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Good morning,

My question is - what are the mechanical or design differences that make a 5000 lb capacity vehicle different from the 2000 lb capacity vehicle?

Haven't found this information elsewhere. Thanks much..
 

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2020 Ascent Touring
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As above, transmission cooler is definitely in the published specs.

I don't know if there is any difference in the OEM tires' or wheels' load rating but that would be a consideration for anything aftermarket.
 

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All Ascent tires are rated the same for their size. GVWR is also always 6,000 pounds. Cargo weight is the highest on the Base.

Tow weight is 2,000 pounds with 200 pounds tongue weight for the Base, as noted.

The differences are the following:
  • No CVT cooler
  • Different rear differential
  • No towing harness
  • No related towing electronics
 

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Robert, are the spring ratings the same?
Yes. Remember, the load carrying capabilities of the rear of the car are the same across all trim levels. It's the same rear coil springs. Since the 200 pound or 500 pound tongue weight is a part of cargo weight, nothing changes. Max cargo weight defines rear suspension needs.
 

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Not particularly surprising to me. Making a rear differential move its portion of 6,000 pounds vs its portion of just shy of 11,000 pounds are two very different things. The way our suspension is designed, carrying capacity (eg: cargo weight, which includes tongue weight) is done by the suspension and not the differentials. OTOH, the differentials have nothing to do with carrying weight - they only move that weight.

As to what the differences are, it's yet another component that's out of my price range, otherwise, I'd have both versions in my living room, dissected, to be able to tell you all what the differences are. Maybe someone with a Base model can photograph theirs so we can see any exterior differences.
 

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Definitely start with photos. Even a tear-down might not tell much. If the gear ratios are the same, the only differences might be hardening of components.
 

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Yes, it is interesting. Given that only the base model would have the "2000 pound" differential and every other model has the "5000 pound" differential, it surprises me that Subaru would spec a separate part for an application that probably has a fairly low take rate (the base model). I mean, it must be less expensive to do it this way vs. just putting the "upgraded" differential in all models, but I didn't expect it.
 

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@hokiefyd, that's what baffles me. The prices (at least to us) are the same, for either one, to the penny. MSRP of $831.13 - I'm not well versed on the component differences in our differentials, and the service manual isn't much help. 😞

Non-Base:

Base:
 

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I compared the parts lists for the Base trim and Premium trim. They're identical except Premium adds a temperature sensor and harness support bracket. It shows up on the diagram too. So it appears that the rear diff on the Base is just as physically capable but is not instrumented to monitor temps.

7055
7056
 

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dealer told me the radiator for towing 5,000, was a larger radiator , in addition to the extra coolers.
 

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While there is one spring that's supposed to do it, sag will never be outside of design specs of the vehicle if one has a tongue weight under 500 pounds, and a cargo weight within the limits of the car. Lift springs may help with sag when illegally exceeding those numbers, but they will not help with overloading the vehicle and/or exceeding its capabilities. If you have excessive sag, I'd look into why, instead of looking into hiding the issue.
 
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