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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This was my first experience towing. I have a Polaris Ranger and a tandem trailer with an estimated combined weight of about 3000#. I did not plan to tow this weekend.


I took two Chinese friends to my hunting lease to teach them to shoot and show them some wild animals.


Day 1, I took one in my Ranger while it ran out of gas. A walk back to camp to retrieve more gas and we drove to the back of the property where the Ranger decided not to run. Its fuel pump went out.


Next is a much longer walk back to camp to retrieve my Ascent to tow the ranger back to familar territory. All went well and I parked the Ranger where I could put it on the trailer the next morning. No big deal.


I set my alarm for 7:30 so I could get the Ranger on the trailer before breakfast. At 7 am, I heard the crack of lightning and the sound of large rain drops on my Jayco roof. I hasten to my tandem trailer and get soaking wet unlocking it and preparing it to be loaded.


Then I drove my Ascent to the front gate so it would be open when I used momentum to get the Ascent and trailer laden with the Ranger through the mud pit.



Next, I go back to the Jayco and tell my friends we need to load up and get out of there before it gets too muddy.



With the Ascent loaded, I pull the tandem trailer in front of the Ranger and lower the gate. Then we push the Ranger to the gate to save the battery.


I hook the Ranger winch to the trailer and begin to pull it on to the trailer. With 8" to go, the battery dies. We hike back to my utility trailer and retrieve my generator and battery charger. With that hooked up, we sit and wait for a charge.


Then I try to operate the winch and it refuses to budge. The winch cable is pinched on my front trailer hitch ball and the winch solenoid crapped out.


Back to the utility trailer for a manual winch. This barely has enough reach to attach to the Ranger and the trailer but we get it on and crank the Ranger the rest of the way up.


Tied down and tailgate up, we head out of the ranch through the mud, past the front gate and stop to lock it. Then I experience my first real feel of towing with the Ascent.


It feels like there is a load but it goes straight. For some reason, it feels unsafe to drive over 60. Maybe it is the trailer, but I honor that feeling.


About 1/3 of the way home, I hear the sickening sound of a tire coming apart. Sure enough, my trailer had thrown a shoe and I had no jack or wrench to change the tire. I'm on I-20 in the middle of nowhere. Thank goodness for AAA.


While we are waiting for the service truck, I have the Ascent turned on but not running and the 4-way flasher is going. When I see the service truck pass in the opposite direction on the way to his exit, I try to start the Ascent. That is when I saw the famous tach spin but no start I've had with my wife's Forester. The solid feel of the brake told me my Ascent had a brain flush.


I turn everything off and open the door to finalize the shutdown. A few minutes later, it starts but my trip meter has jumped from 150+ miles to 2900+ miles.



The way home is a white knucked drive wondering what will happen next. Fortunately, we got home without further incident.



I was disappointed in the fuel economy. I didn't drive over 60 mph. Empty, I get 27 mpg at that speed. With the trailer, I got 12 mpg. Ugh.


In a week, I'll take it back to the ranch with crossed fingers. Not because of the Ascent, but becaue of the black cloud that may not have yet dissipated.
 

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The issues just seem like worst case scenario bad luck.

The mileage seems reasonable with added weight and you're pulling almost a square box behind you that sits up an additional 2.5-3ft.

Probably your trailer giving you the uneasy feeling with all the problems. Also check that there's not mud stuck somewhere in a wheel.
 

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If the Ascent felt "squirelly", you might consider that your tongue weight was "up there" and be sure to be careful balancing your load. A lot of weight on the back of any vehicle unloads the tow vehicle's front axle and that can affect steering and braking significantly, leading to the need for new underwear or worse. Normally, a WDH would be used to combat this, but apparently, WDH isn't recommended by Subaru for use with the Ascent through the full range of tongue weight capacity.
 

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You need a drop hitch. You're very "rear heavy" on the trailer and very front light on the hitch because the hitch ball is too high. With the tongue not properly loaded and the weight not balanced, you're creating a lever.

I use this:
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SMGAJ6/
 

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Yeah, you definitely need to check your front/back loading of the trailer and make sure the trailer is level.

I tow my 88 Mustang on a 16' trailer with none of the issues you've mentioned. It's even stable up to 75 (Haven't gone past that) but I prefer to drive it at 65mpg. I got 16mpg towing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, you definitely need to check your front/back loading of the trailer and make sure the trailer is level.

I tow my 88 Mustang on a 16' trailer with none of the issues you've mentioned. It's even stable up to 75 (Haven't gone past that) but I prefer to drive it at 65mpg. I got 16mpg towing it.



I'm very impressed. It did not feel squirrley, it just felt like it was more of a load than the car wanted to pull. But it wasn't neary as much weight as yours.


It tracked straight and I used the drop hitch that came with the car. I think it is about a 3" drop. With a tandem trailer, it is less likely to get load heavy either way. The Ranger is centered over the wheels and there are stops in the trailer bed to be sure it is loaded in the same position every time I load it.


