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Hello I’m a new Subaru owner and was curious about the towing capabilities. I own a 2019 Subaru Forester Sport which has a tow capacity of 1500lbs. I was looking to tow 2 snowmobiles on an open trailer 200miles. (Estimated weight 1200lbs). Does this sound like a disaster waiting to happen? Anyone try anything similar? Thanks for any help!
 

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I don't have it next to me to give you an exact page number but you should check your manual because there's a section that outlines a couple different towing weight scenarios with the calculation you should use to let you know if the weight you're towing is safe or not. At least this section is in our 2020 sport manual (assuming it's in the 2019 too).
 

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I was looking to tow 2 snowmobiles on an open trailer 200miles. (Estimated weight 1200lbs). Does this sound like a disaster waiting to happen?
It shouldn't be a problem as long as the trailer has brakes and the hitch is capable of supporting the weight.

In Australia 2.5 L Foresters are rated to tow up to 1,500 kilograms, about 3,300 lb (1,600 lb unbraked) so towing 1,200 lb for 200 miles is well within the car's capacity mechanically.

Fwiw, mine has racked up around 11,000 km/7,000 miles towing a 2,000 lb boat and so far nothing has broken. The only difference is our Foresters come with an OEM transmission cooler, but I'm guessing high ambient temperatures are not going to be an issue for you at this time of year.
 

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The only difference is our Foresters come with an OEM transmission cooler, but I'm guessing high ambient temperatures are not going to be an issue for you at this time of year.
2019+ models have a transmission cooler (don't know about earlier models). It uses radiator fluid to cool the tranny fluid. Do Australian models use something in addition to that?
 

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There seem to be several factors at play. Firstly, a new towing standard, SAE J2807, was adopted in the U.S. in 2013 (there was no standard previously and car makers' marketing dept seem to have had the main say in tow ratings). Subaru launched the SJs Forester with the lower 1,500 braked tow rating soon after. Secondly, U.S. speed limits are generally much higher compared to other markets. In Australia the maximum speed on highways is 110 kph/68mp and many have 100 kph/62 mph limits which are rigorously enforced. I understand in much of the EU the maximum speed when towing is the equivalent of 55 mph. Higher and steeper terrain may also be a consideration.

But from a purely power train engineering perspective, Foresters can handle much heavier loads than the U.S. ratings.
 

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2018 2.0 FXT-Touring CVT
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There seem to be several factors at play. Firstly, a new towing standard, SAE J2807, was adopted in the U.S. in 2013 (there was no standard previously and car makers' marketing dept seem to have had the main say in tow ratings). Subaru launched the SJs Forester with the lower 1,500 braked tow rating soon after. Secondly, U.S. speed limits are generally much higher compared to other markets. In Australia the maximum speed on highways is 110 kph/68mp and many have 100 kph/62 mph limits which are rigorously enforced. I understand in much of the EU the maximum speed when towing is the equivalent of 55 mph. Higher and steeper terrain may also be a consideration.

But from a purely power train engineering perspective, Foresters can handle much heavier loads than the U.S. ratings.
The US speed limits are higher on open roads in low population areas. In densely populated areas, it's 55-65 mph. How strict the enforcement is varies from place to place.
 

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The lower tow rating on the Forester is one of the reasons we went with the 2015 Outback, which is 2500lbs with the same engine/transmission. We pull a 2300 lb popup w/brakes and a 1500 lb covered trailer quite easily. Your setup is easy peasy for this rig.
 

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I tow a tear-drop with my 2017 Forester - weighs in at about 1000 plus with the cooler and other stuff I'm sure we're pushing 1200 pounds. We put a transmission cooler on the car as we live in Phoenix, which is about 10 miles from the Sun so it's hot as hell here... plus we put on some brakes ( big difference!! ) on the teardrop.

Zero problems.

Took a 16 day excursion this summer all over Arizona/Utah/Idaho/Wyoming/Montana... can't wait for out next trip.
527776
 

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2011 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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Just realize the tow capacity inludes the weight of the trailer. So 1200 pounds of snowmobiles with a 1500lb towing maximum (using your numbers) means the trailer can't weigh more than 300lbs ...just my guess but I'm thinkin' that ain't gonna happen. You need to know the empty weight of the trailer, the weight of the load you're gonna carry and, added together, will give you the total load weight you're going to tow. READ the section in the owners manual about towing capacities and how to figure them. Also pay attention to any drive positions for the transmission when towing. I have limited experience driving a CVT-equipped vehicle but, for example, in multi-speed trannies often times when towing you would not engage the overdrive (OD) mode. So check for something like that in the tow section of the manual.

