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How to improve mpg while towing

Discussion in 'Towing' started by FL Grown, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Apr 1, 2011 at 6:30 PM
    #1
    FL Grown

    FL Grown [OP] Member

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    I have a 2010 double cab TRD. I just purchased a new 28' travel trailer at 4400 lbs (dry weight). Typically, I get 18-19 mpg, but on our 150 mile excursion with the new camper, we got only 8.5 mpg. We did drive a little slower on the return trip, which helped, but not significantly. Ant suggestions???????

    BTW, the truck towed the trailer, beautifully......only problem was mpg!

    2.jpg
     
    Tarus 9mm likes this.
  2. Apr 1, 2011 at 6:36 PM
    #2
    cc350

    cc350 Buckeye Member

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    Get use to it. MPG's will not get better with anything aftermarket. We tow a 18ft TT 3900lb dw and get around 10-12 mpg. I'm happy with that. TT are bulky with lots of wind resistance.
     
  3. Apr 1, 2011 at 7:54 PM
    #3
    S.B.

    S.B. Well-Known Member

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    I flat towed a Jeep Wrangler, probably around 3500 with 400 or so in the bed, I got 12,11,10,and 8.5. Doing 75 for the last 2 tanks. Drove from SD, CA to Flagstaff, AZ on the 15 and 40. The 40 is mountainous.
     
  4. Apr 1, 2011 at 8:37 PM
    #4
    achirdo

    achirdo I Weld!

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    coasting down the hills is about all you can do
     
  5. Apr 1, 2011 at 11:47 PM
    #5
    TacoAL

    TacoAL Well-Known Member

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    Try not filling it with supplys till you get near your location?? Not that it will make much of a difference but it might get you a mpg.
     
  6. Apr 3, 2011 at 12:01 PM
    #6
    hedman

    hedman the ghost

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    The only way to improve gas mileage when towing is to get a supercharger but after all is said and done i think its just 2-3 mpg improvement and only when towing.
     
  7. Apr 3, 2011 at 12:08 PM
    #7
    fvtalon

    fvtalon Well-Known Member

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    I find a noticeable difference in MPG between 55 and 70 mph when towing. I've some posts from people who actually have the supercharger and they report better mileage. But then if that's the only reason you're getting it you have to tow a lot and save a ton of gas to break even on a $4000 SC and only then would you start saving money.

    Make sure your tires are properly inflated (truck and trailer) and your air cleaner is clean and the truck is generally running properly.

    Other than that there's not much you can do short of getting a different truck.
     
  8. Apr 3, 2011 at 12:35 PM
    #8
    MJonaGS32

    MJonaGS32 MJ on a GS

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    Drive slow. there is a big difference in mpg when traveling 55 as oppose to 70 mph
     
  9. Apr 3, 2011 at 12:42 PM
    #9
    AndrewFalk

    AndrewFalk Science!

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    Driving slowly is pretty much all you can do. A V6 towing that much weight isn't gonna get great mileage.
     
  10. Apr 3, 2011 at 1:04 PM
    #10
    skytower

    skytower Well-Known Member

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    Hitch and wiring, aux back-up light, rear strobe lights, radio and underseat sub.
    Under 60mph is best, keeping your tire pressure right, make it as aerodynamic as possible. If the trailer is taller than the truck(with a cap on it, put a wing on the back.
     
  11. Apr 3, 2011 at 5:14 PM
    #11
    Goober

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    I haven't towed with the Tacoma yet, but the Ridgeline was 9-11 depending whether my wife or I was driving, me 9 her 11. My worst was 8, bad headwind and best was 13, in Oregon 55mph limit. My 2007 Chevy with the Duramax averages 2 mph better, but if you drive that at 70 it goes down as well. The Chevy gets 15 towing a heavier horse trailer, but that has less wind resistance. Trailmanor claims "one extra gallon of gas to tow a folding TrailManor 100 miles" but you lose the convenience pulling off anywhere and making lunch or using the loo.
     
  12. Apr 3, 2011 at 5:15 PM
    #12
    darkgreentaco

    darkgreentaco XXXL Member

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  13. Apr 4, 2011 at 6:33 AM
    #13
    Goober

    Goober Earthlings are fun to watch!

