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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Tongue/Hitch Weight Conundrum

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jpmogle1

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 11/18/21 06:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Everyone,
I am quite novice on the towing capacity and was alerted by a friend that the vehicle I purchased may not support the trailer we are looking to purchase this weekend. We have a 2021 Subaru Ascent with a factory installed receiver. The max towing capacity is 5000 lbs. with a tongue weight of 500 lbs. We are making a deal on a 2022 Forest River Ozark 1680BSKX with a dry weight of 4050 lbs, a GVWR of 4905 lbs. and a hitch weight of 505 lbs. per the manufacturers site: https://forestriverinc.com/rvs/toy-haulers/ozark/1680BSK/5802

The concern is if we take into consideration the 10-15% rule of the trailer, we are between 405 lbs and 607 lbs for tongue weight. However if we take the GVWR into consideration we are at 490 lbs to 735lbs., which is way too much.

The trailer dealer states we are within 'range' and should just distribute weight properly. Subaru has warned that going over 500 lbs is dangerous and also could void the vehicle warranty. Any assistance on how to determine which is correct would be much appreciated!

ktmrfs

Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 11/18/21 08:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

yes you may be in trouble. the quoted hitch weight is with an empty trailer, no propane in the tank(s), no battery(s) installed no water in the tanks. So I suspect your "guess" of 500-700 lbs is more realistic and will likely be over 600 once loaded.
As an example our trailer had an advertised tongue with of 750lbs, which I verified was correct when empty. Once we put on 2 batteries, filled the propane, loaded the trailer with our stuff and fill the fresh tank, tongue weight is 1450lbs! If fresh tank is empty and grey black near full it's up over 1500lbs.

Vehicle mfg "assume" 10% hitch weight when doing their calculations on capacity for towing. Trailer mfg design to near 15% tongue weight. See the disconnect!

And more than likely that "5,000lb" towing capacity assumes the tow vehicle has a driver, full tank of gas, no passenger and no luggage. Passenger weight and luggage weight subtracts from towing capacity.

I don't know which transmission the subaru has, but if it has a CVT, that's another potential reliability issue if overloaded. CVT's are great for many applications, reliable, low loss, etc. but they currently haven't been able to be designed to handle heavy load applications on a continual basis. If it has a CVT that may be the limiting factor on towing.

Similar issue on vehicles with DCT transmission especially w/o a torque converter in front of the transmission. to easy to burn up the clutches when towing. (Don't believe subaru uses and DCT's)

* This post was edited 11/19/21 04:45pm by ktmrfs *


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Nv Guy

Reno NV

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Posted: 11/18/21 08:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My opinion is you will be overloaded, as RV manufacturers tend to underestimate their products weight, much the same as users underestimate how much stuff they load in their RVs.
With that being said, unless you want to weigh the trailer and tongue weight then carefully load everything to make sure you are "within range" I would find a different unit, because the real issue here is the razor thin margin of error, as you can end up with a combination that is not only dangerous, but a real chore to drive.





MitchF150

Puyallup, WA

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Posted: 11/18/21 11:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No matter what, you will be maxed out, even if you somehow keep it "just under" the limits using whatever math you use...

My 13 F150 has a "tow rating" of #11,000... ha, ha... I'm 'maxed out' for my own preferences with the #7000 loaded TT I have now and I'm able to tow it with ease and enjoy the ride.

If you are taking a poll.. I would say go a little bit lighter than #4900 GVWR TT for your vehicle..

Good luck! Mitch
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valhalla360

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Posted: 11/19/21 01:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yeah, expect it to be over.

The 505lb hitch weight is the empty hitch weight (as calculated from the design but don't be surprised if it's heavier in reality). It doesn't include propane, batteries or anything else, so you can only expect it to go up from there. I'd be surprised if it's below 650 by the time you load up.

Keep in mind 10% hitch weight is really the bare minimum. If you try to fiddle with it, it's very easy to get too low and then the trailer can become unstable while towing.

Honestly, I would be capping any trailer at around 4000lb GVWR with your car and even then you need to be careful loading stuff in the car. A family of 4 with teenagers plus jam backed with coolers and firewood, you might also exceed the payload.


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jpmogle1

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 11/19/21 03:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you all for your insight and confirmation! While disappointing news regarding the trailer, I'm not willing to take a chance with our safety. We will keep looking for the right trailer for us.

bgum

South Louisiana

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Posted: 11/19/21 07:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The tow vehicle transmission will be trashed with that sized trailer.
Good transmission just not designed to tow.

Lwiddis

Near DVNP, California

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Posted: 11/19/21 07:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“The trailer dealer states we are within 'range'…”

Did the dealer also say “You can tow anything on this lot?” You can’t, don’t try it. Follow the guidelines from Subaru. Towing at max isn’t fun, while towing over max is dangerous.


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Timmo!

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Posted: 11/19/21 07:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JP,

Can you find a trailer to match your SUV? Yes, but we all know the choices are limited. But will you enjoy it?....that is the question I would be asking myself.


Then ask yourself, how long will you own the brand new travel trailer? Decades is the answer for many of us. So...maybe the best answer is to match your tow vehicle to the targeted trailer. My truck can tow over 9000 lbs, but my travel trailer fully packed might weigh 7000 lbs, hitch rated for 1000 lbs and my Nash is around 750 lbs...those are nice safety margins.

Grit dog

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Posted: 11/19/21 10:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jpmogle1 wrote:

Thank you all for your insight and confirmation! While disappointing news regarding the trailer, I'm not willing to take a chance with our safety. We will keep looking for the right trailer for us.

It’s not a safety issue per se. With a proper setup, Ie trailer brakes and a wdh, that vehicle is fully capable from a safety standpoint.
What bgum said is what would give me the most pause. CVT cars aren’t good towing transmissions.
Bummer cause both the car and trailer would be an Ascent!


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