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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I believe Australia permits you folks to tow more than I can with my US Forester. My question is, does that increase carry over to the allowable weight on the hitch? My 2019 is limited to 150 pounds (68 kg). What does your owner's manual say about this?
 

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@boureesub I'm only moderately-informed about trailer towing, but my understanding is that trailer tongue weight, driven by laws-of-physics vehicle dynamics, should be proportional to the trailer's total weight, about 10%. So yes, Foresters outside North America with higher towing limits should have higher tongue weight limits. The thing to visualize is the rear half of a heavy trailer, excessively pulling upwards on the rear end of the car (like a teeter-totter), if there is not high enough tongue weight. And just my intuitive speculation, I surmise that the 1500 lb total weight / 150 lb tongue weight limits for North American Foresters have their sources most importantly from Subaru of America's Marketing and Cost Accounting departments, who think there is little to be gained from trying to sell Foresters here to customers who want to tow big things - they buy other vehicles without even considering Foresters. This is much less true on other continents where the Forester is more of a "big car". I doubt that the EU market SJ Foresters with 2000 kg trailer limits really have that much engineering feature difference to justify nearly triple the weight limit, and I also doubt that the US Ascent, only 20% heavier and 10% more powerful than my '17 FXT 2.0T, and with very similar suspension and drivetrain, really has that much beefier of a chassis to allow more than triple trailer weights (5000 lb). The key difference is, the 3-row SUV market DOES demand towing capability in the USA, so the Ascent has it.

and a note about personal experience - I did tow 1,000 lb (a rented teardrop camping trailer) with my SJ '17 FXT about 10,000 miles in 2019, US West Coast to Newfoundland and back, and the car handled it extremely well dynamically, once we got used to the slight degradation in acceleration and braking. Totally stable feeling in all conditions we faced, at any speed. However - we wore out our two OEM Bridgestone rear tires before making it home; I'd say wear was about twice as fast as normal, with the trailer and the load of camping equipment we had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks @whobodym. I'm aware of those points (10% rule, etc).

What I'd like to know is if the Australian model user's manual documents a higher allowable tongue weight than US models. I tried finding a PDF user manual, but Subaru Australia said to talk to my local friendly Subaru Australia dealer for that sort of thing...

The application has nothing to do with towing, and more to do with an ongoing discussion elsewhere on th forum about heavy e-bicycles and hitch mounts.

Maybe @Kevin knows the answer?
 

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@boureesub Look what I found on the Subaru of Oz site: https://docs.subaru.com.au/Subaru-Forester-brochure.pdf

Will save you the eye-test:

Towing:
With trailer brakes (max) kg: 1800 (for gasoline models); 1200 (for hybrid models)
Without trailer brakes (max) kg: 750 (for all)
Maximum tow ball down load kg: 180 (for gasoline models); 120 (for hybrid models)

Edit: I remember reading somewhere that the Australian models ship with an additional transmission cooler which is missing from the models sold in the USDM.
 

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Thanks @whobodym. I'm aware of those points (10% rule, etc).

What I'd like to know is if the Australian model user's manual documents a higher allowable tongue weight than US models. I tried finding a PDF user manual, but Subaru Australia said to talk to my local friendly Subaru Australia dealer for that sort of thing...

The application has nothing to do with towing, and more to do with an ongoing discussion elsewhere on th forum about heavy e-bicycles and hitch mounts.

Maybe @Kevin knows the answer?
sounds like your USA SK '19 Forester, body-structure-wise, is strong enough to handle a hitch 180kg down load - but the challenge will be finding a hitch receiver that strong in the USA where no Foresters can tow things as heavy as the 1800kg trailer that would produce that down load. I imagine that vehicle handling issues, and engine/transmission temperatures, are very little challenged by a 180kg hitch down load in the case of there being no trailer and only a bike rack.
 

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Most after-market Class III, 2-inch hitch receivers are rated for 525 lbs (~ 240 kgs) tongue weight. Even some Class II, 1.25 inch receivers are rated for 350 lbs (~ 160 kgs).

 

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Different countries have a different % of their tow rating for tongue weight. Here in NZ we have a maximum of 1500kg (3300lbs) braked tow rating. I have a OEM tow bar fitted which says a max tongue weight of 150kg. Australia has 1800kg and 180kg tongue weight. We are both 10% but places like Europe can have 3-7%. I don't know the US % or if it varies by state.

The tow rating varies by country, not because of any differences in the vehicles (Aust 19+ Forester is the same as the NZ one which is the same as the US one) but by how different countries use different methods to calculate the tow rating. Things like speed limits, terrain, and comparisons to other vehicles etc. For example although Australia has a higher max speed limit in most states, their average terrain is nowhere near as hilly as it is in NZ.

Fitting a transmission cooler in the US models will not increase their tow rating at all. They are left off simply because the US tow rating is so low they will never be needed. The US model is just as capable of towing 3300lbs as the NZ model but of course insurance, warranty, and legality will be affected.
545194
 

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Are there other examples (Subaru and non-Subaru) of essentially the same vehicle having different tow ratings in different markets?
 

