4WD Auto, Winter blend and MPG

4WD Auto, Winter blend and MPG

This is a discussion on 4WD Auto, Winter blend and MPG within the RAM 1500 Diesel General Discussion forums, part of the RAM 1500 EcoDiesel Forum category; Saturday I drove from MD to southern NH pulling a 16' U-Haul. We got caught in that East Coast blizzard in CT and saw the ...

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Thread: 4WD Auto, Winter blend and MPG

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    RAM Sr Member Kyler's Avatar
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    4WD Auto, Winter blend and MPG

    Saturday I drove from MD to southern NH pulling a 16' U-Haul. We got caught in that East Coast blizzard in CT and saw the huge pile-up. Fortunately I was north-bound and only caught up in the gawd-awful rubber necking. I didn't think the roads were that bad but there sure were a lot of people on the road who had no business being there. Once the snow started accumulating on the road, I switched to 4WD Auto. Most of the time I was driving at 45-50 MPH. Dropped down to 15 MPH when visibility got really low and the morons showed their worst.

    Anyway, I got right at 18 MPG going north. Sunday I only got 14.5 MPG. I had the cruise control set at 75 MPH and didn't have the 4WD Auto engaged except in the mountains of PA south of Scranton. I expected better. In the summer I towed my smaller but heavier race trailer to MI with the cruise set on 80 MPH and got 16 MPG. I'm blaming the winter blend for most of the MPG loss. Hard to tell what effect the 4WD Auto had since I was driving much slower and it only comes on when needed.
    Last edited by Kyler; 01-09-2017 at 06:37 AM.
    Ken
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    Administrator 97hmcs's Avatar
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    Happy to hear yo had a safe trip.

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    RAM Guru shaggn85's Avatar
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    i drove in that same storm and they day after... you have to factor in wind as well.
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    RAM Professor Sorny's Avatar
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    Wind eats MPG big time.
    75 MPH pulling a trailer eats MPG.
    Winter blend fuel eats MPG.
    4x4 in Auto will drop ~2 MPG when it isn't actively running the front, more when it is actually sending power up front.
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    RAM Sr Member SlightEco's Avatar
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    Glad you were safe I heard and saw that pile up on the news. Good thing we stayed home.

    I have found my sweet spot in the winter is setting the cruise at 69. Any higher I really see the decline in MPGs.

    Also those hills through PA can really take a toll on MPGs in winter.
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    RAM Platinum Member Captainmal's Avatar
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    My guess is that rented trailer was flat in front and presented a poor aerodynamic profile at higher speeds. Kind of like pulling a parachute down the road, you can't expect good fuel mileage.

    Your smaller ( less than 16ft???) but heavier race trailer must have no profile. I would think most race cars are too long for something that small unless open. It might be for racing motorcycles but then would not really be that heavy. Standard UHaul trailers just seem to be very heavy for their size compared to most general use trailers. Now you add in the weather, wind, road conditions etc. You just might have done good, considering.
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    Administrator 97hmcs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyler View Post
    Hard to tell what effect the 4WD Auto had since I was driving much slower and it only comes on when needed.
    When in 4WD Auto, the front axle is engaged and the driveline is always spinning. The clutches in the transfer case are used to provide the power to the front wheels when rear wheel traction is lost. Since the front axle is engaged, 4WD Auto will result in lower fuel economy.

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    RAM Regular waffle85us's Avatar
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    Here in Colorado the weather has been providing plenty of opportunity to play with the 4wd auto. On my commute of about 18 miles at 65 mph I've had it off and on several times, but haven't noticed any change in mpg readings. That's just based on a few individual trips not several whole tanks hand calculated and averaged out though.

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    RAM Sr Member Kyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 97hmcs View Post
    When in 4WD Auto, the front axle is engaged and the driveline is always spinning. The clutches in the transfer case are used to provide the power to the front wheels when rear wheel traction is lost. Since the front axle is engaged, 4WD Auto will result in lower fuel economy.
    the parasitic drag of the driveline doesn't appear to be very bad. Poor chose of words on my part. I was referring to when power was actually applied to the wheel.
    Ken
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    Administrator 97hmcs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyler View Post
    the parasitic drag of the driveline doesn't appear to be very bad. Poor chose of words on my part. I was referring to when power was actually applied to the wheel.
    Because the front axle is engaged, 4WD Auto will result in lower fuel economy than the 2WD mode. How much? I don't know.

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