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Old 11-19-2013, 03:22 PM   #1
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Helping with aerodynamics?

Hey All,
So I am the proud owner of a 1980 Sunline sunspot which I tow behind a 2013 Nissan Frontier pickup. Like a lot of people I bought a small trailer to make it easier to tow, but given that my trailer has the aerodynamics of a brick, it tows like crap on the freeway, and I was getting 11.5mpg towing it at 65 this past weekend. (Compared to 23mpg normally)

Now I know there is only so much you can do to help, but getting something closer to 16mpg would be nice.

Anyone have any tips or suggestions? I thought about getting a cap to try to keep the air from rolling over the cab, falling into the bed and then slamming into the trailer, but I don't know how big of a difference it would make.

Anyone have a similar set up or any advice on how to gain a couple mpg's?
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Old 11-19-2013, 06:40 PM   #2
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Well, you can always tow only downhill ... with the winds always behind you.

That is the one downside of towing the house behind you, that flat front pushes a lot of air and acts like a big brake. A slightly slower speed, like 62, will give a little increase in MPG.
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:27 AM   #3
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WOW I would love to get 11.5 mpg's!

Yes my trailer is larger but lets go back to our towing our 1950 = we only got around 8-9 mpg's!
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SR2K View Post
Hey All,
So I am the proud owner of a 1980 Sunline sunspot which I tow behind a 2013 Nissan Frontier pickup. Like a lot of people I bought a small trailer to make it easier to tow, but given that my trailer has the aerodynamics of a brick, it tows like crap on the freeway, and I was getting 11.5mpg towing it at 65 this past weekend. (Compared to 23mpg normally)

Now I know there is only so much you can do to help, but getting something closer to 16mpg would be nice.

Anyone have any tips or suggestions? I thought about getting a cap to try to keep the air from rolling over the cab, falling into the bed and then slamming into the trailer, but I don't know how big of a difference it would make.

Anyone have a similar set up or any advice on how to gain a couple mpg's?
Sounds about right slowing down makes a big difference I tow a T1700 with a Tacoma 4X4 6 cylinder if I run the interstate at 70 10-11 MPG back roads at no more than 50 15 MPG. There also is a big low pressure area behind the camper holding you back too. I have seen many attempts at making them a bit more aerodynamic but the only thing that I know of is less speed. Lot of big stuff has air dam's on the TV roof and maybe that helps but if your only getting 8 MPG a couple of tenths goes a long way.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:21 AM   #5
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Just drive slower. That's about it really. There is nothing you can add that will give you 16mpg. Even a topper with a wind deflector is questionable as to whether it helps much.


11.5mpg is great. Most of us get about 8 or so on the highway.
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:09 PM   #6
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I towed a T-1950 with a 6cyl Nissan Pickup with 5500# capacity and got 8 mpg. If you have overdrive you want to turn it off and keep to 55 or 60. Now, you didn't say but if you have a 4 cyl then you're pushing the limit. My 1st trailer weighed 1800# and my 4 cyl Nissan struggled and also got about 8 mpg.
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Old 11-23-2013, 04:35 AM   #7
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I wonder what the truck loaded with the weight of the trailer would get without having to pull it on a trailer. The problem might be weight as much as aerodynamics, sometimes.
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:53 PM   #8
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I haul stuff all over Maine from gear to fire wood and as long as I'm not up in the mountains the weight in the bed makes very little difference maybe a slight hit but not enough to worry about but pulling the brick behind me really does it in even an empty box trailer knocks the mileage down some thing wicked.
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:13 PM   #9
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A cap would probably make a huge difference. The Sunspot it so light that it can't possibly affect mileage that much from weight. I know for those of us pulling larger trailers, putting a wing on the top of the truck is good for about 1 mpg or so, but we have weight as still a huge contributing factor.

Do you have a cap/bed cover on your truck right now?
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Old 12-25-2013, 07:19 PM   #10
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For what it's worth, we ran from Florida to Upstate New York with our Tahoe and trailer and saw an average of 10.5 mpg. The next time we took the trip, we had the same rig and route, but had our kayaks on the roof of the truck. The trip average was 11.3. Playing with the aerodynamics will help, but I doubt you'll save a lot of money doing it.
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