Towing Scamp 13' with Subaru Outback 2016 2.5 - Fiberglass RV
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Old 02-03-2021, 10:30 AM   #1
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Name: Ben
Trailer: Scamp
Colorado
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Towing Scamp 13' with Subaru Outback 2016 2.5

Anyone have experince towing Scamp 13' (bunk - nothing else) with a Subaru Outback 2.5 engine? We tow about 5-6 times a year, live in Colorado so a Colorado pass or two a year and maybe a 8-10hr drive to yellowstone or down south to Sedona. I'm a slow driver and will have brake contrller installed. I tihnk fully loaded we'll be at around max 1800 with me my wife and toddler + gear. Outback has 2,700lb tow capacity. Anything I should be worried about with this tow setup? If I had money for a bigger vehicle I wold buy that but money is tight and outback is cheapest reliable and meets my needs for non-towing that I can find.
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Old 02-03-2021, 09:05 PM   #2
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Surprised you haven’t gotten a response. Outbacks are fairly popular as tow vehicles for 13’ Scamps. I will risk a reply despite no personal experience with that combination. Based on many reports, I expect performance will be adequate, but you won’t be blasting up the mountains at full speed. It has a low tongue weight rating (200#), which is about right for your Scamp, but you’ll have to limit what you carry in the back to avoid overloading the rear axle. You might need towing mirror extensions. And yes, you’ll want the brakes. You seem to be have it under control.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to visit a truck stop on your first trip and get an axle-by-axle weight of your fully loaded rig. Most have a CAT (certified auto and truck) scale. There will be a modest $10-20 charge, and you’ll know exactly where you stand with your vehicle’s GVWR and axle weight ratings.

Eventually you may want something a bit more (we’re four with two teens and bicycles, so we tow our 13’ Scamp with a Pilot), but your Outback should do fine to get you started.

You can also try the “Scamp Travel Trailers” Facebook group if you’re so inclined. It’s not bad as FB groups go. There are definitely more younger Scamp owners there and numerous Outback owners.

Happy travels!
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Old 02-04-2021, 11:34 AM   #3
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I tow our '79 Boler (very similar to your Scamp) with a Forester with same drive train. We've had no problems. Granted, where we've been with it and where we live we have no Mountains to contend with.

Your Outback has a greater towing rating because of the larger brake rotor size.

Watch your engine temperature in the hills and you should be fine.
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Old 02-04-2021, 12:05 PM   #4
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Cat scales

Quote:
Originally Posted by zsturm View Post
Anyone have experince towing Scamp 13' (bunk - nothing else) with a Subaru Outback 2.5 engine? We tow about 5-6 times a year, live in Colorado so a Colorado pass or two a year and maybe a 8-10hr drive to yellowstone or down south to Sedona.
I know people have towed the small Scamps with that vehicle, so I too am surprised no one has replied. Check your owner’s manual and/or door jamb for the towing capacity. I think it is 2,700 lbs. Here in the mid-west, it would be great, but in the west, you may be holding up traffic now and then. The picture (it was a dark and stormy day) is how I weighed my 16’. That is the as built weight, it is heaver now. The axle on one platform and the hitch supported by a wooden block on another, I think the CAT scale weighs in 20 lb. intervals.
CAT Scale (Certified Automated Truck Scale) was started in 1977 by Bill Moon, founder of the world’s largest truck stop in Walcott, Iowa. It is well worth the stop if you travel with someone that likes all the big shiny trucks on the highway. They also have a truck museum just north of the truck stop. Here in the mid-west there is a CAT scale around every corner, in Colorado not so much. Scale locater: https://catscale.com/cat-scale-locator/map/
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Old 02-04-2021, 12:16 PM   #5
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Out in the West- or anywhere there are long, steep grades- you'll hold up traffic if you hang out in the left lane. Stay in the right lane and blend in with the trucks. I figure if you can't keep up with loaded semis, you'll be looking for a new vehicle sooner than later. But I think you'll be fine. In the right lane.

On two lanes, keep an eye on traffic behind you and use pull-outs to let faster traffic pass.
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Old 02-04-2021, 12:41 PM   #6
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Subaru works well with pulling 13 ft

We have a 2016 Subaru Outback and pull a 13' Scamp with bath a larger bed with no problems.
Enjoy!!
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Old 02-04-2021, 12:45 PM   #7
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I tow my 13' Scamp with my 2017 Outback without difficulty. Before I got the Outback, I towed the trailer with my Impreza. I live on the prairie so don't encounter mountains, but I've had to tow short steep grades and I make it up. Slowly but surely. I do use extension mirrors.
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Old 02-04-2021, 02:40 PM   #8
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Here's a video that tells you much about towing a 13' SCAMP with a Subaru. While not the Subaru you are looking at, the man in the "man bun" tells you so much more. I wish I had watched this before I got a TV and/or trailer.


BTW, videos from London (and Australia)have been especially helpful to me as I researched tow vehicles. Check them out on YouTube. Here's one...


We LOVED our 2008 Subaru Legacy sedan and bought our new 2011 SCAMP 13' according to this Subaru's towing ability. The two problems we had were the low ground clearance resulting in the hitch hitting speed bumps and steep (or not so steep) driveways with or without the trailer in tow. The other issue was having to get an after market hitch as the manufacturer installed hitch is only good for bicycle racks.

Our "new" 2018 tow vehicle is a Mazda CX-5, a compact SUV. (I'm still a HUGE fan of Subaru vehicles but they were too pricey for us.) We are totally happy with it as it has more "oomph" than the Legacy and tows smoothly in the mountains and plains. Once again, we had to get an after market hitch which is ugly. I know, "Who chooses a hitch because it's beautiful?". Well I, the "Gleeful Glamper" does care, but I've learned to live with it. The hitch is functional and does its job.

