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Thread: Gas Mileage towing a fifth wheel

  1. Print this Post   #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    USA - WA

    Gas Mileage towing a fifth wheel

    My husband and I are seriously considering purchasing a Heartland fifthwheel in the near future. With gas prices rising, we are trying to get an idea what kind of gas mileage we will get. We have a 2001 Ford F250 diesel 7.3 liter engine. We are looking for a fifth wheel in the 10,500lb dry weight range. Some folks have said there is not much difference with or without a trailer unless you are climbing mountains.

    Any information and experiences with gas mileage will be greatly appreciated for these two newbie's.


  2. Print this Post   #2
    Original Owners Club Member jmgratz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    USA - TX

    Re: Gas Mileage towing a fifth wheel

    I had a 99 Ford F350 SRW long bed with the 7.3 diesel. Towing I got 10 mpg average and non-towing 15-16 mpg. That is without a head or cross wind. I did get 5 mpg with a 30 mph head wind once. I now have a 2010 F350 Ford dually long bed 6.4 diesel and get 7.5-8.5 towing and 14 non-towing. Both trucks had the 3.73 rear axle.
    Jim & Sheila Gratz - owners club #1018 Workamping as Sales Associate with SE Publications Certified RV Walk-through Technician [/I] 2013 Landmark San Antonio - full body paint - Fulltimer pkg, Yetti pkg etc., Mor-Ryde IS with never lube bearings and disc brakes. --previous 5er - 2007 "Classic" Landmark "Golden Gate" Replaced 9/20/13 2012 Ford F350 King Ranch Crew Cab fx4 dually, 6.7 L Husky Trailer Saver TS2 hitch "visit TEXAS - it's like a whole 'nuther country" Rally Site 414

  3. Print this Post   #3
    Founders of SoCal Chapter Bob&Patty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    USA - CA

    Re: Gas Mileage towing a fifth wheel

    With our current TV and Horn...a good average is 10 MPG towing. The TV gets an average of 17-18 MPG non towing. The combo weighs in at about 22K. Our last LONG trip to Montana we averaged 11.7 and it's all up hill to Montana from California. Your mileage will vary depending on road conditions and speeds.
    Bob (Old cranky), Great wife Patty, 5 great kids, 11 grandkids

    Callie the wonder dog (we are still wondering) and 1 crazy cat "Baby" (RIP at 18 years old). Callie misses her Kitty.

    2013 GMC 3500 HD DRW C/C L/B with all the goodies (the grey ghost). AirLift 5000 with auto leveling. 34 gal custom auxillary in bed tank. Spray in bed liner and rubber mat. 16K Husky hitch.

    07 2955RL BIG HORN #5103

    58 Belair 2dr hardtop, low and slow custom.


  4. Print this Post   #4
    Past Washington Chapter Leaders SJH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    USA - WA

    Re: Gas Mileage towing a fifth wheel

    Our Silverado D/A gets around 14-16 unhitched and 10-12 hitched. I have also towed with a gasser and with my experience, the diesel mileage drops much less than the gasser will when hitched up.

    Good Luck!
    Steve & AnaLyn
    2007.5 LMM Chevy Silverado D/A
    2010 Electra-Glide Classic Red Hot Sunglo

  5. Print this Post   #5
    Senior Member Boca_Shuffles's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    USA - MI

    Re: Gas Mileage towing a fifth wheel

    With our current and prior diesel, we got:
    11.7 at 55 mph
    11.0 at 60
    10.3 at 65
    9.8 at 70
    8.9 at 75

    Therefore, the faster you go, the more expensive.
    When someone tells you their mpg, ask what their speed was.
    Tom and Bobbi Paschka
    Bubbles, Reggae and Ruckus - Bearded Collies
    2008 GMC Duramax Dually
    Previously 2010 Bighorn 3055RL
    Currently SOB
    HOC #1295

  6. Print this Post   #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    USA - OH

    Re: Gas Mileage towing a fifth wheel

    Fuel mileage depends on a number of factors.
    How you take off ?
    Towing weights ?
    How fast you drive ?
    The terrain you are in ?
    The fuel you get ?
    Mother nature and those dreaded headwinds ?
    How you maintain your vehicle ?
    etc. etc. etc.

    We have been full timing for almost 8 years now and have towed over 160,000 miles since then and so far we have averaged 9 mpg and around 58-62 mph.
    The first Four years was with a 2002 F350 CC Dually V-10 4:30 gears averaged 8.6 grossing 21,870 and the last 4 years have been with a 2006 F350 CC Dually 6.0 4:30 gears averaging 9.4 grossing 24,250.

    Diesel is much better in the Mountains which is where we are a lot.

