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Old 08-12-2008, 08:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi everyone,

I just towed a packed Uhaul 5x8 trailer 1100 miles, Tucson to Houston, and I figured I would write a bit about my experience for others considering a tow that might be interested.

Vehicle:
2001 Subaru Forester L. Automatic. Freshly flushed transmission and differential fluid check(changed not too long ago). Brakes need to be changed probably. Tires freshly rotated and checked for issues(just did the free valve stem replacement at discount tire).

Hitch:
I got the hidden hitch package deal from hitchmart. It seemed to be the best deal and had free shipping. The instal was a bit tough. It helped to have jack stands to support the hitch while I wiggle it into place. It was very difficult to get the bolts to go back in. It helped a bit when I realized the bumper had shifted a bit or somethi9ng, so I pushed it outward and that helped some. It was very difficult to get the bolts started. One bolt either got stripped in the process or was just very sticky, I ended up adding a wasker in order to tighten it down. I used the old bolts rather than the ones that came with the hitch. Hooking up the electrical was easy, although I lost the rubber stopper for the hole in the trunk. I made a new one out of foam and duct tape.

Trailer:
I rented the 5x8 enclosed trailer from Uhaul. It is like 4'10" wide, 5'2" tall, and 7'10" long, inside dimensions(inside the rubber wall bumpers). It had very good tires and was in good condition. I packed it to capacity. Mostly boxes, several heavy. I think I was possibly at or near the max load limit. I think I was at least very close to it, not sure. I would just guess 2000lbs, but either way, suffice it to say... it was PACKED! I tried to pull it off the vehicle after it was packed, but couldn't. SO I don't know exactly what the tongue weight was, but with the shocks of the subi pushing up, it was relatively easy to pull the tongue up and down. The back suspension of the car was compressed quite a bit... at least to 50% what it normally is, probably a little more than that.

Summary:
The going was slow for the most part, depending on how much gas I was willing to burn. On the flat straight parts I hit 90mph several times, mostly trying to stay around 70mph. On the uphill parts, I could go 60mph, but that was way too high RPM's, sometimes 5000, but could do 40mph at 3000rpm's. Gas mileage suffered from 20-50% depending on how hard I pushed it. Handling was excellent, but took some time to get used to.

Gas Mileage:
For several hundred miles, I had the pedal to the floor almost, cruising at 75-ish and 4500+rpm's. This seems to have gotten me down to 12mpg After this, I decided to go a little lighter and mileage went back close to normal, when I decided to stay around 3400 and below rpm's, staying around 60mph and just above. I still think I was down 20% or so in gas mileage.

Handling:
I hit some hard rain and had to pull over once, but was blessed with clear skies and only the occasional sprinkle most of the time. The biggest thing, was that I had to get used to the feel of pulling a trailer. I have pulled trailers many times before, but never with this vehicle and not in a while. Once I got used to the feel, I realized the handling was excellent. I noticed the trailer kind of waving side to side a bit when looking in the side mirrors. This freaked me out a bit at first, and usually just slowed down a bit, but it didn't cause any problems. My guess is that minor side to side swaying is okay, maybe within a few inches is fine, not sure. Just be sure to give youself a bit extra stopping time. Accelleration was a bit slow at times, but I got used to it. Now my car drives like a rocket(it felt like that after getting rid of the load)!

All in all, the tow was a complete success and I am very confident with the forester's towing ability. I look forward to towing something for recreational purposes!

Hope you find this an interesting read and a confidence booster for those cosidering towing.

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Old 08-14-2008, 08:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Did you bump up rear tire pressures for the drive? This can help a bit with excess wiggle.

The stock ECU tune of the 2.5L is rather a mixed bag and tends to punish hard driving like city stop and go, someone with a heavy right foot, and trailer towing with less than stellar mileage. An aftermarket tune can actually improve behavior and provide more consistent power delivery and mileage numbers. It's something to think about at least.
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Old 08-14-2008, 09:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Morning guys, I'd like to know how a turbo will tow an ATV and trailer - bout 500 to 700kg's, any experiences?
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Old 08-15-2008, 01:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by deanoalbino View Post
Morning guys, I'd like to know how a turbo will tow an ATV and trailer - bout 500 to 700kg's, any experiences?
Easily. I have done quite a bit of towing with that weight and at times was almost unaware the trailer was there. It increases fuel consumption by about 1L/100km. No mods other than bumping the rear tyre pressures up to 36psi - normally I run 34psi.
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I told discount tire to put them to the max. I can't remember exactly what that is now... I think my tires say 40 is the max, but the subi door sticker says 36 is the max, I'll have to check.

By the way, I'll be putting the car in outdoor covered storage for 6 months to a year. Any recommendations on care? I figure it should be started once every week or two and driven a bit.
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Old 08-20-2008, 05:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Make sure the cover is well ventilated... I would use a cover specifically designed for this purpose (not a blue tarp) ... moisture will condense in and on the car every day and cause rusting unless it can vent out easily... I would also not tighten the cover to the ground around the car if possible.... it would also be best to have the gas tank filled to the top as moisture will condense in the tank every day if the tank is only half full..... jim
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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We have a 99 Forester L. With a five speed maunual and we pull with it all the time.. We have two trailers, a 6 by 9 low bed (about 2000 lbs loaded), and a Popup trailer(1800 lbs loaded).. We live in the high country and grind up grades all the time. But in general we can run with the trucks and other rigs towing.. I run 40 psi in rear tires and 35 front..

Like you said it handles very well. Our fuel mileage runs about 18 to 22 pulling but we never get over 70. More power really would not help much as there is no way I would stay out in the fast lane running at 85 to 95 mph like the cars out there.. Just to fast for me to be pulling a trailer..

