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Old 11-20-2007, 05:04 AM   #1
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This is a bit of a rambling question about fuel prices and the market for lighter trailers.

I'd like to trade/sell our 2004 Excel 36RDO for a new rig, and I'm struggling with the issue of fuel prices. I expect to put about 20k miles on the rig per year, and figure the new rig should meet my needs for at least five years ... or 100,000 miles.

Loaded, my current trailer weighs about 17,000 lbs, and I average about 8 miles to the gallon towing with a 2004.5 Dodge 4x4 dually with Cummins and 4.30 gearing.

At today's prices, ranging between $3.50 and $4.00 per gal, I'm looking at between $45,000 and $50,000 in fuel costs over the next five years, or approximately $800 per month ... pretty significant ... and that's assuming prices don't go higher.

With increasing demand for fuel in China and India, limited refinery capacity in the US, instability in the Middle East and the declining value of the dollar against other currencies, projections I've seen indicate that prices are more likely to continue upward rather than going down.

So, I'm wondering if there is a market for quality light 5th wheels? Is anyone else thinking about lighter, more fuel-efficient, trailers?

Other than Airstream, are there any high-end rigs that put an emphasis on light weight?

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:04 AM   #2
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This is a bit of a rambling question about fuel prices and the market for lighter trailers.

I'd like to trade/sell our 2004 Excel 36RDO for a new rig, and I'm struggling with the issue of fuel prices. I expect to put about 20k miles on the rig per year, and figure the new rig should meet my needs for at least five years ... or 100,000 miles.

Loaded, my current trailer weighs about 17,000 lbs, and I average about 8 miles to the gallon towing with a 2004.5 Dodge 4x4 dually with Cummins and 4.30 gearing.

At today's prices, ranging between $3.50 and $4.00 per gal, I'm looking at between $45,000 and $50,000 in fuel costs over the next five years, or approximately $800 per month ... pretty significant ... and that's assuming prices don't go higher.

With increasing demand for fuel in China and India, limited refinery capacity in the US, instability in the Middle East and the declining value of the dollar against other currencies, projections I've seen indicate that prices are more likely to continue upward rather than going down.

So, I'm wondering if there is a market for quality light 5th wheels? Is anyone else thinking about lighter, more fuel-efficient, trailers?

Other than Airstream, are there any high-end rigs that put an emphasis on light weight?

Thanks,
Bob
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Old 11-21-2007, 06:35 AM   #3
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Bob...We would like to find a unit that could be pulled on long trips by a small truck. We have also looked at the B+ diesel motorhomes. I'm not ready to give up our Excel for short trips with family. I wish Excel would consider getting into this market. If you are looking for a small very light 5th wheel, take a look at www.scamptrailers.com built in Backus Mn.
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Old 11-21-2007, 07:33 AM   #4
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Hi Camperguy,

Thanks for posting a response. Nice to know that I'm not the only one thinking about smaller lighter rigs.

I'm thinking about something bigger than the Scamp though; and it would be nice if the quality was of the same caliber that Excel is known for. This might not be possible ... kind of like asking for all of the flavor without the calories. But I can dream.

The closest I can find to the general concept I'm thinking about is this Titanium:

http://www.glendalerv.com/2008/Titanium/25E30.html

Smaller and lighter, but still comfortable (?) for longer trips.

Bryan ... any chance Excel with be coming out with a rig (perhaps a travel trailer) that has Excel quality in a lighter package than can be hauled by a heavy half-ton rated to tow about 10,500lbs?

Bob
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Old 11-22-2007, 04:04 AM   #5
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I really don't have any ideas about this but I have questions. Is the fuel economy that much better with a half ton pulling pulling 10,500 than a 1 ton diesel pulling 14,000?
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Old 11-22-2007, 04:28 AM   #6
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I'm believe Virgil already knows the answer to his question: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Is the fuel economy that much better with a half ton pulling pulling 10,500 than a 1 ton diesel pulling 14,000?
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>
The difference is probably minuscule at best. Having made the transition to the "dark side" last year when we purchased our HDT, our fuel economy is approximately the same as with our previous F-350. IMO, most of us (RV'ers) don't choose this lifestyle/hobby for the economics--ain't no way!
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Old 11-22-2007, 04:52 AM   #7
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I currently pull a lightweight trailer, a Rockwood 27 footer. It weighs just over 6k pounds loaded, and I pull it with my V8 (gas)Toyota 4Runner. It pulls nicely, but I still only get around 10mpg.

