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Tow Vehicle Recommendation?

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rjmarlatt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rjmarlatt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tow Vehicle Recommendation?
    Posted: 17 Oct 2018 at 11:14pm
We have an RPOD 179 with a 2002 Dodge Dakota 4x4 V8

We would like to upgrade to a newer Pickup.  We are considering a Ford F150 4x2 with Tow Package

Any advice for 4X2 vs 4x4
Other recommendations for Tow Vehicle.  We want to optimize of Gas Mileage as we are planning a cross country trip.
rjmarlatt
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harrypodder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote harrypodder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2018 at 6:29am
Got a 2009 F-150 4X2 with a 4.6L V-8 with a tow package and towing a 189 with no problem getting 13-14mpg average in the tow/haul mode. You should get anti sway control with the package but would get a factory brake controller if possible. Would recommend a sway bar even with Fords standard electronic sway control. Pod tows level with the 150 with Tow package did not need to add anything.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2018 at 7:00am
rjmarlatt, an F150 would be just fine for the application, lots of folks tow RPODs with them. The choice of 4x2 vs 4x4 depends on where you go and the time of year. If you found you used and needed the 4x4 capability of your present tow vehicle, stick with that. If not 4x2 will return a bit better fuel economy and cost less for maintenance in the long run. 

RPODS are light enough that you have a broad range of TV choices, most vehicles with a tow rating of 5000 lbs or higher with a tow package and weight distribution hitch will work as long as you're not carrying lots of gear and people in the TV. 

So consider what you want the tow vehicle to do for you when you're not towing. In the end, I chose a midsized SUV for my 179 TV because I no longer really need a pickup truck and find my Highlander more comfortable and useful the 90% of the time I don't have the RPOD back there. 

Don't expect to get much better fuel economy towing with an SUV vs a recent vintage pickup. Assuming the tow vehicle has a modern efficient drivetrain the highway fuel economy is mostly going to be limited by the air drag of the trailer anyway. For reference, I get about 14mpg on flat ground, no wind, at 60 mph. I don't think its possible to do much better than that burning gasoline unless you drive slower. 
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GlueGuy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2018 at 9:32am
rjmarlatt, pretty much any of the F-150 engine combinations will work fine pulling an R-pod. You will find that the 4x2 will generally get better mileage and have a bit higher GVWR than the 4x4, but if you have used 4x4 with your Dakota, then you would probably miss it with the F-150. Don't expect the MPG to be too much different when pulling the R-pod though. The added wind resistance is the primary MPG factor.
bp
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lostagain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2018 at 12:30pm
We tow with a 2004 Dodge Dakota 4x4 with nearly 150K miles on it and it does just fine.  We replaced the ball joints [upper and lower - with zerk fitting to grease them] and it drives like a new truck.  We also added an transmission cooler after returning from CO last May.  We cross Sierra passes in it all the time and have had no issues.  Like most Chrysler products, though, the mileage isn't as good as one would like.  Got about 12 mpg going from Carson City to Sacramento recently.  

Our plan is to run the Dakota indefinitely.  Even if we had to replace the motor and/or the tranny, we'd still be a long way from the cost of a new truck these days.  Pickups cost way, way too much for what you get.  
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2018 at 3:05pm
Lostagain, I don't think 12 mpg crossing the Sierras is bad at all. I doubt I would have done much better with my Highlander. I think folks sometimes have an unrealistic expectation of increased fuel economy with a different tow vehicle because it has better highway fuel economy not towing. But the two may not correlate. 

Aerodynamic drag will govern at highway speeds so vehicles that have lower drag will have better fuel economy. But its the drag of the trailer that really matters when towing, not the TV's. If the drivetrain is operating efficiently probably most folks mileage won't vary too much as long as they're travelling at the same speed. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote furpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2018 at 3:37pm
From Carson City to Sacramento is almost all downhill.. I did that area 4 times in the last month, Sacramento to Winnemuca and back. My 6.8 V10 Excursion got 12.6 +/- a tenth going up, and 16.5 exactly, (again +/- a tenth) coming down.. 5-8 people and gear, or a cargo trailer, every trip.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheBum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2018 at 3:47pm
From anecdotal evidence, V8s or higher seem to have less of a difference in mileage between towing and non-towing than V6s do.
Alan
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2018 at 4:20pm
TheBum, that makes sense. 

Let's assume the same trailer and tow vehicle, the only difference is the engine. HP requirement is aero drag plus rolling resistance. So the aero drag will be identical and the rolling resistance will be nearly so, insignificantly more for the V8's slightly higher weight. And that will be true whether towing or not towing. 

So, if the HP requirements to run down the road are nearly identical why wouldn't the fuel economy be the same for both? It won't because engine efficiency varies with loading. And the smaller engine is seeing a larger percentage variation in its loading than the larger engine is, so its fuel economy will likely vary more. 

Nearly always the vehicle/engine combo has been designed so the smaller engine is a better match to its requirements when its lightly loaded/not towing. That way the manufacturer can advertise the highest possible highway fuel economy. Whether or not the larger or smaller engine is better towing will depend on where the engine ends up operating. The smaller engine is going to need to drop to a lower gear sooner and that's bad for efficiency because of the higher friction and pumping losses at higher rpm. It can easily be the case that the smaller engine is less efficient than the larger one when towing.

If anyone is interested, here's a cool calculator for fuel economy based on aero drag, rolling resistance, and engine/drivetrain efficiency.

https://ecomodder.com/forum/tool-aero-rolling-resistance.php


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mcarter View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mcarter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2018 at 5:34pm
I have both a 2WD and a 4WD tow vehicle. The 4WD is a V8, the 2WD is a V6. Both have a 7000 lb tow capacity. The mileage on the 2WD is reduced more when towing than the 4WD. I use the 4WD for many things other than towing a Pod. To me it is a valuable asset. The 2WD my wife drives on a somewhat daily basis, and it gets very good mileage for an everyday driver. If I had to pick one to tow, I would choose the V8, 4WD. AND I do on most occasions. IMHO
Mike Carter
2015 178
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