F-150 & 21' mpg reality check - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 07-26-2018, 08:00 PM   #1
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F-150 & 21' mpg reality check

We recently traveled from OR to MT and back to MI which is well over 2000 miles across several days. I have a 2017 F-150 4x4 2.7L Ecoboost with a 3.55 rear end and a 2018 21' trailer with AC, solar and bikes on the back.



We averaged 11mpg taking miles traveled divided by gallons at the gas station. The trip computer was slightly more optimistic (<1mpg though). I traveled with cruise on at 65mph. Slowing down seemed to help but not significantly. There was wind for a piece of it but nothing unusual or constant in any direction for long periods of time.


The truck alone without the trailer gets 18-20 mpg in my around town travels and 23-25 on the highway which seems reasonable.



The 11mpg towing was less than I expected only based on other numbers I had seen on this forum. Could anyone give me a reality check on if this is normal and if there is a potential problem, what to look into?


Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:06 PM   #2
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A few pictures from the trip...

DSC_0131 Eric Walstra 114.jpg
DSC_9022-Pano Eric Walstra 191.jpg
DSC_8519 Eric Walstra 213.jpg
DSC_9803 Eric Walstra 115.jpg
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:08 PM   #3
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Where was the waterfall picture taken at
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:10 PM   #4
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Where was the waterfall picture taken at

Multnomah Falls near Portland, Oregon.
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:16 PM   #5
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How many miles are on your truck. I find the more driven, the better mpg. In addition when I went from a Ram with 3:55 and 5 sp auto to a Ram with 3:21 and 8 sp auto, my gas jumped from 12 all the time to 19 unhitched and 14-15 towing.
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:26 PM   #6
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Towing my 5.0TA with pretty much the same truck, from CT to Florida I got 16.5 mpg with cruise at 60 - 65. Did get close to 17mpg in Florida with cruise set at 50.
Same truck towing thru the Catskills got me 13 mpg. Mileage seems best at 50-60 mph. Of course pulling long grades is going to lower mileage.
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Old 07-26-2018, 08:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ericw View Post
We recently traveled from OR to MT and back to MI which is well over 2000 miles across several days. I have a 2017 F-150 4x4 2.7L Ecoboost with a 3.55 rear end and a 2018 21' trailer with AC, solar and bikes on the back.



We averaged 11mpg taking miles traveled divided by gallons at the gas station. The trip computer was slightly more optimistic (<1mpg though). I traveled with cruise on at 65mph. Slowing down seemed to help but not significantly. There was wind for a piece of it but nothing unusual or constant in any direction for long periods of time.


The truck alone without the trailer gets 18-20 mpg in my around town travels and 23-25 on the highway which seems reasonable.



The 11mpg towing was less than I expected only based on other numbers I had seen on this forum. Could anyone give me a reality check on if this is normal and if there is a potential problem, what to look into?


Thanks in advance.

I pull my 2012 single axle 5.0 with a 2017 F150, 2.7 litre Ecoboost 4x4 with a 3.73 rear axle and on the road I'm between 3800 and 3900lbs loaded for a 6 to 8 week trip.


We did a 8,000 km trip this spring through the American West and South West and averaged 13.4 litres per 100km (17.5 mpg US) pulling the trailer and 13.1 litres per 100km (18mpg US) for the whole trip. All numbers are from the on board computer. I used regular gas for the whole trip with the exception of Utah where regular was only 85 octane so there I used the mid grade 88 octane gas.



On the highway I pull in 5th gear (6 speed transmission) and at 2000 rpm I'm traveling at 100km (62mph) and it just purrs along and will only downshift on the steepest of hills.


The single axle 5.0 is only 80" wide which is exactly the same as the truck so the trailer is right in the slipstream of the truck. When you get over 50mph wind resistance will play a big part in your mileage and the 21 is 8" wider and less streamline in the front than the old 5.0 so that could play a part in your lower mileage.



From earlier trips I also found that if I towed in 6th gear I had to drive faster to stop the engine from lugging so would go up to 70 mph in 6th but the mileage would then go down to around 16mpg US.


In town and built up areas I lock the transmission into 4th to stop it from hunting and shifting up and down all the time.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:00 PM   #8
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I don't think I'd expect the same mpg with a 21 as with a 5.0TA, totally different frontal exposure. Same with the 19 vs the 21, front of the 21 being bigger is going to effect mpg more then the weight difference. You should try and find someone with the same setup.

I can vary my mpg by more then 30% when towing, wind, and speed having the biggest effect, but using cruise in the hills burns me too. The truck doesn't seem to care, just the mpg.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:01 PM   #9
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How many miles are on your truck. I find the more driven, the better mpg. In addition when I went from a Ram with 3:55 and 5 sp auto to a Ram with 3:21 and 8 sp auto, my gas jumped from 12 all the time to 19 unhitched and 14-15 towing.

