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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this weekend we took the ascent out and did 500 round trip miles up and down mountain passes averaging 10.5 MPG. Route was South Lake Tahoe to Santa Cruz and back to SLT.

Trailer is my new Apex Nano 208BHS. We came in with the trailer weighing around 4800-4900.

Was a great trip and the Subaru did a good job maintaining 60 up all the passes and braking was great with the P3 controller on boost 3.

We even ran into a pretty big fire right in our own area on our way back.


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Wow. That is a bit scary looking. Would not like to have to pull over onto the shoulder next to that inferno.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yup it was the Durock fire heading south of 50. Still going now but they have a good handle on it. We got through as it was starting before they closed off the freeway.

Calfire has said they believe it was dragging chains from a trailer. Always make sure chains are off the road people!

Local I assume? I use SLT as a close estimate but actually from Pollock.
 

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So this weekend we took the ascent out and did 500 round trip miles up and down mountain passes averaging 10.5 MPG. Route was South Lake Tahoe to Santa Cruz and back to SLT.

Trailer is my new Apex Nano 208BHS. We came in with the trailer weighing around 4800-4900.

Was a great trip and the Subaru did a good job maintaining 60 up all the passes and braking was great with the P3 controller on boost 3.

We even ran into a pretty big fire right in our own area on our way back.


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Such a beautiful trailer, but how do you possibly manage the hitch weight of an Apex Nano 208BHS?? The dry tongue weight is spec'd at 516 lbs.

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The Ascent's max hitch weight is 500 lbs and you're already over that with the dry hitch weight, the loaded weight must be considerably higher unless you've found some effective way to offset it.

Looking at your photo it appears as if the rear suspension is heavily loaded and the front might be too light:

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I'm not trying to be critical, I just want to know what you did to mitigate the tongue weight issue which is plaguing me as I try to find a decent 21-22' trailer for my Ascent with a tongue weight that I can somehow keep under 500 lbs. Any insight would be appreciated.
 

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I caught that squat too. That may not be the trailer. It depends what they have in the back of the Ascent also.
 

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I caught that squat too. That may not be the trailer. It depends what they have in the back of the Ascent also.
The squat is only a part of the issue. The problem is that when the tongue weight is above 500 pounds, and the suspension becomes fully compressed, and the engine weight is overcome, the rear axle becomes a lever, and the front unloads and rises.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So the vehicle itself was empty, it only contained 6 passengers (2 in carseats, 2 teenagers, and 2 adults). The squat is not nearly as bad as it looks in that picture, it's hard to see but the vehicle is actually at a slight lean on the passenger side plus the darkness really doesn't catch the wheel's well.

Trailer had less than 10 gallons of fresh water, enough for some road side stops. We had 1/3 tank black, and empty grey leaving (in the picture with the wheels circled), and on the way back we had 2/3 black and 1/3 grey which also took some tongue weight off.
Trailer has nothing stored in the front pass-thru, with the exception of the setup stuff like hoses and misc small tools. It did have 2 full propane tanks, along with 2 batteries. All other storage was put under the bunks in the rear of the trailer, which I would say comes out to around 500 pounds I put in that area. (firewood, tables, chairs, etc.) We also have an outside kitchen area which has storage where all the drinks were stored, and that is a lot of weight for sure.

Rear suspension is not fully compressed, regardless if some people believe 500 lb will compress the rear end. With the trailer on, and all the kids in the car I can stand on the tongue and still get another 1-2" of compression easily.

If you ever drove CA freeways, you know that they are bumpy as can be and will throw you all over the place. I have towed with many vehicles before and to be honest I never felt I was not in control and I never lost any steering, even hitting some insane size bay area bumps. I am not joking when I say these highways have bumps that literally make cars bottom out on the highway constantly.


Now for the downside..

I have full out snow tires on this car right now, and it was never my intent to ever leave town with the car with these tires but a blow out on the stock's caused me to get screwed over. These tires were not made to handle the weight this rear end had on it, especially with the soft rubber.

