Towing with a CVT Transmission? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-25-2017   #1
 
Andy H.'s Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Towing with a CVT Transmission?

I'm on the market for a new used car and may be ready to move on from a manual transmission to an automatic, since sticks are getting tougher to find. Looking at 2013-14 Outbacks of which many have a CVT transmission.

Can anyone that's experienced with these tell me about how they do towing a trailer and about the performance in the mountains?

If these work well, it opens up a ton of options.

Also, is there a way to filter out the used car dealers on CL?

Thanks in advance,

-AH

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Old 06-25-2017   #2
 
Hutchinson, Minnesota
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I own a Subaru Crosstrek and pull 1,000lbs with no problems. If you follow the manufacturers recommended weight limits you should be ok. When in the mountains you may have to put it into manual mode and shift accordingly to help out. Also use the manual mode to limit speed on the downhills just like other xmsn's.
You can also add an additional xmsn oil cooler if you are regularly hitting higher temps. The stock xmsn oil cooler does a good job as is.
Hope that helped.
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Old 06-25-2017   #3
 
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I just got a 2017 Outback 4 cyl with cvt. I haven't towed but it seems to have a lot of power and just flies over the mountain passes - my old 2000 Outback HATED going up hills! Anyhow, the power is great, the gas mileage is great, and it is super smooth.

Just be aware that the 2013-2014 Subarus had some kind of oil burning issue. Not all, but it was a big enough problem that there was a class action suit and Subaru lost a lot of money and had to re-design the engine in some way.

jp
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Old 06-26-2017   #4
 
Carbondale, Colorado
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Hey Andy. Hope you get some more direct feedback but here is my experience with a 2006 2,5 l Subaru turbo with automatic for what it's worth. I had plenty of power but if you pushed it you were in the turbo for very long stretches which generates a lot of heat. On +90 degree days I had problems with AT temp, engine temp and if the tank was low , vapor lock. Dealer will tell you its impossible but I'll tell you it happens ( i know cavitation when I see it). We have a Impreza CVT and I would not tow anything over 5-700 lbs with that. The gearing algorithm is set up for milage (which it does very well) not for low end torque. Just an opinion though because I too have not towed with the Impreza
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Old 06-26-2017   #5
 
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The Impreza and Crosstrek have the 2.0L and according the the Subaru salesperson "can't tow anything." The Outback is a totally different car and engine and better for towing.
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Old 06-26-2017   #6
 
Andy H.'s Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Thanks everyone! I checked the specs and the 2.5 L Outback's got a towing limit of 2,700 lbs which was quite a surprise to me. That said, I'm still leary of what towing with any kind of automatic transmission is like for a station wagon. Maybe this is just old-school thinking that's now obsolete due to technological advances but please keep the real-world experience coming.

"...But the guy at the dealer said..." doesn't cut it when you're overheating on the way up to the tunnel in 1st gear.

Thanks again,

-AH
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Old 06-26-2017   #7
 
laramie, wy
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I tow with my 2014 Outback 2.5, but I try to keep the load under 2k pounds since it struggles with more weight. works great so far, even up the big hills between Foco and Laramie.
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Old 06-26-2017   #8
 
Aurora, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy H. View Post
Also, is there a way to filter out the used car dealers on CL?

Yes- mostly.

When on the home page there, instead of searching, click on the "Cars and Trucks" link under "For Sale". You should then see a page where you can select By-Owner Only.

Searchtempest.com was once a great aggregator of CL to be able to search all over the country, but isn't what she once was. Anyone know of a similar site that works any better?
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Old 06-26-2017   #9
Jared
 
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Dundee, Oregon
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We have a 2014 XV manual and it has enough power to tow. I'm with you on towing with CVT's, don't know I'd be comfortable with it just yet. I do know that people with CVT WRX's are modding them to produce an extra 50-75 hp over stock, and then they are running into issues with them.
I looked up the tow ratings for a 2.5 L outback in Australia and they rate them to 3300 lbs, and the 3.6 is 4000 lbs. Interesting how other countries with mechanically identical cars get higher ratings than the US.
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Old 06-26-2017   #10
 
thornton, Colorado
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There are a ton of great vehicle's on the road. A good old stand by for towing, off road use, up and down the mountain passes with enough power, etc. and used by thousands of people over the years is a Ford f150 4x4, any year. They realy never go out of style, easy to fix, find parts anywhere and a time proven vehicle at a reasonable price. I don't care for them myself thought.
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