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Towing MPG

Printed From: R-pod Owners Forum
Category: Non-pod Discussion Forums
Forum Name: Mods, Maintenance, Tips and Tricks
Forum Discription: Same as podmods, just... not for pods
URL: http://www.rpod-owners.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=10996
Printed Date: 22 May 2018 at 6:33pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.64 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Towing MPG
Posted By: TomBurl
Subject: Towing MPG
Date 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?



Replies:
Posted By: furpod
Date 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.


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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.


Posted By: TomBurl
Date 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.  


Posted By: StephenH
Date 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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StephenH
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,...

http://www.rpod-owners.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=7712 - ouR escaPOD mods
http://pilgrim-wanderings.blogspot.com


Posted By: TomBurl
Date Posted: 11 Dec 2017 at 9:12am
The air deflector sounds like an excellent idea!  Thanks!  


Posted By: GlueGuy
Date 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 - 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 - 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.


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bp
2017 R-Pod 179 Hood River
2015 Ford F150 SuperCrew 4WD 3.5L Ecoboost


Posted By: TomBurl
Date 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


Posted By: StephenH
Date 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.

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StephenH
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,...

http://www.rpod-owners.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=7712 - ouR escaPOD mods
http://pilgrim-wanderings.blogspot.com


Posted By: rawest50
Date 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.

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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.


Posted By: lostagain
Date 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.


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Never leave footprints behind.
Fred & Maria Kearney
Our Pod 172
2004 Dodge Dakota 4x4 v8


Posted By: lostagain
Date Posted: 28 Dec 2017 at 3:12pm
I forgot to mention that always traveling down wind is one of the most helpful things you can do to improve mileage.  ............

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Never leave footprints behind.
Fred & Maria Kearney
Our Pod 172
2004 Dodge Dakota 4x4 v8


Posted By: ronahue
Date Posted: 28 Dec 2017 at 3:43pm
I have a 2015 Nissan Frontier 4x4 V6 SV towing my 179 I get between 10-14 mpg with over 30,000 miles towing the 179 that has been a consistent average, I stay under 65 mph.
 


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Ron & Sharon
2015 R-Pod 179
2015 Nissan Frontier

No trees were harmed in the sending of this message but a billion electrons were really agitated


Posted By: mcarter
Date Posted: 28 Dec 2017 at 4:37pm
The best gas mileage I ever got was when I owned a teardrop, as the trailers got larger the gas mileage went south. If your concerned about mileage, best you don't tow. Big truck is not the answer and some of the new motors make improvements, but end of the day - you can't tow anything without reduced mileage. Not a big fan of wings and such, you think works and it may in a limited capacity, but bottom line is you add the weight and drag it against the wind, the mileage suffers.

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Mike Carter
2015 178


Posted By: lostagain
Date Posted: 28 Dec 2017 at 5:26pm
I wonder if making one of those folding thingies that are often on the back of van trailers on semi's would help much?  On the other hand, in a strong cross-wind, it may be a little more exciting than I want to experience.

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Never leave footprints behind.
Fred & Maria Kearney
Our Pod 172
2004 Dodge Dakota 4x4 v8


Posted By: mcarter
Date Posted: 28 Dec 2017 at 5:33pm
Certainly not in my planned mods.

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Mike Carter
2015 178


Posted By: NAP1947
Date Posted: 29 Dec 2017 at 6:33am
Interesting discussion, our Venza Crossover puts the high backend closer to the Pod than a pick up but has no provision for a roof spoiler.  I have read a lot about the AirTabs but find the price at $2.00 US each pretty high as my rough calculation figured out at about 150 to 200 to do the sides, spoiler and AC.
Experience will tell, plus I am sure the price will come down as AirTabs become more popular.
I do have a question though, truck sites say that the closer cab aerodynamic devices are to the trailer the more positive the effect.  Would a light tarp between the top of the TV and the top of the Pod work if the dynamics of turning could be figured out.


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Susan and Norm
2016 Venza, V6 factory tow
2018 RP179


Posted By: GlueGuy
Date Posted: 29 Dec 2017 at 9:19am
Originally posted by NAP1947

I do have a question though, truck sites say that the closer cab aerodynamic devices are to the trailer the more positive the effect.  Would a light tarp between the top of the TV and the top of the Pod work if the dynamics of turning could be figured out.
I would think that any sort of fabric would just flap and buffet in the wind. I'm no expert though, so happy to hear what others might have to say.


