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Old 04-27-2019, 05:03 PM   #1
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2019 16' Sport
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2019 Kia Sorento and Weight Distribution Hitch

We just purchased a 16' Sport and 2019 Kia Sorento. RV dealer is concerned the 2019 Kia Sorento will not handle the weight distribution kit as the vehicle has a unibody frame rather than a full body frame. Does anyone have experience or knowledge?
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Old 04-27-2019, 06:29 PM   #2
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Look at the chart in the Kia Owners Manual, page 5-32. The maximum tongue weight for the Lambada is 350 lbs. If you have the Theta, it is only 280 lbs.
Look at the tongue weight in the Sport Owner's manual, page 4-2. I states the dry tongue weight is 378 lbs. That is the tongue weight before you add any cargo to the trailer.
Now add the weight of the hitch insert, hitch ball, sway control etc.

Your tow vehicle is not capable of safely carrying the hitch load of your trailer.
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Old 04-27-2019, 07:10 PM   #3
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Welcome Aboard....👍

Sockrayblu...I don't believe what I'm about to say😂....you're dealer is correct...mostly.
You could tow it, but probably should not.

Bob
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Old 04-27-2019, 07:28 PM   #4
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All the aftermarket hitches specifically state not rated for weight distribution, even ones that handle 750 lbs. tongue weight and a 5000 lb trailer. You may have to explore whether a custom welded hitch might work.
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Old 04-27-2019, 07:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by gamboa View Post
We just purchased a 16' Sport and 2019 Kia Sorento. RV dealer is concerned the 2019 Kia Sorento will not handle the weight distribution kit as the vehicle has a unibody frame rather than a full body frame. Does anyone have experience or knowledge?
Unibody frames are not weaker than body on frame, but many of those accustomed to truck ladder type frames are less familiar with them. I would not worry about the unibody, as Kia rates the vehicle up to 5000 lbs towing capacity in my market, plenty for a 16. There are two points to check.

First, the factory hitch may have a tow rating of 2000 lbs and not be suitable for weight distribution equipment. If you have that hitch, don’t use it. The solution is to purchase a class III hitch, from someone like Etrailer. They offer multiple brands which attach to your vehicle with no welding. The chassis has attachment points for a hitch designed in. You need a class III hitch, and it may be advisable to have it strengthened. CanAm RV would be a good reference for that question.

Secondly, there are multiple powertrain options for the Sorrento. The V6 is most capable. The turbo 4 would be fine, the non turbo 4 less so. There are two transmissions. The 8 speed automatic is more capable than the CVT. The AWD is rated higher than the FWD.

If I had a V6 automatic I would buy a Class III hitch and carry on. If I had a non turbo 4 and a CVT I would rethink. If the hitch was not rated for WD equipment I would contact Andy at CanAm about what would be required to strengthen it.

What does your vehicle have for engine and transmission?
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Old 04-28-2019, 01:35 AM   #6
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This is interesting information about the dealer installed hitch. Should I push to return the Kia and find factory installed hitch with a full frame. These are my specs for the 16" Airstream. See photo attached. Thursday a hitch and trailer place will finish and add the 7 way plug and brake controller in the vehicle. I feel a weight distribution hitch is necessary for traveling on the interstate. Do you?
Hitch Weight (with LP and Batteries) 378
Unit Base Weight (with LP and Batteries) 2,860
Maximum Trailer Capacity (GVWR) (lbs.) 3,500
Net Carrying Capacity (lbs.) 640
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Old 04-28-2019, 01:57 AM   #7
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Thank you for responding to my question about the 2019 Kia sorento EX.
Nice to know the unibody is not the problem but the hitch was installed at the dealer. I will attach a photo taken at 3:00 a.m. (sorry not better) The 7-way plug and brake controller still needs to be installed. The RV dealer hitch man alerted my salesman saying the vehicle's frame would bend with a weight distribution hitch. Went to Kia and they will take the vehicle back, but they want to contact Kia Monday. I am feeling the vehicle is not the correct choice. The salesman and manager both said they would want a weight distribution hitch. They even sold me one with the Airstream purchase.
Thank you for responding to my question about the 2019 Kia sorento EX.
Nice to know the unibody is not the problem but the hitch was installed at the dealer. I will attach a photo taken at 3:00 a.m. (sorry not better) The 7-way plug and brake controller still needs to be installed. The RV dealer hitch man alerted my salesman saying the vehicle's frame would bend with a weight distribution hitch. Went to Kia and they will take the vehicle back, but they want to contact Kia Monday. I am feeling the vehicle is not the correct choice. The salesman and manager both said they would want a weight distribution hitch. They even sold me one with the Airstream purchase.

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Old 04-28-2019, 05:16 AM   #8
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Another consideration....

There is no cure for Aluminitus...this is a 16' model, the chance you will be going larger, at least 75%.
Nuff said.

