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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Example Travel Trailer: 3800 lb. Ready to go camping. That is the trailer’s gross vehicle weight (GVW)
11% of the gross vehicle weight (GVW) of the trailer is used as the tongue weight (because that is Subaru’s maximum in its recommended range of 8% to 11% - P. 401 of the manual)
3800 lb. x 0.11 = 418 lb.

The 418 lb., the tongue weight, becomes part of the vehicle’s payload weight when the trailer is attached to the Ascent. That reduces the payload of my Premium trim from 1321 lb. minus 418 lb. to 903 lb. for people and other stuff.

That’s all well and good to know, but I can’t find a reliable source that demonstrates how much weight I am towing.

I am not towing 3800 lb., right?

418 lb. of the trailer’s weight has now been shifted to become part of the Ascent’s payload. The way that I figure it, I am towing 3,382 lb. or about 67.6% of the Ascent’s stated towing capacity of 5,000 lb.

If the tongue weight was 500 lb., Subaru’s maximum tongue weight for the Ascent, a trailer weighing 4,545 lb. would yield an 11% tongue weight of 500 lb.

Using the same logic as above, I would only be towing 4,045 lb. or 80.9% of the stated towing capacity because 500 lb. of that trailer’s weight is now shifted to the Ascent, becoming part of its payload.

Using 10% of the trailer’s GWV as the tongue weight target, at a maximum tongue weight of 500 lb. the trailer’s GVW would be 5000 lb., but I’d only be towing 4,500 lb. as 500 lb. would be considered part of the Ascent’s payload. 4,500 lb. is 90% of the stated towing capacity.

Using 9% of the trailer’s GWV as the tongue weight target, at a maximum tongue weight of 500 lb. the trailer’s GVW would be 5,556 lb., but I’d only be towing 5,056 lb. as 500 lb. would be considered part of the Ascent’s payload. 5,056 lb. is 101% of the stated towing capacity.

I do realize that the above mental activity is not the accepted definition of towing capacity, but the definitions of towing capacity are ambiguous at best.

“The towing capacity of your car is the maximum weight it can haul without causing unsafe conditions or harming the vehicle.”


959

This photo at the top of that page.

“Towing capacity refers to how much weight you can safely pull behind your truck with a trailer.”


“Towing Capacity is probably the easiest of these terms to understand.” And “The Towing Capacity is the Total Amount of weight your Vehicle can tow, and answers the question How much can my vehicle haul?”


“Towing capacity refers to the maximum weight your vehicle is able to pull while towing —”


“Towing capacity is a measure describing the upper limit to the weight of a trailer a vehicle can tow and may be expressed in pounds or kilograms.”


To muddy the waters just a bit further, what do you think towing capacity means here, where there is virtually no tongue weight?
960


961


I believe that towing capacity should be much better defined.

What do you think?
 

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You are still towing all 3800lbs.

The axles of the trailer are carrying 3,400 lbs and your tongue is carrying 400lbs of it (strong tongue! :p)

The towing capacity is a horizontal force, while the tongue weight is a vertical force. They do not cancel each other at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I absolutely agree with you both, but was trying to point out the problem with using the term "towing capacity"

I had some time today to do some follow up on the words “towing capacity”, and I was just trying to make the point that “towing capacity” is a bit of an ambiguous term.

In my “Thoughts on Towing With the 2019 Ascent”, which was a free flow of thoughts and research, before I selected my travel trailer, I used the Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse to get an idea of what “size” travel trailer the 2019 Subaru Ascent might be capable of towing.

I revisited the Ford 2019 RV & Trailer Towing Guide.


When I originally used it, I didn’t realize it, but I really like the way that Ford presented the towing a travel trailer information. Whoever wrote that was very meticulous with their wording and not a bit ambiguous.

Here are a few examples to demonstrate what I feel that Subaru needs to do, if they are going to promote the Ascent as a tow vehicle.

Page 16 “MAXIMUM TRAILER WEIGHTS IN POUNDS FOR PROPERLY EQUIPPED VEHICLES WITH NO CARGO”

Note that it does not say “towing capacity”.

Page 32 shows and notes “Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight (lbs.)” for the Explorer. It also notes “Note: Explorer calculated with SAE J2807 method.” The gross combined weight rating (GCWR) is also noted on this page.

