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Old 06-09-2008, 10:27 PM   #1
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Towing speeds...

Being new to towing our 1965 26" Overlander (although I drive Fire Engines for a living and am familiar with heavy loads & stoppping distances), what are "safe" speeds to tow? Is it the axle bearings, the tire ratings, the load, what gives? I mean 55 mph (California) is so damn slow... Any tips, hints, suggestions and/or ideas would be great...
Thanks for your help fellow 'forum'ers!
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:40 PM   #2
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Just my humble opinion... I do not use interstates unless I HAVE to to cross a river,m etc. We take the back roads at 55mph +/_ , save gas, and enjoy the countryside. That is one of the reasons we bought the airstream. Even more important now with the price of petrol. Slow down, enjoy the world and see something besides miles of asphalt/concrete.
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:57 PM   #3
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One of the "safe" speeds for travel trailers in Ca is 62 mph. It's at the upper limit of the tolerance band for all vehicles who have a posted limit of 55 and beyond which you will likely receive a speeding ticket if observed.

Another "safe" limit is the speed beyond which vehicle control is an issue. Sudden stops, wind gusts, etc, etc. This speed is highly individual in nature and depends on the TV, TT, hitching, tires, brakes, road conditions, driver skill, etc.
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:58 PM   #4
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Due to trailer tire specifications and gas economy we max out at 65 mph...even on the interstate... The CA law seems a little slow but you will get better mileage...if you don't get overrun by those who don't follow it!
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:42 AM   #5
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Awesome! Thanks for all your inputs. Now I need to decide if I should replace my original axles before our 3000 mile trip this summer. Once again, any more input? I haven't yet checked the angle of the original axles but can only imagine they are tired and sagging...
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:51 AM   #6
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55mph is not bad once you get used to it. You will save gas and will err on the side of safety. There are lots of side roads and two lane highways to take where you won't be "in the way" on the interstate.
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:02 AM   #7
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During my Suburban's break-in tow (first 500 miles towing per the GM manuals), I drove around 50mph, mostly a bit less. I got about 16mpg towing.

After the break-in period, I typically tow at 62mph. I found that with my truck 62mph is a good balance between speed and MPG. Going 65 drops MPG and of course going faster, even worse on MPG.

When going 55mph, fuel economy improves significantly. So really the old adage you pay for speed is true. If you want to get there slightly faster 65 is a safe speed, but will cost you and at $4+/gallon, 1 to 2mpg adds up quick. For example my Burb has about a 37 gallon tank. 2mpg improvement on average can yield an additional 70 miles further, or to put it in today's fuel prices, about $12.00 (compared to towing my Airstream at 65 and getting between 10 and 11mpg). If I actually went 55mph, had no headwinds, etc, that 70 additional miles going 55mph (no headwinds, etc) compared to 65 could increase as high as 100miles more (if I again got 13mpg towing slower), which is about $30 in today's fuel dollars.

Your results may and will vary depending on several variables, but the end results of speed and MPG should be true. Also keep in mind of posted speed limits, etc. On a lot of 65mph Interstates, some have a min speed requirement too. I recall on 55mph areas, the minimum allowed was 45mph. Ironically, in a lot if parts of the country, folks use the plus 10-15mph rule. Whatever the speed limit is add 10 to 15 mph. When that happens, and you are causing bottlenecks and such, it's a call you have to make because sometimes the flow of traffic can dictate a safe speed, but in the end between 55 and 65 is my comfort zone. This year in particular, I plan on staying as close to 55 as I can.
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:26 AM   #8
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The benefits, the trade-offs of time versus fuel economy have become apparent to most. I've been towing at 63 mph as I find it gives me BOTH the apparent "sense of speed" and the ability to very quickly slow to a speed at which I have confirmed I can do TV/TT "ballet" all day long. The question one wishes to pose one's self is in relation to rapid steering inputs not upsetting the rig in avoiding a roadway hazard. A "tripping hazard" (a low object in the road) that the trailer tires have to surmount is the deadly item, as it can/will turn the trailer over even if only a few inches high.
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:45 AM   #9
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How much fuel do you really save by taking the backroads? Every 10 miles, you have to slow down to 35 mph, running in lower gears, and then completely stop 3 times for stoplights. Or you get behind a schoolbus, dropping off the kiddies every 1/4 mile. Or even farmer Brown moving his harvester down the road. Most interstates slice off the tops of a lot of hills, so you do not have to punch it to get to the top and then brake coming down the other side.

