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Thread: Tow vehicle blues...

  1. #1
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Default Tow vehicle blues...

    OK- very new to RVs in general. Just bought a 7x14 Cargo trailer conversion with some tip out bunks and a furnace/fridge and some storage.

    The right mix of utility and features for me.

    My conundrum... Trailer is a dual axle and weighs 3500 empty. My rig is a V6 Pathfinder rated to pull 6000 lbs. After towing it home the 100mi., I'm completely sure I'd never hook 6000 pounds to that rig. The 3500lbs seemed like it was straining it pretty hard and fuel economy is abysmal at 8.2mpg.

    Is this kind of a normal phenomenon or I'm trying to do too much with too little tow vehicle.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    What was your mileage on the 100 miles to pick up the trailer?You will have another 500lbs. plus by the time you get it set up.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bend View Post
    What was your mileage on the 100 miles to pick up the trailer?You will have another 500lbs. plus by the time you get it set up.
    19.7mpg is avg just running the roads to Fairbanks.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    That is a very common mistake made by many. My truck can tow 10,000 pounds, blah, blah, blah. Then when you buy a trailer that pushes the Gross weight rating of your rig, reality sets in. Many times folks look at empty weight and never even think of the loaded weight as being a problem, pushing them well over what the vehicle is rated to safely haul. Then folks wonder why no one will follow anyone towing a trailer in Alaska no matter how fast you are going.

    If you do not like pulling it at 3500 pounds, it will not get better once loaded for a trip. You hit any wind along the way?

    The rule I try to follow for a tow vehicle/trailer combo is that I stay under 75% of the rated Gross Combined Weight Rating. Makes for a safer and most times non eventful trip.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dupont Spinner View Post
    That is a very common mistake made by many. My truck can tow 10,000 pounds, blah, blah, blah. Then when you buy a trailer that pushes the Gross weight rating of your rig, reality sets in. Many times folks look at empty weight and never even think of the loaded weight as being a problem, pushing them well over what the vehicle is rated to safely haul. Then folks wonder why no one will follow anyone towing a trailer in Alaska no matter how fast you are going.

    If you do not like pulling it at 3500 pounds, it will not get better once loaded for a trip. You hit any wind along the way?

    The rule I try to follow for a tow vehicle/trailer combo is that I stay under 75% of the rated Gross Combined Weight Rating. Makes for a safer and most times non eventful trip.
    I figured it would be bad near the max rating... I'm just over 50%. I'm guessing I'm just surprised a little. Other than fuel, the rig seems to do OK. It has a tranny cooler already and nothing ran hot.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member cod's Avatar
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    I have the same size trailer and just made my first trip to lk Louise with it a couple Wks back. Pulled it with a 06 Chevy PU with the smaller v-8 in it (4.8 L). Two heavy snogos in it w some other gear for two. Pulled real well. I was pleasantly surprised. However, my gas mileage was baaaaddd. In fact, cut by 25 percent. ( the gas gauge has never worked and we rely strictly on our trip odometer for fill ups.). We usually fill up by 400 miles per tank. I ran out of fuel at 299 miles, just 1 mile short of the Muldoon exit. Luckily I had a spare 5 gallons in the truck bed.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Towing will really reduce your fuel efficiency. Gas 2005 Dodge hemi went from 17 to 8 with a 7,000 lb trailer. 07 Dodge diesel (5.9) went from 18 to 13 with a 10,000lb trailer.

    The 2012 diesel runs about 17 on the highway empty, but around 9.5 to 10 towing a 15,000lb 5th. The hills don't slow it down much, and the exhaust brake and tow/haul take care of the downgrades. So yes, it is normal and any bigger and you need to think about another engine/tranny combo.

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    Welcome to the world of towing. Love the diesel guys that brag about their mileage. Sure my Powerstroke would hit an even 20.0 mpg from kenai to anchorage empty. The guys claiming high teens towing are generally pulling 2 atvs or sleds on an aluminum open 2 place. My four place enclosed would generally drop me to 9mpg. Gotta pay to play! No way around it. Pulling decent loads takes fuel.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    From my personal experience towing reduced mileage by about 1/2 with most gas vehicles. Couple things that really help with tow vehicles,,

    Power trailer brakes,, a light tow vehicle can jackknife quickly towing a heavy trailer.