Page 40 “Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight (as shown in the Trailer Towing Selector charts pages 18–33) is the highest possible weight of a fully loaded trailer the vehicle can tow, based on a minimum towing vehicle GVW. It assumes a towing vehicle with any mandatory options, no cargo, tongue load of 10% (conventional trailer) or king pin weight of 15% (5th-wheel trailer), and driver and passenger (150 lbs. each). F-Series Super Duty® Chassis Cab models also assume a second-unit body weight based on 80 lbs. per foot cab-to-axle (CA). Weight of additional options, passengers, cargo and hitch must be deducted from this weight.”

That puts it right out there.


The 2019 Explorer Sport comes with the trailer hitch standard.

The Base Curb Weight is 4458 lb.

With the 3.5L EcoBoost® V6, 4WD, 3.16 Axle ratio the Max. GCWR is 10,400 lb. with a Max. Loaded Trailer Weight of 5000 lb.

10,400 lb. (GCWR). - 5000 lb. (Max. Loaded Trailer Weight) leaves 5,400 lb. for the Explorer’s maximum weight, or GVW, (Note: that is not the Explorer’s GVWR) for the Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight.

5,400 lb. - 4,458 lb. (base curb weight) = 942 lb. - 300 lb. (2 150 lb. persons p. 40) = 642 lb. - maximum tongue weight of 500 lb. (as defined on page 40) = 142 lb. for the weight distribution hitch (required p. 32) and other passengers and cargo in the Explorer.

A weight distribution hitch would be in the 70 lb. plus range for this vehicle.

That leaves only about 70ish pounds for another person or cargo, or no other person and no cargo, as that 70ish pounds could make two real average sized people out of the two 150 lb. people used by definition.

With these numbers, it is also easy to calculate the Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight if the Explorer Sport is load to its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 6160 lb.

10,400 lb. (GCWR) - 6160 lb. (GVWR for the Explorer Sport) = 4210 lb. Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight

With the figures, that Ford provides, and the non-ambiguous language, you can actually figure that stuff out!

My point, Subaru has a long way to go in providing this type of information in clear, non-ambiguous language, if the Ascent is to be taken as a serious contender in this segment of the market.
 

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I am not sure I follow your claim of ambiguity here, Subaru manual states the vehicle can weigh up to 6000 lbs and the trailer can weight up to 5000 lbs with a maximum tongue weight of 500 lbs. Max vehicle weight with 500 lb TW is 5500 lbs. Subtract your curb weight and you get your cargo maximum for the vehicle.

5500 lbs in the Ascent total
5000 lbs trailer.
500 lbs tongue weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm sure you are correct about the manual, but I was referring to the term towing capacity. Just wish Subaru would get with the program and provide the gross combined vehicle weight.

Probably just running in an abstract way with my mind, which is not unusual.

Leaving on our first camping trip in about an hour or so.
 

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I'm sure you are correct about the manual, but I was referring to the term towing capacity. Just wish Subaru would get with the program and provide the gross combined vehicle weight.

Probably just running in an abstract way with my mind, which is not unusual.

Leaving on our first camping trip in about an hour or so.
If they did that, then some one would strip weight from the Ascent in order to tow a heavier trailer then, they would be liable. Having a set towing capacity is not an accident or oversight I am sure.
 

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All someone has to do is... pick up the manual and actually read it ;)

The manual is quite specific in regards to what the limits are. Its actually a lot more specific than some of the other manuals I've seen. As Ruben said, GVWR is 6,000lbs. Maximum Trailer weight is 5,000lbs (Premium,Limited, and Touring). The math tells me that means the GCWR is 11,000lbs.

However, I'd bet that Subaru indicates these weights separately for exactly what Ruben said about stripping weight from the Ascent in order to theoretically increase the trailer weight. Thats not how things work. Can you imagine what would happen if you somehow stripped 1,000lbs from the Ascent in order to tow a 6,000lb trailer?? There is a balance that needs to be maintained - which is why they list the GVWR and the maximum total trailer weight separately.

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Text Font Line Design Diagram
 

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Subaru has never listed a GCWR for any of there vehicles, this point also came up with in the Forester forums and Tribeca forums. It is definitely not an oversight. The platforms are very capable, but they do have limitations, it is hard to compare Subaru to other manufacturers as their architecture and power-trains are unique.
 

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I agree. The GCWR is not needed because they are very clear about the acceptable capacities.
 

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also...just dont pull/load at your max capacities and you wont have anything to worry about. Sure, its rated for 5k but that doesnt mean to go buy a 5000lb trailer to tow around. I'd never go under my car if i lifted the entire thing with a jack rated at 2.5 tons even though its within the limits
 

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Yes, very true. The old saying applies... Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
 
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