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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
EDIT - Numerous people informed me that the angle of the trailer was wrong, and after buying a drop hitch the car did tow better, however this trailer is simply too large and unaerodynamic to be practically pulled by the Ascent despite the fact that it is within the weight rating.


We have pulled numerous times with the ascent up to a couple thousand pounds small single axle trailers loaded with furniture and materials and it has been a champ.
but today I decided to test out the claimed 5,000 lb rating with my new 24’ enclosed car hauler that from the tag weighs in at about 4,400 lbs. I will use various vehicles to haul this trailer mainly my F250 or other trucks but I expected the Ascent to hold its own and really wanted to be surprised with its highway hauling given that it is within its 5000 lb rating.
well, The Ascent handled it well at low speeds, dare I say “it felt like nothing was back there” but accelerating was really a bear on the CVT and the instant gas mileage gauge on the center display was pegged barely above 0. On the highway I began to encounter some very scary wobbles at 65 mph and above. Some may say to me that the trailer needs to be loaded different (it was empty) or I should experiment with lower hitch ball. Perhaps I will one of these days, but the main takeaway here is that the trailer weighs close to as much as the car and things can get dicey in traffic at high speeds. My trailer is also flat in the front and very susceptible to wind resistance and crosswind.
This post is not meant to tell you that the rating is wrong or that a person cannot tow 5,000 lbs but I personally will not be loading my loved ones into the car and hauling this trailer combo on the highway. Around town, not a problem. And we will use this to move the trailer around town in the future.
However I think the practical tow rating for the ascent as far as being comfortable for many hours of travel over varying slopes and being of little wear on the components is more like 3500 lbs.
for those who are curious I am using the aftermarket draw - tite hitch with OEM wiring all installed by myself and torqued correctly. I am a huge fan of the aftermarket hitch and do not believe one ounce that the factory hitch would have towed any different in this same configuration.
Please see attached photos to show the size of the trailer and how the Ascent sits with that much weight hooked to it.

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From looking at your pics I have two things to add. The ball is a little high... not much but with a long trailer like this it moves the center of balance further back. Also since this trailer was designed for a car inside it definitely doesn't have enough tongue weight when empty. ( the most obvious reason to me) Both of these reasons would cause swaying above 60. Even though the front of your trailer is flat I doubt that would add to the sway problem. Any chance you can add a few hundred Lbs to the front of the trailer to try it? Or check the weight of the tongue? Because other posts here claim the Ascent pulls 5000 Lbs pretty easily and don't forget the engineering factor to all this... Subaru certainly built this so it could tow more than 5000 Lbs as an engineering safety measure.
 

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Your experience with 4400lbs is one of the reasons that I bought the Ascent with a 5000lb tow rating. My previous SUV had a 3500lb rating and I towed a 3200 lb boat/trailer. I still need to tow the boat and wanted to have headroom for safety. If I wanted to bring 3 passengers out on the boat, they had to meet me at the ramp to keep from being overweight.
 

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Yeah, if the trailer was empty, then no wonder. It is meant have weight in it and be loaded on the front for the proper tongue weight.

To be honest, my 1,500lb flat bed trailer is horrible if I have nothing on it. It's light enough that it doesn't make a fuss, but it rattles and wobbles. When I tow it empty, I try and find something to take along just to weigh the tongue down a bit and make it stable.

But as soon as I put my Mustang on it, I can tow at 75mph without a wobble at all. Towing, 4,500lbs I'm still getting 15mpg. And no I haven't had any problems towing it up the mountains around Phoenix either.

When I borrowed a friends trailer (before I had my own) it was a heavier trailer and my total load was 4,800lbs. It wasn't a problem at all.

One time I even towed a Dodge Nitro, so total was 6,000lbs. I didn't go above 45mph for that. Had to help a friend get her car home.

 
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My 2019 Ascent Limited pulls my 2019 Airstream Sport 22FB with no issues, no drama – I've logged over 4,000 miles with this rig (the same as in Subaru promotional materials). My hitch setup is all Subaru. The Airstream's max gross is 4,500 lbs, dry tongue weight 422 lbs. I balance the load so that ≈ 450 lbs is on the ball. I get 12-14 mpg on the Interstate going 65-70 mph. I've pulled it up some pretty steep grades in Big Bend Country – it just kept going. Very happy with it.

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My 2019 Ascent Limited pulls my 2019 Airstream Sport 22FB with no issues, no drama – I've logged over 4,000 miles with this rig (the same as in Subaru promotional materials). My hitch setup is all Subaru. The Airstream's max gross is 4,500 lbs, dry tongue weight 422 lbs. I balance the load so that ≈ 450 lbs is on the ball.
The difference here from the OP's situation is that you "can" balance the Airstream. The enclosed utility trailer the OP was pulling was empty (and still 4400 lbs...) and there wasn't any practical way to get the tongue weight where it needed to be because the trailer was designed to hold a heavy vehicle. I'm guessing that even empty the optimal tongue weight with that trailer even empty to be properly balanced would have been above the Ascent's limit. But that's a guess/assumption...and you know what they say about assumptions. :) :D
 

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I should try this with my fake Lego Ascent!
Very nice video! However, the instability in that case has very little to do with the tongue weight and a lot to do with the majority of the mass being in the front or the back of the trailer.
When he moves the buggy to the back, the mass being far from the supports will have a much larger effect on the resulting motion. Moving the mass to the front makes the system more stable.

