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trumpetguy

Tow vehicle mileage

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I want to poll the members of this forum regarding the vehicle they tow with, and how towing a travel trailer affects gas mileage.

 

My 2011 Chevy Avalanche gets 15 in town, 20.5 highway, but only 10.8 towing the Ollie. I struggle with buying a new tow with either a small deisel like the Dodge Ram, buying a Ford eco boost, or simply rationalizing that any money saved on fuel would be offset by the cost of a new truck. The Avi has only 37000 miles and if not for camping would only do about 5,000 miles a year.

 

While I am on the subject of economy do any of you use an engine tuner computer such as Bully Dog, or a cold air intake? If so do you see an improvement in mileage or performance?


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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I know that the majority of people on this forum have the Elite II but if you could include your model with your mileage that would be really helpful. I'm contemplating the Elite and will need to get a new tow vehicle if I go this route.

I appreciate all I'm able to learn from the knowledgeable individuals on this forum! Thanks!

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Good idea Beachbum. Many of us list our trailer in the signature, but not all.


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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Well we just picked up our Elite II in May and did a short month trip with a friend who also picked theirs up as well. We tow with a Ford F150 and 5.0 engine. Does the F150 do the job yes could it be better yes, we had a Casita 17 Liberty deluxe and didn't know it was back there up hill, mountains, pull off's didn't matter but with the extra 2000 pounds we now feel it on the Mountain roads. The F150 gets about 18 MPG in general have a light foot, towing the Casita got around 15MPG and with the Oliver about 13 MPG driving around the East through Virginia, NC, SC, Smokies and back to Florida. I like my Ford and have considered the Diesel as well with the Casita I could pass a semi going up hill and with the Oliver I ride with them. I am not as concerned with the MPG the cost of a diesel off sets a lot of gasoline purchases but with using the tow vehicle at its max and strain on the transmission. The Eco Boost was coming out in 2011/12 when I bought ours and many sure like them but have heard about costly repairs when you get in to the 120,000 mile and up range. My few cents worth. Thanks Gary


Gary & Jona

2016 Silverado 2500 Diesel

Legacy Elite II Hull 81 

 

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We have the 2015 Elite (18.5"). We tow with a 2011 V-6 4Runner.The tow vehicle does well, even in the Western Mountains. We live Utah. We get 16.9 mph average when towing and 20 mph solo. We are extremely pleased with our new Ollie. We also love the 4 Season capability of the Oliver.

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We bought, this spring, a Dodge Durango RT with a 5.7 hemi V8 engine to pull our Elite II. We just came back from a 2 week trip to Glacier National Park and I checked the mileage on every tank. The overall MPG came out at 12.5, the lowest was 11.64 and the best was 14.28, but some of that was without the trailer. We get about 17 on everyday driving.

Our trip in April to the Grand Canyon we got a solid 12 MPG.

WE chose the Durango, over another pickup for the covered cargo space, and when you put the seats down and put in a piece of fiberboard covered with a piece of carpet, it's a nice place for the dog to travel.

On the Durango Forum, the opinion is a CAI will give a small increase in performance, plus a "cooler sound", and we all know that's important. Not sure if I will go that route or not.

 

Stan


Stan and Carol


Blacksburg, VA


2014 Dodge Durango 5.7 Hemi


2014 Legacy Elite II Standard  Hull 63

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Glad to see the activity here. Keep it coming.

 

I am not well versed in engine technology. My Avalanche has 3:42 rear end and limited slip differential. Could that account for the low mileage? I drive at 65 when towing and have a light foot. I would like some first hand knowledge of someone using a tuner computer with a gasoline engine.


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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We tow with a 2009 F150 FX4 5.4 litre V8 and get 18 highway, 16 in town, 11 or 12 towing the Oliver. We used to get between 13-14 towing our Casita, but we knew we there would be a drop.


Ed and Marsha


Legacy Elite II, Hull #85


Ford F150 Lariat

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Our TV is a 2013 F150 3.7 L Eco Boost with the 3:31 gear ratio. The truck is a Super Crew Cab long bed. Suffice it to say this is not a light truck with all the extra metal. There have been no modifications to the truck other than changing the factory issue tires to Michellin LTX M/S 2's. We have just over 27,000 miles on this truck and thus far has been faultless, providing enormous amounts of power and torque when needed, able to pass semi's going over western states mountain passes with ease. As for problems with the Eco Boost engine likewise I have heard of a few issues too but am inclined to believe they are a vocal minority. And while we have all heard anecdotal stories of such and such a vehicle going for hundreds of thousands of miles with no repairs truth is very few vehicles of any brand make it to 120,000 miles without some sort of major repair or issue.

