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Old 07-30-2018, 06:16 AM   #21
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2018 30' Classic
Houston , Texas
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Thanks for all the advice. I do use the tow/haul when ever towing and the engine exhaust on a down hill I’m just anal in the mountains ( wife says about a lot of things) & not sure I use the exhaust the right way. Guess I’m pretty close Heading over Monarch Pass in Colorado today. I’ve done this drive in the pass with my other rig and I’m sure the Airsteam will preform better (it has so far) and it’s my first time pulling with a Propride
I have enjoyed the forum very helpful especially for a newbie

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Old 07-30-2018, 06:41 AM   #22
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Fort Worth , Arkansas
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It was mentioned on an earlier post to make sure that the brakes are balanced. I have been wondering how one can check, verify, determine if the brakes are evenly being applied to the four wheels. Thoughts and recommendations?

because I catch fish on a fly...

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Old 07-30-2018, 07:45 AM   #23
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2018 30' Flying Cloud
Gig Harbor , Washington
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Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
I doubt you can just "add one" cost effectively. For the L5P duramax (and LML), the exhaust brake is accomplished via the turbo and the computer adjusting pitch on the fan blades to put back pressure into the system. It's pretty sophisticated, computer controlled, and aligned with manual braking and transmission controls.

You should just upgrade to a 2018 Ford, GMC or Ram, whatever your favorite, they are all good trucks and pollute less with their modern emission control systems.
We went with the 2018 GMC and very happy with the exhaust brake. You can actually add an exhaust brake to older model diesel engines. Check out this link here for any who are interested:
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:59 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
The secret to towing safely downhill is to go slow. Use the engine compression to help and pump the brakes if needed. Don't be afraid to use the brakes, that's what they're for. Braking from 30 to 25 mph is vastly better and cooler than from 65 to 60. Brakes will heat up real fast at high speeds.
What this guy said.

If you go slow you will be fine.
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:17 AM   #25
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2012 30' International
Walkerton , Virginia
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The first thing to do is slow down before you crest the hill. Then follow the other good advice here.

Somebody, please, point me to the road.

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Old 07-30-2018, 08:35 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Jonesuh View Post
Towing down hill suggestions
I tow an 2018 Classic 30 with a 2015 f250 diesel. Have towed for a number of years and no’s my first Airstream & it tows great...but I’m wondering if I’m missing anything that might make ita little less stressful going down hill . Any tips from experienced drivers would be greatly appreciated ie best way to use the engine break etc

As others have mentioned, the tow/haul mode helps get (& hold) the transmission into a lower gear. In my GM gas van, it took me a while to find out that just stabbing the brakes hard didn't always do it. I had to hold the brake down fairly hard for at least 3-4 seconds to get the automatic downshift.

