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Old 07-18-2019, 11:48 AM   #1
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Subaru Forester into a TOAD

Hello all,

I'm looking for real world experience from other owners who might be flat towing their Subbie. I have a 2010 Forester non turbo with the 4EAT Trans that would be the perfect adventure / off-road vehicle.

A trailer or tow dolly is impractical for us since we will be full time travelers, mostly boondocking, and I don't want an additional axle or two with 2 to 4 more tires to keep up. Plus parking the damn thing.

As a side note, I have spoken directly with REMCO Towing Equipment, and sadly they have nothing for my car. However, after explaining that I have been an auto and truck service guy for over 30 yrs, the customer service guy said the most generic set up they sell was for a Dodge Grand Caravan and its a pretty straight forward set up. Price is slightly over $2K though.

Any suggestions or real world experience posted here would be greatly appreciated.

TIA, Eddie
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:04 PM   #2
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Good thing you posted about speaking to Remco ; as most members would have directed you to their site ; including me.

What does your Subaru owners manual say about flat towing?
Any issues obtaining a base plate ?

BTW; I installed my own Remco kit and Blue Ox base plate , both came with great instructions.
Price has jumped considerably in nine years ; but I guess everything has.
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:39 PM   #3
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Most likely I'll have an off road steel bumper by the time we get around to full time, so that negates the need for a base plate.

At the moment I'm towing my LR Discovery 2 @ 5K lbs with a steel winch bumper and a 10K blue Ox tow bar. The LR is just too much for my little V-10 Gasser here in the south east.

I can only imagine its struggle in the Rockies.
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:56 PM   #4
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Subaru does not recommend flat towing the 4EAT transmission (automatic). They came out some time ago and stated only manual transmissions were approved for flat towing. If I could have flat towed my Subie, I would not have bought a Jeep JKS. Your choice to flat tow, or not.
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:10 PM   #5
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Yup, got the same info from my owners manual. However, I believe that statement is if towing 4 wheels down, and engine off, so no way to lube the trans. Trans fluid pump won't turn without engine running.

REMCO's pump system I mention above does the job of the trans lube pump when the engine isn't running. But at $2K, its a might expensive.

I may have to just go ahead and blaze the trail for others.
What's the worst that can happen? A transmission rebuild, right? LOL!
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:26 PM   #6
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Not only has Subaru "not recommended" (aka, prohibited) their automatics to be towed 4-down but since the 2016 model year, they no longer officially approve or factory sanction their manual transmission cars to be flat-towed. :( as prior to that, they've always approved of their manuals to be towed.

Our best toads were a 2001 Forester and a 2007 Outback. We never had a bit of trouble towing our Subarus and there were no restrictions at all.

I've personally never heard of anybody modifying an automatic to be flat-towed and have always assumed that it would just be too expensive to do but keep us informed if you are successful as I'd be curious.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:51 PM   #7
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I spent a long time looking for a manual Subaru Forester (used) to tow. I was surprised at the small number of manual Foresters out there in relation to automatics. Found one though. A 2009 with 97k. More miles than we wanted, but very nice condition, and paint matched our rig. :-). We do like it as a road.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:56 PM   #8
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we full time with 2018 CROSSTREX 4 down works great hope you can do that with your subaru
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Old 07-18-2019, 09:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davis31052 View Post
What's the worst that can happen? A transmission rebuild, right? LOL!
Not really , the worst would be towing a roman candle down the road .

Coming home on the I-15 two years ago passed several fire trucks attending a fire on the side of the freeway . Class A flat towing a Ford PU, that had started on fire , truck was a write off and the back of the coach scorched ; didn't find any reports to know what happened , but it wasn't pretty.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Not really , the worst would be towing a roman candle down the road .

Coming home on the I-15 two years ago passed several fire trucks attending a fire on the side of the freeway . Class A flat towing a Ford PU, that had started on fire , truck was a write off and the back of the coach scorched ; didn't find any reports to know what happened , but it wasn't pretty.


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Old 07-19-2019, 10:09 AM   #11
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We purchased a 2018 Forester with 6sp manual last September for tow. I want to affirm that dealers, factory anyone Subaru says "you can not tow an AWD vehicle four down". So much for the recommendations. Perhaps that's why they dropped the manual tranny. If you want factory approved to tow vehicle you have few options today.



Roadmaster and BO both make tow plates, Remco says OK but ... check owner's manual - waste of time there.


It is a personal choice. Likely they just do not want to deal with it and it gives them another excuse to deny warranty claims. The tow market is just not large enough for them to care.



I would definitely not mess with the CVT for tow in any case, Subaru says about $9500 to replace that little baby.



Realistically with a manual what's the big deal? As long as tow plates are made and you want to tow it - go for it. Is it possible the AWD will somehow be damaged? Can't say no but you will need to account for tow miles in tire rotation. You want to rotate to minimize diameter variations.
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