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Author Topic: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel  (Read 8195 times)

N5IBM

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  • Russell - Orlando, Florida
    • Russell - Orlando, Florida
Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« on: October 22, 2005, 12:25:56 PM »
Hello Gang,

I am about to purchase a Ford or Dodge Diesel powered truck to pull a 5th wheel. This is all new to me, and I am concerned about getting good gas mileage.

I am looking at trucks with dirrerent rear axle gear ratios, like Ford F-350 ratio 3.73, 4.10 and Tow Boss is 4.30.

Please tell me what truck you are pulling with, the gas mileage you are getting ( MPG ) towing, and not towing, and what the gear ratio your rear axle.

Thanks for all the help


Carl L

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2005, 02:51:03 PM »
Quote
I am about to purchase a Ford or Dodge Diesel powered truck to pull a 5th wheel. This is all new to me, and I am concerned about getting good gas mileage.

Pulling a house trailer about the only way you are going to get good fuel mileage is to drive off a cliff -- mileage should be pretty good on the way down.  ;D

Seriously, your mileage is going to be affected by weight and, most significantly by air resistance to your rig's cross-section.   If your tow vehicle is going to operate mainly as a tractor buy it for torque -- big engine, 3.73 or higher rear end.

I drive a Ford '95 Bronco.   It has the short block V8 in the 5.0 liter configuration.   I pull a 4600-lb 23 foot Prowler LV23  TT.  It has a sloped front end and the propane tanks behind a sloped fairing.  It is about as streamlined as you are going to get a TT.

 Unladen the truck gets 14-16 mpg.   On our most recent trip back from Bishop, CA to LA we encountered head and quartering winds most of the way.  My wife drove the first leg to Mojave.   She tended to push towards 65 mph as a target speed.  We got a bit less than 8 mpg on that leg.   I took the second leg from Mojave into LA and home.   I drive by setting the cruise control to 55 mph.   We got exactly 10.0 mpg on that leg.   The difference was the small difference in speeds 60-65mph vs. 50-55mph.   

Conclusions:  Small engines offer no advantages in towing mileage, quite the opposite in fact.   Speed is a huge factor in fuel mileage because of the high wind drag of trailers and tow vehicles.  Drag rises as the square of the velocity.   The velocity of the truck and a head wind are additive.  In short, back off speed when fighting a headwind.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2005, 07:40:51 PM »
Back when we had a 5W, we got 11-13 mpg towing an 11,000 lb trailer with an F250 diesel automatic (Extended cab & long bed - a big truck).  That's mostly highway mileage in all kinds of terrain, including the western mountain region.  We usually kept the speed in the 60-63 mph range.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

MTRancher

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2005, 09:32:16 PM »
Currently I drive a 2003 Ford F350 with a 7.3 Powerstroke Diesel; manual 6spd transmission; manual 4 wheel drive with hubs that completely unlock and a 4.10 axle. I've installed the Banks 4" exhaust; Banks temp and turbo gauges; a Banks chip on powerlevel 3 and a True Flow Air filter. Oh, and the truck is a crew cab, long bed. My 5th wheel is a 2004 Fleetwood Wilderness; mid profile; 29 footer with a GVWR of 9870 and I imagine it weighs all of that by the time we load it.
Mileage for the truck is 18 -- 20 mpg around town and on the highway if I keep it under 2000 RPM's; which equates to 67-68 mph.
If I go 75 to 80 mph it drops to 15 and at 55 it raises to 22 mpg.
With the trailer I average around 13 mpg. I've been as low as 9 when I crossed Oregon with a headwind and was trying to make time doing about 73. Best I've done is 16 mpg an that was driving 55 mph but in mountainous conditions. As mentioned earlier, speed/engine rpm's play a huge role in your mileage. A friend of mine with basically the same set up other then an automatic transmission gets 12 empty and 8 with a trailer; but he has his foot in it all the time and can't drive slow.
With all I've done to the truck I would recommend the exhaust and the True Flow Air filter. Those two additions raised my mileage the most after installation. Whatever you do; if you decide to add power chips or programmers, put the gauges on first so you can see what you are doing to your engine.
Hope this helps.

edjunior

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  • Roman Forest, TX
Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2005, 09:45:55 PM »
Whatever you do; if you decide to add power chips or programmers, put the gauges on first so you can see what you are doing to your engine.
Hope this helps.
Hey Rancher, what guages are you talking about?  How hard are they to install?
Ed.....KF5INW
2011 F-250 XLT, 6.7L PSD
2010 Forest River Wildcat 28RKBS
"I thought I was wrong once, but I was wrong!"

