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Camper Shell or not??? Towing 6x12 Enclosed w/Tundra

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So I have a Class A motorhome and tow a 6x12 V nose enclosed single axle trailer. It works out great for the local Harescramble series and weekend rides. But I just started up doing Enduros again, and the wife and kid don't come to those that are out of state. So I don't need nor do I want to take the Motorhome to most of the Enduros. So I bought a portable toliet, got the old Army cot out the attic, loaded up ice chest, and the YZ into the trailer and took off. I towed the trailer with my 08 Tundra 5.7. The trailer has the 6' interior height so it was like pulling a parachute, and I might have had 1000lb in it. Pretty light load. I did around 70mph in "tow haul" mode both ways. Stiff 15 mph headwind on the way up, did 10.8 mpg in 5th gear at 2400rpm on cruise control. On the way back, hardly no wind, 11.8 mpg in 6th gear at 1900rpm. So I avg 11.3 mpg for the trip. Saved about $90 in gas and a lot of pain in the azz not taking Motorhome.

So now I'm wondering if a fiberglass Camper Shell/Truck Topper would be worth getting to help with the aero and mpg? If I could get it to 13.5-14mpg it would just about pay for it'self in one season. I did some measuring and I would still have roughly 1ft of trailer above the back of the camper shell.

Think I would get a 2 mpg increase with the shell w/ 1ft of the trailer exposed on top?

What about the shell plus getting a shorter height trailer that would be even with the top of the shell? Think that would worth another mpg? I'm not liking the really tall shells that I see for the 07+ Tundras. Look pretty bad...I will stick with the cab hi style.

I really like the extra height, b/c I'm 6'1''. I also liked the amount of space I had in the trailer once I was in it for the night, but I would get a smaller one if it was mo better mpg wise.

MPG is pretty important since the shortest trip I do is 180 miles round trip to the closest riding area, and a little more to the two other riding areas I rotate with. I've been riding 3 out of 4 weekends since June. 8 out 10 Enduros are out of state and 500-1000 mile round trips. B/T work and riding trips, I put 35k miles a year on a truck. So it adds up pretty quick when it's over $3 a gal.

I've had camper shells before and have slept in the back on cots and used Cat propane heaters. Worked great. Figure when a buddy would ride with me, he could sleep in the truck, I get the trailer w/porta potty! I also could get a hitch mounted bike hauler and not have to take the trailer on solo day trips. Although I really like having "ALL" my stuff with me when riding. I have all my spare exhaust, tires, plastic, handlebars, sprockets, chains, literally everything I have for my 2 bikes, and my son's 2 bikes is in that trailer. Never have to load any of that stuff. So I really want to be able to take the trailer to every ride I go on.

So I would like to make this enclosed trailer thing work for me with the Tundra. I'm not getting a 3/4 ton Diesel, it's overkill Mon-Fri for my work, this trailer is all I tow out of town. I tow a 7x16 V Enclosed work trailer 1 day a week, for 30 miles total. So the Tundra stays.

Any opinions or "don't do what I did" suggestions?

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Interesting. My buddy bought an 07 Tundra new with the 5.7, he towed my 7X16 over 3 mt passes (620 miles round trip), with 2 large utility quads (Polaris 800 and a Zook 400) with loads of our hunting gear, heavy toolboxes, hauled about 3500 lbs and got 13.1 mpg for the entire trip overall. He didnt use tow haul mode, and with your light load, I wouldnt either, it will consume more fuel. Use tow haul when you are closer to 75% or more of max tow rating. Your 6X12 with the 1000 lbs of gear isnt even a job for that truck. You have a 4.30 axle ratio, it wont even work up a mild sweat. Try no tow haul. PS, buddy didnt have a canopy either and my trailer is 6 feet tall on the sides, about 6'3" in the center of the roof.

The headwids will eat up fuel in anything, so that plays a huge role.

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what if you just slow down? I get 10-11 mpg in a 2003 tundra towing a 5000 lb trailer, with a giant industrial shell on the truck and carrying 3 motorcycles.

OTOH, if i drive 70-75 into a headwind, I can get as low as 10-11 mpg just in the bare truck, compared to 15 or so if i drive 60-65 mph.

My wife is super hot, so I don't really care what my truck looks like, so I have tall shell with cabover storage that my bikes fit into. works pretty well for traveling to races and stuff.

