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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

So I have finally got the required 1,000 miles on my new Ascent Touring and am ready to pick up my first travel trailer. I am looking at the following:
https://www.haylettautoandrv.com/rv...traveltrailer/12813/coachmen+apex+nano+193bhs

I used the spreadsheet put together by Ken and believe this will work from a capacity standpoint. I had the dealer install the towing package. I have ordered the Tekonsha P3 break controller. The above trailer comes with a anti-sway and leveling hitch...which leads to my actual question.

I have read a ton of posts saying do not use a WDS which I believe this would be (honestly don't know a lot about them so maybe that is not what this is). Can I use this hitch without the bars and still be good? Do I need a new hitch and this can not be used? Any other information I should be considering on this specific trailer?

Thanks for all the good information provided, I love reading this forum!
 

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My understanding is that Subaru, for some reason, doesn't want us using a WDH with the Ascent. Therefore, there would be a disadvantage to using the WDH that comes with the travel trailer without the tension bars because it adds quite a bit to your tongue weight by itself and your max limit is 500 lbs., if I'm not mistaken. You may be best served by buying a quality ball mount and ball with the correct drop for your trailer as it will weigh considerably less than the WDH unit. By quality ball mount, I don't mean the cheap ones sold at home centers and discount houses...

I personally am concerned about the preclusion from using a WDH because I have experienced the very scary effects of improper weight balance between the front and rear axles of a tow vehicle. But my days of towing something heavy are gone, anyway, so it will not be a factor for me at all with my utility trailer.
 

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Hi,

I saw Josh's YouTube on this very nice used unit yesterday.

For ME, the unit is too heavy, but that is just me.

That WDH would be pretty heavy, and as noted many, many times, Subaru says no WDH.

It would be a great deal for someone with a 1/2-ton pickup equipped with a tow package.

Ken
 

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I have no input for you on towing, but wanted to complement you on that camper find. That is a really nice layout. I may have to look for one. We have 1 kid and 2 dogs. We wouldn't even have to drop the dinnette for sleeping unless the kid brought a friend with, but then we probably wouldn't bring the dogs. Again, that is a REALLY nice layout. Way to go!
 

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Generic dry weight is 3350lbs

Generic dry weight hitch weight is 400lbs

Its a BHS so I assume you have 4 people thats 4 bicycles, 4 bags of personal gear, water and food for 4.

No its about a 1000lbs too heavy on the dry weight. If you had a F150 it would be great. The 7500lb rated Colorado/Canyon or Ford Ranger would be ok but not great.

The trailers that are in the Ascent range are like the Rpod 16-17BHS, Livin lite 16bhs, etc. GeoPro bhs etc.

All are roughly 1000lbs less dry and have a smaller lower profile ie drag factor.
 

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It looks like all the params fit within spec. If it's 3460 unloaded and 1200 max cargo you are just under the limit.

Take off the anti-sway hitch and sell it (and save hundreds of dollars!)
Be very careful about loading to get your tongue weight correct (maybe get the hitch with the built-in tongue weight gauge or the haul computer that tells you tongue weight).

I have not had any problem towing 4750 lbs. Now granted that trailer is taller with more side wind catching area that my Mustang on a 16' trailer. It's also very easy for me to move the Mustang forward/backward to get the weight distribution correct. It'll take a bit more care in loading.

My pop-up trailer at 3,500lbs also did well up and down the mountains, but again it's not got the side area and it's still lighter.

On both the Subaru did a great job of keeping everything all in a line. When I had my 2011 Outback and was towing a 2,400lb trailer, we sometimes got the trailer squirrely going downhill. Could easily straighten it with the manual brakes on the brake controller. But with the Ascent towing twice as much up and down 8% or higher grades, never had that trouble.

Only time it ever got slightly squirrely was when going down one of the big grades and an idiot pulled out in front of me doing only 50mph. Had to brake from 65 down to 50 quickly, and the trailer started moving a bit, but the Ascent put it back in line quickly. I was impressed.

