Subaru Outback Towing a 16' Scamp? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:41 PM   #1
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I'm just curious. Is anyone towing a 16' Scamp (or equivalent) with a Subaru Outback? Just dealing with factory numbers, Scamp shows 1750# for the 16' model, and Subaru shows a 3,000# towing capacity for the 3.0L version. I am well aware of actual weight growth, truth in advertizing, etc. I would like to know if anyone has any direct personal experience with this setup that they can share.

We're presently towing a 13' Scamp with our Outback quite easily. Thinking of possibilities for the future without moving up to a heavier tow vehicle.

Parker
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:46 PM   #2
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Hi Parker,
When we bought our 1995 Scamp I towed it the 15 miles home with Norma's 2005 Outback 2.5i - 2700 pound tow rating.
Our Scamp is a 16' side bath with no shower, water heater or air conditioner. I weighed it on the way home ~1900 pounds on the highway scale along our route with nothing in the cabinets and empty fresh tank - maybe 1/4 tank of propane.
The Subie actually did a good job of hauling the empty Scamp, but we decided to look for a heavier tow vehicle.

Couple of reasons.
Our Trailblazer has the extra weight and power so we don't have to worry about every ounce we take like we were backpacking. With all the storage, it's just too easy to let the weight creep up - we weighted 2400 pounds our last trip.
I still drive a '98 Outback with over 300,000 miles on it. I'd like to get that out of the 2005 and don't think we would if we used it to tow near it maximum rating up and down the West Coast and Cascades.

Hope this helps,
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Old 08-03-2009, 11:17 PM   #3
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Hi Parker,

I am towing our 13' Trillium with a 2005 2.5i Forester - 2400 pound tow rating. It tow's the Trillium just fine (in fact we just did the Cascades with it last month). However, I feel that the load was just right for the car - anymore and the car would be draggin up the hills. I know that the 16' weight dry might be 1750 but I think you should plan on it being more like 2500lbs loaded for camping and then another 300-500 pounds if you load the tanks

Cheers,
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:45 AM   #4
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Guys,

Exactly the sort of comments I'm interested in. We pull our 13' Scamp like it isn't even there with our 3.0L Outback, so I was wondering about how we might do with the 16' model. We often talk about moving up to something slightly larger (really, it's mostly about having a shower and flush toilet for places without facilities), but that invariably leads to discussions of a new tow vehicle, burning more gas for day-to-day use, significant outlay of cash, etc. So then we decide we'll stick with what we have. If I thought we could pull the 16' Scamp (my guess is it's slightly lighter than a Casita, but I haven't confirmed) it would be tempting. I don't want to end up with a slug in the hills, though.

Thanks. Hope there are some others out there to comment!

Parker
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:46 AM   #5
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I have been looking for the Trillium 4500 because it's got larger beds and a larger fridge without being too much heavier then our 1300. I have mixed feelings on having a bathroom. Everytime I have to I get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom visit I wish we had a bathroom. However, I have friends with larger trailer who grumble about dealing with the black water side of things.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:59 AM   #6
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Hi Parker,

I am towing our 13' Trillium with a 2005 2.5i Forester - 2400 pound tow rating. It tow's the Trillium just fine (in fact we just did the Cascades with it last month). However, I feel that the load was just right for the car - anymore and the car would be draggin up the hills. I know that the 16' weight dry might be 1750 but I think you should plan on it being more like 2500lbs loaded for camping and then another 300-500 pounds if you load the tanks

Cheers,
I am wondering... I recently bought a 1974 Trillium 1300, put brakes on it, and tow it with my 2004 Forester, which has a great towing reputation. My Forester has done just fine, but unlike some folks who have written that they 'can't even feel it back there', I can, and it can certainly slow down in the hills- all this is to be expected. What I wonder more is how it feels to you on dirt roads or bumpy roads- not 4-wheel drive roads- and what the weakest link is in the whole affair- is it the hitch point? the trailer frame? I hear an occasional thunk when I hit a bump, and wonder what that is, and how bad that is. I guess this is all so relative and hard to quantify, but I haven't towed anything before and it is hard to tell what is 'normal'. Thanks!
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:11 PM   #7
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Hi Sandy,

I basically have the same rig (1976, 2005) and I have driven dirt roads with it. The clunk is the hitch shifting around - I get it sometimes on quick starts or over speed bumps as well as dirt roads. I find it's worse if I have too much weight in the back of the trailer. You can get accessories to tighten up the hitch point and remove that sound if it bugs too much. The only other thing I notice when towing on dirt roads is they tend to have more 'camber' so getting close to the edge of a road can put quite a lean on the trailer.

