Pop ups to pull with Subaru Outback 2.5

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by hiker74, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. hiker74

    hiker74 Member

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    We have started looking at pop ups. We have a 2013 Subaru Outback with a CVT transmission and a 2.5 L engine. The car is rated to tow 2700 lbs. I am also on Subaru forums and some of the limitations I know of are that the cars seem to tow like a European car which requires a low tongue/hitch weight. Even though the car will tow 2700 lbs I do not want a camper that big. I am looking at campers under 1400 lbs dry and Tongue weights under 160 lbs. The ones I have looked at and started researching are the following:
    -Palomino P-280 (seem to gain a lot of weight even by adding basic options)-no Queen bed
    -Rockwood 1640 ltd (seem to be heavy from the start even on the tonque weight)-no Queen bed
    -Quicksilver 8.1 and 10.0 (pricey and poor after sales service)
    -Viking 1706 (seem to be nicely built and bare bones no frills)-no Queen bed
    -Coachman 806 LS (similar to Viking but a little higher price tag due to diamond plate front front)-no queen bed

    We would like to have a queen size bed on one end and would like a full size on the other, but the ones I have looked at with queens are really expensive [Quicksilver]. I have heard the Quicksilver is a nicely built camper but after sales service is nonexistant. I think if I buy from a dealer this might nit be an issue.

    The Coachman and Vikings seem to be identical but the Viking is a little less equipped which is fine. The Palomino seems to be a nice camper, but once you begin adding options it gains a lot of weight with basic options

    We only want the following in a camper in terms of options:
    -Vented roof (that would allow for future Fantastic Fan or AC Unit)
    -Plug Ins and Inverter [furnace not necessary as we have a really efficient ceramic cube heater which would be more than adequate]
    -Sink is not needed but would be a decent plus
    -Stove not required, but would be ok to have
    -No need to have a battery or system that would run off a battery.
    -Sleeping area for 2 adults in queen bed and enough for two small children
    -Durability
    -Under 1400 lbs dry
    -Under 160 lbs Tongue Weight

    I had looked at the Starcraft Starflyer 10, but learned that they do not have a vented roof nor do they have options of electrical outlets or inverters. These are probably something that could be added, but I was told it would be over $1000 to do so. I thought about emailing Starcraft and asking them why in the world do they no longer offer an 8' or 10' model that is basic but still has the minimum vented roof and inverter and plug ins.

    Any suggestions you can offer that I should also consider?

    Jon
     
  2. capy235co

    capy235co Member

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    Ok most of what you want opinions on others will have to answer but here is a little food for thought. My Coleman has no roof vent or Air Conditioning. I would like to add air later and there is a spot for it but I would rather not have the air vent. No hole in roof means one less potential leak. I do fine with cross venting the windows. I think the ability to add roof air is common to most PUPS.

    Queen bed seems like a very important item to you. I would then cross out all on your list without it. If you want to do winter camping I would rethink the heater idea. Ceramic heat is fine if you are staying in a campground with plug ins. But you lose the option of heat if that type of site is not available.

    If by inverter you mean the ability to recharge the on board battery, I think all modern pups have that capability. If you are thinking older used, then not so. I think all pups today are designed to run on 12 volt meaning a battery. If the pup has brakes, the on board battery powers the break away system.

    Good luck
     
  3. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    A couple of things...

    First, when looking at "dry" trailer weights, realize that these weights are as the trailer leaves the factory without any options. Anything that is an option on the particular model of trailer is not included in the weight. You also need to add the weight of the stuff you put in the trailer and in your car, including passengers. So, you don't have as wide a window as you may think. And, as you add weight to the trailer, you are also adding some fraction of that weight to the tongue.

    Second, you did not mention trailer brakes. I always advise everyone to get trailer brakes no matter what their towing rig may be. It's just safer for you and everyone else on the road. In your case, with a Subaru (and I know this because DW -- Dear Wife -- has a Subaru) you MUST have trailer brakes. That means getting the car wired and installing a brake controller. It also means that you'll need some kind of battery on the trailer. You'll need an emergency breakaway switch that activates the trailer brakes in case it becomes separated from the TV (tow vehicle). This switch needs a battery to operate. If you don't need a regular deep cell battery to power things in the PUP something like a motorcycle battery will suffice for the breakaway switch.

    Finally, if you don't want to use a battery and plan to be plugged into external AC power, why do you want an inverter?
     
  4. Camp-N-Nuts

    Camp-N-Nuts KrustyKamper

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    Just my opinion (and I admire good engineering) but I would not use a CVT tranny to pull anything! [!] [2C]
     
  5. hiker74

    hiker74 Member

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    Thanks all. I dont believe I need the inverter. I just have not seen pop ups with electrical receptacles without an inverter. I realy want something basic. I appreciate the discussion on brakes and as I understand the Subaru has the correct wired plug hidden somewhere in the trunk and the breake controller is an easy install. Regarding towing with CVT's are there resources to back up the claims about not towing with a CVT or is this simply an opinion given that CVT's are relatively new? Safety is a first concern. Second concern is not tearing up our vehicle. As the weight goes down would I still need brakes? If I went with a Quicksilver trailer that weights barely over 1000 dry which includes what I believe we need would I still need brakes?
     