I wouldn't go flying down the interstate at 80, though I wouldn't take any trailer at 80 as it just puts way too much load on the trailer tires. I think if you stayed around 55-65 it would tow just fine. Looks like a great trailer!
 
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You're going to get a lot of opinions here and you'll need to decide which you should take. Here's mine.

The dry weight of 3370 lbs would be acceptable provided you never loaded it above 4000 lbs which is 80% of the Ascent's max capacity, but that would leave you only around 630 lbs for cargo, which is too lean. I'd reserve around 1000 lbs for cargo, but now you're approaching the limits. Sure you can max things out, but that will leave you little to no safety margin.

The bigger concern is the 406 lb dry hitch weight. That leaves you only 94 lbs to the Ascent's max capacity and you can't use a weight distributing hitch. That would be very hard to balance. You would always have to worry about exceeding the hitch weight when you load cargo. Hitch weight is critical for proper handling.

Also, the length is 22 feet, the max an Ascent should tow is around 20 feet.

If you bought this trailer you would be pushing the Ascent to its maximum limits which everyone in the know warns against.

I know this is frustrating, I'm in the same boat myself. I really wanted a Lance 1685 RV which is about the same specs as the 193BHS. I thought long and hard about it, thinking I could make it work by going light on the cargo. However, in the end I realized I would be pushing the limits to the max which is never advisable. I think the Ascent could tow it, but drivability, safety, and excess engine, transmission, and suspension wear would factor in to make it a less than enjoyable and potentially dangerous situation. I know this is not what you want to hear, but this is what I've researched in my quest to find a suitable RV for the Ascent.

Either find an RV that is well within the limits of the Ascent's tow capabilities with a comfortable safety margin, or find a tow vehicle that matches the trailer you want. That's the reality of it. There are some good RV's within the Ascent's limits. Right now I'm considering a Lance 1475S with the slide out option which is really nice.

So don't give up and keep looking!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I appreciate all of the comments so far and maybe I am stretching too much. Based on Ken's worksheet, I calculated the loaded trailer would be ~4100lbs (and used what I felt where much larger than needed numbers) and reading other folks posts about towing ~4500lbs and the fact I am planning on going camping twice this year is what I am basing my decision on. I also toyed around the idea of selling my daily driver and getting a truck instead, but decided that I still have at least 50,000 more miles before I should think about that. Being in Michigan, its going to be rather flat from a towing standpoint.....I feel like I am trying to force this at this point, so someone tell me its going to be ok or I am being a dumbass here.

Bottom line...I will not be using the WDS hitch which was my original question. My new question is, am I being a dumbass?
 

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I appreciate all of the comments so far and maybe I am stretching too much. Based on Ken's worksheet, I calculated the loaded trailer would be ~4100lbs (and used what I felt where much larger than needed numbers) and reading other folks posts about towing ~4500lbs and the fact I am planning on going camping twice this year is what I am basing my decision on. I also toyed around the idea of selling my daily driver and getting a truck instead, but decided that I still have at least 50,000 more miles before I should think about that. Being in Michigan, its going to be rather flat from a towing standpoint.....I feel like I am trying to force this at this point, so someone tell me its going to be ok or I am being a dumbass here.

Bottom line...I will not be using the WDS hitch which was my original question. My new question is, am I being a dumbass?
You're definitely not being a dumbass, you're doing your due diligence by asking questions and doing the research. Everyone who pulls an RV should do the same. You're asking the right questions.

The question is not whether the Ascent can pull this trailer, it can because you're technically within specs. The question is are you comfortable with pushing the limits to near maximum with little if any margin of safety.

