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Aptenodytes

Outback 3.0 - can it TOW 2 tonne tandem trailer?

13 posts in this topic

Hi there,

 

I live in Nelson, take a tandem trailer with a 6.2m aluminium hardtop boat (total about 2 tonnes) to Havelock perhaps 5 times / year (it's 80km of winding, hilly road). I swap cars with my brother and use his 3.6l Commodore VE for boat towing (we share a family bach and boat) as my 1995 Legacy 250T would not have been up to the job. However my Legacy got a death sentence at the WOF last week (RIP :( ) so I'm in the market for a replacement. It would make sense to get a car that can tow the boat.

 

I would like to get a 4th Gen Outback 3.0R (2004 - 2007 or so) and have spent some time trying to work out if it would be up the task of towing 2 tonnes. I've found plenty of information in this forum (thanks!) and elsewhere on towing with 3.0 Outbacks, but nothing definitive.

- Tow rating for this car would be 1800kg braked (750kg unbraked).

- Some suggest an additional trans oil cooler would be needed (some suggest it would be difficult to fit).

 

I've read a few lists of good towing vehicles on horse float / boating sites and nobody has mentioned any Subaru for towing, not even once. They usually mention the standard big SUVs and also Falcon/Commodore etc. My gutfeel is that 2 tonnes is a little too much for an Outback based on kerb weight etc and the transmission / drivetrain would be worked a bit harder than it should be.

 

So what does everyone think? My guess is if I said Hilux / Commodore everyone would say "yes", if I said 2.5 Legacy everyone would say "no' but if I said 3.0 Outback it's probably in that slightly worrying ground in between.

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One of my friends brought a 3.0 legacy to tow a horse float and horse, it was just under the limit for weight but wishes she got something with a bit more power.

Personally if it's going anywhere near hills don't get it.

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Gret Subaru Road!

 

Ooh Part of me would say yep, is it braked? if not don't bother, but who would have a boat trailer that size unbraked LOL

 

then again part of me would say no, be a bit iffy so LMGTFY

 

https://www.aa.co.nz/cars/owning-a-car/towing/towing-weights/subaru/

 

says 1600 & 1800 kg max on Braked 3.0's (Outback & Legacy)

 

what does your tow bar say? (Some are S*** / cheap & simply not up to it) I've ripped the bum out of my floor once on a trip back from Napier in my GTB

 

I liked the "sure footedness of the GTB for towing the Race car, both on Manual gear box & brakes but use a Commydore now too...

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A customer of the shop I used to work at had a 10 3.6 Outback with the 5 speed auto. Towed her Horsefloat pretty well from what she said.

Had it in the shop cos the electric brakes on the float were screwing up.

 

I'd say you'd be ok with using it as a tow vehicle. But personally, something with a 3L diesel would better - say a Toyota ute/SUV with a 1KD-FTV diesel will be far better.

Edited by Individualities
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Windy, hilly roads are the biggest test on towing ability. Even when braked it doesn't take much for a trailer heavier than the car to start determining the direction you take rather than yourself which won't end positively.

 

In the city driving to the local boat ramp we’d probably all say you’ll be right but it’ll be a struggle on narrow winding roads and you'll more than likely piss off everyone else on the road as you cautiously make the trek.

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We have a 6m glass boat on a tandem axle braked trailer.

We towed it from Auckland to Christchurch down the alternate route while kaikoura was blocked and through the Lindis pass. This was using our 2.5T auto 2008 SH5 Forester.

Under brakes it is good and never have had a brake fade issue or felt uncomfortable under brakes.

However... if the coolant system isn't up to scratch you will suffer. Our radiator was blocked and this caused us overheating issues so I'd get the radiator rodded or replaced, rodding a rad is cheap.

I would also consider a trans cooler and eventually I'll fit an oil temp sensor to the engine oil.

Suspension wise the factory suspension has a tendency to pitch a lot, this is amplified while towing and is not stable, ie the oscillation gets bigger as you go faster. We can safely tow at 90kmh but around 100 kmh the oscillation starts and gets a bit scary. Not a big issue but worth noting, this is likely to be different to an outback.

I don't believe the pitching is a tongue weight issue, we are around 50kg tongue weight.

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk

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Have towed for many years a race car on tandem trailer with spares and fuel. Yes there is better cars but we have done kilmogs, arthers pass plus all the way to whangarei. The old outback does ok just keep eye on Temps and keep servicing up. It is extremely thirsty when towing though 

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We see ~18l/100km when towing on the open road at 90km/hr


Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk

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Thanks for all the comments. :) Looks like everyone is more or less on the same page here, for towing two tonnes I really should be using something a bit bigger / longer / heavier / gruntier etc. I've decided I won't be towing the boat with a Soob, I'll stick to borrowing my brother's Commodore (they're fine with it).

 

So now I'm in the market for an Outback or Legacy wagon (probably 2004 - 2009) and either 2.5 or 3.0. I'll still have a towbar fitted but won't be towing two tonnes with it. Joker, the car sales yards down here (Nelson) tend to quote about $600 for towbar fitting, I think it's all done properly according to manufacturers specs. I would hope that that price would get me a decent one.

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BTW towing the boat (tandem trailer, about 2 tonnes total) with a 3.6L VE Commodore gets about 16L/100km on the winding, hilly Nelson-Havelock route at a guess, doing 90km/h on the straights. It feels pretty safe and solid to me, no yaw or pitch at all. Never had to stop in a hurry though, hope I never do... My brother prefers towing the boat with his work Hilux 3.0D twin cab manual ute though, even though it's much lower powered than the Commodore it's got all that low-down torque.

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Ive had a pre facelift 2.5 outback and now have a facelift 3.0.

Go for the later models in 3.0 is my opinion, I find its a little bit thirstier when just doing a lot of short runs, but evens out wih a few longer runs. 

Also if going auto the 3.0 has the 5 speed.

Both are great wagons, but prefer the 3.0. 

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I have a 3.0 Outback facelift and agree with poor fuel consumption.I normally use the white Subaru oem filter but replaced the air filter with the orange type,noticeable improvement in fuel consumption.Run Mobil 98 from the same local gas station.

 

Edited by Dre

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In a pinch you would be fine. Another bloke on here used to routinely tow his racecar on a tandem trailer all over the place with one. Eventually the trans shat the bed which was somewhat to be expected.

 

 

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