Once I learned that, I didn't need to manually downshift. I just put it tow/haul during steep downgrades and used the proper braking technique.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:47 AM   #27
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2008 23' International
Chicago , Arizona
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Pretty obvious recommendation here. Slow down before cresting the steep hills, thus starting at the top at a low speed, gear down for engine braking and as others recommend keep your distance. If possible study a map with gradients (some camping apps have them marked) the fewer surprises the happier you will be. Also, if a long decent has a nice lookout point stop there, enjoy the lookout and cool the brakes and engine before continuing.
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:22 AM   #28
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Centennial , Colorado
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I'm a newbie with RVing as well. I live in Denver, so unless I'm headed east to visit my daughter in KS, I pretty much have to deal with climbing and descending. I have a 2016 VW Touareg TDI, and tow a 2018 23FB Int. Serenity. I haven't attempted Monarch Pass yet, like you have planned for today, but have done Kenosha and Trout Hill Passes on the way to Salida, CO, which you might have just gone over yesterday on your way to Monarch.
My Touareg doesn't have a tow/haul mode. I do go into manual mode and downshift as needed, and keep my speed pretty slow (who cares if people fly by me - I'm enjoying the scenery!) But no one has mentioned braking the trailer with remote control brakes as the primary way to slow down on hills. Am I not understanding something here? I guess I count on those, in a sense, to reduce the weight behind me. I can dial up the braking action on the trailer until I feel it tug on the car from behind when I engage the brakes, then dial it down just a bit to have fairly even braking of the trailer and the TV.
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Old 07-30-2018, 11:26 AM   #29
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Stowe , Vermont
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We just returned home to VT from WY - 4 weeks out. We go over the Big Horn Mountains on Rt. 16. If you go across the Big Horns don't take Rt. 14 - too many twists and very narrow in places. It doesn't get any bigger than the Big Horns. We have a 2015 F250, Diesel 6.7, pulling a 27ft. AS, Flying Cloud - no problems, up or down. (We have taken this road many times with both this trailer and other set ups.) We always travel in the Tow Mode. When we hit the downhill, engage the engine break - tap the brake once and it shifts from 6th gear to 5th - another hit brings it to 4th... and so on. Much of it I stay in 3rd until approaching a hairpin turn - now down to 2nd with another tap of the brake. Don't worry about people behind you when going so slowly. This is about your safety. Let them worry about themselves. Safe journeys!!!!!
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Old 07-30-2018, 11:42 AM   #30
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North Bend , Washington
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I once took a performance driving course. One thing that the professional driver/instructor said really stuck with me. He said brake pads are cheap. Engines and transmissions are not. Not sure that this applies here but I still always think about that.
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Old 07-30-2018, 11:43 AM   #31
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Do you have disc or drum brakes on the AS? Disc can take more heat/abuse than drum.

The AS brakes should do all the stopping for the AS. So the “weight” you sense should be minimal if at all. Our 34’ brakes are drum and the TV (tow vehicle) doesn’t take much, if any of the AS braking.

Engine braking is simply that.. the resistance available through the engine is used to slow your TV. Like downshifting the transmission to slow your car without the AS. In the engine braking, on some vehicles, it is “automatically” managed by the computer. Yet, the TV has no knowledge of grades you are driving. So, you manage “entry” speed, etc.

Some general comments... Using your “manual mode” and managing speed is the right approach... Do your know what your transmission temperature runs in different lanes ads like climbing, descending, level road both with and without the AS? That is a good indicator of how hard the transmission is working... do you have a transmission oil cooler (may be part of a tow package)? Do you check tranny oil for change in smell or color?

Our 2500HD has the Allison tranny and tow package... it is a beast, and can tow the AS (9800#) without mechanical issue as fast as I want... but we stay 60-62 or slower as conditions dictate. We encountered a downhill 14% grade this trip.. where I used both additional AS braking, tow mode and the engine braking to safely travel... the engine hit 3000 RPM... the transmission temp rose a bit... I applied brakes then released to manage speed and allow cooling.... had no “brake fade” it was not “maxing out” the TV... but it will get your attention as you look for “runaway” exits... just in case.

In the end, I would be concerned about towing in the “hills” ... I would think about using the lower gears and brakes for extended time...
Peace and Blessings..
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Old 07-30-2018, 11:48 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by ESC2SNTY View Post
I once took a performance driving course. One thing that the professional driver/instructor said really stuck with me. He said brake pads are cheap. Engines and transmissions are not. Not sure that this applies here but I still always think about that.
Brake shoes are indeed cheap. However, drum brakes (the type found on most trailers) are notoriously prone to fading when they get hot. If you overuse the brakes, the drums will get hot and will not be able to convert nearly as much kinetic energy to heat, so they won't be effective at braking until they've had time to cool. So, if you rely only on brakes for a long steep descent, odds are that before you're back on level ground the trailer's brakes will be doing little or nothing to keep your speed in check, and you'll then be challenging the tow vehicle's brakes. Also, at that point if you need to brake sharply (with a reduced amount of total braking force) the trailer will be pushing the system rather than in tension and that can lead to squirrely handling.
— David

Zero Gravitas — 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto — 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 07-30-2018, 11:58 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post

These days, you even get engine braking on the gas fueled trucks .... It works quite well.

There is no such thing out there. You can downshift and let the engine rev up but without adding in braking you will blow your engine eventualy.
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:10 PM   #34
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Somewhere , South Carolina
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Originally Posted by FishByFly View Post
It was mentioned on an earlier post to make sure that the brakes are balanced. I have been wondering how one can check, verify, determine if the brakes are evenly being applied to the four wheels. Thoughts and recommendations?

