TOWING WITH SUBARU FORESTER

Submitted: Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 15:18
ThreadID: 131076 Views:10541 Replies:8 FollowUps:4
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Some advice please.
We currently have a Subaru Forester 2.5i and tow a Cub Kamparoo weekender, unbraked and hardly know it is there.
We are considering buying a Jayco Penguin.
The towing capacity of the Forester is 1500kg with 150kg towball load and the Penguin will weigh in about 1,000kg (empty) with towball load of 138kg.
It appears all would be well, depending on final load of Penguin (and Forester).
Have read a few "blogs" and even NRMA towing test, which advise the Forester should handle the Penguin OK.
However, local mechanic advises he would not tow that weight with a "4 cylinder" and engine and transmission damage may occur over time.
Another alternative, would be to "upgrade" to the latest Forester (auto) diesel.
Recommended towing capacity is 1800kg with towball load at 180kg.
I believe the diesels are "better" at towing than petrol vehicles.
Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers,
DC
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Reply By: TomH - Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 15:32

Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 15:32
The "other Alternative" is best, or depending on how much a new Forester is a late model s/hPrado or Pajero would be even better. Then later on when you buy a caravan you wont need to upgrade again. Much more room, far better towing capacity.

Use a man to do a mans work, boys wear out faster.
AnswerID: 593559

Reply By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 15:32

Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 15:32
If it was me I would wait and see how the current car handles it. You can tell if it's struggling or not and even be a little more gentle on the car in that case.
Diesel certainly do tow better and I prefer them, but I would warn about some that don't take kindly to many short shopping and commuting trips over extended periods. They need a regular good blow out at freeway speeds to stop certain parts clogging up.
AnswerID: 593560

Reply By: Tony H15 - Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 17:26

Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 17:26
All the usual misinformation. If the Subaru is rated to tow 1800kgs then it can tow 1800kgs, Subaru are certainly not going to state a higher tow weight than the vehicle can easily handle, after all they do warrant the vehicle. You may have to change gears more frequently depending on the torque and power curves of the motor. As for not towing with a 4 cylinder - what a load of absolute rot, all the dual cab utes are four cylinder vehicles, plenty of them around towing 2000/3000kg caravans. This sort of thinking generally comes from people who still consider Japanese cars rubbish. Diesels tow a lot better than petrol cars do due to higher torque outputs, flatter torque curves and lower RPMs at which the motor delivers maximum torque, they also deliver better fuel consumption.

I tow an Avan Aliner with a Mitsubishi ASX auto diesel (360nm torque), the Aliner weighs in at 1100kgs fully loaded, the ASX is rated to tow 1400kgs and the ASX does it without a whimper. Fuel consumption when towing the Aliner comes in between 8.2 LP100 (best) and 10LP100 (worst), depending on conditions. Around town with nothing behind I get mid sixes. Most diesels in this bracket get slightly worse consumption figures but not enough to worry about. The ASX has roughly the same output as the Forester diesel.

Personally I'd keep your Forester at least until you see how well it tows - you may get sick of changing gears if it's not an auto. There are a plethora of SUV diesels that will comfortably tow the Penguin, The Sportage or Tucson, both get very, very good write ups and have quite high outputs (400nm torque) for small diesels, likewise for the CX5. Xtrail is also a good choice as is the Captiva although the Captiva doesn't have a good reputation. I'd give the ASX a miss as the Penguins all up weight would be pretty close to the ASX's max. The Outlander shares the same engine and drive train as the ASX but has a 2000kg tow advantage. And of course there is the Forrester diesel if you can find one: The Forrester diesel was first on my list but Subaru couldn't supply one at the time so I bought the ASX.

Product Review is a good place to research vehicles as the reviews are written by the people who actually own the vehicles and use them on a daily basis rather than motoring writers who do a few hundred klms and rate them on how fast they go around corners, whether they like the look of them, how many cup holders they have, who is offering the best incentives for a good review and so on. You can also google tow tests for different vehicles, if your lucky your current vehicle might be listed,
AnswerID: 593563

Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 18:45

Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 18:45
Dennis
The Forrester you have at the moment will be fine to tow the Penguin.
As usual you will be smashed by other people view on what is the perfect Towing vehicle or as someone mentioned you will be changing gears to much (what !!)
AnswerID: 593570

Reply By: Zippo - Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 21:22

Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015 at 21:22
As others have said, grunt-wise your Foz should be OK for the task. You haven't indicated which model_series/vintage/transmission it is. If it is the 5MT trans (as ours is) it will be fine, the 4EAT is OK but a CVT one I'd be hesitant about. Either autotrans will need a cooler if you want longevity.
AnswerID: 593582

