Ok probably this has been around before but here goes. We bought a 2012 Gulfstream Visa 19 ERD thinking we could tow it with our 06 Toyota Sienna Van. After much investment in air bags, WDH, etc we towed the TT ok but it seemed to be a strain. 60-65 mph on I-4 (flat) had the van sucking down gas at the rate of 9mpg and we had to run in 4th gear, mostly because in D it would shift in and out of 5th constantly. The van is rated to tow 3500lbs and while the TT was advertised to be 2700lbs or so, loaded for camping it actually weighs in at 3200lbs on the trailer axle. All the axle weights are under max load according to a commercial scale.
So then we had to replace my older 4 banger 5 spd Colorado ( I loved that truck) due to an accident. So we thought we should get a better tow vehicle and opted for a 2008 Chevy Trailblazer with the 291hp/I6 3.43 gear 4 spd auto and rated to tow 5500lbs. After a lot of tweaking the WDH (and spending even more dough) we discarded the thing and went with a plain old tow bar. OK, one trip of about 300 miles RT I'm ready to give up. The Trailblazer can't hold the OD top gear either so it must run in 3rd and at best it gets 11.5 mpg at no more than 60mph. Plus the Trailblazer gets thrown around a bit more than the van, not badly, but uncomfortably. Turns out (in retrospect) that the van has a wheelbase of 120" vs the TB at 113" so I'm guessing that's the problem. We gave up on the WDH on the Trailblazer because it just magnified every bounce in the road even though by measurement it was set up correctly. Again I think that's due to the short WB.
Whew sorry this is so long. Anyway, I'm now thinking to trade the Trailblazer for a 07 or 08 Sierra or Silverado 5.3 V8 Crew Cab and would like opinions on whether or not I can improve the ride and the fuel economy with or without the WDH.
We love the camper even if it's a bit heavier than anticipated. We just think that on a long trip, say from Tampa to Seattle we need more on the road comfort and a lower fuel bill.
Is this more wishful thinking?
We used to drag a Scamp 16 (2100 lbs) behind our Colorado and got 15 mpg going 70mph of course it was a manual trans and there was a lot of shifting going on on the hills or even overpasses. I think it had a 2.91 rear gear.
If you worry about gas milage you probably should not be towing a TT. Most get between 9-12 mpg. I tow my Starcraft 2700BH with a 07 Trailblazer with a 5.3 v8,4wd,3.73 and 6000lb max towing cap. I have a weight distribution hitch and drive around 60 mph. I get about 10 mpg avg.
You can't expect any vehicle not grossly oversized for the weight of the trailer to tow in overdrive, and you are not going to get better fuel mileage than that with any gasoline vehicle made. The simple fact is that when you nearly-double a vehicle's weight, and if you tow a parachute behind it, it is going to take a dive on the mileage, and behave as though it's underpowered. Which it is.
If you put that trailer behind a gas powered F350 dually rated to tow 20,000 lbs, grossly more truck than you need, it will tow in top gear, and you will get, guess what, 8 miles to the gallon.
I get 11-13 mpg with my Dodge 2500 with CTD. On the half ton gas truck I had before this one, I got 8-9 mpg towing. Don't expect to get more than 10mpg with a gas engine. It's not just the weight, it's the wind resistance. A lower and more aerodynamic trailer shape can help increase mpg some.
If you are going to tow, make sure you get the best axle ratio for towing. What gets the most mpg not towing will generally get the least mpg while towing, because it will be shifting gears more and be running higher rpms more. Good luck with your decision.
If you want the vehicle to handle beautifully and pull the trailer effortlessly you need to be looking at a 2500 or 3500 series truck with a diesel. This type of truck will tow the trailer easily in overdrive and probably get about 15 mpg doing so. However, this is a very expensive way to go. These types of vehicle are very overrated for your application.
Any 1500 or less vehicle with a gas engine will get 10 mpg or less and won't hold overdrive on much of any kind of hill. However, that's fine. Let the engine rev and stop at the gas stations to take a bathroom break and enjoy yourself.
DB tows an 18' FunFinder with his Sienna. He has a Reese Dual Cam WD hitch and gets around 10MPG.
I borrowed my other brothers Dodge CTD last year and got 13MPG towing the trailer in my sig.
My previous tv was an '04 Envoy, I6 and 3.42 gears rated for 5100#. Doable, but it struggled. Downhill with a tailwind it would go into OD. Mostly it was 3rd gear, but with a very stiff headwind it dropped to 2nd a few times. Mileage was right at 10MPG and I was looking for a gas station every 150 miles or so.
Now the new F150 is a whole 'nother ball game. Mileage is still 10 to 10-1/2MPG but I never feel it's struggling. On the last trip I actually passed a left lane hog going uphill and still wasn't all the way into the throttle. And with a 36 gallon gas tank the limiting factor is now potty stops.
2013 North Trail 21FBS
2012 F-150 XLT Ecoboost ("EcoBeast") scab