 

We just returned late yesterday from a trip to Glacier NP as well with total trip miles of 1453 averaging 15.6 mpg, towing we were getting between 12-13 mpg and about 19-20 without towing driving the arduous and steep and often windy Glacier NP roads. It is worth noting however we also brought both of your 14 Ft kayaks along that create considerably more wind drag and those boats stayed on the truck rack system throughout the trip unless we were paddling of course. Picture below for illustration. It is worth noting we had some head winds on the way back, not heavy but enough to affect gas mileage to some degree.

 

Our previous and first trip out was a month long excursion after picking up our Oliver on Mar 3rd. While we did not bring our kayaks along for this trip we did have our road bikes stashed in the truck bed. This initial trip of approximately 6600 miles total from MT to TN to pick up, then down through the Gulf Coast states and across the country through TX, NM, UT, ID and back to MT gave us and average of only 14.5 mpg but under travel conditions that could only be describe as terrible. We battled torrential rains and flooded roads almost constantly, and extreme head winds at times especially going through TX just missing a tornado over the OK state line or so we were told. That day we only got 8 MPG on one tank and 10-11 mpg on another, but otherwise towing through the gulf states driving 60-65 mph when the weather was good gas mileage was in the 14-15 mpg range. Its unlikely we will ever see those numbers here in the northern rockies however.

 

Hopefully this helps.

 

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My Elite sits up very high with the high lift option, 16 inch wheels and light truck tires, so it catches a bit more wind than if It was a lower slung model. My mileage varies from 13.5 to 15.5 based on terrain and weather conditions, following the Tacoma manual, not using the overdrive gear while towing, doing 60MPH. Once I had a huge tailwind and flat terrain, used O/D and watched the RPM like a hawk to ensure it did not "hunt" and got a rousing 19 MPG, another time, I lead-footed it from Wyoming to Kansas at 75MPH and watched the mileage drop to 11.5 (cost me an extra $85 in gas expense also)

 

Basically, I no longer follow the MPG. It is what it is and whatever that is, I intend to get out there and have fun . . .


Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


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Rob,

 

3.7 seems awful small. Did you mean 5.7.


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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Dave that is not a misprint. Ford makes two EB engines, the 3.7 L and the 2.7 L that was just introduced this year for the 2015's in the F150 line. Granted it sounds small, until you drive one. These things will pin you to the back of your seat if you put your foot in the pedal, like right now. Ford torture tested this engine before introducing it in ways most companies would never think of. If you do a you tube search for this you'll find at least half a dozen videos of various torture test done to this engine. Where they get the torque and horsepower is the dual turbo chargers employed and this provides a power/torque curve more similar to diesel engines, only with a lot more pep. The 2015's have been fine tuned a tad more still providing yet a touch more power. I took one for a test drive back in the spring and as much as I like my 2013 the 2015's really took it up another notch in performance as well as interior fit and finish.

 

Below is a link to a to a tow test with the smaller 2.7 L Eco Boost against the RAM 1500 with their 3.0 L diesel and the Chevy 6L V8 (I think). The 2.7 L pretty much ate the RAM 1500's lunch in tow power and outperformed the Chevy though not quite with the same edge. Don't get me wrong, both of the other trucks are very nice trucks, not knocking them at all but when it comes to brute force towing these eco boost engines are hard to beat unless you have a larger diesel. If you can get past all of the Ford hoop-da-la promotion on the video its still a very impressive feat under conditions far more extreme than you would ever encounter towing an Oliver.

 

http://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/gallery ... FS8536000/

 

Let me know if you have any more questions.

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One other comment I forgot to mention on this last trip to Glacier. From our home there are two mountain passes with climbs of 1500 ft on one and over 2000 on the other both on I-90 the last with a very steep grade. Most of our highway speeds were at 65 mph, but occasionally on the secondary two lanes 55-60 mph depending on traffic and road conditions.

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