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Topic Closedhard towing with Honda Pilot - HELP

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: hard towing with Honda Pilot - HELP
    Posted: 23 Aug 2018 at 10:58pm
Originally posted by Thompsda

Thanks everyone for the replies.

I didn't use cruise and I didn't notice much wind that day.

We're heading to Bar Harbour in 2 weeks, definitely gonna try the high octane and see if that makes a difference.

Using a different octane rating than your vehicle is tuned for will get you NOTHING. Period. 

What you may want to check is the trailer brakes. If one or both wheels is dragging, it's going to eat more fuel to pull. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2018 at 5:01pm
Did you have any significant highway pulls up long steeper grades? Any time you're traveling over 55 mph and have to tow uphill, mileage will PLUMMET. If you had a current fuel consumption gauge in your Pilot it would have been mid single digits (5-7 MPG).. It doesn't take a lot of miles doing that to crush your average.

A great example.  I recently drove to Ontario Canada and back, but only with a motorcycle on a hitch carrier (300 pounds max).  It was 428 miles each way. But I noticed that from central Connecticut, it was FLAT driving, with almost no grades whatsoever through NY and Canada. My fuel economy was 32 MPG vehicle indicated, and 31.5 MPG actual calculated. 

I have NEVER gotten that kind of mileage on highway from Connecticut to Vermont. Ever. Maybe 28 MPG best, with a mountain bike on the back hitch. Hills make a huge difference, and head winds are just as brutal. 

 Were you in the next lowest transmission gear (if a 6 speed, use 5th, never 6th). Allow the engine to make more power by running higher engine RPM's. If your transmission hunts 5th-6th, don't let it. Constant gear hunting will also cause worse fuel economy and more transmission heat too.

 Is your Pilot brake system in good shape? Have you check pad thickness to see if you have  stick caliper piston? Does it pull when braking? The tow vehicle is just as important as the trailer. 

If you hitch your R-Pod to your Honda Pilot, then use an auto jack to raise one R-Pod tire of the ground, and see if it spins free with no bad play or grinding noises. Being hitched makes for safer jacking of the trailer.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2018 at 1:28pm
On our trip to Oregon now for the NW Meetup Rally I was getting just shy of 12 mpg coming up I5.
2011 V6 Tacoma and 2018 RPOD 180. 87 octane, 55 to 60 mph. 4th gear with overdrive locked out.
I used cruise control on flat ground and shifted manually on the grades. I don’t think Toyota requires premium for towing but I’m not certain.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2018 at 8:18am
Wow 9mpg is low. I get 16-17 mpg towing with a Kia Sorento V6, same size vehicle as pilot. Easy to to self lube bearings and while jacked up you can spin wheel to determine any drag. Sounds like you've got bearing or brake issue. Is one wheel hotter than other when driving? Higher octane gas will give you lower mileage. Not necessary as your car designed for regular gas.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2018 at 10:42am
Originally posted by Keith-N-Dar

We just goy back from a 500 mile trip and before we left I accidentally filled the truck with high octane fuel. My truck went from around 12 MPG to nearly 15 MPG.  I need to test it because once in a row isn't a trend but the higher octane suggestion may be a good one.  In this case the gas was also ethanol free instead of the normal 10 percent.
It could be that the higher octane allowed you engine management computer to advance the timing more than with regular. That could easily explain the difference in mileage. OTOH, maybe you had a tailwind for most of the trip?

Our owner's manual recommends premium fuel when towing. So I generally fill with premium before and during a trip. We typically get 14 MPG (MOL).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2018 at 9:11am
Ethanol free would give a higher mpg than gas with ethanol because ethanol has less BTUs per gallon than gasoline. See this Gasoline gallon-equivalent article for details. It also helps explain why Diesel engines get better mileage.

We just finished a trip of about 6,500 miles. I had greased the hubs before we left. I don't know what you mean by "a long time." If the grease is still good, it would be okay. As stated by Keith-N-Dar above, you would have felt heat and likely not completed the trip. The brakes dragging could be a factor if they are too tight and causing drag or if the pin had been pulled and they were having to overcome full-on brakes. If that were the case, I think you would get less than 9 mpg.

What speed were you driving? Anything above 55-60 mpg and you are looking at a very significant mileage hit due to wind resistance. Wind resistance is not linear, meaning that it does not increase proportional to the speed, but exponential, meaning it increases much more than the speed. There is an article on RV.Net that you should look at to help understand this.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2018 at 8:59am
+1 to your wheel bearings, if poorly greased they will not last long. They don't drag they get HOT, until the bearing seizes. Be careful with noises while spinning tire, usual noise is the brakes shoes contacting hub, which should be intermittent as you rotate 360. That is normal for properly adjusted shoes.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2018 at 8:54am
We just goy back from a 500 mile trip and before we left I accidentally filled the truck with high octane fuel. My truck went from around 12 MPG to nearly 15 MPG.  I need to test it because once in a row isn't a trend but the higher octane suggestion may be a good one.  In this case the gas was also ethanol free instead of the normal 10 percent.

If it is your wheel bearings causing drag they are shot now.  Your hubs would have been hot and most likely you wouldn't have gone far.  Jack up a wheel and spin the tire listening for noise in the hub.

Good luck and let us know what you find.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2018 at 6:31am
Just got home from our trip to Bar Harbor and we had beautiful weather and wonderful week.

Before we left I pumped the trailer tires to 50psi, filled the Pilot with 91 octane, and used a lower ball mount so the pod is nice and level now.  I made sure to keep it <60mph.  But even with all that I still only managed to get 9mpg Ouch

Oh well, it's still an improvement and we don't plan any crazy long trips with this setup anyway, so we can live with it.

One thing I was wondering, if the wheel bearings haven't been greased in a long time could that slow down the roll of the camper?  Or do bearings just either work or seize up completely?

Thanks.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 2018 at 10:20am
On our Frontier, I find that if I am in mountains or hills, turning overdrive (OD) off helps. I leave the transmission in Drive otherwise unless I am on a 6% or more downward slope. On this trip so far, mileage has varied between 10.6 and 14 (one exception of 17) mpg per tank. The low ones had lots of climbing and/or headwinds. The high ones were aided by a tail wind and/or more generally downhill. So far, we have been from near sea level to about 8,000 ft in elevation.
Also, I noticed that gas octane ratings out west were different.. Instead of regular being 87 octane, I have seen 86 and 85 octane. Since the Frontier specifies 87 octane, I have been using mid-grade which has been 89 or with the last one, 87 octane. Performance has been better. I should try premium when we fill up next to see if that also makes a difference.
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