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Towing an R-Pod 171 with a Subaru Outback

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pnjbartlett View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pnjbartlett Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Towing an R-Pod 171 with a Subaru Outback
    Posted: 09 Oct 2020 at 9:09pm
Have a 2020 Subaru Outback Onxy XT that can tow 3500 pounds.  Looking at the R-Pod 171 and wondering if anyone is towing with this vehicle or something similar and if so how has your towing experience been.
JB
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JR View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Oct 2020 at 5:53am
If you end up towing anything (not just an RPod) with your Subaru Outback make sure the tail doesn't end up wagging the dog.  I don't know what the weight of the Outback is but be careful.
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Oct 2020 at 7:57am
I think you are asking the wrong question. Its easy to find someone somewhere on the internet that is doing something you'd like to do so you can feel good about it. Its called confirmation bias. 

What you need to do is look at the specs of the tow vehicle and trailer and realistically decide where your loading will be relative to those. So, for the 171, max trailer weight is 3252 lbs. You will very likely be near that weight with a fully loaded trailer, especially if you plan to boon dock at all (carrying a full fresh water tank and dual batteries, gear, supplies, etc). If you never plan to camp without water and electrical hookups you can subtract about 300 lbs. 

Next, look at your driver's door sticker and find the MCGVWR (the max combined gross vehicle weight rating). That is the most that Subaru allows your total rig to weigh. Take your Suby's curb weight (3884 lbs I think), add the fully loaded trailer weight, and then add a realistic estimated weight of all the passengers and gear (grills, bikes, tents, coolers, folding chairs etc etc) you plan to carry in the vehicle. 

Compare those numbers, If you are over the MCGVWR don't do it, you will be overloaded, unsafe, and open yourself to significant liability if you have an accident. If you are under, then its a personal decision about how much safety factor you want. I personally want to be at least 10% under the MCGVWR all the time.

The other spec to check is hitch weight. What is the max hitch weight on the Subaru? To mitigate against sway, the trailer needs to be balanced so at the very minimum you have 10% of trailer weight on the hitch under all load conditions. 11-12% is preferable. So that is pretty much right at 350 lbs for a fully loaded 171. Ignore Forest River's dangerously low published hitch weight. 

Check the towing section of you manual to see if Subaru allows you to use a weight distribution hitch. That doesn't give you more hitch capacity but it does significantly improve ride and handling of the rig. 

2015 Rpod 179 - sold - too busy playing farmer to go camping
2012 Toyota Highlander
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mjlrpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2020 at 4:56pm
I actually bought my first pod, a 172, thinking I could pull it with my outback, rated at 3000 pouds max. I never actually made a trip, as I saw so many comments against it. I bought instead a Frontier that can pull 6000 pounds. Best decision I ever made. I am a " heavy" packer. I bring two of everything I want to bring, and one of things I don't even want. I would have surely run into a serious problem with the outback. All things of course are relative. If you tow the 171 to a local camp ground, within 1 - 2 hours, say twice a year, on pretty flat land, you might be ok. But if you want to be whatever you want, and go where ever you want, you might be disappointed.

Oh, btw, I think subaru doesn't recommend WDH, and has a low tongue weight, about 200 I believe. An Outback would be good for a small pop up though.
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jato View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2020 at 6:45pm
100% agreement with JR and mjlrpod above.  Our first sighting of an r-pod was back in October 2010 at Fort Wilkens SP in Copper Harbor, Michigan.  What we saw was a Suby outback pulling a 152.  We liked the pod so much we ordered a 177 3 months later, and we still own the same one today.  Anyway, even pulling a 152 (which is quite a bit lighter) it was still probably a stretch for the outback to pull that unit.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pnjbartlett Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2020 at 4:10pm
I understand and appreciate where you all are coming from. What makes things interesting is the 2020 Outback XT's use the same power train as the New Subaru Accents that have a 5000lb tow rating. So the real question is even though the 2020 Outback Onyx XT has a max tow rating of 3500lbs is it going to struggle towing an R-Pod 171 with a UVW of 2500lb? so I would say loaded with our gear about 3000lbs. On the Accent forums people just seem to say there vehicles pull campers heavier than what we are looking into buying with ease. Thoughts?
JB
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2020 at 5:50pm
Lots of manufacturers put the same drivetrain in a variety of different vehicles. Many folks think horsepower is the important factor in a vehicle's tow ability but its not. The deuce and a half truck which was key to us winning WWII could handle enormous loads but only had about 100 hp. It just went slow up hills. But it was massively built. 

The Ascent weighs about 4500 lbs and has a 114 inch wheelbase. The Outback weighs 3900 lbs and has a 108 inch wheelbase. Those are big differences.  

The internet is great for finding folks who do all kinds of things.  But the real question is what does the manufacturer say, what will your trailer, hitch, and tow vehicle end up weighing when loaded (Hint: its always more than you think) and, assuming you are within specs, how close to the limits are you comfortable with? 






2015 Rpod 179 - sold - too busy playing farmer to go camping
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pnjbartlett Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2020 at 2:26pm
We have an update.... So we purchased a 2021 Rpod 171 UVW of 2600 lb loaded maybe 2900 lbs. Our 2020 Subaru Outback Onxy XT did pretty darn well. You can tell the camper was back there, but there was plenty of power for acceleration and going up some of the Indiana Hills the rpm's would hit about 3k but for the most part they stayed around 1800 - 2000 rpm's. We got about 14mpg round trip with 25mph wind gusts on the way back home. We didn't use a WDH as Subaru doesn't recommend them but may consider adding a anti sway bar if we are going to do cross country driving.
JB
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mjlrpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2020 at 2:54pm
Sounds like you have made your decision to tow with the subaru. I hope everything works out great, although, I think it's a matter of time. Good luck 
2017.5 Rp-172
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2020 at 4:05pm
Originally posted by pnjbartlett

We have an update.... So we purchased a 2021 Rpod 171 UVW of 2600 lb loaded maybe 2900 lbs. Our 2020 Subaru Outback Onxy XT did pretty darn well. You can tell the camper was back there, but there was plenty of power for acceleration and going up some of the Indiana Hills the rpm's would hit about 3k but for the most part they stayed around 1800 - 2000 rpm's. We got about 14mpg round trip with 25mph wind gusts on the way back home. We didn't use a WDH as Subaru doesn't recommend them but may consider adding a anti sway bar if we are going to do cross country driving.
A better option than a sway bar is an electronic sway control such as that from Hayes (Sway-Master) or Tuson (Sway Control) or Lippert (Sway Command). I have the Hayes and it is plug-and-play for installation. Also, there is no worries about backing with it.
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