Bob
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Old 04-28-2019, 06:29 AM   #9
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AW Thank you for responding. Your response has me thinking, but you mention brands other than the 16' sport. Trying to find an answer to determine if this is going to be unsafe for a 2019 Kia Sorento EX with a dealer installed hitch and the 7-way plug and brake controller installed by a hitch and trailer place by hitch place in town. No only unsafe, but will this bend my frame. Do you think a weight distribution hitch along with a sway bar is needed when traveling? Thank you R
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Old 04-28-2019, 07:00 AM   #10
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Yes...a WD hitch with anti-sway is always a good idea.👍
A light single axle trailer is more prone to sway concerns than the larger dual axle units. Trailer loading is also more critical on the smaller trailers. Maintaining the proper tongue weight, 10-15% of loaded trailer weight will also help with minimizing sway.

Goog Luck..

Bob
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Old 04-28-2019, 07:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamboa View Post
AW Thank you for responding. Your response has me thinking, but you mention brands other than the 16' sport. Trying to find an answer to determine if this is going to be unsafe for a 2019 Kia Sorento EX with a dealer installed hitch and the 7-way plug and brake controller installed by a hitch and trailer place by hitch place in town. No only unsafe, but will this bend my frame. Do you think a weight distribution hitch along with a sway bar is needed when traveling? Thank you R
I sent you a PM.
The brands I mentioned, Lambada and Theta, are not trailer related. The two are directly from the chart in the Kia Sorento Owner's Manual that I referenced in my prior post. I suppose they are related to engine size, transmission type, and equipment. (I do not know since I am not familiar with your specific vehicle. Though, I have owned Kia a few years ago)

My opinion (I'm no expert), if you plan to use the Kia Sorento, is that the hitch will have to be reinforced in two ways:
1. To carry gravity weight/hitch load, some additional new or reinforcement of existing connections are needed.
2. To resist the rotational forces applied to the hitch, an extension will have to be added, connected to and forward of the hitch, that will resist the forces and transfer them to the car body.

If it was me using your vehicles, I would only tow with both weight distribution and sway control.

To conserve weight carrying capacity, you might consider an Anderson hitch. https://andersenhitches.com/Catalog/...ion-hitch.aspx
(I have no experience with this hitch, but it seems appropriate in your situation)
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Old 04-28-2019, 07:30 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by gamboa View Post
AW Thank you for responding. Your response has me thinking, but you mention brands other than the 16' sport. Trying to find an answer to determine if this is going to be unsafe for a 2019 Kia Sorento EX with a dealer installed hitch and the 7-way plug and brake controller installed by a hitch and trailer place by hitch place in town. No only unsafe, but will this bend my frame. Do you think a weight distribution hitch along with a sway bar is needed when traveling? Thank you R
You can tow a trailer safely without any weight distribution or sway control equipment as long as you stay within the specifications of the trailer and tow vehicle manufacturer. In your case it would be difficult to do that. You would have to redistribute the trailer load to bring the tongue weight down to 350 lbs, something you don't really want to think about as you set off on a camping trip.

A weight distribution hitch puts a high bending load on the hitch receiver and it can cause damage to the tow vehicle. If the manufacturer says not to use one then it's best to listen to him. Yes, you can reinforce the hitch and probably make it work but you would be in danger of losing your warranty if anything went wrong.
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Old 04-28-2019, 07:48 AM   #13
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You can tow a trailer safely without any weight distribution or sway control equipment as long as you stay within the specifications of the trailer and tow vehicle manufacturer. In your case it would be difficult to do that. You would have to redistribute the trailer load to bring the tongue weight down to 350 lbs, something you don't really want to think about as you set off on a camping trip.

A weight distribution hitch puts a high bending load on the hitch receiver and it can cause damage to the tow vehicle. If the manufacturer says not to use one then it's best to listen to him. Yes, you can reinforce the hitch and probably make it work but you would be in danger of losing your warranty if anything went wrong.
I read the owner's manual for both vehicles.

The Kia manual does not mention WD. It does mention sway control.

According to the vehicle specs, the tongue weight of the trailer exceeds the carrying capacity of the tow vehicle's hitch by ~10% dry, and maybe 20% or more depending on cargo.
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Old 04-28-2019, 08:00 AM   #14
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I read the owner's manual for both vehicles.

The Kia manual does not mention WD. It does mention sway control.

According to the vehicle specs, the tongue weight of the trailer exceeds the carrying capacity of the tow vehicle's hitch by ~10% dry, and maybe 20% or more depending on cargo.
It is possible to get the tongue weight down to 350 lbs if you shift cargo. For example, you could take off your 50 lb spare tire and stow it behind the axle. But it's not a very convenient thing to do. Better to get a tow vehicle that can handle 400 lbs tongue load. 500 lbs would be better.
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Old 04-28-2019, 10:15 AM   #15
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<<snip>> Better to get a tow vehicle that can handle 400 lbs tongue load. 500 lbs would be better.
I agree 100%!
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Old 04-28-2019, 12:08 PM   #16
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This is interesting information about the dealer installed hitch. Should I push to return the Kia and find factory installed hitch with a full frame. These are my specs for the 16" Airstream. See photo attached. Thursday a hitch and trailer place will finish and add the 7 way plug and brake controller in the vehicle. I feel a weight distribution hitch is necessary for traveling on the interstate. Do you?
A WD hitch is always a good idea.

