New Tow Vehicle MPG

Discussion in 'N2 Paddock Section' started by Kurt_Orban, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. Kurt_Orban

    Kurt_Orban Member

    I've been considering getting a new tow vehicle and I'm more than likely gonna get a 2017+ Diesel F250 Supercrew if I end up going through with it. Right now I'm towing a United 7x16 and even though the truck does fine, just hunts a little in the hills like going to Pitt for example, the gas mileage is horrible.

    Now there are a few mechanical issues I'm sorting out now that I believe are effecting the MPGs, but I dont think its gonna be dramatic when towing uphill through the mountains. (My MPG up through Breezewood to Wampum was prolly 7-8 MPG)

    I wanna know if anybody can chime in and educate me on what kind of MPGs they get using a 7x16, or close to it, with a Gas/Diesel F250 or Chevy, Ram, or whatever they have. I know Diesels will yoke the hell out of a trailer uphill, but I'm more concerned with MPG.

    Dont care about all the CBA of ownership and maintenance costs at all. I just wanna know about MPG because it just makes me mental when I see 6MPG. I looked at the new F150s with the diesel engine and they said 30MPG highway unladen. That's insane and sounds like a fairy tale, and I'd be willing to even do that if they could stay 16MPG towing. My F150 pulls the 7x16 fine and I keep it at 70mph on cruise control with no craziness from the motor or gears on hill climbs.

    I also need an excuse to get the new gen F250 just because they look awesome and I wanna be cool like the rest of you fogies that figured it out already.

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  2. ecolyer325

    ecolyer325 New Member

    I have a 2016 ram 3500 dually, 6.7 diesel. I tow a 12x6 enclosed for the bikes. Going to Pitt I averaged 14mpg and that was 75-80mph the whole way. If I just cruise around 65mph I may get 15.5mpg. That is towing a loaded small trailer, but when I have to tow my big work trailers, sometimes 25k lbs loaded, I get 8-9mpg.

    I also have no mods or anything done to the truck. Just a stock dually.

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  3. Kurt_Orban

    Kurt_Orban Member

    I tried editing my post to say I'm using a 2010 F150 currently.

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  4. Dave561

    Dave561 Control Rider

    What speed are you planning on pulling at? That will be a huge difference in mpg

    These things have enough torque to easily do 70-80 the whole way with 18,000lbs in tow. Toyhauler. But at that I get about 8-8.5 towing out to Pitt
  5. Kurt_Orban

    Kurt_Orban Member

    Yeah, I found that if I put my truck in cruise control between 70-75 I don't have an issue with any of the curves going to Pitt. I just hug the lines and and whatever it is the truck and trailer pull right through them. So I'm guessing I'll be doing that speed. I think I'd go insane knowing I wasnt going over the speed limit by at least 5. 80 would be nice, but I'm also not towing a behemoth like you.

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  6. Otto Man

    Otto Man John Control Rider

    With diesels, your towing MPH is the biggest influence on your MPG, regardless of brand (Powerstroke/Cummins/Duramax). And of course, the bigger brick you're towing, the more exaggerated it is. Bigger trailers love to pop trailer tires when routinely towed higher than 70MPH. You'll have to be adamant on tire pressure and consistently checking on them. It gets worse the bigger the trailer is, as it's common to overload the axles on bigger toy haulers.

    With any modern diesel, towing a trailer as small as a 7x16 bumper pull, you'd probably get 13-14MPG all day towing that at 70-75.

    Just like dick size, guys love exaggerating their towing MPG, so be wary of what you read. I can't help but laugh when people say they get 13 MPG towing a 5th wheel at 80.

    I get about 12MPG with my 5.9 (4.10's in the axles) towing my 25' Work n Play bumper pull that's about 9k loaded at 65-70.

    Regardless of what kind of tow vehicle you have, aerodynamics will forever be your enemy, and the faster you pull it, the worse MPG you're going to get. The mileage drop from 75-80 is more drastic than 70-75 and so on and so on.
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  7. Emerson

    Emerson BobbleHeadMoto Control Rider ATP/3C

    I had a 7x16 and I would get about 10-12 towing on my 2014 Ram 3500 dually doing 75-80. Obviously that would improve if you were driving Ms Daisy.
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  8. Thunderace

    Thunderace BIG JIM Control Rider

    2013 Ram 2500 diesel, pulling 7x14 dual axle, I got about 13mpg going, 70-75 mph. Now I am pulling a 23' RV and I am lucky to get 10mpg at any speed.
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  9. 2blueyam

    2blueyam New Member

    Well this is somewhat different, but my 2013 TouaregTDI gets about 15.5 going and 16.5 coming back. That is DC area to Pitt towing a 6x12 extra height at 70 mph cruise control.

    Every mph over 69 takes a lot more fuel.

