Fuel consumption slide ons versus caravan

Submitted: Saturday, Sep 14, 2013 at 22:14
ThreadID: 104325 Views:2397 Replies:8 FollowUps:0
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I have a 2011 2.5 litre turbo diesel Mazda BT50 ute (open tray) with 40 000 km on the clock. I am presently towing a 13ft roadstar van weighing about 1000kg. My fuel consumption to date (measured accurately) has been town: mid 9 litres/100km, highway with no van mid 8 litres/100km and highway with van doing speed limit : 12 litres /100km. I always use 4th for towing and at 2700 rpm at 100kph, the engine seems quite relaxed and I hardly ever need to go to 3rd gear. I have seen a couple of neat looking slideons and a curious as to the fuel consumption with one of these on the back as apposed to towing a small van. Would I use less fuel with a slideon? I am figuring on weight being much the same for either, give or take a couple of hundred kilos. I have found so far that a couple of hundred kilos in the tray makes no difference to economy or performance.

Thanks Kc
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Reply By: racinrob - Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 08:14

Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 08:14
G'day Kc, most truck drivers will tell you it's easier to carry than it is to tow.

To support that I had a slide-on for thirteen years which I carried on my tray back LandCruiser, sold the slide-on and bought an off-road caravan, (1900 Kg) I suffered an increase in fuel consumption and a big loss of versatility, parking and getting to those out of the way places etc, I know which unit I'd rather.

AnswerID: 518166

Reply By: Member - wicket - Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 10:18

Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 10:18
The fuel consumption of our Hilux increases by about 35% when slide is mounted.
AnswerID: 518178

Reply By: member - mazcan - Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 11:57

Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 11:57
hi kc
your fuel figures currently are very good both towing and empty
if you put a slide-on weighing 1000kg on the back of the bt50 in lei of towing the van
you can expect to use at least 12l/100 km's
and everywhere you drive from then on the best you will get is 12l/100 because you will be carrying the weight constantly every km you drive
where as atm when you unhitch your van you are getting 8 & 9l/100km which in my honest opinion is pretty good so your general driving expenses will increase overall

only you can decide if you want and like the independence of been able to park the van and drive around looking at things without it
a van has more room than been couped up in a slide-on
or you have to decide whether you want to lug the whole slide-on weight every inch of the way
your bt50 without slide-on is currently a very easy drive without the van to buzz around looking
think about it it's your decision and your paying
AnswerID: 518183

Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 12:19

Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 12:19
The question is if you are happy with the caravan you have then why change? The cost of changing over will far exceed any possible saving. Think of the real cost of the change and then how much fuel that would buy.

This is the same reason why changing vehicles on the basis of fuel saving is crazy. You need to have a reason to change the vehicle regardless.

AnswerID: 518185

Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 12:30

Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 12:30
A slide-on increases your frontal area substantially as compared to towing a van. Wind resistance is a huge factor in fuel consumption.
They will also make your vehicles C-of-G higher and therefore make for a less stable vehicle.
A 13 ft van has a lot more room in it than a slide-on!
A slide-on floor is much higher than a van floor. This might not seem much initially, but it becomes annoying constantly climbing up and down, and as you become older, this becomes a real hassle.

Your fuel consumption figures are very good, overall, and I'd be very happy with them. It's obvious the "slippery" shape of the new Mazda is pretty effective.
Towing fuel consumption is affected by caravan shape, tow vehicle shape, the closeness of the coupling, tyre pressures, brake adjustment, wheel-bearing adjustment - and even 'van axle alignment.
AnswerID: 518187

Reply By: JimDi - Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 14:24

Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 14:24
Hi Kc,
We had five years of being on the road towing a Kedron 20ft off road caravan with an 80 series petrol. The average fuel use over time would average somewhere between 20 to 23 litres per 100 klm. I knew we had a safe travel distance of around 450klm before refuelling.

In 2011 I switched vehicles and went to a 79 series LC ute. On the two occasions I measured fuel consumption it came in around 17lt per 100klm towing.

With the same ute I now have a slide on with an unladen weight of 450kg (so I am told I have not yet weighed it myself). On the one occasion I have measured fuel consumption I think it came in around 15lt per 100klm.

I very rarely take accurate fuel consumption readings, I just know from experience what distance my vehicle can go before refuelling. For example on a recent trip from Brisbane to Darwin and the Kimberly I knew we could go at least 900klm before refuelling with a very safe margin for error . That is not to say that we don't refuel at every opportunity.

So after that long winded answer I guess my answer to your question is that slide ons and towing a caravan will bring similar fuel consumption.

The reasons however of owning a caravan or slide on will bring about a whole new discussion in my opinion.
AnswerID: 518192

Reply By: CSeaJay - Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 15:38

Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 15:38
As I read these answers above, we must realise that you are comparing two products, one weighing at least 3 times as much as the other
AnswerID: 518196

Reply By: kcandco - Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 19:55

Sunday, Sep 15, 2013 at 19:55
Thanks everyone... you have all given really good replies and great food for thought. To me it seems the van is going to give better fuel consumption bearing in mind it wont always be attached. Van would win on space, though I have seen some really well laid out slideons of late. Slide on would be less maintenance as less wheels on ground. It would be easier to park a slideon combo unless van is unhitched. As always it always seems to be a compromise. My main use of the van is occasional weekends away and holidays with as much free camping as possible, so I am probably leaning the way of the van (which is in excellent condition), but if I did not already have the van it would be a hard call. Maybe I need to win lotto and have both.... add on a winnibago as well.

Regards Kc
AnswerID: 518209

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