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'17 3.5 EB 4x4 Travel trailer towing

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Old 07-10-2017, 07:17 AM
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Default '17 3.5 EB 4x4 Travel trailer towing

2000 miles on the truck. towed our 20', 3500lb travel trailer on a 360 mile trip each-way. 2017 STX Screw 4x4 3.5EB

I learned that the truck really loves to stay in 8th gear unless it's totally flat and no wind. We did 8.4mpg doing 70-75 heading north on our first leg. OUCH!

Found out I could draft a semi through FL hill country (panhandle) using manual gear selection and get 9.3mpg.

Then....I found the sweet spot. Regular drive (no tow-haul mode), 13.1mpg through FL hill country, Drafting a semi.

Proof in the pudding that it's not the weight, it's the aerodynamics that kill mpg on these trucks.

From a power perspective.....no shortage of power whatsoever, at any speed. The long and the short of it is these aren't diesel motors and don't make 400ft-lbs of torque at 1000rpm to allow super-low rpm cruise towing.

Would I have liked better mpg? Sure. Is it gonna break my bank? Heck no.
After all the reading I did on the subject over the weekend, the quote that stands out the most (that I can't take credit for) is "If you're worried about towing mpg, you can't afford your RV in the first place".

Ultimately a camper shell might help....but I suspect something like kayaks on a bed rack would be an even bigger help.....or track racks on the bed with a deflector/aero wing..........but I'm not gonna drop hundreds of dollars to see minimal improvement. The way we see it; we're saving money hand-over-foot using the camper and driving rather than saying in a hotel.
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:29 AM
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Slow from 70-75 to 60 and you should see a noticeable increase. Most trailer tires are ST rated for 65 mph max.
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Ricktwuhk View Post
Slow from 70-75 to 60 and you should see a noticeable increase. Most trailer tires are ST rated for 65 mph max.
yeah, we were in a bit of a hurry to get our 5.5hr drive over with that night.

60 is dangerous around here with a 70mph speed limit....timing has to be just right! but yes, on a more gingerly trip, we'll definitely try 60-65.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:44 PM
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Find a Swift truck and stay behind it, you may see 12 MPG! I don't think I have ever seen a Swift truck go faster than 63 MPH.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by acdii View Post
Find a Swift truck and stay behind it, you may see 12 MPG! I don't think I have ever seen a Swift truck go faster than 63 MPH.
Every time we drafted the mpg went up over 10. Saw 13.1 for the majority of a tank of fuel drafting. Pretty substantial!
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:35 AM
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I got 9.5mpg recently through the mountains in SW Washington 60-65 mph. Only using tow/haul mode when going down a grade or coming to a stop.
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:33 PM
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Interesting info on the MPGs, i would have expected a little better with that weight trailer. Is the trailer high (wildly un-aerodynamic)?

I have a 250 mile trip next week, when on the highway should I disable tow/haul mode?
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Old 07-16-2017, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mraz72 View Post
Interesting info on the MPGs, i would have expected a little better with that weight trailer. Is the trailer high (wildly un-aerodynamic)?

I have a 250 mile trip next week, when on the highway should I disable tow/haul mode?
yes, it's a travel trailer...no matter how many curves they put in these things, they're still like towing a sail behind the truck.

I've found weight doesn't cause much of a difference in mpg amongst travel trailers, mpg is wholly due to aerodynamics.
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Old 07-16-2017, 10:26 AM
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What's interesting is that there is not very much difference in MPG between a travel trailer like my [email protected] pounds and my Duracraft 6x12 enclosed V nose @2200 pounds. They both return about the same MPG. I have not towed a flat bed yet, but Im guessing a flat bed at 3K would get better MPG than the V nose.
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Old 07-16-2017, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by chimmike View Post
The way we see it; we're saving money hand-over-foot using the camper and driving rather than saying in a hotel.

Maybe. Maybe not.


My F-150 dragging my TT gets about 10 MPG with premium gas on the plains, and it gets about 18 MPG with regular gas when not towing. It's 1,200 miles from here to Darling Daughter's house, so that's 2,400 miles of towing, or 240 gallons at $2.75 = $660 for gas when towing, or 133 gallons at $2.25 = $300 when not towing. So that's $330 extra cost just for gas.


Motel 6 costs about $70 per night, and KOA costs about $40 per night, so I save about $30 per night by staying in a good RV park. I would break even after about 10 days by dragging the TT instead of staying in Motel 6. But when visiting the kids, we stay in Motel 6 only two nights going and two more nights coming, so only 4 nights (400 miles per day on I-20/I-30/ I-40).


Two dogs always travel with us, and Motel 6 is pet friendly, so that's why we stay in Motel 6 when on the road without the camper. More expensive hotels and motels usually don't allow dogs.


So for us, we save even more by driving our Highlander @ 24 MPG on regular gas and staying at Motel 6 compared to driving the pickup and towing the TT @ 10 MPG on premium gas and staying in a good RV park.


Of course, if we want to go camping at 8,000 feet altitude in southeast New Mexico with no pet-friendly motels nearby, we have to drive the F-150 and drag the TT.
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