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travel trailer size vs fuel economy


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I am looking to buy a travel trailer and was interested if I would get the same fuel economy for lets say a 20 foot travel trailer vs. a 28 foot travel trailer. This would be used on trips of less than 250 miles at a time so I don't think there would be a big difference in fuel cost. I have a 3/4 ton suburban as the tow vehicle.

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I am looking to buy a travel trailer and was interested if I would get the same fuel economy for lets say a 20 foot travel trailer vs. a 28 foot travel trailer.  This would be used on trips of less than 250 miles at a time so I don't think there would be a big difference in fuel cost.  I have a 3/4 ton suburban as the tow vehicle.

 

 

 

 

 

Both weight and drag effect economy and the type of tow vehicle too as to how much a bigger load hurts MPG. If it is a Burb with a 8.1 in it, the extra size will not have much effect on MPG but if it is a 6.0 with 3.73 gears and it has to work a lot harder with extra weight especally on hills, the hit can be bigger. As you increase size, generally figure about 1 MPG (give or take) loss for each 1000 lbs extra weight. Again this depends on tow vehicle to and how much reserve power it has as the more it has, the less hit you will take.

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There are alot of larger travel trailers that are actually fairly light. The Jayco JayFlight series is a good example.

 

I would think that a 4000 lb 20 footer and a 5000 lb 28 footer would deliver very similar fuel economy with the 28' being marginally worse.

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I would think that a 4000 lb 20 footer and a 5000 lb 28 footer would deliver very similar fuel economy with the 28' being marginally worse.

 

I do not share this view because the extra 1000lbs and added surface drage would be noticable at the pump same weight at different lenghts would have less effect but still some. Again your tow vehicle power and reserve play a roll here in the final impact because a marginal one will be effected more than one with power to spare.

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Your towing speed and wind drag are the 2 things that will kill your milage.

 

I don't care what the length of the travel trailer is, you'll still have to break the air. Once the envelope is opened, it's smooth sailing.

 

Every MPH over say 60 will kill your MPG's exponentially. The faster you try to break that wind envelope, the worse the MPG's will get.

 

At the same speeds, an 8000lb flat bed trailer will deliver better MPG's than a 4000 lb box trailer. It's all about the airodynamics... A box trailer is like pulling an 8' wide parachute behind your truck!

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I say frontal area and headwind are more of a detriment than weight. When I was towing with my Ford gasser I could handle hills pretty good, but a headwind on the flats killed me. Since I got the duramax I just set the cruise and forget about it.

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Your towing speed and wind drag are the 2 things that will kill your milage. 

 

Yon left out weight and terrain you tow on and they are also big factors too

 

 

I don't care what the length of the travel trailer is, you'll still have to break the air.  Once the envelope is opened, it's smooth sailing.

 

Length does mater. Maybe not as much as frontal area but side drag does have some impact

 

 

Every MPH over say 60 will kill your MPG's exponentially.  The faster you try to break that wind envelope, the worse the MPG's will get.

 

This is true but rolling resistave of tires and bearing or trailer and truck also increase some with speed though wind is the biggest factor here.

 

 

At the same speeds, an 8000lb flat bed trailer will deliver better MPG's than a 4000 lb box trailer.  It's all about the airodynamics...  A box trailer is like pulling an 8' wide parachute behind your truck!

 

Not so while I would agree than a 4k box would use more fuel than a 4k flatbedd, I would not go to far to make the above claim because it take more power to accerlerate and climb grade with the heaiver trailer too. Where you are towing has a big overall effect here because if it is hilly, the extra 4k will kick your butt a lot more than the frontal area on the lighter box trailer. Altitude is a factor too. To many varibles to make such a general claim.

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snoman,

 

I've been towing trailers for 20 years.

 

I'm not going to argue with your speculation, as it is just "your" theory.

 

 

My 32.5' travel trailer in my sig wheighs about 8500lbs loaded (9000 GVW). My friends 16' box trailer with the load I had in it weighed approx 4500 lbs when I borrowed it. Towing twice the weight and length I noticed about .5 MPG's less on my '01 HD 6.0L then what I got when towing the smaller lighter trailer over similar terrain and speeds. The very similar MPG's are mainly the result of wind drag, and not size or weight. City driving with this kind of load would definatly show more of an effect on MPG's

 

A flatbed trailer produces very little wind drag at speed... at a constant speed weight becomes very marginal. The extra power needed to pull a hill with a heavy load will be mostly offset on the downhill side.

 

Next time you are driving down the road with your window down at 60+ MPH, stick your arm out with your palm facing down. Then rotate your palm up 90* so the flat side is facing into the wind. That is a lesson in wind resistance/drag...