It would be nice if some members who have measured their mileage on longish trips both ways could chime in with real numbers. In the eastern part of the country, it is pretty hard to go a long ways without hitting a small town.
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:54 AM   #10
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Backroads don't save on fuel. I average -- at the same 63 mph -- 13 on the secondary highways, and over 15 on the Interstate.

The point to being on the secondaty highways is to stay out of commercial traffic and enjoy the scenery even if driving is actually more work as one is no longer on a limited access roadway. The overall rate of travel is slower, probably 5-7 mph for all miles driven given towns, school districts, hosptial zones, traffic lights, etc.

But if I had to do all my miles on the Super Slab I might just sell the trailer.
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HansenClan View Post
Being new to towing our 1965 26" Overlander (although I drive Fire Engines for a living and am familiar with heavy loads & stoppping distances), what are "safe" speeds to tow? Is it the axle bearings, the tire ratings, the load, what gives? I mean 55 mph (California) is so damn slow... Any tips, hints, suggestions and/or ideas would be great...
Thanks for your help fellow 'forum'ers!
What type of tow vehicle do you have?

I think "safe" speeds have as much to do with the tow vehicle as with what's being towed. Tire size and condition, brake system components and condition, suspension type and condition, etc are important factors that no one has yet mentioned.

I tow our 24' Argosy at no more than 60 mph (usually 55mph) on the interstate with a 35 year old stock 1/2 ton TV (factory tow package). I don't feel the rewards of running 65 or 70 mph are worth it when needing a quick stop with the trailer. I *can* stop the trailer at higher speeds, but I am sure glad to not need burning off an additional 10 mph or so if I don't have to.

We unexpectedly used a Dodge 3500 last summer for our vacation. That truck never knew the trailer was behind it, stopping or starting.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:45 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by HansenClan
Now I need to decide if I should replace my original axles before our 3000 mile trip this summer. Once again, any more input? I haven't yet checked the angle of the original axles but can only imagine they are tired and sagging...
If they are the original ones, consider them toast, and get a new pair. By the time you are done traveling this Summer, you may have some serious issues from the petrified rubber in them transmitting road shock into the coach.
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:23 PM   #13
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Our TT tires are rated for 65mph max, so we travel about 60-64. The TV is very comfortable with that speed and so am I. We have tried the back road routine and did not see much difference in fuel usage. We don't have any issues running the interstate. If original, as pointed out earlier, might be a good idea to change out the axles.
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Old 06-10-2008, 02:26 PM   #14
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Tundra Towing

Has anyone towed a 34FT with the new Tundra. I bought a new Tundra Double Cab 5.7 . Currently tow a 31 Ft 04 Classic with no problem. Want to move to a 34 FT.
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:37 PM   #15
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Once I get to the point where 55 mph is creating a traffic problem on the interstate I know I've gone too far south!!! Just another reason why I love northern Maine. Furthermore, today's heat wave makes Nova Scotia and Canada look better and better. We're headed to Maryland tommorrow and I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the cooler weather holds until I can head back north!
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:38 PM   #16
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Don't count on Canada being cooler. A couple days ago here in Ontario we had 33C and that combined with humdity feels like 40C.
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:52 PM   #17
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Don't count on Canada being cooler. A couple days ago here in Ontario we had 33C and that combined with humdity feels like 40C.
Do you mind speaking Fahrenheit?
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:35 PM   #18
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Smile Hi Hansen,

I am with you about the back roads and seeing the country instead of back end of another truck.The big cities scare the heck out me. The other drivers think that you can stop on a dime and keep cutting in and out front of you. Phoenix, Salt Lake and LA area are insane. They are all in a hurry to get some place.My wife navigate and I always want to go around a big City even if it is longer. Another city come to mind is Calgary Alberta Canada. They dump their four lane freeway into down town streets. It is a zoo.
Regards from Russell in sunny and Hot Tucson Az.
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:43 PM   #19
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Do you mind speaking Fahrenheit?
Sorry, I forgot you folks down there are still on the old system.... 33C/91F...40C/101F
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:54 PM   #20
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Been in Calif all my life, and I have to admit, when towing, I'm a 55 MPH kind of guy...

When towing, we're not in any big 'hurry', so why run faster and use extra fuel, etc?

I'm always aware of following traffic on secondary roads and do pull over at turnouts if there's several vehicles behind, chomping at the bit to get around...

If I'm doing 55 in the RH lane on an interstate, you're welcome to move over an pass me whenever you want!

I've always traveled with the notion that the 'Trip' is a big part of the 'Adventure'...so why not slow down and enjoy it, check out the scenery, take a secondary road when it suits you, and stop when you get the chance to visit back road America!
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