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Old 01-25-2014, 06:54 PM   #253
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Inching Closer to a Test Tow

I received my CURT harness kits in the mail Thursday and started installing everything I need to attached my 7-way. I've been at it 3-days. I have one last task to connect the brake controller under the dash and then test.

Didn't know I would have to disassemble the entire trunk and half the dash. WOW - it's pretty darn scary to start tearing down a new car like that. Would it ever go back together again? My wife came out in the garage and almost let out a scream.

A big thumbs up to CURT. The kit is excellent and has good instructions and pretty good parts. None the less, there are a LOT of wires to go here and there.

I hope to be done tomorrow. That will give me my old Prodigy 2 controller under the dash, and a 7-way female pigtail in the trunk.

Then it's off to the first tow!
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:02 PM   #254
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When it comes to dragging three tons down the road, it takes about the same BTU regardless of which engine/TV you use, I guess that is evident by reading all the posts.
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:46 AM   #255
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yes that is the truth for sure. Most of our mileage does not vary by much. Its the7 times non towing mileage that does. So it all depends on how often you tow..which for me is about 6-7 times a year. That leaves a lot of local driving at 12 mpg..
Now when I retire,,that will change
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:36 AM   #256
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I posted this on Mileage with the 300S in an earlier thread.

From the fall of 2004 until 2008 we ran a Chrysler 300 with the Hemi engine and since 2007 one of our workhorses has been a 2007 3.5 litre Charger that we picked up used with 10,000 miles on it and it now has about 90,000 so we are pretty familure with this platform.

Recently we added a 2012 300S to the fleet with the direct injection 3.6 Litre engine with 292 horse power mated to an 8 speed automatic. This week we returned from a trip to DC and Cape Hatteras. On the way south we took the 2 lane route south out of Buffalo which has lots of hills. On the way north we crossed the Chesapeak Bay bridge and came north up 476 & 81.

I was extremely impressed with this drivetrain. Friends traveling with us have a R Class Mercedes Diesel and I was within a gallon of it on each fuel up. The 5.3 suburban in our group with a narrow body Airstream was running around 40% more fuel than I was. More important when not towing it knoks off 35 mpg on the highway.

The large hills on 81 it walked up at 65 MPH in 4th gear at 3200 RPM. The great thing about 8 gears is that the next one is always just a small jump so 3rd gear is only 3900 RPM.

I find a trip like this to be a great comparison of fuel economy as you are driving the same speed down the same road at the same time, filling up in the same gas stations. At a fuel stop where the Mercedes would need 14 gallons the 300 needed 15 and the suburban 21 gallons.

The Suburban in our group is a 2010 with the 6 speed transmission. It is likely as fuel efficient as any gas powered full size truck. The Mercedes and Suburban are both running 4 wheel drive which would penalize them a little and on this trip I had a 30 as opposed to a 34 but the 87 34 on the suburban tows easier than the new 30 wide body.

Last year when I was running the SHO which has the Echoboost 3.5 Litre and also has AWD there was a 2 - 2.5 gallons between the Mercedes diesel and the SHO.

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Old 01-26-2014, 10:05 AM   #257
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Andrew Thomson,

any experience or thoughts on that Chrysler direct injection 3.6 in a Dodge Durango or Jeep Grand Cherokee pulling a late model mid-sized Airstream, such as a 25/27?
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:02 AM   #258
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sounds like the 300 could be the best choice for affordable towing with decent mileage
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:30 PM   #259
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We finally completed the C-300 TV and actually had it out on the road this afternoon. We did a 12 mile loop around town staying off the freeway, but hitting 55MPH on the parkways. The brake controller worked exactly as it did on the 'Burb with only a mild setting change. The ride seemed very good. Plenty of power on launch, and the braking seemed fine. It's quite and smooth. We took it up a mild grade and it is great to have 8 speeds to choose. The paddle shift in manual mode allows you to get just the right RPM for any speed.

As for transmission temperature it stayed around 198F, but it wasn't much of a challenge. It seemed to be the same with and without the trailer. I haven't connected the EazLift anti-sway friction device yet. That I'll do next week. But around the parkways at 55MPH I didn't notice anything at all unusual.

Some pics attached.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:45 PM   #260
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I'm glad it all worked out for you.

I have been following this thread closely as the idea of a smaller TV is very appealing for the non-towing driving (majority). I'm switching from a 4x4 Tundra to a GL 350. Not much smaller in the grand scheme of things, but it is narrower, not as tall and 2 feet shorter in length, more torque, higher payload and seats 7. Hopefully all those with GLs are right and it will be a very capable setup. We are hoping for the "One" vehicle that will do everything instead of two vehicles.

