Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: White Knuckle Trip
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myerind

46902

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Posted: 11/09/20 05:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I bought a 2001 Rialta QD recently. It slept 2-3 which is all I needed. I wanted an RV that handled well and was easy on gas. Because of the age, I expected to have to do a few upgrades. Because of the interest shown in this forum, I installed a transmission cooler

My first trip was into Michigan which went well. I found a few problems, but nothing serious.

My second trip was a little more adventurous. I was going to visit Utah's National Parks from Arches to Zion. Through what I call the flatlands everything went well. The problems started West of Denver. There are two stretches of 6% grade. The RV shifted from D to 3rd as expected, but was still not making progress. I shifted to 2nd and was able to stabilize at 40 mph. Meanwhile, semis and larger RVs were passing me easily. During this stretch and for the rest of the trip, it was white knuckle driving waiting for something to blow up. Once I got back to the flatlands, everything was fine.

I'm sure that many of the members have driven this route. My conclusion is that either the Rialta is under powered or that I have a problem with the transmission or engine. I am assuming that the interest in transmission cooling has to do with mountain driving.

So, my question is under powered or something else?

Lwiddis

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Posted: 11/09/20 06:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your Rialta is twenty years old! It’s a Volkswagen chassis. Last tune up?


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naturist

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Posted: 11/09/20 06:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I know nothing of that particular rig, but I would point out that unless the engine is turbocharged, you lose a lot of power at altitude. I know that stretch of road goes from 5,000 feet to 11,000 feet, and non-turbo vehicles suffer greatly at those altitudes. That is one reason there are so many diesel recommendations here; diesels are almost always turbocharged and suffer no loss of power at altitude.





Desert Captain

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Posted: 11/09/20 07:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

naturist wrote:

I know nothing of that particular rig, but I would point out that unless the engine is turbocharged, you lose a lot of power at altitude. I know that stretch of road goes from 5,000 feet to 11,000 feet, and non-turbo vehicles suffer greatly at those altitudes. That is one reason there are so many diesel recommendations here; diesels are almost always turbocharged and suffer no loss of power at altitude.



That loss is roughly 3 percent for every 1,000' of elevation. Do the math... at 8,000' you have lost 24 percent of your flatland HP. As noted turbocharged engines are immune but for most of us its can be a significant challenge out here in the west.

There are lots of gremlins that could be hurting the rigs performance from clogged fuel and/or air filters to simply needing a tuneup. You should expect better performance than that. Good luck.

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time2roll

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Posted: 11/09/20 07:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

40 up that hill is just fine. Toward the end I am in low gear at about 28 mph. Beautiful and wonderful drive.
Last time I went over was eastbound and traffic was so bad westbound it was all bumper to bumper 5 to 15 mph. Road was closed 2 hours for me due to a car cut off a big rig that had one front tire hanging off the edge as we finally creeped by. Just drive steady with your speed and traffic and you get over just fine in the slow lane. Patience is all you need.


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coolmom42

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Posted: 11/09/20 09:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That's the nature of a small VW engine with 19 yr old technology and no turbo. You could possibly do a few things to slightly improve it. But it is what it is.

Shift down and stay in the right lane. Plan your route if possible to avoid grades like that, but they are not unusual.


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MitchF150

Puyallup, WA

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Posted: 11/10/20 12:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds pretty normal to me? Given that it's a large vehicle with a low powered engine, going up a grade in higher altitude is gonna be hard and it's gonna have to work.. (ie higher rpms)

Try pushing a wheelbarrow up an incline with a load in it compared to on the flat land..

Anyway, not sure why semis passing you is "white knuckle", but I was not there and probably missing some points along the way too..

4000 rpms is loud for sure, but that's probably the peak power range of your engine, so it's just doing what it needs to do..

Good luck! Mitch
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valhalla360

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Posted: 11/10/20 05:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MitchF150 wrote:

Sounds pretty normal to me? Given that it's a large vehicle with a low powered engine, going up a grade in higher altitude is gonna be hard and it's gonna have to work.. (ie higher rpms)

Try pushing a wheelbarrow up an incline with a load in it compared to on the flat land..

Anyway, not sure why semis passing you is "white knuckle", but I was not there and probably missing some points along the way too..

4000 rpms is loud for sure, but that's probably the peak power range of your engine, so it's just doing what it needs to do..

Good luck! Mitch
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I was going to write pretty much the same thing. Nothing about the story is "white knuckle", so unless there is more to the story...


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pasusan

Northernmost PA

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Posted: 11/10/20 05:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't know anything about Rialtas so I did a search and came up with this very informative page: Rialta. It talks about engine size as well as everything else. Looks like yours is one year too early for the better (bigger) engine.


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myerind

46902

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Posted: 11/10/20 08:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mitch

It wasn't the semis, but the stress I thought I was putting on the transmission and engine.

Thanks for all your inputs. Sounds like if my trans and engine are OK I just need to be patient.

I haven't had a tune up since I bought it in Jan, so I plan to do that.

Ron Myer

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