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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys!
so I am looking at buying a travel trailer that weighs 4K lb dry and intend on using the Subaru to pull it around.
I thought I remember the manual saying something about not using sway bars or weight distribution hitches but now I can’t seem to find it so not sure if it was a different vehicle I had.

Also anyone else towing up near that 5k mark and how does it do with full of passengers?

Thanks
 

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The short answer is that the owners manual does say do not use weight distribution or sway devices.

DO NOT DO: The Ascent is NOT designed for a Weight Distributing/Anti-Sway Hitch


Start by reading the entire thread above. Then search on WDH and read some more.
 

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The link Titan posted is very relevant. That section of the forum is also right where you want to be for your additional towing questions as it's dedicated to towing topics.
 
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I’d highly recommend you reconsider a 4000 lb dry weight trailer. When loaded you will almost certainly exceed the rated towing capacity of the Ascent (5000lbs), which will make it unsafe to drive, and likely void your power train warranty. A safer weight would be around 3000lbs dry.
 

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I’d highly recommend you reconsider a 4000 lb dry weight trailer. When loaded you will almost certainly exceed the rated towing capacity of the Ascent (5000lbs), which will make it unsafe to drive, and likely void your power train warranty. A safer weight would be around 3000lbs dry.
Finding a suitable travel trailer weighing only 3000 lbs UVW or less is almost impossible for some depending on what they want/need in an RV. I would say that with the Ascent you could safely choose a travel trailer up to around 3800 lbs UVW with a dry tongue weight of up to around 380 lbs or so. Assuming you don't go overboard on the cargo and balance it normally, this still gives you sufficient cargo capacity and enough leeway with the tongue weight, while still leaving a decent margin of safety. With these weights, hundreds more selections of travel trailers become available for the Ascent.

Those wanting to push it further will need to very carefully watch their total cargo weight and very carefully manage their tongue weight to ensure they never exceed the Ascent's limits. Some are capable and responsible enough to do this properly while others may not be, so I think that for general recommendations in this forum the 3800 lbs UVW and 380 lbs tongue weight would be reasonable practical limits for most.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
So the trailer I am looking at is a tandem at 3900 dry. The issue is the tongue is 500 dry.

My issue is we need a vehicle that can handle the snow which is the real Sierra cement not snow most people are used to. And the vehicle needs to hold 7 people and be able to tow.

It is hard to be able to find a vehicle like that so sorta stuck with the Subaru. I honestly doubt even if you ran tongue weight at 600 you’d have a problem, but then again I am a financial analyst and not a engineer. The biggest fear I have is tongue weight, I could care less if we were 1k lb over weight in general as that would mean just take it slower and be smart. I just pulled about 4500 the other day with no trailer brakes in the Sierra mountains with no issues whatsoever. I have no clue even what tongue weight was on it.
 

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I honestly doubt even if you ran tongue weight at 600 you’d have a problem, but then again I am a financial analyst and not a engineer. The biggest fear I have is tongue weight,
I wouldn't exceed 500 pounds. Besides that the car isn't designed and rated for more than 500 pounds, your tongue weight decreases your cargo capacity in the vehicle. For instance, if you have a Touring, your max cargo weight is 1,152 pounds. With a full tongue weight of 500 pounds, that leaves you 652 pounds for people and gear.

I could care less if we were 1k lb over weight in general as that would mean just take it slower and be smart
Doing so is illegal in all fifty states and DC. Having a serious enough accident, even if it would otherwise be deemed "accident" and not violation, while exceeding the load and tow specs of the vehicle, may result in felony charges in various states.

Regardless, like tongue weight, the vehicle is designed for certain loads. Exceeding them can damage the vehicle and/or negatively impact handling in potentially dangerous ways.
 

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So the trailer I am looking at is a tandem at 3900 dry. The issue is the tongue is 500 dry.

My issue is we need a vehicle that can handle the snow which is the real Sierra cement not snow most people are used to. And the vehicle needs to hold 7 people and be able to tow.

It is hard to be able to find a vehicle like that so sorta stuck with the Subaru. I honestly doubt even if you ran tongue weight at 600 you’d have a problem, but then again I am a financial analyst and not a engineer. The biggest fear I have is tongue weight, I could care less if we were 1k lb over weight in general as that would mean just take it slower and be smart. I just pulled about 4500 the other day with no trailer brakes in the Sierra mountains with no issues whatsoever. I have no clue even what tongue weight was on it.
Not having a clue about tongue weight, not caring less if you were 1k lb overweight in general does not make it safe just because maybe you can do it. It's an accident just waiting to happen, and if/when it does, you could be held liable for any damages or injuries that may occur both criminally and civilly. As a financial analyst surely you can calculate what that could do to your finances not to mention your life.