What I intend on doing is finding maybe 5 rims, and mounting some towing tires on them for the car. I say 5 because incase of a blow out I want to be ready. This spare will be mounted next to the trailer spare on the rear bumper.
Second thing I am thinking either A. Stiffer rear shocks (I can care less how the car feels unloaded), or B. Drop some air shocks in the back to get it more sitting level. Trailer is sitting level, no tongue down.

500 lb tongue weight is crazy low when talking travel trailers, and I know I am over that 500. I did not hit a scale as for some reason each scale I passed on I5 had lines of people waiting, but I will be hitting a scale soon. The dealership was happy to hook it up, try to sell me on a WDH and then send me on my way. Also when I did my test drive, they had the fresh tank completely full and I still had full steering and rear was not fully loaded.

Would I tow this across the country on this setup? Nope.. There are better setups for that.
Would I tow it 1000 miles away? Yes I would.


Now the question for Robert.. Who makes air suspension for the rear of this thing? ;)
 

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Now the question for Robert.. Who makes air suspension for the rear of this thing? ;)
No one, yet (though I am working on it for different reasons). More info to come later.

And, bad news is, absolutely no air suspension will change two factors:
  1. Front end is rising for you and anyone with that tongue weight.
    You're going to find less control in rain and snow.

  2. It's illegal in all 50 states to exceed the vehicle's ratings, and, in the event you get into an accident, various liabilities may quite possibly be your responsibility.
    It's up to you to determine if that risk is worth it, but, as someone who worked in insurance, exceeding the manufacturer rating is one of the first things the underwriting department would use to deny your claim.
 

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So the vehicle itself was empty, it only contained 6 passengers (2 in carseats, 2 teenagers, and 2 adults). The squat is not nearly as bad as it looks in that picture, it's hard to see but the vehicle is actually at a slight lean on the passenger side plus the darkness really doesn't catch the wheel's well.

Trailer had less than 10 gallons of fresh water, enough for some road side stops. We had 1/3 tank black, and empty grey leaving (in the picture with the wheels circled), and on the way back we had 2/3 black and 1/3 grey which also took some tongue weight off.
Trailer has nothing stored in the front pass-thru, with the exception of the setup stuff like hoses and misc small tools. It did have 2 full propane tanks, along with 2 batteries. All other storage was put under the bunks in the rear of the trailer, which I would say comes out to around 500 pounds I put in that area. (firewood, tables, chairs, etc.) We also have an outside kitchen area which has storage where all the drinks were stored, and that is a lot of weight for sure.

Rear suspension is not fully compressed, regardless if some people believe 500 lb will compress the rear end. With the trailer on, and all the kids in the car I can stand on the tongue and still get another 1-2" of compression easily.

If you ever drove CA freeways, you know that they are bumpy as can be and will throw you all over the place. I have towed with many vehicles before and to be honest I never felt I was not in control and I never lost any steering, even hitting some insane size bay area bumps. I am not joking when I say these highways have bumps that literally make cars bottom out on the highway constantly.


Now for the downside..

I have full out snow tires on this car right now, and it was never my intent to ever leave town with the car with these tires but a blow out on the stock's caused me to get screwed over. These tires were not made to handle the weight this rear end had on it, especially with the soft rubber.

What I intend on doing is finding maybe 5 rims, and mounting some towing tires on them for the car. I say 5 because incase of a blow out I want to be ready. This spare will be mounted next to the trailer spare on the rear bumper.
Second thing I am thinking either A. Stiffer rear shocks (I can care less how the car feels unloaded), or B. Drop some air shocks in the back to get it more sitting level. Trailer is sitting level, no tongue down.

500 lb tongue weight is crazy low when talking travel trailers, and I know I am over that 500. I did not hit a scale as for some reason each scale I passed on I5 had lines of people waiting, but I will be hitting a scale soon. The dealership was happy to hook it up, try to sell me on a WDH and then send me on my way. Also when I did my test drive, they had the fresh tank completely full and I still had full steering and rear was not fully loaded.