I started with 5000 at the beginning of the trip to 12000 at the end of the trip. It was getting better before the trip in general driving. I haven't been back long enough to note any differences yet.
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:30 PM   #10
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Trade up to a F250 V8 and take the stress out of towing that 21.

You just don't have enough truck .
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Old 07-26-2018, 09:58 PM   #11
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Trade up to a F250 V8 and take the stress out of towing that 21.

You just don't have enough truck .


Iím curious as to why you say that? We have a 2016 F150 2.7 ecoboost as well. Now that we have 10000 miles on it we can get as good as 16 mpg in good conditions when driving around 60 mph. Weíve been up and down mountain passes throughout the West from Montana to San Diego and never felt we didnít have enough truck. Maybe we donít load ours as much as you do?
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Old 07-27-2018, 12:14 AM   #12
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Nice pics. That third photo looks like it belongs on the cover of some dark fantasy novel involving evil wizards or druids. Spooky!
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Old 07-27-2018, 12:23 AM   #13
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2004 f150 5.4 with tow package
We got about 12 towing a 21
Across the plains
Less in the mountains
I expec a newer truck might do somewhat better
But a new truck cost buys a lot of gas
Itís a substantial trailer
If you want better mileage a diesel would be in order
Though I havenít done the math with the per gallon cost difference factored in
My old triton only has 60000 miles
Perhaps in a another year or so gas mileage will get even better as hybrid tech will eventually come to trucks I predict
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Old 07-27-2018, 03:34 AM   #14
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Well Eric, Jill gets 16 compared to your 11. Don't know if she has 4x4 which has always taken away a mile or 2, what the rear end is, or if cruise was used. That's a big difference, maybe talk to service.
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Old 07-27-2018, 03:58 AM   #15
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Could anyone give me a reality check on if this is normal and if there is a potential problem, what to look into?
Totally normal for how you're equipped. I tow a 19 with a 2.7L EcoBoost as well, but I'm running 4x2 and a stock axle. This setup gives me about 15.5 to 16 mpg towing. You lose about 2 mpg due to the 4WD, and I suspect another two with the higher axle ratio and slightly larger trailer. Additionally, the route from OR to MT probably has its share of mountain driving and grades, no? So, you're probably about where you should be. My guess is that with ideal towing conditions, lower speed and flat terrain, the most you could ever expect is 14 mpg or so.
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Old 07-27-2018, 12:51 PM   #16
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Well Eric, Jill gets 16 compared to your 11. Don't know if she has 4x4 which has always taken away a mile or 2, what the rear end is, or if cruise was used. That's a big difference, maybe talk to service.


We do not have 4x4 (a few times though we wish we did). Also we have definitely found our mileage has improved. We did not do this well at first. Now I think the biggest factor is speed. When we drive consistently over 65 mph our mpg drops to maybe 13 or so.
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Old 07-27-2018, 01:06 PM   #17
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We do not have 4x4 (a few times though we wish we did). Also we have definitely found our mileage has improved. We did not do this well at first. Now I think the biggest factor is speed. When we drive consistently over 65 mph our mpg drops to maybe 13 or so.
Thank you all for your thoughts. It is helpful.

I felt like I have more than enough power including the ability to accelerate up the steepest hills through the rocky mountains to speeds faster than I believe safe.

Jill, could you let me know your axle code on your sticker when you open the drivers door? See picture below if it helps. Thanks!


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Old 07-27-2018, 01:13 PM   #18
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going 55 vs going 65, how briskly you accelerate when you need to get back up to speed, how insistently you try and hold your speed up grades, those all have huge effects on MPG

I'm really happy with my 2002 F250 diesel that no matter how much I ignore those things, I'm *still* getting a consistent 13+ MPG average even with going over big mountains on interstates, back country mountain highways, etc etc. I suspect if I tried, on a mostly flat long interstate run, I'd be getting closer to 15 MPG average.
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Old 07-27-2018, 03:51 PM   #19
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Jill, could you let me know your axle code on your sticker when you open the drivers door? See picture below if it helps. Thanks!
Our axle code is 27. I think it's the standard axle because I don't remember paying for it as an option.

Oh and when driving we use cruise control as much as possible - I'm sure that helps the mileage as well.
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Old 07-27-2018, 04:34 PM   #20
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in rolling hill terrain, cruise can give you worse mileage than manual driving, as it will downshift to maintain the set speed on a hill even if you're almost over the hill, while driving manually, you might slow down on uphill segments and not give it as much throttle.
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