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I've been towing trailers for 20 years. 

 

I'm not going to argue with your speculation, as it is just "your" theory.

 

 

My speculalation is based on well over 30 years of towing now and everything for farm grain trailers weighing well over 20k to equipment haulers to travel trailers to backhoe and dozers on floats using dump trucks and there is nothing that you can tell me here on this subject. The tow vehcile have been everything from cars to SUV to P/U's to stake beds to single and dual axle dump trucks. I have towed in below zero to near 100 degress and at altitudes from sealevel to 12000 feet and up some real killer grades too. (I have seen minus 50 more than once too and operated vehicle in it) I have NEVER had a disabling breakdown or failure while towing in all this time either because I "preflight" them well (I am a private pilot too) and use proper tow vehicle based on my standards not Detriots. The worst thing that ever happend was a brake failure ona 4 horse stock trailer when a axle ground strap broke without warning. (Still made it home okay) I have even driven a tractor trailer some in past years as well. I know what it takes to get the job down and I can tell what will work and how it will do before you take it down the road. BTW, I am also skilled still with Backhoes, dozers, graders and such and can still run any kind of farm equipment made today on in the past. You are barking up the wrong tree here.

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I've been towing trailers for 20 years. 

 

I'm not going to argue with your speculation, as it is just "your" theory.

 

 

My speculalation is based on well over 30 years of towing now and everything for farm grain trailers weighing well over 20k to equipment haulers to travel trailers to backhoe and dozers on floats using dump trucks and there is nothing that you can tell me here on this subject. The tow vehcile have been everything from cars to SUV to P/U's to stake beds to single and dual axle dump trucks. I have towed in below zero to near 100 degress and at altitudes from sealevel to 12000 feet and up some real killer grades too. (I have seen minus 50 more than once too and operated vehicle in it) I have NEVER had a disabling breakdown or failure while towing in all this time either because I "preflight" them well (I am a private pilot too) and use proper tow vehicle based on my standards not Detriots. The worst thing that ever happend was a brake failure ona 4 horse stock trailer when a axle ground strap broke without warning. (Still made it home okay) I have even driven a tractor trailer some in past years as well. I know what it takes to get the job down and I can tell what will work and how it will do before you take it down the road. BTW, I am also skilled still with Backhoes, dozers, graders and such and can still run any kind of farm equipment made today on in the past. You are barking up the wrong tree here.

 

 

 

 

 

WTF does being able to operate backhoes, dozer, graders, and run farm equipment have to do with the question at hand. Talk about pulling useless crap out of your ass. I mean hell, I can operate most farm equipment today from experience, and I live in a freaking desert. So big freaking deal. Doesn't mean shit with the question at hand.

 

And once again, just in case you forgot. Opinions are like assholes everyone has got one. So freaking live with the fact that maybe someone else actually has a valid point.

 

And for G-d sakes, learn some freaking grammer and spell check before you post. Good Lord. :driving:

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I tow a few trailers... One is a 7K flat bed goose neck trailer, another is a 8x16 enclosed trailer weighing approximately 3500 lbs max. I can tow the flat bed trailer and get much better mileage than towing the enclosed trailer even though it weighs less.

 

To answer the question, as far as mileage it should be close to the same. Engine power is what gets the weight moving though. If the motor is strong enough to pull both trailers, then a 1000lb difference will not be noticed. Cutting that trailer through the wind is what will take the "load" or "brunt" from the truck and lowering mileage.

 

I would say either way with a 6.0, you will see about 6-8 mpg towing.

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I tow a few trailers... One is a 7K flat bed goose neck trailer, another is a 8x16 enclosed trailer weighing approximately 3500 lbs max. I can tow the flat bed trailer and get much better mileage than towing the enclosed trailer even though it weighs less.

 

My guess is that in flat land towing because with some serious hills it would have a different outcome. Also I think your MPG quote are a bit low because a 6.0 with stock tires and a 4.10 shold be able to do 8 to 10 mpg with a 5 or 6k travel trailer and even better if you keep speeds down to around 60 mph. A 3.73 axle will do worse towing in MPG and overall towing power. Also 89 or better octane will improve towing power and MPG especailly in warmer weather.

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What about those V-front style trailers? You would think the wind would roll off that a little easer.

 

But maybe not if you have a head wind that isn't head-on.

 

Being a suburban should help some, I would think.

 

I found it was easier to maintain speed with a 14' enclosed 6' heigh (height will play a differance as well, our work trailer is 8' heigh) with a load in it than empty across windy flats.

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