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85racer

2011 1/2T crew cab Silverado towing a 32' 6200# travel trailer 500+ miles on E85

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After my trip this weekend pulling the travel trailer running E85 the entire trip, My truck will need to go into detox for a while (It consumed plenty of alcohol). Since I didn't grab one of my receipts to get a total of gallons used, I have to trust the DIC. Here are the numbers:

 

Trip length - 501.9 miles

Gallons used - 75.9 (The DIC has been close compared to the pumps)

6.6 mpg.

 

We planned to leave Friday Morning, My copilot said at 6:00pm Thursday, "Let's just go now!" Against my better judgement, I agreed, so we / I rushed to finish loading the coolers and other junk and left at 6:30pm, temp about 92 degrees and calm wind. With the threat getting to the campground late, I had the hammer down the entire time to get there at a decent time. The truck really liked 4th gear, 3000 RPM and about 68 MPH, the DIC was saying 5 mpg. I kicked it up to 75 (the legal speed limit) and got it in 5th gear. As long as I wasn't pulling up a grade I could maintain 75 in 5th gear at about 2800rpm. Tranny temp got as high as 208 degrees. Once we got off the interstate and on two lane highways, 4th gear at 55 - 60MPH was great with around 9MPG. By night fall the temp lowered to 82 degrees and the wind was still calm. We got to our destination around 10:30pm and the DIC said I averaged 6.9mpg and tranny temp down to 185.

 

Leaving Sunday conditions were windy temps around 90. Again Hammer down because our little traveler wasn't sleepy now and getting restless. Traveling with a 18 month old can be a challenge all in itself. The trip back on the two lane highway was great, again 8-9 MPG at 55-60 MPH. Interstate was 4th gear at 70 MPH, 3200 RPM with the DIC saying 5MPGand tranny at 210 degrees.

 

The truck is your basic Silverado with the 5.3, 3:42 gears 6speed auto tranny, no add ons except vent visors and hood protector. If I had some extra $$$ I would add a turbo to increase the volume of air / fuel to the combustion chamber to better satisfy the E85. AC on the entire time and loaded with basic camping gear (fire wood, bikes, food, drinks, etc.) . Camper sticker said it weighs in at 6200# empty and the front was like a huge sail.

 

Nebraska does not have much E85 along the interstate between Omaha and Grand Island. That is the only down fall of the trip. Otherwise it went great.

 

Moral of the story is I used alot of E85 fuel and I'm hesitant of trying the same trip with E10.I'm sure I would have used about as much gasoline as hard as I pushed this engine. My Dad pulled a 7500# trailer with a 98 Chevy with a 5.7 and 3:73 gears and got 9mpg on E10 traveling the same roads. He went slower because he is retired and in no hurry to get anywhere now. He left 1/2 hour earlier than us and got to the camp site 1/2 hour later than us.

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my 2008 Chrysler Town & Country Minivan is also in need of detox... not going off the hooch mind you (perish the thought)... just laying off of it for a while.

 

1112 miles over the weekend

68.782 gallons of e85 (only 10.3 gallons of dirty dino-fuel blended with clean domestic renewable ethanol)

16.16 mpg average for the trip

 

This is counting in very hard driving (70-80 most of the trip) and some stop and go with construction/accidents, as well as the obvious city driving down town Chicago...

 

Not too bad.

 

We had little to no winds of any sorts, and northern Illinois is awfully flat, which makes for good MPGs.

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At first, that 6.6mpg sounds like it’s guzzling pretty good.  Then I had to stop and think back to my last experience with anything that big…a 32 foot moving van.  Seemed like it was getting in the 4 to 4.5mpg range on gas, and I don’t think it would run much over ~65 tops!  I had to plan a little just to make sure I was near a gas station when the 50 gallon tank ran out – after barely 200 miles!

 

Turbo would probably help you a bunch under those conditions – provided it was sized to give some boost in the critical areas.  The down side is, unless you drive that all the time, you probably wouldn't make enough fuel savings to offset the turbo cost.  Though the 'smiles per mile' fun factor might go up a little!

 

 

Sounds like we’re all getting our summer driving out of the way.  I just returned from an 800 mile cross-country run.  Averaged 26.7mpg for the trip and got into some @2.89/gallon E85 in West Des Moines.  That was running fairly steady ~79mph on the interstate, AC running to beat back the 100F heat, and woman driving for 1/2 the trip.  Not that she is a bad driver, but we’re working on the economy nuances – such as: 

 

- coasting in gear means the wheels are turning the engine and the injectors are completely shut off.  Coasting in neutral means the injectors still have to fire to idle the engine.

