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Old 08-21-2011, 11:44 AM   #1
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Towing A Vehicle

We are relatively new to the RV world so we are curious as to what type of a decrease in mileage one can expect from towing a car. I realize there are lots of variables so I'll try to offer up as much as I can. RV is a 26' class "C" with a Ford 460 carburated engine. Currently we are getting about 7.9 MPG's. If we were to tow it would be a small Honda CRV. Not sure of the weight of it but guessing it is about 3250 LBS.

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Old 08-21-2011, 12:02 PM   #2
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For the convenience of having a car with you when you get to your destination, it hardly matters. Depending on your speed and a lot of other variables. It could be from .5 to maybe a little over 1mpg difference. Ours was always around 1 mpg. + or -

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Old 08-21-2011, 04:12 PM   #3
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The bigger the RV the less you tend to notice. I'm guessing the combo you have will likely drop 1 mpg. That's a guess.
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:41 AM   #4
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From experience.. youll be nervous towing with that. I had the same rig and while towing, I experienced a lot of bogging down and hard hill climbs. Expect no more than 6mpg.
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:32 PM   #5
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The degree to which a toad is noticeable is related the ratio of the Motor home weight and the Toad weight. So towing 3250 lbs behind a 32,000 lb diesel RV is virtually un-noticeable at about 10%. If your RV weighs 12,000 lb then 3250 lbs is 27% or a quarter of the RV weight.

When I towed a 4,200 lb trailer with my 4,300 lb Plymouth voyager, I could definitely tell that there was something behind me (It was tailgating). When I upgraded the Voyager to a Chevy Suburban the trailer was much less noticeable.

Your drop in mileage could be anything from 0.5 to 2 mpg. Slower speeds and light foot will help.

The trade off in mileage should be contrasted with the cost and hassle of renting a vehicle at your destination, if this is even possible. You will have to do some math to determine the trade offs.
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:52 PM   #6
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your looks a lot like mine i have a 1985 class c midas with the 460 carburetor equipped engine when i bought it it would only cruise 55-60 i drove it 1300 miles towing my hhr it averaged 7.1 towing i never drove it with out the car behind it.
i got it home spent the winter and $3000 in up grades,tires, tuneup,extending the rear for storage, getting the genset up and running , dash air up and working and getting the interior bits and pieces to keep the dw happy.
we took it on vacation this spring towed the same car went to Tennessee ran it 65 to 70 and some times 75, with the dash a/c running and 70 mph i got 6.6 slowed down to 60 got 7.1 so the tune up helped with power and top speed but didn't improve fuel mileage because i can now run as fast as think i want to
the gen set has it own tank now so it didn't affect the mileage,so you can tow the car with no problems avoid really hilly terrain when possible keep your speed down and will get close to 7 mpg unless you run the dash a/c. it is cheaper on mine to run the genset and the roof air especially in really hilly terrain.
i haven't taken it on a trip without towing long enough to be able to ck the mileage for a comparison so i can't help there but i suspect it would be around 8 if i keep my speed in the proper range
just what i have observed so far hope it helps
happy travelig
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:14 PM   #7
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If you will not be putting on a lot of miles, you might want to consider just driving the CRV. Mine gets around 20 MPG, which equates to 20 cents per mile for gas at $4/gal.

4000 miles would cost $800. Compare that with the cost of a good tow bar, lighting, and towed vehicle brake system at possibly $3K to $4K.

It might take quite a few years to "break even".

The down side is that you don't have a "Spare" driver to relieve you, and that may limit the length of your driving each day. The up side is that you don't have to connect and disconnect, or worry about the extra length and weight of the "toad".
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:57 AM   #8
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A friend of mine builds engines for race cars. One of the things he does "on the side" is help motorhomers, of which there are many in the racing world, get better fuel mileage and performance. A good set of headers, intake, and especially since you're carburated a good rebuild on the carburater can make all the difference in the world. He did my '05 Winnie with the 8.1 Vortec and I couldn't believe the difference. You can get the Banks setup but I think it's allot of money for some pretty basic stuff that any good performance shop can help you with? In stock trim and assuming it's not perfect anymore 'cause it's been around for a while, your engine is definately gonna know that tow'd is back there? On any kina grade you're gonna be grittin' your teeth listening to that engine scream as it is configured now?
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:51 AM   #9
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You may find this amazing.. but in some cases the difference can be as low as ZERO Mpg difference.. Here is why.

RV's have a big, flat, back end.. Thus air flow is not good in this area, a partial vacuum is created by the "wind" rushing past the RV... Put a car there and if the car happens to be the right shape it "Smooths" out the air flow, (Spoils is the term) and ... The increase from improved air flow offsets the loss due to the added weight.

Of course they have a word for you when that happens. or rather a name: Mr. Lucky.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:07 PM   #10
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I would like to reply to 1629 first. Why would you tow a car at 65 to 70 mph? Where are you going in such a hurry and what would happen if you had to stop suddenly? While traveling at that speed you will get poor gas mileage. I think first off you have to slow down while towing.

It puzzles me why you would need to tow a vehicle with your class C as you can go just about anyplace with that coach and be able to park it.

If you must tow a vehicle you must first check the gcvw that the vehicle is allowed and then you will know what car to tow. I suspect that the hitch on your RV is only rated for 2000lbs. Those chassis' are extended and just welded extensions to the existing rails to make the chassis longer so knowing what it will tow is critical.

Lastly if your coach has enough power to pull the toad and is capable of pulling a car then I wouldn't worry about fuel mileage. Besides that 460 is a worker and will do fine. I have a 8.1l V-8 and I tow a toad with a tow dolly and my fuel economy hasn't changed at all but then again I don't fly down the road at 70 mph.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-28-2011, 07:16 AM   #11
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Just for economies sake I try to keep it at 55-60 anyway. We are actually gonna look at a small motorcycle or scooter. For what we do that should provide for our needs.
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Old 08-28-2011, 07:49 PM   #12
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as a reply to tom-nc first it is called 15-7 65-70 isn't unsafe if you are at least seven second minimum from the traffic you watch 15 seconds ahead so you have time to react and stop. i try very hard to run 55-60 but until i get my cruise fixed it creeps up and likes to run 65 or better so instead of fighting it to run slower if traffic allows i let it have it's head on the interstates on secondary roads it isn't a problem to keep the speed slower.
up till now i have towed a dolly with surge brakes that work great i have sold my dolly and will pull my trailer if i need take my car.
you are right about the hitches on rv's i got under mine and modified and beefed it up for safety you can't tell from my pic but i extended the rear 18 inches and rebuilt it to way stronger then factory.
as far as why to tow with a class c is in our case we like to stay in campgrounds away from the city's and drive our toad into town at 28ft it won't fit many places like a car and when the day is done our mh is setting hooked up ready for us to relax a/c running water hot.
65-70 sometimes is safer then holding up traffic on the interstates i never run over the speed limits on purpose so getting my cruise fixed is a priority
in the off season.
finally fuel mileage is important partially because of the monetary cost but is a good indicator of how well your rig is running if you now what is normal then if it changes dramatically you know to start checking .
you have some good points and wanted to share my two cents worth
happy traveling

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