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Old 05-02-2012, 08:40 PM   #1
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2008 Kia Sorento

We have a 2008 Kia Sorento 4x4 that we love. It's been a great SUV. It has the bigger 3.8L V-6 with 262HP and is rated to tow 5,000lbs. I plan on installing a brake system, transmission cooler, and class three hitch. I see a lot of people towing Airstream campers with mini-vans, so I'm assuming my SUV will do just fine. I'm looking at purchasing a 25' to 27' Airstream. What do you think? Thank you in advance for all your help!
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:58 PM   #2
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If you are taking about buying a vintage A/S, you can probably do it within the towing limitations of your vehicle. If you're looking at newer units, the limit is probably a 19'
Watch the tongue weights, too.
airstreamguy.com - ** Airstream Lengths, Weights and Tongue Weight
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:04 PM   #3
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Thank you for your response! Yes, we are looking at a mid 70's, 25' to 27' Airstream. I also just noticed they manufacture an air suspension system (air bags) that install in our current rear springs for towing support. Worth it, or a waste of money? Thanks!
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:15 PM   #4
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2008 Kia Sorento

Greetings ChickenWhisp!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Airstreaming!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenWhisp View Post
We have a 2008 Kia Sorento 4x4 that we love. It's been a great SUV. It has the bigger 3.8L V-6 with 262HP and is rated to tow 5,000lbs. I plan on installing a brake system, transmission cooler, and class three hitch. I see a lot of people towing Airstream campers with mini-vans, so I'm assuming my SUV will do just fine. I'm looking at purchasing a 25' to 27' Airstream. What do you think? Thank you in advance for all your help!
I am afraid that the 5,000 pound trailer tow rating is going to eliminate most late-model coaches larger than 23', and even a 23' will likely max out the 5,000 pound rating if not loaded carefully. In vintage (pre-1970) coaches, you will find Overlanders with empty-weights of around 4,500 pounds . . . but that is empty . . . without options . . . no fluids . . . no food . . . . and no personal possessions. My 1964 Overlander (26' 8") has an empty weight of 4,750 pounds . . . but its more important weight is its loaded to travel weight that is between 6,000 and 6,100 pounds.

A 1960s Tradewind (24') would likely be about the largest coach that would give you some hope of keeping within your tow vehicle's rated capacity. As a general "rule-of-thumb", my suggestion would be to look at the trailer tow rating and take 80% as a maximum trailer GVWR to provide you with a cushion for the weight of passengers in your tow vehicle, and anything that you intend to carry in the tow vehicle.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

P.S.: You can find Airstream specifications on the Airstream Corporate website at this link.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:24 PM   #5
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Greetings ChickenWhisp!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenWhisp View Post
Thank you for your response! Yes, we are looking at a mid 70's, 25' to 27' Airstream. I also just noticed they manufacture an air suspension system (air bags) that install in our current rear springs for towing support. Worth it, or a waste of money? Thanks!
Air bags in the rear suspension will do nothing to increase the trailer tow rating of your vehicle nor will they do anything to distribute the hitch weight of your trailer. I tow with a vehicle that has air bags in its rear suspension ('75 Eldorado) because they are required to raise height with my custom wheels (used only when not towing) . . . when towing, the bags are deflated to 15 psi (minimum allowed) so that my Reese Strait-Line weight distributing hitch with Dual Cam Sway Control can do its job. My suggestion would be to invest the money that it would cost to add the air bags and purchase the best weight distributing hitch with built-in sway control that you can afford. I have utilized the Reese Strait-Line with all of my trailers since 1995 and have been very pleased with its performance.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenWhisp View Post
Thank you for your response! Yes, we are looking at a mid 70's, 25' to 27' Airstream. I also just noticed they manufacture an air suspension system (air bags) that install in our current rear springs for towing support. Worth it, or a waste of money? Thanks!

As noted above an air bag add-on will do nothing to increase towing capacity.

For me the 5000lb limit would be the deciding factor, it narrows down the workable options you have. How would you feel if you had to pass on a great deal just because your married to that 5k restriction?
Of course if time is on your side...look 'til you find.

When we were shopping for our first AS we did put the cart first, then worried about the horse.

BTW...I would go for a class IV hitch.

Better to have more than you need, than need more than you have.

Bob
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenWhisp View Post
We have a 2008 Kia Sorento 4x4 that we love. It's been a great SUV. It has the bigger 3.8L V-6 with 262HP and is rated to tow 5,000lbs. I plan on installing a brake system, transmission cooler, and class three hitch. I see a lot of people towing Airstream campers with mini-vans, so I'm assuming my SUV will do just fine.
Hi ChickenWhisp,

As one of the dreaded Minivan TV owners I can say that my Toyota Sienna, with similar engine specs. to your Sorento (although I'd imagine things like ride height (COG) and wheelbase would be different) tows a 2011 28' International.

In deference to my fellow posters, though, I have to point out that the Sienna's hitch has been strengthened, it has a heavy duty transmission oil cooler and a Prodigy P2 brake controller. I also use an Eaz-Lift weight distribution system and two friction anti-sway bars. The whole setup was installed and matched up by Can Am RV in London, Ontario (Can-Am RV Centre | New and Used Travel Trailers, Motorhomes and Fifth Wheels | Towing & Hitch Specialists | Top Airstream Dealer) and I wouldn't even begin to contemplate this combination without their professional advice and service.

You'll note that I'm towing way above the van's tow rating, and there is considerable debate on here regarding the manufacturer's tow ratings, which I don't want to re-open in this thread.

If you feel you want to get close to or exceed the tow rating then I'd wholeheartedly advise that you speak to Andy or Kirk Thompson at Can Am RV. They have an encyclopaedic knowledge of modern tow vehicles and would be able to tell you the pros and cons of using your current SUV to tow an Airstream.

Good luck!
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:05 AM   #8
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Oops! Forgot to say that I agree with the others on the airbags issue.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:54 AM   #9
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As one who tows 2005 25' with Tundra (previously F250), I can say I'd not want to tow it with anything much smaller. The 25+ is wide heavy trailer.

I think some of the German big SUVs would do a great job. But I think w/ 5K tow limit, I'd limit to a 19 foot, especially if mountains are in your itinerary.
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