Now, you could have a configuration where you have a lot of mass in the back and some in the front, so that you have the exact same tongue weight than having just the buggy in the front, but the mass center much farther back, and you'll see more instability, despite having the exact same tongue weight.

Other than that minor detail the video is great, and you can see what you need to do: move your mass as close as possible to the towing vehicle. Just put enough mass behind the axle to reduce the tongue weight to an acceptable value, but most should go towards the front for better stability.
 

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However, the instability in that case has very little to do with the tongue weight and a lot to do with the majority of the mass being in the front or the back of the trailer.
When he moves the buggy to the back, the mass being far from the supports will have a much larger effect on the resulting motion. Moving the mass to the front makes the system more stable.
Moving the mass back and forth on the trailer directly affects the tongue weight...so yes, it's a factor in the instability.
 

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Correct. Tongue weight tells you exactly where the center of mass of the loaded trailer is with respect to the trailer's axle. 10% tongue weight means the center of gravity is in front of the trailer axle 10% of the distance from the axle to ball.
 

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My 2019 Ascent Limited pulls my 2019 Airstream Sport 22FB with no issues, no drama – I've logged over 4,000 miles with this rig (the same as in Subaru promotional materials). My hitch setup is all Subaru. The Airstream's max gross is 4,500 lbs, dry tongue weight 422 lbs. I balance the load so that ≈ 450 lbs is on the ball. I get 12-14 mpg on the Interstate going 65-70 mph. I've pulled it up some pretty steep grades in Big Bend Country – it just kept going. Very happy with it.

View attachment 3864
Did you use any stabilizer or weight transfer bars with the hitch? Or just the stock hitch?
 

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Did you use any stabilizer or weight transfer bars with the hitch? Or just the stock hitch?
WDH is NOT permitted with the Ascent.
 

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Did you use any stabilizer or weight transfer bars with the hitch? Or just the stock hitch?
WDH is NOT permitted with the Ascent.
Like Jim said, the Ascent isn't designed for a WDH. The weight is supposed to be loaded on the rear.

 

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OP is very tail down, and using a hitch that yanks the bumper bolts instead of distributing the forces through the entire rear frame rails. That difference in leverage DOES make a difference, regardless of opinion - it's simply physics. Push the car at the rear wheel and at the hitch and see which causes more "sway". That combination will make towing horrible. Leveling out the trailer so the nose isn't pointing up will help considerably.

I'd suggest an adjustable drop hitch if trailer load will be changing, otherwise, measure for a fixed hitch and get a different one. Personally, I use this one:

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It is solid, and not tube/square steel, meaning, it's heavy. It weighs about 30 pounds.
 

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We have pulled numerous times with the ascent up to a couple thousand pounds small single axle trailers loaded with furniture and materials and it has been a champ.
but today I decided to test out the claimed 5,000 lb rating with my new 24’ enclosed car hauler that from the tag weighs in at about 4,400 lbs. I will use various vehicles to haul this trailer mainly my F250 or other trucks but I expected the Ascent to hold its own and really wanted to be surprised with its highway hauling given that it is within its 5000 lb rating.
well, The Ascent handled it well at low speeds, dare I say “it felt like nothing was back there” but accelerating was really a bear on the CVT and the instant gas mileage gauge on the center display was pegged barely above 0. On the highway I began to encounter some very scary wobbles at 65 mph and above. Some may say to me that the trailer needs to be loaded different (it was empty) or I should experiment with lower hitch ball. Perhaps I will one of these days, but the main takeaway here is that the trailer weighs close to as much as the car and things can get dicey in traffic at high speeds. My trailer is also flat in the front and very susceptible to wind resistance and crosswind.
This post is not meant to tell you that the rating is wrong or that a person cannot tow 5,000 lbs but I personally will not be loading my loved ones into the car and hauling this trailer combo on the highway. Around town, not a problem. And we will use this to move the trailer around town in the future.
However I think the practical tow rating for the ascent as far as being comfortable for many hours of travel over varying slopes and being of little wear on the components is more like 3500 lbs.
for those who are curious I am using the aftermarket draw - tite hitch with OEM wiring all installed by myself and torqued correctly. I am a hmassivefan of the aftermarket hitch and do not believe one ounce that the factory hitch would have towed any different in this same configuration.
Please see attached photos to show the size of the trailer and how the Ascent sits with that much weight hooked to it.

View attachment 3856 View attachment 3857 View attachment 3858 View attachment 3859
Maybe you should slow down on the highway with something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As an update to this situation I have since purchased a nice BW adjustable hitch and have pulled the trailer loaded and unloaded with my diesel F250. The trailer being flat in the front and extra height in my opinion is outside the bounds of normal trailers recommended for the Ascent as even my F250 could feel it back there and presented some issue when facing a 20 mph headwind loaded. I do feel that for those who suggested the angle of the trailer was wrong and that it needed more weight were EXACTLY right. This leads me to believe that the type of trailer and balance of the trailer is very critical for a vehicle like the Ascent. I have not attempted to tow it again with the ascent but when I ever do I will update the thread and I will absolutely be using a drop hitch of a couple inches. The trailer was way too high in the front unloaded for the first test.
 

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Your cargo trailer is also very wide and flat in front. Most Rv trailers are rounded or angled as well as narrower. All those things matter when towing. I can assure you the weight makes little difference to the ascent, we've towed our trailer both empty and loaded down to the near max weight and it feels pretty much the same.
 

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