Subaru Outback pulling 13' Trillium - Fiberglass RV
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:44 AM   #1
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My wife and I just happened on a 1978 13' Trillium at a fair price and couldn't pass it up. So, we're really newbies (though I have lots of miles experience pulling a utility trailer). Now, we have to get serious about what we'll need to do so we can safely pull it with our '06 Subaru Outback wagon - standard 4cyl engine. My wife quickly found your forum and we've been studying it like mad since. I'm convinced I need to add electric brakes and controller, and have a place near by that I know and trust to do the work. Not sure if I need the trans cooler. We would like to hear from any Outback owners (or similar engine size vehicle owners) that have pulled this size Trillium or similar about their experiences - with or without trailer brakes.
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:34 AM   #2
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If its a automatic you need the trans cooler or your transmission will be shot after no time. Change the fluid and put a cooler on.
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Old 09-13-2008, 12:16 PM   #3
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Thanks, Keven...Pretty much what I figured; so, I'll add that to the list of necessaries.
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If its a automatic you need the trans cooler or your transmission will be shot after no time. Change the fluid and put a cooler on.
re
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:00 PM   #4
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I have aprox. 8,000 towing Km. on my Forester/Surfside. Subaru's like brakes for anything over 1,000 pounds. I don't have a transmission cooler, and have 325,000 on the transmission and it still pulls fine. Depending on where you live (how cold it gets), if you install a transmission cooler, try to find one with a pressure bypass, so that cold fluid doesn't result in your cooler starving your transmission of fluid. Enjoy; your Subaru/Trillium is an ideal combination.
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:13 PM   #5
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Hi Marv,

Like Cam I have electric brakes but no transmission cooler on our 2005 Subaru Forester, 1976 Trillium Combo. We did a return trip through the Rockies with a loaded trailer and 2 adults/2kids with no issues.... and like Cam I think the Subaru/Trillium combination is perfect. Our Subaru dealer has never installed a trans cooler but has installed a ton of hitches and brake controllers. I would HIGHLY recommend getting brakes and a good controller - I purchased a Tekonsha Prodigy and find it works excellent. We got a class II hitch and I would recommend getting one if you can. We are actually replacing our truck with an aluminum trailer for doing yardwork and the class II allows us to use the trailer fully loaded.

Trilliums Rock =)
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Old 09-14-2008, 10:02 PM   #6
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Depending on where you live (how cold it gets), if you install a transmission cooler, try to find one with a pressure bypass, so that cold fluid doesn't result in your cooler starving your transmission of fluid.
Cam,
Can you explain how the pressure bypass system works? Is it something like the coolant overflow and reserve using the rad cap as a valve on the cooling system?
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Old 09-15-2008, 01:11 PM   #7
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Cam,
Can you explain how the pressure bypass system works? Is it something like the coolant overflow and reserve using the rad cap as a valve on the cooling system?
Disclaimer - I am no mechanic. My understanding is that over-cooling results in late or harsh shifting; or worse, trans fluid starvation when it gels in the cooler and does not circulate back to the transmission. Some coolers have a valve that bypasses the cooler and returns the fluid to the transmission until it reaches operating temperature. Perhaps some mechanical type could clarify for our behalf.
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:49 PM   #8
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I've never heard of the bypass valve, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist in some systems, esp in extremely cold climates.

However, most aux tranny coolers are recommended to be installed between the hot side of the tranny and the entry to the main radiator trans cooler. In cold weather, the radiator, warmed by the engine, will bring the trans oil up to temperature.

If the aux cooler is installed *after* the radiator, it might cool the trans oil down too much in very cold weather.

Some installers want to bypass the in-radiator cooler, but that would not be a good thing in very cold climates.
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Old 09-19-2008, 05:12 PM   #9
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Hi Marv,

Like Cam I have electric brakes but no transmission cooler on our 2005 Subaru Forester, 1976 Trillium Combo. We did a return trip through the Rockies with a loaded trailer and 2 adults/2kids with no issues.... and like Cam I think the Subaru/Trillium combination is perfect. Our Subaru dealer has never installed a trans cooler but has installed a ton of hitches and brake controllers. I would HIGHLY recommend getting brakes and a good controller - I purchased a Tekonsha Prodigy and find it works excellent. We got a class II hitch and I would recommend getting one if you can. We are actually replacing our truck with an aluminum trailer for doing yardwork and the class II allows us to use the trailer fully loaded.

Trilliums Rock =)
Hi, Booker....Thanks for the info. I have talked to my hitch guy and he quoted me a price on brake and controller work that included a Draw-Tite 5100 controller. He said it is made by Tekonsha and virtually the same as the Prodigy. Anyone have any experience with the Draw-Tite? He said he would sell me the Prodigy (more $$), if that's what I wanted.
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:53 PM   #10
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I have talked to my hitch guy and he quoted me a price on brake and controller work that included a Draw-Tite 5100 controller. He said it is made by Tekonsha and virtually the same as the Prodigy. Anyone have any experience with the Draw-Tite? He said he would sell me the Prodigy (more $$), if that's what I wanted.
Based on info from the draw-tite site, the 5100 model is a time-based unit, and not an inertia-based model which probably explains the price difference.

