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I've been researching what hitch to have installed and was just about settled on an Ecohitch (I'm scheduled to have it installed Friday) but as I continue to research I'm having second thoughts. The Subaru OEM is a class 1 and I can't carry 4 bikes with it (that's my end goal). However, the OEM is rated for 176lbs of tongue weight (which I assumed was the Forester limit). I just read in my manual that the tongue weight is 150 lbs limit. WTH Subaru!
I estimate the total tongue weight will be 160-170 lbs with my rack and bikes. I'm really disappointed and wanted to stay within the vehicle specs.
Thoughts? Should I just stick with the OEM and get a couple of rooftop carriers?
 

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2016 Foz CVT
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The tongue weight stated in the manual is regardless of hitch. OEM, Ecohitch, doesn't matter what the hitch is rated at, the poundage in the manual is the max.

If 4 bikes exceeds that, and you want to stay within specs, then yes you'll have to do something else.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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The tongue weight stated in the manual is regardless of hitch. OEM, Ecohitch, doesn't matter what the hitch is rated at, the poundage in the manual is the max.
Are you sure about that? I would think the hitch type (2" vs 1.25") plus the point of and method of attachment would play a big role in that rating. When I read those requirements in the manual, I took it to pertain to the OEM hitch which does not look too beefy and is only 1.25" and Class I. I find it concerning that Curt and Draw Tite are advertising theirs as Class III and tongue weight 500 lbs.
 

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I went with the 2” Draw Tite due to cost and ease of installation. My goal was capacity for a total of 4 bikes but typically I’ll carry only 1 or 2. I have 2 on the back as primary and add 2 up top only when necessary.
 

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Are you sure about that? I would think the hitch type (2" vs 1.25") plus the point of and method of attachment would play a big role in that rating. When I read those requirements in the manual, I took it to pertain to the OEM hitch which does not look too beefy and is only 1.25" and Class I. I find it concerning that Curt and Draw Tite are advertising theirs as Class III and tongue weight 500 lbs.
Yes. This has been discussed a lot on this forum. Long story short, Subaru is explicit in the rating being what is stated in the manual regardless of the hitch rating.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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Yes. This has been discussed a lot on this forum. Long story short, Subaru is explicit in the rating being what is stated in the manual regardless of the hitch rating.
Wow - that's good to know! It's rather misleading then to see the specs for the aftermarket hitches claiming 500 lbs. Thanks for the clarification.
 

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The real problem with tongue weight is hitting big bumps with a trailer and tongue that exceeds the weight limit. I've seen many full frame pickups like the Chevy Colorado buckling the frame when overloaded and simultaneously hitting a big bump or depression at speed. The entire mass of the trailer will come down like ton of bricks in these circumstances and buckle the frame, thus towing and tongue weight limits.

With 4 bicycles mounted in close proximity to the attachment point this will never be a problem. 170 pounds of bicycles won't hurt a thing IMO.
 

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2018 Forester Manual
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The factory spec is for the factory 1.25'' hitch. It will twist under the load of a bike rack. They just can't handle torsional loads like a 2'' hitch.

You can confidently and safely run a 4 bike rack on a 2'' hitch. The weight will be well within the limit and the torsional load on it will not stress it in the least bit.
 

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I also had been researching this as I wanted the ability to load up four bikes. In the end I did two off the back with the OEM hitch + Kuat Sherpa, and two on the top with Yakima crossbars and bike trays.

527363
 

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2020 Subaru Forester Sport - Ice Silver Metallic, Option pkg 24.
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Yes. This has been discussed a lot on this forum. Long story short, Subaru is explicit in the rating being what is stated in the manual regardless of the hitch rating.
How is the maximum tongue weight determined? It should be the mounting brackets, hitch size and how / where it is mounted?
 

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2016 Foz CVT
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how / where it is mounted?
Sure it makes sense. You can hang the beefiest hitch in the world, but if it's mounted in the same spot then the frame could be the limiting factor.

Or maybe it's the suspension. Or the transmission. Or brakes. In the absence of published reasoning from Subaru, we can only guess.

Point is, the hitch is only a piece of the towing system and Subaru has decided and stated that the vehicle has a maximum tongue and tow rating irrespective of the hitch that's used. If you disagree, that's just fine and it's your right to do so. But Subaru's reasoning is likely sound whether it be rooted in engineered capability or what the lawyers will tolerate.
 

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2020 Subaru Forester Sport - Ice Silver Metallic, Option pkg 24.
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Maybe my reading comprehension is off but to me... the tongue weight is based upon the hitch you install. It doesn't say the 2019 Subaru Forester has a max. tongue weight of 176 lbs.

On Subaru's website it states...

"Subaru hitches are engineered to the same rigorous standards as the rest of the Forester. Rated at 176 lbs, tongue weight" This description is on the Accessory of the Hitch, NOT the car.

Hitch 2.png


Also in the Manual it mentions "8-11. Trailer hitch (dealer option)"

Hitch.png
 

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the tongue weight is based upon the hitch you install.
No it isn't. The hitch is not the deciding factor. It's a system. Tongue weight and towing capacity are not solely determined by the hitch.

As for the explicit stated maximum see pages 8-19 and 8-20 in the owner's manual. Page 8-22 even states that a Subaru hitch is recommended, but other hitches are options. This means the 175 lb. tongue weight and 1500 lb. towing capacity is a vehicle capacity regardless of hitch.

Aftermarket hitches especially that state a 325 lb. tongue weight, 3000 lb. towing capacity, are misleading and don't change the maximums of the vehicle. That's the max. of the hitch. Just because the hitch component can do it doesn't mean the car can safely.

This exact thing has been discussed already in other threads. I suggest a search.

edit those page numbers are for the 2014 Forester. I bet the language in the 2019+ manual is similar.
 
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