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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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900lbs weight limit?

Was just reading the manual for my 2010 Forester 2.5X and it says max weight for combined people and cargo is only 900lbs? That doesn't seem right, the average weight of 5 adults would have to be 180lbs or less if you wanted to put some cargo on the back. A family of four with grown-up teenagers could easily surpass the weight limited especially if mom and dad are a bit overweight plus you have the cargo. So really I'm assuming a few people here have surpassed the weight limit, ya know ski trip lots of gear and luggage plus 4 or 5 people that 900lbs is long gone. Assuming 900lbs is Subaru covering their butt number, what is the actual capacity...anyone know? What is the most weight you've had in your Forester before it bottomed out?

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 01:30 AM
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Don't read too much into the rating numbers. They're primarily there due to the legal department. I'm sure it could safely hold a lot more, but 900 lbs. is what Subaru is tested to be a "consistently safe" load rating.

For example, some Common-Sense-Lacking people load their car up to the brim with stuff and people (say 1700 lbs.), roll their car and tries to sue Subaru because "no one told them it was unsafe to have that much weight in the car". THAT is why there are ratings on just about everything these days, not just as a scapegoat, but for people who just lack common sense. (You know, the type of people who sue because they burned themselves using a gas BBQ grille......Also the reason why there's a "WARNING: Flame is Hot" sticker plastered all over said grille.)

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JASONDHSD View Post
Was just reading the manual for my 2010 Forester 2.5X and it says max weight for combined people and cargo is only 900lbs? That doesn't seem right, the average weight of 5 adults would have to be 180lbs or less if you wanted to put some cargo on the back. A family of four with grown-up teenagers could easily surpass the weight limited especially if mom and dad are a bit overweight plus you have the cargo. So really I'm assuming a few people here have surpassed the weight limit, ya know ski trip lots of gear and luggage plus 4 or 5 people that 900lbs is long gone. Assuming 900lbs is Subaru covering their butt number, what is the actual capacity...anyone know? What is the most weight you've had in your Forester before it bottomed out?
I've spent some time on the Ford Truck forums and there are people who are surprised that a new Crew Cab F150 pickup, roughly the size of the Titanic, can have a total load capacity under 1000 lbs with the fancy trim package and options. This would include trailer tongue weight, etc. Perfect design for people who want to *wear* a huge truck. Completely stupid for someone who buys a truck to use... I believe that these trucks are also rated to tow a trailer that weighs 9000 lbs or something. So 10% tongue weight and you're done... You don't even have the capacity for a driver... A LOT of F150 buyers were pretty surprised at how wimpy their trucks really are (or how conservative Ford's legal department is).

Here's the GVW sticker on one of the giant F150's that comes in at a net payload of...900 lbs. This is a huge truck with a wheelbase of 157" and room for 5 or 6 huge guys. Plus a 6.5' bed you can fill with gravel.

http://i493.photobucket.com/albums/r...t/P2220124.jpg

And then there are the guys who brag about carrying 3000 lbs of dirt in the bed of that same truck. People have been overloading vehicles since they invented vehicles.

I'm sure that a few more lbs won't kill the Subaru, but if you break it or have an accident while overloaded, it's obviously your responsibility. Keep the weight low and centered in the vehicle for best results.

George

'09 FX non-premium, 5MT

Last edited by YoGeorge; 04-18-2010 at 05:07 AM.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 11:36 AM
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Question

Manufacturers’ numbers games are always both fun and frustrating, IMHO, and Subaru doesn’t disappoint.

The vehicle ID plate at the bottom of my car’s driver-side “B” pillar states the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is 4,480 lbs (2035 KG). Subaru’s spec sheet for the ’09 Forester says the various models’ curb weights range from 3,250 lbs for the base X model with an MT up to 3,460 lbs for the XT Limited w/ AT – a 210 lb. difference.

These numbers would suggest a load (options, passengers, and cargo) capacity ranging from 4,480 lbs – 3,250 lbs = 1,230 lbs for the Base X, to 4,480 lbs – 3,460 lbs = 1,020 lbs for the XT Limited.