Maybe this was the "towing learning curve" for my Ascent. I'll know when I go back to the property next week. After a new fuel pump on the Ranger, a new solenoid on the winch, and a new spare tire under warranty, I'm good to go.



Next month the Ascent will get to take us on a road trip from Dallas to the Grand Canyon and back. I'm ready for that trip. It's a real pleasure to drive.
 

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It may just be (as Robert says) that you just hear the Subie growl as it puts down more power to pull the load. I towed 3,500lbs up an 8-10% grade and was able to accelerate easily too. Love the torque!

Heh, didn't even see you are from Dallas. Last month I just drove from Phoenix to Dallas in one day. The Ascent was comfy, even over a 15 hr trip! Rural roads sometimes saw speeds in the triple digits and the Ascent handled it with ease.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It may just be (as Robert says) that you just hear the Subie growl as it puts down more power to pull the load. I towed 3,500lbs up an 8-10% grade and was able to accelerate easily too. Love the torque!

Heh, didn't even see you are from Dallas. Last month I just drove from Phoenix to Dallas in one day. The Ascent was comfy, even over a 15 hr trip! Rural roads sometimes saw speeds in the triple digits and the Ascent handled it with ease.

That is exactly why I'm looking forward to my road trip. I even bought a good radar detector for the trip. The Ascent does sneak past the double digit range if you aren't careful.


I think I'll have to chalk up my poor gas mileage and feel to the drag created by my Ranger peeking over the roof of my Ascent. I drive according to "feel" and the Ascent "felt best" at 60 mph with this load. But my "feel" could have been dampened by all the things that had been happening. After the tire change on my trailer, I had no spare and I was silll about 80 miles from home.



I'll know next week when I take it back to the ranch.
 

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The UTV is super draggy with bare bars, roof etc and the expanded metal tip up ramp is super draggy too. A big part of your mileage hit are those two things.

If you pop off the tip up ramp and use some ramps that slide up under the utv you might see a decent jump in mileage. A buddy removed his tip up ramp like yours. Nakid trailer no load it was a 5mpg hit just from that stupid tip up ramp. Then again I’m pretty sure WWII bombers had grates like that too called dive brakes lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The UTV is super draggy with bare bars, roof etc and the expanded metal tip up ramp is super draggy too. A big part of your mileage hit are those two things.

If you pop off the tip up ramp and use some ramps that slide up under the utv you might see a decent jump in mileage. A buddy removed his tip up ramp like yours. Nakid trailer no load it was a 5mpg hit just from that stupid tip up ramp. Then again I’m pretty sure WWII bombers had grates like that too called dive brakes lol.

I did put a load on it. Not weight, but wind drag and the extra drag of 4 tires on the trailer that were probably underinflated because it was raining hard and all I could think of was gettng past the 200 yards of mud that was building by the minute. I need to ask the landowner if I can pay for a few loads of gravel there.
 

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Yeah dragging a heavy trailer through a muddy road can be pretty stressful especially when your out in the boonies and no good way to get help. Been there a few times my self. The worst was a heavy horse trailer, a old manual 2wd long bed Dodge 250 with the old 460. Sweating bullets and driving way too fast because once you stop your toast.

But seriously if you take that trailer on a long highway trip see if you can dump the ramp and I bet you have a much better towing experience. My buddy turned his ramp into a fence gate. LOL
 

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LOL, yes rural slippery situations can be a bear.

We were driving out on dirt roads looking for a house when my GPS and I took us on a wrong turn. It was a single track dirt road down a big slope in a PT Cruiser (we needed a cheap 4 door car.... don't laugh :p ). When we got to the bottom it had an impassable ravine. No cell phone service. To top it off it had started to snow (crazy for Arizona). My wife got the car turned around and started up and it was slipping too much. We switched seats so I could give it a go.

It's a manual transmission so that added extra fun. So here I am driving up this slope with the FWD car slipping back and forth as I claw my way up there. Speed read 35mph and we're doing like 5mph. Wife and 3 year old son are both screaming the whole way up. But we made it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Maybe I'll try taking the ramp off and putting it sideways next to the Ranger. I'm afraid of the single ramps. With my luck, I'd miss one and have a real mess.


I was pleased with the way the trailer tracked. The engine did drop a few gears and ran at 3000 rpm instead of its usual 2000 at 60 mph. My oil temp also went from its usual 195 to 217.


I'll know after my return trip next week.
 

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The more you tow the better you will get.
I towed for the first time about 2 weeks ago, same trailer and load from when I had my 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, everything was about the same, except like you, I used the hitch that came with the Ascent (Subaru hitch is taller), I got about 2mpg better with the Ascent, and for some reason going in reverse with the trailer, the Ascent "guided" the trailer different than my previous Nissan, but I just have to get used to it..
 

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Oh yay! I just got my Ascent hitch installed last weekend and ordered the same hitch ball while I was waiting. When it arrived I was surprised by how big and HEAVY it was. I thought maybe I had gone overboard. Glad to see someone else with heavy towing experience using it! :)
 
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