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Trucks, Trailers and Hauling for Shows

economical towing??


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  #1  
Old 05-21-2006, 02:44:27 PM
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HalfKeck HalfKeck is offline
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Default economical towing??

I am always interested in how much it costs to haul all of the stuff I drag around. It has been interesting to see that the amount is pretty consistent when towing with gas powered vehicles. Over the years I have towed with a chevy half ton truck, an 3/4 ton old still has the carb, a ton truck fuel injected with single rear wheels, a dualie with a 454, and all of those trucks got about the same mileage of between 7-9 mpg. Of course you gotta take it out of OD when towing so that brings down the mileage. The 454 was heavy duty enough to tow in OD but it still sucked the gas down...

The best mileage I ever got was towing with an old F100 that had the 6 banger replaced by a 302 and had a hot cam and a three speed. I got up into the low teens with in. It was also the scariest to tow with at times. There is no substitute for having the right truck for the job at crucial times.

The load I usually tow is a double axle trailer with four to six thousand pounds on it.

So I was wondering what kind of mileage the rest of you guys get with your setups. With a diesel would there be any long term savings? etc...
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Old 05-21-2006, 06:55:23 PM
George Andreasen George Andreasen is offline
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Default Re: economical towing??

I towed a three ton South Penn oil field engine from West Virginia back home to California with my 2003 F100 three years ago. Probably not the best tow vehicle for the job, but it was all I had.The tandem axle trailer was built specifically for that job - heavy duty everything. Had the overdrive off all the way and got about 9 mpg...most of it at 80 mph!!
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Old 05-21-2006, 07:47:39 PM
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Default Re: economical towing??

My former employer used to be into the antique tractor pulling. He had a 1989 Dodge with Cummins diesel and 5-speed manual tranny. The empty truck made close to 20 mpg. His 32-ft. gooseneck loaded with three JD's for the pull dropped him down to around 12-14 mpg.......at 70 mph or more. He later had a '95 Dodge, same powertrain and the mileage was pretty close to the same, though it was a more powerful Cummins engine by then. I'm kinda sold on the Dodge/Cummins for a puller myself.
The reports I've heard on the Ford diesel have not been nearly as good for fuel economy.
Wonder why we're concerned with mpg lately??
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Old 05-21-2006, 08:05:26 PM
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Default Re: economical towing??

My 95 Tahoe with the 350 engine and auto trans gets 15 on the highway in OD with an empty trailer and 10 with 4000 to 5000 pounds on the trailer. With the load I don't use OD. On the last two trips the mileage got better on each of the three first tanks of gas. I went empty and returned with the load. I assume it's the engine computer readjusting it's self for the change from city to highway driving. It went from 12 to 13.5 to 15 then pretty much stayed at 15.
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Old 05-22-2006, 09:12:00 AM
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Default Re: economical towing??

How much more does it cost to get the diesel? $5,000-$7000?? I think For a 3-5 MPG increase in mileage, higher maintenance costs, and an engine that will be more tempermental than a gas engine, and a lot more expensive to work on? You can buy a bunch of gas with that extra $$$. It doesn't sound like you really need the extra HP to move that 1/2 Keck and sawmill down the road a comfortable speed. I would guess that a 350 Chevy would move that load just fine. When you start moving loads like my little Huber the diesel starts to make more sense. It seems like the diesel pickup is much more of a status symbol and less of a necessity for most of the folks who are driving them.
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Old 05-22-2006, 11:25:27 AM
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Ken Majeski Ken Majeski is offline
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Default Re: economical towing??

Well.... I used to pull my Steam engine and other things around with a 96 460 Ford.... I got the 460 because I didn't trust the newer engines with the aluminum heads and other undesirable features. It never let me down. Got about 13 MPG empty. 5 - 6 with the steam engine, and about 8 with the camper and engine trailer. The Book said not to tow anything in OD with the 5 speed.

Then in the winter of 2004 - 05 I bought a 96 4 WD Dodge with the 215 Cummins and 5 speed off ebay, New Mexico truck, No Salt, 150,000 miles. Totaly mechanical engine that you can fix yourself.

If I would have had Any Idea they were this Good of a truck I would have bought one new in 96 and I would have had one with 34,000 original miles sitting in the shed instead of the ferd.

Now I can get 20 to 21 MPG Empty. and 12.5 with 2,000 pound camper and pulling 6,000 pound engine and trailer. And can go up hills like the wind and Not Worry about Overheating, Injectors, Auto trannys, Computers, Limp Mode, And sitting along the road waiting for the wrecker...

