Towing with 4 cylinder to Alaska - Performance Observations - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 03-28-2013, 03:22 AM   #1
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Towing with 4 cylinder to Alaska - Performance Observations

Trailer: 15’ Plan B Escape with 15” wheels and high lift axle

Tow Vehicle: 2008 Tacoma Pre-runner Access Cab, 2.7 liter 4 cylinder 2wd with 5 speed manual transmission. Tow vehicle carried 800 pounds of cargo (cargo weight defined as passengers and gear, to include the weight of a Leer model 180 canopy). 3500 pound tow rating per owner’s manual. All season radial tires (I carried tire chains for truck and trailer – they were never needed but I would not ever travel without them).

Trip Duration And Route Pulling Trailer: 10,000 miles starting in Chilliwack BC south through Seattle then west to the Olympic Peninsula then south down rugged Pacific coastline (on waterfront) to LA, then east to Memphis TN, then north through North Dakota up Alcan highway to Anchorage Alaska.

Season: January/February

Hitch: 2” ball mount/class 3 receiver (no weight distribution hitch). Top of ball settled 1-1/2 inches when trailer was coupled to the Tacoma (with truck cargo loaded).

Trailer Weight: 1900 pounds dry + 200 pounds of camping gear (2100 pounds total weight as towed)

Fuel Mileage (I kept careful documentation of fuel consumption for the entire trip): 17 mpg overall trip average when towing. 21 mpg when not towing (truck only with 1000 pound payload). Worst fuel mileage (20 mph headwind in 4th gear at 55 mph) was 16 mpg. Best fuel mileage (20 mph tailwind in 5th gear at 62 mph) was 20 mpg.

Speed when Towing: Could comfortably sustain 62 mph in 5th gear (2300 rpm) on relatively flat terrain with little to no headwind. Could comfortably sustain 55 mph in 4th gear (2600 rpm) on relatively flat terrain in 15-20 mph headwind. Most steep mountain grades required 3rd gear at 35 mph. A very few mountain grades on the Pacific coast and the Alcan required 2nd gear.

Conclusion: From an economical and practical standpoint, the 2.7 liter 2nd generation (2005+) Tacoma 4 cylinder with canopy (for gear storage) seems like an ideal tow vehicle for this small trailer. In retrospect, I would not desire a V6. I am willing to drive much like a commercial truck driver in an 18 wheeler would…..by “riding the waves”. I could pass some heavily loaded trucks on the steeper grades. I would let faster traffic pass when it was practical to pull off to the right. Headwinds seemed to have more of an adverse affect on fuel mileage than the effect of extra weight. The Escape trailer, even with the extra height of the high lift axle, seems fairly aerodynamic. The big 15” wheels on the trailer seemed to take bumps as well as the 16” wheels on the truck. The fuel mileage penalty for towing this trailer was 20%. I think that is pretty good performance.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:59 AM   #2
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Seems like a good set up match, now where are the pictures We love pictures and welcome to the forum.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:21 AM   #3
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Thank you for the detailed analysis!
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:30 PM   #4
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Wow, that is some serious trailer traveling!
The photos you have must be quite a memory of your travels with the new trailer.
I have never been to Alaska but have been to Watson Lake, Whitehorse, Atlin and Cassiar areas in 70's. Beautiful country.

This posting got me looking at Google Earth and the photos pasted there and the Alaskan country is truly amazing. I was looking for Sam McGee but all I could find were his ashes on the marge of Lake Labarge, Yukon!

I grew up in Dawson Creek which is Mile Zero, or southern start, of the Alaska Highway. The highway was built during WW II to provide road access from the contiguous USA to Alaska. As a child I used to watch the Wally Byram Airstream caravans come through town on their way to Alaska. At that time the highway was all gravel north to Alaska from about Fort St John on. The local garages and hardware stores made a fotune selling wire mesh, head lights, tires and other suplies that the trailer owners would stock up on and use to wrap their vehicle and trailers with to protect them from the gravel roads.

Maybe that is where I got my yearning for a travel trailer some 45 + years later?

Here is a photo taken July 2012 of the Mile 0 pole in downtown Dawson Creek. This is our 2012 15A. The Alaska Hotel, in the background, was originally opened in 1931. It was expanded in 1942 at the time the Alaska Highway was being built due to demand for accommodation. The landmark hotel burned down September 2012.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:12 PM   #5
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We did a trip (not camping, unfortunately) to the Yukon and Alaska last year. I highly recommend the road between Haines AK, and Haines Junction YT. And in the vicinity of Haines Junction is Kluane national park -- gotta get back there some time.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:17 PM   #6
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Wow, that is some serious trailer traveling!
The photos you have must be quite a memory of your travels with the new trailer.
I have never been to Alaska but have been to Watson Lake, Whitehorse, Atlin and Cassiar areas in 70's. Beautiful country.

This posting got me looking at Google Earth and the photos pasted there and the Alaskan country is truly amazing. I was looking for Sam McGee but all I could find were his ashes on the marge of Lake Labarge, Yukon!

I grew up in Dawson Creek which is Mile Zero, or southern start, of the Alaska Highway. The highway was built during WW II to provide road access from the contiguous USA to Alaska. As a child I used to watch the Wally Byram Airstream caravans come through town on their way to Alaska. At that time the highway was all gravel north to Alaska from about Fort St John on. The local garages and hardware stores made a fotune selling wire mesh, head light, tires and other suplies that the trailer owners would stock up on and use to wrap their vehicle and trailers with to protect them from the gravel roads.

Maybe that is where I got my yearning for a travel trailer some 45 + years later?

Here is a photo taken July 2012 of the Mile 0 pole in downtown Dawson Creek. This is our 2012 15A. The Alaska Hotel, in the background, was originally opened in 1931. It was expanded in 1942 at the time the Alaska Highway was being built due to demand for accommodation. The landmark hotel burned down September 2012.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
I was looking for Sam McGee but all I could find were his ashes on the marge of Lake Labarge, Yukon!
\
You might have had an easier time of finding Blasphemous Bill...at least he's buried in a coffin somewhere!
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:44 PM   #8
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Hi John. We are using the rally as a start point and then we're having a family get together at a lake (Tarfu, which is next to Snafu) just off the Atlin Road and then on to Kluane etc.. Beautiful scenery and not bad fishing either. Our Granddaughter is named Atlin after my daughter and son in law's favorite fishing/camping area. It's a pity it's so far it would be great for weekends!
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:00 AM   #9
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After arriving in Alaska - Winter trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Seems like a good set up match, now where are the pictures We love pictures and welcome to the forum.
OK, as requested, here are a couple of pictures........
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