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Old 05-02-2013, 01:55 PM   #1
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Setting Up The New Subaru Crosstrek For Towing

The new Subaru Crosstrek is one of the very few all-wheel drive vehicles that can be towed 4-down. With 5 speed manual transmission, this one is factory rated for RV towing. Whoot!! It's a great little car to boot, lots of ground clearance, gets 30mpg, and it's a blast to drive. How can you miss with a Subaru? My first new car was a 'Subie', back in 1977!

I did a quick search when I was narrowing my car shopping, finalizing the decision on the new Crosstrek. I knew Roadmaster already had a towing baseplate - so I figured worst case I could get one of theirs. Previously we towed a Scion XB with a BlueOx baseplate and tow bar. BlueOx has a far nicer product for a lot of reasons.

So, I contacted BlueOx about fitting their base plate for Impreza to the 'trek. Their reply was to, "Bring it in and we'll make one fit." Hmmm...they are in Nebraska and I'm in California. That's not going to work so well. So I emailed their help desk asking if they would be willing to work with me on getting one of their units to see it could be made to fit on the new Crosstrek. I got a reply saying they would forward my inquiry to their product development department. Well, two weeks later I had heard nothing, so I wrote them again asking if there was someone specific I could speak to. Low and behold I got a reply over the weekend that they would call me back first thing on Monday.

A nice lady called and said they would be happy to send a base plate package to one of their dealers out my way to have it installed on my car. I explained that I would not be willing to do that, no way would I let some monkey (I didn't use that term) touch my car so that wasn't going to work. I further explained that I had already installed their products previously and that I have been an auto tech hobbiest for about 40 years. Surely if I can restore cars and motorcycles, build boats and houses and such, I could install a towing base plate. I assure them I would take picturs and notate any modifications that might be required to make the old product fit on the new car. Then she says they could send me one if I would take pictures (didn't I say that?) and return it to them if it didn't fit. BINGO!! That's what I was looking for.

Got the box yesterday and installed it on the car. It fit perfectly. Afterall, the 'trek is just an Impreza with different cladding, front and rear bumper covers, suspension, and wheels, right? Of course the frame and bumper parts are the same.

It's quite a job though, you have to take the whole front of the car off and drill the bumper mounting flanges, and mount it all up in there. Took about 3 hours last night with taking photos, adapting some different sensor brackets, and that kind of thing. Yep, I was the test dummy.

Here's the front of the car with the bumper cover off:



The towing base plate bolted on:




Where it bolts to the car chassis...I still have to drill a few holes for the mounting bolts here. But it's temporarily in place, trimming foam sealers, moving wiring looms, etc.







The tow base plate with the removable tow bar connectors in place:




And the front of the car with the towbar connectors removed. Cool thing is you don't even notice the mod without them:




I don't have a photo of it hooked up to coach yet, but I'll post up when we get'er down the road.

Here's one one of the car though, fresh off the lot.

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Old 05-02-2013, 07:41 PM   #2
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Great Write-up!

We've been considering the Crosstrek among others but I too was concerned about the towing setup. This helps us a lot. Thanks!
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VaVet96 View Post
We've been considering the Crosstrek among others but I too was concerned about the towing setup. This helps us a lot. Thanks!
The closest thing I found that I liked at all was the CRV. They are a lot more money and not any nicer IMO. I really just didn't like anything else that I could use for a toad. I like a lighter tow vehicle, these are right about 3K lbs.

Since I don't drive in a lot of traffic I liked the idea of a stick. It's more fun to drive. And with only 150hp it's a welcome configuration. Fuel economy is fantastic. I came from a 2011 GLK350 with a 7spd auto. Nice rig, but can't tow it and it got 18.5 on premium over 20K miles. This thing gets 25 around town and 32 on the hiway. Not as plush as the benzo, but surprisingly well made. Compared to the Toyota we had (Scion XB), it's a lot more solid. That it's all wheel drive is just a bonus, we don't drive in snow either. Offroad could be fun though.

It also has a 1500lb towing capacity. So that it would tow my utility trailer was a plus. Now I have my pickup truck and bike hauler without the hassle and expense of a real pickup truck. We burn enough gas with the darn motorhome.
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:06 AM   #4
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Good point on the Suby's towing ability. I'll be selling a small pickup truck I've enjoyed for about 10 years and will miss it's hauling capacity. The utility trailer sounds like just the ticket.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:29 PM   #5
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Finally got to try out my setup today, works great, easy to hook up, and hardly know it's back there.

A few pics of my Crosstrek as a "toad".






Tow bar setup:




BrakeBuddy unit. Have it set for medium hard braking only. Light braking and around town it doesn't engage.


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