Trouble with towing vehcile

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Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 02/10/2019 - 06:11
Trouble with towing vehcile

Hello All,


We have a 2010 16' Scamp and tow with a 2013 Kia Sorrento.  The Sorrento has a 3500lb tow capacity.  We live in Denver, so most of our travels take us into the Rocky Mountains.  We've been towing the Scamp with the Sorrento since Feb, 2019, usually about once a month.  On our most recent trip 2 weeks ago, we towed up and over Berthod Pass, down through Granby and made our way 5 miles down a dirt road into National Forrest land when our engine oil light came on.  Long story short, we camped, relied on the kindness of strangers to get some oil from town, and limped our Sorrento and Scamp back into Granby and to the first mechanic that answered our phone call.  The car was profusly leaking oil through most of this.  Turns our it's our rear main seal.  The mechanic tells us that this is a part failure that he usually only sees in much older vehicles with many more miles than ours (40k).  He's under the impression that the Sorrento is underpowered to tow the Scamp and that's the source of the part failure.

Here's the quandry, The Scamp weighs, at most, 2500lbs.  The Sorrento is rated at 3500lbs tow capacity.  I figured this was plenty of vehicle but now I'm thinking "tow capacity" might be a misleading number and we're considering getting a bigger tow vehicle with more capacity.  Any input would be greatly appreciated , especially if you have experience towing in the mountains. 


Thanks in advance,


ac0gv's picture
Last seen: 4 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 09/22/2016 - 13:57
What a Scamp 16 weighs

Where did you get the 3500 lb. towing capacity, from the plate on the car? I find that vehicle listed 1,650 to 3,500 lbs, for towing capacity depending on equipment. Also have you weighed the Scamp to see what it really weighs? Scamp said 1750lbs shipping weight, mine was 2360 as built and is now 3,060 with mods and ready to hit the road.

Greg A
Greg A's picture
Last seen: 1 week 14 hours ago
SOI-AdministratorLifetime Member
Joined: 11/02/2013 - 20:45
Scamp Weight

Dry weight listed:

That doesn't include any options added or fluids, so about 2400 before gear is about right. You need to read the label on the door and figure out payload as well. With two passengers and more gear in the truck plus gear in the Scamp you could be within tow by a small margin but over payload by a good bit.

Kia Sorrento might be a good match for a 13, but probably not going to be a good match for a Scamp 16.

Here is the Kia manual excerpt that gives a real good explanation of payload and vehicle loading for both towing and regular driving:

You don't have a lot of payload capacity especially if there are more than two occupants when towing.

Our Trailers:
2015 19 Escape

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athearn2's picture
Last seen: 1 day 15 hours ago
Joined: 02/16/2015 - 10:43
Rear Seal?

It doesn't seem to me that towing a trailer, too heavy or not would damage the engine rear seal. With only 40K on your vehicle I think Kia should cover the repair. At least help you out with it!

Hawkinsm's picture
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 09/21/2018 - 21:37
Was never designed

I'm from the state just north of yours, and have extensive experience with pulling trailers through mountain passes. The manufacturer's rated tow capacity typically means no wind, sea level, and no hills.  Berthoud Pass and the Granby area aren't 'hills'.  If you didn't properly manage your power climbing with a trailer on your Kia, you likely killed it.  I don't think you need a Cummins diesel, but you may want to look at a small pickup or something better suited to pulling loads.  As the old drag racers used to say 'There's no substitute for cubic inches'.  Best of luck.

Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 08/20/2018 - 13:45
subaru tow

We are pushing the envelope pretty hard again towing our 2019 13 scamp with bath this year By using our 2018 subaru crosstrek 2.0 6 speed manual. I added a ScanGuage system that lets me monitor things like water temp, Battery  and oil temp and many other items the factory does not offer. I limit my towing to mostly flat land outings this year and have had zero issues or concerns but it is easy to over do it. On a normal day the water temp rarely deviates fron 200-208 deg even on a 95 day but the oil temperature varies widely. No trailer it operates 198 to 220 with the AC on and and 70+ mph but with the trailer the same traveling I have seen 248 deg for oil temps and this is on an easy traveling highway. At 55-60 deg the oil temps may get to 235 . Only once did I see it higher and this was on some of the minor grades coming east from the Mississippi  and all the little beast could do was 56-60 mph and in 4th gear. it was at 250 and climbing and I had the luxury of stopping . I have the luxury of knowing the temps and can adjust my speed and gear selection where most of us do not and the power and automatic trans just do what they can to meet the demands of the driver. So it would be very easy to over work the engine and drive the oil temps high enough to do damage and never know it on any mountain pass.  Cars/Suv's today are wonderful but do not have the reserve capacity of yester-year when a pontiac wagon with a 400Ci+ engine could pull a camper of 5-6,000lb. without fail beyond overheating which was easy to diagnose and see.  It is not impossible that extreme oil temps could do damage to seals and the zillion plastic pieces in the engines today. One could add engine and trans oil coolers to increase the safety margin but it needs to be done properly.

2019 Scamp 13 standard

fishinjimi's picture
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: 08/23/2018 - 15:09
rear seal should be covered

I can't imagine why you would lose a rear seal from towing even if you were slightly over loaded 

the old drag racers say 

there is no replacement for displacement