Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Class C Motorhomes: Down hill grade
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 > Down hill grade

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pauly boy

canada

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Posted: 04/23/20 10:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Relatively new to RVing. My question is while driving down a steep grade road the engine will rev high. Should I gear down? And best way to do this while driving?
Thanks for any help.
Stay Safe...Paul

valhalla360

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Posted: 04/23/20 10:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Assuming it's a gas engine. (diesels are a different game)

Generally start by putting it in the same gear you rode up the hill in (assuming the downside is a similar slope). Yes, the engine will rev but unless it's redlining the engine, shouldn't hurt anything and the reving will provide some engine braking.

If it does start to go a bit too fast for comfort, use short but firm braking followed by releasing the brake entirely. That will allow the brakes to cool down between applications. If you just apply light braking, the brakes will overheat and then when you do need strong braking, they may not work.

Obviously, watch traffic and curves so you can adapt.


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klutchdust

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Posted: 04/23/20 10:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When I drove semi's or towing my own heavy trailer rule of thumb is travel down the hill at the speed you would be traveling if you were going up the same hill.
braking. Apply braking to reduce speed to mph you desire then let off. Going 65 and need to get to 55, well brake until you get to 55 then let off. NEVER ride the brakes they will overheat and fail. That's why there are runaway truck lanes.
Using tow mode and engine revs high, they are designed and can rev high, if revving too high use brakes to reduce your speed as mentioned above.
It's always a good idea to just reduce your speed going downhill. Use common sense, you will be fine.

wolfe10

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Posted: 04/23/20 10:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Find a gear and road speed that KEEPS YOUR SPEED IN EQUILIBRIUM-- you are neither speeding up nor slowing down.

Doesn't matter it the road is dead straight, if a steep grade, that speed may be 15 MPH and 1st gear.

If you have to use the brakes (brake pedal) do so firmly and long enough to drop to the next lower gear.

And, if hydraulic brakes, it is CRITICAL that your brake fluid is fresh. Fresh brake fluid boils at over 450 degrees F. Hydrated/old brake fluid boils below 260 degrees F. Boiling brake fluid= substantially reduced braking. Easy to check. Open the master cylinder and check the color. New brake fluid is absolutely clear-- like water. It darkens as it absorbs moisture (which it does to keep the ferrous metal brake components from rusting). Light tan may be OK in the short term-- darker IS NOT.


Brett Wolfe
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Ex: 1997 Safari 35'
Ex: 1993 Foretravel U240

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rogerddd

Sacramento, CA

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Posted: 04/23/20 01:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360,
What is different about diesel vs. gas? "diesels are a different game"

wolfe10

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Posted: 04/23/20 03:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rogerddd wrote:

valhalla360,
What is different about diesel vs. gas? "diesels are a different game"


Gasoline engines use VACUUM (pistons pulling against closed throttle) to generate braking HP.

Diesel engines-- no throttle restriction in intake. So they will have an exhaust brake, VGT turbo that closes and acts similar to an exhaust brake or on larger engines an engine compression brake.

Either gasoline or diesel engines ALONG WITH PROPER GEAR can be used to control speed of descent.

ernie1

Sacramento,California,USA

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Posted: 04/23/20 04:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not all diesel engined vehicles have exhaust brakes. How do you handle these?

bobndot

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Posted: 04/23/20 04:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

On my Ford v-10, I use tow haul mode. When descending a steep grade, I tap the brake, the tranny kicks down and holds me back.

bobndot

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Posted: 04/23/20 04:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ernie1 wrote:

Not all diesel engined vehicles have exhaust brakes. How do you handle these?


I had a diesel without an exhaust brake and I learned to drive real fast going down hills.
At times it was a challenge , I would tranny down to a lower gear and pump the brake pedal from time to time as to not overheat the brakes. If I remember correctly the Ford brake fluid had a higher temp rating and resisted fading.

DrewE

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Posted: 04/23/20 04:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If a diesel engine in a vehicle has neither a compression nor an exhaust brake nor something similar, you just don't have much engine braking available, and so of necessity must rely on the service brakes for more of the braking. Everything else being equal (same vehicle weights, same service brake setups, etc.), that would mean you'd have to descend at a slower speed overall so that the rate at which the brakes must dissipate energy is kept lower, assuming you're in a situation where you might otherwise run out of braking power.





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