200 lb Leer Camper shell improves gas mileage !

NeptuneRanger

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This is my theory based on experience. I believe the shell reduces drag to offset weight. I love water sports and surf in Southern California as well as kayak in Arizona. Boards and kayaks can fit with camper shell on. My mileage with surf boards, wetsuits and coolers in the back gets around 30 MPG from PHX to El Centro, then given climb over passes to San Diego drops to 26 ish.

Is this my imagination or real ? Also does 200 pounds in the back actually level my truck out naturally ?





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the1mrb

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I don't think you're imagining!!
I've been saying this same thing for almost a year!!

I got my Leer 100XR installed last March and immediately saw an overall increase in fuel mileage by about 2mpg across the board.

Clean highway: 26mpg up to 28mpg
Towing: 18mpg up to 20-21mpg
Winter: 16-18mpg up to 18-20mpg
Kayaks on roof: 23mpg to 25mpg

And before anybody goes crazy, these are hand calculated numbers. Even though my truck is within +/-1mpg of hand calc anyways.

I'm absolutely convinced I could get up to 30mpg, like you, if I had the chance (long highway road trip in clean profile), but that type of trip hasn't come around too often with world in tatters. And when it has, usually we'll take my wife's new 2020 Escape Hybrid anyways.

I'm not sure you're science is necessarily all there, but nevertheless, it is a reality. Numbers don't lie! I'm with you 100% on this!

Also I wouldn't think 200lbs would level the truck. I would expect something more like 600-700 lbs. I've gotten closer, since I have the Leer on, about 210lbs worth of sand for added winter traction, my fatbike, and all my other usual junk back there. So I'm probably sitting at around 500lbs in the bed right now and I'd say the headlights are starting to point a little high for my (and the driver's around me) liking. haha
 

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This is my theory based on experience. I believe the shell reduces drag to offset weight. I love water sports and surf in Southern California as well as kayak in Arizona. Boards and kayaks can fit with camper shell on. My mileage with surf boards, wetsuits and coolers in the back gets around 30 MPG from PHX to El Centro, then given climb over passes to San Diego drops to 26 ish.

Is this my imagination or real ? Also does 200 pounds in the back actually level my truck out naturally ?
Looks good. :)
Leer IMO is one of the best caps you can buy. My 2009 Ram 1500 Crew 4x4 has one thats been on it since the beginning! No problems, a few gas struts thats it. My son drives it now and although he thinks it would look better w/o the cap he keeps all his smelly sports gear in there now, my garage and his bedroom does not smell like a gym locker room any more!

I opted not to do a hard cap this time, I'm not carrying tools any more since I pretty much drive a desk now. For a soft tonneau I recommend the Truxedo Pro X15, its made out of convertible top material and is about 95% water proof/resistant inside, even after a car wash.
 
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NeptuneRanger

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I think that’s doable with a 2wd truck
Yes indeed, have made several trips from AZ to CA and it wasn’t a one off. Two things make the magic 30 mpg (sometimes a tad more) go down, any uphill incline and if I go faster than 75 which of course I never do 😉. I first part of the drive is flat, keep in mind it gets a bit toasty in summer and this with the AC on high. Hopefully with Covid restrictions lifting in CA, I’ll go again soon in winter and drive across the desert without AC to see if I can exceed 30 to 31 mpg, at least for the flat stretch.
 

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Yes indeed, have made several trips from AZ to CA and it wasn’t a one off. Two things make the magic 30 mpg (sometimes a tad more) go down, any uphill incline and if I go faster than 75 which of course I never do 😉. I first part of the drive is flat, keep in mind it gets a bit toasty in summer and this with the AC on high. Hopefully with Covid restrictions lifting in CA, I’ll go again soon in winter and drive across the desert without AC to see if I can exceed 30 to 31 mpg, at least for the flat stretch.
Speed, flatness, and calm, fluid transitions between going and stopping have been the key for me. My current max of 28.0mpg was achieved doing 60-65mph on a 5 hour road trip over slightly hilly terrain a couple summers ago. Granted, summer isn't as hot here, but we were using the A/C. I'd love to do the same trip with the topper and on like a fall day or something to really see what I can get out of this thing.
 

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This is my theory based on experience. I believe the shell reduces drag to offset weight. I love water sports and surf in Southern California as well as kayak in Arizona. Boards and kayaks can fit with camper shell on. My mileage with surf boards, wetsuits and coolers in the back gets around 30 MPG from PHX to El Centro, then given climb over passes to San Diego drops to 26 ish.

Is this my imagination or real ? Also does 200 pounds in the back actually level my truck out naturally ?
You are not imagining things. A tonneau is a step above nothing and a cap is a step above that.
 

DT444T

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Take it from aviation.

Aerodynamics offset weight. Always*

That's why retractable landing gear is a thing. It weighs WAY more, but the aerodynamic benefits are outstanding.
 

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You are not imagining things. A tonneau is a step above nothing and a cap is a step above that.
Bed covers typically reduce or have no effect on fuel economy. Haven't seen any data on bed caps.
 

port43

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Bed covers typically reduce or have no effect on fuel economy. Haven't seen any data on bed caps.
Well I was going by the mileage on a Dodge Ram I used to have and the tonneau cover helped. I guess I should have added the caveat that "individual results may vary."
I guess physics > common sense.
 
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You guys haven’t watched the mythbusters episode on pickup trucks and tailgate open or closed for higher mpg. Makes no difference as the air flow doesn’t change. It’s all aerodynamics Watson! A cap would make a drag pocket behind truck larger than stock. So still scratching my head on this one.

The only question I got to ask is, ever check your tire pressure from factory to you? Mine were at 45 psi from factory. Got great mileage but my ass hurt!!! 🤣
 
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NeptuneRanger

NeptuneRanger

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You guys haven’t watched the mythbusters episode on pickup trucks and tailgate open or closed for higher mpg. Makes no difference as the air flow doesn’t change. It’s all aerodynamics Watson! A cap would make a drag pocket behind truck larger than stock. So still scratching my head on this one.

The only question I got to ask is, ever check your tire pressure from factory to you? Mine were at 45 psi from factory. Got great mileage but my ass hurt!!! 🤣
I run my tires at 33-34 ish being an urban driver. Here is my take on Mythbusters, I believe no measurable difference in stop and go five miles to the store type driving. But on the open road, hours without a stop on the flat desert I have on many occasion looked down on my mileage and seen at over 30 mpg, next time I go I'll take a screen shot, I have not made the trip without the shell so I am not sure what an empty truck would have done. Looking at the posts, not many Ranger owners cracking 30 mpg at all. Whatever it is, I'll take it :)
 

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