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Old 02-06-2012, 10:22 AM   #1
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I am interested in getting a diesel to tow with. If you are towing with a diesel what kind of fuel mileage are you getting? What manufacture and year? I am leaning toward the Dodge Cummings six cly. What do you think? Thanks!!
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:22 AM   #2
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Depends on size & weight of the trailer you are going to be towing, weight of the stuff in the trailer, wind, tire pressure, speedand driving habits.

I have a 2006 gmc duramax diesel ccwhich I have towing a 4 slide 38ft fifth wheel with, the dry weight of the trailer comes in at just over 10k and I had likely about 2.2k of stuff in it.

I averaged around13 - 14 mpg USA or around 16 - 17mpg Imperial Gallons, the main things that changed that have been speed and the addition of a full tank of water when travelling.

We took a round trip out east on the Trans Canada highway last summer with the trailer loaded up with 3weeks of cloths and lots of food etc drivingat 70 to 75mph averagefrom Ontario to PEIwhich is around 1200 miles andspent approximately 600 bucks worth of fuel going out. We were in a hurry heading out...

On the way homeI set the cruise control at 65mph and we spent just uner 400 bucks coming home in fuel. We were a little lighter coming home but the big difference was the speed.

On two lane roads in Ontario with a max speed limit of 50mph I set the cruise at 55 mph and can have the average mpg go up to about 18 - 20 mpg Imperial which is around 16-17 USA...

tires are at 80psi on the truck and on the trailer.

Don't think the Dodges come in quite that good and I know they don't pull as well in the hills but they are stil a great truck for towing but I don't think they match up to the Duramax/Allison.

Of course they are less expensive to purchase so that might make it a better bargain foryou... I've been aGM guy all my life so that sealed my decision

Good luck, no matter which diesel you buy your milage will be light years ahead of a gas engine truck, BTW I get 22 - 25 mpg Imperialwhen not towing on the highway at around 60mph

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Old 02-06-2012, 11:30 AM   #3
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2007 dodge qc cummings,pulling 2011cf285rlp 12.2 to13.8mpg

what ever you do get one with the engine brake,really turned out to be the best option on the dodge,when driving in the mountains

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Old 02-06-2012, 11:39 AM   #4
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speedster, how are checking your mileage? Are you using the idiot gauge that GM puts in them, or are you hand figuring it?
I have the Duramax also,pulling a lot smaller rig, and the best I ever seen was 16 mpg with a real good tail wind, and that was going with the idiot gauge. That thing lies. It's usually off 2--3.5 MPG. to the high side.
We get any where from 9-13 depending on the wind. Speed isn't a factor, I set the cruise at 58 mph.

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Old 02-06-2012, 11:53 AM   #5
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No actually I've did the calculations many times over long trips.... the key is the conversion from litres to gallons.

In reality the idiot guage on the truck is not all that far off the calculations however I have two different sets of tires 245/75R/16's forshort pulling on two lane roads or when I'm going to be in the hills/mountains and I also have a set of 265/70R/17's that I put on for travel on freeways at higher speeds.

Thus I have to do several calculations to take into account the different gear ratios as a result...

Also the fuel does make a difference, winter fuel sucks ! I'm always glad when spring rolls around and the mileage comes back.

Too put it in perspective between gas vs diesel my buddy drove his 2006 GMC 2500 CC gas out to the east coast last summer with us, I towed a trailer he pickeda rentalup in Moncton New Brunswick and towed it 2hrs to our camping resort. He lives 4hrs closer to the east coast than I do. I towed our 38ft trailer out and back home and we both used the same dollar value of fuel !

So I can definately say with 100% certain fact the diesel will out perform any gasoline powered truck in towing, torque and fuel mileage. the best part is the reduced stress as the truck does the work instead of the driverdoing the work.

the Tow haul gearing up and down are another bonus of the diesel, I do know that the LMM diesel engined GMC/Chev in late 2007 and beyond took a big hit in the fuel mileage when compared to theLBZ engines in the 2006 early 2007's due in part to the smog control additions.

Love my diesel truck ! my wife gave me the ok to trade on anew one last year and I graciously declined and waited till this year for thenew trailer..........the GMC CC has 120,000 miles on it and the power and mileageseems to have got better since it hit the 100k mark...

Could be just me.........though I am getting older and easier to impress.......LOL

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Old 02-06-2012, 11:57 AM   #6
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Hey Farmer my father in law had an 03 dura max and went to the 2007 classic and his mileage went way up, he attributed that to the extra ponies and torque of the LBZ engine and the 6 speed Allison rather than the 6 speed Ally ?

