Originally Posted by F and E Damp
Why the hell is a 3.5L V-6 minivan (a Kia Sedone which we have) with disk brakes and rated to tow 6600 pounds in Europe, limited to 3500 pounds in the US? Are we US residents such rotten drivers that we can't be trusted, or are the trailer manufactureres and dealers so scared of the liability lawyers they fudge the numbers to protect their butts?
Since I own and tow with a Hyundai Entourage (re-badged Sedona for 2008), I'm glad to hear the body is considered strong enough to tow a lot more than the 3500 lbs the US spec calls out. I've wondered if towing my A122 (about 2500-2800 lbs loaded) was excessively stressing the minivan body long term. Especially since the Koreans put out minimal tow information compared to other manufacturers.
Living adjacent to and camping in the Colorado Rockies, I am very happy with my decision to limit my camper to 3000lbs or less. Engine performance takes a hit at altitude - 20% less power at 6,000ft without a turbocharger, and it gets worse as you climb. Maintaining a reasonable speed on the interstates (the trailer tires are the limiting factor at 65 MPH) is important given the distances to be traveled. Finally, coming down from the mountain passes through the hairpin curves puts a premium on the proper dynamics for both the tow and the towed vehicles. Having a WDH hitch with no tires/wheels/axles/brakes overloaded makes everything much less of a white-knuckle experience for both the family and me.
I know, I have run out of brakes in the days before disc brakes towing boats in the West Virginia and North Carolina mountains. Got to repeat the lesson in California coastal mountains with a Ford Explorer and a 3200lb popup - I finally managed to get the thing stopped using the brake controller manually.
I have blown out a transmission on a Ford Windstar while creeping up the grade in traffic just before the Eisenhower tunnel on I-70 (11,000 ft) - I was towing a "small" U-Haul. Learned my lesson about transmission coolers that day.
Modern cars do not have the "over-built" systems that some earlier cars did in order to meet fuel economy and weight targets. I found that out, too, towing an MGA cross-country with a Toyota Corona station wagon. The manual transmission rear bearing gave up the ghost within weeks after arriving at our destination. Most US trucks now have a lower tow rating for a manual tranny because the clutch and transmission are no longer built to take heavy towing loads.
As a result of working my guardian angels excessive overtime in my past, I take the US tow limits pretty seriously. Makes the wife and kids a whole lot more comfortable and willing to go camping. When I made them get out of the Ford Explorer that night and walk down the California hill, they got the hint that I wasn't sure I could stop the thing again. It put an end to that rig doing more camping in the coastal mountains.
I really do prefer to learn from other people's mistakes instead of my own (although it doesn't seem like it).