Though I don't notice a big change in handling when towing it definitely does not zoom up hills. The Subaru is a pretty gutsy car without the trailer but with the trailer I feel like it has power more like our Ford Focus. We like to sight see on our trips so having a bigger TV just go pull it faster on hills seemed pointless to us.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:31 PM   #8
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Hi Sandy,

I basically have the same rig (1976, 2005) and I have driven dirt roads with it. The clunk is the hitch shifting around - I get it sometimes on quick starts or over speed bumps as well as dirt roads. I find it's worse if I have too much weight in the back of the trailer. You can get accessories to tighten up the hitch point and remove that sound if it bugs too much. The only other thing I notice when towing on dirt roads is they tend to have more 'camber' so getting close to the edge of a road can put quite a lean on the trailer.

Though I don't notice a big change in handling when towing it definitely does not zoom up hills. The Subaru is a pretty gutsy car without the trailer but with the trailer I feel like it has power more like our Ford Focus. We like to sight see on our trips so having a bigger TV just go pull it faster on hills seemed pointless to us.
Hi, thank you Booker. You have quite a web site, by the way. The noise only bothers me because I don't know what is normal and ok, or if any real harm is being done. There is no extra weight in the back; I've been keeping it light until I get more of a feel for towing, and since the so-called dry weight was 1360 or so, and the Trillium is rated to 1500, I've been leery of adding much. I travel light and like to pull over a lot too, so speed is not my thing and what you said about the power sounds right to me. Camber refers to a twist, and is therefore to be avoided? What do you think about the general vibration and stress on the frame or anything else- I live on a one mile dirt road, and you generally don't find the best roads camping either. Thanks again! Sandy
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:40 PM   #9
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We never fill the water tanks and with food/cooking gear/bedding and clothes for the 4 of us we are between 1800-1900lbs on average. There was a recall on the early 70's Trillium trailers for a potential cracked frame where it sweeps under the front of the trailer - it's pretty obvious where it would be. In that case you would want to get that reinforced. The other thing to check is if the bolts holding the body to the frame are solid (to be honest I have never done this mysef).

We have put on over 8000km with ours since last spring and I haven't worried too much the frame stress, I just take a look every once in a while to make sure there are no cracks appearing. Though frames do break it's generally after a fracture has been there for a while so if you do a quick check before and after each trip you should be ok. These trailers have been solid for 30+ years so I think that says a lot about their durability.

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Old 08-06-2009, 12:59 PM   #10
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We never fill the water tanks and with food/cooking gear/bedding and clothes for the 4 of us we are between 1800-1900lbs on average. There was a recall on the early 70's Trillium trailers for a potential cracked frame where it sweeps under the front of the trailer - it's pretty obvious where it would be. In that case you would want to get that reinforced. The other thing to check is if the bolts holding the body to the frame are solid (to be honest I have never done this mysef).

We have put on over 8000km with ours since last spring and I haven't worried too much the frame stress, I just take a look every once in a while to make sure there are no cracks appearing. Though frames do break it's generally after a fracture has been there for a while so if you do a quick check before and after each trip you should be ok. These trailers have been solid for 30+ years so I think that says a lot about their durability.
Yes, that is pretty much what I've done too as far as loading- no water, and then I put all I can in the car. I actually have talked to the man who built our trailers in the '70's!!, and has recently started building new Trilliums again here in California (he owns the original forms), and who has been a wonderful and generous resource. I asked him about that recall, and he said mine was not affected, based on the year it was manufactured. I'll take your advice on checking the frame anyway, and the bolts. I'll talk to him again too, but I appreciate hearing about your experience and your advice on all of this.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:15 PM   #11
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Hey, that's cool you got to talk to Tom, he's got some great info on the older trailers. The actual bodies for the trailers are being made up here in BC at Chilliwack now by Escape so I expect we will be seeing a lot of the newer Trilliums around.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:50 PM   #12
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We have a 2009 American Trillium 1300. On the trillium website, there is a 'slide show' of apparently the Chilliwack Trillium.

http://www.trilliumrv.com/

We counted 31 changes from ours.

(Almost forgot the original theme of this thread.)

We pull it with our 2000 Outback rated at 2000# tow capacity. We weighed the trailer a few weeks ago, with middling things in it (no water in tank) and it showed 1700#. So I would say we couldn't tow anything larger than a 13'.

There are A LOT of threads on this website discussing weight, towing, etc. If you are keeping your tow under your rating for your TV as stated in the owner's manual, you should be fine.
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:38 PM   #13
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Thanks Roger for posting about the slideshow - I have been waiting for it to be posted.

