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Old 12-07-2016, 12:49 PM   #1
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Default gas mileage

Just wondering what type of gas mileage is about normal while towing. I have a 2013 Honda Pilot 6 cylinder pulling FF139X about 3k lbs loaded, iam guessing..
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Old 12-07-2016, 01:33 PM   #2
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It depends a lot on the wind and the terrain. I average a little better than 10 mpg while towing (almost double that when not). Into a stiff headwind, it drops to 8.5. With a nice tailwind, sometimes 12! Add in some major mountains and things get worse. Weight is not the key issue -- it's wind resistance.

One trick is to keep your speed down. In Calif., the limit for towing is 55, which nobody observes. I keep it around 60 so that no one hits me from behind. Many folks tow at 64 or so. Your tow vehicle will let you know what speed it likes -- if it is happy, the tachometer will be at around 2000 rpm. If it is unhappy, it will rev up a lot higher.

Bad mpg is just the price of admission to the world of trailering -- gas is a lot cheaper than a motel and restaurant food.
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Old 12-07-2016, 01:43 PM   #3
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Just wondering what type of gas mileage is about normal while towing. I have a 2013 Honda Pilot 6 cylinder pulling FF139X about 3k lbs loaded, iam guessing..
There is a thread that might help you...

http://www.funfinderclub.com/forums/...eage-2040.html
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Old 12-07-2016, 03:01 PM   #4
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I checked my gas mileage once while towing and decided it's gonna be whatever it's gonna be. That trip was with the AC and in the foothills and was about 8.5 to 8.9 mpg. Our TV (Big Blue) isn't very fuel efficient anyway and only gets about 15 to 16 mpg unhooked. (I'm guessing).
The man's right. Keeping the speed at 55 and using the downhills to pickup speed for the next hill saves a ton. With our rig the cruise control is less than useless, even wasteful.....
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:00 PM   #5
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No matter what size trailer you are pulling or tow vehicle you use, you can figure your gas mileage will be between 8 - 11 mpg.
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Old 12-07-2016, 07:44 PM   #6
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I usually tow between 60- 65 MPH.

The the max tow speed of my ST camper tires is 65 MPH as printed on the sidewall of the tires.

It varies but an overall average is 10-11 MPG. Running empty, average is 17-19 MPG and TV is all factory stock w/exception of K&N air filter.
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:12 PM   #7
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Eagle, did the KN filter make a difference? Since we so often travel in the dust, I go through a lot of air filters. The KN is washable, right? (I could be confused here.)
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:27 PM   #8
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I get 10-11.5 towing 16,000 lbs
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:05 PM   #9
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Eagle, did the KN filter make a difference? Since we so often travel in the dust, I go through a lot of air filters. The KN is washable, right? (I could be confused here.)
I've run K&N filters in everything I've owned for years.

The K&N air filter made a difference in my 04 Ram 2500 4x4 with V-10 engine....power, performance and about 2 mpg.

I put a K&N in my '14 Ram as soon as I bought it so no way to compare with running a stock paper filter.

Yes, they are washable so never have to buy another air filter. K&N makes a kit with cleaner and oil. Spray on the cleaner, let it sit about 10 minutes, rinse the filter with plain water, let it dry and re-oil with K&N filter oil. Pretty simple. They use a cotton filter media instead of paper.

I wash the filter about every 5,000-8,000 miles and every fall before winter and -20 degree weather arrives.

Also, they have a million mile warranty. Had one that got a hole in it when rinsing with water, called K&N and they sent out a new filter. I sent back the old one in the box the new one came in, just affixed the prepaid return address label. Oh, the hole ~ to much rinse water pressure out of the garden hose I think ?? and the filter was going on 8-9 years old.

They have free shipping on orders over $10 here: K&N Air Filters & Air Filter Cleaning Kits
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:35 PM   #10
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Dang, my Pilot usually get about 22 mph on the highway. Towing I am getting 11 if I am very careful. The mileage was shocking I was expecting at least 17 mpg. Wow guess Ill just have to get used to it.... Years ago I had an Explorer with the 5.0 engine, I would pull a 5x7 trailer loaded with to the max, 4 kids, 2 adults and a dog. I didn't even notice a gas difference.
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:37 PM   #11
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I can see where the wind resistance is the problem, wow I was expecting a hell of a lot more mpg..lol, oh well..
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:26 AM   #12
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Gearing makes a huge difference but the engine power/torque ranges seem to be different on today's vehicles than those built several years ago.

With the government fuel mandates, they are all built to get maximum mpg empty to meet gov't requirements and limited attention is paid to pulling power with decent mpg.

That is my opinion on that.
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Old 12-08-2016, 10:24 AM   #13
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Dang, my Pilot usually get about 22 mph on the highway. Towing I am getting 11 if I am very careful. The mileage was shocking I was expecting at least 17 mpg. Wow guess Ill just have to get used to it.... Years ago I had an Explorer with the 5.0 engine, I would pull a 5x7 trailer loaded with to the max, 4 kids, 2 adults and a dog. I didn't even notice a gas difference.
Funny you mention the 5.0 Explorer. Ford used the same high flowing cylinder heads on the 5.0 Explorers (GT40's) as on the high end GT Mustangs. Also, because of hood clearance, they both used the same intake manifold system. Both of those items are now considered great boneyard finds for the Hot Rod Mustang crowd.
Anyway the net result was quite a bit more horsepower and torque than other 5.0 equipped Fords and usually better efficiency.
With the Ford 4R70W or the 5 speed trans and the 3.73 to 1 rear gearing the 5.0 Explorers did make excellent tow vehicles.
Sorry for the topic hijack.....
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Old 12-08-2016, 11:44 AM   #14
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APD,
That Explorer was bullet proof, by the time I sold it it had over 325k it. No engine or trans work. I changed the water pump and alternator at 225k just because I didn't want to be out and about and get stranded. Finally blew a head gasket and sold it for 400 bucks to a friend, he replaced the gasket and is still driving it today. I ran mobil synthetic and Ford transmission fluid. K & N Air filter.
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Old 12-08-2016, 12:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Eagle View Post
Gearing makes a huge difference but the engine power/torque ranges seem to be different on today's vehicles than those built several years ago.

