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beeser

Aerodynamic Oliver?

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The July issue of Trailer Life mentions that the Oliver is aerodynamic and "for the fuel-conscious". No doubt that it's more aerodynamic than the wider box style trailers of equal length but just how much fuel can be saved towing an Oliver? Let's say we're pulling both type trailers with a Toyota Tacoma (V6). What would the mpg be for each?

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Can't speak for a Tacoma but my 2002 Chevy 1500 2wd 4.8 V8 with a shell uses 1-2 mpg more towing my Oliver. I'm very happy with that! :lol:

JMHO Chuck 8-)

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Not bad Chuck. What are the actual mpg figures? How does the Chevy handle steep grades such as 6% with the Oliver in tow? Can you maintain your speed easily?

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Beeser,

 

I use a 2008 Tacoma 4 door w/ factory towing pkg for my TV. MPG depends greatly on my "technique" and the wind condition. Can't speak about mountain pulling, as I haven't done that yet. I've usually been on flat or gently rolling hills. Here are my results:

 

60 mph - cruise control - no overdrive - 30 mph headwind - 14 mpg

62 mph - no cruise control - overdrive - 35 mph tailwind - 19 mpg

55 mph - cruise control - no overdrive - calm winds - 15.5 mph

 

I anticipate about 17 mpg at 62mph, calm winds, overdrive (allowing for deceleration to about 55 when going uphill)

 

I have a flat, locking cover over the back which reduces some drag. Non towing, at 75 mph i get about 21 mpg - at 60 mph, Ive seen 25 mpg.


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


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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Thanks bugeyedriver! Interesting results with your Tacoma. I assume you have the V6?

 

The current issue of Trailer Life has an article about the Hi-Lo trailer and Dodge Dakota (V8). It states that the Dakota gets 18.5 mpg solo and 13.2 while towing the Hi-Lo. I wasn't surprised about the Dakota's solo performance but was a little taken back by the significant drop in mpg towing the trailer. I would've expected a narrower gap in the figures with a V8. My most recent outing towing a Bigfoot 17.5 with a Tacoma Prerunner (V6) was about 20/14 mpg - solo cruising at 75 mph with cruise and towing at 55 mph without cruise. I was seriously considering moving up to a V8 but based on the Trailer Life report I'm beginning to ask the question why. The only thing that would be gained is better hill climbing ability. It wasn't very satisfying chugging along at 30 mph up an 8% grade.

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Now I'm curious... about overdrive and cruise control.

For 14 years I drove a Winn 20' 4cyl Toyota engine Weight 5600 lbs. I learned to drive using the cc and the od and averaged 55 all the time. Regardless of wind or weather or terrain I'd set cc at about 62, over drive OFF. As the engine labored starting a hill climb and the speedometer dropped to 55, I'd turn on the OD. Reaching the top, the engine would tell me by it's sound, and I'd OFF the OD. On average, I'd climb the hills at 55 without any further loss in speed. And this is with that tiny 4 cyl engine. I got 15-17 mpg consistently. If I didn't use this method and relied on driving without the OD I'd have to labor up the hills at 30.

 

Now I have to ask. I read elsewhere that OD should be left on all the time, as it lessens the revolutions of the engine and thereby saves one's gas consumption. Would anyone reading this care to comment about cc and od use and explain it to me. My method never harmed my engine because in 14 years I didn't have any engine problems. Other than normal tune-ups and belt replacements, this little rig didn't owe me anything when I sold it, but I was always curious about the use of cc and OD.

 

Nowadays one doesn't even have to think about it. I test drove a Ford 250 diesel yesterday and am told that OD and such is all automatic and kicks in when needed.

My goodness, what a nice vehicle that is to drive... Wish I'd win the lottery :lol:

I don't intend to test drive a Dodge or a GMC because it's too easy to like them too much and I'm looking for a used tow vehicle. The only reason (knowing I wouldn't buy it) I tested the Ford was that the salesman insisted, and I was curious to see if I could drive anything that big (after my little Toyota 4 cyl). It was N I C E .

Trying to identify used vehicles, those that have been used by 'sports' that go off-road for fun is tough. Cleaned and washed and shined they look so innocent, til you read on what the guys do to them while off-roading. :roll:

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Frances,

 

I can't really speak from years of towing, as this is my first trailer and I've only put about 2000 miles on it. But from what I've read, if you're using a cc which keeps a very accurate speed and doesn't permit any appreciable deceleration, with overdrive the transmission may be overworked and overheated due to the constant shifting on changing terrain. Repair or replacement of the tranny will surely overcome any savings you may see with a mild increase in mpg.

 

If you do not use overdrive, the rpm will be higher (at 60 mph I show about 2200 rpm without od and about 1500 w/ od) but it is well within rpm limits and there is a minimum of gear changes. It results in higher fuel consumption but a kinder use of the transmission.

