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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I have a 2009 Santa Fe LTD 3.3, and am looking for a travel trailer (not a pop-up). We came across the Skyline Retro 186, which is supposed to be rated so midsize SUVs and minivans can tow it. The towing specs are as follows:

Unloaded vehicle weight: 2,675
GVWR: 3,500

If my Santa Fe can tow this, then what kind of prep would I need to do to be able to tow? I still need to install the trailer hitch, but what else? TIA!!

BTW, here is a link to the travel trailer.

Skyline Retro
 

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:00000732:

If you have the V6 model, then yes. The V6 has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds so it should make quick work of that trailer. I believe the V6 also came with a trailer prep package with includes trailer wiring harnesses mounted on the inside of the driver's side rear bumper. Mine has it and the window sticker shows it as being standard but I'm not sure if they all have it.
 

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Your GVWR number comes in right at the 3500# limit for the 3.3 equipped 2009 - WHEN it's equipped with the Hyundai package. Without the package, they claim a 2000# limit. The question becomes -- what else besides a tranny cooler does Hyundai add to create the "Towing Package"? I've seen frequent rumors about an upgraded radiator/fan assembly, but have never been able to solidly pin that down. A talk with your dealer's parts department may shed some light on this. Or perhaps someone here that (ahem) works for a dealer will let us know the truth of the matter? You out there, sbr711?

You'll need to harness up for lights AND brakes for the trailer (the no-brake limit is 1650#). Your link didn't come across, but I certainly do HOPE it has its own brakes! How much aggravation this wiring will be will depend upon whether you find the requisite hitch wiring already there on the driver's side rear or not. I've heard all kinds of stories about the harness being there on the SE and Limited, even when the OEM tow package wasn't installed.

Beyond that, the major issue, but not so tough to resolve, is the additional tranny cooling. Even if you plan to tow on the flat most of the time, that's quite a load, and I'd add additional aux cooling regardless.
 

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QUOTE (lovemysantafe @ Nov 1 2010, 06:27 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=368101
:00000732:

If you have the V6 model, then yes. The V6 has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds so it should make quick work of that trailer.
Careful - it's not quite as clear-cut as that. It's 3500# with their package. With just an aftermarket hitch and no other prep, it's 2000#, and at 1650+, they insist on the brakes.
 

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You can do it, although not with much capacity to spare. 2675 "dry" pounds can quickly approach the 3500 pound limit with contents, propane, water, etc. A tank of water alone can weigh 200-300 pounds. Consider filling up at your destination, especially for long trips.

In 2008 and 2009 the Canadian 3.3 models were equipped with trailer towing package (tranny cooler, etc.) and a 3500 pound towing capacity. All you need to add is a Class 2 hitch with wiring harness, and a brake controller. You might also need an antisway bar... the wind really catches those tall trailers.

Be prepared for some rear-end sag. A load-leveler can help with this, although Hyundai doesn't recommend it for some reason. Some guys add air suspension bladders, which I suspect are more trouble than they're worth. I would play around with load distribution before spending money on these things.

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies!

Just to make sure I understand:

-If I have the Hyundai towing package, it is recommended that I add an additional tranny cooler?
-I need a class 2 hitch.
-I need to check to see if the wiring for the trailer's brakes are in the driver's side rear bumper (I see a circular hole w/cover in that spot now).
-The trailer should have its own brakes. Is this controlled through the same wiring as the lights?

Anything else I missed?

I like the idea of filling up at my destination so I'm not towing 300lbs of water. I am concerned that the trailer is at the high end of the Santa Fe's weight limit. Unfortunately, I haven't found any hard-sided options with the capacity this particular trailer has (sleeps 5 + full kitchen and bath).
 

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Just a reminder - The Santa Fe is a car, not a truck. It rides on a car chasis, rather than a truck chasis. It CAN tow light things if needed, but a truck is better designed for that kind of frequent load. :right:
 

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The original towing package came with the additional hardware, specifically the tranny cooler. If in doubt whether you're appropriately equipped, drop by your dealer who will be able to identify what you actually own.

That little round cover in the rear bumper, driver's side, will expose the tow lug threads. In your rear trunk compartment, you should find the lug that threads into it. Bet you never knew you had one of those, did you? Good for tossing a tow rope onto if needed.

And YES -- don't even think of running a trailer of that weight that doesn't have its own trailer brakes. When loaded, that thing weighs darned near as much as your SF.

A Class II hitch max's out at the 3500# that we've been discussing as the upper limit per Hyundai when the vehicle is properly equipped. So yeah, I suppose. Certainly not a Class I.

As for the brake wiring, NO! -- it is by no means as simple as wiring to the brake lights. That would give you exactly two positions for your trailer brakes -- full on and full off!!! A proper controller will modulate the voltage to the trailer braking system in proportion to the deceleration of your vehicle. A motion sensing device (accelerometer) detects what's needed and controls the trailer brakes accordingly. But it is the brake lights that actuate the controller, and that's where the tap will occur, if that's what you meant. Sounds like you're not very familiar with the technology. Best you spend a few moments with a local shop that installs this kind of equipment to review your options.
 