This tow vehicle and trailer is my first setup, and has been great fun! Now I'm hooked on the RV life. When I retire, I'll probably trade up to an Excel 5th wheel, and 1 ton (or larger) diesel truck.

Retirement seems so far away....4 years. I might do the "trade up" part sooner, though, perhaps in a year to two.
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Old 11-22-2007, 06:26 AM   #8
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We bought our Dodge just a little over a year ago. Since that time, we've averaged 11.904 MPG with a high of 19.653 (solo) and a low of 5.799 MPG (towing into a very strong wind...strong enough to finally take us off the road for the day).

I imagine if we were towing a lighter fifth wheel or travel trailer, we'd get better fuel mileage (we're currently pretty close to the maximum weight capacities on the truck). I would assume that a 1/2-ton pickup towing 10,500# wouldn't get any better mileage since 1) it would also be towing at or near it's weight capacities, and 2) you'd be dealing with a gas engine (do any of the "big 3" offer diesels in their 1/2-ton pickups?).
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Old 11-22-2007, 09:45 AM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">really don't have any ideas about this but I have questions. Is the fuel economy that much better with a half ton pulling pulling 10,500 than a 1 ton diesel pulling 14,000? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Virgil,

I sure don't know the answer, but ...

I'm towing 17,000 instead of 14,000, so the difference I asked about is 6500 lbs;

Let's assume I stayed with a diesel 3/4 ton ... it wouldn't be a dually (less rolling resistance and a bit less weight) and I could run 3.73 gearing instead of 4.30. Seems like that would make some difference.

Plus, since the truck is our regular running around vehicle when not towing, we should see better mileage then too.
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Old 11-22-2007, 10:14 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">(do any of the "big 3" offer diesels in their 1/2-ton pickups?) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Linda,

Not at this time, but the Big Three are all developing smaller diesels (around 4.5 liters) for introduction in 2009 for their half-ton trucks.

If my next rig will be purchased in 2008, and I plan on keeping it for five years, then for most of its life I'll have half-ton diesel tow options.

Lighter truck, diesel, six speed automatic, pulling a lighter trailer ... seems like I might be able to get 12-14 mpg towing.
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Old 11-22-2007, 10:20 AM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">IMO, most of us (RV'ers) don't choose this lifestyle/hobby for the economics--ain't no way! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I agree Chief. I'm asking the question because I'd rather spend more of my money on the vehicle and less on fuel, if possible.

Bob
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Old 11-22-2007, 06:46 PM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Loaded, my current trailer weighs about 17,000 lbs, and I average about 8 miles to the gallon towing with a 2004.5 Dodge 4x4 dually with Cummins and 4.30 gearing. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Bob,

I know this is not the major topic issue, but help this poor old GM guy out. I thought the most gear you could get in the Dodge was 4:10. Or did you install the 4:30 gear aftermarket? Just curious. I know Ford offers the 4:30 with the Tow Boss package, but was unaware of it in the Dodge. Thanks, Tom
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Old 11-22-2007, 06:53 PM   #13
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With the rising fuel prices, I feel that the US truck and RV market are in for a major shake up. Look at the cars, trucks and RVs in Europe and see how they have handled the fuel cost issue.
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Old 11-22-2007, 08:23 PM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by TXiceman:
With the rising fuel prices, I feel that the US truck and RV market are in for a major shake up. Look at the cars, trucks and RVs in Europe and see how they have handled the fuel cost issue. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

VW Westfalia / Vanagon / Eurovan come to mind...
http://www.westfalia.org/
http://www.vanagon.com/

But the diesel Mercedes / Freighliner / Dodge Sprinter is reportedly getting 20-25 MPG with the factory high top.
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