Tow Vehicle Fuel Consumption - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-26-2008, 12:55 PM   #1
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Hi There,

We tow our Boler with a 1991 Ford Explorer 4x4, 4.0L Auto Transmission. By my calculations we are getting 7Km/Liter fuel economy. I believe this converts to 16 MPG.

Would like to get to here what others are towing with and what sort of Mileage you are getting.

I'm feeling pretty bad about the fuel economy in my Explorer. I realize it a older, bigger gas guzzler but wondering if there is something wrong with it. Its well maintained for a 17yr old vehicle. Only thing it might need is a new head gasket this year. I have a slight leak in the gasket, which may account for now much power towing. But then again I've never towed anything before so nothing to compare to.

I should mention, the Boler has a 6 inch lift from the previous owner so it doesn't have the low profile it originally had. I drive about 110 Km/h to 115km/h on trips. I realize that decreasing speed to about 100 km/h will probably help.

We are planning a 6000 km trip from Edmonton Alberta to Whitehorse Yukon and around Alaska then back to Edmonton. I am seriously concerned about fuel mileage and would love to here your thoughts. By my calculations fuel for 6000km will cost us $1150 based on estimated 1.30/L summer prices in the north.

We even thought about renting another vehicle for the trip in hopes of saving money but a 1 month rental will cost us $1400 plus fuel.

I guess I'm having serious doubts about my tow vehicles efficiency, but can't afford to replace it.

Cheers Russ & Leanne

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Old 03-26-2008, 01:29 PM   #2
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16 mpg was about what I got with my 4.0L V6 4x4 Explorer towing my 16' Casita.

Which, by the way, was also about what I got towing with the 4.6L V8 I eventually traded up to. The difference being that the V6 had better mileage around town than the V8.

I feel that it's all about tradeoffs. You need to convert a certain amount of energy (gasoline or diesel) to move a certain mass (your trailer). The tradeoffs are in how fast do you want to move it, stop it, accelerate it up and down what sort of roads, how long you want your tow vehicle to last, etc.

Your 16 mpg got you some level of performance. You could do better mpg-wise but there'll be a tradeoff somewhere else.
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Old 03-26-2008, 02:55 PM   #3
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I have a '98 Ranger 4x4 w/4.0L V6, and a canopy over the bed, and get about 16mpg around town and have had up to 20 mpg on the highway. Haven't pulled with trailer enough to get any idea of that effect.

You may get better mileage if you inflate the tires much higher than Ford recommends (which I personally believe was the real reason for the Ford-Firestone fiasco; Explorer door labels call for lower pressure than same year Ranger with same tires).

To improve mileage, you could consider changing differential ratios, but problem with 4x4 is that there are TWO diffs to change...
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:06 PM   #4
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In 2005 I kept a log of gas usage on our trip from San Diego, CA to Oneida Lake, NY. When we started out, I kept the cruise control set at 55 mph, the legal towing limit in California. However, I misjudged the time required to make the cross country trip, and later nudged my speed up to 75 mph. Once I saw how my fuel economy suffered, I compromised at 65 mph. You can tell how fast I was going by how good (or bad) my mpg was:

1st gas stop:
Interstate 15 North, Fontana, CA. 12:05, 07/01/05
231.5 miles / 12.876 gal / $2.459 / 17.98 mpg

2nd gas stop:
Interstate 40 east, Needles, CA. 07/01/05
212.8 miles / 14.716 gal / $3.099 / 14.46 mpg

3rd gas stop:
Interstate 40 east, Flagstaff, AZ. 08:42, 07/02/05
216.5 miles / 15.403 gal / $2.379 / 14.05 mpg

4th gas stop:
Bluewater Outpost, NM, I-40, 07-02-05, 13:22
238.7 miles / 16.121 gal / $2.399 / 14.81 mpg

5th gas stop:
Tumcumcari, NM, 07-02-05, 18:08
255.2 miles / 15.643 / $2.299 / 16.31 mpg

6th gas stop:
Shamrock, TX, 07-03-05, 12:58
223.0 miles / 16.457 gal / $2.229 / 13.55 mpg

7th gas stop:
Oklahoma City, OK, 07-03-05, 3:06
180.3 miles / 15.184 gal / $1.979 / 11.87 mpg

8th gas stop:
Dewey, OK, 07-04-05, 9:40
161.4 miles / 12.445 gal / $2.049 / 12.97 mpg

9th gas stop:
Marshfield, MO, 07-04-05, 13:10
199.5 miles / 13.840 gal / $2.099 / 14.41 mpg

