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Discussion Starter #1
We just put down a $500 hold for a $22,000 travel trailer to be pulled by a Subaru Ascent with a 5000# tow capacity, 500 hitch dry weight. The trailer is 3280 # as is, and dry hitch weight 380. We have some questions I would appreciate your help with. Model 1700BH, 21'. All season package, elevated with off-road tires.
Do you think this is a decent price? We are being told by dealerships that they are flying off the lots, and now Winnebago is not shipping anymore for a while.
For those of you that are towing with a car with a 5000# limit and uni-body, how does it tow for you? Any special concerns or things we should be aware of? When you put the trailer on the Subaru, does it pull the back end down a lot or does it remain pretty level?
We have ordered an electronic sway control system and a Curt Echo electric brake system.
Any other thoughts?
TYIA!!!
 

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We have ordered an electronic sway control system and a Curt Echo electric brake system.
You can return the sway control system. The Ascent has a much better, body control module integrated, built in Trailer Stability Control system.

Only other thoughts are:
  • Use only the Subaru OEM hitch (nothing else remotely compares - nothing else properly connects to the car).
  • No Weight Distribution System (that includes all mechanical sway and load systems)
  • Keep tongue weight under 500 pounds.
  • Make sure your tongue height/ball mount is correct and that you are not tail downwards on the trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much! I have a tongue weight limit of 500#. The dry weight on the tongue says 380. How much does the electric tongue jack and the propane tank add to this? How do I make sure the tongue height/ball mount is correct and does not tail downwards? Subaru is installing the subaru hitch. This is a micro minnie 1700BH
 

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As far as leveling the trailer, you need to load it as you would tow it, load the Ascent as it would be loaded for the trip and measure the coupler height as connected to the Ascent. Measure the height of the trailer frame at the front and rear of the trailer to see if it is nose up or down or use a bubble level. Then you need to purchase an adjustable height ball mount or a specific number of inches of rise or drop for a non-adjustable ball mount. You can ask your RV dealer how much the jack and filled bottles add to the hitch weight but you might be better off asking other owners of the same trailer on the Winnebago owner forums. The answers you get from owners or dealers is only going to be an estimate, you need to get your Ascent/trailer combo weighed on RV of CAT scales.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The weight of that particular trailer was weighed when it left the factory and that weight (without anything else in it)is listed on the trailer. What is not listed is the weight of the hitch with thefilled tanks and electric jack,and how much other added options on the trail may have added to the hitch. We only have the estimated "dry hitch weight" of 380#. Our limit is 500#.

Thank you for the information on checking the nose up or nose down information. I never did this with my little scamp. It is the first I have ever heard of it and it will be a need skill I will have to learn. We will have a Subaru hitch, and I will ask them about the adjustable ball ability of the hitch.
 

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I would ask for a 20-30% discount on any new trailer. There are huge profit margins on those things. Don't be afraid to shop nationwide. Dealers will try and scare you with the "we won't service it if you didn't buy it here" bull. Worse comes to worse, you can always use mobile service after you get it preauthorized with the manufacturer. The dealers provide horrible service for the most part anyway.
 

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Tanks are pretty consistent in weight. 17 pounds each, and 37 pounds when filled (tank weight plus 20 pounds of propane). An electric tongue jack seems to weigh 20-40 pounds, depending on brand/quality. I would probably subtract 5-10 pounds for the mechanical jack you're removing.
 

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We just put down a $500 hold for a $22,000 travel trailer to be pulled by a Subaru Ascent with a 5000# tow capacity, 500 hitch dry weight. The trailer is 3280 # as is, and dry hitch weight 380. We have some questions I would appreciate your help with. Model 1700BH, 21'. All season package, elevated with off-road tires.
Do you think this is a decent price? We are being told by dealerships that they are flying off the lots, and now Winnebago is not shipping anymore for a while.
For those of you that are towing with a car with a 5000# limit and uni-body, how does it tow for you? Any special concerns or things we should be aware of? When you put the trailer on the Subaru, does it pull the back end down a lot or does it remain pretty level?
We have ordered an electronic sway control system and a Curt Echo electric brake system.
Any other thoughts?
TYIA!!!
You're off to a great start, you've selected one of the best travel trailers for the Ascent from a high-quality manufacturer with proper weight specs for the Ascent.

The price is in the ballpark, given that the demand for travel trailers is high right now. Don't let them charge you for options other than the 15K BTU air conditioner. The Micro Minnie's include everything else as standard including the all-season package.

