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Question Of The Week

Cruise Control For Truck Camping

“I only use it on flat ground and not in heavy traffic or rain or snow.  I usually set it at 72 miles per hour and 1500 RPMs.  When used, it is a boon to comfort.  Semper Fi.” – Mike Ashworth, 2011 Ram 2500, Automatic, 1989 Jayco

“Yes, I use cruise control when I am hauling my truck camper and even when towing my boat at the same time.  Because the truck has a diesel engine I have no problem maintaining posted highway speeds or less depending on the terrain I am traveling through.  I do feel it saves fuel, compared against trying to keep a steady pace with your right foot.  I mostly use cruise when traveling on a four or more lane highway where faster traffic can safely pass without me having to alter my speed.” – William Steger, 2005 GMC 2500HD, 5-speed Automatic, 1995 Kodiak SC83

“Only when we are on major highways do we use cruise control.  Our speed is set, so the computer is not searching to down shift.  We use the haul mode which changes the shift points of the transmission.  I try for 64 miles per hour on the major highways.  Fuel mileage does not seem to change with the diesel between 58 to 65 miles per hour.  We have been used to towing a 15 thousand pound fifth wheel for many miles, so going from 10.5 to 11 miles per gallon to 12.5 to 13 has been different.  I have always used cruise control even towing the last two fifth wheels without any concerns.” – Eric Devolin, 2007 GMC 3500, Automatic, 2006 Adventurer 106 DBS

“I use cruise control whenever we’re on a road trip.  It’s a much more relaxing way to drive, especially on long flat boring highways.  On curving winding roads, I prefer to have control of the throttle.

It also helps with the fuel economy.  I usually set it between 62 to 65 miles per hour.  This past week we were returning from Pendleton, Oregon so I set cruise control for 66 miles per hour.  Miles per gallon was holding steady at 13.4 as we proceeded on Highway 84 heading into the Columbia Gorge.  Then, the wind hit us head on.  I backed off cruise to 63 miles per hour, and our miles per gallon dropped to 12.0.

When we passed by Hood River my EVIC (Electronic Vehicle Information Center) indicated 80 miles to empty.  I don’t like being that low on fuel and didn’t want to fill up with diesel until we got home to Vancouver.

So I set the cruise to 54 miles per hour, and what a difference.  Luckily the wind died off after Cascade Locks and our miles per gallon increased to 14.3.  By the time we arrived home I still had 72 miles to empty. Considering it’s about 75 miles from Vancouver to Hood River it really makes a difference using cruise control and driving at a lower speed.” – Roger Odahl, 2008 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2004 Eagle Cap 950

“Yes, I use cruise when on the open road and when it is not raining.  I usually set the cruise at 65 miles per hour (assuming the limit is 70).  This way, I usually stay in the right lane and all the others going my way pass us.  We rarely have to pass, but when we do, I go up a little in speed and then drop back to 65.  When in congested traffic I do not use cruise, preferring to drive with manual control.  I do believe that using cruise improves the miles per gallon.” – Dewey Lackey, 2003 Silverado 3500, Automatic, 2014 Lance 1172

“Cruise works for me on major highways.  I don’t use it on most two lane roads.” – Greg Gaser, 2014 Ford F350, Automatic, 2017 lance 1172

“When the road is long and flat with no wind, the cruise is on.  Wyoming does not allow for that very often.  Puckering crosswinds is no place for cruise control.  I slow down and look for the safety of a rest stop.  I also turn it off for steep uphill grades.  I like to keep the RPMs on my 7.3 around 2100 for best miles per gallon.  I just bought a 2016 F350 with the 6.7 diesel.  It is being readied to take over the role of truck camper hauler.  My first trip will be a 3000 mile trip to Key West and then up the east coast to Maine and back to Wyoming.  It will be a great cruise and hopefully most of it on cruise control.  Please, no crosswinds.” – Larry Kelly, 2016 Ford F350, Automatic, 2015 Palomino 8801

“Yes I use cruise control, but never when it is raining.  I set it at 64 miles per hour.  It seems like the 7.3L diesel likes that speed and consumes the fuel in a reasonable manner.  At that speed I usually get around 13 miles per gallon.  Normally we have our fresh water tanks half full (15 gal+/-) and the dry weight of our Lance is around 2900 pounds.  Also the other vehicles that are traveling at 70 miles per hour or more are bunched up in packs, hitting their brakes, and frequently changing lanes.  Take it from some on who used to drive a tractor/trailer for a living, cruise control takes the stress, tension and pain away from your right ankle, knee, leg, and lower back.” – Jerry Bonneau, 1995 Ford F350SD, Automatic, 2002 Lance 1061

“I just bought the 2015 F250 which replaced my 1999 F150 so I am waiting to see how the new truck handles the old camper.  With the F150 4.6 V8 I would use the cruise control when on the freeway set at 60 to 65 miles per hour.  I would keep my eye on the tack and would cancel cruise before it would downshift on an uphill grade holding the gas steady.  I might lose a couple of miles per hour, but I do not have the engine screaming to hold the exact speed.  When in hilly county I would also rest my foot on the accelerator while using cruise control.  Going down hill I would gain a few miles per hour, but usually gained enough momentum to go up the next hill without needing to accelerate.  I would average about 12 miles per gallon on most of our trips.  My best was 19 miles per gallon.  I can’t wait to see how the new truck handles.” – Mike and Nancy Pohl, 2015 Ford F250, 6-speed Automatic, 1985 American Pilgrim 8.5 hardside

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