towing performance | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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jpnken

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2013 Ford Explorer XLT
Hey folks- I've had the Explorer for almost 3 years now and just purchased a travel trailer (see signature). The Explorer does fine towing, but I'm getting 10-13mpg at best. I've been researching ways to improve gas mileage. So far, my ideas are:
  1. Icon AeroShield http://a.co/e2NoYRD to improve aerodynamics
  2. livernois N/A tuner to improve low end torque, which in theory would help the vehicle stay in higher gears?
  3. K&N CAI would also slightly improve low end torque
I don't want to do an aftermarket exhaust. None of these options are very cheap. Wondering if any of you have other ideas to help improve MPGs towing a travel trailer.

I chatted with a rep from Icon online because there is no official application guide for an Explorer (only Explorer Sport Trac). This is probably because you'd want the AeroShield mounted as far back on the roof as possible, which means their normal method of strapping it down via doors wouldn't be possible. The rep I chatted with emailed me some links showing examples of people mounting the deflector to roof racks. Item #4 in their FAQ also mentions applications with a roof rack. The rep was very clear in stating:

"Please note any alterations or modification to the product does void the product warranty."​

Wind Deflector FAQ
https://www.icondirect.com/product_images/uploaded_images/wd600-on-ford-excursion3.jpg
https://www.icondirect.com/product_images/uploaded_images/wd-on-vehicle-with-luggage-rack2.jpg
https://www.icondirect.com/product_images/uploaded_images/wd600-on-ford-excursion2.jpg
https://www.icondirect.com/product_images/uploaded_images/vehicle-with-luggage-rack.jpg
 



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Odrapnew

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The only input I have is Option 3 is not worth it.
The factory air box does a good job a pulling in cold air.
The filter itself won't have a significant effect on performance at low RPM(and is debatable for flow at higher RPM).
 












Drive XR7

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+1 V8 or Diesel or Ecoboost. No matter any way you slice it, towing will destroy fuel economy. A diesel will do better, maybe an F250 SuperDuty or Silverado 2500 would fare better,
 






Drive XR7

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jo7hs2

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Dealing with the vehicle at hand...

I looked up the R-pod you have. UVW of 2756lbs and 20’ for reference to the thread.

r-pod Travel Trailers by Forest River RV

It doesn’t look like it has a frontal area problem, but do you have the numbers for that, just to check? Also...How heavily loaded is the Explorer and is the trailer empty or are you carrying water and what not? Just trying to get an idea of the problem is weight (as in, are you approaching 4-5000lbs total) or aerodynamics. I’m betting aerodynamics. And I think you are too. Honestly, 3k but 20ft long, with a 3.5, that might be the best you’re going to get. Especially since the Explorer isn’t all that aerodynamic to begin with. lol. But, maybe you can boost it a little.
 






jo7hs2

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Don’t bother with the filter. It’s not going to let enough extra air past to matter in this application.

I’m concerned about one thing on the Icon device... If it needs to be installed further back, it may shift aerodynamic force and add weight onto the rear wheels. Ignoring how this may affect your tow balance for a moment, putting force on the rear wheels might actually HURT your fuel economy. Remember that at highway speeds the gen 5 is basically FWD unless the rear wheels are called for. If they’ve rated it for the Explorer Sport Trac, which is RWD/4x4, they may not have taken that into account yet.
 






jpnken

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Thanks for all the feedback. It sounds like I'm getting about the best I'm gonna get with the vehicle I've got.

+1 V8 or Diesel or Ecoboost. No matter any way you slice it, towing will destroy fuel economy. A diesel will do better, maybe an F250 SuperDuty or Silverado 2500 would fare better,

In the future, I think we'll look at a diesel vehicle, but right now we just can't justify it.

Dealing with the vehicle at hand...

I looked up the R-pod you have. UVW of 2756lbs and 20’ for reference to the thread.

r-pod Travel Trailers by Forest River RV

It doesn’t look like it has a frontal area problem, but do you have the numbers for that, just to check? Also...How heavily loaded is the Explorer and is the trailer empty or are you carrying water and what not? Just trying to get an idea of the problem is weight (as in, are you approaching 4-5000lbs total) or aerodynamics. I’m betting aerodynamics. And I think you are too. Honestly, 3k but 20ft long, with a 3.5, that might be the best you’re going to get. Especially since the Explorer isn’t all that aerodynamic to begin with. lol. But, maybe you can boost it a little.

So far, we've only towed it very lightly loaded. It's still winterized so tanks are mostly empty. We'll mostly be using it at RV parks and places where there is water and power hookups.

Don’t bother with the filter. It’s not going to let enough extra air past to matter in this application.

I’m concerned about one thing on the Icon device... If it needs to be installed further back, it may shift aerodynamic force and add weight onto the rear wheels. Ignoring how this may affect your tow balance for a moment, putting force on the rear wheels might actually HURT your fuel economy. Remember that at highway speeds the gen 5 is basically FWD unless the rear wheels are called for. If they’ve rated it for the Explorer Sport Trac, which is RWD/4x4, they may not have taken that into account yet.

I had thought about the possible disturbance in weight/force balance. The only thought I had was that, in theory, couldn't we counteract by adjusting the weight distribution hitch?


Regarding the Icon AeroShield, I spoke with a gentleman on my camper facebook group who had.. He says he got one 2.5 years ago, used it for 1.5 years, then the plastic started to crack around the mounting hardware. He said Icon's official recommendation to him was not to use the AeroShield at speeds over 60mph. He told me he would mostly go 65mph max but occasionally 70mph when passing vehicles on 2-lane highways. I emailed Icon with this information and they responded saying they place no speed limitations on AeroShield and that their brackets are made from aircraft grade aluminum.
 






jo7hs2

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I’m not sure you could fully compensate for a force imbalance on the vehicle itself by adjusting the weight distributing hitch. It’d be just like compensating for having a bunch of stuff in the back of your Explorer by adjusting the hitch. It might help, but since the weight is still in the towing vehicle not the towed or on the tongue, it can only do so much.
 






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