Help! Buying tv for 1600 lb Surfside, either Forester or Santa fe - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:26 AM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Angela
Trailer: Surfside
Posts: 14
Help! Buying tv for 1600 lb Surfside, either Forester or Santa fe

Hi all. I have reached a point where there is so much information that I am trying to sift through that I thought I would ask here for help. I am currently looking at either the Santa fe or the Forester to tow my new to me '77 14ft. surfside- 1600 lbs. The trailer states that it needs a class 3 hitch (is that written in stone?) Both the Forester and the SAnta Fe have different ratings for trailers that have trailer brakes and those that did not : (Forester- 1000 with trailer brakes/2400 without) (Santa Fe 1500 without/3500 with) My Surfside does not have trailer brakes? CAn those be added on? Do I need to add them on? Does anyone have experience towing this size of a trailer under varying road conditions and distances with either of these vehicles? IT is just me putting the trailer on the hitch and doing the driving with these vehicles and this trailer, and I want to be extra sure to be safe. Any thoughts are welcome. THanks!
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:42 AM   #2
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Trailer: Trillium 2010
Posts: 5,185
Hello Angela and welcome to the forum. I recommend you get brakes. Adding them may require a new axle if the exiting axle doesn't have the plates to attach the brakes. Look behind the wheels for a square plate with 4 holes. A trailer as old as yours may need an axle replacement anyway.

Both vehicles are good choices if your Surfside weight is correct. The Subaru is cheaper, better gas milage and easy to find a model with what you want on it. The tongue weight limit of 200 lbs and the 4 speed automatic are the down side. The Santa Fe has a 6 cylinder engine, more torque, it's bigger, more room, and as I recall a 6 speed transmission. The down side, it is hard to find a low end model, and more expensive, both cost and gas mileage. I'm sure others will chime in. Good luck, Raz
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Old 04-29-2012, 06:43 AM   #3
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Name: Philip
Trailer: Escape 13 /Hyundai Santa Fe
British Columbia
Posts: 471
Weighing in on the Santa Fe

Hi Angela,
We tow our Escape 13 (dry weight 1,400 lbs) with a 2006 Santa Fe V6 (tow rating 3,200 lbs). The trailer has breaks (definitely recommended in any case) and we have a class 3 hitch on the Santa Fe.
We bought the Santa Fe because it is our regular every-day car too and we didn't want to be driving a Ford Ranger pickup, but wanted something with a decent tow rating. We also looked at the Ford Escape, but found a good deal on the Santa Fe first, so that's what we got.
We've been delighted so far with the performance of the Santa Fe. I was particularly pleased at how well the transmission responded to towing while going through the mountain passes in California. Seemed to be great at "knowing" when to shift down. Also, it had plenty of power for the big hills. On the flat stretches you didn't even know the trailer was there. I cruised at about 60 mph most of the way, but if I needed to pass another vehicle I had no problem doing 70 or more
The trailer didn't sway at all (we don't have an equalizer or anti-sway bars).
Also, I was concerned about how the trailer and tv would act on those bumpy California freeways, but it was not problem--no noticeable bouncing or bucking motion at all.
And, BTW, the Santa Fe did turn out to be a great every-day vehicle too!
Anyway, just a testimonial from a happy Santa Fe driver
It's not the size.....
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:43 AM   #4
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Name: Alan
Trailer: 2006 Escape 17 B Raven and a Pearl
Posts: 163
I pull our Surfside with a ford ranger with a 3.0 litre engine. it is really nice to have the brakes here in Alberta when you are in the mountians and foot hills.
The original factory axle had them so yours may be there and not be hooked up??
We have been thinking that we may upgrade in the next year or so as well so i am curious about your choice and how you eliminated the others out there (Ford Escapes and Mitsubishi Outlanders seem good too)
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Old 04-29-2012, 09:00 AM   #5
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Name: Jon
Trailer: Escape 21C
New York
Posts: 2,388
I'd also recommend adding brakes. Here in NY they are required on any trailer weighing more than 1000 lbs. I tow an Escape 17B with brakes (3020 lbs loaded for a trip) with a RAV4 (V6 & tow package) and wouldn't be at all happy without brakes. I also have a 1000 lb utility trailer (without brakes) that I sometimes tow with the RAV4 & even without a load the stopping distance is poor.

