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Hey everyone, I’m new here but when I was figuring out a travel trailer to buy and how to get the brake controller configured this forum was very helpful. So, now that I just completed my first trip with the trailer I thought I would pay the favor forward and share my experience.

Background: I am in Salt Lake City, UT and tow mostly in the mountains. I have some experience towing but not with the Ascent and nothing I would say uniquely qualifies me. I used the Tekonsha P3 brake controller recommended here and it was very easy to hook up and use. OEM hitch installed by the dealer.

I know others on this forum have pushed the 5000 tow rating on the Ascent, but it seemed that they mostly lived in the Midwest and south and didn’t have to deal with the same amount of mountainous terrain that we have out here in the west. So I decided to be a bit more conservative and chose the 16BHS because max GVR is just under 4000 lbs, or about 80% of the max tow rating of the Ascent.

The trailer tows great. Plenty of power and getting up to speed is no big deal. I also feel confident in the brakes, even going down some relatively steep mountain passes. There is a bit of sway in the trailer from time to time but I’ve found this is mitigated by loading it properly, and I think what sway remains is probably due to being a relatively heavy single axle trailer, not because it’s too big for the Ascent. I know that dual axle trailers will generally tow better than single axle. I wish we could use weight distribution hitches with the Ascent because I think that may help some.

Gas mileage on a recent 350 mile round trip was around 13-14mpg.

Anyway, that’s my report: if you live out west and are wondering whether the Ascent can tow a trailer of this size in the mountains, hopefully it helps. And thanks for your help when I was trying to get the Ascent configured for towing!
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Thanks for the report. I too live "in the mountains" (Colorado Springs) so will be towing uphill wherever I go! Glad to hear the Ascent does ok climbing! Just got the Ascent (Touring) with dealer installed hitch and the OEM hitch bar. We have a 2021 Vintage Cruiser 19CSK on order - with a GVWR of 4095. It has a dry hitch weight of 340 so I'm looking for ways to manage that. I plan to get a hitch scale and monitor that regularly.
Hope you'll post more experiences towing in the mountains. LIke you I see many in the midwest or south, and their towing experience will be different!
 

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Honestly, I think you made a wise choice, no matter what the terrain. Folks tend to like to push the limits of a tow vehicle quite commonly and that's not necessarily the best practice. Having a comfortable margin below those specification limits is a darn good idea all around. Yes, the accommodations will not be as spacious, but towing will be easier and safer.
 

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2019 Subaru Ascent Limited 2010 Subaru Legacy GT limited
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I recommend getting your tongue weight as close to 500 lbs as you are comfortable with. This really helps the trailering feel. This size trailer with tandem axles would tow very well. If only manufacturers considered that more than just getting a "good enough" trailer out the door.

Thanks for sharing your experience with the community!
 

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Good day!
What hitch drop did you get for your 16bhs? I have the same trailer and the OEM hitch tongue with the 6” drop is way too low.
You can measure the level height of the trailer with it parked on a flat area and then just calculate the ball height and ball mount drop you need. The Subaru OEM ball mount with the 6" drop puts the ball at about 18-19" off the ground. If you need 24" for your trailer, for example, math says you need about a 2" drop. A quality adjustable ball mount is favored by many as it may also allow tweaking things when the trailer is loaded for travel.
 
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You can measure the level height of the trailer with it parked on a flat area and then just calculate the ball height and ball mount drop you need. The Subaru OEM ball mount with the 6" drop puts the ball at about 18-19" off the ground. If you need 24" for your trailer, for example, math says you need about a 2" drop. A quality adjustable ball mount is favored by many as it may also allow tweaking things when the trailer is loaded for travel.
Thanks, that’s what Imve read as well. Lots of people are going with the CURT 45900, but I find it overkill (also weight 35lbs). The CURT 45901 seems more realistic for my needs. I just find it annoying that someone could just take these two holding pins for the adjuster, and leave me stranded, but I might be paranoid.
 

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There's an aluminum version that many folks run that is popular and I suspect weighs a little less than that Curt.
 
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Lots of people are going with the CURT 45900, but I find it overkill (also weight 35lbs). The CURT 45901 seems more realistic for my needs. I just find it annoying that someone could just take these two holding pins for the adjuster, and leave me stranded, but I might be paranoid.
As an owner of a 45900 I can vouch for the fact that it is absolutely overkill for an Ascent! BUT, it is very versatile and easy to use. I also don't tow anything with it that is near the tongue weight limit so the extra weight isn't much concern. Do you know what the weight difference is between the 45900 and 45901 (not the rating but the weight of the ball mount itself)? It was perfect height for the last couple days towing a 6'x12' uHaul utility trailer.
If I were going to be towing something where tongue weight would be a major factor I would get a quality adjustable aluminum ball mount to save weight.
 
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I’ll definitely look at the aluminum adjustable ball mount. The 45901 is around 15lbs, 45900 is around 30 from what I could find.

My trailer (16BHS) is 370lbs, I have a dog in the back of the car (doberman, 70lbs) plus the stuff on the trailer handle that might not be counted from the weight of the trailer specs (propane, battery, bike rack), so I’m trying to keep the weight down has much as possible.
 

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One thing that occurred to me as I re-read your original post how did you set your brake gain on the controller, the sway you are feeling may be the trailer pushing on the ascent while descending the hills.
How I set the gain when we are towing:
From a slow pull, 15-20 mph when I press the brakes I want to feel the trailer drag the ascent and then lower the gain until I just don't feel that tug.

On your trailer you may need more or less gain depending on your controller. I generally have it around 5-5.5 out of 10. With this setting even a panic stop is drama free, well for me anyway the wife is another story :LOL:
 
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