested, dry, no wind, good visibility). Some states have lower speed limits for trucks and trailers, often 55mph. Even a 4-cylinder should have no trouble maintaining 55-60 mph under ideal conditions, assuming you're within the rated capacity of the vehicle. And, of course, slow down when conditions are less than ideal.

Arizona allows everyone to go 75mph on rural interstates. I plug along at 62mph when towing. Even the semis are usually going less than 70mph. Fuel is expensive, I guess.

As to hills, it is not necessary to be able to blast up them like a sports car, and with a 4-cylinder tow vehicle, you probably won't want to try. My rule of thumb is to think like a truck. If the semis are going 45mph up a grade, then blend in with them. Try not to interfere with passenger vehicles in the passing lane. If the trucks are passing you, that's a good sign you are underpowered or overloaded. And if you're on a two lane and cars are piling up behind you, pull off when it is safe to do so. Be courteous and share the road.
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:43 AM   #10
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All great advice. We have a basic 13' Scamp with brakes purchased new in 2011. We tow it with a 2008 Subaru Legacy manual shift sedan outfitted with an after market tow package installed by U-Haul and have had no problems towing in BC, Washington, Oregon, California (our home), Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Minnesota, Wyoming, South Dakota and Utah (so far). We are thinking our next TV will be a Subaru Outback or Forester as they have more storage and the hitch sits higher off the ground than the Legacy. So, I'm very interested in your thread.
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolyn N. View Post
Still trying to figure out.... I am going to replace Forester with Outback which has higher towing weight rating. But it is still the same engine. So it can take the weight (I plan for a 13 ft. Scamp) but is it enough power or would it be no better on hills? I don't plan on going over mountain passes but I live in western Washington so can't avoid doing some hills... even getting to my house. Any thoughts?
As someone who in the past towed with the Outback its biggest issue is its low tongue weight of 200lbs but a 13' trailer would work well with it.

Although the Forster and the Outback have the same engine the torque is different which results in the Outback having the advantage. I pulled a 16' through out western Washington over passes and did ok with it - it would do even better with the lighter 13'
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:42 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone... I am on my way to trade the Forester for Outback... the dealer is being very nice to me letting me trade with minimal loss.... this way I don't have to worry about being close to the weight limit... probably still will do the Scamp 13
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:57 AM   #13
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I replaced a Forester with an Outback (same engine and transmission in both) a few years ago. The Outback was a slug compared to the Forester. It's probably powerful enough for your small trailer but you might want to drive both back-to-back to feel the difference.
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:09 PM   #14
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I replaced a Forester with an Outback (same engine and transmission in both) a few years ago. The Outback was a slug compared to the Forester. It's probably powerful enough for your small trailer but you might want to drive both back-to-back to feel the difference.
Same year, too? That can make a difference… Manufacturers often tinker with engine and transmission software from year to year. I suppose curb weight might be a factor, don't know how they compare...

In any case, the latest redesign of the Forester incorporated some pretty significant changes, including a dramatic decrease in its tow rating, so I would hesitate to base a decision now on the performance of earlier versions.
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:20 PM   #15
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Talking

I am doing the Outback just for the weight limit difference... so don't have to worry that I am too close to the limit. Thanks.... this whole thing came up because it did not occur to me that there would be a difference in weight limit... so they are being very nice to let me trade it back!
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Carolyn N. View Post
Thanks to both of you! what quick responses from this group!
So the vehicles you are both talking about are 4 cylinder? Yes and I guess you are supposed to go 45 MPH anyway!
Many modern 4 cyl engines these days are quite capable. Many who use them on this forum towing glass eggs are driving 55 to 60 MPH when towing without issue. Set up is key.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:47 PM   #17
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Towing with my Outback

I too looked at the Scamp to tow with my Outback but I looked that the "trailer weights in the real world" chart and it kind of scared me away. I looked for a trailer that would be closer to the "hot weather long climbs" recommendation by Subaru of 1350 lbs. I did not quite make it. The HC! by my estimate is about 1500-1600 lbs loaded. I weigh the tongue weight each time to make sure I am under the 200 limit. I am at 160 give or take a few each trip.

The 4 cylinder outback has plenty of power. (Though it would not hurt to have the 6 cylinder) On the steeper climbs I shift the CVT into manual mode and down shift. This makes it a bit easier to keep the revs up. Since I am confined to the two right lanes I generally fall in with the trucks and am driving below the posted trailer speed limit of 55. In the flats 55 or more would be fine, so I set the cruise control around 58-60. Downhills I turn off cruise and use the paddle shifters to downshift to use engine breaking.

I have a couple of trips posted about towing with the Outback if you click on my name above.
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Old 10-09-2015, 05:29 PM   #18
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It might be helpful to Suburu owners, as well as HC-1 wannabees, if you could get an accurate real world weight and post that value.



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Old 10-09-2015, 05:37 PM   #19
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I know the difference between the Legacy and the outback is the fifth gear and the final gear ratio. They also have larger diameter tires. I towed with both a 2001 legacy auto and a 2003 Outback manual and found the outback revved higher at highway speed. Of course the newer ones may be different. I did find towing our old Ventura @1700lbs was a chore, wasn't the weight but the flat frontage of the trailer. Anything you tow WILL have to have brakes and a brake controller in the car. I think the towing capacity of the 2001 legacy was 2000 lbs with a 250 lb tongue weight and the 2003 outback was 3500 lbs and 250 lb tongue weight.
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Old 10-09-2015, 05:38 PM   #20
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We tow a 1988 Scamp 16 with a 2004 Toyota Tacoma 2.7 L 4-cylinder with 180, 000 miles on it. It is an automatic without an extra transmission cooler. Last winter we did 4 months from Maine to Florida...lots of big hills (okay, mountains) in PA, WV, GA, TN. The going was slow uphill...maybe 55 mph...but, the rig behaved and the truck wasn't overworked. I'd estimate the Scamp weighed-in at 2, 200 lbs and we had two people and 400 pounds of stuff in the truck. I would not recommend pulling more than this.

I realize we are talking apples and oranges here but, I'd suspect you won't notice much difference when pulling with the new vehicle as opposed to the Forester. If vehicle weight, gearing, and engine size are the same you will likely see about the same performance while towing. Pack light, drive sanely!
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