Funny thing is that the Dodge with 150,000 cost Less than the Ferd was worth with 34,000 so sold the ford and had a 400 $ net profit.

I have since bought a 94 Cummins 3500 one ton dually from Oklahoma..... It was Cheep, Last tank of fuel went 22.26 MPG, Mixed driving. Probably better than my Little 4 cylinder Ford ranger.

As far as buying a New one..... Well... if you read the Forums on the GM and Ford and pay 6 to 7000 $ more for a truck with the issues they are having..... Good Luck... You Might Need it. I know a few guys with some new Diesels and they have had Big Problems with Injectors, And going into Limp Mode or stopping for no reason whatsoever.... And one has had it back to the dealer about 8 times and they never did find out what was wrong... Even put on a new Puter and it still did it... Then one day it just started working OK...???? Now wouldn't you want to start cross country to a show with that one...???

On Both these Old Cummins I broke Virgin Paint on the injector line when I took number 1 off to set the timing... One with 154,000 and the other with 195,000...

Oh Andy... I agree with you... Over half of the guys driving Diesel trucks around Don't even need a truck... Let alone a Diesel.... And GM is catering to them by eliminating the Manual Tranny...
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Last edited by Ken Majeski; 05-22-2006 at 11:44:34 AM.
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Old 05-22-2006, 06:53:02 PM
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Default Re: economical towing??

Andy with my current vehicle, a 94 chevy 2500 with 350, I have plenty of power to tow on flat roads. I looked down coming out of Georgia and I was rolling along at 80 mph. Grampa would have had a stroke if he was there for that! He never towed faster than 45 with the engine on. Much of his towing was with 460 in a 75 F250 camper special at about 5 to 6 mpg. The 350 gives up a little climbing the hills around Clarksville, but we make it alright. Of course it just rolled over 200k so a little wear might be expected...
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Old 05-23-2006, 03:43:41 PM
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Default Re: economical towing??

The view from over here in the UK, where almost 'everything' is diesel, is that you get far better mileage if the engine size and power is rated for the load.

Thus we have 420hp and 480hp trucks with trailers on the motorways, albeit restricted to 56mph by legislation, and the smaller stuff is in between 70hp-80hp for the smaller diesels up to 160hp for the larger vans, but only 2.5litre or 154cu in capacity, so not big engines.

Struggling with a small engine is no fun and the poor thing is flat to the floor all the time, while the bigger engines can handle it on much less throttle and a higher gear, so although they are bigger, they can be much more economical, especially on a long run.

We don't have the same ratings on our vehicles over here, our own van and trailer is 4.9 tons max with a 2.5 litre 140hp turbo diesel.

Peter
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Old 05-26-2006, 09:51:24 PM
Mike Craig Mike Craig is offline
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Default Re: economical towing??

I pull a 7000 gross tandom with a 1962 Ford F-250 4x4, 71,000 original miles powered by a 262 in-line 6, 4 speed and 456 gears.

Up hill speed over a 3500 ft pass: 34 MPH

MPG average: 9

Having the coolest tow rig on the road: Priceless

Mike
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Old 06-26-2006, 05:04:00 PM
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Default Re: economical towing??

This is the one I got off of Ebay. Totaly mechanical engine. And with the luck I'm have with electronic things lately I am very happy about that...

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Old 06-26-2006, 06:21:04 PM
Kenn K Kenn K is offline
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Default Re: economical towing??

Economical towing????.......is that an oxy-moron? Reading the previous posts, I agree with many statements and combo's. Personally, I have a GMC Duramax, 2500 4x4 with Allison......tows great, listening to the Allison do its magic up and down hills is guy fun for sure. Best mileage non towing highway at 70 mph was 24 mpg, towing my tractor and trailer combo, in the 8000 pound range I averaged in the 17's, same roads as empty. Unit has 54,000 on it, and I just had the injectors replaced ( yes don't cut corners and not purchase the extended warranty, no matter what brand you buy ) smelled a bit of raw diesel in the exhaust, GMC replaced all the injectors. Mine is a 2003, but have heard the newer Duramax have more hp, different injection, and better mpg/torque. I'll stick with mine. Greatest tow experience of my life was towing a 32' Chris Craft center console offshore fishing boat, with a pair of 225 outboards on the back from Social Circle, Georgia to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, with a 2000 Ford Powerstroke, 5 speed dually, towing a rig weighing close to 16,000 lbs, we got 11 mpg average, overall, and that included climbing the US and Canadian Rockies !!!!...oh, it was 3755 miles, and did it in 67 hrs non stop, switching off the driving with a partner.....I have never owned a Cummins, but the new ones are quite the unit, and have a relative that tows 5th wheel with the HO unit and 5 speed manual, and flat loves it. Is Diesel worth the $$$$$........only if you're going to tow yourself silly, and hold onto it forever. Sold my tractor and trailer, and yes, I drive a big ole Diesel and really could get by with something smaller, but try to get a dealer to work with you on a trade!!!!!!!! When it comes down to it, find what makes you happy, gas or diesel, take good care of it mechanically and then sit around and share stories with your budds. Anyone interested in my GMC, let me know, it's loaded and a fine unit, and it sure tows nice !!
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Old 06-28-2006, 08:35:10 AM
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Benny Mckheean Benny Mckheean is offline
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Default Re: economical towing??

