• Dominic Mrdjan

Adventure vehicle setup - Subaru Impreza WRX Hatch - sold in Oct 2019

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

In this blog post you will find technical details of what I did to upgrade our WRX vehicle for towing but also to be able to deliver performance and capabilities for our adventure trips. We need our WRX to be able to do the following; tow our travel trailer, carry mountain bikes and additional cargo, and have extra ground clearance for off-road driving. Before these upgrades took place we researched towing specs of the vehicle vs the travel trailer that we were interested in buying.

2011 WRX Hatch specs from factory are; 2.5L/265-hp/244-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve flat-4 engine connected to 5 speed manual transmission. Now to some people this technical information may not mean much, however it all matters especially when deciding whether a vehicle is going to be suitable and capable of handling the type of lifestyle and adventure that we are planning on having. The WRX for the US market does not come pre-wired for towing so I had to buy all necessary electrical and mechanical parts to make towing possible. I also purchased additional (optional) equipment that we find useful while traveling.

List of items required to properly setup WRX for towing;

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Tow hitch

. I purchased EcoHitch Stealth type hitch because it is custom designed for 2011-2014 WRX models. The hitch assembly is totally hidden behind the rear bumper when installed. Only the hitch mount is visible. The mount is also removable when not towing and that makes the hitch completely disappear. Other hitch models are also available by other manufacturers but they are not stealth type hitch systems.

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7 way trailer connector.

This is required in order to have brake controller functional as well as to be able to charge the camper battery if applicable.

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Brake controller.

I went with Tekonsha P3 Electronic Brake controller. This is required only if you are planning on towing a trailer that exceeds the unbraked weight limit. Moreover, all vehicles have towing specs with and without trailer brakes. The WRX unbraked towing weight limit is 1200 lbs, and braked weight limit is 2000 lbs. This means that the WRX safely can tow up to 1200 lbs without needing additional brakes from the trailer. Lastly, our camper’s dry weight is 1200 lbs but with cargo loaded it could top out at around 1700 lbs which exceeds the max unbraked weight limit.

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Weigh Safe hitch 8” drop/raise

. This is required if the towing vehicle height does not match the camper height. In order to tow properly and avoid camper sway at highway speeds the camper needs to be leveled while connected to the towing vehicle.

Optional items

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ADF lift kit

. 2" front, and 2.5" rear. I chose to add this as optional equipment in order to gain more ground clearance.

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Baja Squadron Sport off-road lights

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Ultimate Light Bar with Skid plate

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Yakima cargo basket

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Yakima Highroller bike rack

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