Towing a Scamp 13 with a 4cyl Subaru - Fiberglass RV
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Old 12-19-2006, 10:59 AM   #1
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I have a Subaru Baja (basically an Outback that has been re-designed to be a little truck) with a 4 cylinder automatic transmission and thinking about buying a Scamp 13, no bathroom,no a/c. I would like to hear from people towing a Casita or Scamp with a Subaru and did you add a transmission cooler ? And if you did add the cooler did the dealer install it?
Thanks,
Jimmy
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Old 12-19-2006, 11:14 AM   #2
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I have towed my UHaul 13 footer coast-to-coast with a 4 cylinder stick shift '98 Outback, no oil cooler, and no problems.
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Old 12-19-2006, 01:48 PM   #3
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There are not a lot of big differences between a Baja and Legacy or Outback, so I assume that with proper equipment they would be somewhat comparable as tow vehicles. The 2006 Outback is listed in the brochure from Subaru's U.S. website with a towing capacity of 2700 lb (2.5L 4-cyl) to 3000 lb (3.0L 6-cyl), while the Baja is available with only the smaller of the two sizes (the 2.5L 4-cyl in two versions) and lists a towing capacity of 2400 lb.

I think that there are two factors limiting the Baja's towing capacity:
  1. engine - only the larger engine is allowed the 3000 lb capacity, presumably for durability reasons
  2. rear overhang - although the Baja is on a very slightly shorter wheelbase than the Outback, it is 150 mm (6") longer, all in extra rear overhang, placing the hitch further back and causing more weight transfer and control issues, limiting capacity to 2400 lb instead of 2700 lb
Even 2400 lb seems like lots for a trailer which should be only 60% of that weight when loaded; however, the total loaded weight of the car and trailer (with passengers, luggage, and trailer cargo) must be considered against the Baja's Gross Combined Weight Rating (which is not given in the brochure).

What would be interesting would be to see someone tow a gooseneck or "fifth-wheel" with one of these micro-pickups... although only a true gooseneck would avoid problems with cab/trailer interference. The extra rear overhang wouldn't matter because the hitch would be over the axle anyway.

Jimmy, what is the maximum trailer rating for your specific Baja, as it is equipped?
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Old 12-19-2006, 05:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
I have towed my UHaul 13 footer coast-to-coast with a 4 cylinder stick shift '98 Outback, no oil cooler, and no problems.
Generally, one doesn't need a transmission cooler with a stick shift because the transmission oil and the components aren't as temperature sensitive as are automatic transmissions -- I said generally because there might be something out there with a need for cooling a manual transmission, but I have yet to stumble across it
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Old 12-19-2006, 06:51 PM   #5
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I agree that conventional manual transmissions don't heat up like automatics, because fluids are only used for lubrication, not for power transmission as with the torque converter of an automatic. This means the manuals don't generally need a cooler, even when towing, although race cars often use coolers for both transmission oil and differential oil.

According to the Subaru brochure, both manual and (both types of ) automatic transmissions use some sort of clutch mechanism to control the distribution of power in the all-wheel-drive system; in the Baja's manual transmission, it is a viscous coupling as a slip limiter on the centre differential. This could dissipate significant heat under some conditions, so cooling could be a concern even with the manual.

The 2006 Baja brochure doesn't list an optional package, or a restriction on towing capacity based on transmission type or equipment, so it seems like Subaru has not assessed transmission cooling as the limiting factor for towing.
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Old 12-19-2006, 08:20 PM   #6
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There are not a lot of big differences between a Baja and Legacy or Outback, so I assume that with proper equipment they would be somewhat comparable as tow vehicles. The 2006 Outback is listed in the brochure from Subaru's U.S. website with a towing capacity of 2700 lb (2.5L 4-cyl) to 3000 lb (3.0L 6-cyl), while the Baja is available with only the smaller of the two sizes (the 2.5L 4-cyl in two versions) and lists a towing capacity of 2400 lb.

I think that there are two factors limiting the Baja's towing capacity:
  1. engine - only the larger engine is allowed the 3000 lb capacity, presumably for durability reasons
  2. rear overhang - although the Baja is on a very slightly shorter wheelbase than the Outback, it is 150 mm (6") longer, all in extra rear overhang, placing the hitch further back and causing more weight transfer and control issues, limiting capacity to 2400 lb instead of 2700 lb
Even 2400 lb seems like lots for a trailer which should be only 60% of that weight when loaded; however, the total loaded weight of the car and trailer (with passengers, luggage, and trailer cargo) must be considered against the Baja's Gross Combined Weight Rating (which is not given in the brochure).

What would be interesting would be to see someone tow a gooseneck or "fifth-wheel" with one of these micro-pickups... although only a true gooseneck would avoid problems with cab/trailer interference. The extra rear overhang wouldn't matter because the hitch would be over the axle anyway.

Jimmy, what is the maximum trailer rating for your specific Baja, as it is equipped?
The tow rating is 2400# and the Subaru dealer says it already has a transmission cooler on it from the factory. He also said I shouldn't have a problem. thanks.
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Old 12-19-2006, 10:59 PM   #7
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Hi -
On this same thread, how about the same Baja with the larger Burro? It doesn't have a bathroom but I'm not sure what it weighs. Also, just removed the propane furnace. It had a crack in the exhaust somewhere and kept setting off the CO monitor!! We're using a small porcelain electric.

