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Old 01-27-2022, 06:59 PM   #1
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Backing up on a hill

Does backing up the camper put more strain on the towing vehicle than pulling it?
The reason I am asking is that my driveway slopes up at about 10%.
I once backed my camper up on it and felt a bit uncomfortable - as if that maneuver put a lot of strain on the drivetrain.

Or am I just imagining it?
(I should confess that, back in the 1980s, I pretty much burned up the clutch in a manual transmission by backing up a trailer on a steeper rough slope in a state park campground)
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Old 01-27-2022, 07:52 PM   #2
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Does backing up the camper put more strain on the towing vehicle than pulling it?
Generally no, not a concern. Any difference would be negligible.

When backing up the incline, it was probably at a slow back up speed? As opposed to driving forward up the incline with a more comfortable situation and higher speed and thus more momentum?

The 1980s clutch burn out was maybe due to the use of the clutch in the act of backing up and using the clutch, as opposed to forward driving and just traversing up the incline with no clutch use?

I guess what I am trying to say is that backing does require more action with the vehicle, and thus can be "more strain". But the "strain" has nothing to do with the forward/reverse use of the drivetrain/transmission.
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Old 01-27-2022, 07:52 PM   #3
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Try using 4 low range in your transfer case if you have a 4 wheel drive tow vehicle when backing up a steep grade.
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Old 01-27-2022, 08:03 PM   #4
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Generally no, not a concern. Any difference would be negligible.

When backing up the incline, it was probably at a slow back up speed? As opposed to driving forward up the incline with a more comfortable situation and higher speed and thus more momentum?

The 1980s clutch burn out was maybe due to the use of the clutch in the act of backing up and using the clutch, as opposed to forward driving and just traversing up the incline with no clutch use?

I guess what I am trying to say is that backing does require more action with the vehicle, and thus can be "more strain". But the "strain" has nothing to do with the reverse of drivetrain/transmission.
Yes, that's right, backing up uphill one never gains any momentum.

And yes, with the manual I did that pretty much with a slipping clutch.
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Old 01-27-2022, 08:05 PM   #5
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Try using 4 low range in your transfer case if you have a 4 wheel drive tow vehicle when backing up a steep grade.
This is a 2021 Subaru Ascent. All wheel drive and CVT.
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Old 01-27-2022, 09:42 PM   #6
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We too have a 10% grade driveway. Once my truck is straighten out, I drop it in to 4 low range and it just walks up the hill with my foot on the brake.

I do not know Subaru's, if you have 4 Low range option, give it try.
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Old 01-27-2022, 10:03 PM   #7
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Would you have a friend or neighbor that has a pickup that would back it up the driveway for you...maybe in exchange for a bottle of adult carbonated beverage?
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Old 01-27-2022, 10:52 PM   #8
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I wish...
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Old 01-28-2022, 07:51 AM   #9
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Is your driveway ice and snow covered? You need all the help you can get. That trailer is pushing against you with more force than on the flat.
My neighbors have an Ascent and a 10 degree driveway that is about 150 feet long.. They can do it barely with their 3000 lb boat. Not now with snow on it.
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Old 01-28-2022, 08:28 AM   #10
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Ok, I should be in better shape: 4000 lbs, but only 35 feet. And I am not planning to take it out in snow or ice.
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Old 01-28-2022, 11:59 AM   #11
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This is a 2021 Subaru Ascent. All wheel drive and CVT.
It usually not recommended to tow with a CVT, because the steel belt is the weak link. Check with the manufacturer or owners manual of the tow vehicle. Don’t be surprised if you get very limited mileage from your CVT. They are much weaker than a regular automatic transmission. Check CVT failures on youtube and you will see what I mean.
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Old 01-28-2022, 12:03 PM   #12
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Old 01-28-2022, 12:28 PM   #13
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@16WhiteColly The Ascent's have a 5k lbs tow rating, even though a CVT, the OP should be fine there.



@Arnold R Does your Ascent have "X-mode"? If so, I am not sure it works in reverse, but in forward drive, it will drop the CVT into a lower ratio. Try that.

FWIW, I also use 4-Lo to back up my 10 degree driveway. No issues. Like Jagiven, I cover the brake pedal and the truck crawls up the driveway incline.
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Old 01-28-2022, 02:49 PM   #14
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It usually not recommended to tow with a CVT, because the steel belt is the weak link. Check with the manufacturer or owners manual of the tow vehicle. Don’t be surprised if you get very limited mileage from your CVT. They are much weaker than a regular automatic transmission. Check CVT failures on youtube and you will see what I mean.

That would be odd. Our neighbors Ascent is rated to 5000 lbs tow and came with a tow harness and hitch. It has CVT. However their boat towing is a few times a year and under 20 miles though there is a couple thousand feet vertical altitude change over the twenty miles.
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Old 01-28-2022, 02:52 PM   #15
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4000 lbs, but only 35 feet? Is this a typo?
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Old 01-28-2022, 04:50 PM   #16
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4000 lbs, but only 35 feet? Is this a typo?
The X17Z is 4000 lbs, my driveway 35 ft, though the wheels only need to travel 25 ft (and ascend 2.5 ft).
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Old 01-28-2022, 04:51 PM   #17
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@16WhiteColly The Ascent's have a 5k lbs tow rating, even though a CVT, the OP should be fine there.



@Arnold R Does your Ascent have "X-mode"? If so, I am not sure it works in reverse, but in forward drive, it will drop the CVT into a lower ratio. Try that.

FWIW, I also use 4-Lo to back up my 10 degree driveway. No issues. Like Jagiven, I cover the brake pedal and the truck crawls up the driveway incline.
Yes, it has a 5000 lbs rating.
I will try the X mode. Good point!
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Old 02-02-2022, 12:59 PM   #18
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I think that towing a 4000 lb trailer that is 35 feet long with an Ascend is asking for trouble. That is probably adding to the challenge of backing that trailer up an incline. Most vehicles including trucks have a highly optimistic tow rating.
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Old 02-02-2022, 01:02 PM   #19
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Backing up

Backing up 10% is a pretty good grade but my big concern would be unhitching and making sure I had those wheels chocked before unhitching.
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Old 02-02-2022, 01:24 PM   #20
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I think that towing a 4000 lb trailer that is 35 feet long with an Ascend is asking for trouble. That is probably adding to the challenge of backing that trailer up an incline. Most vehicles including trucks have a highly optimistic tow rating.
Read my friend, the trailer is smaller than that, and the driveway/distance is 35ft…
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