Originally Posted by tlavergne
I have a 1999 Chevy Suburban with a 454 engine. The truck is great. I really don't want to buy another truck but the gas milage is killing me. I would like to explore ways of improved MPG's. The first thing I think of is a full flow exhaust like a Banks system. Any suggestions or opinions? Anybody using a Banks, or similar, system?
Towing a travel trailer, while using a persons usual "driving habits," alters fuel mileage to a high degree.
What is needed, is "on the road" towing lessons.
We can talk, we can guess, we can assume, we can ask, but the bottom line is no one knows a persons driving habits, except them, and sometimes, that could be a challenge too.
There are many factors that are involved when towing a travel trailer, especially an Airstream or Argosy.
I have towed a loaded 31 foot Airstream, in excess of 110 mph, that was documented on film. The faster you tow an Airstream, the better it handles, "IF"
your rigged properly.
When we travel on the open highways, we have no idea what forces are working against us.
One of the biggest forces that alter fuel mileage, is the wind. A wind is of little to no concern to people that tow trailers, but it's a huge concern to pilots. So lets try an instrument that every pilot relies on.
Back in 1970 t0 1973, when I travel the country towing a 31 foot Airstream as my home, I installed an aircraft "airspeed" indicator in my car, and a altimeter.
I could at a very quick glance, tell you if I was towing into a head wind or had a tail wind, by comparing the speedometer reading to the airspeed reading.
As an example, if I was towing into a 20 mph head wind at 60 mph ground speed, then the airspeed indicator would say 80 mph, telling me that I need to slow down.
Reversing that, if the ground speed was again 60 mph and I had a tail wind, then the airspeed indicator would only say 40 mph.
Comparing the speedometer reading to the airspeed reading, quickly told me that I could tow a little faster, since I had a tail wind, or to slow down since I had a head wind.
Amazingly, I immediately increased my overall fuel economy by about 20 to 25 percent, simply using the airspeed/speedometer readings as a guide.
Installing an airspeed indicator is really very simple. Mount the gauge where ever you wish so that you can easily see it, and then connect a 1/4 copper or steel line to it and run the line so that it sticks out about 3/4 to 1 inch forward of the grill on your tow vehicle. You can also, for a little more money, have a lighted gauge for night towing.
Perhaps some owners could appreciably increase their fuel economy, by using the two gauges that will change your towing habits, very quickly.
Airspeed indicators can be purchased at Aircraft Spruce for a little over $100.00.
At todays fuel prices, it wouldn't take long to recoup your investment.
And while your at it, installing a "altimeter" in your tow vehicle also helps teach you "new driving" habits. They cost a little over $100.00 as well.
As altitude increases, the efficiency of gasoline engines decreases, unless it's super charged. That also lowers fuel mileage. But the most important part of using an altimeter, is to tell you if your climbing or not.
We can be on open highways for an extended period of time, and have no idea if we are climbing slightly or not. If your climbing, the fuel economy goes down therefore once again, slow down, until that climbing has ended.
By using your speedometer, an altimeter and a airspeed indicator, I promise you they will teach you new towing habits, very quickly.
Believe the gauges, tow accordingly, and you will become in short order, an even happier camper.