Reply By: DENNIS C4 - Wednesday, Dec 09, 2015 at 08:40

Wednesday, Dec 09, 2015 at 08:40
Thanks for the replies. Will take it all on board.
You are right "Zippo", I failed to mention the Forester 2.5i is an auto (CVT).
As a matter of interest, I found a road test by TradeRVs.com.au on the 2.5i CVT towing an 1160kg/110kg tow ball load. They reckon it did not faze the Forester at all.
I guess I am more concerned about the possible long-term damage to engine and transmission.
Comments about trying the current Forester and, if not happy, maybe changing to diesel Forester, makes a lot of sense too.
Much appreciated all.
DC
AnswerID: 593602

Follow Up By: Ron N - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 12:41

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 12:41
I don't see any potential problems with the Subaru engine and CVT as long as you're sensible and stick to the manufacturers recommended load and tow ratings.
The CVT utilises a normal torque converter, as well as a steel chain between the drive pulleys.
Everything runs in copious amounts of oil, plus pressured oil where required.
The Japanese are good at attention to detail in design, and Subaru has a good reputation for reliability, overall.
The Subaru CVT is quite robust in design and the operating principle has been around for decades.
Harvesters have used CVT for drive for decades - using a simple heavy-duty rubber/fabric belt.
The major advantage of the CVT is that is sets the engine RPM as low as possible for the load being applied.
If the load is increased, the gearing is automatically lowered and the engine RPM increases.
Everything is electronically monitored and I would be pretty sure in saying Subaru have electronic parameters in place to avoid overloading the drivetrain.
The beauty of the CVT is stepless gear changes which eliminates drivetrain shock loading, which happens regularly with a manual transmission.

Subaru CVT design

Cheers, Ron.
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FollowupID: 861985

Follow Up By: Zippo - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 17:26

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 17:26
Ron, from that Subaru article: "For example, there is no gear hunting when driving uphill." I have driven Foresters all over, but haven't personally driven a Subaru CVT to verify that statement.

If Toyota are as smart, why can't THEY put a CVT into a Corolla with that no-hunting feature? Ours hunts always on hills, and by watching the tacho you can see discrete "ratios" in effect under all driving conditions.
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FollowupID: 861995

Follow Up By: Ron N - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 17:50

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 17:50
Zippo, my stepdaughter has a 2010 Outback with the CVT that she bought new, and I've driven it a fair amount.
She works away for 2 weeks at a time, so I give it a workout while she's away.
I have owned and driven a lot of vehicles over the last 50 years, and I can tell you, that CVT is impressive.
The Missus has a 2012 Camry Atara (just superseded, with the latest in new 2.5L engine and new 6 speed tranny - but despite being a long-time Toyota man, and being quite impressed with the new Camry auto tranny - the Outback CVT is still superior, IMO.
Subaru did a lot of research and testing on the CVT and in every test, and on every aspect, the CVT came out in front, every time, over a regular multi-plate planetary transmission.
I fail to understand why Toyota just don't go with a CVT - but I think it's probably a great deal of conservativism within Toyota that is resistant to change.
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FollowupID: 861996

Follow Up By: Zippo - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:26

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 18:26
Ron, I know we're getting somewhat O/T here, but if the 2013 Corolla is any guide, and also a long-time Toyota fan, I'd stay well away from the Tojo CVT efforts. Well, the brochures state it is a CVT, but it drives like an old-fashioned auto ....

Actually, it drives worse than my old VL Commie 4-speed auto.
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FollowupID: 862000

Reply By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Dec 09, 2015 at 09:04

Wednesday, Dec 09, 2015 at 09:04
You don't say where you'll be towing it.

If you plan long rough-road trips, or offroad, 1000 kg tare will be pretty hard on your Foz. That tare will easily turn into 1200-1300 gross. That's not far off your vehicle weight. I wouldn't do it even on bitumen - and I did a lot of towing with my old SG. Plus ball weight of say 130 kg will cause your rear to sag quite a lot and the only solution is a WDH - which is more complexity and not an option for offroad.

As for the diesel Foz, do your research carefully on regeneration failures of the PDF. Also the diesel has little grunt at low revs making low-speed manoeuvring tricky.
AnswerID: 593607

Reply By: Tony H15 - Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 09:15

Friday, Dec 11, 2015 at 09:15
DPFs are usually only a problem if used in city traffic only; however, there are a couple of notable exceptions but towing and highway use should negate the problems. I've had two cars with DPFs, both were used for suburban driving as well as towing a light camper, never had a problem. As I said there are a couple of notable exceptions, googling will tell you what they are.
AnswerID: 593683

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