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Discussion Starter #1
So I can not remember which post I was reading months ago about the cost savings of removing the 5th wheel. However I did run some tests and had some results to post.

Okay, so I do not think the spare tire on/off makes a significant difference on MPG. That surprises me.

The Wrangler Unlimited has 22.5 gallon tank and is advertised at 15 MPG city and 20 MPG HWY. To prep, these figures are very low because 95% of my driving is less than 5 miles. It took me 9 weeks to obtain these results(6 tanks of gas), I fill up on average once every 8 days.

I have wider & taller AEV 8.5w wheels, MUD tires(Mickely ts MTZ) and 2” lift. The first 3 are with tires on the truck and last 3 with tire off the truck.
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Receipt Gallons, Trip miles, Computer Calc MPG, Manual calculated MPG
5th wheel on
19.53, 253.6, 13.2, 12.98515
19.577, 270.3, 13.7, 13.80702
18.987, 239.1, 13.5, 12.59283

5th wheel off
19.421 246.6 13.5 12.6976
19.4 260 13.6 13.40206
19.394 235.4 13.2 2.13777

I would say that aprox 1.5 of the 2 MPG I am off from the advertised amount is due to my upgrades. The other .5 is related to the fact I drive such short distances. That is just a guess though.

Some final notes:
To those of you that have these wheels and do not know it, you can not change your wheel on your own with the stock jack. You need to carry a special sized metric socket and socket wrench. Be sure the socket is long enough to clear the recessed nut! News to me. :)

To the others that constantly complain about why you would ever want to remove one.... just don't. 1) I found the rear view much nicer. 2) I was able to place long boards in the back no problem. 3) I have AAA and free towing so in the city, when I normally have a suit on anyways, whats the point? 4) lastly, and this I only found out after i put it back on, you can feel the weight back there when turning and backing up a hill. Never noticed it until i took it off for a month and put it back on but you do feel the wheel.

I would never go offroading or on a long trip without my 5th but don't be bullied by others who make you worry about what to do if you have a flat. Fact of the matter is it is more convenient(I really enjoyed being able to access the back of my jeep when the rear window was rolled up), but I did not see any gas savings on 6 tanks of fuel. :) Still surprised.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had my spare on my TJ for 9 years and never once needed it. I did consider removing it but never had the guts.
Was that guts because you figured you would get a flat the moment you took it off? Or guts that your jeep would feel castrated? haha

I like having a spare when I may be breaking down in the middle of the night in the middle of know-where. But in the past 30 years I have changed 2 flat tires.

One was for my girl friend in the middle of the winter on a HWY. The car was my spare car and the freaking jack slipped on icy pavement and put 500.00(deductible) scratch up the side of the door. Stupid me, I found out I had free towing with my State Farm and could have avoided the whole mess!

The other was on my honda when I ran over a nail. My hood had 3 houses being built and i suspect that the culprit.

My cayman did not even have a spare with it, just a can of fix-a-flat.

I think most jeeps to look a little wonky without a spare on the rear but I really do not mind it with the Unlimited. But it is all personal preference.

It just irritated me a few months ago when some Joe on here was asking questions about removing the 5th wheel and some 17 year old feels obligated to post, "do not call me when you get a flat".... guess what, he wasn't going to anyway, ;) Forums posts are plenty enough without someone's wise crack. Instead go do some research and post something meaningful.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
O'k. But, I think it looks "wonky" without a spare.
I hear yeah, well now you know it doesn't make a hill of beans in gas savings so you get to have your cake and run over it too!

But if you ever need to put a 10 foot table in the back... it fits with the tire off. :)
 

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So to summarize...

the fifth wheel makes no difference in fuel efficiency. Got it.

I would have never posited it made a difference in the first place. It's a tiny fraction of the overall curb weight of a JK or JKU. It does not cause undue drag under speed, nor does its absence make the jeep more aerodynamic.

I think a Jeep looks bitchin' without the 5th wheel, but then again I'm a little biased...

 

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Discussion Starter #11
So to summarize...

the fifth wheel makes no difference in fuel efficiency. Got it.

I would have never posited it made a difference in the first place. It's a tiny fraction of the overall curb weight of a JK or JKU. It does not cause undue drag under speed, nor does its absence make the jeep more aerodynamic.

I think a Jeep looks bitchin' without the 5th wheel, but then again I'm a little biased...

I actually would not have posted it made a difference either, though TBH i thought mine would. The AEV Pintler with 33" weighs a good bit.

Since I needed to remove mine a while back to fit a table in I thought I would do the math. ;)

PS love your wheels! I was also happy to see your rig on 2.5 lift with stock wheels. I have been wondering if putting stock Rubis on would look funny and not so much. I have some long trips to make and wanted to avoid running the 33" if I could.
 

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While I agree that it looks better, having been stuck with a flat and no spare tire once, I’d have to pass on ever doing it again. It’s no fun trying to find a tow truck to tow you to a tire station at night then having to wait until they open so you can get a tire put on.
Sure, I’ve only had a flat probably three times in 20 years but I still remember how miserable it was the time I had no spare. Once was enough for me.

Any gas savings that might be found with driving without a spare would be more than lost by the time spent possibly dealing with the consequences. Time is sadly one thing we only have so much of.
 

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I'll do anything I can when I see a jeeper with a flat tire, I have pulled over in the pouring rain to help out. But if I saw he had no spare I would leave him there. There is no excuse for no spare tire.
 

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This looks good, spareless.




But I'm with TexMedic and Mcgee...it's just a headache waiting to happen, not having a spare tire. I'd even rather have one of those teensy little donut spares that come with most cars nowadays, rather than nothing.

Last time I really needed one was years ago in Austin. Blew a tire on my Bronco on I-35, going 70 mph, on my way to shoot a Nickelback concert. Damn thing pretty much disintegrated; turns out I'd run over a chunk of metal at some point, and it eventually blew out the sidewall on the inside of the tire. Without a spare, I'd have missed the concert, which in the photoJ biz is inexcusable...barring death. :)
 
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