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I am writing to inform the community of a potential Ascent problem. I love my dealership, and they have continued to be helpful.WE have had no problems with the car until we towed our 3000lb camper. I researched and bought this car because of its 5000lb towing. the trailer has its own brakes.
We took the car and hitch camper out for 24 hours for its maiden voyage. The road was all paved until the campground, where we carefully backed the trailer onto a flat spot. There was a very slight incline, and we watched both vehicles while parking.
Upon leaving I suggested trying the off road button . No problem, the car/trailer came easily. After a 100yard drive to the pavement over a dirt road, we put it back in regular mode.
Driving off we heard a horrible noise in the engine/transmission.We checked the tires, chains but all looked fine (BTW we couldn't find how to open the hood}. Because we were out of cell range, we gingerly drove the vehicle about 20 miles watching the odometer/speedometer. The manual gear changer didnt seem to work, and it stayed in first on automatic.
AT the first signal, we contacted SUbaru and both vehicles were towed.

I went to the dealership the next day, and was shown the underside damage. It included 2 severe dents in the front/middle exhaust pipe, severe dent in the heat deflector, and the exhaust pipe pushed into the rear axle. I could not,nor my husband recall any noise indicating we had dragged the car over anything.I was devastated.

I am lucky to have great friends.One is versed in towing, and has a good friend that is a mechanic.

The explanation seemed simple once provided. The Ascent is rated to tow 5000lbs, but has a regular subaru suspension. It is likely as we pulled the trailer out of the campsite, that the car bottomed out and crushed the noted parts. The noise we heard may be the exhaust pipe rubbing on the axle.
The trailer specialist said that towing on a flat smooth surface is fine, but without heavy shock springs, and perhaps a metal underfront (rather than plastic) , that towing with this vehicle may cause the underside to get damaged after even a small bump, bottoming out the vehicle.

I am writing to ask if anyone has seen this, and to warn those with towing plans to be aware.
 

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I am writing to inform the community of a potential Ascent problem. I love my dealership, and they have continued to be helpful.WE have had no problems with the car until we towed our 3000lb camper.
That's very unfortunate and I'm sorry to hear your new Ascent got damaged. A 3000lb trailer is fairly light, any idea what the tongue weight of that exact camper is? I'm sure we'd all like to avoid this happening to our own Ascents.
 

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Just quick reminder for folks:

Not all Ascents are rated for 5000# towing. If you have the base model, you are limited to 2000#, p395.
Anything over 1000# requires trailer brakes, p399.
The manual suggests waiting 1K miles before towing, p398.

Sorry to hear about the damage. Although I do not tow, I would be interested to hear the culprit.
 

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I would like to know what model and hitch you have as well.
 

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Were you using an independent sway control or a weight distributing hitch? Very interested in your specific setup and experience as we are looking at the Ascent as a tow vehicle for an approx 3000 lb trailer. Thanks for sharing.
 

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I don't think the type of damage you are describing could be caused by ground impact when pulling out of your site without making a lot of noise.
I wonder if there was some buckling caused by the use of a weight distribution hitch (you mentioned "stability bars") . Some require disconnecting when backing up and I think most reduce the allowable turning radius, especially when backing up. Also, the owners manual does warn against their use.
I'll be interested to hear the outcome and response from the dealer.
 

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I can't imagine that bottoming out would cause any issues. You would have had to had something under the car. Nothing should be damaged by the suspension using the entire range of motion it has available.
 

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car had 2 passengers, 2 dogs and a few light articles. Camper we had clothes, folding chairs, hook ups
Would you have the exact model of that camper? The brand and specific model and length and year? With that info we could look up a lot of the weight values and try to make a more educated guess on what happened.
 

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I am writing to inform the community of a potential Ascent problem. I love my dealership, and they have continued to be helpful.WE have had no problems with the car until we towed our 3000lb camper. I researched and bought this car because of its 5000lb towing. the trailer has its own brakes.
We took the car and hitch camper out for 24 hours for its maiden voyage. The road was all paved until the campground, where we carefully backed the trailer onto a flat spot. There was a very slight incline, and we watched both vehicles while parking.
Upon leaving I suggested trying the off road button . No problem, the car/trailer came easily. After a 100yard drive to the pavement over a dirt road, we put it back in regular mode.
Driving off we heard a horrible noise in the engine/transmission.We checked the tires, chains but all looked fine (BTW we couldn't find how to open the hood}. Because we were out of cell range, we gingerly drove the vehicle about 20 miles watching the odometer/speedometer. The manual gear changer didnt seem to work, and it stayed in first on automatic.
AT the first signal, we contacted SUbaru and both vehicles were towed.

I went to the dealership the next day, and was shown the underside damage. It included 2 severe dents in the front/middle exhaust pipe, severe dent in the heat deflector, and the exhaust pipe pushed into the rear axle. I could not,nor my husband recall any noise indicating we had dragged the car over anything.I was devastated.

I am lucky to have great friends.One is versed in towing, and has a good friend that is a mechanic.

The explanation seemed simple once provided. The Ascent is rated to tow 5000lbs, but has a regular subaru suspension. It is likely as we pulled the trailer out of the campsite, that the car bottomed out and crushed the noted parts. The noise we heard may be the exhaust pipe rubbing on the axle.
The trailer specialist said that towing on a flat smooth surface is fine, but without heavy shock springs, and perhaps a metal underfront (rather than plastic) , that towing with this vehicle may cause the underside to get damaged after even a small bump, bottoming out the vehicle.

I am writing to ask if anyone has seen this, and to warn those with towing plans to be aware.
So you used x- mode to pullout?
 

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From that picture, the terrain does not look too challenging. Of course, I understand there can be ruts, swells, or dips where the road ends and the camping spot begins.
 
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