How To Turn a Subaru Outback into a 3/4 Ton Pickup Truck…Accidentally

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No, not the highway crash sort of accident.

Our pickup truck ( a 1/2 ton, not a 3/4) needs some TLC. How to haul stuff, then? The Subaru Outback was pressed into service…but overloading it the way I did was the farthest thing from my mind.

We had two propane tanks that needed filling, a 100 pounder and a 40 pounder. Together, full, they added up to approximately 260 pounds. Then there was me, weighing in at 191 pounds fully clothed. A few groceries, plus maybe a 12-tile box of Allure floor tiles from Home Depot. The tiles would add perhaps another 25 to 30 pounds.

A light, normal load totaling between 400 and 450 pounds. Same old, same old.

Note: If you feel honor bound to point out that safety “experts” have hissy fits when they see guys hauling propane bottles in the horizontal position, feel free to comment. You’ll be blithely ignored, but feel free. That “rule” applies because the idjit feds freak out about the idea of liquid propane blasting out of a burst valve. If the tank is upright when a valve goes, you get gas instead of liquid. My theory is that if you treat a tank in such a fashion as to encourage the valve to blow in the first place, that’s your problem. Besides, remember I said the truck needed help?

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The errand-running went smoothly enough…until Home Depot ambushed me with a sale on the very floor tile that perfectly fit our application.

It was one of those evil, utterly irresistible sales, the kind that would save us a good $250 on a purchase of enough tile to floor half of the Border Fort. We already have a floor, yes, but the dark rubber (it’s a rubber floor made from recycled tires) shows the dirt. Pammie hates that. What Pammie hates, Ghost gets to redo sooner or later.

It’s just how it is.

They had 23 boxes of tiles in stock. The sale price had it down to $1.69 per square foot. That ain’t bad, Bubba. Besides which, this Allure stuff looks pretty awesome. The tiles simply stick to each other, forming a seamless “floating” floor. I loved that loose-lay aspect; every bit of the flooring in our home is already like that.

Gotta have it. Buy it now. Clean ’em out! Except for that one damaged box; they can keep that.

And then…load it into the Subaru.

Lucky for me, my head-math was a little on the light side. I guesstimated maybe 600 pounds or so of tile, which with the addition of those propane bottles plus one flesh-and-blood driver…yeah, that would add up to maybe half a ton, just a bit more than 1,000 pounds.

At that point, I had no idea about the 3/4 ton truckload the Subie was being asked to carry…but half a ton was still a lot for a totally stock passenger car. Despite loading carefully to distribute the load as equitably as possible (sort of like Obama redistributing income), there was no way to avoid noticing the obvious. The Outback was definitely overloaded.

Well, hey. If you can’t beat ’em, take pictures. Maybe you’ll end up going viral as one of Home Depot’s Dumbest Customers.

Hatchback cargo area.

Hatchback cargo area.

Back seat.

Back seat.

Front seat.

Front seat.

Front seat, side view.

Front seat, side view.

Unlocked and loaded, ready to roll.

Unlocked and loaded, ready to roll.

From there on, fingers are crossed and no time is lossed. A two mile backtrack to Walmart; Mama wants ice cream and a Maglite flashlight. A stop at the Post Office, only to discover the lazy UPS driver has been “unable” to find our house yet again; he bounced an Amazon package through the P.O., which charged us an extra $9.98 in postage.

Yes, Virginia, a formal complaint has been filed with UPS, asking them to investigate this driver. This has been going on for more than a year now. It’s about time.

The trip home (from Walmart) covers 15 miles of pavement and two miles of rough dirt road. We bottom out once, on the dirt. My bad.

But the Subaru makes it, pulls into the driveway without blowing either propane tank or any one of the four tires.

Once the Awesome Outback is relieved of its considerable burden and the evening chores are done, it’s time to see just how much one of those boxes of floor tiles really does weigh. Out comes the high tech, body fat measuring bathroom scale–which of course won’t be measuring body fat this time. It doesn’t do so well when the sensors have to go through rubber shoes and socks and such. I step on the scale with a box in my hand, then without, and…

Ooooops! Whoa. Thirty-seven pounds? Let’s check that again. Yep. Thirty-seven pounds

Okay, let’s put that into perspective. 37 pounds x 23 boxes = 851 pounds. Add that to the numbers for me and the propane tanks, and…yikes!

1,302 pounds.

1,302 pounds. Half a ton is 1,000 pounds. Three quarters of a ton is 1,500 pounds. That little Outback just hauled home a load closer to 3/4 than to 1/2. Five 250 pound dudes. And their beer.

I check, recheck, and triple check the numbers. Wow.

Wotta car. And, um, wotta dumb driver, too, but let’s not go there. At least he balanced the load reasonably well. Be nice. He showed you how to accidentally turn a Subaru Outback into a 3/4 ton pickup truck. That ought to be worth something.

The load calculation scratch pad. .

The load calculation scratch pad. .

I really was impressed when the crunched numbers showed just how heavy a load the Subaru Outback had handled.

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