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A brake controller costs anywhere from 75 to 250 bucks. The more expensive ones have leds to show you what's going on, you can set the brake power, and they have a manual slider so you can apply the brakes by hand. I would pay for something somewhat decent (I have a prodigy) - at least something you can look at to know if it's active.

If the wires are the 4 pin flat plug, that's no brakes. If the wiring is crappy (ie, subaru legacy) it's a bit of labor to run new wires from the dash to the back. If it's pre-prepped like the F150 you can just plug the controller in and use the 7-8pin (I forget) circular plug for the trailer (which means it does lights and brakes).

You also need tow chains, a break away cable, and a separate battery that runs the brakes on the trailer.

I just got my Santa last week so haven't done the install yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again for the great info. I am not familiar with towing at all, so all the advice is welcome.

As for the brake controller, how does it get installed?
 

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Unless you are proficient at automotive wiring, see your trailer dealer for the brake controller and hitch. You cannot use the factor plug-and-play wiring, as it is designed for a simple 4-pin connection with no brakes and no RV power. The trailer dealer will set you up with the correct 7-pin connection which includes the extra circuits.

Just some of the reasons why I chose a pop-up :p
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am going to the dealer later today to confirm my Santa Fe has the Hyundai tow package.

From what I read, it looks like the hitch is really easy to install. Couldn't I install the hitch myself and have the dealer do the brake controller, or would they have to be done together?

Thanks again for the advice! Hopefully other Santa Fe owners will benefit from my newbie questions.
 

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How annoying.

I just got back from the dealer, and the tech quoted me what it would cost for them to install the trailer hitch, but didn't tell me if the tow package was installed. I told him what I would be towing would weigh 3,500lbs, and he said I don't have to worry about it.

He also recommended I go to U-Haul to have the hitch and wiring installed because it will be less expensive. Does that sound like a good recommendation?
 

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QUOTE (Raivyn @ Nov 3 2010, 01:31 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=368723
How annoying.

I just got back from the dealer, and the tech quoted me what it would cost for them to install the trailer hitch, but didn't tell me if the tow package was installed. I told him what I would be towing would weigh 3,500lbs, and he said I don't have to worry about it.

He also recommended I go to U-Haul to have the hitch and wiring installed because it will be less expensive. Does that sound like a good recommendation?
I wouldn't let U-Haul within 100ft of my rig. Go HERE and just do it yourself. The brake controller is the only thing you may want to have professional installed, in which case I'd call up a mechanic shop that specializes in towing equipment in your area.
 

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QUOTE (Raivyn @ Nov 3 2010, 04:31 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=368723
He also recommended I go to U-Haul to have the hitch and wiring installed because it will be less expensive. Does that sound like a good recommendation?
Probably not. I had a similar recommendation, acted on it and lived to regret it. I had electrical problems after the hitch was fitted, the brake light switch failed and on another occasion the brake light fuse. Plenty of warning lights and a lot of stuff stops working in the car. It was not clear if the problem was with Hyundai, the 3rd party wiring or my trailer. The Hyundai dealer did the right thing and kept fixing the failures and eventually it was sorted out. I also had the trailer wiring replaced and LED trailer lights fitted.

Next time I would get the dealer to do all the work so that the responsibility is in one place and avoid some of the frustration. There is nothing worse than introducing unreliability and uncertainty into your motoring.

Keep in mind that my advice is from the other side of the world. The Australian spec cars, trailer brakes and wiring conventions are different.
 

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There are dedicated hitch shops, just like there are dedicated stereo shops. Find a local one with a good rep and good installers. It's way less complicated than a stereo but you want it done right. Uhaul is normally pretty good up here. Definately get a bolt on, not welded.
 

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Thanks again for the advice.

I went to U-Haul and got a quote just for a starting point. Didn't get a chance to speak with the installer at the RV shop, though. Hopefully I can talk to them tomorrow. I'm not about to try to install the brake controller myself though the etrailer video made it look suspiciously easy. The hitch itself is easy enough...

So both etrailer and U-Haul say you need to buy the trailer wiring kit, but I don't understand why you need that if the Santa Fe is already pre-wired.
 

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QUOTE (Raivyn @ Nov 4 2010, 10:00 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=369098
Thanks again for the advice.

I went to U-Haul and got a quote just for a starting point. Didn't get a chance to speak with the installer at the RV shop, though. Hopefully I can talk to them tomorrow. I'm not about to try to install the brake controller myself though the etrailer video made it look suspiciously easy. The hitch itself is easy enough...

So both etrailer and U-Haul say you need to buy the trailer wiring kit, but I don't understand why you need that if the Santa Fe is already pre-wired.
I have the 3rd row seat, which came with the trailer prep package (tranny cooler, bigger radiator and fan and trailer pre-wiring). Trailer pre-wiring just means it has recepticals that you plug the wiring harness to, so you don't have to splice wires together. For that much weight, you will need the trailer brake control.
 
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