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Towing MPG

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TomBurl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TomBurl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Towing MPG
    Posted: 11 Dec 2017 at 8:17am
I usually get around 20 mpg with my 2016 Nissan Frontier (4WD King Cab Auto SV).  When I pull my new R-Pod 179 mileage drops to 8-10 mpg.  I was hoping to get more like 14-15 mpg.  Was I dreaming?  Does my Pod have a parking brake I don't know about?
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furpod View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote furpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2017 at 8:36am
Nope, that's about average. It's more about frontal area then weight. The R-pod isn't nearly as aerodynamic as we think..

It takes X horsepower to push the wind out of the way of the pod. It takes X amount of fuel and air to make that X horsepower. So, pretty much regardless of what you get mileage wise when not towing, every one get's about the same when towing. +/- a few percentage points driven by terrain and weather.
Signature removed, so as not to trigger any non Ford owners, non Irish Setter owners, current R-Pod owners, unhandy or mod negative Pod owners, or single campers of any gender.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TomBurl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2017 at 8:53am
Yikes!  Maybe I should think about getting a Tundra or a Titan.  Or only tow my Pod downhill.  Thanks for responding.  
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2017 at 9:02am
Two things you can do to help your mileage:
1. Limit your towing speed to 60 mph. The faster you travel, the more air resistance you have. You may also find that in some states, the legal towing speed is 55 or 60 mph anyway.
2. Get an air deflector for the top of your Frontier. If you do not have a roof rack, look at the Icon AeroShield. If you do, look at the Purpleline AeroPlus. I have the AeroPlus. Either of them will help to direct the air up and over the top of the 'Pod instead of hitting the front directly. A side benefit is that you won't have to clean so many bugs off the front of the 'Pod when you get home.
3. Limit your engine RPMs to 3,000 or below if possible. On the uphill climbs, this can really help with the mileage. You won't get up the climbs as quickly, but your engine won't be sucking down so much gasoline. You may be able to use cruise control in the flatlands, but in the mountains, cruise control is the enemy of good mileage. You may also find that switching the overdrive off in the mountains will help as the transmission will not be shifting in and out of overdrive which is stressful on the transmission.
You can see the AeroPlus and the way I mounted it in my mods (link in signature).
Between the two of these, I get 11-14 mpg, depending on terrain. Ours is a 2010 Nissan Frontier LE Crew Cab 4x4 with 4L V6 engine.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TomBurl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2017 at 9:12am
The air deflector sounds like an excellent idea!  Thanks!  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2017 at 9:42am
Even more than the frontal area is the "vacuum" that burbles behind the R-pod as you trundle down the road. For those of us with the flat backend (like the 179, 180, and a few others), there is a very large area behind that kind of expands and contracts as you go down the road.

I've been looking at vortex generators, which will disrupt the bubble, and reduce the drag introduced by the big flat backend. The spoiler at the top-rear of these models does this to some extent, but I'm not sure if it fills the entire void.

I've looked at these vortex generators: http://www.airtab.com/index.htm

But they are rather large, and I would have trouble fitting them in the available space in a few places. They have a picture of a mini-drop with the tabs installed in this web page: http://www.airtab.com/application-rv.htm

We get closer to 14 MPG when pulling our R-179, but we are limited to 55 MPH here in California.
bp
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2015 Ford F150 SuperCrew 4WD 3.5L Ecoboost
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TomBurl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2017 at 12:52pm
Many thanks.  I had not considered the bubble drag factor.   My Pod does have a small (thin) spoiler.
I'm getting serious about considering upgrading my vehicle to a Tundra or Titan for more towing power.  Not that the basic problem is solved at that point.  Just more power. 

Tom
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2017 at 1:12pm
More power will help in the mountains, but you may not experience as much of an MPG gain if you will then be trying to tow faster. Personally, I am waiting for the Ford F150 Diesel or the Nissan Frontier Diesel to be available.
StephenH
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rawest50 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Dec 2017 at 2:47pm
I pull with a Colorado Z71 V6 Off Road Edition crew cab. Mileage without the trailer is not that great. Around town about 16.5 and on the interstate at 70-75 about 20. With the Pod in tow and on the interstate at 65-70 it drops to 12.2. If I drop my speed to 60 it goes to about 14. Hill and wind make a difference. On the interstate I try to find an 18 wheeler going the speed I want to go and the truck is a light load. I drop in behind him. I do not tailgate but the mileage jumps to 15.
2017.5 RPod 179
2017 Jeep Unlimited Wrangler
2017 Chevy Colorado Z71 Off Road Crew Cab
2 Weiner dogs
Great wife puts up with my BS
❤️ Thoroughbred Racing.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lostagain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Dec 2017 at 3:10pm
If you're going to tow your pod, you are just going to have to get used to lousy mileage.  And the faster you go, the worse it will be. Stephen's suggestion of trying to keep your rpm under 3,000 is probably the best thing you can do when climbing. Not exceed the speed limit for the trailer tires (most at 60) will also help with the mileage.  

Buying a huge truck will likely improve your towing mileage, but it may not be so economical for everyday driving, and in the long run, you may end up paying more for fuel, not to mention truck payments, interest, license fees, and taxes. Same for getting a diesel; it may get better mileage, but the price difference compared to gasoline, in many places, may offset the savings.  

Personally, I like TomBurl's suggestion of always trying to go down hill.  I've tried it and it works pretty well traveling from our home in Nevada to the SF Bay Area, but there's a payback on the way home.  My philosophy is that I'm not going to be in a hurry. My whole reason for traveling with our pod is to reduce stress and hassle. Going slowly, never being in a rush, planning on unplanned stops (when needed or desired), and using the turnouts often all help with the mileage and with my blood pressure. In the long run, no one is going to get "good" mileage when towing due to the laws of physics and thermodynamics. So go slowly and enjoy it while you have your turn on this most interesting planet.
Never leave footprints behind.
Fred & Maria Kearney
Our Pod 172
2004 Dodge Dakota 4x4 v8
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