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Towing MPG in the fast lane


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Any Oliver owners out there like to tow in the fast lane?  Curious what mpg’s your rig is achieving in the 70-75 mph range. Gas or diesel? Any particular speed where you feel your TV is working too hard?

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We stay at around 65 on the interstate except in west Texas when the speed limit goes up to 85, then we do 70 so we’re not a traffic impediment.  Mileage is around 14-16.  Cummins 6.7 diesel.  Mike

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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We try to limit our speed to 63-65 MPH for safety reasons, and get 14-14.5 doing this. The first time we went to Florida we were in a hurry and were traveling at 70+MPH and actually got better Mileage, 15+MPG. Our TV is a GL 450 Mercedes, Gas engine. We generally drive in the Right Lane on Interstates and the Middle Lane if one is available, again for safety reasons. 

Caution, One of the leading causes of RV accidents is SPEED!

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We are also right lane or middle lane at 60-65 with our Tundra.  We get about 12mpg at those speeds running at 2000 rpm or less on flat.  I prefer the middle lane if possible to avoid merging and exiting traffic.  We drop mileage to 10 mpg going faster.  I may be over cautious but prefer to feel that I have the most possible control.  I guess I am going to have to learn to increase my speed on our planned trip across west Texas in late January 2022!  

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40 minutes ago, Mattnan said:

We are also right lane or middle lane at 60-65 with our Tundra.  We get about 12mpg at those speeds running at 2000 rpm or less on flat. 

What gear is that? And what Oliver model?  With my Land Cruiser six speed and 3.90 axles, I tow in fourth and that is about 2500 rpm. It won’t stay in fifth without downshifting at every slight hill. Your Tundra has much lower gearing (4.30) so fifth might be fine, but I think Toyota recommends towing in fourth, not the overdrive gears. The engine doesn’t make power down low, the torque peak on my truck is 2800 rpm. As long as it holds the selected gear without constant shifting, no worries. Otherwise it really heats up the transmission fluid, which is a big no-no..

Thanks,

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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2017 ford 3.5 liter twin turbo towing a 2016 Elite II - between 12 and 13 mpg while at between 65 and 68 mph in either the middle or slow lane.  I almost never use the "tow/haul" mode which limits shifting of the 10 speed transmission and have never had problems with hills either in the East or the West.  Note that there is still plenty of get up and go if I need to pass someone but once I settle into the "towing mindset" I find it reasonably comfortable just lopping along listening to a book or tunes.

Bill

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Not sure on the gears on my 2008 5.7 with tow package.  The tow haul allows me to reach top gear.  If I think of it I'll take a look at the original window sticker for axel ratio and re check the manual when we head out next time.  We tow in the tow haul mode without issues.  I also tow boat and trailer package of about 5000 lbs.  Never had any issues of anything over heating.  I did indicate on the flat.   It will automatically down shift a gear going up a long small grade.  I don't feel it is over shifting.  I have power when need to pass or go up a grade and am not running higher rpms when not needed.  Tactics in the mountains will be different.  

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Mattnan, thanks, that is interesting. My 2013 LC 200 doesn’t have a Tow Haul mode at all, it does have a Power switch which raises and quickens the shift points. Following the manual I turn that on and set the shifter to fourth, then downshift manually if it needs help in really steep terrain. I do have slightly oversized tires. I sometimes put it in fifth on long gradual downhills, that is the only situation where it will stay in that gear. I have an OBD2 Scangauge   reader so I can watch the transmission oil temps of both the torque converter and the oil pan. It is interesting to see the converter temp spike way up when it unlocks. Have you ever changed the transmission filter and fluid? if not you should, and use a full synthetic. If you are handy and there are no rusted pan bolts 😳 a reasonably skilled home mechanic can do a full flush easily. I did mine six months back, and I had to drill out three rusted busted bolts. Not at all fun. You do need either an OBD2 reader that will measure transmission pan temperature, or an infrared thermometer, to adjust the fluid level correctly.

John Davies

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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I had to run a few errands so took the truck and looked at the original sticker, reviewed the owners manual, and the recommended services at each service interval.  I had not done this in years.  A good exercise.

