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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I recently purchased a 2005 Coleman Niagara pop up camper. We're going to be towing it with our Sorento.

Dry weight of the camper is 29XX, so it's possible. GVWR for the camper is 37XX, so it's also possible to exceed stock rating. Here are all of my questions. And before anyone says "Use the search function you idiot," know that I've already done it. There were no clear answers, and I read quite alot.

1. Has anyone ever found the GCWR for the XM Sorento?
2. Does anyone have experience with any heavy duty aftermarket hitches (5000lb rated)?
3. I hear that our same vehicle in Australia is rated for ~5K lbs. towing? True? Why?
4. Anyone have any recommendations regarding load distribution and its necessity?
5. The stock trailer PREP package. I've read a little about it, but I can't figure out what exactly it includes. I have heard rumors of additional transmission coolers with the package. Can someone verify?
6. Supposedly the new Sorento that will be sold as a '14 here has a heavier tow package available in Australia now. Isn't the '14 mostly a cosmetic update? Anyone have any info on whether or not our '14 will get the same?
7. Anybody done any extensive towing with anything this heavy? (Yes, I saw the "What's the most you've towed" thread.)

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for any help you may be able to offer.
 

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2013 Sorento, Suzuki V-Strom
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Aaron, are you in the U.S.? Your location makes a difference.

4--Cequent (Reese, Draw-tite, Hidden Hitch brands) has their 75684 hitch receiver that is rated for 5000# as a weight distributing hitch. This could be combined with their "350 mini" WD system or their "Light Duty" WD system would do the job and add the least amount of weight that the back of the car has to carry. I don't know for sure if the rear sub-frame of the Sorento can carry the WD load, but if Cequent say it can, then it is probably OK. Weight distribution levels the tow vehicle. Two big advantages of it are that the level car has the correct steering geometry in the front end (raising the front by weighting the rear changes the front alignment) and the front tires have the weight on them for max braking effect.

5--I think the trailer package has much of the wiring already built in so a different kit is used for the trailer plug. Your trailer does have trailer brakes, yes? I think they'd be essential with a trailer of that weight given the limited brakes of the Sorento--OK for the car but not car & heavy trailer. If the trailer has electric brakes I greatly prefer the proportional trailer brake controllers, not the pendulum type and never the time-based type. Tekonsha/Draw-Tite, Hayes, Hopkins, maybe others make the automatic leveling proportional controllers. Cequent does not offer a good controller under the Reese label. You'll need a 7-pin trailer plug with electric brakes...tail lights, left signal, right signal, brakes, battery charge, negative, maybe back up.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the great information.

I am located in Houston, Texas, but confused by the different tow ratings abroad and trying to find out what (if anything) is actually different on those vehicles, and if necessary, can I get those parts here. When I was searching for information last night, I found about as much information about Australian Sorentos as I did domestic ones.
 

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2012 Tuscan Olive Sorento EX V6
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It seems to me that you are pushing the limits of your Sorento. I did some towing from Texas to Philadelphia with a large U-Haul and made some moderate adjustments for hitch and weight distribution. I tried to stay within its limits but did see a reduction in stability and breaking performance. We had four adults, two cats, one dog, a cargo carrier and the trailer. I too tried to MAX out my vehicle but saw that the car was struggling at best. No more OVERLOADING for my EX. Camping is fun but putting your work horse though its paces for just the sake of saying I can do it, puts you and possibly others at risk. The Sorento is not really meant for the type of load you are thinking of. Hope this helps! :)
 

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2012 Kia Sorento SX, 2003 Honda S2000
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In my opinion why try and "push it" with regards to towing, putting people at risk, and risk damaging the frame and powertrain on the Sorento? By the time you finish adding ancillary equipment to "make it work" you could probably get yourself a used full size SUV that wouldn't blink at towing 4000 pounds, without much of any modifications.

1999 Chevrolet Suburban 1500, $2,750 - Cars.com

(Not sure where in TX you live, but this is close to Dallas)
 

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It seems to me that you are pushing the limits of your Sorento. I did some towing from Texas to Philadelphia with a large U-Haul and made some moderate adjustments for hitch and weight distribution. I tried to stay within its limits but did see a reduction in stability and breaking performance. We had four adults, two cats, one dog, a cargo carrier and the trailer. I too tried to MAX out my vehicle but saw that the car was struggling at best. No more OVERLOADING for my EX. Camping is fun but putting your work horse though its paces for just the sake of saying I can do it, puts you and possibly others at risk. The Sorento is not really meant for the type of load you are thinking of. Hope this helps! :)
Curious how heavy your trailer was fully loaded. Did you use airbags at all the stiffen the rear suspension?
 

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2011 Sorento AWD V6 SX Cherry Black
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I believe that if you want to keep your USA KIA warranty in effect, you need to keep your total tow weight to no more than 3500lbs. When you check this against other in class crossover SUVs, it at the higher end. Otherwise get a separate frame/body SUV and tow as much as you want.:)
 

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I believe that if you want to keep your USA KIA warranty in effect, you need to keep your total tow weight to no more than 3500lbs. When you check this against other in class crossover SUVs, it at the higher end. Otherwise get a separate frame/body SUV and tow as much as you want.:)
They would have a real hard time proving that you ever exceeded the weight rating, unless you got in a wreck while towing and the weight being towed was documented.
 