    Air bags,, this really helps keep the load level and prevent springs from bottoming out.

    Make sure to upgrade your tow vehicle tires to haul the extra weight.


    Be safe and enjoy your new toy!!!

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  10. #10

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    I have towed my share up to 20k. All above are valid and good points.
    I will add that the diesels last longer any are sooo much better on hills.
    Had to use the v10 once with 14k and it was an absolute pig compared to the diesels... Never again.
    Will mention at some point the wind drag, parachute effect (your trailer) matters as much, if not more than weight.
    Also, you can pull more weight than you can stop safety...bigger trucks are better.
    Most cargo trailers and campers have junk tires that are far better with quality replacements.
    I understand this is not what you want to hear but I would advise a smaller trailer or a much bigger truck...the steeper the greater this recommendation.
    As others said the factory tow ratings are far greater than real world performance.
    Best of luck.

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    I recently found a good deal on a late 90s f350 .with the 7.3 L diesel

    I recommend you do likewise for towing anything weighing about 4000 and up.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Finally decided on a 5.7L Tundra... much better. Much more stable.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Finally decided on a 5.7L Tundra... much better. Much more stable.
    Love my 5.7L Tundra. I don't do a ton of towing, but have certainly never felt underpowered.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    I towed about 3,500 lbs with an '04 Toyota Tundra with a 3.6L that was rated to tow 5,000 lbs and had the same feeling. I did drive the truck/trailer over 600 miles uneventfully and I did have a little power left, but I didn't feel like I'd be pulling 5,000 lbs any time soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Finally decided on a 5.7L Tundra... much better. Much more stable.
    Nice! Good choice. I would have liked to find a solid tundra in my price range... 5-7k but I could not, so I opted for the ford.

    I'm also curious how the newer tundra diesels are ... Anybody have one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 450 ktm View Post
    ...
    you can pull more weight than you can stop safety...bigger trucks are better.
    This should be plastered all over anywhere that sells trailers! Far too many people seem to think that the only concern with pulling a trailer is having the power to do so. With advances in vehicles in recent years, it is easy to get plenty of power to pull something but yet be far short of weight/control to safely control and stop it when needed. This goes for campers as well. Sometimes upgrading suspension, tires, and/or vehicle or trailer brakes can be all you need, but other times you just need something bigger to pull with.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    With advances in vehicles in recent years, it is easy to get plenty of power to pull something but yet be far short of weight/control to safely control and stop it when needed. This goes for campers as well. Sometimes upgrading suspension, tires, and/or vehicle or trailer brakes can be all you need, but other times you just need something bigger to pull with.
    That's kind of where I ended up...If I spent the $$$ to add airbags, better tires, etc, etc, I didn't want to be stuck with something that was just barely adequate for where I drive.

    I just punted and got a bigger rig- the new rig tows it without any issues at all. I'll be a lot more confident on a rough roads, big hills, bad weather...etc.

    If I only towed on the glass smooth superhighways of Kansas, I probably would have just rolled with what I had and felt good about it.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by andweav View Post
    Nice! Good choice. I would have liked to find a solid tundra in my price range... 5-7k but I could not, so I opted for the ford.

    I'm also curious how the newer tundra diesels are ... Anybody have one?
    No diesel Tundra yet. Supposely 2016. Nissan is set to release a diesel Titan here shortly if not out already.

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    How about the guys that have tow vehicles narrower then their trailers and they like to hug the center line......

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dupont Spinner View Post
    How about the guys that have tow vehicles narrower then their trailers and they like to hug the center line......
    At least they're usually speeding, and playing grab ass with someone / something in the passenger seat...

    But hey, their rig is the biggest, baddest, loudest, latest, fat tired, fire fendered, gas guzzling Seekins custom job, so you best stay the hell out of their way, 'cause they're 30 something, rolling in debt, and far more intelligent than you....!
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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