Tongue Weight II

rmcarthurrmcarthur Member Posts: 33
The words stamped on the frame of my [email protected] 320 cs-s, right near the hitch says "6,000 lbs GVW max; 700lbs tongue load". Stamped on the hitch of the tow vehicle is "Max Load 2,700 lb; 200 lb tongue load". My question is: How much can I have on the tongue of my [email protected]? I need to place two 6 volt AGM batteries on the tongue of my [email protected], which are about 70lbs. each. The filled propane tank is about 37 lbs.. I am not sure if the tow vehicle's tongue load is the guide, or if the [email protected]'s tongue load is the guide. 

Comments

  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 500
    edited May 31
    The tongue weight listed in your tow vehicle’s MANUAL is the first number you need to look at. Hitches are often built to carry heavier loads than the vehicle can handle. You do not want to exceed that limit, because it can cause structural damage to the car body.

    Assuming the vehicle handles as much or more than the hitch, the lowest number is your limit. In this case, that would be the 200 lbs listed on the hitch. I’ll tell you right now, because I’ve been doing it, it’s nearly impossible to keep a current model Tab at 200 lbs, because many of them are at or close to that in dry weight alone. (Dutchman era Tabs are lighter.) Absolutely no way I could do it with 140lbs of batteries on the tongue on my 2019. One of the reasons I’m upgrading tow vehicles is that the tongue weight on mine is too limited at that same 200 pounds. 

    But, if you want to try, do it properly and either buy a tongue scale or Google using a bathroom scale to get an accurate tongue weight.  This is not an area where you want to guess, you want to actually know exactly what you’re dealing with, because having the wrong tongue weight can lead not only to trailer damage, but dangerous handling under tow.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW
  • trimtabtrimtab Member Posts: 142
    Subaru's 2015 Outback has the ability to generate 174 lb-ft. to 247 lb-ft. of torque, and tow 2,700 lbs. to 3,000 lbs. of trailer. The 2015 Subaru Outback's tow package has a limited tongue weight of 270 lbs. to 300 lbs.

    2020 320-S, solar, etc.2016 Audi Q5
  • trimtabtrimtab Member Posts: 142
    At least it's not a CVT transmission..almost useless in towing anything....
    2020 320-S, solar, etc.2016 Audi Q5
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 500
    edited May 31
    trimtab said:
    Subaru's 2015 Outback has the ability to generate 174 lb-ft. to 247 lb-ft. of torque, and tow 2,700 lbs. to 3,000 lbs. of trailer. The 2015 Subaru Outback's tow package has a limited tongue weight of 270 lbs. to 300 lbs.

    Not according to the US manual. 3.6r still has a 200 lb. tongue weight limit, despite the 3000 lb towing capacity for that model year. It even calls out in the manual that this leads to a tongue/trailer weight ratio of less than 8% (which is below the ideal of 10-15% when towing a travel trailer). 
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 500
    edited May 31
    trimtab said:
    At least it's not a CVT transmission..almost useless in towing anything....
    Actually, yes it is a CVT. Last non CVT Outback was 2014. All of the gen 5 Outbacks (2015-2019) are covered under the not-quite-a-recall extra extended warranty for premature CVT failure through 100,000 miles.

    That said, when I towed with it, the engine and transmission were non issues. Transmission temps stayed within safe limits (monitored via an OBD bluetooth setup), RPMs were fine going over 3000’ passes at 55 mph, hanging out in the slow lane with the semis. The tongue weight limit though is a dealbreaker, with significant trailer porpoising even using a sway bar. Thankfully the gen 6 Outback XT models have a 350 lb tongue limit, and of course the Ascent is a better tow vehicle overall.

    Regardless, getting back on track. With an extremely lightly packed trailer and extra weight in the back due to the Purpleline mover I have installed behind the trailer axle, my 2019 tongue weight is 190-195 with just one AGM at 79 pounds. No way I could get a second one on there and keep to a 200 lb tongue weight limit. The only way to do a dual battery setup in the front box with that weight constraint would be to switch to lithiums. And that’s assuming you aren’t carrying basically anything else on the tongue or in the front of the trailer that isn’t stock—no bikes, generators, extra propane, etc.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW
  • BaylissBayliss Member Posts: 634
    edited May 31
    @rmcarthur, I don't know what year model your [email protected] is, but with the propane tank and battery only, you are probably right at the max you can carry on the tongue if your TV tongue weight limit is 200 lbs.  Although I can't guarantee it, I believe your total trailer weight (including the battery and propane) is likely a little over 1900 lbs., so you may have a maximum of 600-700 lbs. of payload you can add to the inside of the trailer (which would include the weight of water you add to your holding tank while towing.)

