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Author Topic: Tow vehicle - Travel Trailer Combinations for Maximum Fuel Efficiency & Comfort  (Read 9004 times)

1dustytabby

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Are there any non-diesel tow vehicle - hard side travel trailer (not fold down) combinations that would achieve anywhere close to 20 mpg on a highway? 

Could anyone replying please give specifics i.e. what kind of vehicle & engine, what size and weight of trailer being towed?

Thanks


Lowell

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No, there are not.
Lowell

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

Tempe, Arizona

gwcowgill

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  • Retired USAF, Retired Auto Instructor Dade Cty Sch
AActually there are, Look up tear drop trailers which you can tow with just about anything. It all depends on what you want and need. I am wat too used to creature comforts to step down to something like that but it is doable.
2009 Bounder 36B, 2014 Honda CR-V, various grandchildren when school is out. KG4LHS
2014 Honda CRV Toad,
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Toad

Lou Schneider

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The biggest user of fuel going down the road is the atmospheric drag created by cutting an 8'x10' (or larger) hole through the air.   There's no way around the energy needed to carve that path except to reduce the size of the hole.

That's the secret of the Sprinter based motorhomes.   They're 6"-12" narrower and a foot or so shorter than typical Class C's so they cut a smaller hole through the air.

That plus a diesel engine's inherent 25% or so advantage in fuel consumption over a gas engine (diesel has more BTU energy per gallon than gas).

In other words, there's no way you'll get 20 MPG towing a full sized, stand up height trailer.  Lower the trailer profile so it's largely contained in the slipstream behind a typical car or SUV and you stand a chance of reaching that goal.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2012, 12:26:40 PM by Lou Schneider »

Tombstonejim

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Here you go just about right for my dog

http://www.golittleguy.com/teardrops/
2000 Holiday Rambler, Endeavor 35
towing Jeep Wrangler or Liberty

1dustytabby

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Thanks for your all your replies!

Could anyone estimate (or give a range for) the miles per gallon I might get towing  a hard side 3500 pound trailer with an AWD 3.5 L V6 CVT Toyota Highlander on flat land?   Would it be much different for a 2500 pound trailer?

Thanks!

Gary RV_Wizard

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A 3500 lb trailer is going to be pretty small - we are probably talking 17 feet or maybe even less, unless you would consider a pop-up type (there are hard side/roof pop-ups).  A sufficiently small trailer makes a smaller hole, as Lou described it,  so there may be somempg benefit.  I would guess you are looking at 10-13 mpg, but that's a real stab in the dark.

Down in that size range, the difference between 2500 and 3500 lbs won't be much except when climbing hills. While driving down a level road, its the size of the frontal area, not the weight, that makes the difference.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

skyking1

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What is the highlander's MPG by itself, at the proposed speed? What is the frontal area  and CD of the highlander? I can get you a pretty tight number with those three items, using a drag calculator.
Kelly and Mary

1996 Dodge CTD 2500 "Woody"
1991 Avion 29.5 ST
Washington State

http://boondockerswelcome.com/users/skyking

Great Horned Owl

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  • Posts: 1241
  • Lake county, IL
Why not a diesel? If you are that concerned with fuel economy, perhaps you should consider it.

Joel
Joel & Dorothy
Retired electronics engineer. Avid photographer, paddler & birder.
2011 Silverado 2500HD, Duramax, 4x4,crew cab, 8' bed
Palomino Puma 253-FBS  27' 5th wheel
1994 19' Class B Horizon / Chevy

1dustytabby

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Hi there,

I have nothing against diesel and I may consider it. However, I'm just trying to get some idea of
what gas mileage I might get with a hybrid Toyota Highlander. 

I don't own this tow vehicle yet, but it is rated by the EPA to get  28 mpg on the highway (Consumer Reports rated  it at 29 mpg highway on their road test) The vehicle has a .34 CD.
It is 75.2 inches wide, and 69.3 inches high - I'm hoping that's enough to get an idea of the frontal area to calculate the drag with the "drag calculator." 

skyking1

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expect closer to 15 or so @55 MPH. Any faster and it will drop toward 13.
Kelly and Mary

1996 Dodge CTD 2500 "Woody"
1991 Avion 29.5 ST
Washington State

http://boondockerswelcome.com/users/skyking

1dustytabby

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Thanks skyking1!

I'll bet that 15 mpg would drop even further with a good wind!

