Subaru WRX and Rafting... - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-16-2010   #1
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
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Subaru WRX and Rafting...

So I'm thinking that I "need" a 14' raft for 2ish folks on overnights and am running the numbers so to speak... I've got a 2004 WRX as a vehicle, and don't really think that I'll be getting a more tow specific vehicle anytime soon. Am I foolish to do that? Can I get an inflated raft on a light trailer over to Grand Junction (and a little beyond) with it? would I be better off getting a little trailer to roll it and tow it? it ain't gonna fit inside easily...

HELP!

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Old 08-16-2010   #2
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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This works for me...



Or this:

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Old 08-16-2010   #3
Jared
 
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Dundee, Oregon
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Turbos don't like towing. Diesel engines get away with this mostly at a stock tune, but once you pump them up, egt temps are the first thing you have to look out for. Gasoline engines are even more at risk, one because the turbo in your WRX is working at closer to it's maximum output to begin with, and your ecu is constantly trying to correct for knock, or detonation, by pulling spark advance away from the engine, that robs horsepower. Your egt (exhaust gas temperature) will cook your turbo from the inside out, and cause premature failure. You can call and talk to your local Subaru dealer, and they might say you can tug up to 1500 lbs, but frankly I wouldn't. A non turbo 2.2 like the one here in the pictures may not have as much punch as the WRX, but it can deal with the thermal load that towing produces.
That said, I've owned 8 Subarus, two of them turbo, and WRX's are awesome. I just picked up a 1995 Legacy wagon with the 2.2 5-speed and love it!
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Old 08-17-2010   #4
 
San Juan Islands, Washington
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I have no trouble towing a 14' boat with my '90 Legacy

It also rolls up fairly small and fits behind the rear seats (below window level) leaving the rack free for the frame, oars, and cooler. Hypalon boats rolls up pretty small, there's no reason you couldn't fit one in a WRX with the seats folded if you don't use a trailer. It also fits on the rooffor short shuttles.

One of our club members has been using a WRX to tow his boat for several years without any problems that I know of but I would ask on a Subaru forum to see what others think.
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Old 08-17-2010   #5
 
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Golden, Colorado
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I used to cram two 16' cataraft tubes, a cooler, drybox & all my gear in the back of my Legacy wagon, with frame and oars up top, and drive in and out of Durango all the time (Wolf Creek, Coalbank / Molas).

Cats are a little more compact, hold plenty of gear, and are cheaper. You might go that route if you're only hauling you and another person and you don't want to pull a trailer.
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Old 08-20-2010   #6
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Learch View Post
because the turbo in your WRX is working at closer to it's maximum output to begin with, and your ecu is constantly trying to correct for knock, or detonation, by pulling spark advance away from the engine, that robs horsepower. Your egt (exhaust gas temperature) will cook your turbo from the inside out, and cause premature failure.
faaak... so a stage 3 WRX is probably a no-go.
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Old 08-20-2010   #7
 
Eagle, Colorado
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I had an '09 WRX and absolutely loved it, but I had to sell it and get a truck to tow my raft around. The turbos are just no good for towing anything. You would be better off with just a regular 4 cylinder, but having a 6 is definitely nice. You won't even notice you have a raft back there with a 6 or 8 cylinder.
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Old 08-20-2010   #8
 
Eagle, Colorado
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I've had 3 people, a 14ft raft, a frame, oars, cooler, gear, and a dog IN a 1999 olds intrigue. Where there's a will, there's a way. You're rolling in luxury!
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Old 08-20-2010   #9
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Learch View Post
Turbos don't like towing. Diesel engines get away with this mostly at a stock tune, but once you pump them up, egt temps are the first thing you have to look out for. Gasoline engines are even more at risk, one because the turbo in your WRX is working at closer to it's maximum output to begin with, and your ecu is constantly trying to correct for knock, or detonation, by pulling spark advance away from the engine, that robs horsepower. Your egt (exhaust gas temperature) will cook your turbo from the inside out, and cause premature failure. You can call and talk to your local Subaru dealer, and they might say you can tug up to 1500 lbs, but frankly I wouldn't. A non turbo 2.2 like the one here in the pictures may not have as much punch as the WRX, but it can deal with the thermal load that towing produces.
That said, I've owned 8 Subarus, two of them turbo, and WRX's are awesome. I just picked up a 1995 Legacy wagon with the 2.2 5-speed and love it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by nervouswater View Post
I had an '09 WRX and absolutely loved it, but I had to sell it and get a truck to tow my raft around. The turbos are just no good for towing anything. You would be better off with just a regular 4 cylinder, but having a 6 is definitely nice. You won't even notice you have a raft back there with a 6 or 8 cylinder.
I beg to differ on the towing thing. I moved across the country towing a 5x8 uhaul trailer fully loaded and my WRX did awesome (I could comfortably do 85-90 miles per hour awesome). I've also flat towed a Suzuki Samurai 4x4 to Buena Vista with it, and it did great there too (it would cruise at 75 in 5th gear no problem). Gas mileage went down significantly, but thats to be expected. It stayed in boost more often too, but usually under 5-10psi, which isn't going to blow up the engine. Coolant temp didn't bat an eye. Clutch might have had more wear then normal, but it wasn't bad. Essentially, try to stay out of boost for prolonged periods, especially above 10psi, and you'll be fine. This will only happen on the big hills anyway, and the turbo is spooling going up hills anyways. A raft trailer will weight a lot less then either of those trailers, so I personally would pull it with mine all day long.

I've definitely put my WRX through the paces. Its at almost 100k and a bit worse for wear on the outside, but it still runs very strong (I've also upgraded it so its more like an STI power wise which probably helps with towing since the turbo has more headroom). I say go for it. Put it this way, if I was going on a purely rafting trip (no 4 wheeling), I would take the WRX over my Toyota Pickup any day of the week.
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Old 08-20-2010   #10
 
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We had a WRX wagon when we got our first raft. Granted the raft was small (13' otter) and we had a smaller trailer. But, at least on our WRX, the turbo (I can't remember the year) didn't kick in until higher speeds/rpm, so we never felt the turbo was a factor in the slow towing department (up not-steep ramps), and once you're up to speed it seemed fine. We towed that raft all summer with that car.

However, we thought the WRX was a "numbers" car, like it didn't really perform up to the specs. We sold it and bought a newer (than the WRX) BMW 5 series sport wagon for half the price. It is not a numbers car. But we haven't towed the raft with it, however our raft and trailer are awfully heavy now.

If you do it, get a LIGHT trailer and drive mellow when towing .
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