10th gas stop:
Valley Park, MO, 07-04-05,
176.1 miles / 13.827 gal / $2.079 / 12.74 mpg

11th gas stop:
Brazil, IN, 07-05-05, 10:48
215.2 miles / 14.257 gal / $2.099 / 15.09 mpg

12th gas stop:
Springfield, OH, 07-05-05, 17:37
198.2 miles / 13.706 gal / $2.199 / 14.46 mpg

13th gas stop:
Mentor, OH, 07-05-05, 22:41
208.1 miles / 12.303 gal / $2.249 / 16.91 mpg

14th gas stop:
Angola, NY, 07-06-05 3:35 AM
150.2 miles / 11.708 gal / $2.309 / 12.83 mpg

15th gas stop:
Constantia, NY, 07-07-05, 10:13
209.4 miles / 14.974 gal / $2.359 / 13.98 mpg
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:24 PM   #5
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Our 3 liter 2000 Ford Ranger gets 19.5 mpg at 65 mph and 20.0 mpg at 60 mph in mostly level terrain. Towing our Scamp 5er drops the mileage to 17 mpg at 55-60 mpg, 15.5 at 65 mph. Speed makes a big difference.

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Old 03-27-2008, 07:49 AM   #6
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Frontal area affects gas mileage as well. I got about 2mpg less (average) towing my Bigfoot 17 than I got towing my Scamp 16 CD and both weighed very nearly the same. BTW, I averaged about 12-13 mpg towing the Bigfoot with my Tundra 3.4L V6 and about 14-15 mpg towing the Scamp. Interestingly, the mileage I got towing the Bigfoot 17 with my Tundra is almost exactly the same mileage I got pulling my Bigfoot 17 with the Excursion V10 I had.

Your Explorer is right in there.

Roger
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:31 AM   #7
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Frontal area affects gas mileage as well. I got about 2mpg less (average) towing my Bigfoot 17 than I got towing my Scamp 16 CD and both weighed very nearly the same. BTW, I averaged about 12-13 mpg towing the Bigfoot with my Tundra 3.4L V6 and about 14-15 mpg towing the Scamp. Interestingly, the mileage I got towing the Bigfoot 17 with my Tundra is almost exactly the same mileage I got pulling my Bigfoot 17 with the Excursion V10 I had.

Your Explorer is right in there.

Roger

Hey Roger,
Do you think that fact that my Boler has been raised by the previous owner and sits about 6 inches taller than an original boler is significantly affecting my MPG. I have considered lowering back down to the low profile but feel its a lot of work. Great thing about it being raised it the better clearance on dirt and gravel roads and it looks cool too.

I guess I don't feel so bad about my 14-16 MPG now, still think its bad but not as bad. I kinda fooled myself into thinking that a Boler was light weight, therefore gas mileage wouldn't be so bad. how wrong was I on that one.

Has any one towed with a small engine Toyota Tacoma 2wd? Reason I ask is I have a friend that drives super fast (130 km/h) which is about 80 MPH towing a 13' boler and claims that it hardly affects his fuel economy. I'm skeptical of his claims but would love to know if there anyone out there with a Toyota tundra 2wd 2.4L engine and what they are getting.

Cheers Russ

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Old 03-27-2008, 09:32 AM   #8
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In 2005 I kept a log of gas usage on our trip from San Diego, CA to Oneida Lake, NY. When we started out, I kept the cruise control set at 55 mph, the legal towing limit in California. However, I misjudged the time required to make the cross country trip, and later nudged my speed up to 75 mph. Once I saw how my fuel economy suffered, I compromised at 65 mph. You can tell how fast I was going by how good (or bad) my mpg was:

1st gas stop:
Interstate 15 North, Fontana, CA. 12:05, 07/01/05
231.5 miles / 12.876 gal / $2.459 / [b]17.98 mpg


15th gas stop:
Constantia, NY, 07-07-05, 10:13
209.4 miles / 14.974 gal / $2.359 / [b]13.98 mpg
Hi Fredrick
What sort of vehicle are you towing with?
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:03 AM   #9
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Last summer we towed from Texas to Oregon and back. The average for the entire trip was 16.1 mpg towing a 1973 Compact Jr with a 2002 Toyota Sienna (3.0 liter V6). We towed at 60 mph. The Toyota averages 20 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg (with cruise set on 70 mph) on the highway.

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Old 03-27-2008, 12:23 PM   #10
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Russ,

We have the same tow vehicle as Frederick but my Fredrick drives much slower and we have a 13 Scamp. On our long trips we always average 17.5 mpg. (3 cross country trips over 5,000 miles) We often have headwinds and get only 14/15 but make up for that on other parts of the drive that are not so bad.

