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Old 02-17-2015, 01:35 PM   #1
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Uphill MPG and speed

I just have, average MPG info, on the readout on my tow vehicle, not real time MPG info.

SoI zero out my MPG, to make it easier to find the sweet spot as far as what speed to travel up hill. I am not sure if this does the drivetrain any favors but it does help gas mileage. I am really more concerned with wear and tear, than MPG.

I determined that I can get at least 2 more MPG, when I dropped from 65 to 55, on normal terrain.

My question is, how fast do you tow, going up a steep grade mountain pass
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:58 PM   #2
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No offense to you on this thread, but there seems to be a lot of micromanaging of MPG on the forums when towing. And with all the factors of headwinds and tailwinds, mountains and downhills, traffic and road conditions, all constantly changing...I just don't see the value when out for a good time.

But to answer your question, my eyes are focused on the trans and engine temp gauges when transcending steep grades. My MPG planning revolves around Gas Buddy and finding the difference in the price of gas which can very from 50 or more between towns.
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Old 02-17-2015, 02:17 PM   #3
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You did NOT answer the question which was "How fast do you tow, going up a steep grade". No offense!
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Old 02-17-2015, 02:26 PM   #4
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Like mojo, my first concerns are the engine and tranny temps.

On another internet forum, someone said that for my model vehicle, the transmission will not lock up in first or second gear, so climbing in third means less heat and less wear. So I like it when a climb is gentle enough that I can keep it in third. That means about 45mph or faster.

As a practical matter, mountain climbs are usually limited by grade, road condition, and traffic.

Foot on the floor in second gear, my trip computer's instantaneous read-out says 2 mpg.
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Old 02-17-2015, 02:50 PM   #5
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I haven't driven out west yet with my 2008 Classic 25fb/2010 Tundra DC 5.7 2wd but on some hills in Arkansas I usually tow at 60 and try to go up the hills at 55 to 60mph. I manually shift the transmission. 3rd gear is where the rpms are for max torque on this engine. If the speed starts to not hold in 4th and before I have to mash the pedal all the way down I shift manually down. The transmission temperature and coolant gauges don't seem to budge. From the instantaneous mpg readout the mpg is low so I hope on the other side of the hill I can shift up and recover some mpg.

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Old 02-17-2015, 02:50 PM   #6
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In answer to MandolinDave....You go a lot of different speeds!

I used to drive loaded trucks across Europe - all with manual shift. Germany is all ups and downs. Switzerland just seems to be all ups!

Use any down inclines to gradually build up speed and momentum but don't go mad - you need these times to rest the engine and cool.

On the uphill gradually come off the gas trying to keep it at whatever comfortable RPM range your truck does - maybe 2500-2750? Eventually the mountain will win and you need to downshift the gears to keep high enough revs. You may even have to go to 1st or 2nd. If you can keep it in 3rd or 4th at 2500-3000 then just enjoy.

With an auto its a matter of keeping at the sweet spot of about 2750 RPM.

I think by doing this kind of strategy you will be kind to your engine AND get the best mileage for the gas tank?
I do agree you need to watch the temp and oil like a hawk.

Also, there is a simple matter of physics. If you use a lot of gas going up then hopefully you can gain free stuff on the other side. Resist the temptation to go too fast downhill. You will just waste energy braking at curves plus remember you take 2x as long to stop going downhill. Just coast - and of course ENJOY!
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Old 02-17-2015, 02:57 PM   #7
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We generally tow the speed limit up and down hills, especially on interstates. On two lanes we drop down a bit due mainly to hauling 9,000 pounds behind us - turns and all. As to MPG we budget based on our fuel usage over the last trip. Last trip 5,500 miles, average usage 13.7 MPG. If we use a little more or a little less that is fine as we always budget for high usage. In other words, last trip was 13.7 MPG, I figure 12.7 for pre trip budgeting. We do the same for campgrounds, always budget for high cost and hopefully come in under. That said, I agree with MoJo, we do this for fun, i'ts "our time", and a few MPG here and there are only going to impact us if Diesel goes way up in price. By way up I mean over $5.00 per gallon. If we get the 13.7 MPG, for 5,000 miles at $3.00 per gallon our fuel costs are $1,095, if $5.00 per gallon our costs are $1,825.00. We will simply cut some things out to make up the $730.00 difference or spend less while at home. Our F350 6.7 Diesel pulls up hill at just about any speed I want, but as noted we stay within the speed limits or a little under.

Enjoy

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Old 02-17-2015, 02:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuncanK1 View Post
You did NOT answer the question which was "How fast do you tow, going up a steep grade". No offense!
Between 35 and 65 depending on conditions...close enough?
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Old 02-17-2015, 03:07 PM   #9
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We agree!
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Old 02-17-2015, 03:29 PM   #10
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Made the mistake of coming out of Grey Bull headed east without filling up or really checking fuel. I can tell you for that grade I pulled at about 40 mph and was getting 6 mpg. (Diesel). We made it but I was worried enough to check milage and decide whether I need to keep on or turn around. On the highway I pull at about 63 and sometime slow to 60 if it will keep it in overdrive. We get about 14-15 average mpg.
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Old 02-17-2015, 03:58 PM   #11
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Like others have said - it's not the speed that is important - it is how much work you're putting on the engine and transmission - my measure is the temperature gauge not the speedometer - serious grades mean slowing down, gearing down - and climbing at a rate that feels comfortable - if someone behind me feels I'm travelling a little too slow - well - they are free to pass or just relax and cool their jets till we both get to the top .....

Should also point out that hilly terrain does not make a great difference in gas mileage - it is headwinds or tailwinds that creates big additional costs or savings.


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Old 02-17-2015, 04:03 PM   #12
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I will always slow down. First I kick it into 5th or 4th part way up and then slow down gradually from 65 to as slow as 50 if I have to. It is more of a "feel" and sound of the engine that determines how much I slow down. I can keep the cruise on and it will go up fine on its own at 65, but it really kills the MPG. So if I control it I can usually get a decent number at the end of the day (14 or better). Otherwise it is around 12.5 MPG. Maybe not enough to get exited about on short trips but on longer trips it can add up. Again fuel economy really depends on grade and wind direction. Sometimes no matter what I do the fuel economy is still poor.
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Old 02-17-2015, 04:37 PM   #13
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i go uphill at the posted speed limit. i don't have time to check MPG as usually these are pretty twisted roadways. perhaps your question would have better relevance if you considered the % of the grade. most interstates are pretty flat, rarely exceeding 6%.
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:56 PM   #14
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A friend of mine, simply keeps the gas peddle in the same position that it is in, as when he is going 65 on a flat stretch.
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