There is no excuse for anyone to tow outside of the safe limits of either the towing vehicle or the trailer.
 

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So the trailer I am looking at is a tandem at 3900 dry. The issue is the tongue is 500 dry.

My issue is we need a vehicle that can handle the snow which is the real Sierra cement not snow most people are used to. And the vehicle needs to hold 7 people and be able to tow.

It is hard to be able to find a vehicle like that so sorta stuck with the Subaru. I honestly doubt even if you ran tongue weight at 600 you’d have a problem, but then again I am a financial analyst and not a engineer. The biggest fear I have is tongue weight, I could care less if we were 1k lb over weight in general as that would mean just take it slower and be smart. I just pulled about 4500 the other day with no trailer brakes in the Sierra mountains with no issues whatsoever. I have no clue even what tongue weight was on it.
FYI, you broke California law by towing that much without trailer brakes. Sure you won’t get pulled over for not having trailer brakes, but god help if you ever get in an accident while towing like that. Best case scenario: your insurer uses your negligence to void the policy and you get sued into bankruptcy. Worst case scenario: you can go to jail because of this.

The Ascent is a great car, but it really can’t tow that much. If you need more towing capacity you’ll have to step up into a truck.
 

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Well Uhaul happily put it on and let me on my merry way knowing exactly what was being towed.
Sadly, that happens, and doesn't surprise me.

WAY back in the day, I rented a trailer and hitch (bumper strap on hitch) from U-Haul. They hooked everything up. The hitch was mounted crooked (tilted upwards) and the trailer wasn't locked to the ball. Fortunately, they did get the safety chains on right, because, when the trailer popped off the ball, it didn't go careening into traffic, and, I was able to keep the chains taut and control the trailer enough to slowly ease it to a stop and redo the entire setup myself.
 

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My issue is we need a vehicle that can handle the snow which is the real Sierra cement not snow most people are used to. And the vehicle needs to hold 7 people and be able to tow.
You are going to have trouble with one or more of these factors with any "mid-sized" vehicle as your tow vehicle. Grand Cherokee can put what you propose fine, but like Ascent the cargo capacity (of the tow vehicle) after you subtract the tongue weight may not be adequate with the weight of 7 humans and things like luggage that has to be in the tow vehicle...and until the MY22 debuts, you can't fit 7 people in there. You need to go to a larger tow vehicle to get what you want, IMHO.
 

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I just picked up a Forest River No Boundaries 19.8 with a dry weight of 3990 and a tongue weight at around 400 lbs. Towed around 100 miles last weekend in Southern California freeways as well as regular surface streets and did well; however, I did have to move our (very heavy) popup from the front back over the axle as it was swaying a bit. Had the trailer loaded up with enough food and clothes for wife and 2 kids for 3 nights away, our large popup, 2 adult bikes and 2 kids bikes, and an extra 5 gallon propane tank. Ended up with a bunch of leftover food as well.

Averaged around 10 mpg throughout the weekend. We're running a Tekonsha P3 brake controller and the factory hitch with a Curt hitch attachment instead of the factory piece. Factory piece was too much drop.

I'll update the trailer list soon as well.
 

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It is amazing how many people come here to discuss and excuse towing an overweight or near-weight-limit vehicle (GVWR, Tongue weight, total capacity, etc).

Towing ANYTHING at or very near the vehicle design limit is just bad, bad policy. Full tanks of freshwater, black water, and gray water, propane, an add on AC unit, along with extra sports gear and extra food and who knows what else will probably put you over.

How many times do you have to read here that you can get charged, get your insurance nullified, and get sued for "making a mistake" by overloading. Not to mention the strain on the entire drive train, brakes, and operating safety margin.

If you want to haul a 5000 lb totally loaded trailer, then get a 7500 lb rated vehicle. End of story. Or get a smaller trailer that will max out at 4000 lbs fully loaded if you want to use an Ascent.

I was considering an Ascent to tow a 3900 lb dry weight trailer, having the fantasy that "it will work", but I have changed my mind after reading about all of the implications. We're getting a Land Cruiser or equivalent.
 

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Hey guys!
so I am looking at buying a travel trailer that weighs 4K lb dry and intend on using the Subaru to pull it around.
I thought I remember the manual saying something about not using sway bars or weight distribution hitches but now I can’t seem to find it so not sure if it was a different vehicle I had.

Also anyone else towing up near that 5k mark and how does it do with full of passengers?