He tows a Glendale 4 slide 39ft Titanium Trailer and gets about the same as i do although his foot is likely a llittle lighter than mine given he is on the other side of 70yrs young now......LOL

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Old 02-06-2012, 01:11 PM   #7
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When I had my Zinger I towed with a 2005 Dodge Cummins at 65 mph I got 12to 13 miles per gallon. When I went with the fifth wheel at 65 Igot a little better do not know why unless the nose is more arrow dynamic. this was with the 5.9. My 2007 with the new motot I am getting a mile less per gallon. As far as going up hills a dodge will do better their torque RPM range kicks in a 1100 rpm and is flat all the way up to 2400 RPM a Ford or GM torque starts at just over 2000 rpm. Remember torques gets it going and HP keeps it going

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Old 02-06-2012, 10:16 PM   #8
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Truth is all of the newer diesels get about the same mileage because of all the EPA crap on them. It just depends on your driving style and speed as to what you will get. The pre-emmissions motors get better mileage because they could breath better. I say buy what makes you happy and go have fun.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:05 AM   #9
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Worrying about fuel mileage when you pull a camper is like ordering ice cream and a diet coke, it just doesn't make sense. JMO!!!
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:00 AM   #10
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In my experiences I've found so many factors involved such as head winds, tail winds, side winds, 8,000 feet vs. 2,000 feet elevation, hills, mountains, flat.....that I just don't worry about mileage anymore. It is what it is. I think it's more about getting the tow vehicle that'll make you comfortable and confident with the weight you're towing(maybe with a future camper upgrade in mind ) and stopping that weight as well.

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Old 02-07-2012, 10:10 AM   #11
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You will get better mileage pulling a 5th wheel than a bumper pull due to the way the air is flowing up and over the truck, even with a truck cap. The only way to get the same amount of mileage from equal weight TT -vs- 5th wheels is to put a nose cap on the TT (there actually is a company www.nosecone.comthat makes them). With that said, 11 to 14 seems realistic. Diesels are more expensive to maintain due to the fuel filters, etc.

As stated above, the LBZ's (06/07 GM products, have a "D" in the 8th position of theVIN) are the best of the engines that doesn't have all the emissions stuff on them.

If you buy used, be aware the 04.5/05 GM diesels (RPO code LLY , has a "2" in the 8th position of theVIN) have an engineering defect and a lot of them overheat when pulling on grades. They are fixable,but to take them to the reliability level of the LBZ's will cost 2K or more (if you do the work yourself). I have going on $3000into my LLY so far and it will now breath andnot overheat. But I am still down 50 HP from the LBZ. The LLY's seem to lose headgaskets around 120,000 or so also. That is another grand to fix if you do the work yourself(and put in headstuds) 3 to 5 thou at the dealer. (we bought ours new for 10K off sticker so I am further ahead to fix it)

The older Dodge and Fordsalso have their issues, you pay your money and takes your chances. BUT once you have the kinks worked out they are allhauling machines and will last for 100's of thousands of miles if maintained.

The real question you need to ask yourself is realistically how far and how often and where do you intend to tow ? A gasser 2500HD (or Ford/Dodge equivalent) will do it for 95% of the folks with RV's (becauseof their suspension and brakes being pretty decent).
psssttt drcook = David R, not Dr. but thanks for the compliment. Most folks just call me Dave.

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Old 02-07-2012, 11:12 AM   #12
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Well said drcook......... I think if someone is seriously considering swapping from gas to diesel for what ever reason but are hesitant then the answer is just go do it as you will never ever regret your decision once you pull onto the road andfeel and witness the overall difference.

You will increase fuel mileage considerably from gas engines but as you state the filters and oil change costs go up, however the stress and strains of driving and the fatigue associated go way down and man you just won't believe it till you live it.

The one down side to it is what i witnessed when I went from my gasser to my diesel........... my wife immediately started looking at bigger trailers asI no longer had the excuse thatthe truck would not tow it as it was already maxed out.............LOL 4 trailers later...........lmao

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Old 02-08-2012, 10:11 AM   #13
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Speed will be the determining factor on mileage. Best I have had is about 11.5 mpg doing 65. If I slow down to 55-60 I can get 12.5 mpg. A diesel will cost more but it makes pulling allot easier - and allot more fun. If you do not do your own minor maintenance - engine, transmission, rear end and greasing then find a good local shop to take care of it for you.

