Towing tank range - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 05-12-2016, 08:52 PM   #15
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Wonderful data point Randy. Thank you so much.

Originally Posted by RandyNH View Post
2013 GMC Sierra 1500 towing an Oliver Elite II weighing 5800 lbs from Pittsburgh to New Hampshire ave 12.3mpg normal highway speeds, although I do have a light foot. Normal mileage for the truck is 18mpg. 26 gallon stock tank.

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Old 05-12-2016, 09:54 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bster13 View Post
I guess what I'm looking for (which may not be possible due to variations in vehicles and trailers) is reasonable assurance I can get get 300 miles out of a tank on a modern gasoline F150 (or whatever is recommended to pull a Oliver Elite II or Escape 21 footer)? For whatever reason, under 300 miles on roads that aren't going over mountains seems like it would get to be a pain for my personal preference. Thanks!
I do not see the Oliver Elite II and the Escape 21' as in any way comparable. The Oliver is much bigger and heavier and requires a bigger tow vehicle that is going to use much more gas. We can tow an Escape 21' with a mid-sized SUV. That will not happen with that Oliver. We use a 4Runner.

A common towing capacity for SUVs or even some trucks used to tow Escapes is 5000. That is not sufficient for the Elite II so you are talking about a big difference in gas mileage because you need another TV. People who have Olivers don't mind paying the difference or getting fewer mpgs, obviously. Olivers are still small compared to the big units and the mileage would still be good compared to those.

Your range, of course, also depends upon the tank as has been mentioned. We never do 300 in a day, or rarely. We never need to stop for gas even if we do 250 and no doubt could do 300 and more, however, I don't ever like to go below half a tank.

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Old 05-13-2016, 06:44 AM   #17
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My '08 Highlander (now sold) had a 17 gallon tank. MPG averaged about 14 mpg when towing a FG trailer at 60 mph, but an all-day headwind could drop it to 11 or 12. Thus when planning a trip to Yosemite, I was leery of driving US-6 from Ely to Tonopah because I didn't know if I could for sure make it through that gas-station-less stretch.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven... --Ecclesiastes 3
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Old 05-13-2016, 07:06 AM   #18
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You know, it's funny... I never even thought about the fuel tank size as a factor in the decision between a motorhome and a trailer. My Pilot has a 21 gallon tank and gets anywhere from 15 to 20 mpg towing our little Scamp, depending on conditions. Its practical range (i.e., before I start getting anxious) is probably about 275 miles, and that has been plenty to get us wherever we have needed to go. I can see with a bigger trailer it might become more of an issue.

One thing did occur to me. I don't know where in the US and Canada a range of under 300 miles would become problematic, but my guess is there aren't too many, and they would tend to be the kinds of places where you might rather have a vehicle & trailer than a huge motorhome.

What about diesel? For the trailers you are considering, the new RAM 1500 Ecodiesel would be a good match. A 26-gallon tank should give it a towing range of well over 300 miles with the mid-sized molded fiberglass trailers you're considering. Pricey, but compared to a motorhome and toad combination, you would likely still come out way ahead, especially when you factor in maintenance of the motorhome drivetrain. Don't know too much about these things, but it seems like some diesel owners add an in-bed auxiliary tank. I also don't know too much about diesel availability in the hinterlands, which is likely where the range issue plays out.

Here is an old thread set up to compile data on various trailer and tow vehicle combinations. Towing fuel mileage (self-reported) is included in the data. Fuel tank size is not, but it's not hard to find that information online. Post #1 links to a spreadsheet of the data.
Tow Vehicle and Trailer Combinations
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Old 05-13-2016, 07:55 AM   #19
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2015 Ram Eco-Diesel. Fla. to Va, with loaded Scamp 16 DX and bed shell loaded to the hilt, 19.75 MPG and 400 miles between fill ups. Local Driving with a bed shell, 26-28 MPG. With a clean truck on the interstate I have gotten 31MPG, but oil changes on this truck are expensive. The truck ride is outstanding.
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Old 05-13-2016, 09:53 AM   #20
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A few months ago a discovered my travel journals from 1983-1985. Back then our family traveled the entire USA and visited most of the national parks.
We did not miss much ! I recorded the daily mileage, the cost of food, the campground fees (some as low as $6 a night !). We also recorded our observations in each area we visited. The only thing we did not record was the cost of gasoline or our MPG...guess it was not important. What was important was the great times we had as a family.

Last September (2015) my wife and I traveled in the south...didn't keep a remember the cost for gas in South Carolina was about $1.69 a gallon...MPG ??? Did not record that either...we were having a great time!