    I would say if you figured 9-12 mpg you would be close for an average.

    Travel Safe and Enjoy this Beautiful Country.


    Bottom Line is if Fuel Mileage is your concern then this is not the Lifestyle you want.
    Last edited by WilmanJim; 01-08-2011 at 10:27 AM.

    Wilma and Jim
    HOC # 1591
    2010 Heartland Bighorn 3670RL.
    Airsafe 25K Hitch, Firestone Ride-Rite AirBags Set at 38-40psi when towing.
    2015 Ford F-350 Lariat 4X4 Dually CC Long Bed 6.7
    Retired Full Timers since 06-23-2003.

  7. Print this Post   #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    USA - PA

    Re: Gas Mileage towing a fifth wheel

    There are a number of discussions on this throughout the forum. I have a Bighorn 3055 in the weight range you are interested in. On the road weight is about 12,700 lbs and I pull it with a Chevrolet 2500 diesel with a 3.73 rear. I usually pull around 60 mph and have varied from 8.5 mpg climbing into Denver from Kansas with a 20 mph front crosswind to 13 mpg on level ground (for example I-95 on the east coast). Moderately level road on the interstate I can expect 11 to 12 mpg fairly consistently. I have been very please with 5th Wheel towing/backing/turning when compared to what I see with travel trailers. Good Luck.
    Clark, Carolyn, and
    Welsh Springers: Danny & Cymy
    BigHorn 3055RL
    Chevy Silverado 2500 Long Bed TD

  8. Print this Post   #8
    Senior Member caissiel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    CAN - NB

    Re: Gas Mileage towing a fifth wheel

    We had a 33ft 5th wheel with 15" tires and now we have the 38ft Big Country that is 4K heavier, other then feeling a bit more weight in the hills the mileage with the BC is much better. I am convinced that the tire pressures and alignment make much more difference then any other factor. The lenght or weight hardly make any difference if you have better axles, as long as it's the same manufacture of trailer. And Heartland trailers are known to tow well by the transporters, as I was told when we bought ours.
    I was told one day that a longer trailer is only full of air and space compared to shorter trailer and it does make sence to me.

    Most diesels will tow economicaly compared to Gas by a factor of 30%, because diesels have more energy and efficiency then gas.
    Barbara and Laurent, Retired teacher and maintenance/engineering,Full Timing
    Mods: Hydraulic selector valves, Queen bed, heavier front closet rod, W/D door swing changed, 2" rear hitch. 2" pin box hitch.Added build in water filter, Replaced HW Tank Fittings. Modified 2 ceiling vents. Relocated shocks to 60deg. 9/16" U-bolts and spring plates.Center 7500 lbs Scissor Stabilizer Jacks. Hawkshead TPMS. Reinforced kitchen sink supports.More supports and longer rails to couch drawer. Modified bedroom steps for storage. Modified landing gear jacks, etc.
    2005 Ford F250 SD, XL F250 4x4, Long Box, 6.0L Diesel, 6 Speed Stick, Use ScangaugeII for Economy, available 60 XGauges and Scanner, Fuel Pressure Gauge, Max Energy by Hypertech set at 85HP for cooling, torque and economy. ELC Coolant and Filter and EGR cooler deleted. 2 added 1300lbs each spring plies, Fuel mileage 21 MPusG empty, 12.6 MPusG pulling the BC. 6.2" din2 touch screen car Radio with DVD, TV, CD,SD,USB, GPS and Rear Cam,

  9. Print this Post   #9
    Founding Utah Chapter Leaders-Retired TandT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    USA - UT

    Re: Gas Mileage towing a fifth wheel

    My present trailer is around 10,000lbs. I get 13mpg in the hills and average around 15.5mpg overall. I have gotten as much as 17mpg towing on all flat land. 22mpg running empty under 1900rpms. Please see my signature for details. Also 3.73 rear end ratio.. Good luck!
    Trace and Teri
    Goodgirl, Hana and Justine
    Founding Utah Chapter Leaders

  10. Print this Post   #10
    Senior Member GOTTOYS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    USA - MN

    Re: Gas Mileage towing a fifth wheel

    How can there not be a difference in mileage when you're pulling a 13 foot high 8 foot wide slab behind you...My mileage drops between 4 and 8 mpg when towing depending on the speed, wind and terrain. But then if the fuel mileage was a concern I could always drive Mom's car and stay in a motel...The bottom line is it's all worth it to me no matter what the fuel costs.....Don
    Don & Kathy, Daisy Mae the rescue pup.
    She drives...He sits behind the steering wheel

    2011 BC 3250 TS
    2015 Chev D/A 3500 Dually

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