wilde

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2005, 12:29:05 AM »
I know only what I have heard my husband say. We have a 2004 GMC duramax diesel and pull a 27' 276 Cougar fifth wheel 2006 model. My husband drives and we get 14.2 miles per gal of diesel. This is our third GMC and we are not sorry. Our running partners have a beautiful Ford Power Stroke diesel, It is in the shop with only 40000 miles and its been there a month, no one knows what is wrong with it. He is trading it in tomorrow as is. I believe its a 2003 model. Oh yes we also have an allison transmission if that is any help. Good Luck  L wilde

MTRancher

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2005, 01:13:11 PM »
Jr
I have the engine oil temperature, turbo boost and exhaust temperature gauges. They aren't terribly difficult to install if you know your way around the engine and have plenty of time. If you have already changed out your exhaust downpipe you will have to try and break it apart or drill a hole and tap a port for the exhaust temperature sender. The turbo boost and oil temperature senders are fairly basic.
If you have an automatic transmission you will want to substitute the transmission temperature gauge for the engine oil temperature gauge.
There are numerous sites on line which can give you the particulars of the gauges and power packages available. There are packages available for any truck.
If you add performance packages to your truck; definetly get the gauges, they are the only protection against burning your engine up!
One a seperate note regarding Wilde's friends. If they have a late model 2003 Ford they probably have the 6.0 liter diesel engine. It was the introduction year for the engine, and yes they did have a lot of problems, mostly with the controller. If you go to buy a new or used vehicle; don't by on the introduction year of an engine or a transmission; the companies usually haven't worked out all the bugs, and you get to be the guinnea pig.

Lowell

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2005, 07:16:18 PM »
I have a 2005 Dodge 1500, 4x4, automatic transmission, 5.7 hemi, 4.10 rear end with 20" tires and pull a 5600 lb-28 ft Cherokee TT. The truck by itself gets about 18 mpg at 65-75 mph.  When I pull my TT, I use the "tow/haul" button, keep it about 65 mph and get about 12 mpg.  When in "tow/haul" , I don't believe the transmission goes into 5th gear and the whole shift pattern is changed. This past week, I made my first trip into the Arizona mountains between Phoenix, Payson and Show Low.  I didn't check the gas mailage but was pleased that the truck was able to pull the mountain climbs at about 55-60 MPH and only occasionally went beyond 3000 RPM.
Jake
Lowell

2005 Cherokee28A TT
pulled by 2009 Dodge 1500 Crew Cab 4X4
KF7YET

Tempe, Arizona

Bill_Frisbee

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2005, 08:51:22 PM »
Driving a new 2005 Dodge 3500 (has approximately 6500 miles on it at the moment), Heavy Duty Tow Package, 5.9L Cummins turbo diesel, automatic, quad cab, single rear wheel, 4X4, 3.73 rear end, short box. Getting 20 - 22 mpg (US gallons) on the highway when not hauling the 5er. Getting 14 - 17 mpg (US gallons) when hauling the 5er on Interstates and equivalent. Always tow at 100 km/hour (62.5 mph), approx. 1700 rpm on Interstates. Fifth wheel is 2005 Montana 3400RL, GVWR nearly 14,000 lbs. Tows like a dream. PullRite SuperGlide 16K hitch.

 


Beauty: 2005 Montana 3400RL

Beast: 2005 Dodge Ram 3500 w/Cummins Turbo Diesel, Auto, SRW, 4X4, PullRite SuperGlide 16k

w5blt

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2005, 07:04:12 PM »
Bill,

My wife and I are waiting until spring to get our rig and 5er. It just so happens that we've planned to get the same truck and 5er that you have! The only expection is that I plan to get the long bed and dual rear wheels. I was excited to hear the mileage that you're getting. On the other hand, I would expect to sacrafice a few MPG with the duals. At any rate, you are the first person to give me any solid idea as to what to expect. Thanks for the info.

Bob
Bob

Bill_Frisbee

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2005, 07:23:40 PM »
Bill,

My wife and I are waiting until spring to get our rig and 5er. It just so happens that we've planned to get the same truck and 5er that you have! The only expection is that I plan to get the long bed and dual rear wheels. I was excited to hear the mileage that you're getting. On the other hand, I would expect to sacrafice a few MPG with the duals. At any rate, you are the first person to give me any solid idea as to what to expect. Thanks for the info.

Bob

Hi, Bob ...

Some more data ... drove from Morgantown, WV to Guelph, ON today ... without the Monty. Averaged 22.5 mpg driving with cruise set at 100km/hour (62.5 mph).