 

- the car runs in lean burn mode up to 98kpa MAP, then switches to stoic, then starts adding extra fuel once boost builds past a few pounds.  Somebody (I won’t say who) likes to go vroom-vroom at stop lights, on-ramps, passing, etc - so she (uh, I mean that person) tends to use a bit more gas than some more civilized driving types!

 

Either way, figure I SAVED almost $40 on what would have been a fuel bill of ~$160+ if I’d had to burn premium.  Not too worried about ‘detox’.  Taking this car off E85 would be like taking a pro athlete off steroids – it’s just not going to perform!  Though, it did have a nice transfusion last night.  Changed the oil after 6200 miles. I grabbed a sample as it was pouring out, so have to see what I can get set up for UOA.  Hard to believe the engine is closing in on 10K mark already! 

 

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We are going to try to do an annual long distance trip with the family in the FFV minivan.  Have to admit, one of the prerequisites for destinations is e85 availability...  Some parts of the country (northeast and mountain west) are not going to be on our travel list.

 

Don't suppose a few emails to state tourism boards in those states would make any difference... still will do that.

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What's amazing is that some semi's are approaching 8mpg.

8 MPG Pete & More

By

Bruce C. Mallinson

Posted in: Performance Zone

 

Carl Kellner loves power, and he knows how to use it! I recently wrote about Carl, who is from Buffalo, New York, and his 379 Peterbilt powered by a 6NZ Cat that gets 7.5 mpg. How does he get such great mileage? By driving correctly and slowly (he travels at an average speed of 56 mph), and with the help of many of our parts.

http://www.tenfourmagazine.com/2011/07/performance-zone/8-mpg-pete-more/

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.....and woman driving for 1/2 the trip.  Not that she is a bad driver, but we're working on the economy nuances such as: 

 

I have to laugh, my co pilot had never seen a blender pump before. I have only seen one in Council Bluffs IA, before this trip as there are none in the Omaha metro. Anyway in Grand Island the station showed E85 on the sign but I could not see the yellow handle or other identifier. Pulling the 32 footer in a busy station searching for the E85 pump is not a good idea as the swing radius is huge. I parked in the open lot next to it and had her scout out the E85 pump so she could tell me where to go as I said before I couldn't find it from the road. She had no clue where it was walking back and forth to all the pumps and back and forth. So she stayed with the little one while I scouted for it. The blender pump was found and we filled up.

 

Now the interesting part........I had to educate her on the blender pump and why so many options and why don't we have these back home. She said if we had pumps like these back home I would burn E20 or E30 in the Honda, it's cheap!. I said or you could buy a kit and burn E85. I haven't convinced her of that yet. Maybe after the factory warranty is up?

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racer,

 

why take the longer route down I80?  I'd think that hwy 30 would be a much shorter, route and MUCH fewer hills for towing on!  Though there is not much for e85 pumps, you could have done the one in Duncan (just across the river south of Columbus) before hitting the Central City/St Paul stations... depending on the range.

 

Personally I'd think the northerly Platte/Loup River roads would be the easier to tow on, and more direct route.  Just my 2cents.

 

(by the way, the Schulyer Coop is working on getting blender pumps... should see some announcement by this fall!  This would help the Hwy 30 problem...  Bad gap in e85 coverage between Central City and the Missouri River!  (none in Blair, Fremont, Schulyer, Columbus or ANY of the little towns in between.

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why take the longer route down I80?  I'd think that hwy 30 would be a much shorter, route and MUCH fewer hills for towing on! 

Seeing is how I can see and hear I-80 from my back yard, I thought that would be the quickest way even though it is longer by a few miles. I traveled that road to Columbus a few times and there are some hills.

I also wanted to travel as many 4 lane roads so I could pass without worrying about the long, heavy thing hooked to my bumper. The deer factor also played in the decision traveling at night. Less likely to see Bambi along a heavy travel road. Another is traveling with the 18 month old. If we needed to park for a while, he could have run around a rest area. Luckily he slept most of the way.

I know anyone could debate any of these reasons. I just went with what felt good.

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Perfectly sound reasons...  just thought I'd make a suggestion.

 

Where my family lives north of York, it is a full 30 minutes faster for us to go the  hwy 92 route then I80.  That is a real bear for hills through the "Bohemian Alp" west of Wahoo/Brainard/David City...  with a car/van it is fine, but a loaded trailer...

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Had to go on a rescue mission this weekend. Did not have time to map out E85 stations and had to put E10 in the truck to get dads 7500# camper. I got 1 mpg better pulling his camper on E10 than when I pulled a similar camper a  month ago using E85.

 

So I'm saying it is an advantage to pull with E85 vs E10. Even though it wasn't exactly an Apples vs Apples comparison, It was fairly close. You might say Red Delicious Apples vs. Granny Smith Apples?! ???

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