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Old 06-16-2013, 07:22 PM   #1
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Feedback on mileage from folks with similar RVs, if you please :)

I'm preparing for the inevitability of replacing my tow vehicle, and my main concern is fuel efficiency vs. power.

My Trailblazer pulls the small Swift XLS well enough, but I would like something a little more in the realm of overkill. Even though things are OK now, some part of me wants to be well above "good enough" in the towing capability realm.

That being said, the Trailblazer gets about 18 mpg daily driving, and 12 towing. I think that is pretty darn good.

I am curious what people with various trucks get for mileage for both daily driving and towing, and I'd be most interested in other Swift XLS folks, since the profile is much smaller than other RVs, and their weight is less than 3500 lbs.

You can find fuel efficiency numbers online, but not accompanied by MPGs during towing. There are a lot of people who write about their mileage while towing, but that is usually in regards to heavier, higher profile rvs. So, any input would be helpful!

Thanks!!
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:40 AM   #2
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The answer is "it depends". This is a really hard question to answer because there are so many variables. It depends on how fast you drive, how much HP and torque a TV has, what the gearing is, how much frontal area is pushing into the wind, how much air is in your tires, etc, etc. Keep in mind that these are trucks and will not get "good" mileage no matter what you do. I get 20 or so highway driving in our Trailblazer not towing (that's 60-65 mph), and 16/17 in day to day mixed highway/city. Our TB has the I6 with 170 HP, and 3:42 gears.

We used to tow a 2003 Kiwi 17A with our Trailblazer. The 17A was only 7 ft wide, had a GVWR of 3450#, and was very close to the ground. I got 12 mpg in ideal conditions, 10 or 11 in the wind and hills in WI. When we towed it to Yellowstone we got 9-11 depending on mountains and wind. When we towed this same trailer to California and back to WI using a '95 Suburban we got 10 MPG almost the entire trip, nearly 6k miles. With that truck we got 10 pretty much everywhere we towed. I tow at about 62 MPH. I found the Kiwi and my Trailblazer to be a well matched setup and never felt like I needed more.

With our new X20E, I really thought I was going to end up getting a new TV. I'm getting close to my towing capacity and GCWR, but found with a couple of minor adjustments, it really tows nicely. The first trip with it I ate gas like crazy, at one point I got only 7.6 mpg. However, I learned I have to have 40 psi in the back tires and 35 psi in the front. I also needed new rear shocks. They lifted the back of the truck by over an inch, the old ones were that bad. Made big difference in towing. I'm now getting 10-11 with trailer that has a GVWR of 4750#. I wouldn't take my current combo through the mountains though.

So at this point, I have no payment on the Trailblazer, and even though it has 150k on it, its in excellent condition. It tows our new trailer well, and we aren't going to take any long distance trips with the trailer anymore anyway. Drive your Trailblazer as long you can. I think you have an excellent combo.



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Old 06-17-2013, 09:46 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response, DocBrown. I hear you about the paid off Trailblazer. It is pretty nice.

My main concern is what you mentioned -- mountains. Those kinds of trips may be coming within the next few years. In the mean time, I'm getting nickeled and dimed with repairs on the Trailblazer. I guess it is a patience thing with me, but I like to be prepared too. I'm currently most interested in 5.0l F150 trucks. From what I have been reading on f150 forums, the mileage might be about the same that I have now, but mountains wouldn't be such a worry.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:55 AM   #4
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I have a 2012 Jayco 165 and tow it with a 2011 Nissan Frontier. The trailer weighs in about 3500lbs when loaded. Frontier is a 4 Liter V6, 6 speed. Use an E2 WDH.

I get about 20 mpg on the highway, 16 -18 mpg around town and 10 -12 mpg when towing. Usually tow 60 - 65 MPH. Flat sections I can stay in 6th gear. On hills I downshift to 4 or 5. Towed thru the Virginia mountains (Skyline Drive) without a problem.

I went with the Frontier because I did not want a full size pickup for driving around town, which is probably 90% of its usage. Overall setup works well but I would not want to tow anything larger or heavier with the Frontier since I want to maintain a safety factor and not have the "tail wagging the dog".