You'll need to be very careful about loading, not only the weight, but also the distribution of the weight front to back to ensure you don't exceed the hitch weight. This may not be easy. You'll need to get a hitch scale to check each time you travel. You'll also need to empty the black and grey holding tanks every time before you drive, and keep as little water in the freshwater tank as possible. You'll need to avoid long steep grades and keep an eye on engine and transmission temperatures. You'll need to drive very conservatively and stay out of the passing lane for the most part and be very aware of safe stopping distances.

So it all depends upon your comfort level. I was going to try it with the similarly sized Lance 1685, but my instincts keep telling me not to do it because the whole purpose of RVing is to relax and enjoy yourself, not to constantly worry about towing issues. If you have your heart set on this particular trailer then do some more research and get more opinions, but at this point there's no reason to tie yourself only to this trailer, there are many safer options to chose from.

So keep asking questions, gather more opinions and then make up your own mind. I'm in the process of doing the same thing myself. I'm only about halfway through my research. This is a big decision, I'm not going to rush anything.
 

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I don't believe so. It is a good bargain as a used unit.

While it is more money, and less space, because it is new, have you considered the Apex Nano 185BH.
https://www.haylettautoandrv.com/in... Nano&manufacturer=Coachmen&model=185BH&cond=

We have a 'first choice deposit' on one of the two new Apex Nano 187RBs on the way into Haylett sometime soon. It's kind of a sister to the 185BH as neither have a dinette slide. Both have UVWs of about 3000 lb., which is where I have decided that I want to be with a UVW (unloaded vehicle weight).
 

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ES your camping style is a big part of if it works. My family is super active types when camping. We often go into more remote areas also which means we often pack more food, water etc. Along with bikes, hiking gear, some times boats. The heavier the trailer is dry the less ability we have to do the types of things we go camping to do. You are right in thinking about what type of terrain your likely to be traveling. In my case it can be quite extreme regarding temperatures, road grades etc. For example the most extreme has been our camping in the Eastern Sierras. The highway we take there crosses a 9500ft pass and has switch backs hitting 23% grades. Thats on the nutty end of the scale. Plus when we did that it was 85 degrees and it can be hotter.

Yosemite valley that week was 100. We were camped at 8000ft east of the Valley. We had 5 and gear for 5 plus I carried food for 5 for 6 days and water for 5 three days. That was with my 5000lb rated Sequoia trailer was 1800lbs we were fine could have dragged 2500lbs but the Sequoia would have for sure maxed out like No AC on the climbs in 1st gear.

Thats my extreme end.

The average is 100degree temps and 9-12% grades and long hauls. CA to Yellowstone for example. This June CA -Zion-Bryce-Arches-Moab. I would love a hard side but no one makes what I wantLOL

10-12ft box 6ft high sides with a 3ft popup roof, double rear cargo doors (for loading bikes, boats, stuff) Slide out drawer style kitchen with batwing awning.

Inside bunks being two loft bunks that can be either side by side or separate. Lower tip down bunk. Sleep space for 4. Max loaded with water propane all gear 2500-3000lbs. Thats my dream rig. No kids trick camper or van type rig.
 

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You'll need to be very careful about loading, not only the weight, but also the distribution of the weight front to back to ensure you don't exceed the hitch weight. This may not be easy. You'll need to get a hitch scale to check each time you travel. You'll also need to empty the black and grey holding tanks every time before you drive, and keep as little water in the freshwater tank as possible. You'll need to avoid long steep grades and keep an eye on engine and transmission temperatures. You'll need to drive very conservatively and stay out of the passing lane for the most part and be very aware of safe stopping distances.
I agree with this. You can definitely tow it. You'll just have to be more careful what/how/where you load stuff. Make sure it can't shift front to back while traveling.

Given you don't have mountains like I do here in AZ, that takes one of the worries away. No transmission heating issues while climbing 4,000ft when it's 100F outside!

If you want something you can just throw cargo in, hitch up and go, that trailer isn't it. Go smaller or go with a pop-up like I have. I have a high-sided long pop-up with dual king beds on each end, built in toliet, etc. It's not tiny, but it's also shorter and is 3,500lbs fully loaded.

