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We recently purchased a 2020 Subaru Ascent Premium to tow an 3000 lb trailer. We had Subaru install the hitch. We couldn't get a good answer from the dealer and I have read older posts here regarding Weight Distribution hitches and anti-sway bars and understand these should not be used with the Ascent when towing but can anyone tell me what actual damage would occur if a device were used and torque occurred on the hitch? Does it ruin both the hitch and the frame? I would like to know why it is so strongly discouraged and what actual damage or safety issues would happen?

Thanks so much for anyone who can respond - obviously I am new at this and trying to understand so I can also explain to those who insist we use the anti-sway device.
 

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Subaru did the design and testing for up to 5000 lb with 500lb tongue load with no anti sway or weight distribution and say that it meets their safety requirements. This includes structural strength, and dynamic behavior and stability. The Ascent does include an active anti sway system. They either did not test with a weight distribution hitch or sway system, or they did and found it didn't meet their safety requirements. Either way, they prohibit it.

If you choose to use a weight distributing hitch or sway bar you'd be doing the experiment and testing it yourself out on the road. Lot's of things could go wrong, either structurally or control wise. How likely would they be? IDK.
 

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On other vehicles, the damage has been cracked welds, or twisted frame components, or twisted unibody.

In the case of the Ascent, besides those possibilities, it also puts more weight on the front of the car, which isn't how the axles are rated.
 

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I would like to know why it is so strongly discouraged and what actual damage or safety issues would happen?
'Discouraged" isn't the right word. Subaru says "don't do it". They designed the Ascent to tow up to its limits without the need for WDH and external sway controls. That's actually pretty remarkable compared to the rest of the market where you have to spend more money just to tow up to your limits.
 

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Except for the addition of a brake controller.
Yes, one needs a brake controller if the trailer has electric brakes. Very few vehicles have one integrated...mostly some pick-em-up trucks and large SUVs. To be clear, I was referring to things like WDH, sway control, etc., which are not needed or allowed with the Ascent.
 

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No WDH, no Sway Bar... just shy of its 4,395 pounds.
5474
 

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It's my best friend's. He used to have a Ford Explorer with OEM tow package. It died trying to tow the trailer home from PA to Long Island on the day he bought it. So, he got an F150. That got totaled in an accident years ago. So, for quite some time, my Ascent has been the tow vehicle. It's an ideally suited trailer for the Ascent, but, alas, they don't make it anymore.
 

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so are there anymore pictures of the hitch set up you and others have and yes I went with the oem which on the 2021 ascent
 

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SPECIFICATIONS
Hitch Weight:
437 lb.
GVWR:
4999 lb.
UVW
3797 lb.
CCC
1202 lb.
Exterior Length:
23' 2"
Exterior Height:
10' 6"
Exterior Width:
84"
Fresh Water:
26.00 gal.
Gray Water:
23.00 gal.
Black Water:
23.00 gal.
trailer specs
 

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so I don't need the big bulky hitch with weight dits bars and friction sway control ?
Not only do you not need it...you are not allowed to use it with the Ascent per Subaru specifications...it's in the manual. A WDH may even damage your Ascent. See the sticky thread at the top of this towing section for more informatino.
 
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Not only do you not need it...you are not allowed to use it with the Ascent per Subaru specifications...it's in the manual. A WDH may even damage your Ascent. See the sticky thread at the top of this towing section for more informatino.
so what set up do you use Jim so I know what to buy ?

im assuming I will Need a good adjusting one
 

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You just need a ball mount that puts the ball at the correct height for you specific trailer. It can be a fixed drop/rise or an adjustable height unit. Iy must be rated for a minimum of 5000 lbs (class 3)

You also need a brake controller...several good threads on that
 
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You just need a ball mount that puts the ball at the correct height for you specific trailer. It can be a fixed drop/rise or an adjustable height unit. Iy must be rated for a minimum of 5000 lbs (class 3)

You also need a brake controller...several good threads on that
Done and done my brake controller is prodigy wireless hitch I ordered is weight safe billet with gauge For tongue weight
 

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Don't count on accuracy with that scale. You're better off saving your money and using a 2x4 and a bathroom scale.
Have you seen the prices of 2x4’s??

seriously though I agree with the bathroom scale method
 

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Have you seen the prices of 2x4’s??

Yes. My friend's company builds apartment complexes. The price of lumber went up by 10x so they switched to steel 2x's which only went up 3x.
 
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