The UVW of 3280 lbs and the dry tongue weight of 380 lbs should give you enough extra capacity to load the trailer as you require. Always weigh the loaded tongue weight to ensure that you stay under the Ascent's 500 lb limit and within 9-14% of the trailer's loaded weight. This is very important for safe towing. You must properly distribute your cargo to stay with these limits. And, of course, you must stay under 5000 lbs GVW for the trailer and all cargo.

The electronic brake controller is required and can be connected to the Ascent via the connector that came with the car. There are several threads in this forum containing all the information you require.

I don't recommend any aftermarket electronic sway control system as it might interfere with the existing electronic sway control system built into the Ascent. And definitely do not use any weight distribution hitch. See this thread. Please carefully read both the Ascent's owner's manual and EyeSight manual for information pertaining to towing.

This forum contains a plethora of information pertaining to towing. It even has a dedicated towing section. You should research these threads for any additional information you require, or simply post your questions. Also, forum member Ken Myers has compiled a great deal of towing information on the Ascent on his excellent website. Be sure to check that out as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Robert--Thank you so much. That is very encouraging. The Subaru dealership called corporate and said they had recommended the electronic brake sway system and that the car had an anti-sway system for the car, but that it did not extend to trailer. Did he get bad info from someone? You sound so knowledgeable.
 

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Robert--Thank you so much. That is very encouraging. The Subaru dealership called corporate and said they had recommended the electronic brake sway system and that the car had an anti-sway system for the car, but that it did not extend to trailer. Did he get bad info from someone? You sound so knowledgeable.
They're misinformed or don't understand. The Ascent's "Trailer Stability Assist" system, which is what it's actually named, works (very well) to eliminate trailer sway (as the name implies), by using the braking system of the vehicle to pull against the sway.

I've used it at highway speeds at steady 20 mph winds with gusts considerably higher. It works very well with a properly loaded trailer.

It's fully automatic, btw. Just drive, it will do its thing. It's also built into the Ascent.

This is per Subaru of America... emphasis is mine. Please feel free to share it with your sales team:
Trailer Stability Assist helps to maintain vehicle stability while towing. The TSA system utilizes yaw sensors to monitor trailer sway and then can brake individual wheels to stabilize the vehicle and trailer.

 

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Discussion Starter #11
They're misinformed or don't understand. The Ascent's "Trailer Stability Assist" system, which is what it's actually named, works (very well) to eliminate trailer sway (as the name implies), by using the braking system of the vehicle to pull against the sway.

I've used it at highway speeds at steady 20 mph winds with gusts considerably higher. It works very well with a properly loaded trailer.

It's fully automatic, btw. Just drive, it will do its thing. It's also built into the Ascent.

This is per Subaru of America... emphasis is mine. Please feel free to share it with your sales team:
Trailer Stability Assist helps to maintain vehicle stability while towing. The TSA system utilizes yaw sensors to monitor trailer sway and then can brake individual wheels to stabilize the vehicle and trailer.

Thank you. That is huge. I don't have to worry about sway on this 21' trailer being pulled by the Ascent?
 

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Thank you. That is huge. I don't have to worry about sway on this 21' trailer being pulled by the Ascent?
Electronic sway control systems can only do so much, by far the most important factor in reducing sway is to ensure that the trailer is properly loaded and balanced. You must always ensure that the tongue weight is 9-15% of the trailer's loaded weight. This is critical.

Here is the video that everyone asking this question should watch:

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you. I am probably more aware of sway because when I was years old (a long time ago), I tried to carry a small trailer behind a vw loaded with personal belongings and spun around in the middle of the interstate facing in the other direction. That is why with my little 13' SCAMP I towed with me outbook, I was so careful on how I loaded and the tongue weight, always weighing before I left, and before leaving the campsite. I was assured with these measures that I would experience no sway, and I have not. I just thought that with a larger trailer (21') that sway could be more of a problem just due to the length, from this such as a strong gust of wind or a huge speeding tractor trailer. What I am hearing now is that somehow this car has an anti-sway system that accounting for pulling a trailer and I need no sway bar. Also if I keep the tongue hitch somewhere around 10-12%, that is ideal from the two recommendations, which are 8-11% Subaru or 10-15% industry standard. Please correct me if I am wrong in this summary, and I would love to hear from anyone who is pulling a micro-minnie with the Ascent and experiencing no sway. I am also looking at that ball hitch that has the tongue weigh displayed. Does anyone use that and do you like it? It is a good subsitute for unhitching and measuring the tongue weight with scales at the hitch? Many thanks for all of the advice and guidance.
 

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Yep!!! This is vitally important, and why I keep mentioning not being "tail down" or "tail heavy", and being "properly loaded". Heck, people who get this really wrong, even with massive tow vehicles and big weight distributing hitches, have had their tow vehicles yanked onto their sides because of a sway incident.