I have no idea where the 900 lb (408 KG) capacity limit came from. Perhaps Subaru chose a value based on the heaviest model (the XT Limited w/ AT; 1,020 lbs) and then calculated in 10% safety factor (1,020 lbs x 90% = 918 lbs). Note that this is purely speculation on my part.

To further complicate matters, Consumer Reports lists their measured curb weights at 3,200 lbs and 3,405 lbs respectively.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by crewzer View Post
Manufacturers’ numbers games are always both fun and frustrating, IMHO, and Subaru doesn’t disappoint.

The vehicle ID plate at the bottom of my car’s driver-side “B” pillar states the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is 4,480 lbs (2035 KG). Subaru’s spec sheet for the ’09 Forester says the various models’ curb weights range from 3,250 lbs for the base X model with an MT up to 3,460 lbs for the XT Limited w/ AT – a 210 lb. difference.

These numbers would suggest a load (options, passengers, and cargo) capacity ranging from 4,480 lbs – 3,250 lbs = 1,230 lbs for the Base X, to 4,480 lbs – 3,460 lbs = 1,020 lbs for the XT Limited.

I have no idea where the 900 lb (408 KG) capacity limit came from. Perhaps Subaru chose a value based on the heaviest model (the XT Limited w/ AT; 1,020 lbs) and then calculated in 10% safety factor (1,020 lbs x 90% = 918 lbs). Note that this is purely speculation on my part.

To further complicate matters, Consumer Reports lists their measured curb weights at 3,200 lbs and 3,405 lbs respectively.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
I'm guessing that vehicle mfrs can use 2 approaches to the GVW plate. First would be to do as Subaru does, and allow for the heaviest model with a whole bunch of add-on options in coming up with the payload. And use the same plate on every vehicle of that model they build. That is certainly easier and cheaper.

Now Ford, with the F-150, had guys seeing their model truck in a catalog or online and seeing 1500 lbs payload. Then they bought the truck with the fancy-*** trim options or 20" wheels and looked at their sticker, only to note that their particular truck showed 900 lbs. These plates varied, but there were a lot of guys in the 900-1100 lb area and being really, really disappointed. There were also guys that assumed they were good for 1500 lbs as per the catalog listings until this thread had them look at their own plate. So Ford seems to have a bunch of different plates and use different ones for different trim lines and cab sizes--and even wheel size. The 20" wheels warrant a reduction in payload; this may be due to wheel weight capacity or leaving a bigger margin for low profile tires (which don't belong on a pickup truck in the first place).

Again, I don't mean this to be thread drift away from the Foz, but if it has the same payload as a 157" wheelbase Ford F150, seems totally reasonable to me :)

George

'09 FX non-premium, 5MT
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 05:42 PM
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The Forester is a real hauler (based solely on the factory load 'limit') compared to my Honda Element which Honda has rated at only 675lbs of total load. *** kind of SUV can REALLY only haul 675lbs?

We all know it is legal dept B.S. to keep the idiots who would haul a load of friggin' bricks weighing 2,000lbs in their car from suing when they wreck- but still it is annoying to know that four high school football players are more weight than your new 'SUV' can supposedly handle.

Hey- how bout a Pontiac Solstice- 325lb total load limit there!

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-19-2010, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Now Ford, with the F-150, had guys seeing their model truck in a catalog or online and seeing 1500 lbs payload.
My assessment is that issue is not limited to Ford, as GM, Dodge, Toyota, and others are just as deeply buried in the locker-room style competition for the biggest numbers.

