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Friday, 24 May 2013

Fuel cost major travel budget buster for big drinker tow tugs

GSA 2005 Toyota Sahara and one of our two Jeeps with Jayco Sterlings.
GSA 2005 Toyota Sahara and
one of our two Jeeps with
Jayco Sterlings.


A major cost, in many cases the major cost, for those who tow is fuel. So GoSee wonders where Nissan is coming from with their latest Y62 Patrol Ti V8.

The 5.6 litre petrol is reliably reported to use more than 32 litres per 100km towing a 3000kg caravan. The GoSeeAustralia free TravelSmart Club Fuel Use Calculator shows that is  3.13 km per  litre. The Nissan has a 140 litre fuel tank. So a full tank when towing will not cover 500km. At  about 438km it won't  even get close. It will cost about $207 for each fill. So that means 46c a kilometre.

The Nissan sliding scale for their vehicle's towing ability means that while 3500kg with a towball download of 350kg is quoted the Gross Combined Mass reduces from 6000kg to 5870kg when the towball weight is 350kg.

GoSee regards 32 litre per 100km in a tow vehicle as ecologically irresponsible.

The above fuel figures are worked off $1.47.9 a litre.
Solar powers GSA caravan and office equipment
Solar powers GSA caravan and office equipment


As a yardstick the GSA GoSee Blue Sky caravan is about 2500kg loaded.

With the Holden Colorado LT-R auto diesel pulling it returns 17.5 litre per 100km.

At Geelong Victoria fuel prices ($1.40) it costs 24.5c a kilometre to run when towing.

The current 200 Series Toyota Sahara Turbo Diesel V8 auto has a Gross Combined Mass (GCM) rating of 6850kg. (No sliding scale) Towing capacity is 3500kg. Ball weight 350kg. Fuel tank 138 litres.

The Toyota 4.5 litre diesel V8 is reported to return about 19 litre per 100km when towing.

The 2005 build GSA 100 Series auto Toyota Sahara Turbo Diesel is now north of the Gold Coast towing the GSA Jayco Sterling 23ft caravan. The seven year old Sahara 4.2 litre turbo diesel is now at Coolum.

The Toyota is fitted with DPChip which assists its towing efficency. The Gross Combined Mass (GCM) of the loaded Sahara and caravan is 6160kg. Average figures for the six cylinder Toyota five-speed auto diesel towing across all conditions from Coffs Harbour, NSW, to Coolum, Qld, averages out at 15.2 litre per 100km towing via the CRVA conference on the Gold Coast.

The GoSeeAustralia flagship tow tug is a seven year old luxury 4WD and it pulls one of GSA's two Jayco Sterling caravans. In this case a 23ft version with slide-outs and ensuite across the rear of the caravan.
GoSee Jayco Sterlings 21ft (l) and 23ft (r).
GoSee Jayco Sterlings 21ft (l) and 23ft (r).


The Gross Combined Mass (GCM) of the rig is 6160kg. The Toyota is fitted with DPChip which assists its towing efficiency. Towing aids: New Heavy Duty Hayman Reese Weight Distribution (WDH) kit is fitted plus the latest proactive Anti-Sway cams from the Hayman Reese engineers.

Editors note: Gross Combined Mass (GCM) is the maximum loaded mass of the tow vehicle and any trailer being towed by that vehicle.

Cruising from Brisbane to Coolum Beach Queensland this week GoSee saw 14 litres per 100km on the Toyota's instant read-out. But it is the long-haul figures in all terrains, varied road and weather conditions which reflect reality so towing north from Coffs Harbour, New South Wales to Coolum Queensland the average is 15.2 litre a hundred kilometres.

Over seven years of recorded towing figures the Toyota Sahara easily covers 600km between diesel fills for its two fuel tanks. This leaves about 100km in reserve. GoSee is confident that 700km is achievable before about 130 litres of diesel motion lotion needs to be pumped on board.

GoSee prefers to have plenty of diesel in reserve for two reasons: Fuel dregs and condensation are potential diesel engine stoppers; and, secondly, we don't need the stress of running on empty.

In 2005 the Sahara turbo-diesel Toyota 100 Series sold for prices up to $94,200. In 2013 a good example still brings $46,000 on the second hand dealer market. But many top 100 Series Sahara examples never reach a dealer as they are at a premium among the private buyers.

The GoSee Toyota Sahara 100 series TD and Colorado LT-R are fitted with DPChip to enhance their towing efficiency.

The Holden Colorado LX-T auto diesel tows the GSA Blue Sky 21ft caravan which is fully fitted out with solar which powers the GoSee outdoor office well. The 2010 Holden Colorado LT-R VCDi 3 litre 4x4 auto crew cab pickup became the third GSA tow tugs to be DPChipped (DP31). fuel consumption figures for the Colorado auto are now consistent in normal towing at around 17.5litre per 100 km.

