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Got a base 2016 Forester. Overall great car. The tongue weight though is really throwing me. Only 200lbs? On a car that's advertised as being for the outdoors? Seems low for a car it's size but what do I know.

Either or. I'd love to haul a dirtbike that weighs 194lbs with a hitch mounted carrier from an aftermarket hitch. Buuut I'm not sure it's a great idea. I watched someone haul a heavier bike with a legacy that way without too much issue but I'm not sure exactly how bad it would be on the frame in the long term.
 

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Every time you hit a bump, or rise and fall on the road, you’ll be exceeding 194lbs (plus the added weight of the hitch itself)
 

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there are lengthy discussions of Forester trailer towing capabilities I've participated in, elsewhere. I myself towed a rented 1,000 lb un-braked teardrop trailer on a 10,000 mile trip last year with my '17 so I was actively interested in Subaru USA's 150 lb tongue weight / 1,500 lb trailer weight limits since my car was then still under warranty. My own intuition, I hope fairly decent since I am by training a mechanical engineer, is that while Subaru USA will definitely NOT give you their approval of a 200 lb load on the trailer hitch receiver, you may be OK. What I found poking around during 2019 is that the SJ Forester was still being sold in the UK last year, and its towing limit there, for the 2.0 liter non-turbo CVT no less, was 2,000 kg -- 4400 lb. Which implies a body-structure tongue load capability much more than 150 lb. I would worry though, for at least a minute, to check that your trailer hitch itself says it can handle the 200+ lb you will need.
 

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there are lengthy discussions of Forester trailer towing capabilities I've participated in, elsewhere. I myself towed a rented 1,000 lb un-braked teardrop trailer on a 10,000 mile trip last year with my '17 so I was actively interested in Subaru USA's 150 lb tongue weight / 1,500 lb trailer weight limits since my car was then still under warranty. My own intuition, I hope fairly decent since I am by training a mechanical engineer, is that while Subaru USA will definitely NOT give you their approval of a 200 lb load on the trailer hitch receiver, you may be OK. What I found poking around during 2019 is that the SJ Forester was still being sold in the UK last year, and its towing limit there, for the 2.0 liter non-turbo CVT no less, was 2,000 kg -- 4400 lb. Which implies a body-structure tongue load capability much more than 150 lb. I would worry though, for at least a minute, to check that your trailer hitch itself says it can handle the 200+ lb you will need.
our Forester handled the 1,000 lb trailer flawlessly, seeming completely stable and capable at all speeds and road conditions. We did have noticeably accelerated wear of the rear tires, though.
 

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I think the tongue rating is for a trailer (a percentage of 1000+ pounds), not for a cargo tray. And I think the rating has to do with vehicle control and dynamics, not damage or stress to the car. I would put it on there, but am not recommending that you do.
 

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My own intuition, I hope fairly decent since I am by training a mechanical engineer,
Terrific! Glad to have an engineer to bounce questions off of. Biggest question...is there any difference in the loads when one is borne primarily on an additional axle with minimal torque and the other is cantilevered out and borne directly on the hitch? For example, there is no way I could lift a 200lb bike and it would be difficult for me to even tip it up on the back wheel but I can easily lift the front end of my boat and trailer up and maneuver it without assistance despite the fact that their total weight is approximately 1300lbs. What about when the vehicle hits bumps? How do the distinctly different types of loads react mechanically. FTR, not being snarky. I really would like to know the answers.
 

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I hauled a 250 pound generator on the back of a hitch rack. No real problems other than the front end feeling a bit light.

I wouldn't do it on a 1-1/4 receiver. But the 2'' receiver handled it fine
 

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I would find one of those harbor freight or small trailers from lowes/home depot and tow the dirt bike personally. These cars don't have a true FRAME its just a re-enforced subframe section that uses 4 bolts to hold the receiver in. I put a hitch on my 05 corolla and 09 forester and have a little 4x8 trailer that weighs 250ish pounds empty and it does amazing! dirt bikes, snowblower, small light loads from home depot during home remodel. I have an f250 but starting up a diesel truck for a single sheet or plywood of few 2x4s was not very cost effective. the little 4x8 trailer was such a nice utility option and super cheap for a spare tire and plates were like $20.
 

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Terrific! Glad to have an engineer to bounce questions off of. Biggest question...is there any difference in the loads when one is borne primarily on an additional axle with minimal torque and the other is cantilevered out and borne directly on the hitch? For example, there is no way I could lift a 200lb bike and it would be difficult for me to even tip it up on the back wheel but I can easily lift the front end of my boat and trailer up and maneuver it without assistance despite the fact that their total weight is approximately 1300lbs. What about when the vehicle hits bumps? How do the distinctly different types of loads react mechanically. FTR, not being snarky. I really would like to know the answers.
thanks - I may have led you on, though, sorry - my decades of professional experience weren't related to this kind of stuff at all, commercial aerospace acoustics and regulatory compliance. :) You are right that the dynamics of a cantilevered load, versus the tongue weight of a wheeled trailer, have to be considered differently. But the static (everything standing still) cases are closely related. You could measure the tongue load of your boat + trailer with a bathroom scale. If you can easily lift the hitch end, the tongue weight must be much less than 200 lb, or else you're underestimating your strength. Remember to think of the teeter-totter effect of the placement of the boat on the trailer; it is quite possible (and dangerous) to have a negative tongue weight, with the trailer pulling upwards on the rear end of the car. The ability to push the trailer around, assuming you are talking about perfectly level smooth hard pavement, is a very unrelated topic driven by the friction of the wheel bearings and the rolling resistance of the tires. You and I can both push around many tons, given minimal friction.
 