Thanks
I'm looking myself for a suitable trailer. Everything I read says to stay around 3500 lbs dry. Lance 1475 or 1575 are about the right size. Also saw some interesting large tear drops where the roof can be raised. These are called Alto Safaris....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWHZqhfLTTs&vl=en
 

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It is amazing how many people come here to discuss and excuse towing an overweight or near-weight-limit vehicle (GVWR, Tongue weight, total capacity, etc).

Towing ANYTHING at or very near the vehicle design limit is just bad, bad policy. Full tanks of freshwater, black water, and gray water, propane, an add on AC unit, along with extra sports gear and extra food and who knows what else will probably put you over.

How many times do you have to read here that you can get charged, get your insurance nullified, and get sued for "making a mistake" by overloading. Not to mention the strain on the entire drive train, brakes, and operating safety margin.

If you want to haul a 5000 lb totally loaded trailer, then get a 7500 lb rated vehicle. End of story. Or get a smaller trailer that will max out at 4000 lbs fully loaded if you want to use an Ascent.

I was considering an Ascent to tow a 3900 lb dry weight trailer, having the fantasy that "it will work", but I have changed my mind after reading about all of the implications. We're getting a Land Cruiser or equivalent.
You're correct in most of what you say, but towing a 3900 lb UVW trailer is safely possible with the Ascent provided you are responsible with cargo weights and also the balance to keep the tongue weight acceptable.

The Ascent is a capable tow vehicle provided the user is knowledgeable and responsible. It does not have the safety margins of a tow vehicle capable of towing 6000 lbs or more, so significantly greater attention to detail and owner responsibility are required to tow safely.

If you don't currently own an Ascent and wish to purchase a travel trailer weighing more than 4000 lbs or so, then definitely consider a tow vehicle with more towing capabilities than the Ascent.

If you already own an Ascent and wish to use it as a tow vehicle, try to find a suitable trailer no heavier than ~3800 lbs UVW and with a dry tongue weight of ~380 lbs or less. Then load and balance it responsibly and you should be good to go. If you wish to push the limits a bit further, then even greater attention to detail and responsibility are required, but this is not advisable for typical use because not everyone is conscientious enough to properly maintain the weights and balance.

It's vital to understand all that is required for safe towing and properly match the trailer to the tow vehicle or vice versa. Once you know and understand the facts, you will not under or over estimate the towing capabilities of the Ascent.
 

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I'm looking myself for a suitable trailer. Everything I read says to stay around 3500 lbs dry. Lance 1475 or 1575 are about the right size. Also saw some interesting large tear drops where the roof can be raised. These are called Alto Safaris....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWHZqhfLTTs&vl=en
You pretty much have to go to Canada to see a Safari Condo Alto for yourself. I love the concept but actual storage is quite lacking.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I just picked up a Forest River No Boundaries 19.8 with a dry weight of 3990 and a tongue weight at around 400 lbs. Towed around 100 miles last weekend in Southern California freeways as well as regular surface streets and did well; however, I did have to move our (very heavy) popup from the front back over the axle as it was swaying a bit. Had the trailer loaded up with enough food and clothes for wife and 2 kids for 3 nights away, our large popup, 2 adult bikes and 2 kids bikes, and an extra 5 gallon propane tank. Ended up with a bunch of leftover food as well.

Averaged around 10 mpg throughout the weekend. We're running a Tekonsha P3 brake controller and the factory hitch with a Curt hitch attachment instead of the factory piece. Factory piece was too much drop.

I'll update the trailer list soon as well.
Well glad to see it was handling pulling those weights no problem. I ended up going with the Apex Nano 208BHS and just waiting for it to be delivered to the dealership. I was worried about the weight but talked to multiple dealerships and they all agreed and said the same thing basically so I am not too worried.

We are probably going to be selling the Ascent within the next year and moving up to a Suburban which will handle it no problem and have the space we need. Ascent kinda sucks for anyone with kids as you can't even fit a full size stroller in the thing when all the seats are up.
 

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I tow near the limit all the time, but you have to be very careful with what you put in the trailer and where and what you put in the car.

If you exceed the tongue limit, what you are doing is taking weight off the front wheels. Basically your steering goes to hell as the front wheels don't have enough weight to properly grip the road. That is very unsafe!

When I first loaded my Mustang on the flatbed trailer I put the Mustang too far forward on the trailer. The back end was hunched down and the front wheels were lifted up. Nice thing with a flatbed is I could just move the car back and get the tongue weight fixed.

Campers are trickier as you have to load your cargo and distribute it to keep your tongue weight in a good range. Put cargo behind the axle and your tongue weight goes down. But you need enough tongue weight that the trailer doesn't get into a killer sway!

So basically the closer you get to the limit, the more careful you have to be.
 
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