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  14. Apr 4, 2011 at 6:54 AM
    #14
    chich2000

    chich2000 Well-Known Member

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    Not much you can do, but slow down and keep all tanks empty (water,gray,black) when traveling. Got any pics?
     
  15. Apr 4, 2011 at 8:07 AM
    #15
    Paul's TRD

    Paul's TRD I'm Not Your F***ing Brother

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    I just got finished coming back from Mesa, AZ with a 4100 lb Toy hauler and at best when on the highway was riding the coattail of big rigs for a while. Of course I let them know on the cb that I was trailing them and they were ok with it. Once riding those coattails I would average about 11-12 @ 65mph and not riding behind it would go down to about 8-9mph. Oh, it was 1200 miles from Mesa, AZ to Katy, TX.

    This is what I was pulling
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Apr 4, 2011 at 3:55 PM
    #16
    FL Grown

    FL Grown [OP] Member

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    I posted a pic on my original post, but I don't know how to make it bigger :confused:. The tanks were empty and we typically don't stock up on drinking water until we get to the campground. Luckily, we have no hills in south Florida, unless you count the bridges. We did keep it in 4th, as the owner's manual suggests it and placing the truck in overdrive definitely bogged it down.

    We only do a few trips per year, so it doesn't warrant a bigger truck (plus I really like my Taco!!). Thanks, guys I really appreciate the feedback!
     
  17. Apr 4, 2011 at 9:24 PM
    #17
    Goober

    Goober Earthlings are fun to watch!

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    Nice looking setup!
     
  18. Apr 4, 2011 at 9:43 PM
    #18
    fajitas21

    fajitas21 XMF - Extreme Mexican Food fo Life!

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    Nice Rig! Few questions, as I'm looking to get something very similar to what you have there in the near future.

    I assume you have a Weight Distribution hitch, but do you have sway bars too? Also, it looks like your back end is sagging a bit, do you have any airbags to help level out?

    Also, do you bottom out on rough bumps?

    Anyways, thanks for the MPG info so far, that's about on par to what I'm mentally preparing to expect :) I find a get a bit better MPG when running higher than 87 octane, but it's a bit of a subjective issue, even though I'm running a scangauge to try to help get some real life numbers.
     
  19. Apr 5, 2011 at 5:16 AM
    #19
    FL Grown

    FL Grown [OP] Member

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    Yes, we bought a weight distribution hitch from Tractor Supply. It was half the price($299) of all the other places I called ($620)! We did not put a sway bar on, because the weight distribution hitch seemed to alleviate some sway. The back better not look like it's sagging, as it wasn't even hooked up! I took the picture right after I unhooked everything!! I'm old school....I have a 35mm, so when I get my camera pics developed, I'll post another one. We did not have any problems going over bumps or potholes. It really towed nicely!
     
  20. Apr 5, 2011 at 8:43 AM
    #20
    fvtalon

    fvtalon Well-Known Member

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    The mpg numbers get scary but before making any changes beyond driving style you need to look at the actual dollars involved too.

    So you say you get 18-19 mpg empty, so lets call it 18.5mpg, and 8.5mpg towing.

    Lets say you make one big 2-week holiday trip per year that's 500 miles each way, and then say 7 more trips. That's going camping every weekend for July, August and a weekend each in June and September. That's a lot of camping. Lets say the weekend trips are 150 miles round trip like you just did.

    7 x 150 = 1050 miles

    1050 + 1500 (big trip) = 2550 miles.

    If you drove that all in just the empty truck... 2550 / 18.5 = 137.8gal x $3.8/gal = $524

    With the trailer you'd be... 2550 / 8.5 = 300gal x $3.8/gal = $1140

    So $616/yr or $51.33 per month if you want save a little every month.

    Six hundred bucks a year isn't chump change but at the same time it's not a huge sum and that's based on really quite a lot of towing. I don't know many people who are gone every weekend all summer then go on that length of a road trip in there too. If you went the SC route only for towing mileage you'd have to travel like that for 6.5 years before you'd save a penny. $50/month certainly isn't enough to trade the taco on a big diesel or something to improve the towing mileage either.
     
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