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Towing Long Distance and Transmission Cooler

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  • Towing Long Distance and Transmission Cooler

    Hi everyone,

    I am moving from Seattle WA to Austin TX, about 2000 miles. I have a front wheel drive Kia Sportage 2016 that I use to tow my Mako 15. It has never been an issue, but the distance is only 20 miles. The weight of the Mako and trailer is about 1700 lb. Do I need to install a transmission cooler on the Sportage? Looking for advice from those who have towed long distances.

    Thanks for the help!

    Mark

  • #2
    Your Kia's owners manual should have data on max permitted towing load, with and without a towing package - if offered as an option.

    As long as you are w/in the towing weight limit for your Kia as configured, you will be OK.
    '96 Larson 174 SEI BR. 4.3LX 4 bbl Weber s/n 0F786604. Alpha One Gen II s/n 0F709315

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    • #3
      I installed one on my v6 4runner. Think i got it at autozone. If I were you i would get one as i believe you are close to the top end of your towing capacity
      2018 Starcraft 20ex
      1996 Stingray 729zp aka 240cs(sold)
      1988 Wellcraft classic (sold)

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      • #4
        Looks like towing capacity is 1650 lbs. without trailer brakes, and 2000 lbs. with trailer brakes, so you are on the edge, especially if the weight of your boat and trailer doesn't include fuel, gear, etc.

        Do you have the ability to monitor your transmission temp? (Some vehicles allow this from the info screens, other require something plugged into the OBDII port to read that kind of stuff.) That would probably tell you if you're overtaxing your tranny.
        Location: West Central Illinois, USA 1997 Larson 186 SEi Bowrider I/O Mercruiser 350 #0F747565 Mag Alpha One Gen II #1A270120 Transom and Deck Restoration Project on my '97 Larson Bowrider

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        • #5
          Can't speak to towing capacity but can't think of a downside to installing a cooler.
          1980 Sylvan Aluminum 18' Sportster I/O - Mercruiser 140, Honda 7.5 Kicker, Bennett M120 Tabs
          1974 Glastron V-179, Mercruiser 140
          1984 16.5ft. Alumarine Sealark side console with 82 Merc 50
          Manitoba, Canada

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          • #6
            you may want to check your weights

            https://www.makoboats.com/boat/specs.cfm?boat=4656

            the dry weigh is 1100#, the typical package weight with a 40hp motor and the trailer is #1750 and that is prior to fuel and gear.

            i would assume that you have 2000# there


            Cheesehead boating the Gulf Coast of FLA 27.51° N, 82.53° W

            1988 Cruisers Rogue 2420 -VP 290 DP now powered by custom 468 - https://forums.iboats.com/forum/owner...988-rogue-2420

            Past Boats
            1970 Wooster Hellion - Merc 9.8
            2002 SeaRay 190BR - 5.0 - A1G2 - "Cheeseheads in Paradise"
            1984 Avanti 170DLI -3.0 stringer- "Ship Happens"

            What’s behind you doesn’t matter.Enzo Ferrari

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            • #7
              Originally posted by marc c View Post
              Can't speak to towing capacity but can't think of a downside to installing a cooler.
              I installed a trans cooler on my '95 Caravan to tow our #3000 boat/trailer. But I also pedal up shifted when accelerating to lower the heat/energy the clutches took. (...don't know if the Kia is a CVT. This may be a factor). Towed for three years, and after 21 yrs and 180K mile the tranny worked fine.

              ...only downside is slightly less airflow to the radiator and A/C condenser.
              '96 Larson 174 SEI BR. 4.3LX 4 bbl Weber s/n 0F786604. Alpha One Gen II s/n 0F709315

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              • #8
                Thanks for the information everyone. Scott, I probably should have mentioned the Mako 15 is a 1974 that I have restored. Hull is 850 lb. according to the specs. Must be lighter than the newer models. I can remove all the gear from the boat to keep the weight down below 1700 lb. I have been looking under the hood of the Sportage. I see 2 radiator type devices up front. I have to find out what the front device is because it is not the engine cooling radiator. Air conditioning maybe? It is very tight up front, not sure where I could install a transmission cooler.

                Mark

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                • #9
                  The second up front "radiator" is definitely air conditioning. No breaks on the trailer, it is a simple 2 wheeler. I may change out the hubs before making the trip. I had replaced the bearings 2 years ago and purchased new tires. I still have the original hubs from 1974.

                  Mark

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                  • #10
                    First check to see if your vehicle has a tranny cooler. If it came with the tow package it likely has a trans. Cooler. If it doesn’t then get one. Towing long distance, in Texas heat can kill your tranny quickly, especially if you are towing heavy, close to your max tow weight. Climbing steep long grades and mountains is where your tranny will likely over heat and fail. The ones that come from the factory are often inadequate. Even if you have one I’d consider replacing it with a larger after market cooler.
                    Last edited by Sprig; May 21st, 2020, 04:04 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I just made almost the same trip. I definitely would install a trans cooler prior, take it easy through the passes and let it run what it will do so comfortably. Dont push it, pick your route to take the easier passes and enjoy the scenery. Follow Scott's advice, Check your wheel bearings, pick up and take a spare hub with you, a jack that can lift your trailer safely and you should be fine.

                      I had a trailer and car shipped from Marysville WA to San Angelo TX for $2100. Might be an option if you are concerned at all.
                      "My Mistress", My Wife, and Me!!!
                      2019 Ford F-150 w/3.5L EcoBoost and 06 Sea Ray 195 Sport
                      The Water is my Playground.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by krizm200 View Post
                        I can remove all the gear from the boat to keep the weight down below 1700 lb.
                        If you are planning on putting that gear in the KIA for the trip your it is still part of the load. Loading the vehicle up with several people, luggage, boat gear etc will not change a thing. All your tranny knows is how much total weight it is hauling when you get to the long grades.

                        The last suit you wear won't need any pockets. You might as well spend it on a boat.

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                        • #13
                          If you are planning on putting that gear in the KIA for the trip your it is still part of the load. Loading the vehicle up with several people, luggage, boat gear etc will not change a thing. All your tranny knows is how much total weight it is hauling when you get to the long grades.
                          The last suit you wear won't need any pockets. You might as well spend it on a boat.

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                          • #14
                            Your owner's manual and driver's door sticker has a GVWR which is the maximum weight for your vehicle. This includes the curb - empty weight of the vehicle, fuel, passengers, gear, and any tongue weight from a trailer. Assume 10% of your trailer's weight on the tongue.
                            '96 Larson 174 SEI BR. 4.3LX 4 bbl Weber s/n 0F786604. Alpha One Gen II s/n 0F709315

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                            • #15
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                              Thanks to everyone who commented! I learned more than ever imagined. I'll check the GVWR on the door as suggested. The equipment will be stored in the POD I am planning to rent and have delivered to Austin. Fuel tan will be empty. As far as the load in the Kia, it will be myself, possibly my son, and some clothing. Want to keep the load as light as possible.

                              Thanks again. Any other advise, please let me know!

                              Mark

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