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2013 Kia Sorento LX AWD, 2013 Kia Soul +
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I thought I would give fellow Sorento owners some help should they be interested in modifying their Sorentos to handle a rear mounted electric powerchair lift. I was told over and over again by many agencies as well as by kia that it wasn't possible or that I would have to dump a TON of money into it to make it work. Well I'm still in the middle of my complete build and will have the rest of the parts next week. But I thought I would post pictures of how it's going so far since I had such a hard time getting the work done.

First, you will need a custom made hitch capable of handling up to 550lbs for a standard powerchair that weighs 260lbs. What you will need is a class 3+ 2" reciever. You will lose your spare tire for the added hardware to support this weight. Torklift in Kent, Washington will build this hitch for $750. While I was at it I also had a brake controller wired in as well as a 7-way bargman plug.

Second, you need heavier tires. The stock tires 235/65r17's while good aren't up to the abuse you will put them through and will give you a VERY squishy ride and to be honest is very difficult to control during basic lane changes. I personally went to a 255/55r18 Yoko yk580 tire and a drag DR34 18x8 wheel. While it provides a much stiffer ride it does grant you a lot more control.

Third, and I haven't done this yet, but I have placed the order to have them custom made. The lift installed a, Bruno Meridian ASL-250 HTP is quite heavy and with the powerchair on the lift and in the resting position the suspension in the rear will be buttomed out and resting on the rubber bumpstops. This provides a VERY rough ride. So... Gitt's Spring in Auburn, Washington is custom making me new coils for the rear at the cost of $717 installed. I have no installed these just yet as it takes them 10 days to make and I only just ordered them 4 days ago. I will provide more pictures when it is done.

The rest of what I'm personally doing to the sorento is all my own doing. Since I lost the spare and went with a different size wheel and tire I opted to order a 5th matching wheel and tire and will put that on top of the sorento mounted to a Yakima Mega Warrior roof basket that should come in next week. Also coming in next week is a Rigid Industries SR series 40" white spot flood combo light for the roof. One the front I am installing an Aries sport bar and mounted to that will be two PIAA 540 Ion Crystal fog lights and two PIAA 520 ATP driving lights.

Now, I would love to upgrade the shocks in addition to the coils but have been told by a few shops to wait until they wear out. I've also been trying to hunt down a brake upgrade but haven't been able to find anything. Centric Brakes out of California was willing to custom make me a big brake kit with 13" slotted and cross drilled rotors, 4 pistons caliper brakes and ceramic pads at the cost of $2000 a wheel. I respectfully told him no thanks. I'm also considering having a transmission shop install an external transmission cooler as my wife and I do quite a bit of driving (11,000 miles and we've only had it since May).

For anyone that is curious, the lift with the swing-away arm and powerchair weighs roughly 480lbs. If anyone has any other suggestions as to what I should watch out for I would welcome them. I guess I should mention, my sorento is the 2013 AWD LX base model.

And I would LOVE to attach pictures but can't seem to get the attach pictures thingy to work right. So I do have them, if you interested in getting them please PM and and I'll be more then happy to show you all the modifications and limits. OH and one last thing, with 255/55r18's and the suspension sitting on the bump stops, if you go over a speed bump you WILL rub the tires. Just keep that in mind.
 

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2013 Kia Sorento LX AWD, 2013 Kia Soul +
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Discussion Starter #2
So I got my Aries Sport Bar in last night so I took the time to get it installed. As well as the lights. Still waiting on the coils to be made and installed as well as the Yakima roof rack which should come in sometime tomorrow.
 

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2013 Sorento, Suzuki V-Strom
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Why the trailer brake controller and 7-pin plug (both used for a trailer with electric brakes)?

Why go through all the work to make this car do something it is not well suited to do?
 

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2013 Kia Sorento LX AWD, 2013 Kia Soul +
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Discussion Starter #4
I had the hitch installed LONG before I had the lift installed. And I own an 18' livestock trailer that I use frequently for dump runs and to help people move. Due to the weight I needed to install the brake controller. The reason my wife and I are modifiying the sorento is because when we tried many dealerships and many different cars but were unable to get financed cause we owed far too much on our trade in. Our old car, a Honda Element was less suited for what we needed then the Sorento ever would be. When we purchased the Sorento my wife was 5 months prego and between her manual chair, the car seat, the stroller, and her powerchair there simply wasn't enough room in the element. So we bought the Sorento. And when we got our taxes we started modifying it. We ultimately wanted a Ford Flex but they are rather expensive and couldn't find anyone to finance us on one. We actually really enjoy the Sorento and they managed to get us into brand new which was a first for us as we have had 4 pre owned cars and we were tired of buying other peoples problems.
 

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2013 Kia Sorento LX AWD, 2013 Kia Soul +
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Discussion Starter #5
Okay, sry for taking so long to post but everything is finally done. So here are the pictures of everything done. What these pics don't show you is that I also have a 5th wheel and tire mounted to the rack on the roof as a full spare that I am rotating into the other 4 since I no longer have the factory spare and it wouldn't work anyways. The suspension has actually settled a lot more then I was told it would and with all the weight on it sits about the same as it did when I bought it new. Without the chair on the back it sits about an inch higher than factory. I did have to adjust the headlights to be compliant with state laws to where they are aimed. The auxiliary spot lights and fog lights are also aimed within state laws so I can use them on the road. The roof light will overpower every single other light I have on the sorento and is only used off-road up in the mountains or in extreme low visibility situations. As for the new coils, I wish I hadn't told the company to cut them down because when they were first installed it was simply too tall. A little of the metal on the bumpstops did have to be shaved because the coils were rubbing against them when I had the powerchair on the back or when I would hit a very hard bump (driving over a curb or off-road). Overall I'm happy with everything that has been done. Our fuel mileage has gone to hell. We went from 27 highway to 19 and now only get 15 city. We are averaging only 257 miles to the tank. And I have had a few moments where I wish I had the v6 but overall it's not a bad setup. Now to convince my wife to let me install a complete stereo system from front to back. Oh and I will be powdercoating the sportbar on the front black cause I really don't like chrome.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Looks like the coils I had installed were actually too weak. They were rated to handle 550lbs over vehicle rating and sadly we didn't account for overhang off the back which from the center of the rear wheels was 7 feet 1 inch. So today I had the 550lb coils removed and 1000lb coils installed. Now even with the powerchair on the back it only squats the rear of the sorento 1/2 an inch. Of course I now have a new problem. The new coils are so strong and tall that they lifted the sorento to full extension on the shocks. They won't go any higher. I was told my a shop that if in a bump or offroad at all if one of the rear wheels drops quickly and freely due to the pressure from the new coil it coil cause my shock to pull itself apart. Also due to the 5 1/2inches of lift on the rear of the sorento the stability control doesn't work properly. Ill take a corner and the traction control light will come on and then I feel the abs kick in and the throttle cut out. Course the coils are still new so give it a month or so for them to settle to the weight and it'll prolly ride about 2 inches lower.


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2013 Sorento ex luxury, 2014 Subaru Crosstrek XV
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I used these Timbren SES Kits - Suspension Enhancement for your Vehicle on a number of Chrysler mini vans I used for my business and would often haul Over 2000 lbs with them. I really had to watch my stopping distance. When the vans were not loaded they road quite normal.
The web site does not show anything for the Sorento so you could give them a call as see if they have anything.
 
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