Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness & Scamp 13 Review

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Mr.T's picture
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Joined: 07/21/2020 - 12:22
Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness & Scamp 13 Review

Bottom line first, Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness + Scamp 13' is great combo.  Even towing a Scamp 16 would be fine!  The tow rating is 3500 pounds, and our Scamp 13' (with bath) is a bit under 2000 ready to camp.  We also tow with a Jeep JK (Wrangler) and due to the stiffer springs, longer wheelbase, and the CVT (vs a manual trans in the Jeep), the Crosstrek actually feels like it tows a little better than the Jeep.  In the mountains it has enough power to keep up with traffic, and it's plenty fast enough for mostly driving in the slow lane. 

The non-Wilderness Crosstrek's have a 1500 pound tow rating, so 3500 pounds is a huge increase.  It looks to me like the increased rating is primarily due to adding a transmission cooler and using a lower final drive gear ratio.  The 2.5L flat-four cylinder engine makes 182 HP in all Crosstrek models.  MPG while towing the Scamp 13' came in at about 19 MPG, and it runs about 29 MPG highway when not towing.

Adding a 7-pin trailer connector cleanly, like it was OEM is a bit of work -- But the results are worth the effort.  A few notes:  The original 4-pin was removed and the wires, except for the ground, are connected to the 7-pin receptacle installed in the plastic bumper.  The brake control is in the Scamp (AutowBrake) so there's no wiring into the cabin.  Important: The ground wire from the 4-pin is left disconnected because it is too small for the additional amperage that will be available. 

The +12 is fused near the battery where it is connected, and the best ground connection I found was a body ground (above the battery under a plastic cover) with a wire leading directly to battery negative.  +12 and ground wires are run from the engine compartment to the 7-pin receptacle, and protected in an aluminized fiberglass sheath.  The basic route is against the "frame" rail under the splash guards, the sheath being attached with automotive silicone.  The key to a trouble-free 7-pin install is making sure the wires are protected from heat and physical damage, plus the connections being properly crimped with water-proof connectors.

My only complaint is that for the 2024 Crosstrek they recommend a grade 16 oil, despite the same engine using grade 20 in the 2024 Forester and Outback.  I've done oil analysis and the OEM 16 grade oil actually went below the grade 16 viscosity minimum after only 3K miles, so I've switched to grade 20 oil.  Towing a trailer, which raises oil temperature thus lowering the actual oil viscosity, makes using a slightly thicker oil an easy decision for me.  Yep, I know a lot of people get hung up about not exactly following manufacturer's recommendations, potential warranty implications, and essentially concluding that one knows "better" than the manufacturer.  With the latter, I suggest that it's necessary to consider whether "better" means better for a manufacturer's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) penalties or a higher probability of vehicle longevity for the owner.

Anyway, it's nice having 2 tow vehicles now!  We use either, depending on what we're going to do.