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bp
2017 R-Pod 179 Hood River
2015 Ford F150 SuperCrew 4WD 3.5L Ecoboost


Posted By: furpod
Date Posted: 29 Dec 2017 at 10:37am
Originally posted by NAP1947

Interesting discussion, our Venza Crossover puts the high backend closer to the Pod than a pick up but has no provision for a roof spoiler.  I have read a lot about the AirTabs but find the price at $2.00 US each pretty high as my rough calculation figured out at about 150 to 200 to do the sides, spoiler and AC.
Experience will tell, plus I am sure the price will come down as AirTabs become more popular.
I do have a question though, truck sites say that the closer cab aerodynamic devices are to the trailer the more positive the effect.  Would a light tarp between the top of the TV and the top of the Pod work if the dynamics of turning could be figured out.


In about the 2nd year of poddness, we had an owner do a ton of experiments with aerodynamics, including putting about 200 air tabs on his Pod.. didn't do anything measurable. You will have to go far back into the archives, but the info is there..

I see no way to build a fabric bridge that would survive.. I have talked to fulltimers with 5er's, who say a spoiler at the rear of the cab was worth .5 to a full 1MPG.. doesn't sound like much, until you start talking a rig getting 7-8 MPG.. then you are talking a 15% improvement...


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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.


Posted By: GlueGuy
Date Posted: 29 Dec 2017 at 2:01pm
Originally posted by furpod

In about the 2nd year of poddness, we had an owner do a ton of experiments with aerodynamics, including putting about 200 air tabs on his Pod.. didn't do anything measurable. You will have to go far back into the archives, but the info is there..

I see no way to build a fabric bridge that would survive.. I have talked to fulltimers with 5er's, who say a spoiler at the rear of the cab was worth .5 to a full 1MPG.. doesn't sound like much, until you start talking a rig getting 7-8 MPG.. then you are talking a 15% improvement...
That pretty much lines up with my understanding of the dynamics. If you're already getting 12-15 MPG, then you may very well be at the best you can get pulling a pod. If you're in the 7-8 MPG range, then a 1 MPG improvement might be worth a few bucks.

Let's see, 1 MPG better than 9 MPG at 1000 miles... you would save around 11 gallons. At $2.50 per gallon, that comes to $27.


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bp
2017 R-Pod 179 Hood River
2015 Ford F150 SuperCrew 4WD 3.5L Ecoboost


Posted By: mcarter
Date Posted: 29 Dec 2017 at 3:38pm
Best ways to improve MPG: Change your driving habits, no rapid accelerations, excessive speed (60 mph plus), use cruise and overdrive, use dash AC only when needed, no excessive idling. Load and weight correctly Maintain your TV and your TT, tire pressures, air filters, sensors, oil changes, wheel bearings, etc. Some say use regular gas unless required.

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Mike Carter
2015 178


Posted By: Leo B
Date Posted: 29 Dec 2017 at 4:23pm
I find that doing 55-60 on the interstate gets us our best mileage, though it does aggravate a few down south where the speed limit is 70, but oh well we're retired Big smile
Also agree with proper tire pressure and daft of the truckers whenever possible.


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Leo and Melissa
2015 R-pod 179 prev 2010 171
2017 Ford F-150 Super Cab 5.0
2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
2010 Harley Davidson Electra Glide Classic



Posted By: Outbound
Date Posted: 30 Dec 2017 at 7:25pm
Long ago, I ran an airflow simulator on my r-pod.  The video below tells it all - a huge low-pressure vortex forms behind the trailer.  I made a few other videos https://www.youtube.com/user/outboundcamper/videos?shelf_id=0&view=0&sort=dd - on that channel with spoilers in various places - nothing really has a significant impact.

My best advice after nine years of 'podding: 55mph is the sweet spot for gas mileage.

[TUBE]4HLBy-ui_FI[/TUBE]




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Craig :: 2009 RP171 towed by a 2017 F150


Posted By: lostagain
Date Posted: 31 Dec 2017 at 9:58am
Out, some very interesting videos.  What speed was programed into the simulations?  What is difference in the air pressure for the different colors?  Looks like the camper shell/topper helps quite a bit with turbulence between the TV and the Pod.  

I think your advice of driving around 55 is not only best for mileage, it's also best for the TV, and the driver's state of being.  


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Never leave footprints behind.
Fred & Maria Kearney
Our Pod 172
2004 Dodge Dakota 4x4 v8


Posted By: ronahue
Date Posted: 31 Dec 2017 at 10:49am
The problem is that the test was done with Canadian air, hey. President Trump has assured us that U.S. air flows much better in fact we have the best flowing air in the world. In fact he is planning to build a wall to keep Canadian air outWink

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Ron & Sharon
2015 R-Pod 179
2015 Nissan Frontier

No trees were harmed in the sending of this message but a billion electrons were really agitated


Posted By: Live2Camp
Date Posted: 31 Dec 2017 at 11:41am
Originally posted by lostagain

I think your advice of driving around 55 is not only best for mileage, it's also best for the TV, and the driver's state of being.  