  6. coverus

    coverus castra magna est

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    It sounds as though you plan to be plugged into an external AC power source so you would not need an inverter (DC to AC). Most popups have a converter (AC to DC) which would power the lights and a few other things that run on DC. But there will be AC plugs in the popup that you can use when plugged into an external AC power source.

    We have a Ford Freestyle with a CVT (max towing 2000 lbs, max tongue 200 lbs) that has pulled our Quicksilver 10 for the past 5 years. It has done a fine job pulling it to the beaches of Baja Mexico, mountains of CA, and the Alaska Highway, including Alaska itself. As for after service we have had no problem dealing with LivinLite directly even though I purchased it from a dealer 3 hours away from home. They are very proud of their products and will do what they can to help you solve problems. Granted the Quicksilver 10 is spartan (no furnace, refrigerator, bathroom, roof vent) which means little can go wrong and what does you can easily find parts at local hardware, RV, and marine stores. But it does have queen size beds on both ends. The few things we did not care for were easily replaced such as the water faucet, converter, and the mattresses. Since we mostly camp at Forest Service campgrounds with no utilities batteries were necessary and we use the Big Buddy Heater when it gets chilly. It has truly become our home away from home.

    As for the CVT it still works fine with no judder/slippage or loss of power over the past 5 years. I still get 23 mpg when not pulling my QS 10 just as I did before I started pulling the QS 10 and between 18 to 20 mpg when pulling. Since I grew up on a farm and still have many friends farming I was surprised that even tractor manufacturers are using CVT's and they advertise it as a way to get the optimum combination of power, efficiency and ease of operation.
     
  7. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    OK, I think we have a terminology issue. You seem to be talking about a converter, not an inverter. Converters change AC to DC. Inverters change DC to AC. Most modern PUPs are equipped with a converter. Most modern PUPs contain things like overhead lights, a water pump and a furnace fan. All of these are DC items. They run off the battery if the PUP is not connected to an external AC power source. If it is connected to an external AC power source the converter changes some of the AC to DC to power these items. Further, the plug-ins, i.e., the outlets that look like the ones in your house, only work when the PUP is plugged into an external electrical power source. The converter routes some of the AC power to the outlets. If the PUP is only on a battery or has no battery, these outlets are dead.

    As for brakes, once again, as someone who has towed camping trailers through many types of terrain and all weather conditions and as someone with a Subaru -- which we do not use for towing -- it is my strong opinion that you need trailer brakes. Personally, I wouldn't tow a little red wagon behind a Subaru unless it was equipped with trailer brakes.

    Back in our tent camping days DW and I took her Subaru into the Olympic Mountains. It was just the two of us. We used to camp pretty simply so we didn't have a lot of gear. While descending we had to stop on pull-outs for 15-20 minutes at a time to let the brakes cool. They are small and the extra weight in the car challenged them.
     
  8. gec66

    gec66 Active Member

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    +1,on trailer brakes. Even 1,000 lbs (+ what you have loaded in the back of the car) is 1,000 lbs more than the car brakes were really designed to stop and trailer brakes also help prevent jack knifing in panic stop/collision avoidance maneuvers.
     
  9. hiker74

    hiker74 Member

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    Thanks all-all makes sense. I did not mean an inverter you were correct. Noted on the brakes. I do not know a lot about towing anythng and will probably need to practice in a parking lot for a while. Also noted on the car's brakes. I burned up our 2005 Honda CRV brakes in the Smoky's and I wasn't even hauling anything. The Quicksilver 8.1 only weighs 865 lbs dry so maybe that is what I should be looking at. Sure, the car will tow a Coachman Hybrid trailer but I will not be maxing out what I "can" do. We are tent campers, but find that the preparation of going tent camping hinders opportunities especially when you have small children. Having a pop up in the garage ready to go other than food and other smaller items will help us be more spontaneous, i.e. seeing the weather forecast on Thursday night for the weekend and saying "hey lets go camping this weekend" and actually going. Nice to hear regarcing the Freestyle and the CVT pulling fine. I thought the same thing as its made on a computer program and it adjusts to the habits and stress of the road. Seems like a perfect application for an 18 wheeler if you ask me. Allison transmission has one they use in buses all over the place and probably are testing one in a tractor trailer
     
  10. Camp-N-Nuts

    Camp-N-Nuts KrustyKamper

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    Just a question...how much would you trust a V-belt carrying your car and trailer on a mountain road?
    Dear, do you smell something? (No, it is not made of rubber...I am exaggerating!) But again, ask yourself...would you buy a used car with one? They are more costly to repair than a typical automatic!

    [​IMG]
     
  11. coverus

    coverus castra magna est

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    I would trust the Freestyle CVT just as much as a standard transmission because I did my research on it beforehand. I would not trust the CVT in a Honda Civic Hybrid. As I mentioned I have towed with my Freestyle the past 5 years in the mountains of AK, CA, OR, WA, and ID with no problems. One of my friends uses a tractor with a CVT for all his farming. Most harvesters now a days have CVTs as well.

