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Subaru Outback/Legacy Towing Questions

Does anyone know if the Spec B can tow? I thought I read somewhere that it was discouraged due to Aluminum suspension components

Comments

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    Don't know. Go to a Subie dealer and ask to look at owner's manual of a spec.B. Don't ask the salesman, as he/she won't likely know.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Even though it may be rated, it's the Outback that is pre-wired for a tow package. You would have to splice wires.

    IMO the Outback is much better suited for towing.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    I agree. I would tow with an H-6 Outback before towing with a spec.B. Mainly because it's an automatic.

    Bob
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Haha, yes, no kidding. The Subaru lacks one very, very helpful little detail when it comes to towing with a manual - torque. If the 6MT clutch material is anything like that of the 5MT, one would scorch nose hairs with the frequency of burned clutch plate while attempting to tow anything nearing the max tow rating... I hope those are highway towing miles! :P
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Hmm dunno but the 2500HD has a 6-speed Allison :) Yum Yum.

    -mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 6MT is rock solid, I bet the clutch is improved, too. Hadn't thought about that, but that probably makes it better for towing than any of the 5MTs.

    Of course we only get the H6 with an auto, so I'd still recommend an OB with that engine.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Yes, in general, I would as well. My 96 OBW (auto) was far better at maneuvering through deep snow and other inclement conditions at low speeds than this 5MT. Really have to nurse it through. Not a problem if I can keep it moving, but if I stop it is like trying to coax a mule!

    I have not needed to pull anyone from a ditch with it yet, but I expect it will be a real chore to do so compared to the AT. Granted, that is not towing, but it can be similar from a stop depending on weights, grades, etc.

    All things to think about, but if towing is infrequent at best, it is probably more important just to know if it can tow and go with the preferred transmission for that 99% driving! :D
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,004
    Ok Crew, I need a trailer, and I live too far away to do like Juice and go borrow Bob's for a week. Durn it Wes, you're too far away too.

    Neither my '97 Outback Limited nor my '99 Quest have a hitch. So that's the issue. Which one (or neither and just rent a truck).

    I have a load of boxes to move for a 1,000 plus miles and I'm thinking a 4x8 U-Haul. If I can keep the load under 1,000 pounds, then trailer brakes wouldn't be an issue, but the trailer weighs 850 pounds and the boxes will probably come in around 500 pounds.

    I'd rather put the hitch on the Outback but towing is limited to 2,000 pounds max (1,000 without brakes).

    The Quest tows 3,500 pounds, but again, 1,000 without brakes. Maybe that's worthwhile to do though just for the extra margin I may be getting?

    Both are automatics and I'm not excited about adding a transmission cooler on for the limited use I plan to do.

    There's a Hidden Hitch available (seems like Fibber and Lilengineerboy have these?) but U-Haul may be quick and easy for similar pricing. Maybe my mechanic will have something lying around too; have to check with him.

    Thanks for any comments.

    Steve, visiting host

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Steve, does your Quest have a four or six cylinder engine? For the trip you are proposing, that may make a big difference considering grades, etc. If that 4x8 U-Haul you may pull is an enclosed unit, it is going to buck a lot of wind and will make that 2.5L engine work pretty hard... believe me! So, in that case alone, it may be better to mod the Quest if it is a larger engine. Auxiliary coolers are incredibly easy to install (although I have never put one on either of those two particular models!), so you shouldn't worry much about that!

    If you are considering DIY installation, I highly recommend Curt Manufacturing for trailer hitches - they make a very nice product! I do not think a class-3 unit is available for your Outback due to the location of the muffler, but class-2 is widely available. The Curt unit is #12270, and is available from Amazon for about $157.00. The wiring will run you another $35.00-$40, and is most likely available for that price both online and locally.

    For your Quest, it is the same story, except that there are class-3 models available from Draw-Tite and Hidden Hitch; if you think you might use it for other things such as a cargo tray, a class-3 is the only way to go! The Curt unit (class -2) is #12105 and Amazon has it for about $168. E-trailer.com has the class-3 units I mentioned above and also has good pricing with great service!

