Subaru Forester Owners - Front Tie-Downs

Where do you hook your bow tie-down on your Subaru Forester? I racked my boat this weekend and only found plastic areas to hook the bow strap. Someone mentioned I might need to have a metal hook installed so I don’t crack the plastic?

I know lots of boat owners drive Subarus, so I’m curious what you all do.

Just Got A 2007 Forester…
…with only 7000 miles on it. The first thing to disappoint me was the lack of a tie-down up front.

However…if you look deeper back and off to the sides you will find some attachment points for the tow truck.

The edges are rather sharp & would probably cut a rope…and they seem to be too far back to be worthwhile for a bow tie-down.

I’m thinking about installing the hood straps.

Check this out -

webbing loops under the hood
Easiest option is to open up your hood and find some bolts right at the sides and front of the engine compartment that you can remove. Get some nylon tubular webbing and cut a couple of short loops. Make sure you flame the ends with a lighter or heat gun so they don’t fray. Heat an awl, or something similar, and make holes in the loops big enough to acommodate the bolts. Secure the loops to the frame with the bolts. You may need to add a big fender washer of appropriate size on top of the loop. Make the loops long enough to stick out the side of your closed hood and you can run your tie down rope through them. When not carrying boats, tuck the loops inside the hood.

Yes ti web loops
I used them on my Outbacks, and use them on my Tribecca. Either make them yourself or buy commercially available ones.

Far easier than crawling underneath.


what year is it?
my 2001 has metal loops.

There are metal loops on the frame
way down underneath the vehicle. I’ve gotten used to bending down and finding them without looking.


Admittedly, it was wet and muddy so I didn’t go crawling around looking too hard, but didn’t see anything within easy reach. I’ll definitely look again when it dries out here, but it sounds like I’m not the only one with this problem.

I don’t use 'em
Never felt they were necessary, kinda like belt AND suspenders. I have driven thousands of miles with two kayaks on my Yakima saddles and never a wiggle.

The Placid boatworks web site has pics on installing web loops, if images help.

What’s your license plate number?
I wanna make sure I’m never following behind you on the highway.

Web loops
Web loops under the hood. No need to crawl underneath. Tuck them inside when not in use.


Web loops for safety
Before I installed loops under the hood of my Outback I used the tow shackles for bow tie-downs. One day, traveling at 70mph (WV interstate limit) with a touring boat in Malone cradles I watched in horror as the front rope slowly crept around teh corner of the hood into the wheelwell and lost it’s tension.

Visions of a wrap around the wheel and sudden crushing of my boat (think about the crane scene in the third Terminator movie) flashed through my brain. I pulled off as quickly as possible - no wrap took place. Scared the bejeebers out of me though.

And THAT is why I love web loops.


web loops around hood supports
I have an Outback, but it’s the same issue: there are metal hooks up front, but they are so far back that it makes it too hard to tighten the rope due to the severe angle (and the above mentioned rope slippage to wheel well scenario).

I added loops of webbing around the lever arms near the windshield that support the hood. I used a length of webbing and used a water knot to form the loop. I made them fairly small loops, and so they actually are always available (but not flapping around or in the way) without having to open and close the hood to access them.

My bow line then is tied using a v between these 2 anchors. My stern line is tied off on the tow hitch.

Thought I would add that as a possibility since it’s maybe a bit easier than getting loops bolted into place (or maybe not, depending on how good you are at tying a water knot!) :o)

Oh - PS - before I installed the webbing loops, I would load my canoe to one side of the car, and tie the bow line off to the opposite side hook under the front of the car. That angle makes it way less likely to have the rope slip around to the wheel. But one time a friend put her canoe on my car and even though I told her to use the opposite hook, she used the one directly in front of the canoe. Long story short: burning rope sure does stink. Luckily it stunk enough for us to notice it before anything more dire happened!

I highly doubt
that if you lack the cognitive ability to recognize the use of tie down straps you have the ability to make use of a license plate number. Besides, by the time you were close enough to see the numbers you would be close enough to see the straps.

Your post also has me wondering about your ability to tie effective knots.

wouldn’t be any problem
I have good racks and I strap things down like they should be.

also have a 2001
has two nice places to lash to up front, but only one in back on the passenger side. Maybe this is because the exhaust is on the driver side rear? I don’t know about newer model Foresters and hope not to have to learn in the next 5-7 years…

Web loops are great! Why crawl on the
ground, which I did until I read about web loops on

Web loops
around the brackets in the engine compartment near the front of the car for the 2009 Forester.

Directs force straight down too and keeps the ropes short.

I havent paid attention to the tie downs under the hood for the 2001. Forester we have… they may go through holes in the sheet metal. Not going to check tonight …its pouring rain.

another option
look underneath for anything to clip a carabiner on, then use that.

I never had to crawl on the ground to
find the tow loops on our Outback. I don’t see the problem.