Would you be able to give me an approximate miles per gallon if I was instead
pulling a pop-up trailer about the same weight 2500-3500 pounds - with the same vehicle?  I'm now thinking about a collapsible hard side trailer 


Thanks.

Gary RV_Wizard

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You can expect to take a very substantial hit to mpg when towing. In general, the more economical the engine is in normal driving, the worse the hit (percentage-wise) when towing. Conversely,  a big engine typically takes a smaller hit because it has power to spare. Most of the things done to improve mpg are the antithesis of what is needed for better towing performance.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

skyking1

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closer to 20, if the initial 28 is to be believed.
Kelly and Mary

1996 Dodge CTD 2500 "Woody"
1991 Avion 29.5 ST
Washington State

http://boondockerswelcome.com/users/skyking

1dustytabby

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Thanks to everyone who answered, especially skyking 1 and Gary RV Roamer for giving me
really quick advice regarding the mpg I may possibly get towing a small yet comfortable trailer for my spouse, myself and 2 spoiled cats!

As I can't live without comforts such as a 3 way fridge on the road, and I want the best mpg I can get, I'll be checking out camper vans first and secondly collapsible hard-sides.  If I go the SUV route, I'll do a road test towing on the highway  (if seller is willing and assuming tow package) to see how big a hit I'm really taking to mpg when towing. 

Thanks again! :)

Great Horned Owl

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  • Posts: 1241
  • Lake county, IL
Thanks to everyone who answered, especially skyking 1 and Gary RV Roamer for giving me
really quick advice regarding the mpg I may possibly get towing a small yet comfortable trailer for my spouse, myself and 2 spoiled cats!


The adjective "spoiled" is redundant when applied to cats. Are there any other kind?

Joel
Joel & Dorothy
Retired electronics engineer. Avid photographer, paddler & birder.
2011 Silverado 2500HD, Duramax, 4x4,crew cab, 8' bed
Palomino Puma 253-FBS  27' 5th wheel
1994 19' Class B Horizon / Chevy

Gary RV_Wizard

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  • RVer Emeritus
My cat doesn't spoil me at all.  ;)
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

1dustytabby

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Posted by: orlinsky
on: Today at 02:25:04 PM Insert Quote

Quote from: 1dustytabby on Today at 02:18:13 PM
Thanks to everyone who answered, especially skyking 1 and Gary RV Roamer for giving me
really quick advice regarding the mpg I may possibly get towing a small yet comfortable trailer for my spouse, myself and 2 spoiled cats!


"The adjective "spoiled" is redundant when applied to cats. Are there any other kind?

Joel"



Joel - you made me laugh out loud!  You are absolutely right. 

It would probably be therapeutic for me to admit that I'm putting a little pressure on myself
to find an rv set-up that, aside from getting great mpg's, will provide our cats with the same level of comfort on the road that they have come to expect/feel they deserve  at home.  I can't imagine travelling with unhappy cats - the holiday would be over before it even started!

Great Horned Owl

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  • Posts: 1241
  • Lake county, IL
One of the major considerations that made us decide to swap our 19' class B for a 27' 5er was that we couldn't find a place for the kitty litter in the class B. Now, it will live in the bath tub.

Joel
Joel & Dorothy
Retired electronics engineer. Avid photographer, paddler & birder.
2011 Silverado 2500HD, Duramax, 4x4,crew cab, 8' bed
Palomino Puma 253-FBS  27' 5th wheel
1994 19' Class B Horizon / Chevy

1dustytabby

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  • Posts: 7
We actually have an older 18 ft trailer  that we keep at a seasonal campsite that we would not want to tow and we have a kitty litter box sitting in the bathtub - the only spot that really works! 

In an rv without a bathtub, I imagine we will have to modify/add some kind of little storage compartment on the floor with a door that we can open and close for cleaning. We would also need to put a cat flap in the door to allow access for the cats.  Based on your experience, does this sound realistic for a 19 ft class B  or hard side pop-up?

Great Horned Owl

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  • Posts: 1241
  • Lake county, IL
We never tried to take the two cats in our 19' class B. It just did not seem feasible.

I apologize for kind of hijacking this thread. It was not deliberate. Perhaps, we should let it get back to the original topic.

Joel
Joel & Dorothy
Retired electronics engineer. Avid photographer, paddler & birder.
2011 Silverado 2500HD, Duramax, 4x4,crew cab, 8' bed
Palomino Puma 253-FBS  27' 5th wheel
1994 19' Class B Horizon / Chevy

 

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