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Old 09-21-2007, 05:19 AM   #1
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Thought you all would be interested in the stats from our four month, 8,500 mile trip this summer. We put not quite 8,500 miles on the rig, used about 1,100 gallons of fuel and VMSpc reports we averaged 7.7 MPG for the entire mileage.

Our coach probably weighed about 31,500 pounds (we weighed early in the trip, but kept buying stuff!) and we tow a 4,300 pound Jeep. We saw travel days and tanks of fuel where we would get 8.5 MPG and also some tanks where we did no better than 6.5 MPG.

Our longest travel day was over 500 miles, shortest was about 150.

The coach ran very, very well except for having to manage the RPMs to keep the temperature down while driving to Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia through switchbacks and a climb of several miles (it was a hot day there - usually the temperature is in the 70s!) It was an interesting time as I was trying to shift up and down while negotiating 180-270 degree hairpin turns. I was one busy guy for about half an hour.

With 30,000 miles on the coach, I suspect we now have a broken-in Cummins ISL engine and the MPG will probably stay around 7.7.

Trip log and details are on our blog (link in our sig.) Click on the map to open up a page with specifics of campgrounds, links and picutres of most.
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Old 09-21-2007, 05:19 AM   #2
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Thought you all would be interested in the stats from our four month, 8,500 mile trip this summer. We put not quite 8,500 miles on the rig, used about 1,100 gallons of fuel and VMSpc reports we averaged 7.7 MPG for the entire mileage.

Our coach probably weighed about 31,500 pounds (we weighed early in the trip, but kept buying stuff!) and we tow a 4,300 pound Jeep. We saw travel days and tanks of fuel where we would get 8.5 MPG and also some tanks where we did no better than 6.5 MPG.

Our longest travel day was over 500 miles, shortest was about 150.

The coach ran very, very well except for having to manage the RPMs to keep the temperature down while driving to Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia through switchbacks and a climb of several miles (it was a hot day there - usually the temperature is in the 70s!) It was an interesting time as I was trying to shift up and down while negotiating 180-270 degree hairpin turns. I was one busy guy for about half an hour.

With 30,000 miles on the coach, I suspect we now have a broken-in Cummins ISL engine and the MPG will probably stay around 7.7.

Trip log and details are on our blog (link in our sig.) Click on the map to open up a page with specifics of campgrounds, links and picutres of most.
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Old 09-21-2007, 02:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for the update John.

What kind of speed are you running?

I have found with VMSpc I really keep my speed down since I can see exactly how much more it is costing me. I have been averaging 8.1 since I have owned with 50k on the coach, I put the last 6k on it. Cat 330, normally running 60, 29,000lbs, pulling 7,800 F250.

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Old 09-21-2007, 06:31 PM   #4
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Good question John - we usually run 65 MPH on Interstates. In Illinois I think the speed limit for RVs and trucks was 55 (which we ran) and I noticed on VMS we were probably doing at least 0.5 MPG better than 65 MPH.

I like running about 5-10 MPH slower than traffic, but running 55 MPH when everybody else is doing 75 I feel is dangerous even though it would save fuel. Too much of a closure rate if somebody is running up on your tail.

Wow - you are pulling a load!
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Old 09-21-2007, 06:57 PM   #5
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I typially run 70 mph on major highways. We are at 38,140 pound with the toad. The toad is 5480. yes I am a bit heavy on the throttle and it shows. I usually show about 6.6 mpg. We are about 11000 miles on the odometer.

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Old 09-22-2007, 04:39 AM   #6
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Yes, I am a bit heavy, especially with the toad. I am amazed at how well it does pull and stop. We do use a brake buddy, which is a whole other topic.

55 is a hair slow, but if it is posted that for trucks, I run that. I can understand the "uneasy-ness" about a large closure rate, but I can prove with hard data that in reality the chances of getting rear ended on the highway at 55 mph is really rare.