Our tow package contains the following: 10,300 lbs towing capacity, 1580 payload capacity, supplemental transmission cooler, tow/haul mode with 430 rear differential with 10.5 ring gear, 150 amp alternator, transmission temp gauge, and pre wire for the brake controller.  Our truck has a 6 speed transmission and is very basic, the lowest trim level with just a few options.  I reviewed the owners manual for towing.  There were no specific instructions about towing in lower gear at higher revs for normal use.  We have never experienced any over heating issues.  The gauges all work including the transmission temp gauge.  We have relatively low miles at 97,000 for a 2008 model. We always have a full service done before we head out.  The same will happen in late November for our 5 months on the road.  We are getting new tires at that time too.  I will have the transmission fluid checked at that time.  If it warrants replacement I will use Toyota fluid as our manual was very specific about this.  I reviewed all of the required service and the manual indicates to only change the fluid when necessary.  It indicates "special use" as a reason to change the transmission fluid.  Special use is indicated as significant off road use and/or lots of towing and very dusty conditions.  We have about 12,000 towing miles.  I will have our mechanic change the transmission and both differentials if needed before we head out.  Our truck does receive regular scheduled maintenance.  I'll leave it (transmission fluid change if needed ect) to our trusted mechanic.  I am not interested in snapping any bolts in my driveway!!!!  We are taking our Ollie back to Oliver for them to go through it at the beginning of our trip.  We are already scheduled for the first few days of December. 

 This truck maybe one of the better vehicle purchases we made.  I got a huge discount as we bought it during the financial crisis and gas prices were very high.  The salesman was my son's football coach so on top of the huge Toyota incentives we got a bunch more off.  They wanted to move the truck as it had been on the lot and model year was changing.  I had someone looking for a used truck offer me better than 75% of what I paid!  I can't replace the truck economically at this time.  I think if I continue to maintain it the truck may out live me!!!!

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Mattnan, I am glad you have a good Toyota mechanic, they are not easy to find. My 2013 fluid had 140,000 miles and had never been changed, about 10,000 of that was towing. It was not burned (no nasty odor) but it was very very discolored. There was a lot of super fine metal fuzz on the three oil pan magnets, which is normal (break-in wear). The Toyota semi-synthetic ATF is fine, but very expensive, and won’t cause any issues, but a compatible full synthetic ATF with a full system flush is better. You have to get all 12 quarts out, not just the 5 that a filter change (dropping the pan) requires. I don’t understand why Toyota doesn’t require regular changes, the fluid gets really stressed. I did use OEM filter, all new replacement pan screws, pan gasket, orings and crush washers. If Toyota had a branded full synthetic I might have chosen to use that. 

John Davies

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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Most of our travel has been in California and there is no fast lane travel here, for those towing a trailer.  

The speed limit, when towing, is 55 mph.  We typically travel 62 - 65 mpg and after 16,000 miles, we have average 19 mpg with our 2018 BMW X5 diesel. 

The best we have seen is 22.1 mpg, driving from Mammoth Lakes, CA to San Diego, CA.  About 400 miles, mostly down hill.  

The worst was driving from San Diego, CA to Independence, CA, with a constant 25 mph head wind and mostly up hill.  We got 15.7 mpg for 325 mile trip.

We couldn't be more happy with our TV.  Great towing and even better when not.  Best mileage not towing was from Zion NP to Bryce NP and back.  49 mpg!

Andrew

 

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Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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2016 Tundra with cap…. E2. On the trip back and forth across the country this year we got 12mpg westward bound, 10 mpg eastward bound. 
The difference in mileage is very noticeable when traveling under 72 mph as opposed to a faster clip.. 

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Mark & Deb..2020 Elite II..Dearie..Hull #685..2016 Tundra

 

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I tow around 65 mph and feel that's a safe speed for me, our 2019 Ram Hemi will get around 12.5 to 13.2 mpg at that speed.  Going faster does nothing for me and most times I have to watch the speedometer to keep the speed up. 

trainman

Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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On 7/1/2021 at 9:44 PM, Pat Maundrell said:

We try to limit our speed to 63-65 MPH for safety reasons, and get 14-14.5 doing this. The first time we went to Florida we were in a hurry and were traveling at 70+MPH and actually got better Mileage, 15+MPG. Our TV is a GL 450 Mercedes, Gas engine. We generally drive in the Right Lane on Interstates and the Middle Lane if one is available, again for safety reasons. 