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SWP 2012 Sorento SX AWD
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#1:
2012 XM Owners Manual said:
Towing capacity:
-2.4L Engine
With or without trailer brakes
: 1650 lbs (750 kg)

-3.5L Engine
Without trailer brakes
: 1650 lbs (750 kg)
With trailer brakes
- with trailer package
: 3500 lbs (1588 kg)

Maximum tongue weight
- 2.4L 350 lbs (159 kg)
- 3.5L 350 lbs (159 kg)
I have no idea what a "trailer package" consists of. It's only a (US) 400.00 factory option so my guess it is just a Class II hitch (3500 lbs), wiring harness and plug. They might be basing this solely on the installed hitch. You would still have to worry about the GVWR and the GAWR (drivers door sill).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
They might be basing this solely on the installed hitch.
That's the rumor.

Curious how heavy your trailer was fully loaded. Did you use airbags at all the stiffen the rear suspension?
Indeed. Did you weigh it? What size was it? Additionally, the trailer I will be pulling has electric brakes, and I will be installing a brake controller.

In my opinion why try and "push it" with regards to towing, putting people at risk, and risk damaging the frame and powertrain on the Sorento? By the time you finish adding ancillary equipment to "make it work" you could probably get yourself a used full size SUV that wouldn't blink at towing 4000 pounds, without much of any modifications.
Because I'm talking about $5-700 worth of ancillary equipment that I can install myself, versus buying a vehicle that's close to the price of my RV, not including upkeep and insurance. As to the risk damaging the frame and powertrain... as long as I don't exceed the GVWR of the trailer (which I hope to stay well under), we're talking about a weight difference from the Kia's towing capacity equivalent to a fat guy sitting in the back seat of the Sorento. So long as the trailer is well balanced so that the tongue weight is within the proper limits, I don't see things being so cataclysmic as you seem to predict.
 

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That's the rumor.



Indeed. Did you weigh it? What size was it? Additionally, the trailer I will be pulling has electric brakes, and I will be installing a brake controller.



Because I'm talking about $5-700 worth of ancillary equipment that I can install myself, versus buying a vehicle that's close to the price of my RV, not including upkeep and insurance. As to the risk damaging the frame and powertrain... as long as I don't exceed the GVWR of the trailer (which I hope to stay well under), we're talking about a weight difference from the Kia's towing capacity equivalent to a fat guy sitting in the back seat of the Sorento. So long as the trailer is well balanced so that the tongue weight is within the proper limits, I don't see things being so cataclysmic as you seem to predict.
I have really been thinking about RVs in the GVWR of 3500-4400 lbs. I'd do my best to keep at 3500 or less when fully loaded, but I really just can't see why the tow rating and tongue rating are so low. The real problem is that with a tongue rating of 350 lbs, you are stuck to an under 3000 lb RV in most cases. If I do end up picking up an RV the first thing that I will try is airbags for the rear springs without adding a WDH. If that works I would stick with it, if not perhaps look into a WDH setup. In terms of brake area and powertrain components there is ZERO reason why the Sorento is crippled down to a 3500 lb rating. So, unless there is some issue with the frame bending, I think that maxing out the tow rating or going beyond is probably going to be ok.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The tow ratings on the next gen Sorento on the Kia Australia website is broken into whether or not it has trailer brakes. The 3.5 is rated at 2000kg, or over 4400 lbs with trailer brakes. 750kg without. I'm looking for current gen ratings right now.
 

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2011 Sorento AWD V6 SX Cherry Black
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Phillyguy- not really, if over loaded and exceeding design limits, there will be stress damage to the "frame" of the unit construction body panels around the tow point mountings. But do remember that all companies try to have a "save" factor in their advertised tow weight limit computatons for the knuckheads that really over load and can't add. :)
 

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I pulled a U-Haul 5X8 and its total weight was right at 1800 lbs and the weight was distributed evenly over the axle to keep the back end level. I also upgrade to a Class IIII solid body trailer hitch.
 

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the weight was distributed evenly over the axle to keep the back end level.
That can be dangerous. The rule of thumb is to have 10% more weight forward of the axle* so you won't get trailer sway. When the trailer starts a crack-the-whip motion it can flip the trailer or flip both the trailer and the car, or maybe just force the rig into the oncoming lane.

*Actually the rule of thumb is to have 10% or more of the trailer & load weight on the hitch.
 

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I figured I would put my two cents worth in here. I personally have a custom made hitch which was designed to handle a very heavy handicapped modification. (470lbs tongue weight). I have used this hitch to tow my 1982 18' livestock trailer. I also had a weight distribution hitch and a brake controller. I use this trailer to make big dump runs. When I need to haul my horses I use my truck. The trailer empty weighs 3200lbs. I've hauled 900lbs in it for a total weight of 4100lbs. This is WAY over the recommended weight limit of my little 2013 AWD LX 4 cylinder. But I have frequently towed from Roy, Washington to Randle, Washington driving through Eatonville. Anyone familiar to the area will vouch for the fact that it is a VERY hilly area. While I wouldn't recommend a road trip I would say it handled very well when properly equipped. I could travel on the freeway at speed without too much trouble. Even when climbing a very large hill I was still able to hold 55mph, but I was topped out in 3rd gear at about 5000 rpm. I thought I would also note, I run a towing business with my father Millennium RV so I have ALOT of experience towing trailers. With that being said if you do tow over the recommended limit you are always running the risk of causing damage. I know here in the states vehicles are sometimes rated differently then vehicles rated in say Canada. Example, I used to own a 2006 Honda Element. Here in the states it was only recommended to tow 1650lbs, but in Canada it was allowed to tow 3500lbs. So sometimes the DOT will limit a vehicle. Short trips I'm sure you will be fine. I would recommend if going on a long trip stop every say 2-3 hours to let everything cool off. I personally run a EcoRoute HD module linked to my Garmin GPS so I have a digital readout of engine temp, engine load, battery voltage, etc. I am configuring my Sorento to take a lot of abuse it was never designed to do so I'm confidant it will work out in the end.
 
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