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First I would like to say that my truck pulls the trailer just fine. Power/torque is not a problem. It yanks that trailer up steep long bridge inclines and hills. It is also the best half ton towing truck I've ever used. 6 speed tranny is awesome. I'm just trying to see if I can get it to 13-14 with a few simple aero profile changes.

Is his a 4x4 TRD package? Mine is. I also raised the front with 2"leveling kit, to get rid of the grandpaw look. I'd imagine that had a negative impact on aero. I wonder if all the long descents after the passes gave it a 1.8 mpg boost? Also wonder if his MPG computer was reset before trip like mine was??? That 11.3 figure was the entire time my trailer was attached to the truck, and that is it. I know I can make my truck "look" like it gets better mpg by not resetting before towing, after an Interstate run. Besides, from my research, 10-11 mpg seems to be about avg for a big V8 half ton gas truck w/o a shell towing a 6x10/12/14 ft enclosed trailer.

I expiremented with Tow Mode On/OFF, in both regular and S mode tranny. Couldn't hold 6th with Tow Mode Off or On into the stiff headwind. It held in 5th Tow Mode On, wouldn't with it off. Regular Auto mode sucked, downshifting like crazy. S mode was best for me and what I used the entire time. I suspect if I didn't use cruise control, didn't do 70-74mph I could see a little bit better. However, I'm going to go the speed limit or 5 over and use cruise control. LOL My right knee is messed up and causes a lot of pain w/o cruise control.

My trailer has 76" sides with another 20" to the ground, for a total height of 96" from the ground. The height is what kills mpg. I could tow that same load with the same trailer, but remove all the walls and roof, and probably get 15-16 at 75mph.

There has to be at least one guy out there with my truck w/ a shell towing an enclosed V nose trailer with the regular height. Come on out!

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what if you just slow down? I get 10-11 mpg in a 2003 tundra towing a 5000 lb trailer, with a giant industrial shell on the truck and carrying 3 motorcycles.

OTOH, if i drive 70-75 into a headwind, I can get as low as 10-11 mpg just in the bare truck, compared to 15 or so if i drive 60-65 mph.

My wife is super hot, so I don't really care what my truck looks like, so I have tall shell with cabover storage that my bikes fit into. works pretty well for traveling to races and stuff.

I lose too much time on the longer 8-10 hr runs doing 60-65. If I avg 75mph, I can cut 1.5-2hrs out of a round trip. It adds up over the course of a year. I'm a busy man, 4 year old boy, business owner, keeping my family in my life, and lots of maintenance on 4 dirt bikes, 2 enclosed trailers, boat, 38ft motorhome, and house maintenance. That extra time is valued to me. I'm actually on vacation right now, spending my time researching and maintaining all this crap I have. LOL!

My wife is hot too, not internet hot, but hot as in real life. Still smoking hot at 40. She is cool. I don't have big tires. My vehicle doesn't define me. If you knew me, you would know better. I drove around a beat 01 Tundra for 7 years, put 255k miles on it, and it looked just like it did when it left the factory, minus the scratches, faded paint, and dents. Just some Dueler Revo2 tires, stock size. If you can show me a wedge type tall back shell by any maker that doesn't look horrible on the 2nd gen Tundra, I'll use it. I just can't find it. The Tundra has a weird roof radius, it slopes down toward the rear of the cab, making most shells look odd. I've noticed the American trucks seem to look just fine with the taller high back wedge type shells.

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My wife is super hot, so I don't really care what my truck looks like, so I have tall shell with cabover storage that my bikes fit into.

Nice!👍

Mine too, I haul bikes in a $600 retired heating and air van. I didn't marry her for her looks either.

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This was my setup for our honeymoon-MN to SoCal (going the south route) then wander back through UT and CO and back to MN. Over 4k miles.

Honeymoon045.jpg

65 mph road speed, cruise, two bikes, camping gear, blah blah blah, about 7,000 combined weight. Averaged 14 for the full round trip.

The trailer is a low-hauler version 5x10+V-nose.

But, that's what I had...to spend a grand or more on a topper to get 1 mpg? Take a LOT of miles to recoup that.