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Old 11-14-2008, 12:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info. I am moving from Atlanta to Denver next week so hopefully I will have the same luck. I am hauling the U-haul with two wheels on each side with braking assist with an 06' Forester X.
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Old 11-15-2008, 03:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TEKINTL View Post
... I am moving from Atlanta to Denver next week so hopefully I will have the same luck. I am hauling the U-haul with two wheels on each side with braking assist with an 06' Forester X.
What is the size of that trailer, its weight, its capacity or the weight of your planned load, and is it an enclosed trailer? Is your X a manual or automatic?

A trailer with two wheels on each side sounds the unloaded weight alone could use up half of your Forester's tow rating, and the weight of the loaded trailer could far exceed it. There is also the wind resistance of a box trailer. You could be risking trouble, particularly if your transmission is an automatic without a cooler.

I would not count on luck for the success of this tow, but would count on the math instead.
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Old 12-28-2008, 07:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I just towed a packed Uhaul 5x8 trailer 1100 miles, Tucson to Houston, ........ etc ........ I think I was possibly at or near the max load limit. I think I was at least very close to it, not sure. I would just guess 2000lbs, but either way, suffice it to say... it was PACKED! ........etc ......... The back suspension of the car was compressed quite a bit... at least to 50% what it normally is, probably a little more than that.
....... etc ......... On the flat straight parts I hit 90mph several times, mostly trying to stay around 70mph. ....... etc

That's crazy.
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Old 08-16-2009, 03:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yes, soundbites indeed make it sound extremely crazy! In my defense, I argue that "hitting 90mph" is much different than "driving 90mph". Maybe I should have inserted the word "accidentally".

90mph was definitely TOOOOO fast and dangerously uncomfortable. When ever I noticed that I hit that, I immediately slowed down. 70mph felt fine as long as I wasn't near other traffic.
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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doduff-
Good write-up, the only thing I'd have like to heard about was tire pressures on the Forester, and a quick comment about tongue weight...as a general rule of thumb, given an evenly packed trailer, the tongue weight should be about 10% of total weight.
-Quick

Quote:
Originally Posted by doduff View Post
Hi everyone,

I just towed a packed Uhaul 5x8 trailer 1100 miles, Tucson to Houston, and I figured I would write a bit about my experience for others considering a tow that might be interested.

Vehicle:
2001 Subaru Forester L. Automatic. Freshly flushed transmission and differential fluid check(changed not too long ago). Brakes need to be changed probably. Tires freshly rotated and checked for issues(just did the free valve stem replacement at discount tire).

Hitch:
I got the hidden hitch package deal from hitchmart. It seemed to be the best deal and had free shipping. The instal was a bit tough. It helped to have jack stands to support the hitch while I wiggle it into place. It was very difficult to get the bolts to go back in. It helped a bit when I realized the bumper had shifted a bit or somethi9ng, so I pushed it outward and that helped some. It was very difficult to get the bolts started. One bolt either got stripped in the process or was just very sticky, I ended up adding a wasker in order to tighten it down. I used the old bolts rather than the ones that came with the hitch. Hooking up the electrical was easy, although I lost the rubber stopper for the hole in the trunk. I made a new one out of foam and duct tape.

Trailer:
I rented the 5x8 enclosed trailer from Uhaul. It is like 4'10" wide, 5'2" tall, and 7'10" long, inside dimensions(inside the rubber wall bumpers). It had very good tires and was in good condition. I packed it to capacity. Mostly boxes, several heavy. I think I was possibly at or near the max load limit. I think I was at least very close to it, not sure. I would just guess 2000lbs, but either way, suffice it to say... it was PACKED! I tried to pull it off the vehicle after it was packed, but couldn't. SO I don't know exactly what the tongue weight was, but with the shocks of the subi pushing up, it was relatively easy to pull the tongue up and down. The back suspension of the car was compressed quite a bit... at least to 50% what it normally is, probably a little more than that.

Summary:
The going was slow for the most part, depending on how much gas I was willing to burn. On the flat straight parts I hit 90mph several times, mostly trying to stay around 70mph. On the uphill parts, I could go 60mph, but that was way too high RPM's, sometimes 5000, but could do 40mph at 3000rpm's. Gas mileage suffered from 20-50% depending on how hard I pushed it. Handling was excellent, but took some time to get used to.

Gas Mileage:
For several hundred miles, I had the pedal to the floor almost, cruising at 75-ish and 4500+rpm's. This seems to have gotten me down to 12mpg After this, I decided to go a little lighter and mileage went back close to normal, when I decided to stay around 3400 and below rpm's, staying around 60mph and just above. I still think I was down 20% or so in gas mileage.

Handling:
I hit some hard rain and had to pull over once, but was blessed with clear skies and only the occasional sprinkle most of the time. The biggest thing, was that I had to get used to the feel of pulling a trailer. I have pulled trailers many times before, but never with this vehicle and not in a while. Once I got used to the feel, I realized the handling was excellent. I noticed the trailer kind of waving side to side a bit when looking in the side mirrors. This freaked me out a bit at first, and usually just slowed down a bit, but it didn't cause any problems. My guess is that minor side to side swaying is okay, maybe within a few inches is fine, not sure. Just be sure to give youself a bit extra stopping time. Accelleration was a bit slow at times, but I got used to it. Now my car drives like a rocket(it felt like that after getting rid of the load)!

All in all, the tow was a complete success and I am very confident with the forester's towing ability. I look forward to towing something for recreational purposes!

Hope you find this an interesting read and a confidence booster for those cosidering towing.

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