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Old 05-09-2011, 09:28 AM   #1
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Question Is it the Weight or the Drag that matters more?

I am towing a X18D Hybrid with a Toyota Tundra 5.7. I figured my MPG would not get hit too hard since I am pulling a trailer that is far lighter my max weight. Max Trailer weight on X18D is 4400, my vehicle can tow a theoretical max of 10,100.

I was surprised last weekend when I took my longest haul yet (about 135 miles) and averaged just 8MPG! I was getting around 10 on some other trips this spring. (FYI my unloaded average is about 17-18 on the highway)

The only thing I can come up with is that the drag is the biggest factor here, would you folks agree?

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Old 05-09-2011, 10:31 AM   #2
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That is my experience with my truck. I can pull my 26BH or a 10 foot single axle box trailer and my mileage is not that much different.

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Old 05-09-2011, 02:14 PM   #3
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A number of things can play into gas mileage when towing, such as a head wind, TV gearing, tire air pressure, transmission hunting to much, speed, and of course weight to name a few.

I found that with my TV/TT combination that 60mph-65mph is my sweet spot for the best MPG in ideal traveling conditions.

Bottom line, that big box we tow behind our TV's just isn't that aerodynamic


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Old 05-09-2011, 02:27 PM   #4
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That seems to be the consensus. High profile trailers take a bunch of fuel to pull, even if not very heavy.
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:32 PM   #5
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I'd vote for the drag as the main factor. I think the weight hurts the most getting up to speed, so if you have alot of starting and stopping the weight hurts worse.

Cutting back 5 mph will normally make a big difference, at least with a gas engine.

When I pulled a Geo Tracker (2200-2300lbs and no drag) with my motorhome there was virtually no difference in mileage on the road, with or without it! It seemed to make a little more difference when there was a lot of stopping and starting.
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:35 AM   #6
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When I had a 32 ft 5th wheel and I towed a small flat trailer behind it with two 4x4 quads on it. It didn't make any difference with my truck. Always right around 10mpg. My wife would sometimes tow the quads with her GMC Canyon. On the hiway it usually gets 23-24 mpg. With the quads she got 15 mpg. I really don't think the weight affects as much as drag.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:18 AM   #7
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Drag is way more important than weight.. unless you are just towing around town. to see the best mpg increase keep it to 60 or less..
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:02 PM   #8
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Drag is worse. No Doubt.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:53 AM   #9
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Agree....the drag is a drag but a good direct tailwind sure helps. Seann45 is right...60 MPH or less makes a big difference in fuel consumption. I usually drive 60...until I am getting close to the campsite, then for some reason, I am pushing 75 in anticipation.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:57 AM   #10
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Considering that ST tires on most trailers are only rated for 65mph, I would definitely not go over 65mph. I have had a tire fail on me because I did a 2400 mile trip at 65-75mph. It survived the trip, but after sitting for the winter, it had gone flat. When I inflated it, I noticed that the sidewall resembled a washboard. The excessive speed had obviously damaged the sidewall belts.


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