In my previous life (prior to full-timer) I worked in trucking for a really big truckload carrier. We were for the longest time the "Slowest on the road" governed at 57 MPH. I worked in safety, training, and Loss Prevention. I can honestly tell you in my tenure with them we NEVER had a highway accident where we were rear ended at highway speed due to us going to slow. Our fleet moved almost 5 million miles a day.

Eventually the company changed it's stance on speed changing the governor setting to 63mph. The reasoning behind this was two fold, first we were opening a new division which brokered freight both to and from the company. Most other brokers dispatch at 60mph. Secondly, it became a huge driver retention issue, and when you have 110% turnover, you want to lesson the impact of as many retention issues as you can.

So, having experienced that... I average about 60, and will drive 55 in those other states. My motivation is purely money and have yet to have anyone show me a concrete example of highway speed rear end accident where the root cause was a vehicle traveling even 20 miles less than the speed limit.

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Old 09-22-2007, 08:37 AM   #7
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John: I look forward to the day I can average 7.7. I'm loaded to 29k lbs. towing either a 4100 or 3100 lbs. I keep my speed at just about 62 as it doesn't shift into 6th. gear until around 57 mph. Natually from time to time I crank it up few notches. Doesn't seem to make a difference if towing or not. I know there is some penalty but haven't kept a real log. I can tell when pulling the long hills I've got weight when towing. I 've only used the TripTec for MPG, I assume that's as close as anything else since we use the generator on a regular basis. Maybe the Cat 330 will get broken in soon, we have 27.5k on the odometer. Have had the turbo replaced once and the turbo boost sensor replaced. Since the sensor was replaced I believe I have more power than before, at least better accelleration.
Total MPG since it left the factory is 6.35 average. I hear others get much better but I believe the Cat C7 with all of the electronics has to pay a penalty (so much for the clean air act), cleaner exhaust but more fuel to get anywhere.
Best regards and welcome home...
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Old 09-22-2007, 09:33 AM   #8
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John - I get a little 'uneasy' running 55 on an Interstate - it just doesn't feel right so it is always a bittersweet experience leaving Illnois. I know my mileage is going down but I don't feel like I'm going 'backwards.'

Cliff - I'm surprised your Cat doesn't give you better mileage Thanks for the welcome home!
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Old 09-22-2007, 05:02 PM   #9
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John, I understand...

Cliff, are you sure you don't have the 350hp 3126E? I thought BucknJeff had a 350 in their '04 40AD, but I could be wrong. Not sure what he is running for mileage.

Mine won't stay in 6th gear until almost 60. I have found though that the mileage really isn't effected (at-least according to VMSpc I am burning about the same GPH), so as long as it isn't lugging I leave it alone, and let it choose 5th or 6th on it's own. I believe both are overdrive gears on the 6 speed. Although if I get into some hills I will bump the speed up slightly over 60. It seems to keep the shifting down a bit, unless of course I am getting into major grades, then I have to really stay on top of the engine temp, and gear down to keep my RPM's up or it will overheat (GRR I hate the rear radiator!).

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Old 09-22-2007, 06:24 PM   #10
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Moder2: I definately have the C7 330. No question about it. I had the option for the Cummins 350 or the C7. If BucknJeff have a 350 it would be the Cummins engine.
Up to this point I haven't had any overheat problems. We have some long grades in the west along with some high temperatures, so far "no problems". I'm sure a clean side radiator plays a major role in that.
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Old 09-23-2007, 04:34 AM   #11
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Cliff you are correct. I I'm sorry for some reason I was thinking they had a cat... Hmm.

Yes, I think the side radiator has a lot to do with less chance of overheating. I regularity clean out my rear radiator, but still have to watch it closely when we get into big grades. It was mostly just learning how to drive it differently.

I am a bit suprized your mileage is less than 7 though, even with 23k you should be starting to loosen up the engine some. We doe have a friend with a Dolphin with the 330 (his is an 03, again with a rear radiator) who is doing slightly better than I am, mostly I think because he is lighter. The last trip we took together he did better than 10 without his toad... I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it on his VMSpc screen.

