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Can you cram another 200 lbs in the trailer while traveling down the road without upsetting the balance/tongue weight?
 

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So let me shed some light here as a former Suburban owner...load capacity is about 1500 to 1600 pounds compared to the Ascent 1158 (at least on my placard). Switching from a mid-size SUV to a Yukon/Suburban/Expedition will not only cost you about another 20k to 30k depending on trim level, but you only get 300 to 400 pounds of additional carrying capacity...BUT you also get worse mileage, worse ride, etc, etc, etc. All mid-size SUVs will get you appox. the same load carrying capacity as will the aforementioned larger SUVs. Even a 1/2 ton truck won't get you much more unless if you option it extremely carefully. I have a family of 6 kids...trust me...I've done the research! The only "legit" way to carry 6 passengers, a travel trailer that comfortably accommodates 6 passengers as well as all the crap that 6 passengers (at least my family!) bring on a family trip is to go with a pickup. Max tow F-150 gets you 2150 lbs of payload, max tow and max payload F-150 gets you 2640 lbs of payload. With my calcs and the travel trailers I was looking at...i was maxing out the F-150. Anything beyond that and you need an F250 and up. You really never want to tow at the limit...so you typically want a little more vehicle than what is "required".

My Suburban was a 2015 and had 130k miles. I spent almost 6k in repairs my last year of ownership...AC, rear end, bearings, ball joints, control arms...it was simply falling apart. Getting a new Suburban would have been 65k+ whereas the Touring was about 45k. Easier to manuever, more fuel efficient, etc, etc. It was a no brainer. We knew going into it, that it wouldn't do "everything" the Suburban did as I often treated it like a pickup. But, it resolved 90+% of our needs. When we travel with the kids (7 of us, not all 8) the bodies alone take up 1090 lbs. Forget the Skybox at 62 lbs and then anything else we may carry. We also are in the market for a travel trailer, but know that with our people cargo, the Ascent is not the answer. My kids are older (24 moved out and 19, 16, 15, 14, 13 remain at home) so we are pushing the weight and space capacity of that car day in and day out. Do i miss the Suburban? Only when I can't fit something in the car! Otherwise, I'm VERY happy with my purchase.

In your particular case (original poster) i would first look at placing the cargo from the rooftop carrier into the trailer...300lbs on the roof turns into 30lbs on the hitch if loaded properly. Put as much of your cargo in the trailer as possible. Then try and get the lightest trailer you can...double axles tend to distribute weight better then single axle trailers. Also note from my post where I swapped the leather buckets for a cloth bench:


The original leather buckets with heater weighed in at 121.8 lbs.
The cloth bench weighs in at 137.4.
 

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Great post, @latapx . I absolutely hear you about the Suburban. They're rated a little higher than the Ascent and would probably do the job but at what cost? I did read into the specs a little more and found that they have considerably more 3rd row leg room compared to Tahoe, like 10-12 inches.

Was each one of the buckets 121.8 lbs? So you got a 106.2 lbs weight savings by switching to the bench?
 

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Great post, @latapx . I absolutely hear you about the Suburban. They're rated a little higher than the Ascent and would probably do the job but at what cost? I did read into the specs a little more and found that they have considerably more 3rd row leg room compared to Tahoe, like 10-12 inches.

Was each one of the buckets 121.8 lbs? So you got a 106.2 lbs weight savings by switching to the bench?
No...both buckets weighed 121.8 compared to the 137.4 for the bench. Although its cloth (lighter) and no heater (lighter) it does have substantial steel structure for the middle seat which makes it heavier overall.

The rear axle for the Tahoe is where your feet go in the 3rd row, so the floor is higher and it makes sitting there VERY uncomfortable. This is why we scratched the explorer from our list of vehicles...the 3rd row was very uncomfortable. If you upgrade to the Suburban, the wheelbase is longer which places the rear axle under the seat of the 3rd row, so the floor in front of the 3rd row is lower like the rest of the vehicle making 3rd row space more livable. As for cargo capacity, what I used to be able to place behind the 3rd row in the Suburban I now have to split between a Yakima 21CUFT roof box and the trunk of the Ascent.

Like I mentioned, the Touring is around 45k if I remember correctly. A similarly optioned Tahoe/Suburban you are in 65k to 70k territory. Checking Chevy website; Tahoe starts at 49,600 and Suburban starts at 52,300; max payload 1,834 when equipped properly. Expedition starts at 50,595 and can get you 1,827 when equipped properly. It seems like for you, this type of vehicle would work best to meet all of your needs. The questions now are...are those vehicles ACTUALLY available or will you have to wait months to get it? Is it something financially feasible for you and your family? Do you feel comfortable driving a larger vehicle day in/day out? For now, you are 72 lbs over. If you throw the rooftop carrier stuff and cargo (150lbs on your chart) into the trailer, you will likely be able to balance things out...for now. But knowing that as time goes by, you will need to graduate to a larger vehicle. Then the other decision is, do you do it now that the used car market is HOT!?!?

