Subaru XV Crosstrek Forums banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the main reasons I bought my Crosstrek with 5spd manual was so we could utilize it as a 'toad' for our motorhome. We have a 32' Winnebago and it's really nice to have a car with you when you travel. We have 3 Pomeranians, so leaving them behind or staying in motels is not an option. We bring everything and everyone with us in our own house on wheels.

I knew Roadmaster already had a towing baseplate for the 'trek - the part that bolts to the car - 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 if 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. ;D

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.





What the sockets look like once the bumper cover was reinstalled:



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 here's one of the Scion from a few years ago. I'll post up when we get'er down the road:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
That is amazing to see, or not in the case of the XV. I have always questioned how they worked on towed vehicles. Thank you for the educational lesson.

Dan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
421 Posts
I hope they give you a good discount for the R and D you did for them
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
421 Posts
Question. You are from OC but one of your Picts looks like the RV is in Phoenix. Is this Phoenix?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ikon said:
I hope they give you a good discount for the R and D you did for them
Why yes, they did, much more than I expected. I'll bet you could guess. ;)

Question. You are from OC but one of your Picts looks like the RV is in Phoenix. Is this Phoenix?
And yes, we live in north Orange County, the photo was taken at my sister's place in South Mountain, Phoenix area. Very astute of you!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Finally got to try out my setup today, works great, easy to hook up, and hardly know it's back there. Color backup camera so I can always see what's going on with it.

A few pics of my 'trek as a "toad". ;D

'





Tow bar setup:




And the BrakeBuddy braking unit. It's inertia controlled, and is setup to activate under moderate hard braking. For around town and light braking it doesn't activate. It also has a breakaway switch up front that's connected to the coach so if the tow bar failed for some reason and the car got loose the braking unit would stop it. Apparently that has happened to a few unlucky RV'rs.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ClubCrosstrek said:
That's pretty cool. I have never had to tow a car so the braking buddy is completely new to me!
There are quite a variety of braking systems for towed vehicles. Although we are well under the GVCW (gross combined weight) a brake unit for a trailer or towed vehicle is not only recommended but required by law in most states.

This BrakeBuddy unit is an older model but works really well. It has a 12V air pump and chamber, it plugs into the cigar lighter, so the actuator rod is extended with compressed air. The pressure is adjustable and is set based on the weight of the vehicle. The sensitivity is adjustable so the unit 'brakes' upon the desired braking of the towing vehicle (motorhome). It sits on the floor in front of the drivers seat and presses against the front of the seat, also adjustable, and the actuator rod attaches to the brake pedal of the car. Easily moved from one toad to another. There is a break-away switch mounted to the front of the toad which is attached to the towing vehicle - if the toad breaks away it actuates the brake unit to stop the car. And finally there is a RF indicator that sends a signal to a reciving unit that plugs into the cigar lighter on the dash of the RV so you can see when the brake unit is activating.

Trailer towing lights are wired from the hitch socket of the coach to a trailer wire harness that goes back to the taillights of the towed vehicle. In this case they are connected through diodes to the stop, turn, and running lights of the tow car. The diodes prevent power from the coach lights from back-feeding to the tow car electrical system.

It's all quite ingenius and makes towing a car safe and easy.

Now we just need to save up our pennies to buy gas for the RV. It's a gasoline-powered 8.1L GM V8 that gets almost 8mpg - 75gl fuel tank. LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
820 Posts
That's one hefty fillup @75 gallons but i ll bet its worth it- traveling in style AND safety. Good for you-enjoy :).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
CJ, we just picked out and picked up our 2013 XV for the same reason. We'll be buying a class c home in the next few months and I wanted to get a good dingy to prepare it for towing. Pulled a camper for many years, quit several years ago. We decided that if we were to start again, it would be with a motorhome and a "toad".
Why did you go with the OX over the Roadmaster setup? Been looking at both and it seems to be a toss-up.
I'll be posting pic's when I get it set up.
Grumpaw
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The tow bars from the two companies are more similar than different. In the past the Roadmaster required a crossbar where the tow bar attaches and the BlueOx did not. However in looking at various images online it seems Roadmaster has a new 'hidden series' where that crossbar is no longer required. So now they both have a round socket that the connect link for the tow bar attaches.

I would say either one may provide the same connect point for your tow bar.

I used diodes for the tailight/stop/turn lights to run the lower bulbs in the taillights. Ran a trailer wire (4-strand) up to the front of the car to connect to a flat four pin trailer connector for lights.

The Crosstrek makes for an excellent 'toad' or 'dinghy' due to its weight. With the 5spd manual it tows on all four wheels without issue. Plus it's a great car to drive and gets great gas mileage.

Let me know how it works out for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Thanks for the info. I'm very fimilar with towing a trailer (30 footer), and the necessary wireing. Motorhome and dingy will be a new experiance for us. Got the XV, 5 speed. Did my homework as to which vehicles could be flat towed. Originally went to look at a Forrester. Saw how big it had gotten, went right to the XV. Very fimilar with Subie's, this will make our 5th, and very happy with it.
Did you do the wireing for the light setup yourself or did you have it done? Like you, I've been playing and modding cars since my first in 1965. Don't mind getting down and dirty to do my own work.
And I will definately be pickin your brain for help if needed.
Grumpaw
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes, did wiring for towing and trailer lights, and emergency breakaway switch for the brake unit. Easy-peasy.

Happy to help where I can.

And yes, I had a Forester in '01, and a DL Coupe in 1977, so the 'trek is my third Subaru. Still a great car. I had my eye on a CRV but gee, the Crosstrek is just a much neater car. That it's all-wheel drive is just a bonus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Wow that's freaky I'd never tow my xv behind anything how can u trust the auto breaker thing
I use my xv for towing ivd never seen a xv being towed wow
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Scoobyxv-l said:
Wow that's freaky I'd never tow my xv behind anything how can u trust the auto breaker thing
I use my xv for towing ivd never seen a xv being towed wow
"I'd never..." I find interesting. It's quite common in the states, thousands of motorhomes towing cars and trucks. My sister has a 43' Winnebago Tour and they tow a Chevy Silverado 4x4 4-door pickup truck. They are about 45K lbs going down the hiway.

The braking unit is for emergency stops and in the highly unlikely case that the tow-bar should fail - it will stop a run-away. Perfectly safe and a very nice way to bring an extra vehicle along for local driving when you arrive at your destination. A cursory internet search will reveal how common this practice is.

Our smaller Winnebago (Itasca) has a 26.5K GCWR, it weighs about 17.5k lbs ready to drive. Adding 3K lbs of tow vehicle is a light tow-load. Powered by a GM 8.1L V8 with 5sp Allison auto trans, it has no trouble negotiating any US hiways and byways with up to 5K lbs of towing weight.

We've sold our boat, but when we had it we towed it many thousands of miles, even ramp-launched it at many of our larger lakes and oceans here in California and neighboring states.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Guys, my dealer told me my Crosstrek couldnt be towed, it would damage the AWD. If needed it should be put on a flat bed. What's up with this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's not the AWD system, it's the CVT automatic transmission. No issue with a 5spd manual.
Subaru is one of the few brands these days that offer a manual trans.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
714 Posts
CJ is spot on for flat towing. I'd assume that your dealer was talking about tow trucks not flat towing behind a RV. Like CJ said, you can flat tow the 5-speed all day without any issues. You can't flat tow the CVT ever. You can NEVER tow either transmission with two wheels on the ground and two in the air. Towing behind a standard two truck with 2 on the ground will destroy the center diff. When/if you need a tow truck make sure it's a flat bed or they use a dolly to keep the wheels off the ground.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top