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Old 11-30-2014, 06:19 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Driving into the wind

We just got back from our Thanksgiving trip to Atlanta State Park in Texas (I highly recommend this park).

On the trip home, I was driving for the most part into 25 - 35 mph head and cross winds.

By the time I dropped of the trailer I was exhausted and looking at an average of 6 mpg.

Any tips or advice to help with driving into strong winds?


Randy from Texas
TV - 2014 Chevy Silverado
TT - 2014 Palomino Puma 28DSBS

Randy in Texas
TV - 2013 Ford F-250 PS Diesel
TT - 2014 Palomino Puma 28DSBS
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Old 11-30-2014, 07:15 AM   #2
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Yeah, dont!!!

But seriously, there is no "trick"...even the most well adjusted trailer cannot hide from wind resistance.

Ive seen some of my lowest mpg going into winds(40-50mph). ..8-9 mpg stuck in 5th gear.....

West texas winds are bad...and common...

If you really wanna check your sway setup Cruise through wyoming!! Lol..

Only trick I know is slow down or dont

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Old 11-30-2014, 07:47 AM   #3
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Also if you see a (Wind Farm) area they place them there for a reason! Youroo!!
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Old 11-30-2014, 07:52 AM   #4
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I agree with ironj. About the only thing you can do is find a place to wait it out or slow down. This past summer I hit some strong winds cutting across Wyoming into Montana (so bad that DW was very scared) and all I could do was slow to between 35-40mph until getting thru it. Lucky for us it was brief or I would have pulled off and waited it out.
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Old 11-30-2014, 08:05 AM   #5
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I crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel a couple of years ago with a strong head wind. Usually on level ground, my truck pulls the trailer great in OD with the torque converter locked. That day, my truck would not pull the trailer without unlocking the torque converter. I locked out OD so the truck would pull in 3rd with the torque converter locked. The wind makes a huge difference.

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Old 11-30-2014, 09:02 AM   #6
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That's part of the difference of TT vs 5er. Last summer I left Lake Geneva, Wi. heading a strong head wind and the only thing I noticed was the fuel mileage. I was cruising 65-70mph without much of any swaying.
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Old 11-30-2014, 10:20 AM   #7
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Fuel economy (whether in an aircraft or a ground vehicle) is a function of negative forces being counteracted by positive ones.

In an aircraft, gravity must be countered by lift and forward drag countered by engine power (thrust). Thrust in excess of drag results in forward speed.

In a ground vehicle, gravity (weight) and its derivative (rolling friction - inherent drag) must be countered by a small amount of engine power and is required to keep the vehicle capable of moving forward.

The BIG demand on engine power is wind drag and desired forward speed.
Drag in the horizontal plane is a function of surface area being moved and the speed at which it is being moved. You experienced this as a child when you put your hand in the wind while your dad was driving. With your hand in a knife edge, there is little force on your hand and little effort is required to keep it straight out. Turning your hand towards the vertical (increasing the surface area exposed to the wind) caused your hand to fly back (and up - lift).

Wind in a moving vehicle is made up of two parts. The speed of the vehicle over the ground PLUS or MINUS the speed of the wind around it.

A vehicle with the SAME cross section in a no wind condition and a contant speed of (say) 60 MPH, has an inherent drag of a certain amount (we will call that drag "X" just to put a name to it).

That speed, still air drag, and surface area will require a fixed amount of engine power (and the fuel needed to keep that engine speed). That will be your best fuel economy for 60 MPH.

However is the wind is moving, that movement will effect the drag on the vehicle. If the wind is in your face (like your dad driving faster), the force on your vehicle will increase rapidly and require a significant increase in engine output to maintain that 60 MPH. Conversely, a tailwind (wind pushing on that surface area) will reduce drag (like your dad slowing down making it easier to hold your hand vertically) and significantly reduce the engine power required to hold 60 MPH.

For those who want the math, see the link here ( however what you need to know is that drag is VELOCITY dependent as an exponent. Doubling your speed increases your drag by a factor of EIGHT. Tripling your speed increases drag by a factor of TWENTY SEVEN.



The power required to overcome the aerodynamic drag is given by:

Note that the power needed to push an object through a fluid increases as the cube of the velocity. A car cruising on a highway at 50 mph (80 km/h) may require only 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) to overcome air drag, but that same car at 100 mph (160 km/h) requires 80 hp (60 kW). With a doubling of speed the drag (force) quadruples per the formula. Exerting four times the force over a fixed distance produces four times as much work. At twice the speed the work (resulting in displacement over a fixed distance) is done twice as fast. Since power is the rate of doing work, four times the work done in half the time requires eight times the power.

So, as in an aircraft, when traveling into a headwind, reduce your speed by the same amount as the headwind component to maintain your no wind fuel economy. Any speed above that "bug speed" will require an increase of engine power and a corresponding decrease in fuel economy.

Just remember that "CUBE" of the velocity increase from every MPH above "Bug speed."

With a tailwind, you will see a huge increase in fuel economy because the drag reduced will also be effected by the CUBE of the tailwind component.
Many of the seemingly unrealistic MPG claims can be laid at the feet of a particlarly good day with a particularly good tailwind.

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Old 11-30-2014, 10:57 AM   #8
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Damn Herk I will have to make a copy of this Info so the Next time I (FLY) my RV! Youroo!!
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Old 11-30-2014, 11:12 AM   #9
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In other words my fuel mileage doing 70 mph into a 30 mph headwind goes down the toilet vs 60 mph with 20 mph tailwind. Correct?? Lol

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Old 11-30-2014, 11:46 AM   #10
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I often watch the winds while traveling, camping and watching weather reports. Many times the winds are semi predictable, meaning consistently wind is stronger at one time of the day more than others. I have incorporated this guess-work into my travel times when I can; use the tailwinds when I can and sneak by those head winds and crosswinds.
None of this works to often, mostly I just want to get where I want to get but I do watch, do it when I can or think it matters and smile when it works-out.
Maybe I just have to much time on my hands

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