Since posting “Towing With an E-350 Powerstroke Diesel”, I repaired a serious fuel delivery problem (see post HERE). There’s an immediate improvement in performance. Most notably at highway speed. I’m anxious to get back out there with the Silver LuvSub in tow, and I’m confident towing performance will be MUCH improved. I’ll have an update for y’all when I do…
Not too impressed with the mileage on the Econosaurus©
Recap on the rig: 2003 Ford E-350 7.3L Turbo Diesel pulling a 2008 Airstream 30′ Classic S/O
As a daily driver, city MPG is around 14, which is great compared to our previous DD (a 2005 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 8.1L) at 8 MPG.
But highway towing was a real let-down. Power-wise and mileage-wise.
I’m used to the 496ci Suburban, 4L80E trans and 3.73 rear, where when I matted the accelerator, it jumped. Passing on a two lane freeway was childs-play. When I needed to beat a train at a crossing, I knew the acceleration was there to get my family safely across the tracks out front of the oncoming Amtrack. Whereas, with the E-350, I’d describe it as ‘pokey’, at best. Yeah, I know, it’s not NASCAR but, it should at least be able to get out of it’s own way. I used that ‘Superburb’ to pull this trailer out west over Big Horn and Monarch. With the Econoline currently configured, I wouldn’t even consider doing that.
The 8MPG tanks were running with ‘overdrive’ off (per diesel owners manual), the jump to 10MPG was two-lane freeways at 55-60 mph… on relatively flat terrain.
I followed that with towing in ‘overdrive’, and manually turning it off for steep grades. I still wasn’t keeping up with traffic at around 67MPH. This got us 9.6MPG.
Still not good. So, for the tow vehicles maiden voyage, on the plus side we’ve got: lots of space, smooth ride. On the negative side we’ve got: loud, slow, and thirsty.
The good thing is, the draw-backs can be reasonably dealt with.
Let’s start with noise. There may be wind noise but, what I’m getting lots of is the diesel clickety-clack. Some good, strategically placed sound proofing should help. Starting with the interior engine cowl, I found this high-temp product Aerogel, and for the floor and doors there’s Dynamat.
As far as slow with lousy gas mileage, everything is a compromise, and I think the factor that’s affecting both is the rear end ratio: a ridiculously fuel efficient 3.55. Nice for idling down the freeway, not good for towing. I’m thinking 4.10 might be a little too over the top. I bet 3.73 would hit the sweet spot. Now, to find a competent rear-end shop, who charges reasonable rates…
See You Down the Road!