Calling all tow pros... Gauges, MPG's, possible upgrades? - PowerStrokeNation : Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2018, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Calling all tow pros... Gauges, MPG's, possible upgrades?


The wife and I finally towed our first toy hauler to southern california (Glamis) this week. Our 1996 SC 4x4 7.3 is almost all stock with an auto trans, other than a bigger down tube and my newly installed donaldson intake kit. It does have 215k miles on it and I have 4:10 gears so when I am towing at 2000 RPM's we are traveling around 63 MPH.

I installed some ISSPRO EV2 gauges last week just before the trip so I could get a feel for how the truck was handling the trailer. I went with trans temp, pyro and boost. The gauges worked out great and I am really happy that I went with the ISSPRO. They look great and seemed to work perfectly. When I am not towing, I can get on the throttle and make 15psi boost pretty easily... which seems great to me. My boost is tapped right into my turbo spider pipe.

To preface some questions that I am going to ask, I towed between 60 to 65 MPH for the 240 mile trip. its a very gradual 1800' elevation change over those 240 miles. Towing the trailer I got about 9 mpg. I felt like that seemed a little low, so I am wondering If I am just driving the truck all wrong, or if that is to be expected?

When I start from a dead stop, I dont get into the throttle real hard at all... Maybe making around 5 psi boost for the gradual climb up to speed (60 - 65MPH). It will certainly boost more If I get into it, but I thought I was being kind to the motor, trans and MPG's by driving this way. Now I am starting to wonder if I want to give it some more throttle to utilize the boost more? Once I get up to speed, my boost gauge stays around 4 or 5 all day. My trans temp never got above 200 degrees, which I was thrilled about. I was kind of timid with the pyro gauge and never even let it get above 1250. I tried to keep it no higher than 1200 for stretches longer than a minute or so actually. My pyro is tapped right by the exhaust manifold coupler, near the oil filter. There were a few small hills where I had to slow up to about 50mph because I was trying to keep the egt's no higher than 1250... Do I just need to be okay with the egt's spiking a bit when pulling a grade like this? Or do I just need more power?

Since the truck and trailer are both new to us, I was thrilled to have made it with no issues on a long trip like this. But now I am getting greedy and I want to know if there is anything I can do to change my driving habits or small upgrades to the truck to help it tow better when pulling grades and maybe get better MPG's.

1996 f-250 XLT SC 4x4 7.3 - 215k miles - bone stock, for now...
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-26-2018, 07:26 PM
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Re: Calling all tow pros... Gauges, MPG's, possible upgrades?

Down shift on the hills. You need to keep it above 2k or your egts will spike. You can run at 1250* and 3k rpm all day long and not have issues.

For better mpg. Maybe bump up the speed some or slow down more and shift out of over drive. I get about 9 mpg when I pull my camper.

01 f-250, Standard
Rev tech 4" lift, 37" military wrangler Mt tires
KC diy 66, Full force 160/100 and custom tunes from PHP
Banks intercooler and full 4" exhaust, Diy S&B intake
Diy quad feed, Hydra, Isspro boost, pyro, and fuel pressure
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 03:04 AM
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Re: Calling all tow pros... Gauges, MPG's, possible upgrades?

Depends all on the weight. When my truck was full stock besides a cold air intake and 3" back exhaust towing a 24' gooseneck and 20' conex box weighing around 9k, I got around 7-10 mpg. That was going from Portland Oregon to hells canyon though.

3 years later, $3k worth of injectors, turbo and a chip made a considerable change. Same exact set up, same trailer, same conex box, only this time it had another 8k of weight in the box going from hells canyon to the Idaho Wyoming boarder going 55-60 when I could was holding 10-11mpg.

95 Auto. 4.10 gears. SCLB. Stock besides Baby Swamps Injectors and TS-6 chip with swamps tunes. AFE MaxFlow. Glowshift trans, pyro, and boost. 6.0 IC KC TP38R. Converted EBPV to exhaust brake.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Calling all tow pros... Gauges, MPG's, possible upgrades?

You guys will probably laugh at this question, but should I turn OFF overdrive to get the truck to downshift when pulling some of these grades? Or should I leave Overdrive ON and just get into the throttle a bit?

I had no idea that I could safely run the truck at 3k RPM's for significant amounts of time... especially since it redlines at 3500 RPM's. And I certainly had no idea this would produce lower EGT's... I have so much to learn haha

I never turned Overdrive OFF on the entire trip. For some reason I was under the impression that I should I should always be towing in Overdrive, is this not the case?

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Originally Posted by Sbluke55 View Post
Down shift on the hills. You need to keep it above 2k or your egts will spike. You can run at 1250* and 3k rpm all day long and not have issues.

For better mpg. Maybe bump up the speed some or slow down more and shift out of over drive. I get about 9 mpg when I pull my camper.

1996 f-250 XLT SC 4x4 7.3 - 215k miles - bone stock, for now...
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 07:57 PM
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Re: Calling all tow pros... Gauges, MPG's, possible upgrades?