If the size and layout are worth the extra care then go for it. It looks like a great layout. Just keep your speed under 65 and buy some tools to help you make sure your tongue weight is okay. (There's another thread about those somewhere in the towing forum).
 

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I agree with this. You can definitely tow it. You'll just have to be more careful what/how/where you load stuff. Make sure it can't shift front to back while traveling.

Given you don't have mountains like I do here in AZ, that takes one of the worries away. No transmission heating issues while climbing 4,000ft when it's 100F outside!

If you want something you can just throw cargo in, hitch up and go, that trailer isn't it. Go smaller or go with a pop-up like I have. I have a high-sided long pop-up with dual king beds on each end, built in toliet, etc. It's not tiny, but it's also shorter and is 3,500lbs fully loaded.

If the size and layout are worth the extra care then go for it. It looks like a great layout. Just keep your speed under 65 and buy some tools to help you make sure your tongue weight is okay. (There's another thread about those somewhere in the towing forum).
My experience and regions we go has been 2500-3500lbs max on the 5000lb rated rigs works best also. I’ve dragged a 4500lb ski boat across the valley in 100degree temps and up 7-9% grades with my 280hp 4.7L V8 rated at 300ftlb torque. Let me put it this way at no time ever do I have interest in dragging 4000lbs on anything other than a very short trip. If I were doing 4000+lbs RV travel trailer trips I would have a Excursion, Suburban, F150 something like that to drag the 4000+ rig all over the place.

If its just a local 40 minute run to the lake with the 4000lb boat a 5000lb rated rig would be perfectly fine.
 

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True story. Don't get a WDH unless you don't like your Ascent.

Did you end up buying this and towing it without the WDH?

I'm picking up one tomorrow.
  • To NOT damage your Ascent, don't use a WDH.
  • Otherwise, if you want to damage your Ascent, get the WDH.

The Ascent Unibody
is NOT designed for a WDH.


Subaru says not to:


E-Trailer says not to:
I called my contact at Progress Manufacturing (creator of Equalizer and FastWay Weight Distribution products) to pick his brain on this topic. He explained that weight distribution (WD) and sway control products rely on leverage to work properly, which requires the body of the vehicle to be rigid enough to withstand the force. Unibody vehicles are typically not as strong or rigid and therefore cannot typically handle the same loads and stresses of a body-on-frame or ladder-style frame vehicle when it comes to towing and using WD or sway control.
Everyone but unknowledgeable salespeople says not to.

Do NOT let some unknowledgeable salesperson make a few bucks on you and damage your Ascent's unibody.

MORE INFO:
  • If a vehicle is a body-on-frame design, it means it has a full frame, from bumper to bumper, that can transfer weight from front to back.
  • If a vehicle is a unibody frame design, it does NOT have a separate frame at all. It has a subframe built into the cabin body (uni-body, unified frame and body), and maybe some frame support pieces for drivetrain. Unless it is SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR a Weight Distributing Hitch, one should NEVER EVER be used on it. Subaru uses a unibody design that is NOT designed for a WDH or any type of sway/wdh setup. And, YOU DON'T NEED ONE because of the anti-sway and loading designs of the Ascent.


 

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Thank you for sharing this recommendation!

I don't believe so. It is a good bargain as a used unit.

While it is more money, and less space, because it is new, have you considered the Apex Nano 185BH.
https://www.haylettautoandrv.com/in... Nano&manufacturer=Coachmen&model=185BH&cond=

We have a 'first choice deposit' on one of the two new Apex Nano 187RBs on the way into Haylett sometime soon. It's kind of a sister to the 185BH as neither have a dinette slide. Both have UVWs of about 3000 lb., which is where I have decided that I want to be with a UVW (unloaded vehicle weight).
OMG, that's amazing, especially for the weight!!! I may have a new favorite! I need the double bunks, either for crew, or to use a workspace and storage space for event work.
 
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