 

A friend who has towed a Casita with the same sized Tacoma & engine told me about using overdrive, but not using cruise control and allowing the torque of the engine pull you up gentle hills without any rpm change. You may slow down 5 mph or so on the climb but it picks up on the other side.

 

This will probably not work on steeper inclines because the reduction in speed may be too much. In that case I won't use overdrive, the rpms will increase and mpg decrease. But hey, I'll be in the mountains and the views will be worth it, right? :lol:


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


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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Beeser,

Our 2005 Silverado half-ton (5.3 V8, tow package) handles the long stretch of 6% grade near Saluda NC beautifully, maintaining speed with the Oliver in tow. We make the trip from FL to Asheville about once a month. Roundtrip MPG is 14 to 14.5 towing, a mile or two less if we're carrying the ATV in the bed as well as towing the Oiver. This is a little less than Tumbleweed gets with his Silverado, but we may drive a little faster... We try to keep pace with the traffic, but stay under the limit. One way is 650 miles, about 550 is interstate driving. This perhaps isn't stellar mileage, but acceptable, and we like how the Silverado tows and rides... Sorry, we've never towed a traditionally shaped travel trailer with the Chevy, so I have no comparison figures there.

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Sherry - Thanks for the information on your Silverado (5.3 V8). I'm leaning in the direction of replacing my TV and it looks like a V8 is the way to go. Question now remains, which size V8? No doubt your 5.3 is plenty strong enough and the tow mpg appears reasonable. But what kind mileage do you get without towing?

 

Tumbleweed - How does your smaller V8 handle steep grades? Are you able to maintain speed?

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Hi, Beeser,

When the Silverado was newer, we got a little better mileage. Around town these days, we're looking at 15-16: on the highway, 18-19 non-towing. We used to manage 20 or so...

 

I don't know where you live, or how much of your traveling is in the mountains, but we do feel our mileage does drop significantly with lots of mountain driving. We don't use cruise control when towing. Even on the flatter interstates of Florida, cruise control sends the transmission "hunting" when going up anything but a small hill. Instead, Paul tries to pick up the speed as he's approaching the slopes, keeping an eye on rpm and keeping it under 2000.

 

Even though I keep a detailed log for maintenance and total miles traveled for the Oliver, I haven't kept a meticulous record of mpg lately. (I guess I want to block that out till the gas card bill arrives each month :D ) I'll try to do a better job of record-keeping, and report back. We're leaving soon for a little vacation trip, and hope to do a little more mountain touring than usual. I'm also going to try to figure out if the big mud flaps we've installed will change our mpg. I know Mountainborn feels that his roadwings may cut his mileage by a mile or so. Ours are similar, and removable also, but a different brand.

 

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Hi Beeser,

Go for the 5.3 in the Chevy. I think one reason my mileage may be a little better is we have a cab height fiberglass shell and this adds better aerodynamics vs the open bed.

I posted this before, but Geris 6 cyl Chevy TrailBlazer XT tows the Oliver and her Casita very well with a slightly better ride. 18 mpg without trailer 15-16 with trailer and very acceptable towing power. It has (and any TV you look at should have :idea: ) FACTORY towing package. Has good room and it may become our TV vs the Chevy. :o

Chuck 8-)

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Thanks again Seadawg and tumbleweed for responding! What got me thinking about a new TV, besides the slow mountain climbs during our last trip, was the early preview of Ford's new F150. Particularly interesting were the electronic sway control and integrated brake controller being offered. I'm sure the other truck manufacturers including Chevy will have something similar in their 2009 lineup.

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As promised, here's the update on four weeks of detailed mpg logs.

 

Paul "tried" to drive more with the tach than the speedometer, attempting to keep the rpm under 1800. No cruise control. To save on the brakes, he downshifts going down the mountains. The Silverado has a special towing gear that can be engaged, but he tried to use that only when climbing the steep grades, such as the long stretch of 6% near Green River Gorge, and shorter stretches of 6-13% that we encountered along the way. (Yes, 13% in Pennsylvania near Laurel Mountain and Falling Waters.... and the Silverado/Oliver combo did great!)

 

The first 650 miles of our trip was mostly flat, but starting at sea level here in FL going to 3000 feet in western NC, and mostly interestate. We travel about 150 miles of secondary, good roads to cut some miles on this part of the trip. We had the ATV, grill, charger, and generator in the pickup bed for this segment. The big mudflaps were on for the whole trip.

Our average mpg on this segment was 12.56.

 

The next 3000 miles was primarily secondary, small roads, and mountain driving... eastern TN, NC, VA, and PA... up the Cherahola, Blue Ridge, and Skyline. Later on, the Catskills... Almost no interstate driving (100 miles, perhaps). Lots of small towns. Mudflaps still on, but no ATV in the back anymore.