I guess the cost factor is quickly forgotten if you are enjoying the ride.
We will begin our RV travel season later this month...still no plans to record gas prices or MPG...but...we will take a lot of pictures and bring back some great is all about the memories...not the MPGs.

For what it may be worth...I did read once that the industry standard was to set up vehicles to attain a 300 mile range and size the engine/tank capacity to that goal. No idea if it is true or not. I'm sure that trailer towing is not a factor for any auto manufacturer when setting up fuel tank size.

Happy Camping !
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Old 05-13-2016, 11:06 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Bster13 View Post
I guess what I'm looking for (which may not be possible due to variations in vehicles and trailers) is reasonable assurance I can get get 300 miles out of a tank on a modern gasoline F150 (or whatever is recommended to pull a Oliver Elite II or Escape 21 footer)? For whatever reason, under 300 miles on roads that aren't going over mountains seems like it would get to be a pain for my personal preference. Thanks!
While on paper I should be able to get 300 miles from the RAV4/Escape17B combination (15 gallon tank & 15MPH) the reality is that like others, I look for fuel when down to half a tank. I would not be comfortable getting under 1/4 in most parts of the country since I avoid interstates, and some of the secondary roads have long distances between services. That ends up more like 150 - 200 miles per fill up, by which time I want to stop for a coffee refill (and a Jon empty!)

For those that are concerned, it was more of a problem in Wyoming than the Alaskan highway...
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:02 PM   #22
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Motorhome versus trailer

We had a 32 foot 1997 Bounder that we drove about 100,000 miles. It averaged 7.5 mpg and had a 90 gallon tank, giving us a range of about 600 miles.

We now tow with a Honda Odyssey our Scamp 16. Depending on wind, roads we choose, .... we've averaged between 18 and 21 mpg over about 15,000 miles towing giving us 360 to 400 miles with our 21 gallon tank. Not towing drivin simple something like the Trans Canada we can average 30-35 mpg and approach 600-7000 miles per tank.

We typically only tow for 150 miles a day and by habit we fill up every day.

The Honda is a lot more fuel efficient (in a per mile sense) the reality is that when making an 8 month loop of the USA the motor home only used about 1000 gallons of gas, really at $2 per gallon less than $300 a month.
Norm and Ginny

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1991 Scamp 16
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Old 05-13-2016, 12:12 PM   #23
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My RAV4 fuel gauge accelerates when it hits half full, racing toward empty. I too start to get nervous.
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Old 05-13-2016, 02:33 PM   #24
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MPG is dropping a little bit when you fill up half full, you always carry extra gasoline weight.
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Old 05-13-2016, 04:35 PM   #25
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Dodge Ram hemi with 8 speed pulling Escape 21 weighing 4300# average 13-14 mpg...
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:27 PM   #26
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My little Toyota motorhome had only a 12 gallon tank, and the gas gauge was broken. Worked on full, but at about 3/4 of a tank, it would drop to empty. I just watched the mileage. At 150 miles I'd start looking for a gas station. It's rare you can't fine one. On those rare occasions, I relied on my 5 gallon gas can on my back bumper.

My current truck/trailer combo tends to go 200 miles before I need gas. Typically the gas light hasn't come on yet, but I'm about on E. That's with a 16 gallon tank.

I understand that you want what you want, but 200 is plenty for me. As others have said, after 200 miles, (around 3 hours of driving), it's about time for a break!

Some vehicles have an easy option of adding a larger gas tank. All vehicles, especially pickup trucks, can have a larger tank installed with different levels of difficulty.
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:44 PM   #27
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A trusted mechanic gave me some advice that makes perfect sense to me. The more you run your fuel supply down to the point the fuel light comes on, the more likely you will require an expensive fuel pump replacement. The gasoline in the tank cools and lubricates the pump and makes it last longer. I do my best to never let the available supply get below 1/4 tank.
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Old 05-13-2016, 08:59 PM   #28
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I'm bad about that, even though I know it's true...I just want to squeeze what I can out of the tank!

Even the owners manual says to try not to let it get below 1/4 tank.

It is an annoying job, since the pump is in the gas tank. You have to drop to the gas tank to get at it. On most of my old trucks it was a mechanical pump up on the cylinder head, so it wasn't a big deal. But yeah, the in-tank pumps like to be submerged in gas.

Older (and maybe newer? I don't know) Subarus had a little hatch, inside the vehicle, under the carpeting, that gave you access to the top of the gas tank, and the fuel pump. But making vehicles easy for anyone to service isn't something that really happens anymore...

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