Yes you need to come out of over drive. It's easier on the trans and it gets your rpms up. Your turbo doesn't work to well at or below 2k. So by keeping the rpms up it will actually run cooler.

01 f-250, Standard
Rev tech 4" lift, 37" military wrangler Mt tires
KC diy 66, Full force 160/100 and custom tunes from PHP
Banks intercooler and full 4" exhaust, Diy S&B intake
Diy quad feed, Hydra, Isspro boost, pyro, and fuel pressure
3/0 battery cables with military style terminals
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 08:17 PM
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Re: Calling all tow pros... Gauges, MPG's, possible upgrades?

If the trans is hunting for a gear by up and down shifting out of OD as you climb a hill then lock it out. Other than that you can run in OD all the time but will notice more power with it locked out. Also the engine will run cooler along with the EGT's with the OD off as you are climbing hills.

96 F250 XLT 4x4, 4:10 gears, 5 speed, Tymar intake and HX hose, downpipe, pyro and boost guages, coolant filter, Luc clutch
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Calling all tow pros... Gauges, MPG's, possible upgrades?

Bugman, let me make sure I am understanding this correctly... It sounds like 4th gear is in fact "over drive"?

And by taking the truck out of over drive, you can lock the trans in 3rd gear for example? this way you can pull the entire grade at a better RPM range (maybe 2500 or so)?

By running at the higher RPM's, you get more boost from the turbo? Which sounds like it will help put out cooler EGT's and also create better power?

This is all really great info, I really appreciate your guys help. I felt like a slave to overdrive on the whole trip... I had no idea I could sort of guide the auto trans!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugman View Post
If the trans is hunting for a gear by up and down shifting out of OD as you climb a hill then lock it out. Other than that you can run in OD all the time but will notice more power with it locked out. Also the engine will run cooler along with the EGT's with the OD off as you are climbing hills.

1996 f-250 XLT SC 4x4 7.3 - 215k miles - bone stock, for now...
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-28-2018, 01:47 PM
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Re: Calling all tow pros... Gauges, MPG's, possible upgrades?

Best mods on my 97 OBS for towing:

RSK (reverse shackle kit)
and
6.0L intercooler using E99 spider and superduty charge pipes

When pulling steep grades with a trailer my EGT climb to 1150-1200 and then begin to drop....
I can hold 1100 degrees all the way to a summit which allows me to stay in the boost, keep my foot on the fuel feed and keep pulling.
Before the intercooler my EGT would hit 1200 so fast I would have to back out of the fuel feed and slow my climb to keep the temp from spiking over 1200


The RSK makes the truck handle properly, my 97 would barely even stay in the lane over 55 mph with a trailer before the RSK
Of course I have pretty much rebuilt the whole dang truck now, but she sure is a great shop truck and hauler!!


All thanks to the advice and help I have received from PSN!!!

1997 CCFB 7.3, ZF5, 4x4, 4.10, baby swamps, TS6, E99 spyder, RiffRaff pipes, 6.0 FMIC, RSK, 315 toyo at
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2001 Excursion 7.3, auto, 4x4, 3.73, collecting parts for suspension lift
2000 E350 7.3, auto 2wd, 3.73, toy hauler camper conversion...researching 4x conversion
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-29-2018, 01:26 AM
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Re: Calling all tow pros... Gauges, MPG's, possible upgrades?

Correct, OD is 4th gear in a 4spd automatic.

EGT control requires airflow. Higher RPMs = more airflow, but not necessarily boost. Boost is load dependant, as a result of more fuel added to overcome that load.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-02-2018, 03:48 PM
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Re: Calling all tow pros... Gauges, MPG's, possible upgrades?

I follow the Ford owner's manual which stipulates to take it out of overdrive when the auto tranny begins "hunting," as said earlier. That's what I generally do when I'm towing my 27-foot RV trailer.

However, I don't wait for the up-and-down hunting to start. When I'm in the hills and the EGTs reach about 1200F, I tap "off" the overdrive button and get into third. If a hill is really steep and the engine needs more relief, I shift to second. If I have to accept a slower speed to keep the EGTs below 1200F, I happily do so. The EGT gauge is my speed limiter in these situations. I have no problem with that. I'm always able to go at least as fast as the loaded big trucks.

Remember, the higher MPGs usually accompany lower turbo PSIs and lower engine EGTs. These values are indicators of how hard the engine is working and thus how much fuel it needs.

Intercoolers are great at allowing the engine to work harder by keeping the EGTs down. However, if you are interested in maximum MPGs, you can do without an intercooler by being satisfied with somewhat lower MPHs and driving by your pyrometer to protect the engine in the hills like I do.

My usual towing speed is 60 mph at 1500 rpm with my 3.55 rear axle and factory size tires. At that speed, my '96 2WD F250 extended cab F250 averages 14 mpg towing my trailer at maximum GVWR. Makes me happy.
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