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@outinthewild your intended usage is a big factor here. Driving 30 miles to a local trailhead is very different than repeated 1000 mile cross country trips.

Also dont forget the weight of the hitch carrier, which is usually 50lbs for the cheap one, so 250lbs total?

Personally, I would not do this with my Foz for insurance reasons. A claim could be denied for exceeding recommended tongue weight, whether or not it is actually a material factor in the crash, it would be a major PITA to get into with an insurer.
 

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Here's an idea, not for handling grossly-heavy hitch receiver loads, but instead just
546540
for being more comfortable with significant loads for long distances - a strap up around the tailgate hinges to lessen bouncing of the cantilevered load. This load of bikes I drove from Seattle to NY State relatives' in 2012, followed by doing RAGBRAI in Iowa on the way home. It made a big difference in improving the feel of the car. Obviously not a Forester, but not so different either, and cooler than you might think, because it was a 5MT.
 

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Here's an idea, not for handling grossly-heavy hitch receiver loads, but instead just View attachment 546540 for being more comfortable with significant loads for long distances - a strap up around the tailgate hinges to lessen bouncing of the cantilevered load. This load of bikes I drove from Seattle to NY State relatives' in 2012, followed by doing RAGBRAI in Iowa on the way home. It made a big difference in improving the feel of the car. Obviously not a Forester, but not so different either, and cooler than you might think, because it was a 5MT.

I think you're missing a key element in this thread.
OP is talking:
546541


Not:
546543
 

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Got a base 2016 Forester. Overall great car. The tongue weight though is really throwing me. Only 200lbs? On a car that's advertised as being for the outdoors? Seems low for a car it's size but what do I know.
What a ridiculous statement. Even a F150 which can tow 17k lbs the recommended tongue weight is 10%.
The Forest is rated for 1500lbs, so a 200lb tongue weight is above 10% of the trailer weight- not bad for a tiny SUV.
 

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What a ridiculous statement. Even a F150 which can tow 17k lbs the recommended tongue weight is 10%.
The Forest is rated for 1500lbs, so a 200lb tongue weight is above 10% of the trailer weight- not bad for a tiny SUV.
the key thing is that the F150 is marketed heavily to people who want towing capability, so its limits are set by actual engineering and vehicle dynamics constraints. in the USA my intuition tells me that Subaru has never seriously considered the Forester's sales to be dependent on towing, so the warranty cost accounting department has prevailed in corporate internal discussions and the Forester therefore has modest towing ratings. But they don't think they lose many sales because of that. I especially concluded this after seeing the Subaru UK website last year, at which time the SJ Forester was still for sale there, and since the Forester IS a big car there in the UK, its towing limit is 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Another telling point is that the Ascent, which certainly is a bigger different vehicle, but isn't THAT different given it is only 750 lb heavier, still has a turbo 4 cylinder boxer, a CVT, and conceptually similar chassis and suspension to my Forester XT, has a towing limit of 5,000 lb.
 

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of course
So that begs the question. Is there anybody who can speak to the difference in forces related to a cantilevered load entirely borne by a hitch assembly vs the load from a trailer that is much less influenced by road condition? There most certainly must be a significant difference in the torque and dynamic movement of a rack/load that essentially flings itself up and down with every bump in the road. At the very least one must consider the factor of the rigid attachment to the hitch by a rack/tray vs the more mobile hitch ball connection that keeps the trailer from bouncing up and down independent of the vehicle. So many questions.;);)
 

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So that begs the question. Is there anybody who can speak to the difference in forces related to a cantilevered load entirely borne by a hitch assembly vs the load from a trailer that is much less influenced by road condition? There most certainly must be a significant difference in the torque and dynamic movement of a rack/load that essentially flings itself up and down with every bump in the road. At the very least one must consider the factor of the rigid attachment to the hitch by a rack/tray vs the more mobile hitch ball connection that keeps the trailer from bouncing up and down independent of the vehicle. So many questions.;);)
I was behind on my thinking, you're raising a very good point. Twisting forces are a simple matter of Force x Lever Arm Length, so for a trailer attached to a hitch ball, the rear structure of the car is subjected to a moment of about 1 foot times the tongue weight. (assuming the receiver frame's attachment bolts are about 1 foot forward of the hitch ball). In the case of a rack mounted rigidly to the towing receiver, the applied weight is about another one foot rearwards, doubling the applied torque if you're comparing a 200 lb bike on the rack to a trailer with 200 lb tongue weight. That is significant, and not good for carrying the bike.
 

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Adding to the above explanation..... This is a high school physics class exercise, but sometimes a visual helps. Not only do we have multiplied vertical forces, loaded cargo trays and racks exert rotational forces that don't happen with a trailer hitch coupling on a greased round ball.

546550
 
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