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Old 07-28-2016, 12:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Central Oregon, USA
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95 F150 and Uhaul trailer drive across USA

I didn't think this should go in Aerodynamics, but here we go:

In the fairly near future I have the task of driving a 1995 Ford F150 supercab (not crew cab) 2wd with a 302 across the country from Dallas Texas to Central Oregon. In tow I will have a Uhaul 6x12 trailer. Both truck bed and trailer will be full of not particularly heavy but bulky household items (furniture, freezer, antique rocking chairs, secretariat, etc.) as aging parents will be entering a retirement community. The drive is estimated at a shade over 2000 miles taking the flattest and time efficient route (Dallas TX- Salinas KS- Denver CO- Cheyenne WY- SLC UT- Boise ID- Bend OR); heading across NM and AZ and up through CA is an additional 200 miles.

With the drive and vehicle in mind, I estimate that on flat ground at highway speeds the truck will achieve 17mpg, with the aforementioned trailer it should achieve 12-13. Any faster than 60-65 tops and fuel economy will fall off a cliff further.

I will be arriving at DFW pre-dawn on a Wednesday, and have an appoitment that morning to have a hitch installed and trailer picked up, and then leaving early on a Friday morning for the estimated 3.5 day drive. In this window I will have to go through a 3900 sq ft house and 2200 sq ft shop and place everything we are taking in one place on Wednesday and spend a portion of the day loading Thursday. This does not leave much time for my idea which I am finally getting to:

Dad has a working woodworking shop which has not been touched in 3-4 years. In my recollection from briefly walking through it this summer there is enough wood and plywood to make a temporary canopy (only has to survive the drive to Oregon) to extend from the cab of the truck beyond the tailgate towards the square trailer, which will hopefully allow 1 or 2 mpg back from towing.

In order to pull this of I will have to complete measurements, cut wood, secure framework to vehicle (complicated by drop-in bed liner and tubular bed rails (u-bolts to created wooden frame?)), and then measure plywood and secure to frame, as well as gorilla tape gaps. I will have to pull this off without dad's direct assistance due to alzheimers and power tools not mixing.

So I ask, what would be an effective way to accomplish this in 4 or 5 hours? Would it be better to just lay plywood over the top of the truck bed rails and secure it, and hope for the best with the trailer aero? I do not wish to hunt down and purchase an overpriced used canopy/bed topper on craigslist in Dallas with limited time and tight budget. I will not have coroplast available for scavenging, only wood-related materials.

Your thoughts? Taping gaps on the truck seems fairly obvious as are airing up tires. Thank you.

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