I you sound like you are doing everything I am, so I got nothing better to say!

John
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Old 09-23-2007, 07:50 PM   #12
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I have just recently downloaded the VMSpc program and am anxious to use it.
Where can I get the cable to connect my laptop (serial port) to the diagnostic plug on the rig? Thanks for the help.
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Old 09-24-2007, 03:41 AM   #13
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I got mine thorough RVupgrades.com. They also are the major support behind this forum.

John
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Old 09-24-2007, 04:06 AM   #14
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The program is "free" but the OBDII to serial adapter will set you back almost 400 bucks. We have used ours for virtually the entire ownership of our coach and I can't imagine being without it!
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Old 09-24-2007, 05:14 AM   #15
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Thank you John (Moder2) and John Canfield
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Old 09-24-2007, 05:43 AM   #16
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I forgot to ask but is it just a cable that connects the OBDII port to the laptop serial port or is there some other hardware between the laptop and diagnostic port on the rig? Thanks again.
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Old 09-24-2007, 11:26 AM   #17
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KIX, there is another small box that translates all the info from the engine and tranny into usefull info for display on the screen.

I'm with MODER on the speed issue. I like to set the cruise at 62mph and sit back and let the Cummins run. My MPH has improved as of late, due to more miles being put on the motor is the most likely reason. I can pretty easily average 8.5 mpg while camping ready and pulling the Jeep. I have even registered 9+ on a few fills if there arent too many big grades. I am really happy with that, but I do credit a lot of that to the VMSpc that I constantly run.

John, I loaded a new gauge recently that was also a real eye opener. I found a gauge for "accelerator postion". Basically it shows your percentage of throttle that you are using at any given speed. It's amazing that when I thought I was running about 25% to 30% on the accelerator, I was actully closer to 60%!!

The VMS really helps me drive smarter and that saves me fuel. I also love the real time read outs for the tranny temp and coolant temp. I pulled probably the steepest continual grade I have ever pulled while Rving this last trip. As part of our trip we went to a mountian campground in CA named "Shaver Lake". When we were close to the lake, I asked the DW to check the GPS and see how far we were from the destination. She said that we were about 15 miles from the campground, but we were still under 2000 feet in elevation. The lake was at over 5500 feet, so I knew something big was coming.

Minutes we hit the mother of all grades! 15 miles up the side of a mountian, early afternoon, 100 degrees, and no flat spots for the Cummins to take a breath. I pulled the grade at 40 mph in third gear, 2500 RPM, while keeping my eyes closely on the VMS. I was really impressed. The Allison was the hottest I ever saw it run, it got up to 201 degrees, and the coolant temp hit 203 degrees. Oh, and the dash air was on!

Man I love this rig! If I ever had any doubts that the Cummins/Allison combo wouldn't step up to the task, they are forever put to rest. I have climbed higher grades, like going through the Rockies in Co, but this was the steepest continual grade in the hottest weather I have ever run into. And I pulled it without worry due to the info provided by the VMSpc. I have John Canefield that thank for that one!!

Sarge
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Old 09-24-2007, 12:22 PM   #18
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Sarge is right, basically it is the OBDII cable and a small box that then has a Serial cable. You might look, at the time I could not get one with a USB end, and I use a converter for that to my laptop.

I tried to load the accelerator position gauge, but on the cat it is non-responsive. I just wrote it off as the cat might not monitor that.

I couldn't agree more. The very BEST $400.00 I have spent on the coach, and have easily recouped the cost in the short time I have owned it.

John
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Old 09-24-2007, 01:47 PM   #19
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Sarge,
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or 904-613-5897
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Old 09-24-2007, 06:38 PM   #20
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KIX, I just logged back on and saw your post. I will E-mail you, as I just realized that you are in Florida, and it's after 10:30 your time.

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