Towing Travel Trailer gets harder 2 hours into the trip - TundraTalk.net - Toyota Tundra Discussion Forum

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Towing Travel Trailer gets harder 2 hours into the trip

Hey All,

So I'm towing a fairly light travel trailer (4000#). I'm able to do freeway speeds (75 - 80) - without too much trouble (keeping it in the 2k - 3k rpm range).

About 2 hours into the drive, it feels harder. I'm at 4k rpm just to maintain a 70mph speed. It feels like I'm pushing through a headwind, but I don't see trees or weeds moving in any wind. Plus, the force I'm pushing (or pulling) against is constant.

I wondered if it was the wheels on the trailer (only one axle on this TT). I stopped for lunch and felt the wheel hubs, but they were cold & no brake smell.

After the lunch break, we set out again, and I noticed the tough pulling about 15 min later.

What do you all think? Bad TT wheels, a headwind that I can't see, TT breaks deploying, or "yeah, that's normal dude"?

Thanks!
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Unless you are encountering hills that you can't see, I can't say it's normal.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 06:46 PM
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I pull a 9400 lb 34' trailer and have had times when I feel the truck working harder and it is generally a head wind. Hard to see leaves on trees and weeds blowing when travelling at 70. If this is the case then I try to draft a truck to help with the towing. Head winds are usually constant enough that I don't notice a change until the highway changes direction. Could also be a grade that is hard to notice for some distance. Have had that as well.

Is yours always at 2 hours or 15 minutes after a stop as mine varies dependent on a head wind.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-08-2019, 06:58 PM
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My vote would be the trailer brakes.


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2019, 07:21 AM
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My vote would be the trailer brakes.


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wouldnt the trailer begin to start smoking?
i mean riding brakes for that long will surely cause them to burn up and burn out....

i think its like @Calbar said, either a slight grade or a head wind.
i know when i towed my 24' enclosed trailer that the grade was always uphill, and i'll be damned if it wasnt uphill both ways from CA to OK...

also it doesnt take much of a headwind since you're basically towing a BOX. there's no aerodynamics at all to a box... it is nice when you do get a tail wind though


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2019, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Dragos28 View Post
wouldnt the trailer begin to start smoking?

i mean riding brakes for that long will surely cause them to burn up and burn out....



i think its like @Calbar said, either a slight grade or a head wind.

i know when i towed my 24' enclosed trailer that the grade was always uphill, and i'll be damned if it wasnt uphill both ways from CA to OK...



also it doesnt take much of a headwind since you're basically towing a BOX. there's no aerodynamics at all to a box... it is nice when you do get a tail wind though


Yes it would get them hot, but depending if they are barely dragging, it may not be generating tons of heat. Iíve towed a lot of different trailers and some had screwy wiring that caused feedback into the brakes and caused them to drag intermittently.

Iím not ruling out a grade or wind. But Iíd lean more towards an electrical or adjustment problem before anything else. Especially if I didnít notice a wind or grade.

Towing a house is hard on a truck and the faster you go, the harder the truck works. Itís night and day difference pulling my 5er at 60 compared to 75.


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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2019, 08:51 AM
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Yes it would get them hot, but depending if they are barely dragging, it may not be generating tons of heat. Iíve towed a lot of different trailers and some had screwy wiring that caused feedback into the brakes and caused them to drag intermittently.

Iím not ruling out a grade or wind. But Iíd lean more towards an electrical or adjustment problem before anything else. Especially if I didnít notice a wind or grade.

Towing a house is hard on a truck and the faster you go, the harder the truck works. Itís night and day difference pulling my 5er at 60 compared to 75.


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If it's dragging the truck down enough that's it's noticeable then it's bleeding off a lot of horsepower. No way brakes consume significant horsepower without generating a lot of heat. If it was dragging brakes, you would know it.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2019, 08:57 AM
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If it's dragging the truck down enough that's it's noticeable then it's bleeding off a lot of horsepower. No way brakes consume significant horsepower without generating a lot of heat. If it was dragging brakes, you would know it.


Iím just talking from my personal experience. It confused the heck out of us on one equipment trailer. But it had a bad spot in the wiring where one of the light wires could touch the brake wire if it was in the right position. Once we fixed that spot. The intermittent heavy trailer feeling went away. The brakes felt normal heat wise after pulling. Which confused us because we ruled out brakes at that point.


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2019, 09:10 AM
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yeah i can relate with the speed and mpgs.
my first trip i tried to keep up with the semi's and one tons with trailers, most of which were doing 80mph. and i did for a while but it really was hard on me, the truck and my gas tank.
on my 2nd trip i just did my own thing and kept the truck where i felt i wasnt forcing it, sometimes it was 40mph, but mostly i was in the 50~55mph range and my mpgs went from 6mpg to 8mpgs. pretty significant for a 1300 mile trip.


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-09-2019, 09:48 AM
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You don't mention the age and mileage of your Tundra and if it has has any modifications that might be relevant. Anything that is starting to wear could show up under the stress of towing. Also, I would check the transmission fluid to make sure it is up to level and does not show signs of overheating.

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You don't mention the age and mileage of your Tundra and if it has has any modifications that might be relevant. Anything that is starting to wear could show up under the stress of towing. Also, I would check the transmission fluid to make sure it is up to level and does not show signs of overheating.
Good point, it's a 2018 CM Platinum at around 5000 miles.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-13-2019, 10:29 PM
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What kind of tires do you have on that travel trailer? Most trailer tires aren’t rated for speeds over 65mph.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 01:56 AM
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Frankly pulling a trailer at 75-80 MPH is stupid and reckless.

Overcoming air drag is where most of the horsepower is used and air drag increases with the square of the speed. A trailer towed at 80 mph has 4 times as much drag as it does at 40 mph.

The air drag is additive with a head or cross wind. At 60 mph with a 15 mph headwind the effect is the same as driving at 75 mph. And a cross wind has two-thirds the vector force of a headwind so a 15 mph cross wind provides the same resistance as a 10 mpg headwind.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 09:41 AM
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My first trip with my trailer i tried to keep up with other trucks going 75-80 mph.
Horrible mpgs and two blown out tires.
My 2nd trip I kept it at 55-65.
Much easier drive and got up to 9mpgs.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 03:52 PM
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At 75-80 mph you will feel any unusual drags on the truck from wind, inclines, etc. You are using a huge amount of horsepower to overcome wind resistance. It seems the sweet spot for us is around 60-65 mph. Feels like you are going somewhere without overstressing the truck. And, it does not suck down the gas! Also, I do not care if everyone is passing me when the speed limit is 80. Slow lane and you just have to watch the idiots behind you and not ahead of you!!!

Mpg's will decrease from about 9 to 6 in a headwind or crosswind. If you do not believe me, drive west through Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, or Colorado. Kind of like driving up long hills.

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