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Old 04-03-2018, 07:05 AM   #1
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Towing through the mountains

My wife and I are traveling through Colorado and Utah this summer in our 2017 25 foot Fying Cloud. This is our first trip through the mountains pulling the trailer with our 2015 2500HD Chevy diesel. I need all the advice I can get as to how I should tow the trailer up and down the mountains. I do have an engine brake/towing package on my truck that I will use. I have never used the engine brake because living in Ohio/Mid West the only hills we have are overpass bridges.
I'm looking for any help. Even if it is what speed I should go up and down the mountains, running lights, etc.

Thanks Dave
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Old 04-03-2018, 07:37 AM   #2
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Dave,
congrats on your new adventure.

Biggest advice to me from others was slow BEFORE your decent and DO NOT RIDE the brakes.

Here is a good video from a trucker about using the brakes while using exhaust brakes. Hope it helps.



Dan
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Old 04-03-2018, 07:40 AM   #3
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I forgot to mention. You have the greatest danger around corners heading down steep grades. Again, slow before you get to it.
Take a few minutes and Google going down hill around corners while towing.

Happy travels!
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Old 04-03-2018, 07:40 AM   #4
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C,

I think you are overthinking towing through the mountains. First, you usually don't go directly over the tallest mountains, you usually follow a pass that avoids the tall peaks. Second, you have plenty of tow vehicle so your 25' will not be pushing you around much if properly setup.

I enjoy towing through the mountains. Here is a picture of my 25' Airstream going over the 14,000' mountain at Rocky Mountain National Park. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ml#post1981023

My diesel truck doesn't even have a true exhaust brake, but in tow mode it downshifts and slows by a tap of the brakes. It usually holds the brake tap speed all the way down without touching the brakes again except on really steep downgrades. On a really steep and long downgrade, 7% is about as steep as they get on major roads, I just start at the top at 55 mph and tap down a gear. I just ride that gear down without applying the brakes unless there are switchbacks. For a switchback, I will tap down another gear and then apply the brakes if needed to slow to the switchback corner speed before the corner. I've never felt any uneasiness in towing my 2017 FC25FB down any grade. You should be fine if your WDH is set up properly.
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Old 04-03-2018, 08:42 AM   #5
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I agree with AirMiles that you are overthinking it. Your 3/4 ton will move you safely and efficiently up and down anywhere you are likely to travel.

Crest the hill at a reasonable speed and maintain that speed using a combination of engine braking and light brake applications until you are back down the hill.

I think you will find the experience so non-eventful that the only danger will be complacency -- don't succumb to the "need for speed" because it seems so easy.

You are in for a real treat as the areas you are going to explore are amazing.
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:18 AM   #6
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The west does have plenty of mountain passes to go over. Your tow combo seems well suited for the job. For me when going up I find a gear that the truck can pull with about 50% boost and minimize shifting. In my case that is just under 50 mph. In my Ford the tow mode aids in going up too by delaying the torque converter lockup.

Going down the tow mode (as other have said) will hold the speed down. The speed limit and curve speed warning signs will tell you the speed to hold to. What you should find is that you can setup the truck to control the speed (as stated above by putting the truck in tow mode and using the brake pedal to setup a down shift) and the speed will stay constant or nearly that way.

My similar tow, a 25' Sovereign is easy to setup, the grades on I5 in Oregon, California, and Arizona are signed at 6%. I just completed a 4,400 mile trip and I would characterize the tow through the mountain passes as graceful.
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:20 AM   #7
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Nothing to it. Just be sure to slow before you hit the crest and use caution on the way down.

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Old 04-03-2018, 09:23 AM   #8
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Mountain Towing

I have the same TV and Trailer that you have, and I agree with the above advice. The reality of towing in the mountains, with Chevy 2500 diesel ia a pleasure. No problems as long as you pay attention to speed. The exhaust brake is your best friend. I don't know of any problem leaving it on all the time, at least when you are in the mountains.

I have towed over the divide in Colorado and it is spectacular.

Enjoy the travels

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Old 04-03-2018, 09:30 AM   #9
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Dave,

Expect no problems with the tow vehicle you have. You have more than ample power and braking.

Marty
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:32 AM   #10
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You'll be fine. I have practically the same rig (25' 2015 International, Ram 2500 diesel). Been RVing for over 30 years. BY FAR this is the most manageable rig I've ever had, and I do a lot of mountain driving. You're going to have fun, don't overthink it. No worries.

That said, take your time. It's a smooth rig and you have to watch your speed, particularly on the flat lands (but you already know that).
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:34 AM   #11
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I live in the west and have done all the major passes around here and then some. You've already gotten some great advice. And your tow setup should handle it nicely.

Is there a particular concern or setup issue you're worried about?

Here's another tidbit of technique I like to use.

When using engine braking, the hitch is in compression and the trailer is still "surging" on the tow vehicle, but in a controlled manner.

I usually will apply the brakes before entering a curve or corner, especially in switchbacks. This serves to have the trailer slow itself down, checking any excess momentum, and bringing the hitch into tension. A hitch under tension is stable for an articulated vehicle.

In this way, I can go around a corner without any added momentum being carried into the curve. It's also a good technique in general for even a car without a trailer. One that is practiced on the racetrack.

Basically, always slow in a straight line, before entering the curve.
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:41 AM   #12
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It's impossible to over-think this, IMO. You're right-on to think about it.

Just keep in mind that ....in a descending turn... the trailer will be pushing the rear of your truck to the outside of the turn.... tending to cause you to skid into a jackknife..... especially if your trailer brakes aren't sufficiently effective/aggressive in application. On slick surfaces that condition can surprise you.
As has already been said.... take it slow.
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbourland View Post
My wife and I are traveling through Colorado and Utah this summer in our 2017 25 foot Fying Cloud. This is our first trip through the mountains pulling the trailer with our 2015 2500HD Chevy diesel. I need all the advice I can get as to how I should tow the trailer up and down the mountains. I do have an engine brake/towing package on my truck that I will use. I have never used the engine brake because living in Ohio/Mid West the only hills we have are overpass bridges.
I'm looking for any help. Even if it is what speed I should go up and down the mountains, running lights, etc.

Thanks Dave
Go down the hill in the same gear as you went up in......and I run big trucks, 100,000 plus for 52 years in the Rocky Mountain area....if the big boys are going slow, slow down also...
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:49 AM   #14
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Nothing to add to all of the above except to say pay particular attention to squiggly lines on your mountain road maps or GPS. A thirty minute flat land trip may take 3 hours in the mountains. Usually very scenic but figure about 20-25 mph for most of the trip and 10-15mph all too often . I've yet to find an accurate GPS ETA (sorry, Estimated Time of Arrival) especially through mountains even on interstates. Chollabill
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