    The Cayenne/Q7/Touareg TDI would probably work fine for a 7x16, but not much larger. People do tow travel trailers with them up to 28 feet, but I wouldn’t go nearly that big.
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  10. Kurt_Orban

    Kurt_Orban Member

    Yeah I've been wondering about vehicle height with relation to mpg. For example, a lifted 250 versus a standard one helping winlth wind drag. I know hear ratio is effected by tire size and all, and there are so many variables but yeah, some of these TDIs do better than expected. I'm in the DC area too and run through almost 100 gallons or more on a Pitt round trip.

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  11. Motofun352

    Motofun352 Control Rider

    If saving money is your prime issue and your current truck is in good shape....fuel savings will never balance out the capital cost. Better to just grin and bear it. On the other hand if it's not a money issue a new diesel in a big truck is a wonderful thing. I have a F350 diesel dually crew cab long bed pulling a 42 ft THer. Average 9.5 mpg at 70 mph but then I'm right around 30,000 lbs fully laden (3.83 rear end and air bags). Mind your tires, they are the weak link in the whole setup. PS, I kind of wish I'd gone with the F450 or 4.10 gears.
  12. Otto Man

    Otto Man John Control Rider

    If you are happy with the trailer size, I would not get a diesel for that. If you are looking for a more reasonable "overall" setup, I'd consider looking at the low profile enclosed trailers. You'd have to hunch over a little while in the trailer, but the roof height is far lower and would tow much easier.
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  13. wmhjr

    wmhjr Grandpa Control Rider Director

    For a 7x16 if you're just looking for average fuel cost I wouldn't get a diesel. While United builds a great trailer and they're a little heavier than many of the "generic" brands (my trailer is a United UXT that's more than twice as big as your trailer), a 7x16 is a pretty manageable size for a gasser.

    I can't speak for the newer "baby diesels" in the 1/2 ton trucks. I'm not personally a big fan because they don't have the rated duty cycles as the full size diesels and there isn't enough historical data to suggest how they'll hold up.

    Diesel fuel is also more expensive than gas, so you need to factor that in.

    IMHO, when you get over 5000 pounds is when you begin thinking about diesels, and when you approach 8k you stop thinking about gassers.

    A lot of this is region specific. If you're in Texas or Florida, the equation is changed. However if you are consistently driving in hilly terrain, the incredible advantage in torque at lower rpms makes the diesel nice.

    For me there is yet another aspect. Pulling with a diesel feels "relaxed" regardless of fuel economy. I have a manual 6spd trans, and I very very very rarely shift on any highway no matter the hill. Sometimes I have to downshift into 5th on a steep hill. Other than that, I shift only because of the speed of traffic around me, stopping or starting. I never hear an engine screaming. It just seems more calm and relaxed, and for me makes the driving more relaxed. Yeah, a 10 cylinder or Hemi gasser can make a bunch of hp, and there is a (small) spot in their torque curve where they can make some torque. But they don't make even as much torque at their max as my motor makes at 1400rpm. For towing, hp is absolutely meaningless. Torque is the absolutely measure. At low RPM. Remember, hp is simply a function of (Torque*RPM)/5252. So if you could take a motor that only makes 50lbs of torque but make it spin up to 100000rpm it would make almost 1000hp. But it wouldn't be able to pull crap. At least not without destroying the clutch every single time you tried to pull out.

    However, there is the opposite issue. It can be harder to get diesel. I can't count the times when you pull into a station and the only diesel pump is occupied by a friggin econobox with people inside getting something to eat. Not a big deal, but annoying. Diesel is always more expensive than anything else really. While diesels are super super reliable and long lasting (the engine in mine is duty rated for 500k miles between rebuilds) they do have issues and maintenance is MUCH more expensive than on a gasser. Injectors, lift pumps, fuel pumps, head gaskets, turbos..... And if you screw with it to get more power the risk of that stuff becomes much higher. Oh, and don't forget - purchase price of a diesel vehicle is significantly higher to begin with.

    Bottom line - if it's just about total cost with the size of your trailer I wouldn't consider a diesel.
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  14. Kurt_Orban

    Kurt_Orban Member

    Bill that's pretty solid advice. I really want a diesel, but want and need are 2 different things. For 55k I can get a pretty sweet lightly used 2017 or 18, which isnt that bad, but I'd be getting it for towing my trailer mainly, leaving me with a diesel for driving to work every day. So I dont really NEED the damn thing.

    The baby diesels lool great with the new posted MPGs (30MPG hwy is unbelievable) and I'm hoping they are as reliable as the old faithful engines that have been around. I think the Dodge diesel is basically the motor from Europe adapted to the US truck market, and has a long proven track record. I dont see myself going bigger with my 7x16, but that's what everyone seems to say at first.

