Subaru Ascent Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

We're looking into getting a new vehicle (to tow the trailer) and a travel trailer. I've read lots on this forum so far, and learned a great deal, but want to be 110% before I make a large purchase such as this. The trailer we are looking at is the Jayco Jay Feather x17z with the following specs:

Dry Weight 3,296 lbs.
Payload Capacity 665 lbs.
GVWR 3,970 lbs.
Hitch Weight 375 lbs.

Would this be sufficient for an Ascent? The 2 vehicles we are cross shopping is the Ascent and VW Atlas.

I've already read about NOT getting a WDH. But an e-brake controller and sway controller IS allowed if I read it right.

We like this trailer because it's small, can fit 6 people (more like 2 adults and 2 kids). Usually it would only be 2 kids + 2 adults. And perhaps 2 other adults (not often).

Any suggestions? I'm still learning how to calculate tongue weight, about hitches and all that, so I hope I'm not gonna regret any decision.

Thanks for all the help! This is a great forum from what I've learned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
You’ll be fine towing this trailer, based on my experience. I tow a 178BHSK, which is heavier in all categories. I haven’t had any sway issues. The brake controller is crucial. I use a Curt Echo, which plugs from the vehicle into the trailer’s brake cord; it’s controlled by a Bluetooth-enabled app that has adjustable brake power and sensitivity. It’s worked flawlessly for me. The main concern/issue towing with an Ascent is the 500 pound tongue weight limit. However, by smartly loading the trailer, I’ve kept the tongue weight on my trailer (dry weight 430) to 450, as weighed by a Fastway hitch with built-in scale. Moral of the story: do your research and be sensible/level-headed about the Ascent’s limitations. As long as you do those things, it’s a surprisingly capable tow vehicle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks fo4 the reply. How do I know where the water, grey and black tanks are on a trailer? Wherever the drainage is where they are located ? Usually over the axle ?

in terms of tongue weightthe trailer says 375lb hitch weight. So once I put 2 20lb tanks and battery I’ll be at 450. Is that safe? Would I hsve to load just the back end of the trailer? How much stuff would I be able to carry in mytrunk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,199 Posts
Unfortunately, the Ascent, like most mid-sized SUV's doesn't have a lot of towing specs to work with. It's very hard to find a suitable travel trailer for it unless you are satisfied with smaller (under 22') trailers in the less than 4000 lbs UVW weight class. The max tongue weight of 500 lbs is even tougher to work with since most travel trailers are front cargo loaded and you can reach 500 lbs or more tongue weight all too easily.

For example, the Jayco Jay Feather x17z you mentioned should be ok with the Ascent provided that you can keep the tongue weight in check, but that's not easy. Full 20 lb. LP tanks weigh around 37 lbs. each. Automotive lead-acid batteries weigh about 50 lbs. each. All of these are most often unfortunately loaded directly on the tongue. So, figure 174 lbs if you need two 20 lb. LP tanks and two batteries. With the spec'd dry tongue weight of the x17z at 375 lbs,, that would bring you right up to 549 lbs which is too heavy, and that's before you added any other cargo you require, which also often loads in front of the axle. So, you can see the problem we all face when choosing a travel trailer for the Ascent. The tongue weight is usually much more of a problem than the GVW of the trailer which can more easily be kept in spec.

You can try to move more weight in back of the axle to offset the tongue weight, but only some trailers have rear cargo compartments and no one really wants to very inconveniently store heavy cargo in bathrooms or other such rooms. You can also try to use rear-mounted water tank(s) as ballast, but that cuts into your available cargo weight, adds otherwise unnecessary towing weight, and significantly reduces your tank capacity when towing. It's also problematic because you don't even know if these tactics will work until after you purchased the trailer.

So, these are the challenges of finding a suitable travel trailer for the Ascent. I'm going through this myself as well. Every time I think I've found a suitable trailer, the numbers just don't work out. It's beginning to look like only very lightweight trailers are feasible, but it's hard to find one with a floorplan that isn't claustrophobic.

There are trailers that will work, but pay very close attention to the weights, especially the tongue weight and don't buy until you're absolutely certain that all the weights are correctly calculated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
I largely agree with pro10is. I don’t use the tanks to decrease tongue weight because it adds too much overall weight to the trailer. My trailer has a rear bunk, where we load just about everything, on the top and bottom levels. We don’t keep anything in the rear/storage of the Ascent itself. Here’s the info for the trailer we have; not to try to sell anyone on it, but to hopefully give a basis of comparison for a rig that’s worked well for us:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
998 Posts
I believe no sway control devices are allowed, in addition to the prohibition of WDHs. I don't see the prohibition of sway control devices in the manual but it has been discussed in these forums. The Ascent has active trailer sway control integral to its Vehicle Dynamics Control system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I largely agree with pro10is. I don’t use the tanks to decrease tongue weight because it adds too much overall weight to the trailer. My trailer has a rear bunk, where we load just about everything, on the top and bottom levels. We don’t keep anything in the rear/storage of the Ascent itself. Here’s the info for the trailer we have; not to try to sell anyone on it, but to hopefully give a basis of comparison for a rig that’s worked well for us:

Thanks for the replies all.

In terms of the Wildwood you posted, says tongue weight says 430lb. But wouldn't the propane and battery put you over the 500 lb tongue weight? I'm learning new things everyday during my research, thanks for the help.