Agree! And in California (at least), driving 55 while towing keeps money in your pocket that you would otherwise spend on a speeding ticket Smile


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Still love rugged, diggin' comfy too
2017 R-Pod 179 HRE (the green one)
His: Ford F150 double cab 4WD Ecoboost; Hers (mine): Toyota Tacoma 4WD double cab


Posted By: Larry-D
Date Posted: 31 Dec 2017 at 2:37pm
The spoiler on our 172 makes it go faster.




Posted By: mcarter
Date Posted: 31 Dec 2017 at 4:15pm
+1 Larry, sometimes I feel the TT pushing the TV.

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Mike Carter
2015 178


Posted By: ToolmanJohn
Date Posted: 01 Jan 2018 at 7:35am
 I have come to my own personal conclusion over the few years I've been towing. If you are towing many thousands of miles per year, buy a great tow vehicle first. If you buy overkill, you will still get decent (for towing) fuel economy. It's better than using a vehicle that usually gets 25 mpg highway which plummets to 11-12mpg towing.

 If towing is NOT thousands of miles a year. Then just ignore the fuel use and cost. Use the tow vehicle you have now, and enjoy camping. No need to agonize over fuel use if it's a low percentage of your overall yearly mileage.

 You could use a lot of math (rate calculations) to justify a new tow vehicle, but you will have to get the right combination of vehicle cost and fuel economy as it relates to your towing miles. Also, do you tow mountains, flat lands, tow weight, etc. So many variables.

 It is difficult (and usually expensive) to achieve small AND measurable improvements in fuel economy. 


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2017 ATC 7X20 Custom Toy Hauler
2013 R-Pod 177 (SOLD)
2013 VW Touareg TDI


Posted By: PilotPodder
Date Posted: 17 Jan 2018 at 6:48pm
Happy to announce on this past weekend's long trip south, I pushed 12 MPG with the Tundra and the 179. Less than 11 in Mich/Ind/Ohio, but lots of headwind. Better in KY and TN (mid-11s) even in the mountains. Actually better than expected (> 12) the farther south we went. Mind you, I was at 60 mph or less 95% of the time. Altogether, I'm pleased. I guess it is all relative. The Tundra never won any contest on fuel efficiency! 

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Romans 8:38-39
Portage, MI — 2017 RPod 179 / 2017 Toyota Tundra — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDHVRHLcWnqiy-QMWDBj1Ig - My RPod YouTube Videos


Posted By: Rodfac
Date Posted: 07 Apr 2018 at 8:10am
Just got back from a 4500 mile sojourn from KY out to Nevada, then back through AZ, NM, TX, AR, & TN. Our Pod, is a 2017 178. For the entire trip we averaged ~14.0 mpg. Daily averages varied from 11 in TX, NM and NV against stiff head winds, to 15.0 on the last day from Memphis to Louisville. 

Our TV is a 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trail Hawk with the 5.7L Hemi engine. We set 60-61 mph in the cruise control, but turned it off for steeper hill climbs. As others have said here, head winds make a huge difference, and 'drafting' behind a tractor trailer can gain you 3-5 mpg. We set back 100-200 feet behind them and they didn't seem to mind.

This model of Jeep is equipped with a stability control system that seems to do a great job in combination with an E2 Trunnion 6K WDH. During one stretch of 20 kt crosswinds, I turned the Jeeps stability system off and found that it made no difference in steering or sway, the hitch providing all that was needed. I'll try the Jeeps system all by itself when the weather clears to see how it stacks up against the E2's trunnions. (It's 28 degrees out now and snowing...in April!!)

All in all the hitch is a good one, works well, but does extend down well below the bumper, as we bottomed out on one gas station entry with a deeper than usual western style 'gutter' along the street.

HTH's Rod


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La Grange, KY
2017 R-178; TV: 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/5.7L Hemi
Thank a vet for your freedoms, not a politician, nor "community organizer".


Posted By: GlueGuy
Date Posted: 07 Apr 2018 at 9:49am
Originally posted by Rodfac

This model of Jeep is equipped with a stability control system that seems to do a great job in combination with an E2 Trunnion 6K WDH. During one stretch of 20 kt crosswinds, I turned the Jeeps stability system off and found that it made no difference in steering or sway, the hitch providing all that was needed. I'll try the Jeeps system all by itself when the weather clears to see how it stacks up against the E2's trunnions. (It's 28 degrees out now and snowing...in April!!)

All in all the hitch is a good one, works well, but does extend down well below the bumper, as we bottomed out on one gas station entry with a deeper than usual western style 'gutter' along the street.

HTH's Rod
The trunnion model of that hitch has better clearance than the round bar, which is what we have. I find I need to keep an eye on the dips lest I drag a little bit.


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bp
2017 R-Pod 179 Hood River
2015 Ford F150 SuperCrew 4WD 3.5L Ecoboost



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