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Old 08-08-2011, 09:57 AM   #31
YamaGeek
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Originally Posted by hugemoth View Post
Here's one that gets 45 mpg towing a bike. 93 Suzuki Swift 1.3L 5spd towing my little rat bike.

This...

My Turbobrick can be nursed along at about 34mpg at about 55 to 60, but no-one drives that slow anymore. I've got nearly the same bike towing setup as hugemoth, and it drops into the mid-upper 20's with the bike in the front wheel holder.
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:41 AM   #32
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I think the only way to tow bikes and get over 30 MPG at highway speeds is with a VW TDI; a couple of buddies of mine both tow dirt bikes with TDI Jettas and regularly exceed 38 MPG at 75 MPH.

I had a 2004 Ford Taurus with 24V 200 HP Duratec 3.0L V6 and could get 25-27 MPG on the highway towing 1 dirt bike. Adding a 2nd bike and person (and associated gear) and it would dive down to 20-22 MPG HWY, which was no better than my Blazer.

I recently replaced the Blazer with a 2011 VW Routan (VW version of the Dodge Grand Caravan). Already I have gotten as high as 30 MPG on the highway, with 27 MPG HWY being the norm. I just installed a Class III trailer hitch and am waiting for the opportunity to try out my trailer or hitch hauler.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:54 AM   #33
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Sucks, and I wanted a Sprinter really bad!
I think the 2011 Sprinters are going to get the best mileage of them all, and my new one just did basically 20MPG out of the box (2011 144" wheelbase, rooftop AC, short roof). Supposedly they break in to MUCH better mileage after 10k miles or so, but even then I think I'm talking maybe 23MPG. That's not towing anything, but I'm guessing a small open trailer with two bikes on it won't change the mileage any noticeable amount (which isn't true of your tiny vehicles, but should be of this).

I'm hauling a single bike (BMW G650X) on a Versahauler on the back of a Sprinter 3500 based RV (Itasca Navion 24J) and getting about 14MPG before the break-in. Have a buddy towing an '89 Honda Civic on a small open trailer with his identical unit and he's getting 15MPG easily and 16MPG if he stays at 65MPH or so, but he's past break-in now and I'm not.

The pre-2011 Sprinters don't do the urea thing, and thus have much more restrictive exhausts. That results in less power and less efficiency. I guess the AWD is killing the mileage on the GL350 Bluetec, because otherwise it appears to have the same engine as my Sprinter. Odd. It's rated at 17/21 for mileage. Really surprising.


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Old 08-08-2011, 04:38 PM   #34
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VW Rabbit Diesel Pickup, circa 1982-87 or so. With the tailgate down you can carry two smallish and light bikes. (Trials bikes?) Very easy to get 30+ mpg, actually more like 40+. Hard to find though and of course there are the issues with a 20-30 year old machine with 400,000 miles on them.
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:04 PM   #35
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Hard to find though and of course there are the issues with a 20-30 year old machine with 400,000 miles on them.
And a top speed of 53 mph. If anything needed a turbo, it was the early VW diesel.
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:07 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by chazbird View Post
VW Rabbit Diesel Pickup, circa 1982-87 or so. With the tailgate down you can carry two smallish and light bikes. (Trials bikes?) Very easy to get 30+ mpg, actually more like 40+. Hard to find though and of course there are the issues with a 20-30 year old machine with 400,000 miles on them.
There is a local guy that runs a nursery that has one. I tried talking him out of it one day, but no go. Barber I went to has an Izuzu pickup with a diesel in it, and he won't let that one go either. Old stingy farts...
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Old 08-09-2011, 07:53 AM   #37
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With new diesels, you really have to ask yourself (and do the math): will the higher initial purchase price, higher maintenance costs, and higher diesel fuel price, be enough to justify the fuel savings???
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:17 AM   #38
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Here is what I am using. Chevy Malibu Maxx. I normally get 30 to 35 highway (without towing) if I keep it under 70. Here is a picture from a trip I took recently - I got just a bit over 25MPG but the speeds were between 75 and 80 for most of the trip. I really miss having a truck but the tradeoff for the 95% of the time I'm not towing something hasn't forced me back yet.

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Old 08-09-2011, 08:22 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by chazbird View Post
VW Rabbit Diesel Pickup, circa 1982-87 or so. With the tailgate down you can carry two smallish and light bikes. (Trials bikes?) Very easy to get 30+ mpg, actually more like 40+. Hard to find though and of course there are the issues with a 20-30 year old machine with 400,000 miles on them.
my boss just sold one a few months ago (ended up getting one of these: http://forums.pelicanparts.com/uploa...1283955660.jpg to replace it). the rabbit diesel pu didn't get 40+ unloaded.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:03 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Trail Ryder View Post
With new diesels, you really have to ask yourself (and do the math): will the higher initial purchase price, higher maintenance costs, and higher diesel fuel price, be enough to justify the fuel savings???
All depends, none of those prices have to be higher. I went from a GTI to the Golf. I nearly went with another GTI. Both have very similar features/options and were nearly the same price. Maintenance on both is nearly the same as well, oil changes every 10k with synthetic, the diesel gets a fuel filter every 20k but never needs spark plugs, both need air filters, tires, brakes, etc. AND, all of that is covered for the first 3 years or so, so its moot if you lease the thing. The GTI requires premium fuel, tdi requires diesel. Some times diesel is a bit more, other times its on par if not less than premium. GTI is rated at 32mpg highway, TDI at 42mpg highway and will hold its value better. I'm happy with the decision ive made.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:26 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by chazbird View Post
VW Rabbit Diesel Pickup, circa 1982-87 or so. With the tailgate down you can carry two smallish and light bikes. (Trials bikes?) Very easy to get 30+ mpg, actually more like 40+. Hard to find though and of course there are the issues with a 20-30 year old machine with 400,000 miles on them.
I've seen photos of several that have been updated with late-model TDI drivetrains, so you get the same (or better) fuel economy and about double the horsepower! They even show up on ebay occasionally.