Unless you have a full size truck I'd be concerned about the stopping ability of a smaller tow vehicle pulling a trailer without brakes.

One advantage of the class 3 hitch is the ability to add a weight distribution hitch, useful, even necessary, with a front wheel drive tow vehicle.
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:36 AM   #6
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Plus 1 on having brakes.

Have you looked at the 2013 Escape? It is rated for a 3500 pound trailer and delivers 30 mpg highway (with no trailer).

2013 Ford Escape SUV | The Smarter Way To Get There. |

Made in Louisville, KY, too, if that is a plus to you.
UHaul and Burro owners, join the UHaul Campers on Facebook.
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:46 AM   #7
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I towed my Surfside with a Forester on a few big trips, and it did fine. However, your Surfside is likely closer to 2,000 pounds than the 1600 it states in the documentation. Even with brakes on the trailer, the Forester is working a lot harder than the Santa Fe would to drive the same road. If I had started out with the Surfside instead of the Forester, I'd go for the Santa Fe.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:21 AM   #8
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 2012 Escape 19
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One could probably be fine with a class 2 receiver for a trailer of that weight, but if the vehicle you choose can take a class 3, no good reason not to get the heavier one.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:35 AM   #9
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Name: Kathy
Trailer: T@B
Posts: 1
I've towed my T@B (2000 lbs.) with a 2005 Santa Fe, a 2008 Santa Fe & now a 2011 Hyundai Veracruz. All of these vehicles did just fine. I travel with my 60 lb., constant companion, & have never had any towing match up problems. I seldom exceed 65 mph but sometimes find my self in the 70 mph range & just back off. I’ve towed it through the Smokey Mts., & all the way to Prince Edward Island/Nova Scotia & back down to the Everglades without any difficulty regarding the tow vehicle. The Veracruz has done the best job but is rated higher I think. Of course, using a TV that exceeds the load limit is always best.
I also have forgotten the trailer was back there, it tracks that well. I get an average of 15 mpg depending on the terrain. I love the safety & warranty of Hyundai products. I hope this helps.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:10 AM   #10
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Trailer: 92 16 ft Scamp
Posts: 11,756
Angela, take a look at the Real World Weights here.

As has been suggested once you add a propane tank, battery and all your personal items to the trailer its a good bet it will weigh in at 2000lbs or more. I know the Surfside trailer shown on the real world weights and it weighed in at 2120 including the 240lbs on the tongue. I can tell you that at that weight it had a 20lb propane tank and a battery (although I seem to think the battery is located inside the trailer) . So the brakes would be needed on your trailer for either of the tows you are considering. As others have suggested the Subaru is a great vehicle but keeping to its low tongue weight rating can present a few problems. I tow with one so I am well aware of the fact that one needs to watch the layout of the trailer, the options on it and what one puts in the trailer a lot more than you would if you had a tow vehicle with a higher tongue weight rating. Depending on the layout of your Surfside (ie is the kitchen is located at the front? the one on the weight list here is not) a tongue weight of 200lbs may not be achievable or if it is it may be done in such a way that its not a really safe of tow (ie it may want to wag on the freeway). Unfortunately the use of a weight distribution hitch which would help with the tongue weight issue is not recommended by Subaru. If I was starting from scratch as you are with a new tow vehicle I would go for the vehicle with the higher tongue weight rating. That of course is just MHO. :-))
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:33 AM   #11
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Trailer: 92 16 ft Scamp
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Originally Posted by alan in alberta View Post
I pull our Surfside with a ford ranger with a 3.0 litre engine. it is really nice to have the brakes here in Alberta when you are in the mountians and foot hills.

In Manitoba where the original Poster is from its actually the law that every trailer that is attached to a motor vehicle and that has a gross weight in excess of 910 kg (2,006 Ibs), when upon a highway shall be equipped with brakes. My understanding is that Alberta has the same requirement.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:24 PM   #12
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Name: Angela
Trailer: Surfside
Posts: 14
THanks everyone. THis has been very helpful.
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