    If you received a nuCamp brochure from your dealer, check the weight specs for your particular model, or contact nuCamp for your specific trailer's weight specs (using the VIN.)  You can also look at the sticker on the driver's side front to see what your maximum allowable payload is.  Honestly, I believe are dangerously close to, or already at, the tongue weight for your tow vehicle without adding anything to the tongue, so it is important that you get the correct info on your trailer and tongue weight limits so you know what you can safely tow.
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • trimtabtrimtab Member Posts: 142
    Yes, Victoria, you are correct. It does have a CVT, but I believe, my bad, that it is a different CVT than previously used by Subaru. I was thinking the older one, the one I ruined....when we had an outback.
    The fifth generation Legacy/Outback and the JDM Subaru Exiga received a newly revised CVT under the Lineartronic name. It is a metal chain, pulley-based CVT, which is considered the most reliable, due to the simplicity of the pulley system and durability of the metal chain. In addition, the metal chain pulley system is generally quieter than other CVT designs.
    2020 320-S, solar, etc.2016 Audi Q5
  • rmcarthurrmcarthur Member Posts: 33
    Thank you, everyone! My [email protected] 320 CS-S is a 2016. Our tow vehicle is a 2017 SUBARU OUTBACK 2.5I AWD LIMITED. I did not specify the [email protected] year and tow vehicle make, model and year previously. Sounds like I am going to have to safely store the second battery during transport. That means I will only be able to charge just the one battery during travel.

    THREE MORE QUESTIONS:
    (1) Any thoughts on how to safely store the battery during transport, while making it efficient to add and remove the battery once settled and camping? (2) How confident should I be about towing this [email protected] with my tow vehicle? I've gotten a little feedback on this previously, but I need some more input. (3) If my Subaru is rated for 2700 lbs, does that mean the total load that I store inside/outside the [email protected] plus what I store inside the tow vehicle? Or is the 2700 lbs referring to only what I store on or inside the [email protected] only and has nothing to do with what I store in the tow vehicle?
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 5,463
    Your 4 cylinder  TV also has a 200# tongue weight limit.  The Subaru 2.5l has been discussed and found to be wanting as a TV.

    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,575
    rmcarthur said:
    Thank you, everyone! My [email protected] 320 CS-S is a 2016. Our tow vehicle is a 2017 SUBARU OUTBACK 2.5I AWD LIMITED. I did not specify the [email protected] year and tow vehicle make, model and year previously. Sounds like I am going to have to safely store the second battery during transport. That means I will only be able to charge just the one battery during travel.
    ...
    I can't help with your tow vehicle weight questions, but I don' think you can charge a single 6V battery while in transit--at least not without adapting your 12V charging system. In addition, using two six volt batteries with different states of charge will reduce overall power.
    In short, two 6V batteries work only if they are wired together in such a way that they act as a single larger 12V battery.
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 500
    edited June 1
    rmcarthur said:
    (2) How confident should I be about towing this [email protected] with my tow vehicle? I've gotten a little feedback on this previously, but I need some more input. 
    I don’t have the expertise to address your other questions, but sadly, I can address this one: You shouldn’t. Period. My single biggest Tab-related regret is listening to Outback owners who claimed that theirs were “just fine” for towing a Tab. After towing with my 3.6r twice on weekend trips, my answer to that would be in swear words I‘m not allowed use on this forum. I listened to these people because I adored my car and had only had it a year. Doing so was easily one of the top 5 dumbest mistakes I’ve ever made.

    There’s no way around this. With the more powerful six cylinder engine, mine is just about adequate with an extremely light load and extra monitoring, and I’m in the market for an SUV currently as a result. Yours is even less capable than mine. If you live and camp somewhere prairie-flat, carry no more than exactly what you need in necessities with no extra weight, never travel above 50 mph, and limit yourself to short distances, maybe it’s fine for now. But is that really what you bought a trailer to do?

    And that doesn’t even include what I detailed above about the 200 lb tongue weight. Which, again, is impossible to maintain. 

    From your previous posts, you want to carry a ton of stuff like bikes and a generator in addition to doing weighty things like these battery upgrades. Your current vehicle simply will not work for what you want to do. Many people can get away with a tow vehicle capable of pulling 3500 lbs for a Tab 320. In your case, a bare minimum tow weight is going to be 5000 lbs, because you need that extra tongue weight capacity. In fact, while I generally disagree that a truck instead of an SUV is an absolute necessity for towing these small trailers, I’m going to say you’re in the category where a truck is basically your best option. When you shop for a new vehicle, be very aware that some of them, like the Ford F150, have additional limitations—the F150 has two tongue weights, a default configuration and a much higher one that requires the use of a weight distributing hitch, which cannot be used with a 320.

