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Old 05-13-2008, 01:08 PM   #1
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
White Lake , Michigan
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Looking for people who have experience with gearvendor or dual range gear splitters?

Does anyone have personal experiences with the results of adding either the gearvendor or dual range gearsplitters to their MH transmissions. I need some feed back in regards to the effects on miles per gal. and performance on steep grades, etc. Also, how durable are these units? What kind of maintenance to they require? Any information would be appreciated. I'm trying to make a decision on my 345 and for that kind of price, I need some actual experiences rather than the advertisements... Thanks Mr. D.
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:00 PM   #2
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MrD

Shoot of a PM to Str8stream. He can give you lots of info about gearvendoers equip. I do know he's very happy about the lower RPMs and increased MPG.
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:25 PM   #3
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1985 34.5' Airstream 345
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin camping
MrD

Shoot of a PM to Str8stream. He can give you lots of info about gearvendoers equip. I do know he's very happy about the lower RPMs and increased MPG.
And here we are. Our 1985 345, with 454 ci engine, came with a gear vendor when we bought it in '05. I didn't know what it was and so didn't use it until about the third outing. There was a major difference in RPMs. We dropped about 4-500 at 60-65 mph. I have to admit that I am not a real stickler for MPG, probably because I don't really want to know. But there is a couple mile per gallon difference. I don't have it exactly because sometimes we have a toad and sometimes not. Also, sometimes I drive like I should, and sometimes not. Based on RPMs and the resultant saving of wear and tear and wouldn't be without a gear vendor.
Searching the records of our coach, it appears that the first owner had the first GV installed in 1993 and replaced it in '03. We replaced it with a remanufactured unit in late '07 at a cost of about $1K. Our plan is to have this coach until we are to old to RV, and we will maintain the GV as needed. I like having the ability to pass by putting my foot in it and running up to 75+ mph. I also have the ability to split gears for hill climbing. Ron
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:42 PM   #4
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There are a couple other MoHo owners that have used GV setups and are happy with it, and one that is not. I had two(!) US Gear overdrives in our F250 diesel. It did make a difference for the truck. RPM dropped by nearly 1000 @ 65 mph, and fuel mileage was about 17 MT, 13 loaded. It was 12 MT and 10 loaded without on the one trip I took without using the units.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:52 PM   #5
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
White Lake , Michigan
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Thanks to all who responded

I bought my '88 345 rig about 4 years ago with the idea that I would have it ready for extended use(full time) during retirement ... well retirement is hear and I still have a few items to get done. One of those items centers on the gear splitter .. the rig came with a disconnected Dual Range splitter ... I have driven as it came for many trips with no serious complaints .. I now am deciding whether to fix it, replace it , or leave it disconnected ... thanks for the advice ... I appreciate the info ... Mr. D.
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:39 PM   #6
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On balance, I am sold on the Gearvendors

We have an '83 310 and added the GV early on after we bought the unit last year. I don't watch mileage very carefully for the same reasons mentioned in the other post.

The GM RV Chassis manual I have clearly recommends not to install an overdrive, stating that it increases load on the transmission and engine. It makes a certain amount of sense the coach has to work just as hard to move along regardless of rpm's. On the other hand it has to work exponentially harder with an increase of speed. So I subscribe to using the GV except on grades, and to keeping my speed under 65.

Ours is an '82 chassis and is from that era when vehicles were designed to be most efficient around 55mph. Maybe there's some leeway in the design that would yield some benefits with GV in the 55-65mph range. At least that's one rationalization!

It's great to be able to run the engine slower on mostly level ground--it's quieter, for one thing. Also, I expect to appreciate the half-gear shift capability if I am lucky enough to travel out to the Rockies.