We have a Jeep that I am sure can tow it, but we sure love the Baja Thanks, Christi
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Old 12-20-2006, 06:08 AM   #8
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Christi, I just dug out my old Burro advertising for the 1998 models. The advertised dry weight on the 17' was 1500 lbs with a tongue weight of 125 lbs without options. A realistic tongue weight with a type 27 deep cycle RV battery and a single 20 lb propane tank would be closer to 200 lbs empty. If you have dual tanks and a reasonable load in the trailer, 250lbs would be more reasonable yet for a tongue weight. I'd guess that your Burro, loaded up (without the bath) and ready to go would be in the neighborhood of 2000-2200 lbs. The only way to know for sure is to take it out and weigh it. THEN you can compare that weight against the figures listed in your owner's manual on the Subaru and make a good decision about it's ability to tow your trailer.

If your Baja has a 2400 lb towing limit, pushing it that closely probably isn't a really good idea if you're going to tow any distance or over any kind of difficult terrain at all. Once again, dragging it around is easy. I can (and do) drag my 3000 lb Bigfoot around with my garden tractor. Stopping and maneuvering at speed with a trailer that weighs nearly as much as the tow vehicle is a different issue altogether.

Be safe!

Roger
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Old 12-20-2006, 09:34 AM   #9
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Roger,
Thanks a lot. That helps me to put some figures together. I actually have dual tanks on the back and no battery, so I'm expectiing to have to put everything inside up front when we travel to increase the tongue weight. Otherwise, I think I'll have a bouncy problem!! Christi P.S. 4:08 A.M.? - I wouldn't be digging for anything except an extra blanket!!
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Old 12-20-2006, 11:50 AM   #10
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Sounds like the only thing you need is the Scamp and away you go. Good luck BTW this is kind of a test for me because I haven't used this forum before.

Quote:
The tow rating is 2400# and the Subaru dealer says it already has a transmission cooler on it from the factory. He also said I shouldn't have a problem. thanks.
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Old 12-20-2006, 12:01 PM   #11
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Sounds like the only thing you need is the Scamp and away you go. Good luck BTW this is kind of a test for me because I haven't used this forum before.

Thanks to all who replied. We've now got a 13 on order and are looking forward to some new adventures. Jimmy.
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Old 12-23-2006, 10:24 AM   #12
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The tow rating is 2400# and the Subaru dealer says it already has a transmission cooler on it from the factory. He also said I shouldn't have a problem. thanks.
All cars with an automatic transmission have a trans-line that runs into (and thru) the bottom of your radiator and then back into the tranny. That's your typical stock transmission cooling system. Towing a 1,300 lb trailer with a vehicle that's rated @ 2,400 lb capacity should be absolutely no problem whatsoever.

I'm pulling a 1,250 lb U-Haul with a 4-cylinder Honda Element that has a 1,500 lb max towing capability. The U-Hual pulls easily, despite the fact that I'm very near my maximum weight limit with me in the driver's seat of the Element. I added an external heavy-duty U-Haul transmission cooler to our Element a few years ago and pulled our popup camper all over the Midwest and East coast with no problems at all. An aftermarket trans cooler is never a bad investment. However, you're so far under your weight limit that it doesn't seem neccesary unless you just want peace of mind. They say that adding an external trans cooler can double the life of your transmission even if you never tow anything with your vehicle. That's something to consider.
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Old 12-23-2006, 12:11 PM   #13
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Speaking of towing with a 4 cylinder, heres a Pinto powered (4 cylinder with auto) that tows an Escape....
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Old 12-24-2006, 09:48 PM   #14
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All cars with an automatic transmission have a trans-line that runs into (and thru) the bottom of your radiator and then back into the tranny.
Well.... almost all cars do.

One of Dad's many VW Squarebacks with an auto did not.
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Old 12-25-2006, 12:21 AM   #15
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Well.... almost all cars do.

One of Dad's many VW Squarebacks with an auto did not.

That's only because it's hard to find that radiator on a older VW.
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Old 12-25-2006, 12:35 AM   #16
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Christi, I just dug out my old Burro advertising for the 1998 models. The advertised dry weight on the 17' was 1500 lbs with a tongue weight of 125 lbs without options.
Roger
The 99 14' Burro I just sold had an empty tongue weight of 170 lbs with a group 24 battery and a standard propane tank on the tongue. I think that the dry weights of the Burros are misleading. I will bet that my 14' weighed at least 1500 lbs. My fully loaded 13' Scamp and a 600 pound ATV in the back of my truck pulls much easier than my almost empty Burro. I realize the aerodynamics of the Burro is equivilant to that of a brick but I noticed the biggest differance on long uphill pulls.
Weigh your Burro Christi.
John
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Old 12-25-2006, 11:25 AM   #17
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Those little Bajas sure are cute! I considered one when I recently was looking to purchase.

The color schemes alone make them desirable! That has nothing to do with towing or capability, but hey... they are different!
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Old 01-01-2007, 09:21 AM   #18
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We tow a 16 ft. Scamp with our 2004 Outback. It has an automatic transmission and, as recommended in the manual, we usually use 3rd gear instead of Drive, especially in hilly country. We also periodically check loaded weights and tongue weight to make sure we're within the recommended ranges. I have the transmission fluid checked regularly and so far haven't had any problems. The owner's manual does have a warning regarding towing up long inclines in very hot weather, but we live in the east and don't run into those conditions. We are very happy with our setup and are glad that we don't have to have a separate vehicle for towing.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:51 PM   #19
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Hi, are you still towing your '16 with your Outback? We are considering a loaded '13 to tow with our 4 cylinder '09 Outback. Does your '16 have a shower and/or A/C?

Thanks,
Ken
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:00 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Ken in SW VA View Post
Hi, are you still towing your '16 with your Outback? We are considering a loaded '13 to tow with our 4 cylinder '09 Outback. Does your '16 have a shower and/or A/C?

Thanks,
Ken
Not the Same but pretty much equivalent... Tens of thousands of miles towing with a 4CYL Ford Escape 5spd manual. Works well with our loaded 13 scamp deluxe front bath....
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