    I was really surprised when I was doing my research how many things have CVTs in them. Things like power drills, snow mobiles, racing karts, riding mowers, ATVs, motorscooters, Formula 500 cars, aircraft electrical systems, and they were banned from Formula 1 racing because they offered an unfair advantage. It is well known in the engineering world that CVTs can deliver an abundance of power. You might want to look a little more in depth into the numerous types of CVTs before thinking they are all of the simple pulley type.

    As for the Freestyle it uses the Reeves drive or Variable Diameter Pulley with a steel chain belt. Granted when it breaks all Ford does is replace the whole unit rather than bother trying to fix whatever part broke internally (even if it is just the steel chain belt). But that is same thing they did when the first hydrostatic (now called automatic) transmissions came out as well.

    One other thing the Freestyle and its sister Ford 500 were actually designed by Volvo when Ford owned Volvo. It shares the same frame and components as the Volvo XC90. Ford replaced the body, interior, and engine with their own.

    Now with all this written I have jinxed myself and watch my CVT blow out on our next trip.
     
  12. hiker74

    hiker74 Member

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    The outback also uses a chain in the CVT. The reality is that everything will be a CVT in 10 years from micro cars to tractor trailers. Nissan has actually commited to 100% of their vehicles be CVTs in 5 years so if you have an Armada then you will have a CVT. Regarding the electrical I sent some questions to Starcraft as I believe the Starflyer has a "mouse hole" in the side to fish an extension cord through. I could simply add a waterproof uninterupted power supply with outlets to run a heater or fans. Going with the minimalist idea this would elliminate things to go wrong. Regarding the brakes does anyoone use surge brakes. They seem simple, but are they effective? One thing I have to ask is do pop up owners find that they do not get good attention at RV dealers? It seems that RV dealers are always looking for the client buying a $150K RV, but if a pop up owner comes in its almost a let down for them. I know i'm probably asking a stupid question, but why in the heck should I have to email the factory directly to get answers?
     
  13. MD Saga

    MD Saga Pop-up journeymen

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    I towed our pup home with our 2002 Outback. You'll need extended mirrors, most likely, for towing anything. Also, ours had the plug for the wiring harness. You'll need trailer brakes for anything over 2K lbs, and there probably isn't wiring pre-installed.
     
  14. Camp-N-Nuts

    Camp-N-Nuts KrustyKamper

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    You make a good point...there are many types (and I did say the V-belt wasn't rubber!). It's great you believe in this technology...that is partly what drives consumerism!
    What I am saying is...I have been stung by "new designs" in cars and have "paid" the price. [:(!]
    Yes it's the future...but not my "immediate" future! [;)]
     
  15. JamesRL

    JamesRL New Member

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    My one experience with a CVT was in a rental car, and I wasn't happy at all. But there are people out there driving for example, Nissan Muranos, with CVTs, towing and seem to be fine. There are good transmissions and bad ones in auto trans as well.
     
  16. coverus

    coverus castra magna est

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    CVTs are not actually new technology. They have been around since the 1940's, probably even earlier. A few car manufacturer's tried using them in the 1950's but by then automatic transmissions had their kinks worked out and were becoming the industry standard.

    Car manufacturers and others are revisiting CVTs mainly because they offer a way to increase mpg's since they have fewer moving parts which results in less friction and loss of power than a geared automatic transmission.

    The major complaint most consumers have about CVTs is the loss of feeling the gear shifts. So some car manufacturers actually toyed with the idea of putting in a stepping program so consumers would feel some sort of shift even though there was no shifting occurring.
     
  17. Camp-N-Nuts

    Camp-N-Nuts KrustyKamper

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    You're starting to sound more and more like a salesman. I had my say...I'm done! [:>(]
     
  18. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    You would generally get acceptable "attention" at a dealer if you bought the PUP there. But, many RV dealers don't handle PUPs and really want nothing to do with them. If you have a trusted service manager at a PUP dealer you can probably believe his/her answers to your questions. Unfortunately, many RV dealer service departments know little about PUPs and the factory is a source of much more reliable information.
     
  19. hiker74

    hiker74 Member

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    As I have heard the wiring for the lights is in the trunk and already includes the correct pin plug with a cap on it. If you add brakes you will need a brake ccontroller which is not that expensive
     
  20. hiker74

    hiker74 Member

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    The one good thing is all years of the current generation of Outback I have had had CVT's. Mine is a 2013 and the gen I have started in 2010. I'm with you I would not want to have a new year of anything out there. Thre are people out there who will only tow a camper with a manual transmission even if it weighs 1500 lbs. The CVT is new to the US market in passenger cars. I what I am looking for is going as light as I can and something to be comfortable. I am definityely not looking for a 2000 lb camper. I have even thought of a Tent Trailer, but then again my Eureka Sunrise 11 tent would do the job if I was settling on that
     

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