    I’m so sorry. I know no one wants to hear they need to spend this kind of money.

    Edit to add: some additional info on weight ratings. In a nutshell, no, you can’t carry a ton of cargo in the Outback instead of the trailer. It’s all interconnected. https://driving.ca/auto-news/news/how-it-works-towing-and-payload
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW
  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Member Posts: 778
    @VictoriaP ;  Your original tongue weight post on this thread and your 6/1 7:29AM Outback as TV post are both informative and enjoyable/easy reads.

    One small correction; A weight distribution hitch (WDH) can be used on [email protected] 320 (& 400) trailer A-Frames.  Believe the C-channel construction of the trailer frame causes confusion regrading WDH usage as not all WDH designs are compatible with the C-channel.  While greater buyer care is needed when selecting a WDH brand, with correct design WDH can be used.

    { WDH most likely will not help @rmcarthur }
    '18 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE; PNW based
    TV: '17 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, GM Brake Controller
    Adventures:  26   Nights:  160 
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 500
    @VictoriaP ;  Your original tongue weight post on this thread and your 6/1 7:29AM Outback as TV post are both informative and enjoyable/easy reads.

    One small correction; A weight distribution hitch (WDH) can be used on [email protected] 320 (& 400) trailer A-Frames.  Believe the C-channel construction of the trailer frame causes confusion regrading WDH usage as not all WDH designs are compatible with the C-channel.  While greater buyer care is needed when selecting a WDH brand, with correct design WDH can be used.

    { WDH most likely will not help @rmcarthur }
    Thanks. I knew there were types of WDH that could be used with the 400, but I’d swear it was a hard and fast No-Go for the 320 per nuCamp. Hmmm. More digging needed.

    Regardless, I do know using a WDH is a definite no for any Subaru and not a solution to the tongue weight limitation on the Outback. From what I understand, the Subie’s unibody construction is not at all compatible with a WDH.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW
  • ckjsckjs Member Posts: 18
    rmcarthur said:
    ... My [email protected] 320 CS-S is a 2016. Our tow vehicle is a 2017 SUBARU OUTBACK 2.5I AWD LIMITED... 

    (1) Any thoughts on how to safely store the battery during transport...

    (2) How confident should I be about towing this [email protected] with my tow vehicle?
    (3) If my Subaru is rated for 2700 lbs, does that mean the total load that I store inside/outside the [email protected] plus what I store inside the tow vehicle? Or is the 2700 lbs referring to only what I store on or inside the [email protected] only and has nothing to do with what I store in the tow vehicle?
    I think it depends on how fast you drive and whether you plan to hit the mountains.

    I did not have any dealbreaker problems pulling my 2018 CS-S with a 2013 Outback 4-cylinder Limited in coastal CA. I stayed under 55 most of the time, since that is the state’s limit for trailered vehicles. It was rather poky during acceleration and climbing hills. It handled Highway 17’s twisty curvy climb up to 1800’ and back down to sea level just fine.  I was nervous having never towed before, but it didn’t go wild on us. 

    To reduce the tongue weight, I replaced the cheap-o dealer battery with a 100AH Renogy LiFePO4.  Three times the usable capacity for less than half the weight. Pricey (now around $800 on sale?), but much cheaper than a new car.  

    A few months ago I decided that I wasn’t comfortable taking it over the Sierra passes, so I upgraded to a turbo Outback XT. Much more vroom. We are  very happy with how it handled Death Valley and it many miles of 6-9% grades. 
    Charles & Judy, Santa Cruz, CA
    2018 [email protected] 320 CS-S; 4 cyl 2020 Subaru Outback Onyx XT
  • rmcarthurrmcarthur Member Posts: 33
    Ironically, I actually was researching the Ford F-150 4 X 4, XL 2.7 Liter V6 with ecoboost. The 2016 year seemed to get decent reviews from Consumer Reports. It looks like I need a solid answer on the WDH for the 2016 [email protected] 320. Input folks? 

    By the way - I am so thankful for everyone's input. This is my first go-round with long distance camping, so safety is priority, as well as refraining from ruining an otherwise fabulous Subaru Outback. Based on the very valuable information you all have provided - the Outback is not an option. Now I know, and that is a good thing!! If it takes purchasing a truck, that's fine. 
  • GatorEggGatorEgg Member Posts: 242
    Maybe helpful info, or not.  I have a 2018 [email protected] 320S Boondock.  Currently sitting in my garage. Stock trailer, no modifications.  Totally all dry tanks.  For purpose of this discussion I just did a tongue weight.  Ive never worried about it because I tow with a Tacoma, no worries.  Tongue weight is 177.8 lbs.  I normally tow with empty tanks unless I know I’m heading “out there”.  She’s followed me about 5000 miles.  I guess I’m light on the tongue.  But I’ve never had any handling problems.  I did install a Reese sway control prior to last trip.  I was bored, reading my Tacoma Owners Manual and noticed it specified sway control for trailers over 2k lbs.  I figured it was cheap $35 insurance to have if needed.
    2018 [email protected] Boondock 320S, 2019 Toyota Tacoma Sport 4x4
    Odessa, Fl.  

