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Old 06-26-2012, 11:31 AM   #1
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F250 diesel vs. F150 gas tow comparison

Not a scientific study here but observations for those interested.
We have almost completed our round trip from Portland, OR to Alaska. See our blog, http://tandhalaska2012.blogspot.com/. I have a 2009 27' Flying Cloud FB towed by a 2011 Ford F250 4WD diesel. We are traveling with friends and their 2007 19' Bambi towed by a 2011 Ford F150. He says his trailer is about 5,000 lbs and his truck is loaded. My AS probably weighs close to 9,000 lbs and my truck is loaded too.
I've been following him for about 5,800 miles so far and have almost 7 solid weeks of observation of how both combinations perform.
He slows down on grades because the truck wants to shift down often and high rev the engine. His concern is both engine wear and fuel mileage. He also has to be careful going down grades because there is not much engine assist in controlling speed. It tows fine on level ground and accelerates easily.
My combination has been a real pleasure. With the 6 speed transmission, engine braking, built in automatic yaw control, and huge amount of torque, I can just set the cruise control and forget it. It maintains speed perfectly and effortlessly going both up and down grades. If need be, I can even accelerate and pass long trucks on grades without fear. I can also easily stop the trailer if for some reason I lose the electric trailer brakes.
Towing a trailer with an under powered TV is frustrating and stressful. Same too for inadequate brake capacity when you need it.
The really funny thing is that my friends and I are both getting the same mileage, about 14-15 mpg.
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:20 PM   #2
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everyone knows turbo diesel kicks booty

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Old 06-26-2012, 12:24 PM   #3
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The tranny and software have much to do with this

Quote:
Originally Posted by hhendrix View Post
With the 6 speed transmission, engine braking, built in automatic yaw control, and huge amount of torque, I can just set the cruise control and forget it. It maintains speed perfectly and effortlessly going both up and down grades.
This describes well my experience with the 6.2L gas motor in the same truck as yours with a similar Airstream. Ford did an outstanding job with that transmission, tranny controller and, their integration with the sensors and engine controller.

When towing, the truck always finds the best gear that my right foot is calling for. It will lock the torque converter when necessary and knows when I want to slow down on descent, and the rate. This actually provides more effective engine braking than the 3/4 ton Chevy diesel it replaced. The 6.2L gas also has a wide flat torque curve which, like the diesel, helps the tranny work as well as it does.

I am surprised Ford did not use these towing algorithms in the new F150, or is it just a more narrow torque curve than the F250 motors?
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Old 06-26-2012, 01:08 PM   #4
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I have a 2011 F-150 6.2 gas and like it a lot. It does stop when I apply the brakes. I think if I had to, I could get it stopped even without the trailer brakes. And, like Wayward said, awesome engine braking.
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Old 06-26-2012, 01:18 PM   #5
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can you post the engine size and gear ratio of your friends rig? my experience with my setup more closely matched your experience.
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:22 PM   #6
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It seems that most currently produced diesels get no better mileage than their gas counterparts. With the current cost of diesel that is not very comforting. I have been looking at the new 3.7 ecoboost engine. It seems to be getting excellent mileage (better than others trucks) and has plenty of torque, HP and towing capacity to get the job done.

Ricky, sounds like you have what I have been looking at. How has yours been working out for you. Gas mileage etc
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:29 PM   #7
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michael,
i posted in the thread i started. the usage report is here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ml#post1159233 :-)
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:17 PM   #8
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michael,
i posted in the thread i started. the usage report is here: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ml#post1159233 :-)
Thank you, Michael
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:32 PM   #9
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I tow with either a 2003 F150 with the 4.6 V-8 or a F350 PSD. The mileage is the same, the F350 doesn't know that the trailer is back there. Mileage is about 13mpg.

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Old 06-26-2012, 06:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richinny View Post
can you post the engine size and gear ratio of your friends rig? my experience with my setup more closely matched your experience.
I'll do it as soon as I can. Right now we are in Grand Coulee and it's pouring rain.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:39 PM   #11
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It seems that most currently produced diesels get no better mileage than their gas counterparts. With the current cost of diesel that is not very comforting.
I recently upgraded our tow vehicle to an F250 gas engine truck. My mileage is not that far below that of a diesel, and I can buy a lot of gas for the savings in purchase price. The truck has all the towing accessories the diesels do, except for the engine.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:43 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=AWCHIEF;1166071]It seems that most currently produced diesels get no better mileage than their gas counterparts. With the current cost of diesel that is not very comforting. I have been looking at the new 3.7 ecoboost engine. It seems to be getting excellent mileage (better than others trucks) and has plenty of torque, HP and towing capacity to get the job done.

I think I'd have to disagree with you first statement. Remember my truck/trailer combo weighs almost twice as much as my friends and we are getting the same mileage.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:51 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=hhendrix;1166178]
Quote:
Originally Posted by AWCHIEF View Post
It seems that most currently produced diesels get no better mileage than their gas counterparts. With the current cost of diesel that is not very comforting. I have been looking at the new 3.7 ecoboost engine. It seems to be getting excellent mileage (better than others trucks) and has plenty of torque, HP and towing capacity to get the job done.

I think I'd have to disagree with you first statement. Remember my truck/trailer combo weighs almost twice as much as my friends and we are getting the same mileage.
Might be interesting to see what happened if you swapped trailers for a day.....
I keep reading in the forums of how the aerodynamics have more impact than weight in terms of power needed to tow. I tow a 16' Airstream with a 2010 F-150 and I get between 13 and 15 mpg depending on the hills.

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Old 06-26-2012, 09:15 PM   #14
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The power needed to tow the TT is just the same . . the power needed to move the TV is always the real question . . the trade-off of miles towing versus miles solo per fuel burn.

Spec'ng a vehicle to run best for 20% or less of it's total miles is the common RV'er mistake. A TV that has to work for a living is no penalty to the experience of travel, epecially if it is better suited for solo miles (and few would argue that a 1/2T is much easier to live with). A Bambi can be towed by about anything, after all.

The OP's comparison would make more sense with GVW shown. The thread is thus far lacking basics such as scale weights (just a total for each would do), engines, gearing, trans types, etc, that one would expect with a "comparison".

For example, there are any number of approaches to ". . He also has to be careful going down grades because there is not much engine assist in controlling speed" in understanding the statement as made. The above would help to clarify this as driver skill is first, then last in this kind of assessment. The "in-between" is the vehicle spec and its' mechanical condition, the least important consideration in grade descent (for roadworthy combinations).

Not enough info, IOW.

.
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