Kenn, I hope you are right because I just ordered a new 2500 4x4 Duramax with the Allision Trasmission to pull my 4,000 lb camper.I should have it in about 4 weeks so the dealer said.I also got the long bed because I haul a golf cart in the bed when pulling the camper.I have a 1988 Chevy 1500 short bed 5.7 4x4 that I purchased new with 112,000 miles and it pulls the camper good going to the beach but I would not try going to the mountains in it.I hope the new truck will scat up the long uphill grades in the mountains. Benny

Last edited by Benny Mckheean; 06-28-2006 at 08:45:23 AM.
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Old 08-01-2006, 06:56:40 PM
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Default Re: economical towing??

Here is a picture of our traveling menagarie. The sawmill is being towed by my brothers 98 C1500, 120k miles, the steam engine is being towed by my 94C2500, 206k miles and the camper is being pulled by my dads 97 C1500 185k miles. We will log nearly 3000 miles towing around to various shows this year. After it is all added up, a good 350 still is about the cheapest way to tow considering the higher up front costs of a diesel.
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Old 08-01-2006, 09:13:03 PM
John Hanson John Hanson is offline
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Default Re: economical towing??

HA!!! I got all of you beat!!! My "mileage queen" is a '75 Kenworth, and we average about 5.6 miles per gallon!! But, I can haul alot more than you do... and have the fun of running log books, buying permits, stopping at scales, and going through DOT checks .
JH
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Old 08-01-2006, 10:10:06 PM
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Default Re: economical towing??

John, I will bet that you can haul our whole outfit in one trip. In fact what are you doing next June....?
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:11:50 PM
John Hanson John Hanson is offline
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Default Re: economical towing??

I may not be "free"..... but I can be "had".... The other thing is... I probably have about as much in this as alot of people have in their new diesel pickups...
JH
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Old 08-04-2006, 10:41:34 AM
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Photo Re: economical towing??

I am not even going to attempt to convert litres/per100km to miles/gallon let alone the exchange rates and different fuel prices. My Nissan 3ltr turbo-diesel is the best tow vehicle I have had. I can easily cruise at freeway speeds hauling big loads. The big difference I find between the petrol and diesel tow vehicles is that I get pretty much the same economy loaded or unloaded and city or open-road driving. Diesel is more expensive than petrol here but I gain by getting a lot better mileage.
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Old 08-14-2006, 01:11:05 PM
Randy L Peterson Randy L Peterson is offline
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Default Re: economical towing??

Well here it is My towing rig and trailer...Might have to down size the trailer and see if I can get a little better MPG... Last Year I made 24mpg... BUT I dont take my stuff more then 30 miles one way...
Havin a blast preservin the past
RLP
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Old 08-18-2006, 12:03:03 AM
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Smile Re: economical towing??

Well I might as well throw in my 2 cents. My 93 W-250 Dodge Cummins/Automatic has 371,000 on it. I bought it from a local fleet for 6 grand 105,000 ago. Never been sorry of it. I have all service records and it has never had any drive train repairs other than 3 U-joints, one pinion seal and a rear main seal. Gets around 16-17 with cabover camper drops 2-3 per gallon with 22' trailer and some toys. This truck had a fairly hard life before I bought it. The old bed was bad shape and the bumper hitch Had been thourghly used up. The overload pads were even bent up about 40 degrees.
For short hauls and everyday driving I use my 92 Dakota which is perfectly capable of handling a load. And truth be known much more comfortable and quiet. The camper just won't fit it. Mileage on its 5.2/ auto is pretty close to the Diesel. It only has 180,000 on its original power train. At age 67 I have no plans to replace either of them in the future.
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