I could argue either way as I'm in a similar situation. For now I've simply decided to ditch the travel trailer idea as I'd need a 3 row SUV to carry my family but an F-250 to tow the travel trailer that would work for us. I've chosen to hit the pause button as the oldest has moved to Boston, the next is attending college and works and the 3rd oldest is a Junior and about to start working soon too. In a couple of years my wife and I will be in a situation where we can likely get a smaller travel trailer for us that can then be pulled by a smaller vehicle. At the end of the day, sacrifices need to be made...in my case it will be the timing of the purchase of the trailer...for you it may be the type of trailer to fit within the capacity of your current vehicle.

If you have any technical questions, feel free to bounce them off of me at any time in this thread or direct message. Anything I can do to help!!!
 
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Maybe a used Class A or Class B RV where everyone can actually "ride in the hotel", as it were, is also an option. Of course, I suspect the used market there is also inflated by historical high demand, too.
 

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So really it comes down to what type of camper do we want, what's needed to tow it/us, and are we willing to trade the Ascent?
Popups are good but we want to get away from them. We self-imposed a two night minimum stay just because setting up and then tearing down takes so much effort. The flexibility of one night stays would be great. Ultimately we just want a bigger camper and that doesn't work so well with a loaded up Ascent. Will a van be fun to drive or efficient? No, but it will tow and haul everything and that's priority #1. In 10 years or so our lives will be drastically different (empty nesters) and we may go back to a midsize SUV or pickup.

The kiddos are 8, 10, 10, and 11 and won't stop growing despite being warned.
For the size, you can't beat a pop-up for sleeping capacity.

Did you have a low side or a high side pop-up? I had a high-side with 2 king beds on either end. Not having to pop up the cabinets/sink saved a lot of time AND gave a lot more room for storage, making it much nicer than our older camper. The fridge was also much larger which helped with food storage.

The Fleetwood I had was 3,800lbs and the Ascent towed it with ease. Yes, you still have to crank it up and pull the ends out, but that wasn't too bad, especially when my son helped (Age 11 at the time).

It also had a bathroom/shower. With the table down it would sleep 9-12 depending how "cozy" you wanted to be!

I bought mine used for $5,000 (great deal) and actually sold it 4 years later for $6,500 :D

Link to pics inside
 

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Less wind resistance on that puppy, too...better fuel economy I would suspect. :)
 

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The 8 seat Ascent has a 1323 payload. That would give you almost 200 extra pounds. Plus get an aluminum hitch. Mine weighs 17 pounds.

But other than losing the roof box, youll have to go the Expedition/Tahoe/Suburban route. The new expeditions have about 1700 payload give or take 50 pounds.
What ???? I thought they were rated at 5000 lbs of towing
 

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What ???? I thought they were rated at 5000 lbs of towing
Its the tongue weight along with the payload of the vehicle. Yes the Ascent can tow 5000. But not with 6 people inside, especially with the lower payload. If you figure on 500 pounds on the hitch, you only have 653 pounds for 6 people. Not going to happen unless they are infants/toddlers.

I have not driven the Expedition but I read an article the other day saying the 3rd row had better legroom than the Tahoe/Suburban, especially the Max.
 

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@Titanrx8 : Yeah, I get that. Legally they can't and also there's no incentive. I was hoping for an explanation on why the 7 passengers get downrated when they clearly have the mechanical capability of carrying more. It'd be great if Subaru didn't take that payload capacity away.

Also, I'm pretty sure the payloads are based on worst case trim and options. A fully optioned and loaded Touring is really near to the 6000 lb GVWR. A Premium is about 150 lbs lighter.

@Jim_in_PA : I'd consider it but it'd still put me in legal gray area.
Not sure how crazy this is but someone in this thread mentioned this this is issue with load on suspension.
Have you looked into upgrading the suspension system with beefier shocks and/or springs.
I know there are a number off companies that offer that kinda stuff for the foresters and crosstrek, so could be some thing available for the ascent and cheaper then buying a larger vehicle.
 

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Not sure how crazy this is but someone in this thread mentioned this this is issue with load on suspension.
Have you looked into upgrading the suspension system with beefier shocks and/or springs.
I know there are a number off companies that offer that kinda stuff for the foresters and crosstrek, so could be some thing available for the ascent and cheaper then buying a larger vehicle.
It still does not change the specs of the car. The Ascent can still only tow 5000 pounds and have 500 on the hitch while maintaining payload and GAWR.
 