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First I would like to say that my truck pulls the trailer just fine. Power/torque is not a problem. It yanks that trailer up steep long bridge inclines and hills. It is also the best half ton towing truck I've ever used. 6 speed tranny is awesome. I'm just trying to see if I can get it to 13-14 with a few simple aero profile changes.

Is his a 4x4 TRD package? Mine is. I also raised the front with 2"leveling kit, to get rid of the grandpaw look. I'd imagine that had a negative impact on aero. I wonder if all the long descents after the passes gave it a 1.8 mpg boost? Also wonder if his MPG computer was reset before trip like mine was??? That 11.3 figure was the entire time my trailer was attached to the truck, and that is it. I know I can make my truck "look" like it gets better mpg by not resetting before towing, after an Interstate run. Besides, from my research, 10-11 mpg seems to be about avg for a big V8 half ton gas truck w/o a shell towing a 6x10/12/14 ft enclosed trailer.

I expiremented with Tow Mode On/OFF, in both regular and S mode tranny. Couldn't hold 6th with Tow Mode Off or On into the stiff headwind. It held in 5th Tow Mode On, wouldn't with it off. Regular Auto mode sucked, downshifting like crazy. S mode was best for me and what I used the entire time. I suspect if I didn't use cruise control, didn't do 70-74mph I could see a little bit better. However, I'm going to go the speed limit or 5 over and use cruise control. LOL My right knee is messed up and causes a lot of pain w/o cruise control.

My trailer has 76" sides with another 20" to the ground, for a total height of 96" from the ground. The height is what kills mpg. I could tow that same load with the same trailer, but remove all the walls and roof, and probably get 15-16 at 75mph.

There has to be at least one guy out there with my truck w/ a shell towing an enclosed V nose trailer with the regular height. Come on out!

My buddies was a TRD 4X4 with the BFG tires. We reset the trip computer before leaving. We actually lost MPG's going up one side of the pass, but coming down the other side, got it all back. The headwinds was you killer. I ran into that last year coming back from my cabin in my Dodge diesel. I watched my mileage tank and couldnt figure out why till we stopped for fuel and felt the strong winds along the Columbia river. My trailer tucks in behind my truck, nothing hangs out the sides or over the roofline or just barely. My trailer is a dropped axle, ie 4", so the deck is low.

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Put one of those Sears roof top luggage thingamajobs on the roof or in the bed (elevated of course) and if its higher than your trailer it will improve your mpg's. Also make some wooden sides for your bed as the wind drag will go around the outside of the sides instead of slamming into your trailer. Saw this on a cargo trailer forum. Capt D.

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LIke CH said, to save $$$$, not a great idea with the cost of purchase vs. $$$ of MPG savings probably. BUt if you want one for other practicality reasons it's surely a good idea and I can tell you that a Sequoia with the same drive train tows like a dream compared to a Tundra in regards to the wind resistance. So there would be SOME gain in MPG I'm sure, whether it's .5 MPG or 2-3MPG, is anyone's guess. A Tundra vs. Sequoia MPG comparo isn't perfect cause it's available with 3.90 and 4.10 gearing vs. the Tundra's 4.10 or 4.30, higher #s being for the Tow Package.

Indecently I bet whatever you get from the gain in MPG with a camper top you'd get just as much increase by averaging 64-67 MPH instead of 70-74 MPH.

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what if you just slow down? I get 10-11 mpg in a 2003 tundra towing a 5000 lb trailer, with a giant industrial shell on the truck and carrying 3 motorcycles.

OTOH, if i drive 70-75 into a headwind, I can get as low as 10-11 mpg just in the bare truck, compared to 15 or so if i drive 60-65 mph.

My wife is super hot, so I don't really care what my truck looks like, so I have tall shell with cabover storage that my bikes fit into. works pretty well for traveling to races and stuff.

That's a signature line....LOL

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When I put the hi-top shell on my Dodge, I saw an easy 1-2mpg along the freeway. It also helps with $500 shopping runs to Costco! Add an air mattress with sleeping bags/pillows and it works great at the local drive-in theatres, too.

I recently hooked up to my buddies 7x14 and took off into the mountains for a days ride. I averaged 13-14mpg over 175mi of mixed driving (city/freeway/mountain) with just the two bikes and some food/drinks/gear. We could have just tossed the bikes into the back of his truck, but I was curious how well I'd pull his trailer with my Dodge.

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