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Old 05-23-2013, 12:54 PM   #1
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Best gas mileage tow vehicle for 3000# TT?

Brand new to towing. Just got back from picking up my new 2011 MPG in knoxville - towed it home to new orleans with my 5.3L V8, 6 speed 2010 Suburban without issue, but am now dealing with gas mileage drop shock.

The suburban typically gets 22-24mpg on the highway, pulling 3000#'s, it averaged 10....I managed to bump it to 12 by keeping my speed down to 59-62 mph, any higher and it dropped into the 9's.

I have no idea if this is just part of the price, or if there are better vehicle (gas mileage wise) to tow with.

I'm planning to go cross country this summer and expect to do 10K miles. Every extra mpg will help.

Any advice?

So new to this I squeak when I walk
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:43 PM   #2
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Sounds about right. Keep it slow and 10 or so is good.

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Old 05-23-2013, 04:32 PM   #3
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That's about par for the course. It, too a certain point, doesn't matter how much the trailer weighs; what you are fighting is surface area and not weight. That huge frontal area takes a lot energy to pull through the air (just stick your hand out the window at 65 mph with your fingers pointed ahead and then raise your hand so it is palm forward. Same thing applies to the wall that the front of your trailer has become. When I towed a TT, I got 9.5 to 11 mpg. I got rid of the TT and got a 5er at twice the weight and another 14' longer. Now I get 10.5 to 11.5 (I went to a diesel truck and the diesel does a lot better). I towed the TT with the same truck for a year and got 11 to 12.5, so, I doubled the weight, added 14 feet in length and lost .5 to 1 mpg. It is pretty much all frontal area.

Keep the tires aired up and the speed down and you'll wring out the best mpg, but, what you are getting is about right and if you are getting 12, you are IMHO, getting the best you're likely to get. RVing and good gas mileage aren't used in the same sentence unless you are bragging you got 12 mpg...

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2014 Thor Tuscany 40RX (AKA, "The Cat House")
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:42 PM   #4
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The MPG looks like it is built to be areodynamic. I am also a bit surprised your mileage dropped as far as it did. I am also surprised that your SUV would get 22 to 24 miles per gallon.

If I had to guess what happened is that you have a 5.3 that can shut off cylinders. That solo the engine can run on 4 cylinders some of the time but when towing the engine never runs in 4 cylinder mode.

That is my guess.
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:49 AM   #5
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When we towed a camper with our 05 Burb that has a 5.3 we got about 10 mpg. Highest we ever got not towing was 20 mpg and average around 17mpg. I'm betting your Burb is 2wd to get 22-24 mpg. Your in the ballpark with yours. 12 mpg is not bad for your set up. Physics is working against you.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:42 AM   #6
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A bigger TV (bigger size & bigger power) will give you better MPG because it doesn't work as hard. I could probably get about 15 towing your TT. I get 13 towing 18/20K. To do that you also need a light foot. I increased mine about 15/20% by keeping speed below 60 and a light foot. Having said all that, it probably isn't worth it to go that route. Just keep the speed down and keep your foot out of it.

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Old 05-25-2013, 04:34 PM   #7
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I had a Chevy Tahoe with the 4.10 rear end and even with only a 4-speed transmission I got 14 MPG towing a 6,000 lb. boat. If I went 70 MPH or faster I could see the gas gauge move toward empty.

Air drag is a big factor and it increases with the square of your velocity. At 70 MPH there is 4x as much drag as at 35 MPH. Add in a less than aerodynamic SUV and a travel trailer and fuel economy is going to be affected. But no one buys a 3/4 ton SUV if they care about fuel economy.

A new vehicle is going to cost you more than any likely savings in towing fuel costs. Best fuel economy is with a Class B motorhome. Anything else is going to burn a lot of fuel.

There are several makers of full size pop-up trailers and these could help with fuel economy most of the time. Pulling them up a mountain grade is going to take as much work and fuel as the trailer you have.

Diesel will help 20-25% with fuel consumption but then diesel costs 15% more and the cost of the vehicle is an extra $8000-9000 and maintenance costs are higher so this is a false economy.

My fuel consumption can easily increase by 25% with a 15-20 MPH headwind and traveling early in the day will help to minimize this impact as can slowing down even more. If I am traveling at 65 MPH and encounter a 15 MPH headwind my effective air drag is the same as going at 80 MPH and that means an increase in drag of 22% so I drop my speed down to 60 MPH or less. If my destination that day is 150 miles away the difference is 30 minutes driving time going at the slower speed and for us saving 30 minutes is not important.
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:41 AM   #8
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Only 2 factors effect MPG. Winddrag and tire friction. Weight can be felt in the hills but for every hill there is a downhill. And if smart it balances.
Thats why I was told to get the longest unit with best axles and tires. At 110psi tires do not cause drag and lower only increases it.
Side wind do come in play with longer trailers but slowing down takes care of it.
Just because you bought a small unit does not make it drag less. You still have the frontal drag. Thats why 5th wheels like mine are so easy to haul compared to TTs.
Barbara and Laurent, Hartland Big Country 3500RL. 39 ft long and 15500 GVW.
2005 Ford F250 SD, XL F250 4x4, Long Box, 6.0L Diesel, 6 Speed Stick, Hypertech Max Energy for Fuel mileage of 21 MPusG empty, 12.6 MPusG pulling the BC. ScangaugeII for display..
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by caissiel View Post
Just because you bought a small unit does not make it drag less. You still have the frontal drag. Thats why 5th wheels like mine are so easy to haul compared to TTs.
True. In my duramax, I get 10-11 pulling a 10k (loaded) TT, 10-11 pulling a 6K TT, 15-16 pulling a bass boat, and 19-20 empty.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:42 PM   #10
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Yep....no matter what I drive, when I tow I pretty much plan on 8-11 mpg. Wind, weight, horsepower, hills, etc., etc., etc. all play a part. You 5.3 is working hard to pull your trailer....it will certainly pull it, but it costs mpg to get the work done.

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