Our average mpg on this segment was 13.64

 

I did track our non-towing mileage, but at less than 300 miles, it could be really inaccurate. For what it was worth, a mix of mountain driving and around town, rarely over 50 miles per hour. No ATV in the back. Still the mudflaps. 15.2 mpg

 

We do not have a tonto cover or capper for the Silverado (yet). V8, 5.3, factory towing package. We have about 65,000 miles on the truck now. Airbag shocks to help with the load when we have the ATV in the back, but no WDH or sway bar. I seemed to notice a mile better mpg on the rare occasion that we found gas with no ethanol added, but that only happened a few times, so it could be coincidental. It does make me curious, though,since we used to get far better mileage when the truck was new, and ethanol mix was uncommon. Does anyone else have a feel for this?

 

Gas prices were, of course, amazing. A low of $3.69 in SC, to a high of almost a dollar more in CT. NY was .25 to .36 a gallon higher than neighboring PA... and the roads are pretty rough in NY. We got on the thruway for one exit and got off... the secondary roads provided a little better ride...

 

I'll try to keep better track of our non-towing mileage for the next few weeks, so I have a good comparison.

 

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Have any of you ever towed with both 2WD and 4WD vehicles of the same type and size? I haven't, so I'm wondering if those of you who have have a preference, strictly as a tow vehicle. Obviously, 4WD has some advantages as a vehicle to explore the back country roads, once you get to where you are staying.

 

Doug

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As promised, here's the update on four weeks of detailed mpg logs.

 

Paul "tried" to drive more with the tach than the speedometer, attempting to keep the rpm under 1800. No cruise control. To save on the brakes, he downshifts going down the mountains. The Silverado has a special towing gear that can be engaged, but he tried to use that only when climbing the steep grades, such as the long stretch of 6% near Green River Gorge, and shorter stretches of 6-13% that we encountered along the way. (Yes, 13% in Pennsylvania near Laurel Mountain and Falling Waters.... and the Silverado/Oliver combo did great!)

 

The first 650 miles of our trip was mostly flat, but starting at sea level here in FL going to 3000 feet in western NC, and mostly interestate. We travel about 150 miles of secondary, good roads to cut some miles on this part of the trip. We had the ATV, grill, charger, and generator in the pickup bed for this segment. The big mudflaps were on for the whole trip.

Our average mpg on this segment was 12.56.

 

The next 3000 miles was primarily secondary, small roads, and mountain driving... eastern TN, NC, VA, and PA... up the Cherahola, Blue Ridge, and Skyline. Later on, the Catskills... Almost no interstate driving (100 miles, perhaps). Lots of small towns. Mudflaps still on, but no ATV in the back anymore.

Our average mpg on this segment was 13.64

 

I did track our non-towing mileage, but at less than 300 miles, it could be really inaccurate. For what it was worth, a mix of mountain driving and around town, rarely over 50 miles per hour. No ATV in the back. Still the mudflaps. 15.2 mpg

 

We do not have a tonto cover or capper for the Silverado (yet). V8, 5.3, factory towing package. We have about 65,000 miles on the truck now. Airbag shocks to help with the load when we have the ATV in the back, but no WDH or sway bar. I seemed to notice a mile better mpg on the rare occasion that we found gas with no ethanol added, but that only happened a few times, so it could be coincidental. It does make me curious, though,since we used to get far better mileage when the truck was new, and ethanol mix was uncommon. Does anyone else have a feel for this?

 

Gas prices were, of course, amazing. A low of $3.69 in SC, to a high of almost a dollar more in CT. NY was .25 to .36 a gallon higher than neighboring PA... and the roads are pretty rough in NY. We got on the thruway for one exit and got off... the secondary roads provided a little better ride...

 

I'll try to keep better track of our non-towing mileage for the next few weeks, so I have a good comparison.

 

Sherry

 

Sherry - Thanks for posting your mpg results. No offense but I'm a little disappointed. I was hoping for something better. Do you think the smaller V8 would substantially improve the mpg but still deliver some decent performance on the steep grades?

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Beeser,

We were a little disappointed, too, but realized most of our driving was mountains or hills, and higher elevations... all but about 1000 miles... But, we're also dismayed that our overall mileage has dropped so much from when we first got the truck several years ago. It appears that we're only losing a mile or two per gallon when towing, (that's a credit to the trailer), and overall the mileage is acceptable, but less than stellar with today's fuel prices.

I understand that the new Silverados use a system that runs on only 4 of the 8 cylinders when the power requirement is lower. We're thinking about getting a 4 x 4 truck, so I'll let you know what I discover in my research on that one. We've also considered adding a capper or tonto cover to see if that improves our mileage a little. I know many people feel this makes a big difference. Also, we'll have the mechanic run a diagnostic on our next visit to make sure all is running as it should, since we appear to have lost at least several mpg overall in the last few years. That sure adds up when traveling!

Sherry


2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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My Chevy TrailBlazer is 4x4 and even so, I get better gas mileage towing either the Casita or the Oliver than Chuck gets when we use his NON-4x4 Chevy Siverado! I love the idea of having 4x4 for exploring those unpredictable back country roads! Geri

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