With the government fuel mandates, they are all built to get maximum mpg empty to meet gov't requirements and limited attention is paid to pulling power with decent mpg.

That is my opinion on that.
John- Your right, since a vast majority of SUVs and trucks sold in this country never tow anything, therefore why put the engineering into better tow mileage? But the biggest issue of towing comes down to the drag of the trailer, because once the trailer is moving on level ground, its the drag pulling it thru the air that limits the mpg. When I pulled my Coleman popup camper with my Highlander, I was getting 15-16 mpg. When I pull my FF 189, which weighs about the same as the popup, I get around 10 mpg. The difference is the drag created by the face (sail) of the trailer, and that cannot be engineered out of the tow vehicle. TT designers could make their trailer more aerodynamic, but that would limit usable space inside. That is why i stated that towing any TT with any TV will result in a mpg between 8 and 11. Its funny because I thought I was going to get much better mileage with my Highlander when I towed my FF, but I get about the same mileage as everyone else who pulls even bigger trailers with trucks.
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Old 12-08-2016, 12:28 PM   #16
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Since my truck is also my daily driver, I am reasonably content with its non-towing gas mileage -- I can get 21 or 22 mpg in LA Freeway traffic, using a modified "pulse and glide" method. (As soon as I push it above 60, though, the mpg drops.)

Even though we do a lot of camping (between 70 and 90 nights a year), most of my mileage is commuting to downtown LA from Orange County. So for me, the trade-off is worthwhile -- decent non-towing MPG, not great MPG while towing.

Life is a series of compromises.
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Old 12-08-2016, 01:44 PM   #17
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It seems most vehicles, especially trucks, today have a tow/haul feature. The towing mode changes, among other things, the transmission shift points.
Our '95 towing van would benefit greatly from such a option as it "short shifts" from low to second. The factory set/programmed quick shifting may have helped the advertised MPG or maybe emissions ratings but is bog city while towing. I will, most times, manually shift to prevent dropping too far below the torque curve. And downshifting when stopping helps some also.
In hilly terrain, which is most all the time, I tow in drive instead of OD as it prevents the constant downshifting and reduces wear and tear. Cruise control is impossible to live with when towing so it's off even on flat land.
I'm sure that not having a tow mode affects the MPG.
But at least it keeps me busy
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:36 PM   #18
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John- Your right, since a vast majority of SUVs and trucks sold in this country never tow anything, therefore why put the engineering into better tow mileage? But the biggest issue of towing comes down to the drag of the trailer, because once the trailer is moving on level ground, its the drag pulling it thru the air that limits the mpg. When I pulled my Coleman popup camper with my Highlander, I was getting 15-16 mpg. When I pull my FF 189, which weighs about the same as the popup, I get around 10 mpg. The difference is the drag created by the face (sail) of the trailer, and that cannot be engineered out of the tow vehicle. TT designers could make their trailer more aerodynamic, but that would limit usable space inside. That is why i stated that towing any TT with any TV will result in a mpg between 8 and 11. Its funny because I thought I was going to get much better mileage with my Highlander when I towed my FF, but I get about the same mileage as everyone else who pulls even bigger trailers with trucks.
You are so correct ~ the wind resistant drag is a true destroyer of mileage. And it's even more evident when pulling against the wind!
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:38 PM   #19
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It seems most vehicles, especially trucks, today have a tow/haul feature. The towing mode changes, among other things, the transmission shift points.
Our '95 towing van would benefit greatly from such a option as it "short shifts" from low to second. The factory set/programmed quick shifting may have helped the advertised MPG or maybe emissions ratings but is bog city while towing. I will, most times, manually shift to prevent dropping too far below the torque curve. And downshifting when stopping helps some also.
In hilly terrain, which is most all the time, I tow in drive instead of OD as it prevents the constant downshifting and reduces wear and tear. Cruise control is impossible to live with when towing so it's off even on flat land.
I'm sure that not having a tow mode affects the MPG.
But at least it keeps me busy
When towing, I always engage the tow/haul feature.

I also use cruise control and found it's use provides the best MPG on the flats or hills.
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Old 12-10-2016, 09:07 AM   #20
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Another point is, while the front of the trailer acts as a giant sail punching a hole thru the air, there is a low pressure area created behind the "flying brick" that pulls it rearward as well. That's how the back gets so darn dirty, everything gets sucked up and sticks there.

My problem with the cruise control is, while I'm willing to allow a 5 or even 10 MPH drop on hills, it will floor the accelerator at as small as a 2 MPH drop. If it had tow/haul programming I'm sure that would be a non-issue. It's like me, just too old.
I guess I need one of 'em thar new fanged vehicles. But, at only 46K miles our '95 has many more years in it. (I'm hoping). It has the (rare) Z82 RPO towing package and room for grandbabies....
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