GoSee is happy with these fuel figures, but the real benefit is in the extra power which is being delivered efficiently when it is needed for towing.

As the Berrima Diesel Mainline Dynolog chassis Dyno Report shows maximum torque, measured at the flywheel went up to 380Nm between 2100rpm and 2500rpm compared to the standard 333Nm at 1600rpm. Variables apply, DPChip says and the 402Nm quoted on the DPChip website for the Colorado LT-R four-speed auto is an optimum result with the DPChip fitted.

Previous GoSee tow tugs which benefitted from being fitted with DPChip were a GoSee Holden 4WD 3litre Turbo Diesel LX manual Rodeo twin-cab ute and the GoSee Holden Captiva LX 2 litre auto diesel SUV. The DPChip is available for all EFI diesel 4wd's and independently alters both fuel and fuel timing to optimise the entire engine map.

More efficient use of the fuel system and correct fuel timing are important factors not only for achieving the best economy but to control peak exhaust gas temperatures for optimum engine durability.
Jeep Laredo Grand Cherokee Geelong 124
Jeep Laredo Grand Cherokee Geelong 124


GoSeeAustralia also uses two Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel Laredo 3.0-litre turbo, direct-injection V6 diesel 4x4's with five-speed automatic transmission, they develop 177kW/550Nm. GoSee was attracted by the overall specifications and the particularly attractive pricing.

The official Chrysler towing figures for the Grand Cherokee diesel are 350kg on the ball max and 3500kg trailer max. Please note that Chrysler requires a a Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH) for towing loads which exceed 2268-2270kg. The 2kg difference depends on which set of specs are read.

The key to towing safely is that Chrysler will stand by warranty up to the maximum axle loading weights stated in the Owners Manual.

The heaviest fuel consumption so far pulling the GSA Jayco Sterling 21ft caravan is 17 litres per 100km into a strong headwind. The lowest fuel use is 13.2 litres per 100km with a tailwind. Towing between Sydney and Canberra fuel use ranged from 14.2 litres per 100km in the flatter highway running to 14.9 litres per 100km in steep, hilly sections. In flat towing with no wind the Grand Cherokee Laredo returns 14.1 litres per 100km.

GoSeeAustralia uses Clearview Mirrors on both our Toyota Sahara and Holden Colorado tow tugs despite a small loss in fuel use efficiency. Clearview are full replacement mirrors and use the existing mounting and plug in points. This is an excellent anti-theft result, plus the electrics on the mirrors works from the existing mirror switch.
There are always trade-offs and a really Clearview when towing increases fuel consumption due to wind drag.

But a rock steady view is a high value when it is essential for safety that mirrors reflect reality. The mirrors are much bigger than the standard mirror (about 100mm wider before they are extended), which allows for much clearer vision and safer towing.


When the caravan is hooked up, the mirror head can be pulled outwards for another 100mm of extension to see past the side of the caravan. Depending on conditions towing load and road speed they increase the Colorado's fuel consumption by up to .5 of a litre per 100km. GoSee finds that heavy duty roof racks have a similar affect on fuel use efficiency, but in GoSee's opinion safety, strength and convience balance the equation.

GoSee is also mindful of the performance and fuel efficiency killing result added weight has on a tow vehicle. For example the big winch and bull bar in which it is  mounted on the front of the Toyota Sahara adds about 100kg to the 4WD. GSA's 4WD industry sources say extra weight in accessories, additional fuel tanks,  and 'stuff' added to vehicles can murder fuel efficiency.

They advise that unless add-ons like heavy winches and bullbars are to be used regularly in real situations they are  just helping to drain fuel dollars from the owners pocket.

Editors note: Coolum Beach is on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia about119 km from Brisbane. It has one of Queensland's best ocean beaches. Mount Coolum dominates the landscape, and can be seen from most of Coolum.
Jeep and Jayco on the road
Jeep and Jayco on the road


The GoSee TravelSmart Fuel Calculator answers pump price questions on how many litres you are really using. The quick-click fuel calculator is under the Good Stuff link on the left of the Home Page for GoSeeAustralia and GoSeeNewZealand.

Join the free TravelSmart Club by clicking the option button above the Good Stuff link to get full access to all the services available free on the GoSee websites. The Fuel Use Calculator also includes a free download for an Excel Fuel log sheet which produces a real figures result over 10 fills.

For more information
contact: Garth Morrison
Editor Go See Australia and Go See New Zealand Directory
Email: garth@contact.com.au

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