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#1 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 06:39 PM
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Towing gear and gas mileage

Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum.

I have a 2008 Rav4 Sport with a V6 and towing packing. I use my Rav4 to tow an enclosed 5x8 trailer (900lbs) with my Yamaha Grizzly 700 4-wheeler (650lbs). I typically haul between Western South Dakota to the twin cities of MN or to northern MN near the Canadian border.

The total weight of the load I haul is about 1600-1700lbs and I always tow in 4th gear. However, My gas mileage is horrible! Even with my rear tires inflated to about 40lbs I still only ever get 14-15mpg. Obviously, much of the reduction in gas mileage can be attributed to the fact that I'm hauling a square, enclosed trailer which acts as a significant wind drag, and the fact that when I use 4th gear the engine automatically revs to about 3000rpm's at 75mph, but I was still expecting better fuel economy numbers. How is it anyone on here manages to get 19-20mpg hauling much heavier loads than the one I haul? Might have to trade in the enclosed trailer for an open trailer instead.

The only thing I can guess is that some people are foolish enough to tow in D, rather than 4th?
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#2 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 08:07 PM
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Perhaps driving in D would help some. The Owner's Manual for my 2011 suggests not driving in "overdrive" while towing to aid with braking and electrical charging, but except when descending a grade and in other situations where engine braking is needed I tow in D and let the engine and transmission management systems make the decisions.

Jim
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#3 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 09:12 PM
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MPG sounds about right to me. 75 MPH in 4th gear would suck gas without towing much less with a loaded wind brake behind you.

Old Bird......sometimes wise
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#4 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 11:11 PM
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Yea that does seem about right. I get 24 at 75 without towing and on flat ground with a 4 banger

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#5 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 11:18 PM
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14 MPG is expected. This is exactly what I get towing my heavier but more aerodynamic boat. My Subaru incidentally produced the same figure with the same load. D is only fine on perfectly flat road. As soon as you have a grade, the converter will unlock putting more heat stress on tranny.

If you want to get better MPG, you need to slow down. While I'm also guilty of going as fast, slower is better and safer.
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#6 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 12:01 AM
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Thank you all for the responses. I typically get about 24mpg while driving about 75mph without towing as well. Western SD is fairly hilly compliments of the Black Hills, so I'd never risk towing anything in D. After reading your feedback I realize my towing gas mileage is normal. Thanks again for the input.
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#7 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 01:09 AM
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The box and speed is what's killing your mileage.

Just came back from towing a 2000# Scamp aerodynamic 16' travel trailer 1650 miles in Alaska with a 2008 Base V6 RAV4. With four people plus camping gear we averaged 14 mpg. We drove the Dalton Highway Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay & back at 50-55 mph (mostly dirt or frost heaved pavement) letting the trans go into Drive whenever it wanted which was mostly on the downhills. Most of the time it selected Fourth with Third in the hills. We'd hold it in third uphill to keep it from hunting between 3 & 4. Though we'd get better mileage on the comparitively flat run from Fairbanks to Anchorage but at 60-65 mph we didn't. Again we let it go into Drive when it would but it probably spent 3/4 of the time in Fourth.

I also just came back from Sturgis and I'd say the hills of the Black Hills are a little less steep than the 7-10% grades on the Dalton.

An open trailer would do wonders for your mileage. You could tow in fifth, still run 75 mph which I'd bet is the speed limit most places you travel, and get nearly 20 mpg.

Fred
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#8 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 09:42 PM
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5th gear is just too high to have enough torque. I tow a (WELL made and sort of heavy) 5x8 open trailer with just a single dirt bike. Best I managed was 22mpg (with no rear gate on the trailer). But that was from Atlanta to the Alligator Enduro in Daytona. Mostly flat at 75mph. If I leave the gate on the back it is like a parachute and my mileage drops to 16 or 17. If there are a lot of hills or big winds, I have seen 14mpg. A Rav4 just isn't designed to tow heavy or big loads. But it sure beats the guys with big trucks at 10 to 12mpg.

With an open trailer the gates really make a difference. I leave mine off for highway trips.
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