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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

TL;DR: Should I buy the 6" Weigh Safe Drop Hitch or the 8" Weigh Safe Drop Hitch, given the clearance recommendation of 11 inches under load between the bottom of the hitch and the ground? I'm not sure how much the Ascent will sag at or near the max tongue weight, which would be the deciding factor between the two.

I've been doing a lot of research on towing with my Ascent Touring, which I just had the OEM hitch added at a Subaru dealership this week. This forum has an amazing wealth of knowledge and information.

The one thing I haven't been able to find is the maximum recommended ball mount drop (which I realize will depend on the ball mount), taking into account clearance to the ground. It seems the recommended minimum clearance between the bottom of the hitch ball mount and the ground should be at least 11 inches under load.

Threads here have told me that the height of the top of the OEM hitch receiver height is around 24", so the top of the OEM ball mount is around 18-19" off the ground. However, I'm planning to buy the adjustable Weigh Safe Drop Hitch. If I'm doing the math right, with the 3" between the top of the ball mount in the lowest position and the bottom of the drop hitch, the 6" would be 15" off the ground unloaded (24-6-3 = 15). The 8" would be 13" off the ground unloaded (24-8-3 = 13).

What I don't know is how much the Ascent can sag under load. I've seen others on this forum say "a couple of inches", but I don't know if that means exactly 2, or perhaps more than 2 inches. Does anyone here have experience to guide me? If it is 2 inches and almost never more, I'd go with the 8" for more flexibility. If the sag could be 2-4 inches, then I'd go with the 6" to be on the safe side relating to ground clearance under load.

Thanks all!
 

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You need to measure the trailer's coupler height when the trailer is level. The hitch height has to enable the trailer to be level. You don't want the trailer to be tongue up or down stance which will cause instability. Once you know the coupler height you can calculate the ball mount drop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Titanrx8,

Thanks for the response! Sorry if I wasn't clear -- I understand to determine the ball mount drop appropriate for a given trailer I need to measure the trailer's coupler height. I plan to buy an adjustable drop mount, so I have the most flexibility in towing trailers with different coupler heights. If there is enough clearance, I'd prefer to buy the 8" version for maximum flexibility.

What I'm trying to determine is if a 2019 Ascent Touring, when under near max tongue load (as a worse case scenario), has enough ground clearance to use the 8" ball drop from Weigh Safe, which measures 11 inches from the top inside of the hitch receiver to the bottom of the hitch when in the lowest position. They recommend having at least 11 inches of ground clearance under load.

The data point that I'm missing is the max amount the Ascent rear end can sag while near or at max tongue load. If it can sag more than 2 inches, and this forum agrees with the recommendation of having 11 inches of clearance, then I might be better off with the 6 inch version of the hitch. Here are the dimensions of the Weigh Safe 8 inch hitch. The 6 inch hitch would have an extra 2 inches of ground clearance.

5343
 

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For my latest rental tow, I sagged probably a solid 2.0", and my best guess is that I was at the max of 500 lbs on the hitch ball (and a bunch of weight in the back of the Ascent, plus 4 people, plus 160 lb tent on the roof, so I think I broke some Ascent towing guidelines). I don't ever intend to push my tow setup to that extreme again. For that trip, I figured I was ok, 90 minute flat tow each way.

My point is that the 2" sag I saw was probably the most I'll ever see, and sticking to the "80% rule" for towing, I should be sagging in the sub-2" range from here on.

Never to argue just one side, another thought it that for some trailers, you might want an extension (extends back a few inches) if your chosen hitch causes the trailer to be too close to the back hatch. An example is trailers with an electric lift instead of a manual crank - those pods are rather thick and tall, sometimes blocking the rear hatch. Now, a towing purist may say Don't Extend, but others might figure it's fine to put an outward extension on your 2" mount. Bottom line is leverage: an extension will put your tongue force farther away from the rear axle, causing some more sag. Just food for thought if this was a possible consideration for you (personally, I don't use extenders, as I'm fine with the hatch being blocked until I de-hitch).

F.S.
 

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It would make logical sense that you don't want the bottom of the ball mount lower than the normal ground clearance of the Ascent...so that's what I'd personally use as a guide were I struggling with your decision.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Awesome, thank you for your input FS. Jim - great point about the normal ground clearance of 8.7 inches. That's a very logical reference point. Thank you.
 

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Also figure in how the cabin is going to be loaded. Just for argument sake, you hitched the trailer and the cargo area is loaded and then experience 2" drop at the hitch. Then 2 x 200# people get into the front seats. The rear axle is a fulcrum, as the front lowers, the rear will rise. Might be insignificant, might be enough to alter the hitch height. Just have to see how the real world experience measures out.
 

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Awesome, thank you for your input FS. Jim - great point about the normal ground clearance of 8.7 inches. That's a very logical reference point. Thank you.
Well, keep in mind approach angle, too if the terrain you'll be towing in isn't "highway" and has dips in the road like in the campgrounds, an rural byways. I don't know I'd go all the way down to 8.7", but I'd be comfortable with ~11-12" at the bumper for sure.
 

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The Subaru Ascent is front heavy. The entire engine and part of the CVT are in front of the front wheel center point.

In cabin weight loads both axles. Tongue weight loads both axles until a certain weight, where the rear suspension is fully compressed and starts to act like a lever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So someone send me a follow-up question via PM, so I thought I'd share my response here as well. Hope it helps someone looking to make this decision in the future!
===

I went with the 6" drop and am quite happy that I did so. The 6" drop is only slightly below the bottom bumper (it actually lines up almost perfectly with the bottom of the spare tire), so there is very little risk of it hitting the ground regardless of terrain.

More importantly -- and I noticed this only after buying the hitch -- in a rise position the 6" version (a maximum 5" rise) allows the rear gate to open without removal of the hitch. I think if I was using the 8" hitch for a maximum 7" rise, I wouldn't be able to open the lift gate without removing the hitch. Or it would be very close. Below are a couple pictures that might help visualize. You will see in the first picture there is only about an inch of space between the rear gate and the top of the 6" mount. I suspect the 8" might have prevented the rear gate from opening.

As for quality of the hitch, it is absolutely superb. I had multiple people stopping me in parking lots admiring the setup and the tongue weight gauge. As you will see in the pictures, I also went with the hitch pin lock. I didn't have any attempted theft issues I'm aware of, but the Weigh Safe hitch is a significant investment to have it walk off. I didn't want to disconnect it from the car when not in use.

All in all, 10/10 would do again.

Automotive exterior Automotive parking light Automotive lighting Automotive tire Automotive tail & brake light Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive exterior Rim Automotive wheel system Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Automotive lighting Automotive tire Bumper
 
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