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Old 05-21-2015, 09:43 AM   #31
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Location: Calgary, Alberta
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Originally Posted by ice-breaker View Post
Sprinters are an awesome vehicle and I have been keeping an eye out for one the past couple years.

Given the size of the Sprinter, towing a 17B would probably not change the frontal area, and there would be very little change in wind resistance to impact your mileage. Also, Sprinters have diesel engines and are a favorite of many who use them for commercial and personal use. Your experience with only a small increase in fuel consumption while towing is entirely consistent with what I would expect from your trailer-tug combination.
Exactly. Which is why I found the broad generalization I quoted irritating.
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Old 05-21-2015, 11:46 AM   #32
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You will love this photo. Taken on a trip to Oman while I lived in the Emirates. And yes it was running.
What a sad picture for such a stalwart vehicle!
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Old 05-21-2015, 07:44 PM   #33
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta
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Originally Posted by KLRchickie View Post
How would you define substantial?
Our 17 B & our Sprinter van are almost identical in volume, and the 9 to 10 l/100km unloaded only increases to 10-12 l/100km when towing. We are pretty happy with the cost per km of hauling our trailer.
That's a 20% increase in fuel consumption: I'd call that substantial, but the incremental fuel cost for the trailer is still very good (I'd be happy, too - it's better than my tug ), and even the unloaded consumption is great. I think the shape of the van aerodynamically suits towing a trailer well, and the engine is at a good point in its operating range when working to tow the trailer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ice-breaker View Post
Sprinters are an awesome vehicle and I have been keeping an eye out for one the past couple years.

Given the size of the Sprinter, towing a 17B would probably not change the frontal area, and there would be very little change in wind resistance to impact your mileage. Also, Sprinters have diesel engines and are a favorite of many who use them for commercial and personal use. Your experience with only a small increase in fuel consumption while towing is entirely consistent with what I would expect from your trailer-tug combination.
I agree with all of this, although for my use the current Sprinter is too large (much bigger than the first generation); fortunately, additional modern van choices are becoming available (such as the Ford Transit - not the Transit Connect).

These vans have engine choices (even the Sprinter was available with a gasoline engine for a while, perhaps only in the U.S.) so they are not all diesel, but the aerodynamics would apply regardless of the engine. The current Sprinter has two diesel engine sizes - I suspect that the larger one would better suit towing; the smaller one might do better unloaded but suffer more from adding the trailer, especially if asked to tow at the speed of most highway traffic. In the Ram ProMaster, the gas engine is apparently very popular - all the motorhomes based on it that I have seen are gas. The Transit offers three engine choices, including an EcoBoost V6 the same as available in an F-150; an F-150 versus Transit comparison would be interesting.

If looking for a used Sprinter, watch for rust... it seems to be a problem with this model, even here in dry and low-salt Alberta.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KLRchickie View Post
Exactly. Which is why I found the broad generalization I quoted irritating.
I try to avoid broad generalizations, but this is about physical reality, rather than stereotypes. Is it less irritating when you realize that it is not a criticism of your tow vehicle? My comment actually wasn't a criticism of anyone's choice, just an observation about reasonable expectations. I should have used some more specific term than "significant" - sorry about that!


One thing that complicates the comparison for many people is that they are comparing apples and oranges: their highway towing speed is lower than their highway non-towing speed, for instance. That - plus the big-pickup effect I mentioned to set this off - explains the "I get the same mileage towing or not" comments that I occasionally see; those comments seem to set some unrealistic expectations.
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Old 05-21-2015, 07:56 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by KLRchickie View Post
Our 17 B & our Sprinter van are almost identical in volume...
The Escape is about half the weight of the Sprinter, so the trailer isn't as big a factor in the weight aspect as many combinations (similar weight tugs with heavier trailers). So, when I referred to "adding a trailer nearly as large as the tug " it should have been "adding a trailer nearly as heavy as and larger in volume than the tug"... which is an Escape 19' added to a Toyota FJ Cruiser.

I assume that's highway fuel consumption - who tows a travel trailer around town all the time? I think you would likely see more difference in urban conditions (where the mass matters in stop-and-go operation) than in highway conditions (where it's mostly about air drag), especially with the van/trailer combo... but that's only an educated guess.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:38 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Is it less irritating when you realize that it is not a criticism of your tow vehicle?
Nope.

I didn't take it as such - my irritation was truly with the broad generalization (only and never are words I dislike using....). Paraphrasing a bit, the statement "only vehicles with $ucky mileage to begin with don't take a big na$ty mileage hit" just bit me the wrong way last night.

Usually I am better at keeping my keyboard quiet and not responding to such things... The Sprinter gets such good, non-sucky mileage that I chose to point it out --- though it certainly is an exception, and there are other factors like aerodynamics and weight, which seemed too glossed over in the original "nearly as large" remark. We don't look at the fuel economy change in terms of percentage, we look at it in terms of overall cost added to the trip by hauling the trailer, thus we consider it "insignificant" & easily recouped by the savings of having our kitchen and bedroom along.

The current biggest size of Sprinter is huge! Too long for our driveway... (neat in the sense they could likely haul all our motorcycles at once, but just too big.) Ours is the baby Sprinter from 2005, smaller than the smallest one you can get currently. We are anxious to see what some of these "new in Canada" full size cargo vans get for fuel economy, for when the time comes to replace our current van (hopefully not soon...).

I won't go any further down the Sprinter rabbit hole than to say - the rust was a Mercedes issue, not a driving environment issue.
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