  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Member Posts: 778
    rmcarthur said:
    . . . looks like I need a solid answer on the WDH for the 2016 [email protected] 320.
    If your tow vehicle allows for use of WDH then one can be used on a [email protected]
    However, with your move to purchase a better towing performance vehicle WDH on a [email protected] is a non-issue.  Very few folks with a correctly sized tow vehicle use or need a WDH. Even the use of aftermarket  trailer anti-sway bars is rare.
    rmcarthur said:
    Ironically, I actually was researching the Ford F-150 4 X 4, XL 2.7 Liter V6 with ecoboost.
    Now that you're looking at increased tow rating vehicles there is a very wide range of options in 5,000#+ tow rating range.  If you like pick-ups recommend you look into the Chevy Colorado / GMC Canyon mid-sized years 2016 -to- 2020 with the V6 engine (diesel available).  Mine tows a [email protected] 320S with ease.
    {I was a Ford Truck guy since 1972 however the Colorado is the best driving,
    nicest riding pickup of them all.  Mid-size today - - - Colorado extended cab
    has same exterior size as my past 1990 Ford F-150 regular cab short box
    . }
    '18 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE; PNW based
    TV: '17 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, GM Brake Controller
    Adventures:  26   Nights:  160 
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 500
    rmcarthur said:
    Ironically, I actually was researching the Ford F-150 4 X 4, XL 2.7 Liter V6 with ecoboost. The 2016 year seemed to get decent reviews from Consumer Reports. It looks like I need a solid answer on the WDH for the 2016 [email protected] 320. Input folks? 

    By the way - I am so thankful for everyone's input. This is my first go-round with long distance camping, so safety is priority, as well as refraining from ruining an otherwise fabulous Subaru Outback. Based on the very valuable information you all have provided - the Outback is not an option. Now I know, and that is a good thing!! If it takes purchasing a truck, that's fine. 
    The default on an F150 is 500 lbs tongue weight. With a WDH, it can jump up to 1250, depending on model. Realistically? You shouldn't need a WDH unless you’re really out to max out that 320 tongue. With a 320, it’s more something to be aware of, for example, when using certain types of hitch extenders to carry your bikes—those can conceivably cut your tongue weight capacity in half, leading you to think you’re safe because “I have 1250 to start with!” when in fact, without a WDH, you’ve really just gone from 500 back down to 250!

    The other reason to be aware of it is for any potential trailer upsizing in the future. It’s very easy to pass 500 lbs tongue weight with a Tab 400, let alone an Airstream or Lance. One reason I’m still waffling brand and model-wise on my own vehicle upgrade is that I already know there’s a possibility I may want to change trailers within a year or two, and I do not want to fall into the same trap again by buying the wrong vehicle now. 

    Lots of trucks recommended around here. Most common are F150, the Canyon/Colorado twins, Toyota Tacoma, and the Honda Ridgeline. All those would do well with the 320. There’s at least one thread you’ll pull up in search that’s nothing but truck discussion, and that’s a good place to start researching. 😊
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW
  • TampakayakerTampakayaker Member Posts: 151
    For a little more $$ and maybe/maybe not less gas mileage, you should look at a full size pickup.

    Bigger truck bed (it's amazing how fast they fill up), bigger cab larger tow capacity, etc.

    Newer trucks drive like a passenger car.

    Just my 2 cents...
    2006 RAM 1500 4 door, 2016 [email protected] 320 MAX S 
    Tampa FL
  • rmcarthurrmcarthur Member Posts: 33
    Thank you Tampakayaker! I take it you live in Tampa, Florida. Just a quick note to tell you our daughter went to the University of Tampa for two years before transferring and graduating back home in Maine. Have spent some great beach time in your area.
  • TampakayakerTampakayaker Member Posts: 151
    rmcarthur said:
    Thank you Tampakayaker! I take it you live in Tampa, Florida. Just a quick note to tell you our daughter went to the University of Tampa for two years before transferring and graduating back home in Maine. Have spent some great beach time in your area.
    Yes, been here since 1978 after moving down from NY, Hudson valley area.
    2006 RAM 1500 4 door, 2016 [email protected] 320 MAX S 
    Tampa FL
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