If you're good at body work, a cool project would be to build a new VW diesel pickup out of a Jetta TDI wagon. Way beyond my skill level unfortunately.

Another option is to pick the small/medium truck of your choice and drop in a diesel. Lots of info on this forum: http://www.4btswaps.com
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:04 PM   #42
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All depends, none of those prices have to be higher. I went from a GTI to the Golf. I nearly went with another GTI. Both have very similar features/options and were nearly the same price. Maintenance on both is nearly the same as well, oil changes every 10k with synthetic, the diesel gets a fuel filter every 20k but never needs spark plugs, both need air filters, tires, brakes, etc. AND, all of that is covered for the first 3 years or so, so its moot if you lease the thing. The GTI requires premium fuel, tdi requires diesel. Some times diesel is a bit more, other times its on par if not less than premium. GTI is rated at 32mpg highway, TDI at 42mpg highway and will hold its value better. I'm happy with the decision ive made.
Beleive me, I am a big fan of the VW TDI. But my dealer wants about $6,000 more for the TDI Sport Wagen over the 2.5L Sport Wagen, plus the diesel Sport Wagen does NOT qualify for the low APR that the gasser gets.

So if a gas Sport Wagen with the M/T gets 23 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy for a average of 28 MPG, that would be 536 gallons a year if one drove 15,000 miles per year; at $3.82 per gallon for gas, the annual fuel budget would be $2,047 each year.
And if a TDI Sport Wagen with the M/T gets 30 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy for a average of 36 MPG, that would be 417 gallons a year if one drove 15,000 miles per year; at $4.07 per gallon for diesel, the annual fuel budget would be $1,697 each year: a $350 annual fuel savings over the gas version.

So at a $350 per year annual fuel savings, one would have to drive 17 years (15,000 per year for 17 years is 255,000) to recoup the $6,000 purchase premium, if the price of fuel remained flat.

The TDI will have higher maintenance cost (ever price out a diesel injector pump?), but will tow better. have a longer life, and have a higher re-sale value. But with the $6,000 savings, one could buy a KLR or a WeeStrom and save even more money commuting, plus get 65 MPG.
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:30 PM   #43
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Another option would be a Toyota diesel conversion like these guys do:

http://www.dieseltoyz.com/

They're claiming just over 30MPG being possible in a later model Tacoma, Forerunner, or FJ Cruiser after the conversion. That said, according to them they are 14 months out on conversions right now. And you're going to have $40-50k in it depending what vehicle you start with. Still somewhat attractive, and if there's any DIY info out there on doing this conversion yourself, well, life could be even better. The hardest part is probably sourcing your half-cut and getting it here at a reasonable cost.


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Old 08-09-2011, 02:14 PM   #44
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OK so I checked out that site. They want $16,000 to convert my 4Runner to an oil burner.

But I go from 20mpg to 30mpg and from $3.48 to $3.70 for fuel resulting in a cost savings of about $500 per year.

Which means I will recoup my investment in only 32 years.

Sweet deal. Probably beats the stock market right now.
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:44 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Trail Ryder View Post
Beleive me, I am a big fan of the VW TDI. But my dealer wants about $6,000 more for the TDI Sport Wagen over the 2.5L Sport Wagen, plus the diesel Sport Wagen does NOT qualify for the low APR that the gasser gets.
not a difficult problem- go to another dealer. :P when we bought my wife's jetta tdi, the local dealer wanted $3k over msrp, and wouldn't budge. so we went to another dealer, where we got $1300 under msrp (published invoice). this was when there was a $1300 tax credit too.

Quote:
So if a gas Sport Wagen with the M/T gets 23 MPG City / 33 MPG Hwy for a average of 28 MPG, that would be 536 gallons a year if one drove 15,000 miles per year; at $3.82 per gallon for gas, the annual fuel budget would be $2,047 each year.
And if a TDI Sport Wagen with the M/T gets 30 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy for a average of 36 MPG, that would be 417 gallons a year if one drove 15,000 miles per year; at $4.07 per gallon for diesel, the annual fuel budget would be $1,697 each year: a $350 annual fuel savings over the gas version.

So at a $350 per year annual fuel savings, one would have to drive 17 years (15,000 per year for 17 years is 255,000) to recoup the $6,000 purchase premium, if the price of fuel remained flat.
paying a premium makes no sense to begin with. and doubly so if you're driving a 'normal' number of miles per year. so a tdi doesn't make sense for you. we paid no premium, my wife drives over 25k miles a year, and is averaging 42mpg combined. 25k miles at 42 mpg = 595 gallons ($2470/yr @ $4.15), vs 892 gallons at 28mpg ($3434 at $3.85), so there's almost a $1000/yr savings in fuel.
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