Should our RV be getting only 7 mpg?

Seems like your OP has been answered pretty well. And it’s what I would have said too, 7.5 mpg for a 35-footer with a big block Chevy *and *towing is, as someone said, fairly decent. And I think your SO is mistaken about *ever *getting 15mpg. My 2004 Nissan Pathfinder SUV with a 3.5L V-6 (~215 cid) only gets about 15 city and maybe +20 highway (with a tailwind!) And that’s not towing & with only my 180lb self in it!

Don’t be too jealous of diesel pushers either. Yeah, diesels do get better mileage pulling heavy loads, but:
[li]They cost a lot more up front to buy.[/li][li]Diesel engines cost **significantly more **to be serviced or repaired.[/li][li]They may get better mpg, but remember diesel fuel is more expensive (like $1/gal. more than premium gasoline right now!).[/li][/list]
One other thing I wanted to ask and it has less to do with mpg than it does with wear & tear on your towed Jeep’s transmission: Is the Jeep Liberty you’re towing a 4x4? If so, does it have the old-style hand-lever transfer case shifter or the newer-style electronic switch on the dash to change from 2x4 to 4x4 mode? If it has the shift lever then it will have a neutral ‘N’ position. Make sure you *always *put the transfer case in ‘N’ when it’s being towed.

If it has a switch on the dash though, those never seem to have a ‘neutral’ setting. But if your Jeep’s got the switch on the dash and a manual tranny, than just putting the dash switch in 2x4 mode and leaving the tranny out of gear while towing will suffice. But if it’s got the dash switch and it’s an automatic, things are different:
[li]DO NOT use a tow bar. EVER! This will prematurely ruin an automatic transmission.[/li][li]Put the dash switch in 2x4 mode then back it onto a car dolly (i.e. so only the front tires are touching the road). Big problem: Towing ‘backwards’ like this is often illegal in a lot of areas. Plus it can be a little unsafe because the towed car’s engine weight isn’t over the hitch where it should be.[/li][li]Use a full car hauling trailer (all four wheels are off the ground).[/li][/ul]
Main point is, with an automatic you **must **avoid spinning any ‘drive’ wheels while towing.

Important: Make absolutely sure you put the transfer case **back **into anything other than ‘N’ (neutral) **before **you unhitch! Else it will roll away even with the transmission ‘in gear’ or ‘PARK’! (I seriously suspect this is the reason the newer electronic 4x4 systems eliminated the ‘neutral’ transfer case setting!)

This is increasingly not true. Motorhome Magazine puts out a buyer’s guide for dingy cars that includes a column for whether a certain car can (according to the manufacturer) be towed on all four wheels with an automatic. When they first started publishing this list, it was basically just the 4x4’s with neutral transfer case positions, but now almost every American car and a fair number of imports are towable on all four wheels.

Now granted, some models went from untowable one year to towable the next without any apparent mechanical changes, so draw what conclusions from that you may.

The Saturn line of vehicles was designed specifically to be towed “four down”. I towed my 2008 Vue (automatic, AWD) with a tow bar for about 3,000 miles with zero problems.

Yep, The Bob Evans Farms is in rural Ohio, I was just there last month. They were Yankees but nice area nonetheless.

Hey Hail Ants.

thanks for the nice write up. We knew that towing stuff but it never hurts to hear it again and it sure might save some other random reader a buttload of grief.

Our new Jeep has a tiny button you push to put it into neutral. If you listen carefully you can hear a faint clunk and a red led lights up. To me the goofy part is it doesnt STAY lit. It turns off after a few seconds. So, if later you can’t remember for SURE if you did it, you gotta undo it and do it again (that or start towing and figure something aint right and/or screw something up). Seems like a bad design to me. Oh, and the first time we towed it was interesting. We got the where we were going, whip out the manual. It told you how to get into neutral to tow. There was NOTHING anywhere in the manual that told you how to get it OUT of neutral. It took about 5 minutes to figure out the critical steps needed.

Oh, and the heat out here in the midwest is interesting. We parked the Jeep in a parking lot about 5pm. The shindig wasnt over till about 10 pm. Go out, get in the Jeep and drive off. Loud clunking sound. Crap, flat tire. Nope, a chunk of asphalt about the size of roll of paper towels had glued itself to the tire and was ripped out of the parking lot surface. Since it had now cooled off, it was well glued to the tire. Took me about 10 minutes of prying, pulling, and peeling to get it off the tire.

Your mileage sounds about right.

We bought a new 1989 32 foot class A, “basement”, 454 Chevy. Drove the speed limit 60 to 70 mph, towed a new 89 Honda Civic, auto transx, all four on the ground with tow bar that folded up on the Honda bumper. Mix of mountains and flat land mileage was usually 7 to 8 mpg. If we had a good strong tail wind might get 10 mpg.
The Honda dealer said Honda wouldn’t warranty the auyo transx if towed but I’d read in Motorhome magazine that people towed them with out problems so that was good enough for me.

BTW… That sure is low miles for that 97. We sold our 89 in 95 and we had already run up 29,000 miles.

Wow! I can understand the neutral button being tiny to prevent curious and the uninformed from hurting themselves, but once in neutral I’d expect a great big RED light to come on right on the instrument panel, and stay on!