Braking changes kinetic energy into thermal energy, heat. Use an infrared temp gun to check for uniform heat from drum to drum. Nope I don’t have a specific number depends on how aggressive the braking was.

Cold(er) drums are showing you that that brake needs TLC adjustment, repair mechanical or electrical. Hotter than others is a problem also.

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Old 07-30-2018, 12:28 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by franklyfrank View Post
There is no such thing out there. You can downshift and let the engine rev up but without adding in braking you will blow your engine eventualy.
Not true. While there is no such thing as a separate engine brake on a gasoline engine, there definitely is a function known as engine braking. It is simply using the retarding force of the engine (developed by pumping losses in the intake system of the engine) to slow vehicle speed. Blowing up one's engine would be due to revving up over redline. That means you are in the wrong gear.

It is because diesel engines don't have those pumping losses and resultant engine braking that exhaust brakes (and for large trucks, compression release brakes) were developed. Gasoline engines don't need them.
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:35 PM   #36
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Once in a while when towing through the mountains on steep down grades, it's easy to let your engine try to take the pressure off the brakes but that's not always the case and you end up using your brakes more than you want too. If thats the case, I always travel through the mountains with a case of water with me. If you smell brakes it's not usually someone elses. When you drive a car down Pikes Peak, the ranger stops all cars and feels the heat from their tires. If you are hot they make you pull over for a while to cool. You need this same mentality when towing in the mountains. Pull over, splash some water on your Truck rims. If it turns to steam instantly, you need to chill for a while. You don't want to end up in a run away truck ramp. If you think putting water on your rims may cause your rotors to warp, well at least your still alive to complain about it.
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Old 07-30-2018, 01:21 PM   #37
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Elberta , Alabama
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Originally Posted by eubank View Post
Shift to an ever lower transmission gear when you go downhill; use your brakes only as an aid to your transmission. That's what those manually shifted gears are for on an automatic transmission.

I tow our 34' with a 2003 Dodge/Cummins with a 6 speed manual tranny. I equipped the truck with a U.S. Gear exhaust brake when I bought the truck.

A good rule of thumb when using the exhaust brake going downhill in the mountains.......use the same gear going down as you used climbing the hill. At times go one gear lower......very seldom do I have to go more than 2 gears lower, and very seldom do I have to use the trailer and truck brakes...

For whatever it's worth, and good luck!

Larry C
Old age is coming at a really bad time!

1996 34' Excella 1000, interior totally redone, 2003 Dodge/Cummins HO, U.S. Gear exhaust brake, Diablo tuner, 115 gallon aux fuel, Bedslide, Airsafe/Reese Dual Cam, and a bunch of other stuff
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Old 07-30-2018, 01:41 PM   #38
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Camarillo , California
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I tow a 30’ classic with slideout with an F250 diesel. Exhaust brake works very well, seldom have to use brakes.
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Old 07-30-2018, 02:03 PM   #39
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2015 30' International
FREDERICK , Maryland
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Let the diesel do the work for you

I tow a 30' International with my 2016 F250 diesel.
When cresting a hill, I will ease off the gas pedal and decelerate to what I think should be a comfortable speed. As I start downhill, I push the button for the diesel brake, and downshift as necessary (usually downshifting to 5th or 4th), depending upon the steepness of the grade and length of grade. Just got back from a MD tp CA and back trip, and spent a lot of time in the CO Rockies and the CA Sierras. I rarely even had to touch the brake pedal. That is usually my goal with the wonderful PowerStroke diesel.
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Old 07-30-2018, 02:15 PM   #40
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My 32-ft AS weighs about 10,000 lbs loaded; the TV is a '99 Ram 2500HD with 1st gen 24-valve Cummins 5.9-l. I had a BD Exhaust brake installed in the TV last year and it makes going downhill stress-free - disengage over-drive (which downshifts to 3rd gear) and start the descent at 45 mph. The exhaust brake will hold the descent speed to 45 mph without my having to touch the brakes.

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