Towing w/ full or empty tanks ? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-18-2013, 10:15 PM   #1
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Towing w/ full or empty tanks ?

Should I tow my 13 ft Scamp with a full tank of water or without water?
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Old 05-18-2013, 10:27 PM   #2
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Depends...if you're towing with something really small and/or a whole lot of other payload, the hundred pounds or so might make a difference. If not- don't worry about it.

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Old 05-18-2013, 11:14 PM   #3
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I usually start out with five gallons of fresh water.
We have stopped to (powder our noses) and they would be so busy
we decided to use our own powder room. Sometimes we head out
with a full tank.
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Old 05-18-2013, 11:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by lvgator View Post
Should I tow my 13 ft Scamp with a full tank of water or without water?
I find very little difference between towing when the fresh water tank is full and empty. I've gotten into the habit of leaving home with a full fresh water tank and the gray water tank empty. When I move from one place to another is there's a dump station where I'm departing from I fill the fresh water tank and empty the gray water tank.

I run the fresh water through a ceramic filter to help keep the fresh water tank clean. I sanitize the fresh water tank once a year.

We travel in the winter, gone for 3 months at a time. Shorter trips of 4 days to 2 or 3 weeks during the rest of the year.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:23 AM   #5
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Any extra weight can affect you gas mileage. If that's important to you.....travel as light as possible. If you're going to a campground with water.....put in 1/4 tank for toilet and fill the rest at the campsite. If you're boondocking.....might have to fill at home and carry the weight. Same goes for your holding tanks.....full tanks mean more weight. Empty your grey water at the campsite before leaving.....empty black water when near full. Good luck.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:30 AM   #6
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Any extra weight can affect you gas mileage. If that's important to you.....travel as light as possible. If you're going to a campground with water.....put in 1/4 tank for toilet and fill the rest at the campsite. If you're boondocking.....might have to fill at home and carry the weight. Same goes for your holding tanks.....full tanks mean more weight. Empty your grey water at the campsite before leaving.....empty black water when near full. Good luck.
Weight has very little to do with gas mileage. It's mostly air resistance. That extra weight of water is not enough that you would ever notice it.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:49 AM   #7
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And, 240 lbs. of beer weighs less than 240 lbs. of water.
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:49 AM   #8
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Weight has very little to do with gas mileage. It's mostly air resistance. That extra weight of water is not enough that you would ever notice it.

That has not been my experience. Drag is certainly a factor....but so is weight.
HowStuffWorks "How will towing affect my gas mileage?"
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:54 AM   #9
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And, 240 lbs. of beer weighs less than 240 lbs. of water.
That is why I always empty my bladder before heading out.......
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:20 AM   #10
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That has not been my experience. Drag is certainly a factor....but so is weight.
HowStuffWorks "How will towing affect my gas mileage?"

I've towed my Scamp for close over 50,000 miles, with over 30,000 miles in the last 4 years. I've seen no noticeable difference between full tanks or empty tanks. If I average 60 mph or 55 mph I notice a difference. Better mileage at 55 mph.

This subject has been discussed and discussed on this forum many times with consensus that weight makes very little difference to point. A few thousand pound would probably make a difference, even very little difference between a 13' and a 16' of same manufacturer.

There appears to be a difference between flat front trailers and rounded trailers. But 300 lbs difference isn't noticeable.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:48 AM   #11
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Gotta agree with Byron. I always fill my fresh water tank. I'll give you an example of weight vs. air resistance. At one time we had a 30 foot Holiday Rambler travel trailer and a 22 ft Summit travel trailer. The Holiday Rambler weighed about 2000 pounds more than the Summit yet the Holiday got better mpg. Why? The Rambler had a more aerodynamic shape with rounded front corners, propane tanks enclosed inside the trailer body, and the H.R. had an enclosed underbelly. The Summit, by contrast, had the propane tanks on the tongue, was more upright in front, the front corners were sharp and not rounded, and its underbelly was not enclosed. Both trailers towed by the same truck at the same speeds under the same conditions. I suppose if all towing was uphill under stop and go conditions, then weight would probably be a factor but who ever tows like that? Additionally, having water along means we have the use of the toilet wherever we are and that has save our bacon (both of us) many times.
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:30 AM   #12
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Force =mass times acceleration. If you drive at a constant speed, acceleration is essentially zero, thus force due to added weight is essentially zero.

In contrast, aerodynamic force goes up with the square of the speed. The other big factors are area and drag coefficient, as seen in the first equation in the link.

Drag equation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Conclusion - drive slowly, minimize frontal area and buy a slippery designed trailer.
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:42 AM   #13
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That is why I always empty my bladder before heading out.......
For the most part...
Weight costs fuel economy through resistance to accelleration.
Drag has it's greatest impact at speed.
If you drive fast, drag will cost you at speed... and weight, not so much.
If you accellerate hard, weight will cost you more.
Both are, of course, factors.
Drag is the most important (within reasonable limits).
Water in your fresh tank will not likely cost much to carry with good driving habits.



We tow our 13D with fresh water according to anticipated need without regard to weight .
Since we have not yet "needed" gray or black water we try to keep them as empty as possible when traveling.

When we raced SCCA, we had to go to a larger TV when we switched to a closed trailer (from an open) with roughly the same car and spares.
In my experience ...Nothing tows like a Scamp
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:49 AM   #14
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Load em up guys.......I stay with minimum weight as much as possible and drive conservatively. That includes my tow vehicle and back pack. Works for me and my mileage is better. Safe travels!
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