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Yes, my previous car was a 2011 Jeep Patriot. NZ rating was 1200kg, US rating was 900kg. I think you will find most comparable models will have different ratings in different countries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks all! Question answered. Kevin's late to the party. :p

E-bikes weigh a lot, so it's easy to go over the US-based max allowed tongue weight of 150 lbs. In this particular instance, two e-bikes plus the hitch, added up to 180 lbs. Based on what I read here, I personally wouldn't be worried at exceeding our tongue weight allowance by 30 lbs, for this particular application. I'd also watch for things like lightness in the steering, and avoid putting a but-load of heavy gear in the way back at the same time. Stop loading when the front wheels no longer touch the ground - common sense.

Thanks again!
 

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Are there other examples (Subaru and non-Subaru) of essentially the same vehicle having different tow ratings in different markets?
I don't know any car-model specifics, but definitely if you drive around the EU on summer vacation as a US person you will frequently see scary-small cars towing scary-large travel trailers quite frequently.
 

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Only MY21 in Australia have 1800kg 180 kg, MY20 and earlier are 1500kg and 150kg, understand modified cooling fan
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks

Interesting that Subaru appears to be taking 10% of the max load to determine allowable tongue weight. I understand that's a common rule of thumb, but guess I didn't expect it dictated by Subaru in this way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not sure where you're going with the comment, but here's the reasoning behind my iniital qestion and why I asked it.

I was kind of hoping Subaru published weight limits the same way way the hitch vendors do, based on structural capabilities, or in the case of Subaru, vehicle capabilities. I get that regulators will modify the total weight number for any number of good reasons unique to their countries, and they do. I don't understand why the allowable tongue weight needs to follow along at 10% of the regulated total. Maybe it's per regulation? The hitch vendors don't do that, they base their numbers on structural capability, and it's up to the person doing the towing to adjust their load so that tongue weight falls within a reasonable range (9-15%).

Anyway, I was interested in establishing a tongue weight limit for use when NOT towing. That's more of a structural limit, since trailer sway is a non-issue (no trailer). I backed into an upper limit of sorts by looking at what other countries are using. Since Australia allows 397 pounds of tongue weight, that established a preliminary upper bound for those of us carrying things in the US (bike racks, beer coolers, small children...) with a hitch rack, not a trailer. (The heavy-bike-on-a-rack discussion is what prompted this thread. That discussion is at ('19+) - 2019 - Hitch and bike rack to carry two... It's mostly done.)

I ended up using the Oz limit of 397, then halving it based on a recommendation from eTrailer for extended/cantilevered loads. Further reduction is a good idea because the load is a dead mass on the hitch, and puts more load into the hitch when going over bumps than the same load applied through a trailer (more physics :)). If you use that methodology with the US limit of 150 pounds, you won't carry much of anything without exceeding a "limit".
 

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Not sure where you're going with the comment, but here's the reasoning behind my iniital qestion and why I asked it.

I was kind of hoping Subaru published weight limits the same way way the hitch vendors do, based on structural capabilities, or in the case of Subaru, vehicle capabilities. I get that regulators will modify the total weight number for any number of good reasons unique to their countries, and they do. I don't understand why the allowable tongue weight needs to follow along at 10% of the regulated total. Maybe it's per regulation? The hitch vendors don't do that, they base their numbers on structural capability, and it's up to the person doing the towing to adjust their load so that tongue weight falls within a reasonable range (9-15%).

Anyway, I was interested in establishing a tongue weight limit for use when NOT towing. That's more of a structural limit, since trailer sway is a non-issue (no trailer). I backed into an upper limit of sorts by looking at what other countries are using. Since Australia allows 397 pounds of tongue weight, that established a preliminary upper bound for those of us carrying things in the US (bike racks, beer coolers, small children...) with a hitch rack, not a trailer. (The heavy-bike-on-a-rack discussion is what prompted this thread. That discussion is at ('19+) - 2019 - Hitch and bike rack to carry two... It's mostly done.)

I ended up using the Oz limit of 397, then halving it based on a recommendation from eTrailer for extended/cantilevered loads. Further reduction is a good idea because the load is a dead mass on the hitch, and puts more load into the hitch when going over bumps than the same load applied through a trailer (more physics :)). If you use that methodology with the US limit of 150 pounds, you won't carry much of anything without exceeding a "limit".
ahh, we're understanding each other better now. I agree with nearly all your comments, and the motivation for your questions. my point about the laws of physics is that, the larger the company involved, and the larger the product they produce - specifically, a car manufacturer producing whole cars, compared to a hitch company that makes aftermarket parts that are installed by thousands of small retailers and DIYers, that big company will assess and describe its product's capabilities only in general, whole-vehicle terms. Subaru decided that it didn't want the hassle of mentioning it is OK to apply a hitch load (your bike rack) that was the same number which would not be a good idea if it were the hitch load of a 1500 lb trailer you were towing. One simpler limit of 150 lb hitch 1500 lb trailer covers all possibilities safely. Imagine a trial jury in a lawsuit - would they throw the book at Subaru for something stupid that a Subaru owner did with his whole car? Much more likely, and much more costly, than a trailer hitch manufacturer being sued after a vehicle accident that related to a nice & strong trailer hitch being installed on a car that couldn't handle loads that the hitch itself could alone.
 
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