I purchased the Gearvendors through Camping World and gained a 10% lower price than buying direct; however the GV tech support was really outstanding. I installed it myself. They called me before they shipped the unit because CW had ordered the wrong model. Then the splined coupler with the unit did not fit my output shaft and they sent a new one out overnight when I called them. I have a lot of respect for their support folks.
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:15 PM   #7
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Support at GV

We were also very impressed, when our last unit started to fail they spent at least an hour on the phone with us and our mechanic, and had us do some tweaking that got us another 2000 miles out of the unit-------to the NM balloon festival and home!
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. D
One of those items centers on the gear splitter .. the rig came with a disconnected Dual Range splitter ... I have driven as it came for many trips with no serious complaints ..
Is the gear splitter a two speed rear axle, or is it a GV in-the-driveline unit?
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:59 PM   #9
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Gear Vendor Report

I installed the GV unit in my 1987 345 (which won Runner Up Best of Show last year at the Tin Can Tourist's Nationals - Thank You very much).
I've put almost 10K on with it many times pulling a loaded trailer in the mountains. It has performed flawlessly and makes driving the coach a real pleasure. The noise reduction alone is worth it but the increased economy
and driving flexibility with the ability to tromp on the switch and have a half step downshift is great. Saves brakes and will add longevity to the engine that just turned 70K. In 1987, 55 was the law. 65+ was running the guts out of the old girl but with GV, she purrs comfortably.
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Old 05-14-2008, 10:24 PM   #10
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Hi Fellow Ohioan!

Hi Woodrow! Your coach sounds like a beauty. We hope to see it up close sometime. There are bunch of Ohioans from the Springfield area! We had several of them join us at the We Can Tow It Women's Rally at Grand Lake St. Mary's. We have had several Ohio rallies and we hope that you will join us at one of them this summer!!!
Larry and Lou in LaGrange, OH...sw of Cleveland.
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:01 PM   #11
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1991 35' Airstream 350
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. D
Does anyone have personal experiences with the results of adding either the gearvendor or dual range gearsplitters to their MH transmissions. I need some feed back in regards to the effects on miles per gal. and performance on steep grades, etc. Also, how durable are these units? What kind of maintenance to they require? Any information would be appreciated. I'm trying to make a decision on my 345 and for that kind of price, I need some actual experiences rather than the advertisements... Thanks Mr. D.
I have no complaints about the GV in our 1991 LE, installed in 2006. As installed, the controller board was defective, and it took a while to figure out that there was a problem. GV sent me a new board, which took five minutes to install, and off we went.
The 454 is quieter, and the last time I checked, gave us 15 MPG flatland driving without toad--the GVW is about 9 short tons, and we got 6-9 MPG previously. I drive 57-58 MPH when I can, and use the cruise control as much as possible. Recently went to Carlisle, PA with the toad, which is mostly uphill (both ways!) but I have not yet replaced the fuel used and don't know what the mileage was.

I had hedmans and new pipes installed at the same time as the GV, and I don't know how much of the increased MPG is due to which modification.

Have a competent mechanic install it--experience in doing so is a definite plus--and make sure he/she uses an experienced machine shop to shorten and balance the drive shaft.

Ralley
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:29 PM   #12
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
White Lake , Michigan
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My set up is attached to the transmission just before the drive shaft and is made by Dual Range Corp. and has a control mounted to the gear shifter... Mr. D.
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:27 PM   #13
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The critical questions are what rear ratio you have in your rig and what you want the GV to do.

My 1987 Sub diesel 1500 had a 700r4 transmission, clearly recommended not to tow in OD, and a 374 rear. Pulling a 34 fter totaling about 16,000 lbs. This limited the top speed in 3rd, the GM recommended towing mode, to just short of 60 mph and no real power on hills. I installed my GV as an overdrive and never towed with the transmission in OD. I would use the GV as a splitter in that I would start in 1st, shift to 2nd, shift to 2nd over, shift to 3rd, and than shift to 3rd over and cruise at 65 plus mph. Once you are above 22 mph you can select in and out of OD on the GV.

While pulling a hill I could drop to 3rd. On steeper hills I could drop to 2nd over and pull the hill with comfort. In 2nd over and under power the truck would travel at 45 mph with lost of torque.

If you are willing to learn how to use the GV as a splitter it is a great advantage. It is not worth the installation if you just intend to use it as a final gear.

One thing to remember is while the GV is engaged you lose the retard coupling effect of the tranmission while going down hill. You are free wheeling.
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Old 05-28-2008, 01:24 PM   #14
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
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Great information! My thanks to all. This is a nice place to have for advice.. Mr.D.
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