Caution, One of the leading causes of RV accidents is SPEED!

Our GL 450 has a 7 speed AT and can normally hold Cruise Control in 7th gear at 65 MPH. Of course it will occasional DownShift on slight Grades, which is to be expected.

BTW, my wife also drives. 

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Like Trainman I get an average of 13 mpg while towing at 65 mph with my RAM 5.7 Hemi with trailer package at around 1800 rpm. I have not seen much of a reduction in mpg going at 70 mph which I will do if in a hurry (but that is not often) or to keep up with the traffic flow. This year my travels are in Maine and New Hampshire so the traffic has not been heavy yet this summer. RAM has plenty of reserve power and will down shift on sight up grades to around 2100 rpm. I get around 18 mpg (in the warm summer) when not towing the Ollie.

2018 Oliver Elite II, Hull #354 | 2018 RAM 1500 Rebel 4 x 4, 5.7 Hemi

 

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Getting roughly 15-16 towing our 2018 LE2 with 2020 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel. It all depends on the wind speed and direction...especially on the flats. I have a tendency to drive about 70 on the Interstates. In the very flat roads of Florida I can get up to 18. 3.93 rear axle. I do use tow haul where hills are steep like our current traverse of the southern Appalachians.

ALFLGAILINIAKYMDMNMSMONEOHPASDTNVAWVsm.j

2020 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel. LE2 hull# 344.

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In the 20k miles we towed Ollie - an EII- with our GMC duramax diesel - we averaged about 14.33367893 MPG. Okay - it is really between 14 and 15. The majority of the miles (60/40) was probably on the big roads - avg about 65 mph. Try to stay about 70, but sometimes a little above, a little below. It makes a difference if we are headed west - or returning -east. We have seen as high as 17 and as low as 12 - for a full tank to tank measurement. Last trip - 4800 - avg 14. It is very consistent over time.

While this is decent MPG and pretty average for the set-up - the real story is how well the unit tows - and the ease of a long day behind the wheel. Comfortable - and you never worry about the load. As a coworker used to tell me - don't worry about the mule - just load the wagon. 

I have to spend an extra $50 every -10k miles to change fuel filter, and oil changes are a little more expensive than my old gas V-8. Diesel is usually a little more than gas - but not always!  Overall - the added cost balances out the overall satisfaction level.

Warning - one can wander off in the mind - and look down to find your doing 80 +.  There is no feel difference from 65 -85 - esp. if you jamming out to good R n R.

RB

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
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Great responses so far!  I was being slightly sarcastic with the fast lane topic. I was really looking for a constant mpg doing 70 vs 55 ish that always clogs up the highway in Michigan. Looks like the aerodynamics of the Oliver allows this while getting really good mileage. We have a 1 ton duramax and I’m always towing 7-12k everywhere I go. Like BoB mentioned you can’t even tell there’s something back there (performance/safety wise).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm towing with a 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 diesel. The squat is 2 1/2 inches which puts my rear about a 1/2 inch lower than my front. I'm using a 2 inch drawbar turned up. The trailer is almost exactly level. Mileage so far is 16-17, but that's according to the computer. I'm going to do my own measurements with fill-ups an mileage because I think it will be one or two mpg better. I have been going the limit, whether it's 65 or 70, so far. When I get to Montana I don't think I'll go 80, but rather stay at 70. Otherwise mileage suffers.

2021 Elite II #841, 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, 3.0 diesel

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I tow slow, mainly because I have been scared far too many times by wildlife crossing the road. Last summer I crested a blind hill to find three huge elk standing in the center of the two lane highway. Once you have experienced a panic stop like that you won’t even consider 80 mph, regardless of how many fences there are along the shoulder. If you do choose to tow fast, make very sure that your trailer brakes are actually working correctly. And have you ever even tried a full on emergency brake test? That will wake up any passengers…..

Normally I cruise at 62 mph, it seems to be the sweet spot in terms of power, minimal downshifts and keeping up with traffic. I avoid Interstates entirely, unless I have no other choice. The fast guys are very welcome to pass me. I won’t mention mpgs, it is too embarrassing. Land Cruisers are known gas hogs because of the full time 4wd system, high ground clearance and lack of aerodynamic add-ons.

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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