As a former F-150 owner and a current F-250 Super Duty (crew cab, short bed, 2WD, XLT trim, 5.4L V8, 4R100 AT, 4.10 axle ratio, 8,800 lb GWVR, 15,000 lb GCWR) owner, been there, done that. However, I did select a heavy-duty option when I ordered my F-150, and various payload specs and packages are still available today. Unfortunately, the "Heavy-Duty Payload Package" and "Max Trailer Tow Package" options are generally described as "select availability" by trim level and certain chassis-, wheelbase-, and/or drivetrain configurations:
Quote:
Heavy-Duty Payload Package — Increases GVWR to 8200 lbs. for
improved payload and towing; 17" 7-lug steel wheels; LT245/75R17E
all-terrain BSW tires; heavy-duty shock absorbers and frame;
upgraded springs and radiator; auxiliary transmission oil cooler; rear
axle with 9.75" gear set and 3.73 limited-slip gear ratio (Regular Cab
and SuperCab with 5.4L V8 only; req. Max. Trailer Tow Package)
Quote:
Max. Trailer Tow Package (req. for towing over 5000 lbs.) —
Includes Class IV trailer hitch receiver; 7-pin wiring harness; upgraded
radiator; auxiliary transmission oil cooler; Trailer Brake Controller;
upgraded rear bumper; upgraded rear springs; heavy-duty front
eye bushing; and trailer tow mirrors (XL Regular Cab and SuperCab;
restrictions apply — see dealer for details)
But, yeah, if you want a gussied-up Lariat (see page 7), you can't get the Heavy-Duty Payload Package option.

Regards,
Jim / crewzer

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-11-2010, 08:56 AM
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I wonder how much of their "safety recommendations" have to do with overheating of the tranny or engine due to steep inclines or are in essence, mountainous terrain precautions rather than level land towing and weight restrictions?

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-11-2010, 09:23 AM
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Last weekend I easily had over 1000 pounds in the car - 5 adults plus a trunk packed with gear. Fully loaded, I drove across Colorado on I-70 to Utah, and the temperature gauge didn't budge. In Utah, we had to go offroad with 6 adults + gear in the Foz, and I only heard the tailpipe drag a couple times going over some deep, wide ruts. Don't be afraid to push the weight limit, but realize handling and power may suffer a bit.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-11-2010, 10:00 AM
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A lot of it also has to due with the load rating of the tires and the weight limit for passenger vehicles.

Also the forester is absolutely not designed to be fully packed with 5 people and a full cargo area regularly. Its designed for 2 people + cargo or about 4 adults. Anymore than that and you really feel the difference in handling, mileage, strain on the transmission etc. You can do it on occasion but its not designed to be a daily heavy duty work horse.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-17-2010, 01:13 PM
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The important ratings are the GFAWR, GRAWR (Axle weight ratings) and GVWR. These are the legal numbers. Go over these and you have the potential to run into legal problems in the worst case.
The 900 lb cargo carrying capacity, on the other hand, is a "safe" number if you don't want to go through the calculations, or don't understand how to calculate it. It has no legal bearing, however.

Let me give you an example: my '09X Premium MT
I went to a closed weigh station to get my unloaded weight (Oregon leaves their scales on when they're closed so the interested public has access to a free scale. It only has a 50 lb precision, though).

Ratings:
GFAWR: 2310
GRAWR: 2410
GVWR: 4480
"Cargo carrying capacity": 925 lb, I think (I'm not sure about this one. I am about the others.)

Unloaded vehicle weight:
F: 1750 lb
R: 1500 lb
Total 3250 lb

Let's say the driver is 150 lb, which probably adds about 90 lb to the front axle and 60 lb to the rear axle, putting it at:
F: 1840 lb
R: 1560 lb
Total 3400 lb

If I now load up the rear, centering the load over the axle, up to the GVWR, I've put another 1080 lbs in (1230 total including driver). But since this is all over the rear axle, I now have 2640 on the rear axle which is overweight by 130 lbs.
If instead you only load up to the "cargo carrying capacity", you add another 775 lbs (in addition to the driver) on the rear axle, for a total of 2335, which is under the rating.

So, by following the "cargo carrying capacity", you are more-or-less guaranteed to be within all ratings without worrying about the math. That's what it's there for. But if your load is well distributed, then the amount you can load it and stay within the legal ratings is probably quite a bit higher than that.

I hope this was helpful and not too technical. Sometimes it helps to see the numbers and an example behind a concept.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-18-2010, 05:20 AM
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Nice write up, Math Guy; thx!

Quote:
A lot of it also has to due with the load rating of the tires and the weight limit for passenger vehicles.
Sometimes yes, sometime no.

