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Hi, this is my first post here. I am NOT someone who 'works on cars'. I have a 2012 Kia Soul 1.6 - I am looking at a long road trip and hauling a small popup (12-1300lbs). I have read most if not all the posts on "to tow or not to tow" and am very thankful for this forum (video links, hitches, experience, warranty, etc.) You guys ROCK!

I live in Minnesota. I am interested in adding a small transmission cooler for long trips. However, I am also worried about 20-degrees-below-zero winters. I even asked the dealer if I could get a small cooler installed for road trips and detach it for winter - the answer was 'no, you can't attach one and detach/by-pass it' and 'there is no need to add one' because there is one that is built in. So, what do you guys think? I would be going from MN to Washington State. I may want to take a trip down to Texas next summer. I want my little car to stay happy and healthy AND I want to tow a little trailer. Thank you!
 

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Hi, this is my first post here.
Yah!!!! Welcome ecosoul, and hi from San Francisco Bay!

I have a 2012 Kia Soul 1.6 - I am looking at a long road trip and hauling a small popup (12-1300lbs).
The guys and gals who know all about towing will be along shortly to answer your questions. What I'm wondering is this a pop-up tent you are talking about? Or do trailers themselves pop-up?
 

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What I'm wondering is this a pop-up tent you are talking about? Or do trailers themselves pop-up?


Probably something similar to this:



My Father-Out-Law has one of these, and has been using them for years. Loves 'em!

Cheers!

BB
 

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My Opinion

If your Soul has an automatic transmission, it does have a cooler as part of the radiator. These are temperature controlled, so within the design specs, this auxiliary cooler should be able to remove excess heat and keep the transmission temperatures within ranges.

Now as far as towing, I understand there are some discrepancies contained within the owners manual, such as saying 'towing not recommended' in one location, and giving a 200/2000 tongue/trailer weight specification in another location. I also understand that outside the USA there are not such confusing references in the manual, and that towing limits are provided.

So if you believe the 200/2000 specs, then the stated weight of your trailer is within those, and your stated use would be within the design specs.

In my opinion, the temperature of the transmission fluid is important and there is a lot of info on KGIS on the temperature sensor and how to test it. I don't think a non-temperature controlled auxiliary cooler is a good idea, as it can readily sub-cool the fluid during winter which can have detrimental effects. The other thing I believe is that once at speed, a trailer weighing 1300 lbs puts no greater load on the vehicle drivetrain than would 1300 lb of people and stuff contained within the vehicle, as long as the trailer is entirely within the 'wind shadow' of the tow vehicle. So you should consider the frontal area of the trailer, and if any of it will increase the wind resistance by a measurable amount.

You will have a noticeable increase in the loading on the drivetrain when you are accelerating, or pulling up a hill. This is something else to consider.

I can't tell you what to do, or begin to predict what issues may or may not arise in the future. If it were me, I'd probably start off with a close-to-home camping trip, say within an hours drive, and see if things go well. Even if there are no issues you might be so worried about the potential for problems that you don't enjoy yourself - I might have that reaction myself.
 

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A small fluid cooler should work fine as long as you can find space to mount it. Just attach it so the fluid flows through the add-on cooler first...then to the factory cooler in the radiator. This way you dissipate the heat from the hot fluid coming out of the tranny first, and then the radiator doesn't have to take on all that heat. The radiator CAN warm the fluid back up in the event it is winter and your little cooler has done its job a bit too well. The fluid should return to the tranny a nice reasonable temperature... lower than it was as it left the transmission. You would have to install one, and take some temp readings to know for sure. I ran this sort of set up on a Rio I had, and it worked well (although I didn't subject it to freezing temps since we don't see much sub zero weather here in So CA). The Rio transmission fluid ran 300+ degrees(my cooler dropped that to 250), so that is why I decided I couldn't lose. I have no idea yet, what the Soul transmission fluid temps are supposed to be, but I'm sure it's well over 200 degrees. A small Hayden cooler ought to drop temps 20-30 degrees (more in icy conditions), but once it goes through the heat exchanger in the radiator it isn't going to flow back to the transmission "cold", for sure.
Keep in mind, Modern transmissions typically use synthetic fluids so they can handle higher temps, and that is why the manufacturer typically doesn't add extra cooling. And you might be wasting your time even considering it, but I'd look online at some cooler manufacturer websites (like Hayden) and see what they say.

Oh, and after saying all that, I personally would NEVER tow with my Soul. But ...To Each, His Own!
 

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Hello,
I'm brand new owner of a 2012 kia soul (named Gertrude :)) - she's a manual, with the lowest engine - standard that there was .... and from the discussion here it gives me hope that if I wanted to pull a small pop up trailer (small and lightweight) I could probably do it...that said, now, how in the world can I find a very small pop up trailer? It's mainly a place where I can sleep not on the ground....
 

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...that said, now, how in the world can I find a very small pop up trailer? It's mainly a place where I can sleep not on the ground....
back when I asked what kind of a trailer a popup was, I googled it and there was a really light weight one that doubles as a small trailer for towing kayaks & such. I don't remember what it was called, but I liked the utility of using it as a small trailer when it's inbetween camping trips.
 

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ecosoul, I would definitely install a trans cooler if you're towing, especially going over the mountains you'll find out west. Get the smallest size Hayden Rapid-Cool one, it should be fitted in front of your A/C condensor. Like kevster said install it so the fluid goes throught the extra cooler first and then through the original one. You'll also have to add a 1/2 litre or so of trans fluid to top it back up. As for winter the fluid shouldn't get to cold because the original cooler in the rad will warm it up again.

And your dealer is not correct about detaching it for winter, it's just a matter of moving a couple of hoses. I guess if you wanted to get really creative you could install a couple of valves to close off the extra cooler.
 

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The 2020 Kia Soul EX with Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) has clutches in it, especially for Sport Mode. Seems towing anything exceeding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) on the side door panel would not be good. My total payload is 1,179 lbs. so I couldn't tow anything heaver than that. And I'd have to first subtract the weight of the trailer hitch, ball, chains, etc. :D
 

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Just a note, on the 2010-2013 Owners Manual explicity says NOT to tow with a Kia Soul. I'm not telling you not to do it, but I am telling you to just be careful. Don't wanna see anyone get hurt.
 

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Some other considerations about towing are going to include size and weight of what's being towed, whether on flat or hilly roads, for how long, the outdoor temperature, on neighborhood streets or highways or interstates, and if day or night. Plus your experience. Each of these involves different attributes of the towing process. Size and weight can overload your vehicle. Hilly roads can strain your transmission and overheat the transmission especially in hot environments. The towed equipment can be buffeted on interstates by large trucks. And then there's the need to understand whether the combined vehicle and trailer can be accelerated fast enough to get up to speed on highways and on hills.
 
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