This closed I80 up near where I was just traveling through.
5483


Electronic sway control systems can only do so much, by far the most important factor in reducing sway is to ensure that the trailer is properly loaded and balanced. You must always ensure that the tongue weight is 9-15% of the trailer's loaded weight. This is critical.

Here is the video that everyone asking this question should watch:

 

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Thank you. I am probably more aware of sway because when I was years old (a long time ago), I tried to carry a small trailer behind a vw loaded with personal belongings and spun around in the middle of the interstate facing in the other direction. That is why with my little 13' SCAMP I towed with me outbook, I was so careful on how I loaded and the tongue weight, always weighing before I left, and before leaving the campsite. I was assured with these measures that I would experience no sway, and I have not. I just thought that with a larger trailer (21') that sway could be more of a problem just due to the length, from this such as a strong gust of wind or a huge speeding tractor trailer. What I am hearing now is that somehow this car has an anti-sway system that accounting for pulling a trailer and I need no sway bar. Also if I keep the tongue hitch somewhere around 10-12%, that is ideal from the two recommendations, which are 8-11% Subaru or 10-15% industry standard. Please correct me if I am wrong in this summary, and I would love to hear from anyone who is pulling a micro-minnie with the Ascent and experiencing no sway. I am also looking at that ball hitch that has the tongue weigh displayed. Does anyone use that and do you like it? It is a good subsitute for unhitching and measuring the tongue weight with scales at the hitch? Many thanks for all of the advice and guidance.
Sounds like you're well aware of the needs to properly load. That's light years ahead of many first time towers. :)

There's a lot of discussion on the ball mounts with integrated scales. The general consensus is that none of them are very accurate (and not sufficiently so, for our needs). In the towing section of the owner's manual, it shows how to do the "bathroom scale" method.

The Micro Minnie 1700BH is single axle (though the pics on many sites show otherwise), so, personally, I'd lean towards the higher side on tongue weight and start there (Subaru's higher end, of 11%, being a max of 440 pounds tongue weight with the Minnie fully loaded at 4,000 pounds). I've never towed a Micro Minnie though, so, I would start there, and adjust as necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This is just the kind of advice I need. I am familiar with the bathroom scale method, having used it with my Scamp. With the electronic hitch, the Micro-mini should be easier that all that cranking up and down! I am having some trouble getting the right information from the dealer regarding the hitch weight. The manual says 380# My max is 500, of course. But I do not know whether that 380# is without the electric hitch and empty propane tanks or not. The salesman is clueless. In any case, the weight of the propane itself, will add more weight to the 380#. I am thinking I can go up to 450# and be OK and still below the limit of 500#. Do you know if the dry hitch weight include the electric hitch and/or empty tanks? I know I can pack some more to the rear to help take some of the hitch weight off, but wondering at what point that might yank the too far up. It was suggested to me to measure the rear of the trailer and the front of the trailer all hooked up to make sure the hitch is not up or down too far. I can certainly do that, but wonder if there is a range that is OK, such as 4" or something like that?? Wondering too, how that will impact my ability to shift that tongue weight by re-arranging cargo, if necessary.
 

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NOTE: Winnebego lists some interesting things.
  • GVWR is 4,200 pounds (some sites say it's 4,000 pounds)
  • As mentioned earlier, it's single axle (even though many pics are coming up showing tandem)
Sadly, I don't know how Winnebego does their dry weight calculations. Regardless, it's not important, because GVWR is 4,200 pounds, no matter what options you have.

So with a fully loaded trailer:
GVWR% - Tongue Weight
09% - 378 pounds
10% - 420 pounds
11% - 462 pounds

See what I am saying? 11% is always safe, no matter what accessories you get, unless the trailer is overloaded - because GVWR never changes. Accessories cut into your available cargo weight.

Let's say that the trailer arrives at the dealership at 3,200 pounds with all factory accessories. You've got 1,000 pounds left for cargo (because max weight is 4,200). They add two propane tanks (74 pounds filled) and the electric jack (plus 30 pounds, minus 10 pounds for the crank jack coming off). You're now at 3,294 pounds. Your available cargo/water weight is now 906 pounds.

This is why people tend to weigh their trailers when they pick them up, before they put anything in them. Be aware that some dealerships add water to the tank before pickup.

ALSO note that 12% isn't always safe:
  • At fully empty as originally configured by Winnebego, that's 384 pounds.
  • At totally full (4,200 pounds), that's 504 pounds. Will that 4 pounds destroy anything, or fully compress the springs? Doubtfully. But, it's still over rating and illegal and, more importantly, at the very top of the Ascent rating.
 
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