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Old 06-18-2013, 08:38 AM   #5
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I don't really think you'll have any trouble with mountains. With our old Kiwi I was able to do about 50 mph in second gear up 6% & 7% grades at about 3500 rpm. I doubt it would be all that much different with an F150.

As far as repairs, I do most of my own work so that keeps the cost down. I found out yesterday that there is a leak in my rear A/C. Just to cut it off is going to $400. To fix it will be well over $1k. Bummer, but its either that or no A/C. But even if I stick $1k a year into it, that's far cheaper than a newer truck.
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:33 AM   #6
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I have a Jayco Swift 154bh. I pulled it with a 2004 GMC Envoy.
It also had an air conditioner leak and a few other problems. I just replaced it with a 2012 F150 with ecoboost. It says its getting up to 21 mpg. I only pulled the trailer one time so far and got 13.5 mpg.
SUV's are great multipurpose vehicles but F150's are MADE for pulling. I love my tow vehicle being overpowered. It just makes you feel safer. Its hard to know what to do. I wanted to keep the Envoy and repair it but my mechanic said to replace it.....best of luck to you!
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etothepii View Post
Thanks for the response, DocBrown. I hear you about the paid off Trailblazer. It is pretty nice.

My main concern is what you mentioned -- mountains. Those kinds of trips may be coming within the next few years. In the mean time, I'm getting nickeled and dimed with repairs on the Trailblazer. I guess it is a patience thing with me, but I like to be prepared too. I'm currently most interested in 5.0l F150 trucks. From what I have been reading on f150 forums, the mileage might be about the same that I have now, but mountains wouldn't be such a worry.
If you are looking new, the 2014 GM Silverado and Sierra get "great" gas mileage. If you are staying with the same trailer, the Double (previous extended) Cab has decent rear seat space, a V6 rated to tow 6700lbs, and "great" gas mileage. The 5.3 V8 comes with both a 3.08 or 3.42 rear axle. I have heard of individuals getting 21-22 mpg with these. They are rated 6600/9500 lbs towing.
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:26 PM   #8
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IMHO, if you are going to upgrade TV I would pay a lot more attention to the TV weight limits, specifically the Cargo Capacity, than fuel economy. My experience is at some point, sooner than you might realize, you are going to want to trade TT. If you buy a more capable TV now that makes the almost inevitable TT trade easier with overall less expense.

As for fuel economy, do the math and see what the true net effect it and if you can live with it. I did some basic calculations and think even if you lost 3 MPG both towing an daily driving your actauly fuel cost increase will be nominal. For example if you drove 15K miles/year and 3k of them are towing assuming $4 gallon fuel at your current 18/12 your average annual fuel cost would be $3650. Now if you kept the same miles and fuel economy fell by 3 MPG to 15/9MPG (very realisting for a 1/2 ton V8 gasser) your average annual fuel cost would be $4500. For me, and the fact that I dealt with an expensive TV upgrade for lack of proper planning, I would take the $850 fuel increase and know I have TV that opens lost of potential future options.

My numbers are guess at your milage and fue cost/gallon. Do the math for yourself and see if MPG is really that much of a driving force.

If I was you, I would really consider a F150 ecoboost with max tow and max cargo --- I personally havn't driven one, but all the forum reports seem very positive and a great way to balance daily driver and tow beast.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:11 PM   #9
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I think the biggest factor in fuel economy is windage from the frontal area of the TT. The more area you have and the more vertical the front is, the worse it is. Wind resistance increases by the 4th power of velocity. That is why you see fuel economy drop off sharply above 60 mph and doesn't improve much more if you drop below 50.

Most people seem to get about 10-11 mpg towing a TT no mater what the TV is. What varies is the unloaded milage. I knew that we would be doing a lot of towing in the mountains, so I looked to have a fair amount more capacity than the TT. TT is 6000 lb gross. and the rated TV capacity is 9000 lb. We get 16-19 mpg when unloaded and usually 10-11 towing with the 5.4L F-150. I would buy the same truck if I had to do it again.
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