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Old 07-29-2018, 10:46 AM   #1
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Towing in the mountains

Towing down hill suggestions
I tow an 2018 Classic 30 with a 2015 f250 diesel. Have towed for a number of years and no problems..it痴 my first Airstream & it tows great...but I知 wondering if I知 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
thanks
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:01 AM   #2
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I wouldn't call myself and expert or have the towing time put in as many of the contributors here. But we've crossed the Cascades and steep passes about a dozen times this year. Our TT is a 2018 30' FC bunk and TV is a 2018 GMC 3500 HD.

I use the tow mode and exhaust brakes which help with keeping the speed down when descending. The diesel on the GMC does a great job with towing uphill. I also keep the speed low (using the tow mode and exhaust brakes). Keeping a good distance between myself and other vehicles gives me time to react if I come up on slow traffic, accident, etc. Make sure you have a good hitch with WD and sway control (many options mentioned in thousands of posts).

My 2 cents with my limited experience and we always have a pleasant drive over the passes, no white knuckle experiences.

Jason
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:04 AM   #3
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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.
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:15 AM   #4
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Some additional info from another forum:
'Ford F-1503.5L Ecoboost

First of all, you can tow in automatic transmission mode but lock out top gear(s). Put the transmission in auto and push the up/down button on the shifter. This should give you a display column of gears you have selected. I leave this display visible all the time because it is good information to know what gear you are in. I tow without 6th gear because in 5th at highway speed this is 2100 RPM which is comfortably into the boosted RPM range, eliminates downshifts on moderate hills and the engine seems to run more comfortably. I always tow in tow/haul mode.

Downhill, if it is less than about 4%, cruise control and engine braking will take care of maintaining speed. Steeper than this and I will use a short firm application of brakes to take off about 10 to 15 mph. This tells tow/haul that you want more engine braking and that happens. Don't be concerned if the transmission downshifts to lower gears and RPM climbs to 4000 RPM or so. This is not a diesel and it is doing what it is designed to do. If speed again climbs to your high limit, use another firm short brake apply. Between brake applies, keep off the brake pedal to allow maximum brake cooling.'

Going downhill I do pretty much the same, exhaust brake does great with keeping speed down and avoid overheating of brakes.
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:35 AM   #5
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welcome!

Grew up a flatlander in South Louisiana... levees were the tallest things around to drive on. Now we live in Hillsboro.

We have been on road to Salem WBCCI International where we encountered a 14% grade entering Oregon Hwy 205 from Hawthorne, NV on HWY 95 on a great scenic road Catlow Valley Road.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Route_205. See High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway.

Our 2500HD... Allison Tranny... I increased braking power to 6.5 and Tow and Engine Brake. Entered grade too fast...45MPH which was the 'recommended' on the road sign.. Dropped speed to 35 while brakes were cool...

When speed started increasing or any indication of sway, I started braking the trailer then TV brakes.... worked great... engine was about 3000 rpm!!!

I should have entered grade about 25-30MPH.. because once on the grade, that would have been more manageable.

If you have to turn on the emergency flashers... do it.

If you don't have engine brake, put in Tow mode and enter at about 1/2 to 1/4 reduction in entry speed... just my weird idea... that has worked on every grade to 8% which we saw most often.

Oh... you might want to make sure your brakes are balanced on the AS.

Hope this helps...
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:48 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 07-29-2018, 11:56 AM   #7
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Hi

Down hill plus blind curve plus heavy traffic is a *bad* combo. Keeping distance to whatever is in front of you is important all the time. It's even more important going down hill.

Bob
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
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 problems..it’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
thanks
I have a very similar setup - 2017 30' airstream and a 2017 GMC 2500 diesel. I live at the foot of the rockies and tow frequently in the mountains.

You are very well setup - just activate your exhaust brake downhill and you will be fine.

The exhaust brake on the duramax works in conjunction with cruise control... I set it at 55mph down most long runs (such as I-70 @ 7%) and the exhaust brake / transmission auto downshifts take care of the rest. Truck holds 55 all day long when I need it to. I rarely have to use the actual brakes.