Re my Dodge Ram 3500, the 2005 DaimlerChrysler Trailer Towing Guide states that an exhaust brake is REQUIRED for any 2005 Ram 3500 that is towing more than 10,000lbs ... which we are. That having been said, it turns out that DC does NOT have an exhaust brake that works on the 2005 3500 with the Cummins 5.9L HO and the 48RE automatic transmission. Not only that, they do not have access to one through their suppliers. In theory, they do have an exhaust brake that works with the manual tranny for 2005 AND (they claim) there is now one that works in the 2006 3500 with the Cummins and the automatic tranny.  Regardless of what tranny you buy, if an exhaust brake is in your future, I would strongly suggest that you make sure that it is available for the truck you purchase. BTW, it appears that U.S. Gear makes an exhaust brake that will work in my truck. My dealer is absolutely livid that DC would not supply a major safety accessory that is states is REQUIRED in one of its trucks. If we have to go with US Gear, he has said that they will give it to me at their cost and install it in their shop. This will happen only after he has torn a strip or two off DC!!!

Bill
Beauty: 2005 Montana 3400RL

Beast: 2005 Dodge Ram 3500 w/Cummins Turbo Diesel, Auto, SRW, 4X4, PullRite SuperGlide 16k

w5blt

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2005, 07:39:46 PM »
Bill,

Now that's interesting. I'm planning on getting an automatic transmission. And, since the truck is rated at towing that much weight, I would certainly believe that Dodge would be directly responsible for the full cost and installation of the brake. Do you have any legal reference to this that I could print out and take to my dealer? That sure would be helpful. Many, many years ago, I did drive a big rig and I was very thankful to have the exhaust brake. From my experience, this would be really handy going down a steep grade.

Again, thanks for the information. It's really appreciated.

Bob
Bob

Bill_Frisbee

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2005, 05:27:41 PM »
Hi, Bob ...

The first site below is for the Jacobs exhaust brake and is the announcement that they now have a product for the 2006 Ram 3500 with the 48RE auto tranny

http://www.jakebrake.com/products/ld-exhaust.php

This site is for the US Gear D-celerator. They claim they have a product that will work with my 2005 Ram 3500


http://www.usgear.com/dcelerator.htm


My dealer is still chasing DaimlerChrysler re this issue. Will post here when I hear more.

Bill

Beauty: 2005 Montana 3400RL

Beast: 2005 Dodge Ram 3500 w/Cummins Turbo Diesel, Auto, SRW, 4X4, PullRite SuperGlide 16k

2006F350

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2005, 11:19:43 AM »
Had to chip in. We have a 2006 F350 CC DRW 6.0L Diesel, 5R100 Torque Shift Auto Trans, 4:30 LS Gears  (GVW 13,000Lbs). We pull a 2006 Everest 364Q 5W that has a dry weight of 13,200Lbs. We just finished up our last trip from Memphis TN to Austin TX. Was a wonderful experience. Got 11.2 going, had a slight surging problem at 15 to 16Lbs boost. Took it to the dealer in Austin and they replaced the 'O' rings on 2 injectors. Got rid of the surging, and got just over 12 comming back. Not an oh-golly-gee-wiz milage, but considering what was being towe .... Without the trailer, we get just over 16 in city driving. The tranny is a 5 speed, and with the torque conver lock, it almost like a 6th gear. In tow/haul, we sill get all the gears, just the shift points are about 500 RPM higher and the shift is much more agressive. When letting off the accelerator and lightly stepping on the brake, the TC remains locked so you in effect have engine breaking, and it will down shift as needed to decrease your speed - especially nice in the stop and go traffic in city driving. First time it happened it really caught me off guard. we were going down a slight hill, and about the time I felt that I should start applying some brake to keep from gaining too much speed, the truck decided it was time down shifted before I even got my foot to the brake pedal ... almost caused me to lay a new set of rail-road tracks in my drawers.

Larry
2006 F350 DRW CC King Ranch
6.0L DI, Torque Shift, Power Everything
Camper/Tow Command/Tow Boss Packages (4:30LS Rear End)
13,000 GVW / 26,000 GCWR
Reese Professional 15,000 Lb Fifth Wheel Hitch
2006 Keystone Everest 345S w/4 Slide Outs

Chet18013

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Re: Gas Mileage Pulling A 5th Wheel
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2005, 09:48:56 AM »
I have a Dodge 3500 4x4 manual transmission, and used to pull a 15,000lb+ 40' Teton 5th wheel with it. Consistantly got 14+ mpg. Get 19-21 when not towing The Cummins seems to get 10-15% better mileage than the Fords.

Got rid of the Teton and got a Beaver motor home. Liked the truck so much that we still have it.

Chet18013
Chet18013
Full time in a 45' '04 Monaco Signature
towing a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel