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Old 06-23-2006, 11:03 AM   #29
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fastrob, I'll chime in with the rest. Our first Airstream was a 62 Overlander, we pulled it with a V10 F250 4x4 CrewCab. Towing mileage was around 10 in general, sometimes more but I don't think ever less. After seeing some Caravels we decided that we could live with a smaller trailer (another lesson learned) so we sold the Overlander and bought a Caravel. Towing mileage was low and behold 10 - even though we were towing 1/2 the weight. In the meantime we hired someone to do the heavy towing and hauling I was doing at work so I no longer needed a V10 pickup. It was 2-1/2 years old and had 117,000 miles so I got a Honda Ridgeline. The Caravel more than fit in it's tow rating. Towing mileage with the Honda 9-10 mpg. It did get about 5 mpg better when empty but towing it was generally less than the V10. To save wear and tear on the Honda I bought a dedicated tow vehicle - a low mileage F250 4x4 460 V8 CrewCab. Towing the Caravel - 9-10 mpg (even hit 11.5 in New Mexico at Easter). Now we've bought a 25 International- about 6300 lb. Towing it so far with the 460 - 8-9 mpg.

It seems like no matter what I did, it cost the same to tow. We just bite the bullet, save where we can at home, and enjoy getting to go Airstreaming.

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Old 06-23-2006, 04:07 PM   #30
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I live in a Sail Boat half of each year. I get about 10 miles to a gallon at 5 nautical miles per hour, when I run out of money, I just play around until the gov. sends the next check. I plan to do the same thing with the airstream, but its a lot harder to find a free place to anchor. any good Ideas on where to stay thats cheap with a capital C. Slonezy.

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Old 06-23-2006, 04:47 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by 62 Overlander
It seems like no matter what I did, it cost the same to tow. We just bite the bullet, save where we can at home, and enjoy getting to go Airstreaming.
Not too surprising. The primary force you're overcoming at freeway speeds is air resistance. This is going to depend primarilly on frontal area. Yeah, you can play games to improve the aerodynamics but it's still all about frontal area. It takes a certain amount of power to drag the whole thing down the road. You only get so much energy out of a gallon of gas so it doesn't matter if you're trying to make the HP with a 6, an 8 or a 10 cylinder. Diesel vs gas is a whole different story but in general all the gas motors out there today have about the same efficiency.

I have my doubts about the curved corners of the A/S having a significant aerodynamic advantage over SOB. At the front they're in the turbulance of the TV and at the rear it's generally better to have a sharp edge for clean separation of airflow (note old cars were rounded in back and then air tunnel testing showed that was all wrong).

It's hard to say without testing but I'd bet dollars to doughnuts having a smooth underbelly does as much or more that the curved corners. A/S and older trailers in general I've noticed seem ride lower to the ground. Some of the new trailers have virtually no wheel wells. I don't get it? Maybe it's to increase interior room or (more likely) it's cheaper to build. Whatever the reason the higher CG and increased windage seem like a looser.

Mythbusters did an interesting episode on the idea a pick-up truck with it's tailgate removed or down got better mileage. Intuitively the tailgate would seem to be a big parachute. Turns out the truck does BETTER with the tailgate up! It took a little investigating, they used a model and a flow tank, and then it was obvious why the aerodynamics and mileage was better with the gate up.

The biggest thing you can do to decrease wind resistance is slow down! Resistance increases with the square of the speed.


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