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Old 12-05-2005, 08:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
Goldsburg
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Pulling FEMA trailers: A 6.5TD story...

I wanted to share my recent experience pulling a 30' FEMA travel trailer to Purvis, MS from Wakarusa, IN.

Let me start out by saying that I have pulled both bumper and gooseneck trailers with various types of pickups since I was 17 years old. The trailers have (until now) been flatbed implement trailers with tractors onboard. The trucks I have pulled trailers with previously include 6.5's, 7.3 PSD's, a 6.0 PSD, and various Ford and Chevy gassers. I can easily say that this 30' travel trailer (weighin in at approximately 9500lbs) was easily the hardest thing that any truck I have driven could have pulled. Now bear in mind that my ole girl has 200K+ miles on her, and given that fact I say she pulled like a champ. I have pulled 15,000lbs of farm equipment on a GN trailer with a 6.5 previously (down I-70 at 70 to 75 MPH all day long), but at times my old 6.5 struggled to maintain 60MPH with this 9500lb "parachute" . I was, however, unprepared for the wind resistance factor to be SO HIGH!!! I now have a new found respect for the guys that pull 5ver's and other travel trailers!

Vital stats of the trip:

Distance: 860 miles (one way)
Travel Time with trailer: 16.0 hours
Average speed with trailer: 53MPH
Average Fuel Economy w/ trailer: 10.3MPG
Peak EGT observed: 1200degF+
Peak boost: 9PSI (pegged peak boost most of the way in OD)
Travel Time w/o trailer: 14.0 hours
Average speed w/o trailer: 61.5MPH
Average Fuel Economy w/o trailer: 19.3MPG
Peak EGT w/o trailer: 600degF
Peak boost w/o trailer: 7PSI

I have a DMax intercooler in the garage that I am going to have shortened to fit in the skid plate area. This won't happen unitl next summer though, so it won't help with pulling these FEMA trailers! But 10PSI of intercooler boost and new set of injectors should help get those EGT's down!

I have attached some pictures that I snapped while refueling. These give a size perspective of the trailer versus the truck and give an overall shot of my "rig". I also attached a photo of the Purvis, MS drop lot...

100_1006.JPG

100_1014.JPG

100_1004.JPG

Any thoughts or comments?

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Last edited by Goldsburg; 12-05-2005 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd say that's a load. Perhaps you need to work on your wind resistance. Looks like the trailer has a lot of tilt. Maybe lifting the tongue hight might level out the load a little and improve the wind resistance over the trailer. Helper springs might level out the truck also.

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Old 12-05-2005, 09:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How much did the trip cost and how much were you paid?

How long did it take for you to get your money?

Great numbers. Really gives perspective to the haul.
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselPro View Post
I'd say that's a load. Perhaps you need to work on your wind resistance. Looks like the trailer has a lot of tilt. Maybe lifting the tongue hight might level out the load a little and improve the wind resistance over the trailer. Helper springs might level out the truck also.
The truck barely squatted when I let the tongue load onto the hitch, so it is not a problem with the springs. It is a matter of my hitch height versus the trailer's level hitch height. Since I am required to have 1.875", 2", and 2.312" ball hitches I bought a "zero drop" 3 in 1 10K lbs rated stinger. To pull FEMA to the end of the year (when my truck is then considered "too old"), I couldn't justify buying three separate balls and a drop/rise stinger for the additional PITA and cost factors. Besides, if I level the trailer (by raising the front), I am only going to catch MORE wind!
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nice rig, those are some BIG EGT's WOW .

What is a FEMA trailer?

U have that pedal to the floor a lot I take it?
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wholly Kaw View Post
How much did the trip cost and how much were you paid?

How long did it take for you to get your money?

Great numbers. Really gives perspective to the haul.
The trip paid $1.04 per loaded mile. I am not doing just for the money (thank God). I am also doing it to feel as though I am contributing to the Cause...

Horizon Transport (to whom I am leased), is great about turn around time on the check (less than a week).
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
Goldsburg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago TDP View Post
Nice rig, those are some BIG EGT's WOW .

What is a FEMA trailer?

U have that pedal to the floor a lot I take it?
I would say that I was at 50 to 75% throttle most of the time while in OD. It should be said though that downshifting to Drive would only drop EGT's by about 100 deg F, but would make the engine scream at 2500+RPM while towing (me not likey!). The big EGT's came when I was pulling long grades and I would have to back out of it to keep the EGT's in check. Needless to say that bad things would have happened without those gauges. I should also add that I insulated my X-over pipe with thermo-tec header wrap (2 layers), a double layer of insulating foil, and a layer of heat-proof aluminized tape prior to pulling this trailer. I believe that this insulated x-over gives me the most accurate readings with my probe located in the turbo "collector" (under turbine inlet). After insulating, my around-town EGT's were up 150deg F!

I believe that I also have other issues that are causing these EGT's. I think that my worn injectors are causing somewhat low power and fuel mileage under load and that my TM setting is probably low for the (suspected) BD reflashed ECM...?


FEMA trailers are being used for temporary housing of hurricane (Katrina) victims.
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Goldsburg View Post
Besides, if I level the trailer (by raising the front), I am only going to catch MORE wind!
Actually It looks like you have a very long spoiler. The drag across the top has got to be holding you back. Level your truck and trailer and I think you'll find some improvement. Look at your pics and you'll see what I see. Well, maybe.
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DieselPro View Post
Actually It looks like you have a very long spoiler. The drag across the top has got to be holding you back. Level your truck and trailer and I think you'll find some improvement. Look at your pics and you'll see what I see. Well, maybe.
You should do some reading in the SAE handbook, where you will find that the main determinant of wind resistance is frontal area. Frontal area being defined as the maximum cross-sectional area that is "seen" when looking from the front of the vehicle toward the back. This would be essentially unchanged or perhaps slightly increased if the trailer is leveled. In my experience, leveling a trailer only cures handling problems of which, I have none.

As an additional note, it seems as though you and I often see things "differently"...
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think I'd be taking delivery on a 06 Dmax so I could keep on keeping on past Jan 1st 06

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