Best of luck with whichever choice you make. You'll have a GREAT time camping with the SCAMP!
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Old 02-04-2021, 04:38 PM   #9
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Name: Tom
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We towed our 13Ft Boler out West and it struggled going around Lake Superior. Big hills had us going pretty slow or red lining if we tried to keep up our speed. The Prairie head winds were pretty much the same experience and the car was working hard. We have 2 propane cylinders on the tongue so that is added weight. In the end we blew the head gasket but not until we made it home. If you keep the load light and don't mind slow climbs......I personally wouldn't tow with anything less than a 3.0L engine.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:38 AM   #10
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Name: George
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OH
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Travel on!

Tow my 13' Scamp prepared for boondocking, full water tank, full propane, with my 2013 Outback and sometimes forget the trailer is there. I have the full bath option. Of course, I am in no hurry when I travel....I avoid the interstates because I am tired of the rush and I find more interesting places to visit on America's backroads. Never had a problem with power to climb all sorts of mountains and in and out of any camping spots, including primitive, no problem.
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Old 02-10-2021, 12:14 PM   #11
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I have a 2011, 2.5 Subaru Outback . I’m new to pulling my new to me 13 ft boler. I believe my trailer weight to be ~1200 (planning to weight on next trip ). When I discussed trailer brakes for my car the service rep at the dealer cautioned against electric trailer brakes added to my car and suggested a sleeve type hitch safety device. He also thought that 1200lbs would not need either. I am in rolling hills and haven’t pulled it except to bring it home and had no trouble at all. The only thing I was told was to have service (oil changed etc) twice as often. I’m also following this thread for any advice from more experienced
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Old 02-10-2021, 12:38 PM   #12
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As for brakes, I had Scamp install the brakes on the trailer. They did not wire them totally correctly, a simple fix, they need to be wired so that they are powered by the car through the lights, not the trailer battery. I love the brakes, great security and terrific when navigating a long downhill.
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Old 02-10-2021, 12:48 PM   #13
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13' Scamp and a 68 VW double cab

I am not familiar with the Subaru but we towed a 13' scamp - no fridge or A/C - behind a 1968 VW double cab for years. Still with the original size engine and brakes. We did not leave California much but did make it over several 1000'+ passes.

The general rule was to take it slow and steady uphill and never go downhill faster than you went uphill (brakes are not great in a 68 VW DC).

Here we are at Lake Isabella, CA at 2500', driving up from the valley floor.


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Old 02-10-2021, 12:59 PM   #14
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Trailer: 2003 13' Scamp
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Zsturm: I am towing a 2003 13 foot Scamp with a 2020 Outback. (Gross weight was 1360. tongue weight: 172.8. should be 10-15%, 10% is 136, 15% 204.)
I don’t have any unexpected problem, get about 20-22 mpg instead of the usual 33 mpg. Drive a little slower, certainly accelerate slower. I live in Minnesota, no mountains but a few steep hills.
I don’t currently have electric brakes, but plan to add someday.
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Old 02-10-2021, 01:08 PM   #15
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Cheaper to add brakes to the trailer than to have to replace the brakes on the tow after one emergency stop. I speak from experience. Had 300 miles on the Subaru after a brake job when I had to use them while towing my tent trailer.
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Old 02-10-2021, 01:52 PM   #16
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VW Bug TV!

I saw an older VW Beatle towing a Scamp 13, moving Southbound on Hwy 75 in Sherman, headed toward Dallas, Texas. It was a ‘60’s Bug. That was a surprise. Caught my attention because it was squirreling all over the double-lane road, moving about 50mph in a 75 zone. I’d rather have a Subaru.
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Old 02-10-2021, 02:05 PM   #17
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Brake controler not lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Wood View Post
As for brakes, I had Scamp install the brakes on the trailer. They did not wire them totally correctly, a simple fix, they need to be wired so that they are powered by the car through the lights, not the trailer battery. I love the brakes, great security and terrific when navigating a long downhill.
The brakes need to be powered by some type of controller not the lights. And yes the RV battery powers the brakes when the breakaway switch is tripped.
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Old 02-10-2021, 04:49 PM   #18
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2018 but with 3.6L

No issues in the mountains of Tennessee . Tow on the 2.4 turbo is significantly less ,why we wen’t for the flat six. Suspension wise no issues in the rear. You have electric brakes on the trailer? Outback’s are not that heavy of a vehicle.
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Old 02-10-2021, 08:19 PM   #19
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Name: Karen
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SUN VALLEY
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I was so excited to read your post. I bought a 2019 CX5 with the plan to tow a camper when I retire this December. Everyone said the scamp was too heavy. But you are a success story. I have a lot of questions: What is your MPG towing? Do you have trouble going up into the mountains? Do you limit your supplies/water to lighten your load? Is it difficult to hitch up or level the camper by yourself? Oh, if I haven't worn you out yet, I have more......
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Old 02-10-2021, 08:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosquito13 View Post
No issues in the mountains of Tennessee . Tow on the 2.4 turbo is significantly less ,why we wen’t for the flat six. Suspension wise no issues in the rear. You have electric brakes on the trailer? Outback’s are not that heavy of a vehicle.
Be careful not to confuse the base 2.5L non-turbo with the new-for-2020 2.4L turbo. The 2.5L is rated 2700#. The 2.4T replaced the 3.6L as the upgrade engine and is rated 3500#.
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