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Not sure how crazy this is but someone in this thread mentioned this this is issue with load on suspension.
Have you looked into upgrading the suspension system with beefier shocks and/or springs.
I know there are a number off companies that offer that kinda stuff for the foresters and crosstrek, so could be some thing available for the ascent and cheaper then buying a larger vehicle.
While that might help "functionally" handle more weight, it will not change the legality of doing so. The specs are the specs no matter what you do.
 

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While that might help "functionally" handle more weight, it will not change the legality of doing so. The specs are the specs no matter what you do.
Yep, and it also doesn't change/eliminate the increased stresses elsewhere on the vehicle frame, welds, bushings and attachment points.
 

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Its the tongue weight along with the payload of the vehicle. Yes the Ascent can tow 5000. But not with 6 people inside, especially with the lower payload. If you figure on 500 pounds on the hitch, you only have 653 pounds for 6 people. Not going to happen unless they are infants/toddlers.

I have not driven the Expedition but I read an article the other day saying the 3rd row had better legroom than the Tahoe/Suburban, especially the Max.
Yes, the Ascent CAN tow 5,000 lbs. This means a MAX 500lb tongue weight. My touring has a payload capacity of 1,138lbs on the door jamb sticker. When I take away 1138 - 500 this means i can place 638lbs in the car. Me, my wife and my oldest weigh in at 550. This means I can place 88lbs worth of cargo in the car and I am at the car's weight carrying capacity. The car cannot carry 8 passengers + a 5000lb trailer. In my example above, i can tow a 5000lb trailer with a max of 3 people in the car and 88lbs of cargo. You have to stay within the Towing limits and the GVWR (cargo carrying capacity) at all times. The trailer tongue weight is part of the "cargo" the car needs to carry.

You CANNOT add springs/struts, etc to increase the cargo carrying capacity. The GVWR is as it as from the factory as the engine, transmission, axles, brakes, tires, wheels suspension, chassis have all been designed for that. Changing one piece of the puzzle will not grant you additional load carrying capacity.
 

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While that might help "functionally" handle more weight, it will not change the legality of doing so. The specs are the specs no matter what you do.
I am one of those folks who added the Eibach springs to my Ascent. First, to help with off-road adventures. Secondly, when i do have 6 or 7 people sitting in the car, it doesn't squat as much as before and "feels" more stable due to a stiffer spring. Does this give me more carrying capacity...HELL NO. I'm just not pounding the bump stops while driving around town with the kids in the car.
 

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@latapx you saved us all a lot of typing.
lol!!! Yes! I was hoping one of you would pick this up... too much to do today to try to be coherent on that topic. 🤣
 

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What ???? I thought they were rated at 5000 lbs of towing
Not to beat a dead horse but payload is different than towing capacity.

Towing capacity is the weight of the trailer the vehicle is capable of pulling. In this case, maximum of 5000lbs for the Limited and Touring. Lower models have a lower towing capacity because they lack the CVT cooler ( i think this is the only change...could be wrong).

Payload is the amount of weight that can be placed in/on the Ascent INCLUDING tongue weight. This means passengers, cargo, rooftop box, and tongue weight from the trailer. Depending on your model of Ascent, your max payload is between 1138 and 1323 lbs.
 

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Yes, the Ascent CAN tow 5,000 lbs. This means a MAX 500lb tongue weight. My touring has a payload capacity of 1,138lbs on the door jamb sticker. When I take away 1138 - 500 this means i can place 638lbs in the car. Me, my wife and my oldest weigh in at 550. This means I can place 88lbs worth of cargo in the car and I am at the car's weight carrying capacity. The car cannot carry 8 passengers + a 5000lb trailer. In my example above, i can tow a 5000lb trailer with a max of 3 people in the car and 88lbs of cargo. You have to stay within the Towing limits and the GVWR (cargo carrying capacity) at all times. The trailer tongue weight is part of the "cargo" the car needs to carry.

You CANNOT add springs/struts, etc to increase the cargo carrying capacity. The GVWR is as it as from the factory as the engine, transmission, axles, brakes, tires, wheels suspension, chassis have all been designed for that. Changing one piece of the puzzle will not grant you additional load carrying capacity.
I know and agree with your post. I think you quoted the wrong person here.

My 8 seat Premium can tow 5000 pounds and has a payload of 1323. Looks like Subaru uses 165 pounds per seat for payload.
 

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I know and agree with your post. I think you quoted the wrong person here.

My 8 seat Premium can tow 5000 pounds and has a payload of 1323. Looks like Subaru uses 165 pounds per seat for payload.
My Touring - 7 passenger - shows 1138. The bottom line is that folks need to look at the door jamb (regardless of what car they drive) and be sure that they aren't overloading the vehicle. Legal ramifications are the least of anyone's concerns...chances are you will NEVER get pulled over for being over weight. But, you are risking your vehicle, family, etc. Should you wreck overloaded, the insurance will quickly figure that one out.
 
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