The full frame comment refers to the vehicle, not the hitch. Sorentos had body on frame construction up until 2010. Since then, they have had unibody construction.

It matters which model of Sorento you have. You say EX, but I looked it up, and there are multiple versions of the EX. Where I live, there is a four cylinder EX. It appears that in the US all EX models are V6, but that is the first question, which engine. The limit likely relates to the transmission (they are different) because the four cylinder has sufficient power, but likely a less robust transmission.

Then it matters if you have 5 or 7 passenger capacity, because the 7 passenger model has a higher vehicle weight capacity, which would be helpful. It has over 1100 lbs payload per the owner's manual, which is more than some half ton pickup trucks.

Finally, it mattes if the Sorento is front wheel drive or all wheel drive, as the AWD model has a 5000 lb towing capacity. That last one suggests that the body structure is fine (the chassis wouldn't be different between the models) and that the limit is based on the powertrain, and axle weight ratings, as well as possibly on the dealer-installed hitch design.

If you have a V6, you should be fine. If it is AWD, even better.

You still need a hitch that is stronger than the hitch that Kia sells. When Kia provide a tow rating, they can only rate what they sell. So, they won't rate something with an aftermarket hitch as they don't control that aspect. Their towing recommendations are incomplete, as they limit you to 10% tongue weight (likely due to the hitch design and construction) but rate the vehicle up to 5000 lbs maximum trailer capacity, which represents 7% tongue load. That is generally too light for a North American trailer design, you should aim for 10% or so. This all points to their hitch not being strong enough.

Solve the problem, get a stronger hitch from the aftermarket. It may be necessary to have either the aftermarket hitch, or your installed hitch, reinforced to handle WD equipment. Worth doing.

Bob's comment is also worth noting, that if you might be getting a larger/heavier trailer at some point in the future (it happens....) then you may want to consider the vehicle choice now, if you have the chance to trade. If you have driven it, it is probably a used vehicle now, so taking it back may be costly.
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Old 04-28-2019, 12:48 PM   #17
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towing with Kia

Ok, so you go to the Kia dealer and tell them your going to tow a 16' Airstream. So the dealer slaps on a hitch and says "instant tow package". Wrong! If your going to tow a decent size trailer get a vehicle with a FACTORY tow package. That means transmission cooler, oil cooler, heavy duty radiator, towing axle ratio, tires with a higher rating, and a proper hitch, all from the factory so it works together.

I have worked at several dealerships in my lifetime. The salesperson will tell you anything to get the sale. Period.

Now, will a Kia Sorento pull your 16' AS. Properly equipped yes. Does Kia offer Sorentos with a factory tow package? If so, that would be a much better starting point than a Sorento without a tow package.


If you do need modifications to the hitch to make a safe tow, it is pretty much agreed that CanAms Andy Thompson is the man to do it.


Your going to like your 16', but you will love the bigger one you buy later.
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Old 04-28-2019, 01:22 PM   #18
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If your going to tow a decent size trailer get a vehicle with a FACTORY tow package. That means transmission cooler, oil cooler, heavy duty radiator, towing axle ratio, tires with a higher rating, and a proper hitch, all from the factory so it works together.
Factory tow packages tend to be made up of additional equipment for those vehicle designs that need it. Not all vehicles have or need factory tow packages. My SUV can tow its maximum rated trailer weight (7700 lbs) with only the addition of a hitch, wiring connector, and brake controller. This is common with many modern vehicles. I have as standard a thermostatically controlled combination transmission heater/cooler, for example, and installing an aftermarket cooler would be ill advised as it would fight the integrated vehicle controls. There is only one axle ration available, but that doesn't matter much with an 8 speed automatic. The Kia does have three tire sizes available, but they all have the same vehicle weight rating.

Kia list a bolt on hitch (looks like it is dealer installed, same as my SUV), and a trailer wiring connector. The chassis already has mounts for the hitch.
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Old 04-28-2019, 04:14 PM   #19
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If you haven't purchased the Kia yet recommend you look at the Mazda CX 9.I tow my 16 Sport 2019 with my 2018 Mazda CX9 (Signature badge) with Etrailer class 3 hitch,WD and anti sway, U Haul installed 7pin and electric brake control.CX 9 towing features 310 torque at 2000rpm ,eng. 4 cylinders 2.5 turbo, 250 hp with high test gas,4.1 axle,TV anti sway system as well.Also adaptive cruise and 13+ mpg at 65 mph.A 2018 CX 9 Signature new can be bought/negotiated between $37500 to $39000.MSLP $45,000.
Best,
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Old 04-28-2019, 07:48 PM   #20
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Thank you for everyone who responded with your helpful information. I was extremely lucky and the dealership took the car back and returned my trade in and issued a credit for the down payment.
So now I am looking for TV models and their specs for the correct vehicle that hopefully already equipped from the factory with all needed towing equipment. Thank you.
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