Also we take seats out of the Odyssey van, do not have water in the trailer, no a/c or fridge.

Great suggestion about tire pressure. We constantly check tire pressure of both car and trailer.

Nancy
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:28 PM   #11
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Do you think that fact that my Boler has been raised by the previous owner and sits about 6 inches taller than an original boler is significantly affecting my MPG. I have considered lowering back down to the low profile but feel its a lot of work. Great thing about it being raised it the better clearance on dirt and gravel roads and it looks cool too.
I once raised my Jayco 16' by an under-slung on the axle and putting on larger wheels. I did it for other purposes, and all my friends said it would be harder to tow because it was higher. Much to everyone's surprise, it got **easier** to tow, esp in headwinds. My most skeptical friend wound up raising HIS trailer (adjustable frame!!).

What I believe happened was that because the undersides of truck and trailer were now in a straight line and there was no 'air dam' effect of air trapped in front of the underside of the trailer. IOW, the underside improvements more than offset the topside deprovements (esp because topside is more aerodynamic than underside; I would expect this to be even more so with an egg with rounded corners).
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Old 03-27-2008, 01:16 PM   #12
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Hey Roger,

I guess I don't feel so bad about my 14-16 MPG now, still think its bad but not as bad. I kinda fooled myself into thinking that a Boler was light weight, therefore gas mileage wouldn't be so bad. how wrong was I on that one.

Has any one towed with a small engine Toyota Tacoma 2wd? Reason I ask is I have a friend that drives super fast (130 km/h) which is about 80 MPH towing a 13' boler and claims that it hardly affects his fuel economy. I'm skeptical of his claims but would love to know if there anyone out there with a Toyota tundra 2wd 2.4L engine and what they are getting.

Cheers Russ
Your Boler IS lightweight for a trailer, but 1200 additional lbs is 1200 additional lbs on an engine that's designed for maximum fuel efficiency with maybe 400 lbs of load in the two front seats.

The Tundras smallest engine was the 3.4L six; the one I have. The old body Tacoma was available with the 4cyl. Your friend is undoubtedly exaggerating just a little about his mileage. Ok... perhaps he's exaggerating a lot! Towing a trailer with a small engine will give as much as a 50% decrease in gas mileage. The faster you try to go with it, the less gas mileage it's going to give you. Towing my aluminum flatbed utility trailer with my small garden tractor on it affects the gas mileage of my Tundra when towing.

Roger
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Old 03-27-2008, 01:37 PM   #13
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I'm on the other end of the food chain here.

I pull a 25' Bigfoot Rear Queen with a 4 door, 6 speed automatic, Dodge, 4x4, 3500, turbo charged Cummins diesel, short bed. They say the engine won't be broke in until about 30,000 miles and that the mileage will continue to improve. Lori bought it for me for Father's day. She calls it my BAT - (Big A$ Truck)

Currently at 15,000 miles I'm getting 21+ mpg empty on the highway. When conditions are just right, I got 31.1 mpg traveling 90 miles across eastern Oregon to Ontario, OR. That was rare and I haven't been able to do it again. Towing I get 16.2 mpg on average and that was going over the Siskious in Oregan and the High Sierras in California , but mostly I-5 at 60 mph. I am told we should be able to get 18+ mpg when the engine is broken in.

The worst I have gotten is (on a different trip) when we went to pick up our Bigfoot 25B25RQ. Coming back we got 11.5 mpg going over the Siskious into a 60 mph head wind through the snow in stop & go traffic conditions.

Having the 1 ton diesel gives tremendous power pulling hills. Mountain driving is not an issue. Also, having a Jake exhaust brake coupled with cruise control saves the truck brakes for emergencies.

For us, the hidden advantage is, Lori can carry all her Dutch Oven equipment in the back of the truck. I've told her, if you can get it in we can take it. It's nice to be able to take what you want.
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:37 PM   #14
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I pull a 25' Bigfoot Rear Queen with a 4 door, 6 speed automatic, Dodge, 4x4, 3500, turbo charged Cummins diesel, short bed. They say the engine won't be broke in until about 30,000 miles and that the mileage will continue to improve. Lori bought it for me for Father's day. She calls it my BAT - (Big A$ Truck)
Hi Mike, I thought having a Diesel would save you tons on fuel costs? So I wonder what kinda mileage people with the huge big a$ fifth wheels and big diesel pusher coaches get ?
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