Tow Vehicle: 5 Star Tuning update

Tow Vehicle: Maintenance and 5 Star Tuning update

by Frank Ewald

Tow vehicles are workhorses to get our cars to the track and back, to allow us to run errands and haul large items around, and in my case, a home away from home. My tow vehicle is a 2000 Ford E450 24’ Triple E Recreational Vehicle. My wife and I got it in 2008 for its functionality as a camper. I have enjoyed it immensely at the track as I am able to find a relaxing spot trackside – with air conditioning (or a furnace) if the conditions warrant it – any time I need it.


Yes, a truck may be more functional to haul a car to the track and back. Until you want to lie down in AC and have a rest. Or go to the fridge to grab a snack. RVs can be found at a reasonable price, often with relatively low mileage and, in most cases, they already have a hitch installed. Then after your track weekend you can plan a weekend camping with the family.

Moving a giant box down the road does not lend itself to efficient fuel economy. Having a giant 6.8 litre V10 under the hood is also a detriment to economy. Over the years I have monitored my mileage and have averaged between 8 and 10 miles per gallon. That is not bad, considering much of that has been towing a tow dolly with my Nissan NX1600.  Once in a while it’s an Altima or even a Honda, but usually the NX. And I do not even notice that it’s there, it pulls so nicely and fits so well behind the RV. There have been instances where I have pulled open and closed car trailers and, honestly, they tow far better than a dolly. I think that I will need to look into getting a car trailer in the future.


Breakfast time? Pull off the side of the road and make some bacon and eggs! I stopped at the side of Lake Superior and it was picture perfect. There was even a family of Loons swimming by. I try to leave areas as good, if not better, than before I arrived. At this spot I picked up a lot of litter.

However, my hauler is not perfect. In the past five years I have become irritated by how the truck shifts at highway speed on inclines. I have been envious of diesel owners and their seemingly amazing mileage. And since in a van you are essentially sitting right on top of the engine, your feet tend to get roasted.


Sunrise on the Canadian prairies. This was the start of my gas study between the original ECU settings and the 5 Star Tuning settings. What better place to compare mileage than the prairies – which are by definition flat.

This summer, as readers of my previous articles (Upgraded NX and Mission Raceway) are aware, my wife and I spent some time in British Columbia. What you did not know was that we took our now 15 year old RV across Canada. Ten thousand five hundred kilometres or six thousand five hundred miles later we have returned to Ontario with a lot of stories, hundreds of pictures, and no breakdowns or mechanical failures. Well, at least nothing that required me to pull out wrenches and get greasy. That was, in large part, due to ongoing maintenance and the pre-trip preparation that I completed.


We stayed north of the border both ways. We had thought about heading south and crossing below the Great Lakes, but then the Canadian dollar sank against its American counterpart. We decided that we would enjoy more of the Canadian Shield.

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