    As for the trailer brakes, you're skirting the edge of the "no-brainer" comfort zone. If I was towing regularly with that weight using the Outback, I would probably invest in the brake controller (assuming my trailer had brakes on it - many that small do not). For just a one-time use, there's no way I would bother. At that weight, it all comes down to your comfort/familiarity with pulling trailers as you can get yourself into trouble if you do not know what you are doing. I have pulled a lot of trailers and am very comfortable with them, so I just want to offer a balanced opinion. :blush:
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    Steve, the last time I checked, most (if not all) U-Haul trailers have a 45 mph speed limit. Yeah, I know, nobody follows that; but still...

    Bob
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Oh, and Steve, you are more than welcome to borrow my trailer! :shades:
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,004
    edited July 2010
    lol, thanks Wes. You deliver, right?

    The Quest is a 170 hp 6 cylinder, and yeah, was looking at the enclosed box.

    U-Haul didn't say anything about surge brakes, so I assume that's not available.

    Oh, and it looks like the boxes are already pushing 800 pounds, so figure another 15% on top of that.

    I had a utility trailer back in the mid-70s in my Jeep CJ days, and I didn't enjoy pulling it around. Imagine the fun of trying to back that thing up with a short wheel base Jeep.

    So ... how about flat towing an Outback AT? Possible? Hmm, not recommended in the manual.

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    So ... how about flat towing an Outback AT? Possible? Hmm, not recommended in the manual.

    Not for any real distance! Maybe a few miles, at most. You could put the front end on a car dolly and disconnect the rear drive shaft, but otherwise I would put it on a car hauler.

    Are you folks moving south?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    edited July 2010
    If you're just moving 500 pounds of boxes, you'd probably spend way more than it's worth to adapt your current vehicles. I'd say rent a full-sized passenger van - this way you can still have (at least) 5 seats (you can remove the extras and leave them in your garage til you get back) and plenty of enclosed locked space for the cargo.

    That was the method we used when my sister got her first apartment back in the 80s... drove her stuff from NJ to Ohio (she went to college at OSU, and decided to move there permanently), plus, we were able to use the van to move her roommate's stuff as well as avoid delivery charges picking up some larger items from the store while we were out there. Then Dad and I went back to NJ with the empty van.

    You'd probably be able to rent the van cheaper than the U-haul trailer and all the hitch work.

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    That's a great idea, KC, especially if this is likely a one-shot deal for Steve!
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,004
    I do have a friend with a ~20 passenger bus I could borrow (might need a CDL though).

    Naturally he's about as far north as you Wes. :P

    I'm sort of thinking a small container may be easier. Gotta get some quotes.

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  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,583
    G'day

    It might be worth checking out some removalists in your area and where you are going. We just had to move 15m3 of books from my father in law's former home to our carport so that we can finish sorting them. I had intended to do it by trailer or hire a truck but checked out and found a removalist who typically carries new furniture from near my home to near my father in law's old place. They were happy to get a back load and only charged a fraction of the cost that I would have incurred with the truck. I reckon it was a bout 30% of the likely cost.

    The only real problem was that they were too efficient. The boxes were delivered next day! A mad scrabble to get tarpaulins fixed over them because we then had wild weather. Now we are working through sorting all of the goods.

    Cheers

    Graham
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,004
    edited August 2010
    I don't think we have "removalists" here in the States (there are survivalists and secessionists in the desert south of here though :) ).

    Got a quote from a "mover", partial trailer load, door to door, for US $900. $600 to the terminal, but that's a good ways away. Not sure how to find a backhaul but that would be good.

    Haven't gotten a quote yet, but the container services are attractive since you don't have to do a mad scramble. If the three days to unload it they give you at the destination aren't enough, you can pay to store it. That would also be the advantage of owning a trailer; no hurry to unpack it.

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