I'm 18,000lbs loaded for camping (TV+trailer).
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:14 PM   #9
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Proper gear selection and engine/exhaust braking should do you fine. Just remember, if you do need to apply brakes do it BEFORE, not IN the curve, especially if road is wet or gravel. You should already be at a comfortable speed when you enter the curve.
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:21 PM   #10
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We just finished a week around the Smokies in Gatlinburg TN. F250 diesel pulled our 28 Serenity like it isn’t back there. Just push the engine brake button on the dash for the downhills.
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:34 PM   #11
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You guys with the exhaust brake are starting to make me feel inadequate
My F-350 diesel is a 2002 and has no exhaust brake and not sure if I want to add one.
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ITSNO60 View Post
You guys with the exhaust brake are starting to make me feel inadequate
My F-350 diesel is a 2002 and has no exhaust brake and not sure if I want to add one.
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.
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Old 07-29-2018, 01:33 PM   #13
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Hi

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

Bob
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Old 07-29-2018, 01:42 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ITSNO60 View Post
You guys with the exhaust brake are starting to make me feel inadequate
My F-350 diesel is a 2002 and has no exhaust brake and not sure if I want to add one.
Check out this site:

http://www.usgear.cc/dcelerator.htm

I will get my brake from them soon. My brother had a 1995 F350 that he put one on..... he LOVED it, easy to use, easy to install if you have any mechanical ability.
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Old 07-29-2018, 01:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
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 problems..it痴 my first Airstream & it tows great...but I知 wondering if I知 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
thanks
A '15 Superduty should have "tow/haul" mode on the transmission. IMHO that should always be engaged while towing.

Assuming that's engaged, when you start down a grade and apply the service brake, the truck should downshift on its own and try to maintain that speed with engine braking. If it picks up speed and you apply the brakes again, it should get even more aggressive with the downshift (while keeping the engine within its allowed RPM range.)

You can also manage that manually with the +/- toggle on the shifter, but if you're in tow/haul it should do most of it for you.
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Old 07-29-2018, 02:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by PaulnGina View Post
Check out this site:

http://www.usgear.cc/dcelerator.htm

I will get my brake from them soon. My brother had a 1995 F350 that he put one on..... he LOVED it, easy to use, easy to install if you have any mechanical ability.
Thanks, I just bookmarked that site. It looks easy to install
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Old 07-29-2018, 04:41 PM   #17
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Does anyone have any information or thoughts on new 1500 GMC crewcab 4x4 with 6.2/ 10 spd trans. for towing 27FB out west and in mountains? Have 2015 1500 with 5.3/6 spd tow package but not Max tow and dont think motor/trans/brakes have quite enough reserve for temperatures and hill climbing/desent. Like GMC drivability and they sit lower to ground than others. And would go diesel only if this combo doesnt get job done.
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Old 07-29-2018, 04:53 PM   #18
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Does anyone have any information or thoughts on new 1500 GMC crewcab 4x4 with 6.2/ 10 spd trans. for towing 27FB out west and in mountains? Have 2015 1500 with 5.3/6 spd tow package but not Max tow and dont think motor/trans/brakes have quite enough reserve for temperatures and hill climbing/desent. Like GMC drivability and they sit lower to ground than others. And would go diesel only if this combo doesnt get job done.
I was quite impressed with the 2017 6.2 Max Tow GMC. I'd have to look it up to be sure but I think it had an 8-speed at the time. You can't get around the power loss of a naturally-aspirated engine at altitude, but it'll probably deliver better engine braking than your 5.3 and definitely more than the Ecoboost I ended up choosing, so you balance what it gives you downhill against what you lose uphill I guess. The power here (about 700 feet above sea level) was really impressive. I did not do a towing test with it, however...

Like all the half-tons I was going to have to order one to get it with the towing mirrors. There were a couple of odd packaging issues I didn't like (must order this to get that kind of stuff) but I'm sure it would've done the job for my trailer and our traveling load. You'd need to check the #s for your rig of course.
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Old 07-29-2018, 05:00 PM   #19
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Thanks, I just bookmarked that site. It looks easy to install

YW. I am going to get the one with the waste gate. Makes sense to me.


(I apologize to the OP..... finished hijacking... )
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Old 07-29-2018, 06:15 PM   #20
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Does anyone have any information or thoughts on new 1500 GMC crewcab 4x4 with 6.2/ 10 spd trans. for towing 27FB out west and in mountains? Have 2015 1500 with 5.3/6 spd tow package but not Max tow and dont think motor/trans/brakes have quite enough reserve for temperatures and hill climbing/desent. Like GMC drivability and they sit lower to ground than others. And would go diesel only if this combo doesnt get job done.

Thank's to DKB, that was my assessment but no actual experience with 6.2/10 spd. Brother has the Denali with 6.2 very strong engine. I have taken 5.3/6spd(11.2 mpg w/ trailer @ 74, 20.5 mph hwy) in and out of NC/Tenn mountains(I-26, I-40), 5.3 has plenty of power if you can keep your speed going up slope @4500 rpm. I just dont like to high rev these engines for long periods to extend engine and trans life. I like C.I.or bigger liters. Have no problems with turbos but have had cars with turbos and at 100K needed to have them rebuilt. Diesels turbos seem to be diffferent. Ford Ecoboost seems to have solved turbo issues, just like more than 3.5 Liters. Thanks for comments. DE
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