    Anyway, getting a diesel for a 7x16 seems like overkill. If the work I'm doing on my truck doesnt make a sizable difference, I might be getting a new truck anyway, and a f250 really isnt that much more than an f150. Maybe like 8k. Peanuts

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  15. Otto Man

    Otto Man John Control Rider

    If you like your truck when you're not towing, I'm not sure I'd dump it just to get something that tows better. New(er) truck payment buys a hell of a lot of extra gas for the difference from 6-8MPG to 10-12 MPG for X amount of weekends a year.
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  16. buzz-06

    buzz-06 Member

    all I can say is once you tow with a diesel you'll never want to tow with a gas engine again. As Bill stated, it's very relaxing, the truck isn't downshifting and climbing high RPMs. It's lugging down the road at 1600 or so and doing a damn fine job at it. Do you "need" a diesel to tow your current trailer, no. Is the added price of admission offset by fuel economy, no. But will you find your mind a little more at ease going to and from the track, I say yes.
  17. Motofun352

    Motofun352 Control Rider

    There's virtually no difference between a F250 and a F350 except for the springs and therefore weight ratings. My F350 rides like a car when not loaded. It's not like 40 years ago when a heavy duty truck bounced like a pole dancer if not fully loaded......:eek:
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  18. wmhjr

    wmhjr Grandpa Control Rider Director

    I think he's talking the difference between an F150 and an F250 though - and there is a difference there in how they drive in day to day driving. They are totally different vehicles in almost every way.

    Not sure if Kurt is talking about only $8K between an F150 gasser and an F250 diesel - that's hard to believe.

    But you're right about the differences between a 250 and 350 (or 2500 and 3500). The drivetrain is exactly the same. The suspension is the difference.

    Again, it's all personal preference. And it also depends on how many "long" trips you'll be pulling with it. Everyone will have their own value calculation. I know I wouldn't have a diesel if I were pulling a small/light trailer. It just wouldn't be worth it to me - and believe me, I love pulling with a diesel. Here in PA, you have to get at least 35% better fuel economy just for the cost of fuel to break even between gas and diesel because of the higher cost of diesel. Add to this that if something goes wrong with the diesel in a trip it's much more difficult to get a repair done quickly.

    Diesels are awesome. I'm very happy with mine. If my trailer were half the size I would not be driving one. Also keep in mind that I pull my trailer well over 14k miles a year. I average well over 30 days per year at the track, and the majority of my average haul is 6 hours each way, and I live in very hilly terrain. PIRC is the only track I visit that's close. Summit is about 4 hrs. NJMP, VIR, NCBike are all at least 6.5-8 hrs each way. Road Atlanta is is about 11 hours each way. Jennings is about 15 hours each way. Barber is about 12 hours. With just the events I'm signed up to run for N2 this year, I'm already scheduled to pull my rig over 11k miles just from my driveway to the track and back - no other driving. And I'm pulling enough weight that it really makes a difference. That's the only reason I'm running a diesel.
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  19. tdelegram

    tdelegram Well-Known Member

    There are some wild claims here on towing and mpg. Kurt you have been in my trailer it’s 44 feet long and loaded it’s around 18-19k. My combined grv is around 29k. With my f350 (2017 aluminum body) I am lucky to see 8 mpg even at 60 mph. I am usually at 8 over the speed limit and right now I am between 5-7. Mpg. As Bill mentioned above the real advantage is ease of towing and stability. The full sized diesel platforms (the v10 is the same chassis for ford) just pull better. Better braking, stability in turns, acceleration. You’ll never recoup the extra dollars from fuel savings but the depreciation for the diesels is much slower than the gassers. My 2005 f250 single rear wheel was actually not a bad daily driver and the interiors on new diesels if you go with the platinum or lariat editions are equivalent or better than the Navigators. Based on our limited time together, just go get an f250 platinum long bed and when people see you they will say “ that’s a lot of truck for that trailer”. In a few years when you get a toy hauler and a dualy you’ll know what diesel ownership is all about and only have to learn the life of a toyhauler owner.

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  20. Kurt_Orban

    Kurt_Orban Member

    Tom and Bill, actually I've found some good deals on Lariat f250s for between 55k and 60k for lot sitters and 20000 miles or less. And with the 2019s and the new prices on similar trims and packages with the new F150s, it's almost right around 8k between a lariat f250 and lariat f150. The dealer usually cuts 10 to 14k off trucks right off the bat if you negotiate well, have a buddy with a discount PIN, and are aware of the markup and dealer hold backs, you can get a great deal. When I got my f150 it was stickered at 49k and I walked away paying 37500 two days after it hit the lot.

    But factoring in what everybody is saying based on my trailer I have now, it's pretty accurate that I dont need a diesel. But that will definitely be my next truck. Not going with a 1/2 ton again. I'll push my truck to the quarter mil mark and then give it away to family or a friend when I get the F250. And then maybe a different trailer. Right now I'm enjoying the spartan life at the track, but A/C an a bed would be nice every now and then.

    And Tom, that 6-7 mpg hurt as much the second time as the first time you told me about it. That's insane. Theres gotta be a way we can get all this shit and write it off. I guess I'll work on setting up my LLC over the summer and put it all on my business purchases. Because yeah, toy hauler would be nice in the future.

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