When you make the purchase give yourself some margin on the towing capacity better to pay a little more up front and have a tow rig that you will feel comfortable with. My reason for going from a 2005 3500HD SRW (GVWR of 9900 lbs) to a 2011 3500HD SRW (GVWR of 11,600 lbs)

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Old 02-08-2012, 11:35 AM   #14
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We just did the diesel vs gas debate. Here are a few things I learned.... in the gas 2500, you have to make sure you get the large rear axle ie the chevy 2500 HD w/ the 4.10 rear axle ratio. If you get the chevy 2500 HD w/ the 3.73 rear axle ratio your tow limit is somewhere in the 9000 lb rating instead of 12000 or 13000 (I forget exact #'s). pay attention to payload on a 2500 when buying whether it is diesel or gas. We thought all diesels had high payloads... that mistake wound us up w/ an F250 diesel w/ an 1800 lb payload so we will never be able to go heavier on our trailer. When buying a tow vehicle, forget fuel mileage, think tow capabilities and payload. How will you be using your TV? Just for towing or for a daily driver? If a daily driver, now that extended periods of slow driving (less than 45 mph) can be bad for a diesel. I use mine as a daily driver but have some long stretches of 50 mph to get to work so I am ok. I am surprised, the diesel gets about the same fuel mileage as my old armada did... approx 13-14 mpg. But when towing (1st time towing yesterday) I still got around 13 mpg but trailer wasn't fully loaded, we were just bringing it home from service. As stated above, your fuel mileage will vary based upon driving habits, winds, weights towing and even the traffic you are in. Also as stated before, there is a lot more maintenance involved. You are talking oil change every 5-10 k miles(5 k when towing) and it takes 15 quarts of oil. Fuel filter changes every 10K miles. You need to drain your fuel/water separater (easy to do yourself) probably once a month to prevent too much water in system. Fuel additives w/ every fill up are recommended also. There is more but I am still learning (only 2 1/2 weeks into owning a diesel myself). For us the choice was easy. We couldn't afford new so we new we needed to buy used. When looking at used we learned a diesel can easily go 300,000 to 500,000 miles, so it has a longer life than a gasser. Gassers seemed to mostly be turned in with 70-100,000 miles on them in our area and a gasser w/ a stronger axle for towing was impossible to find used. We found a bunch of diesels with lower mileage (08-09 years w/ 30-50 K miles) for sale in the $30-40,000 range (cheaper if you want 2wd but we wanted 4wd). Good luck and have fun truck shopping.

Here is a thread from another forum that talks about good and bad diesel engines (makes and model years and even engine codes to look for). I found it helpful when shopping.


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Old 02-08-2012, 11:01 PM   #15
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I change my engine oil when the oil change meter tells me I need to make the change, usually around 10,000 miles. Thefuel filter the same thing. I have changed that once in 34,000 miles and am around 20% life remaining now. Changing oil before necessary does nothing but help our foreign "friends" sell more oftheir oil. Today's motor oil, other lubricants and filters are made to go a long way. From what I have read, all you do if you change too often is waste your money.
BTW: My Duramax uses 10 quarts of 15-40W CJ-4.

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Old 02-09-2012, 10:24 AM   #16
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Our cummins has 160k on it now and has performed flawlessly. We get 12 to 13 when hauling and going through the mountains at 65+ it will never downshift.
During the week it's used as my sales car and gets 23 @ 70 (The idiot gauge says 29)
For me simple is better. Look under the hoods of the Ford and Isuzu and they look complicated. Most of the time for me complicated things gets expensive. I hope to get 500k before replacing.

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Old 02-09-2012, 11:40 AM   #17
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I'm the same, don't change the oil on the Duramax until the computer tells me too. The GMC dealer told me not too after I was in the second time for oil change at 6k interval. they said why are you wasting your money like this. I paid attention...

As thewater thing, don't know about Dodge or Ford but the GMC has a auto valve that dumps it out called a WIF valve if I remember correctly. In the6 yrs I've owned this truck I've never drained the water from the fuel system once. I do however add a fuel additive on aregular basis which is an added cost.

There is no way I would go back to t gas engine from a diesel, in my view the benefits far out weigh the costs once you pull out onto the roadway in IMHO.

I don't worry about mileage but every now and thenon a long trip I will track it..........strictly for braggin rights in the coffee shop............LOL


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Old 03-09-2012, 10:47 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by scott
Worrying about fuel mileage when you pull a camper is like ordering ice cream and a diet coke, it just doesn't make sense. JMO!!!

Well said! We spent $900 going to Disney and back in fuel. After the third fill up I just said forget it, let's go have fun. Ultimately, we came in under budget for fuel. I quit worrying about mpg after that trip.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:03 AM   #19
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I have to say your rite on about the nose shape BUT not all TT are equal because we just upgraded from a 29 ft 2012 Roamer from OpenRange a 2012 CT 29FLX for the front cap shape and one heck of a lot more inside cabinets . The roamer is a flat front TTand we got 9 to 10 MPG then we added a wind deflector and got 12 to 14 mpg now without the deflector towing the Cruiser weget with same 12 to 14 MPG . This is with the same F 150 with a cap and on a 190 mile trip we make often .

NOW I have to get back to loading up the cruiser for the TX rally .

{{ That is if the weather will stay dry long enough for the roofers to install our new steel roof }}


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Old 03-11-2012, 04:30 AM   #20
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I totally aagree with Scott.. If you're worried about the fuel, throw a tent in the back of your Toyota Prius &have fun.

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