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Old 08-28-2019, 03:59 PM   #1
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Fuel Mileage while Towing

We just returned from an eight day trip in the prairies towing our Winnebago 1706FB with a 2016 Ford Explorer with the tow package but not the turbo engine. When we departed, our fresh water tank was full, the others were empty. I Thought that if I drove nice (under 105kph or 65 mph) I would get consistent mileage. It was anything but consistent. The mileage heading out eastbound was around 13 mpg. On the way home westbound and against the prevailing winds our mileage dropped to 9.7 mpg. That's with no liquids and less of everything (propane, beer, food, firewood). Then heading north with no winds the mileage was a trip best at 16.6 mpg. The terrain was pretty similar each day. From this I have to conclude that wind and wind resistance is the single biggest factor in mileage and how hard the tow vehicle really works. Our trailer is small. The dry weight is 3,300lbs and the actual weight on the axles is 3836 (excludes hitch weight and I didn't release the WD hitch). So at an estimated total actual weight of 4,400 lbs it's getting close to the vehicle maximum of 5,000 (this trailer has a very low hitch weight). The trailer is narrow but tall so it's certainly in the wind. The image is from a weigh station with just the trailers wheels on the scale and it's in kilograms. There's no question here but I thought others might find this information useful. Post your mileage figures in the reply. Click image for larger version

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Old 08-28-2019, 04:57 PM   #2
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MPG sounds in the normal range towing with your rig.

Ken
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Old 08-28-2019, 05:16 PM   #3
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Apparent wind speed is more important than weight.
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Old 08-28-2019, 05:42 PM   #4
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2012 F-450 towing a 16,000lb 5th wheel.

With the wind 11mpg
Against the wind 9 mpg.
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Old 08-28-2019, 07:01 PM   #5
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Last trip avg 14.4 at 64 mph, and that was also crossing the Siskiyou Mts between Calif and Oregon
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Old 08-28-2019, 07:41 PM   #6
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A parachute doesn't way much but would sure suck to tow.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:30 PM   #7
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I have towed the same trailer with 2500 pounds of cargo over the mountains and empty over the same trip and there was no noticeable difference in mileage. That same trailer with a 30 MPH headwind netted me 4 MPG and with a 30 MPH tailwind I saw nearly 13 MPG. My average is about 9. Weight takes little extra fuel compared to pushing a wall down the road.

That's why many cars list frontal area limits for trailer towing. The square footage of the front trailer wall is the limiting factor in how big a trailer it can tow.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fritz. View Post
A parachute doesn't way much but would sure suck to tow.

Excellent example!




Trailers are nothing BUT WIND SAILS


2007 Dodge 3500 with 5.9L CTD towing a 14K 34' 5th wheel that is 13'4" tall


Tow at 62-65 mph
MPG.....11 on good day/9 bucking the wind
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiteSquid View Post
Apparent wind speed is more important than weight.
Yep. 10 mph wind isn't much if you're riding a bicycle, but it really impacts a towing truck. If you're driving 60 MPH and have a 10 MPH headwind, you'll get the mileage of going 70. If you've got a tailwind, you get the mileage of going 50. Huge difference there.

A small grade will do the same. Even going up a 1% grade will burn way more fuel than going down that same grade.

Oh and as far as mileage goes, I normally get about 10.5 towing. Still have the DPF and a 37 foot travel trailer. I'm expecting about 12 towing soon. I do believe Rudy's diesel is just down the road from me...
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Old 08-29-2019, 08:45 PM   #10
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Rv = drag !

Remember the ArtDeco Era
Yes even the toaster was aerodynamic not to mention RVs, Trailers etc etc.


Now as engine power is plentiful, fuel is cheap relatively and people are less waste conscious the industry is making cubes for varying qualities.



Funny but some older trailers were more aerodynamic than those of today, same for RVs and Vans. Europe and Asia have swung the other way as has Australia and to some degree the other makers of vehicles, we in the US are not so sensitive to environmental concerns therefore mpg. Heck even the gubernment is trying to reduce the mpg requirements (CAFE for Automobiles and trucks). Pollution is AOK go figure!


Love to see the aerodynamic trailers come back in full force perhaps even with partial collapsing roof lines as they have in many Australian rigs and European Rigs.
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Old 08-30-2019, 08:15 AM   #11
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Last trip was 4500 miles and we averaged 10.3 mpg.

Saw as low as 8.5 and as high as 11.8...all depending on wind, hills, and speed.

Rig in signature.
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Old 08-30-2019, 02:20 PM   #12
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Averaging 8.5-9.0 with the 5.3 and towing about 6300lbs.
4 speed tranny.
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Old 08-30-2019, 03:32 PM   #13
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9-10 empty and 6.5 to 7.5 with Teton in tow. 62-65mph. 3,000 rpm constant. Roar on Big Block Roar On.
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Old 09-05-2019, 08:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by consolenut View Post
9-10 empty and 6.5 to 7.5 with Teton in tow. 62-65mph. 3,000 rpm constant. Roar on Big Block Roar On.
Man that just sounds miserable. I much prefer my quiet 1800-1900RPM @75mph..... But I am the kind of guy that puts a ton of dynamat in my $2000 vehicles to quiet them down....
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