Thats the confusing part for me. If the Jayco has 370lb tongue weight + 2 tanks + battery it'll be almost 500 (or over). Yet I see some people post trailers with already 450 tongue weight (not including the 2 propane/battery) which will put it over 500. Just trying to understand all of this or if I'm missing something.

I believe no sway control devices are allowed, in addition to the prohibition of WDHs. I don't see the prohibition of sway control devices in the manual but it has been discussed in these forums. The Ascent has active trailer sway control integral to its Vehicle Dynamics Control system.
Ah I see. So the Ascent has a sway technology built in? I guess I'll only need the e-brake controller.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
375 Posts
That should be a good fit for the ascent. We tow a larger and heavier jayco 22bhm without issue. Enjoy your adventures!

And the brake controller is definitely a requirement. The sway control is already built into the Ascent's stability control.

Also, you need to look at the weight sticker on the trailer. My jayco was weighed with battery and full propane at 410 lbs. Yours may already include those in the weight as well. You need to check the sticker for verification.
 

·
Registered
2020 Ascent Touring
Joined
·
340 Posts
From your current starting point, this is going to sound counter-intuitive, but check small dual-axle trailers. While the suspension adds weight and can increase cargo capacity beyond 5000#, the dual axles are better balanced. The water tanks are often between the axles and have less impact on tongue weight. They're also more stable. Good luck in your search.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,199 Posts
Thanks for the replies all.

In terms of the Wildwood you posted, says tongue weight says 430lb. But wouldn't the propane and battery put you over the 500 lb tongue weight? I'm learning new things everyday during my research, thanks for the help.

Thats the confusing part for me. If the Jayco has 370lb tongue weight + 2 tanks + battery it'll be almost 500 (or over). Yet I see some people post trailers with already 450 tongue weight (not including the 2 propane/battery) which will put it over 500. Just trying to understand all of this or if I'm missing something.
You're not missing anything, I think a lot of people may be over the tongue weight limit of 500 lbs. whether they know it or not. Don't be one of them. Be absolutely certain that you won't exceed the Ascent's towing weight limits before you buy. If you exceed them, you risk getting into or causing an accident for which you'll be responsible. If an accident investigation either by the police or the insurance company reveals that you overloaded the towing specs, you could be held liable. I'm not trying to scare you or be overly dramatic about this, but you really want to be sure you don't put yourself in that situation. You also want the towing setup to feel comfortable, confident, and safe while you're driving long distances. An overloaded tongue weight can lighten the front end and cause steering issues as well as cause suspension wear and eventual potential failures.

Now is the time to pick the right trailer. Get one that works comfortably with the Ascent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
That should be a good fit for the ascent. We tow a larger and heavier jayco 22bhm without issue. Enjoy your adventures!

And the brake controller is definitely a requirement. The sway control is already built into the Ascent's stability control.

Also, you need to look at the weight sticker on the trailer. My jayco was weighed with battery and full propane at 410 lbs. Yours may already include those in the weight as well. You need to check the sticker for verification.
Oh really. That's nice to know. When I check out your trailer it says hitch weight 410lb for 2018 and 2017 440lb. How were you able to get to 410lb hitch weight? Thats a nice trailer you have!

So do people keep the propane tanks in the back of the trailer while driving? And once at the site just set it up? I guess with propane tanks in the trailer rear, it'll relieve tongue weight by at least 80lbs?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
375 Posts
Oh really. That's nice to know. When I check out your trailer it says hitch weight 410lb for 2018 and 2017 440lb. How were you able to get to 410lb hitch weight? Thats a nice trailer you have!

So do people keep the propane tanks in the back of the trailer while driving? And once at the site just set it up? I guess with propane tanks in the trailer rear, it'll relieve tongue weight by at least 80lbs?
My trailer only has a single propane tank. Only the stove top, furnace, fridge, and water heater use propane, we only use electric for the water heater and living in Florida the furnace isn't used except in really freak weather. So one tank of propane lasts a very long time for us.

Empty, the hitch weight is 410 lbs, with a full load of freshwater, approx 28 gal. We sit right at 500 lbs on the hitch ready to camp. The tandem axles help immensely and the grey and black tanks are located above and behind the axles respectively so we use those as ballast weight when needed. Also, our trailer has a front Murphy bed so no pass-through storage up front. Most of our storage is in the bunks in the back of the trailer. When I weighed our trailer I filled all the tanks, 28 gallons x 3 tanks with all our gear inside, the weight was 4960lbs with 440 lbs hitch weight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Hello.
We have this exact camper, a 2018 model. My only concern ever is the tongue weight. I removed 1 of the propane tanks as 2 is a bit overkill anyhow for how we camp, which is a mix of boondocking and private.
I do load quite a bit in the bathroom and shower. All our chairs and generator go in there if I'm bringing it and cooler with ice goes in the doorway. Bedding and clothes go up front on the couch.
If your fully loaded with 2 tanks and a heavy battery and load items up front you'll be over 500 on the tongue easy.
As for towing...I have a good brake controller and some towing mirrors and good to go. This is our second hybrid and towed with a few vehicles and the ascent is by far the best. Easily tows this weight at any speed you want to go really. No problems cruising at 60-65 on the highway or driving back roads.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top