Would I tow this across the country on this setup? Nope.. There are better setups for that.
Would I tow it 1000 miles away? Yes I would.


Now the question for Robert.. Who makes air suspension for the rear of this thing? ;)
So, 2 full propane tanks, along with 2 batteries is 174 lbs on the tongue, plus the 516 lb dry tongue weight, adds up to 690 lbs. I wouldn't know how to begin to bring that back down to 500 lbs, you would need a lot of counterweight behind the axle.

Again, I don't want to sound critical, just practical, to me that trailer would be a no-go right out of the starting blocks for the Ascent, and it can't be fixed with different tires or an air suspension. I've rejected trailers with 425 lbs. dry tongue weights because I couldn't figure out how to keep the loaded weight below 500 lbs. I can't imagine starting out with a dry tongue weight already over the limit.

The Ascent's 500 lb max tongue weight is indeed crazy low as you say, but I don't see how it can just be ignored.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
So, 2 full propane tanks, along with 2 batteries is 174 lbs on the tongue, plus the 516 lb dry tongue weight, adds up to 690 lbs. I wouldn't know how to begin to bring that back down to 500 lbs, you would need a lot of counterweight behind the axle.

Again, I don't want to sound critical, just practical, to me that trailer would be a no-go right out of the starting blocks for the Ascent, and it can't be fixed with different tires or an air suspension. I've rejected trailers with 425 lbs. dry tongue weights because I couldn't figure out how to keep the loaded weight below 500 lbs. I can't imagine starting out with a dry tongue weight already over the limit.

The Ascent's 500 lb max tongue weight is indeed crazy low as you say, but I don't see how it can just be ignored.
As from what the Apex rep and the dealership was saying, as the package includes dual tanks and is shipped from the factory with dual tanks the sticker tongue weight of 521 lb included 2 empty tanks, not the weight of it filled plus the batteries. The dealer does not add tanks to the model I purchased as it was a factory installed package. Either way I know the vehicle did fine for what we needed it for, and I know the tongue is not at 700 lb as you stated. I will hit a scale soon and get the actual tongue weight and share it with everyone. It just sucks the closest is like an hour away so going to have to hit it on our way to a campsite.

EDIT: Just wanted to also add this.. I never said tires would fix it, or that any suspension would fix it. What I stated was I had the incorrect tires equipped for towing. Soft snow tires have high rolling resistance which does not help anything. My point being, having dedicated towing tires would be safer and also provide less rolling resistance. All I stated about the suspension was just to level out the car a little bit so the rear has a bit more travel left. Again, doesn't increase what the car can do, but the car will do better with how I will be using it.
 

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I would load it so that the distribution is as favorable as can be. Then I'd take it to a certified CAT scale and weigh it several times to get the exact tongue weight.

1) pull TV on to cat scale with TT connected BUT trailer axle NOT on the platform.
2) track weight - let's say it's 6000 lbs
3) drive off the scale and disconnect the TT
4) weigh the TV on the cat scales alone - let's say it weighs 5000 lbs
5) tongue weight = step 2 (6000) - step 4 (5000) (or 1000 in this example)
 

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Yup it was the Durock fire heading south of 50. Still going now but they have a good handle on it. We got through as it was starting before they closed off the freeway.

Calfire has said they believe it was dragging chains from a trailer. Always make sure chains are off the road people!

Local I assume? I use SLT as a close estimate but actually from Pollock.
That's a crazy look. Historically, has there been an increased in frequency and intensity of wildfires? I heard that it is but not sure if it's accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's a crazy look. Historically, has there been an increased in frequency and intensity of wildfires? I heard that it is but not sure if it's accurate.
That is a super political question in CA right now..

Honestly I can’t speak much on it besides I grew up in this town and never remember this many fires. Then again, social media wasn’t a thing and so the news didn’t cover every small fire. Few years back we had the King Fire which was giant and that just tore our national forest up in my county.

As for going in to the scales, that is a priority soon.
 
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