MPG Halved by Boler - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-03-2012, 10:40 AM   #1
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Unhappy MPG Halved by Boler

We just took our new Boler on her maiden voyage and were shocked to see the MPG meter on our '05 Caravan reading 11-15, where it would normally be 24-27.

Last summer I towed a utility trailer which weighed roughly the same, but was about 3 feet shorter, and it had little effect maybe 2 or 3 MPG.

This means it's entirely a problem of aerodynamics. Really, really bad aerodynamics.

I really hope there are solutions to this, because otherwise we'll probably have to give up the dream and sell the Boler...
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:43 AM   #2
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How fast were you driving?
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:45 AM   #3
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About 55-65 MPH.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:51 AM   #4
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Yesterday I saw a 13' Scamp being pulled by a sedan of some sort. On top of the car was a (ridiculous-looking) wind breaker of the sort you might see on an 18-wheeler. It looked as if it was homemade. I wonder if this addition makes much difference in aerodynamics and MPG? We tow a 13' Scamp with a Subaru Legacy sedan with little difference in MPG.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:54 AM   #5
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About 55-65 MPH.
Wow, I'm surprised. I'd say drive 55 or slower - it is a very non linear increase in fuel consumption with added speed. You might also calculate how much extra you will actually spend in gasoline vs with another trailer. You can buy a lot of gas for say, $1000.

Note rate of decrease in the graph in this link, past 55 mph. A trailer will exaggerate this rate of decrease.

Tips for improving car fuel economy and gas mileage
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:07 AM   #6
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I did notice a bit of an increase (still only 15 MPG at best) when driving slower (50-55 MPH), but there's only so slow you can drive on a highway...

I found this pertinent pic in another thread. That's me in the first camp, which is surprising since I'm in a minivan:
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:24 AM   #7
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Could it be something as simple as 65 mph with a head wind?

We drive about 60 with a mini van and a 13 Scamp. We are not heavily loaded and over our 3,000 mile trips average 17.5 mpg. A heavy wind can drop that to as low as 14 mpg.

Try slowing down and find a tail wind.

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Old 05-03-2012, 11:45 AM   #8
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I now remember that the Scamp dealer recommended that we tow our trailer slightly tilted down in the front, which we did. There are varied opinions on the web regarding the effectiveness of wind deflectors. By the looks of the diagram previously posted it largely depends on the shape of the trailer.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:54 PM   #9
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Could it be something as simple as 65 mph with a head wind?Nancy
Yup a headwind will do it for sure! Normally I expect to get on average on the Washington and Oregon I5 21-22mpg average while towing. On trip in Nov/dec that number took a big hit down to 15 mpg average as I had a head wind all the way down to California - went as low as 7 mpg in the worst of it - even though while sitting in the car I could not really notice it being all that windy other than the gas consumption drop.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:13 PM   #10
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Towing at 60mph with my RAV4 & Escape 17B (3K lbs loaded) drops the MPG from 25 highway to 15...

I'll agree that headwinds can take a toll - I had one day out in Wyoming that a headwind dropped me to 8MPG until I turned 90 (at which point I followed a motorcycle leaning at 60 on a straight section of road).
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:01 PM   #11
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Or could both your mini van and trailer be taking a hit in mpg due to head wind? My old Honda CRV would drop several highway mpg in a head wind. Without towing anything.

If your TV is front wheel drive a trailer can be pulling the back down and the drive wheels up for a significant loss of traction. Yields a drop in mpg.

Does your TV have an overdrive off button and was OD off?
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:46 PM   #12
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We can see a 10 mpg difference upwind vs downwind in our 2006 Prius (no trailer - duh) on a windy (20 ish mph) day; from 40 to 50 mpg at freeway speeds. Overall average is 44 over 80,000 miles.

Xichael, I wouldn't give too much credence to one data point and I would calc your gas mileage the old fashioned way. Your car computer is guessing how much gas flows based on fuel injector commands. Its 'guess' can be less than accurate.

Also note in the link above they say a faulty O2 sensor can really hurt mileage. Is your check engine light on?

Gotta be a lot of people here towing a similar trailer with a minivan. Maybe some will post their experience.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:50 PM   #13
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We find our mileage towing our Scamp 16 with our Honda CRV drops from 28-30 mpg to 22-23 mpg when towing, about a 5-8 mpg difference.

In head winds we have seen the mileage drop to as little as 18 mpg when towing. In general we avoid driving on windy days, an advantage of retirement. The worst winds of course are winds that blow sand.

Like many I'm betting on a head wind. It really doesn't take a lot either.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:58 PM   #14
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It would seem that a Boler would be relatively aerodynamic, especially compared to a flat fronted sticky.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:39 PM   #15
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:45 PM   #16
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Well, I've said... it is what it is. I don't camp every day or every week or even every month. I plan my trips and budget accordingly. Fuel and site costs are part of that budget. I don't typically consider food, because I eat every day and often don't eat anything different when camping.

But, what I do get out of taking my Scamp out... is priceless. I KNOW it wouldn't be any cheaper to motel it (gag) and the memories I'm making are worth it to me. YMMV

Slow down? And smell the roses. It's not just the destination, but the journey as well.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:02 PM   #17
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Any possibility that it could be bearings or brakes on the trailer?
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:50 PM   #18
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Any possibility that it could be bearings or brakes on the trailer?
I was thinking the same thing.
After you've driven a few miles feel the trailer hubs. They should be cool, or very close.

If they're hot have things checked out.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:04 PM   #19
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A couple of years ago I figured an average of the MPG numbers posted on the yahoo scampers group. Seems to me that for a 13' egg it was pretty common to see numbers around 15 to 17 mpg. A few rare people get 20+ but I think it is "luck of the draw" with their tow vehicles. Some people got less than 15, too.

Let's compare gas costs for a 2000 mile vacation. At $4/gallon, a rig getting 13 mpg takes $615 and one getting 20 mpg takes $400. My philosophy is that a couple hundred bucks is not going to break the bank or stop me from enjoying my travels. If money were that tight I would not have bought the trailer to begin with. I just put it out of my mind and go.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:11 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
A couple of years ago I figured an average of the MPG numbers posted on the yahoo scampers group. Seems to me that for a 13' egg it was pretty common to see numbers around 15 to 17 mpg. A few rare people get 20+ but I think it is "luck of the draw" with their tow vehicles. Some people got less than 15, too.

Let's compare gas costs for a 2000 mile vacation. At $4/gallon, a rig getting 13 mpg takes $615 and one getting 20 mpg takes $400. My philosophy is that a couple hundred bucks is not going to break the bank or stop me from enjoying my travels. If money were that tight I would not have bought the trailer to begin with. I just put it out of my mind and go.
Both are way cheaper than a hotel, air fare, going out to eat every day and a rental car.

Oh, and one doesn't risk returning with "critters" like bedbugs.
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