2020 Ascent Update: 14,000 tow miles

I have been towing a 21′ Sonic Lite travel trailer (3864 lbs. loaded) with my 2020 Ascendant since January 2021. Total mileage is now 46,000 miles on the car. Here are the withdrawal statistics:

  • 91 nights
  • 11 countries
  • 23 trips
  • 13,850 miles

Longest single trip so far was 2,259 miles round trip, E-TX to Northeast Ohio and back.

I just changed the tires on the trailer. We had a flat and I was planning on replacing them after the next trip anyway, so I went ahead and made it a trip early.

Ascent had tires replaced at 37,000 miles. Prior to this I also had the battery replaced under warranty (wouldn’t hold a charge), front brake pads replaced under warranty / TSB (vibrating), left front suspension replaced under warranty (making a creaking noise, TSB does not apply as I had a later serial number), and the heater core wiring pull was addressed. The CVT was inspected for slippage and showed no signs of damage. TCU rescheduled and that’s it.

So far so good! The climb is a dream to drive while towing. I also occasionally tow a PWC tandem trailer, but only short distances.

I use a bluetooth OBD-II reader (OBDLink LX) to store all the temps during the towing (with the Android ActiveOBD app).

I drive the speed limit up to 55 MPH, and then -10 of the speed limit after that. It really helps balance fuel economy with safety on Texas roads with 75 MPH speed limits where people drive 85 MPH…

I oil the trailer axles once a year.

I use a RedArc brake controller (see my post here with pictures).

I keep the cruise acceleration profile in Eco mode. I use cruise control almost 100% of the time, even when starting off the line. I might annoy people with the slow start acceleration by doing this, but it sure saves a ton of fuel. The computer will always control the acceleration to a greater degree than I can.

Uses Amsoil Signature 0w-20 oil and oil filter, which is only changed once a year. After 14,000 miles of towing, even through mountains and canyons, oil consumption is zero, even with that turbo. This is a great engine!

I also change the engine air filter once a year. And I change the cabin air filter twice a year (at the end of each “pollination” season).

In my last report, almost exactly a year ago, I reported that when the engine was cold, the coolant reservoir was empty. When the engine was hot, the tank was on the low line. After filling it, I haven’t noticed any change in the fluid level since then. I think it was either slightly underfilled from the factory and/or lost about 1 quart due to evaporation. It’s hot here, and even hotter on some canyoneering. I filled it with Valvoline’s P-HOAT coolant which is compatible with Subaru’s Super coolant from the factory. It’s the blue “Asian car” flavor from Valvoline.

I put all the axle and tongue specific weights in my post from a year ago.

I thought those who are interested in pulling and want to know how well the Climb does would like to see my stats. So far I’m loving it! Climbing is handled like a dream with this trailer. I really can’t complain at all.

When it cools down this fall, I’m planning to flush and replace the transmission oil. Last year Amsoil had no recommendations for a fluid so I was planning to go with the proper Subaru CVTF. But now I just checked again and Amsoil lists their CVTF as compatible. I know the Subaru CVTF is different for this transmission than their previous CVTs so I will do a little more research and confirm with Amsoil using the Subaru part number for cross reference. [EDIT: I’ll probably just go with the Subaru CVTF since Amsoil didn’t update the SKU, so I don’t know that anything actually changed in the formulation.]

Have fun out there!

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