For example, the load rating on the OEM tires for my pickup truck is 3,042 lbs each. The rear GAWR is 6,084 lbs, the same as the capacity of two single tires.

The math for, say, an '09 Forester is different. The maximum load rating for the base X stock 215/65R16 96H tire is 1,565 lbs (ref ETRTO 36 psi spec), or 3,130 lbs for two tires. This is substantially higher than the front- and rear GAWR specs (2,310 lbs and 2,410 lbs respectively).

Even at Subaru's recommended rear tire pressure of 29 psi, these load index 96 tires are load rated at 1,312 lbs each, or 2,624 lbs for the pair, which is still higher than than the 2,410 lb rear GAWR.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer

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Last edited by crewzer; 05-18-2010 at 08:51 AM.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2010, 10:13 PM
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I guess I'm one of the jackasses. For one summer I towed my 2100 lb jet ski rig, with at least another 1000 lbs cargo in camping supplies and people, all around Colorado, in my 1987 Subaru Gl Wagon, with its 87 horsepower of glory. I even snuck it over Independence Pass at 12,000 feet (and virtually every other pass in the state) loaded down in that condition.

I wouldn't call it dangerous, as there is nothing I saw in doing this that is INHERENTLY unsafe, but I also know that A: I beat the hell out of that car in doing that, and B: You had to be aware EVERY SECOND that the car handles completely differently, and not giving yourself the room to stop, not managing your brakes so that you have brakes at a temp that they WILL stop, and doing everything else can lead to big problems.

Suffice it to say, I'm not terribly concerned about exceeding the payload limits, but you need to be aware that the car will take additional wear when you do so, and you have more of the safety burden on your shoulders as the car will NOT be capable of avoiding as many accidents- you must keep yourself from getting into those types of situations in the first place.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-28-2010, 08:41 AM
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Ah yes, nothing like a white knuckle ride through the mountains with a long heavy trailer, been there done that, lol.


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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themathguy View Post
The important ratings are the GFAWR, GRAWR (Axle weight ratings) and GVWR. These are the legal numbers. Go over these and you have the potential to run into legal problems in the worst case.
The 900 lb cargo carrying capacity, on the other hand, is a "safe" number if you don't want to go through the calculations, or don't understand how to calculate it. It has no legal bearing, however.

Let me give you an example: my '09X Premium MT
I went to a closed weigh station to get my unloaded weight (Oregon leaves their scales on when they're closed so the interested public has access to a free scale. It only has a 50 lb precision, though).

Ratings:
GFAWR: 2310
GRAWR: 2410
GVWR: 4480
"Cargo carrying capacity": 925 lb, I think (I'm not sure about this one. I am about the others.)

Unloaded vehicle weight:
F: 1750 lb
R: 1500 lb
Total 3250 lb

Let's say the driver is 150 lb, which probably adds about 90 lb to the front axle and 60 lb to the rear axle, putting it at:
F: 1840 lb
R: 1560 lb
Total 3400 lb

If I now load up the rear, centering the load over the axle, up to the GVWR, I've put another 1080 lbs in (1230 total including driver). But since this is all over the rear axle, I now have 2640 on the rear axle which is overweight by 130 lbs.
If instead you only load up to the "cargo carrying capacity", you add another 775 lbs (in addition to the driver) on the rear axle, for a total of 2335, which is under the rating.

So, by following the "cargo carrying capacity", you are more-or-less guaranteed to be within all ratings without worrying about the math. That's what it's there for. But if your load is well distributed, then the amount you can load it and stay within the legal ratings is probably quite a bit higher than that.

I hope this was helpful and not too technical. Sometimes it helps to see the numbers and an example behind a concept.
Thanks for this comment. I've got a 2009 Forester XT. It's about to be loaded with 820 pounds, including driver and luggage. 325 pounds of that is on a platform seated in a 2" receiver hitch. The rest is evenly distributed in the luggage compartment, except for 225 pounds in the front (me and some misc. crap on the pass seat). The platform extends a max of 28" from the front of the receiver, and most of the weight on the platform is 14 inches max from the front of the receiver.

How much trouble am I in?
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