Since we already off topic .. I prefer the molded fiberglass cabinets of the American Model. Never been a big fan of the Oak cabinets found in most trailers
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:46 PM   #14
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Sandy,

I'm not sure what your particular clunks are, of course, but one thing to check is the fit of the ball with the coupler. If you have the wrong size ball, or even if you have the right one and it's not adjusted properly* I find that it can make the whole rig seem a bit dicey (and makes a lot of clunks when you go over bumps or initiate/roll-back-from a stop).

*You can adjust the "forks" that grip the bottom of the ball.

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Old 08-06-2009, 04:54 PM   #15
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I'm so happy I was able to start a thread that turned out to be so popular regarding hitch noises and other things! The question of a Subaru pulling a 16-footer ran out of gas long ago. I guess I got my answer.....not many doing it.

Parker
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:51 AM   #16
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I'm so happy I was able to start a thread that turned out to be so popular regarding hitch noises and other things! The question of a Subaru pulling a 16-footer ran out of gas long ago. I guess I got my answer.....not many doing it.

Parker
Parker I have been doing it for 3 years. Older 16' Scamp with a side bath/shower basic 07 Subaru Outback. Been up and down the US west Coast twice, over the mountains in Washington & BC **many** times. Been in the montains in 107 degree weather and in snow! :-) Stick to the speed limit and all is well. You need to watch your tongue weight though as that is the only issue with the Subaru. Get a good brake controller. I get an average in the mountains about 20 miles to the US gallon. This is my 3rd Outback and I suspect that due to the amount of towing I have done it may be having a harder life than the previous ones so I may consider trading it a bit sooner than the others (kept them on average 6 years). Having said that though I have not had any problems with this one at all.
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:42 PM   #17
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Guys,

Exactly the sort of comments I'm interested in. We pull our 13' Scamp like it isn't even there with our 3.0L Outback, so I was wondering about how we might do with the 16' model. We often talk about moving up to something slightly larger (really, it's mostly about having a shower and flush toilet for places without facilities), but that invariably leads to discussions of a new tow vehicle, burning more gas for day-to-day use, significant outlay of cash, etc. So then we decide we'll stick with what we have. If I thought we could pull the 16' Scamp (my guess is it's slightly lighter than a Casita, but I haven't confirmed) it would be tempting. I don't want to end up with a slug in the hills, though.

Thanks. Hope there are some others out there to comment!

Parker
How about a 13 Scamp with a shower and a flush toilet??
works great for us!
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:22 PM   #18
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The thing about Subarus is that they vary in tow rating depending on the year and engine. You can't just say 'tow with a Subaru'. You have to know which year, etc. Again, the final say is in the Owner's Manual. It says in there what you have to do to tow, how much you can tow, etc. Our (year) 2000 Subaru is only rated for towing 2000# with the 2.2L engine, so we are limited to a 13' egg.
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Old 09-13-2009, 01:36 PM   #19
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Parker I have been doing it for 3 years. Older 16' Scamp with a side bath/shower basic 07 Subaru Outback. Been up and down the US west Coast twice, over the mountains in Washington & BC **many** times. Been in the montains in 107 degree weather and in snow! :-) Stick to the speed limit and all is well. You need to watch your tongue weight though as that is the only issue with the Subaru. Get a good brake controller. I get an average in the mountains about 20 miles to the US gallon. This is my 3rd Outback and I suspect that due to the amount of towing I have done it may be having a harder life than the previous ones so I may consider trading it a bit sooner than the others (kept them on average 6 years). Having said that though I have not had any problems with this one at all.
Carol,

Thanks for your reply. This is encouraging news. We just completed a 5400 mile trip from Ohio to Idaho, Yellowstone, Tetons, and home pulling our 13' Scamp with our 05 LL Bean Outback. We could pretty well pick any speed we wanted to climb the mountains as long as we kept the revs above 3,000. We were pretty heavily loaded for a 13-er, carrying an external air conditioner, Honda generator, clothes for widely varying weather conditions, lots of food, etc. We seem to have gobs of power with the 3.0 liter six cylinder engine (although we don't get your mileage while towing....closer to 16.5), so we're returning to the idea of a 16' Scamp. We would like a little more space to organize our stuff, and would really like the shower as we often stay in national parks. I understand tongue weight may be an issue. Our Subaru is rated for 3,000#, but the tongue weight limit remains at 200#, so we'll have to watch that with a 16' Scamp.


Thanks again,
Parker
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Old 09-13-2009, 06:00 PM   #20
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Is that ball hitch weight or with a WDH ?

The reason I ask is my hitch is 300lb ball hitch and 500lb WDH

My tongue weight is 325lb and trailer with everything but food and cloth's is 2700lb

2009 16' side dinette with front bath.

Bill K
Quote:
I understand tongue weight may be an issue. Our Subaru is rated for 3,000#, but the tongue weight limit remains at 200#, so we'll have to watch that with a 16' Scamp.


Thanks again,
Parker
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