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Old 02-23-2016, 11:33 AM   #1
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5th wheel vs TT MPG

I don't know if this has been addressed or not. Unable to find it with the search function. Anyway, I'm really looking hard into upgrading to a 5th wheel. My TT weighs about 9200lb loaded and the 5th wheel I'm looking at will be about 13600 loaded. Both are the same length, both have fairly aerodynamic front caps. Will there much difference?
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:12 PM   #2
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With so many different sizes and shapes of TT's and 5ers, there is no quick answer. Looking straight on, you will see that the one will have considerably more frontal area than another, so that is the amount of air that needs to be displaced. The shape of the front might give different results than you might expect, because that smoothly displaced air will have to come back together at the back end. My guess is that the overall, somewhat teardrop shape of the 5er helps make up for the extra frontal area. As always, YMMV.
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:31 PM   #3
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I was thinking the frontal area is probably the same or very close. However I was thinking maybe since the 5th wheel is closer to the cab of the truck that there will be less drag as compared to the TT. But I'm no engineer so there's a fairly good chance I'm wrong lol
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Old 02-23-2016, 02:02 PM   #4
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No easy answer but my experience going from a 31' 9000lb TT to a 41' 14000lb 5th wheel was no loss in MPG and a much more stable towing experience.
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Old 02-23-2016, 02:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dcarver View Post
I don't know if this has been addressed or not. Unable to find it with the search function. Anyway, I'm really looking hard into upgrading to a 5th wheel. My TT weighs about 9200lb loaded and the 5th wheel I'm looking at will be about 13600 loaded. Both are the same length, both have fairly aerodynamic front caps. Will there much difference?

That is an impossible question to answer.

I went from a 6000# TT to a 15600# 5er in the last year. I haven't noticed too much difference but my TV is a Ram 3500 DRW 6.7 HO 4x4. Maybe 1 to 2 mpg difference. My most recent trip with the 5er averaged 10.2 from Sacramento to Quartzsite via the grapevine.
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Old 02-23-2016, 04:34 PM   #6
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Frontal area is the big difference.

5ers are available in three different profiles, low, medium, and high.

Low profile 5er should get about the same MPG as a TT of the same width and loaded weight. Low profile means someone has to crawl around in order to make up the bed.

Medium profile has about 5' from floor to ceiling in the front bedroom, so someone doesn't have to crawl to make the bed, but they can't stand up straight either. Expect about one MPG less with a medium profile 5er compared to a TT of the same width and loaded weight.

A full or high profile 5er sucks lots of wind, so it will probably get noticeably lower MPG than a TT of the same width and weight.
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Old 02-23-2016, 05:53 PM   #7
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If worried about MPG then RVng isn't what you should be doing......

You are towing a brick built like a wind sail.

I get 10-11 mpg with current truck towing my 14K 13' 4" tall 34' 5th wheel

I got 10-11 mpg with previous truck towing 20' 2k pontoon boat on a 28' 1500# trailer
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:00 PM   #8
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If worried about MPG then RVng isn't what you should be doing......

You are towing a brick built like a wind sail.

I get 10-11 mpg with current truck towing my 14K 13' 4" tall 34' 5th wheel

I got 10-11 mpg with previous truck towing 20' 2k pontoon boat on a 28' 1500# trailer
Glad you have enough money to never worry about fuel prices. I hope you worked hard for that money.
We make enough money that high fuel costs won't really hinder our travels. I am just really in to getting better mpg.
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Old 02-23-2016, 08:45 PM   #9
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If you have to worry about fuel costs, you may have picked the wrong lifestyle.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:26 PM   #10
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Smokey has a good answer for you. But you are adding 4k lbs to the new setup, so expect to get less mpg.
MPG is important, but so is the enjoyment of the lifestyle--I have an aux tank that allows me to choose where I fuel up--this results in a large savings over time. I have used the same in-bed tank for over 400k miles, and just use GasBuddy to figure out where to fuel down the road.
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Old 02-24-2016, 01:04 AM   #11
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MPG is important, but so is the enjoyment of the lifestyle--I have an aux tank that allows me to choose where I fuel up--this results in a large savings over time. I have used the same in-bed tank for over 400k miles, and just use GasBuddy to figure out where to fuel down the road.
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There is some very good information in there for everyone.
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:17 AM   #12
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Glad you have enough money to never worry about fuel prices. I hope you worked hard for that money.
We make enough money that high fuel costs won't really hinder our travels. I am just really in to getting better mpg.
These discussions about MPG always degenerate into the "If you are worried about....." nonsense. I have a lot of respect for your position and not so much for those that accept waste. The RV industry has no reason to improve with so many that just don't care.
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Old 02-24-2016, 10:10 AM   #13
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Just figure on getting between 9-11mpg and you won't have any surprises. I always figure my costs on 10 mog even though I could get less or more. But the norm is that I usually get 10.5 to 11.5 over the long run.
It's really hard to compare TTs to 5ers since both come in different hgts. Our previous TT was a tall one and our current 5er is a mid profile. Got the same mpg with both. If I were to tow something along the lines of a Lance TT I know I'd get 1-1.5 mpg better. On the flip side if were to tow a full profile like a Heartland Big Horn then I'm guessing my mpg would drop.
I only travel about 4000 miles a year so 1 mpg makes very little difference. $66.00 over 4000 miles to be exact.
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:58 PM   #14
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Glad you have enough money to never worry about fuel prices. I hope you worked hard for that money.
We make enough money that high fuel costs won't really hinder our travels. I am just really in to getting better mpg.
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Originally Posted by lynnmor View Post
These discussions about MPG always degenerate into the "If you are worried about....." nonsense. I have a lot of respect for your position and not so much for those that accept waste. The RV industry has no reason to improve with so many that just don't care.

Towing WILL affect your MPG. You are towing a BRICK built like a WIND SAIL
It costs me 7 MPG whenever I hook up. Period....fact of towing.

If one has to worry about that affect on MPG then towing is going to cost you more then just money. It is going to affect your enjoyment, why you tow (to go have fun) and how often you tow.

Not much can be done to improve MPG when towing .......slowing down, towing at sweet spot, tires properly inflated, easy on the go pedal (all the things one does to improve MPG when not towing) will get you .5 mpg or so.

RV MFGs have made attempts over the years to improve towing.
'Lite' units, sloped front units, V-shaped fronts etc. BUT----
Towing an RV (TT, FW, TC) costs....period. It is what it is.

10-11 mpg is GREAT when towing
I read/hear that MHs get 5-7 MPG

So...........
If you have to worry about MPG then RVng is probably something you are not going to enjoy long term. Cause it is what it is!
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