But it looks like Draw-Tite does make the Pinnacle models that are inertia-based.
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Old 09-20-2008, 08:23 AM   #11
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Based on info from the draw-tite site, the 5100 model is a time-based unit, and not an inertia-based model which probably explains the price difference.

But it looks like Draw-Tite does make the Pinnacle models that are inertia-based.
Aha! So my hitch guy didn't quite tell me all. I'm assuming the preponderance of Prodigy recommendations is because it is an inertia type. Thanks for pointing out the difference. I'll be better prepared to the make the best choice for my situation.
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Old 09-20-2008, 09:37 PM   #12
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Check EBay for realistic prices for Prodigy -- The lifetime warranty is good regardless of where you buy it.
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Old 09-20-2008, 11:39 PM   #13
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Marv - I haven't been on for a few days and just read your question about trans. cooler. We pull a 13' Burro with a 97 Legacy wagon with a 2.2 engine. When we started, I contacted Subaru and they said that they'd long realized what Subaru's were used for and that they already had a trans. cooler installed. Haven't checked on later models but will be doing so as I'll be switching to a 2005 Subaru legacy sedan.
There is one operating anomaly that I've wondered whether others have experienced. We have some long straightaways here that prompt driving on cruse control. As I think most auto trans. now have a variable stater - when running at 55-60 on cruse in its top gear, 4th, the car runs at a stater adjusted higher RPM. When canceling the cruse, the engine drops back to its lower RPM. (This is not a situation where the engine is running too slow with a load.) Wondered whether anyone else has experienced this.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:58 AM   #14
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There is one operating anomaly that I've wondered whether others have experienced. We have some long straightaways here that prompt driving on cruse control. As I think most auto trans. now have a variable stater - when running at 55-60 on cruse in its top gear, 4th, the car runs at a stater adjusted higher RPM. When canceling the cruse, the engine drops back to its lower RPM. (This is not a situation where the engine is running too slow with a load.) Wondered whether anyone else has experienced this.
My 98 Forester automatic doesn't do that; it is quite happy to pull in fourth gear on the flat - with low rpms.
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:24 AM   #15
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Note to all responders on this topic: Thanks for all the good tips and discussion. I've had electric brakes and controller added (at my trusted dealer's recommendation I chose the DrawTite 5100); I also had them wire up my trailer's auto battery to the car so it will charge as I drive. Can't wait to get it on the road for a good test. We hope to join some of you at the Brown Co., IN rally next month.
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:36 AM   #16
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I didn't realize this Outback could tow more than my S10 pickup.

2006 Outback
Max. Towing (lb) 2700
Torque ([at]rpm) 169 [at] 4400

My s10
2500 max towing
Torque 130
Might have to check into this. Subaru is a very good car.
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:21 AM   #17
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Yes, that is why we finally settled on a Subaru ourselves. Though our 1991 Toyota 4x4 truck is rated for 3500lbs the Subaru pulls far nicer off the start and cruises much more comfortably. I am also pretty impressed with the gas mileage of it as a daily driver. The only problem (very minor) is that it's a bit too narrow to see around the sides with the stock mirrors.
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:08 PM   #18
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In regards to using cruise control our 2003 automatic Forester also drops to lower gear and higher rpm's when I was using it pulling our 13" Scamp this summer. This happened while traveling about 60 mph on flat roads. I found it to be a little annoying and ended up not using cruise control in order to keep the transmission in overdrive. I am thinking about installing a transmission cooler next spring. I have looked into the by pass valve since we live in an extremely cold climate (-20 to-40 degrees or more at times) in January and still remain concerned about it make take longer to warm up the car in the winter with the cooler installed.

Is there anyone out there who has a tranmission cooler where it gets -20 degrees? Does it take longer for your car to warm up?
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:59 PM   #19
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I had a transmission cooler put on my Volvo wagon a number of years ago when I lived in northern Minnesota (below zero F temps not unusual) and I can't say as I noticed any delay in warm up. I did get one of the coolers with the bypass mentioned earlier in the thread. Also, as a data-point, I had no block heater on that car.

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Old 01-18-2009, 05:17 AM   #20
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Hi Marv,

Like Cam I have electric brakes but no transmission cooler on our 2005 Subaru Forester, 1976 Trillium Combo. We did a return trip through the Rockies with a loaded trailer and 2 adults/2kids with no issues.... and like Cam I think the Subaru/Trillium combination is perfect. Our Subaru dealer has never installed a trans cooler but has installed a ton of hitches and brake controllers. I would HIGHLY recommend getting brakes and a good controller - I purchased a Tekonsha Prodigy and find it works excellent. We got a class II hitch and I would recommend getting one if you can. We are actually replacing our truck with an aluminum trailer for doing yardwork and the class II allows us to use the trailer fully loaded.

Trilliums Rock =)
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