I look forward to hearing about a more intensive and longer test drive/outing for overall fuel economy, bigger hills and windy situations.

Looks like a foam wrap or soft cloth around the 7-pin connector might be worth investigating to protect the paint on the bumper.

Stephen
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:45 PM   #261
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Looks great - though the chains look pretty close the ground. Could put sparks near propane tanks? Cable ties could hold those up a bit...

Glad it's driving well for you.
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:44 PM   #262
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You have done an impressive amount of research and work to get to the test drive and it has been fun following the process. Your set-up looks very similar to the one Can Am had at the Toronto show. The chains were not hooked up on that set-up so I was not able to tell how they handled the dragging issue. My guess is a bungee chord. I was also not able to tell if he was in the running link on the wd chains. As in your case, there did not seem to be a significant amount of work being done by the bars. You may wish to shorten your chains a link, but the scales will help you confirm the correct length once you get weighed. Also, just experimenting with the chain length is informative and will add to your comfort level on what is going on in the whole system and it's impact on the vehicle ride and handling. I only say this because your Suburban was big enough that a lot of the subtleties may not have been felt and you just had to hook up and go. We have similar considerations due to our smaller tow vehicles and I find that I have to be cognoscente of the number of shoes my wife has hidden around the Airstream and make wd bar adjustments accordingly. Jim
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:34 PM   #263
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Yes, there is a bit of cleanup to do. I discovered the chains dragging and took a minute to move the clasp up 5 links, and then taped it all up for the test drive. The pigtail was ungracious and hung in the wrong place. Things are always one inch too short. And yes, definitely I will be going to the scales next.

Andrew likes the bars hanging low on his sedans to increase flex over driveways. It's more WD than you might think by looking. It takes an evil amount of jacking up on the back to get those chains on. But of course I will use less chain as required by the scale measure.

I expect weeks of tune-up. Next time out we will do the scales, and then climb some grades (plenty around here).
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:43 PM   #264
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Thanks Andrew T and also mstephens, those posts are very interesting. Once while my vehicle was in the shop the loaner they gave me was the Chrysler 300. Does the suspension have to modified on a vehicle with a "soft, car-like ride" to give a stable ride that makes you feel as confident as we are accustomed to? On another repair shop trip they loaned me a Land Rover much like mine except the loaner had 16 inch tires (mine 18") and I could feel more lateral, floating like, car ride which I did not like. A lot of us are willing to sacrifice cushy comfort in order to get the feel that we have come to know with the high performance tires and stiff, slightly harder ride. It makes us think we are in a safer vehicle. These are just my thoughts, y'all.
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:06 PM   #265
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstephens View Post
We finally completed the C-300 TV and actually had it out on the road this afternoon. We did a 12 mile loop around town staying off the freeway, but hitting 55MPH on the parkways. The brake controller worked exactly as it did on the 'Burb with only a mild setting change. The ride seemed very good. Plenty of power on launch, and the braking seemed fine. It's quite and smooth. We took it up a mild grade and it is great to have 8 speeds to choose. The paddle shift in manual mode allows you to get just the right RPM for any speed.

As for transmission temperature it stayed around 198F, but it wasn't much of a challenge. It seemed to be the same with and without the trailer. I haven't connected the EazLift anti-sway friction device yet. That I'll do next week. But around the parkways at 55MPH I didn't notice anything at all unusual.

Some pics attached.
Thanks for sight of the photos; it's looking good.

Safety chains are an issue with low slung cars; I've been using a bungee cord to keep mine off the road but may look to other methods as they're none too elegant.

The umbilical cord connection is something that you'll find your own solution to, I'm sure. Andrew T uses the clip on the coupling lock to hold the connector steady and it works for me.

The Eaz-Lift Chains don't look tight but they do look just like the ones on the Ford Sedan at Can Am and you can see a bit of bend in the bars. As others have said, the scales will tell you the whole story.

For reference, here's my hitch set up, as created by Can Am; yours looks pretty much the same.

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Old 01-27-2014, 12:04 AM   #266
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Lucky,

My 300 suspension was the sport model, and was not mushy. I wanted to install airbags, but was told by everyone no parts were available. I opted instead for air shocks, which required a custom install, as once more there are no specified parts.

I had some initial trouble with the shocks leaking. It was resolved. But in the process I discovered that airbags ARE available by custom install. Right now I cant afford a do over. In the future I will though. Bags are a better solution.

I am pleased with the ride as a starting point. I think it will get better with tuning the WD. Much of the 300 character is retained, but of course you do know you have 6000# in tow.
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