If your gonna do this towing regularly then I would definitely get a tranny cooler. Me, myself and I put little faith in the CVT Subaru uses in their current line up. To me "CVT" and "towing" are mutually exclusive terms. But then I am a bona-fide dinosaur ...
 

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Hello I’m a new Subaru owner and was curious about the towing capabilities. I own a 2019 Subaru Forester Sport which has a tow capacity of 1500lbs. I was looking to tow 2 snowmobiles on an open trailer 200miles. (Estimated weight 1200lbs). Does this sound like a disaster waiting to happen? Anyone try anything similar? Thanks for any help!
I tow a tear-drop with my 2017 Forester - weighs in at about 1000 plus with the cooler and other stuff I'm sure we're pushing 1200 pounds. We put a transmission cooler on the car as we live in Phoenix, which is about 10 miles from the Sun so it's hot as hell here... plus we put on some brakes ( big difference!! ) on the teardrop.

Zero problems.

Took a 16 day excursion this summer all over Arizona/Utah/Idaho/Wyoming/Montana... can't wait for out next trip. View attachment 527776
 

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It is great to hear you were able to tow a teardrop with your 2017 Forester. I have a 2018 4 cylinder Foresterand I notice In Europe you can find mini trailers but not so much in the US. I am hoping to find a decent teardrop no bigger than 600 pounds.
 

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2018 Forester 2.5i 6MT
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For a really light one, you may have to build it yourself on a harbor freight trailer frame. I would love to do that some day, but just no time for it.
 

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It shouldn't be a problem as long as the trailer has brakes and the hitch is capable of supporting the weight.

In Australia 2.5 L Foresters are rated to tow up to 1,500 kilograms, about 3,300 lb (1,600 lb unbraked) so towing 1,200 lb for 200 miles is well within the car's capacity mechanically.

Fwiw, mine has racked up around 11,000 km/7,000 miles towing a 2,000 lb boat and so far nothing has broken. The only difference is our Foresters come with an OEM transmission cooler, but I'm guessing high ambient temperatures are not going to be an issue for you at this time of year.
Old thread but that's interesting. So I guess the question is a transmission cooler really the only difference? And if if so could you assume a higher tow rating if you install one? Also what is the difference between the Forester and the Outback that can tow more?
 

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So I guess the question is a transmission cooler really the only difference?
As far as I know. However, markets with higher towing limits such as Australia and many European countries have lower speed limits than are typical in the U.S., usually 100-110 kph max, about 62-68 mph and they are enforced. Subaru also limits towing to a max 80 kph, about 50 mph on some models.

Also what is the difference between the Forester and the Outback that can tow more?
There are many things taken into account when calculating tow limits. It is not just about engines and brakes, but among other things, car weight, the distance from the rear axles to the towbar ball (the greater the distance the more leverage the trailer has), how weight is distributed across the axles, etc.
 

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2020 Forester, Crystal While Pearl, Saddle Brown Leather
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I tow a tear-drop with my 2017 Forester - weighs in at about 1000 plus with the cooler and other stuff I'm sure we're pushing 1200 pounds. We put a transmission cooler on the car as we live in Phoenix, which is about 10 miles from the Sun so it's hot as hell here... plus we put on some brakes ( big difference!! ) on the teardrop.
Interesting! How much of a fuel consumption hit do you take when you are hauling your teardrop?
 

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2021 Forester Sport
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This post gets a HEART :)

I note on Page 408 begins the discussion of trailer towing, and as mentioned above, our (US) manual has limits of 1,000 lbs un-braked, and 1,500 lbs braked. There are also two load calculation examples there ("2A" and "2B") with a trailer plus cargo (and curiously, the examples have a trailer HEAVIER than the above load limits) that even this slower boy from Alabama can understand, with the first example (with driver only) is just under the load limit, and adding a second adult and child put it over the limit.

I found the manual online; section 13-3. Vehicle load limit – how to determine (pages 521 - 526):

 
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