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Old 06-14-2016, 04:36 PM   #29
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We have driven a 2007 and now a 2012 Tundra and have been in the mountains a lot with our 25' AS. All of what was said above is good advice however we have found that using the transmission in the manual mode and utilizing the lower gears early, both up and down mountains and hilly areas. One thing we have found is that the Tundra has the hold back of a runaway train. Shift early and utilize the transmission like a manual. We had no transmission problems or even new brake pads on either Tundra. The 07 was traded with over 120,000 miles pn it
Even on amything but perfectly flat road we drive in the manual mode in 5. Works for us and gets the same mileage and better performance than running in D or 6. Good luck
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Old 06-14-2016, 06:13 PM   #30
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Be sure your emergency flashers also work on the back of the trailer, and use them religiously going downhill, even if you are doing the speed limit.

You want to make sure vehicles approaching from behind are awakened to your presence.



...... is the message you want to send to those behind you!

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Old 06-14-2016, 06:17 PM   #31
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Defending grades

Best advice I have is: use the same gear going down as climbing, stay below 45 mph on 7&8 grades breaking back to 35. Break hard to reduce speed and get off break. SLOW!
You can go down too slow many times but too fast only once!
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Old 06-14-2016, 06:27 PM   #32
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Wulfrat has it just right, but a couple of additional thoughts:

If you do go under 40, don't forget to turn on your hazard lights to warn vehicles behind you.

Anticipate strong downgrades and learn where a comfortable top speed in each gear (comfortably below redline) is and plan accordingly. On grades over 6%, you may have to keep it very slow to stay in the lower gears.

A great way to start over the crest preceding a steep grade is to downshift in advance to third and see if that will provide enough engine drag to hold you in a comfortable range (below redline.) if not, use a combination of firm braking with gentle controller application for a short time to bring you slow enough that you can safely downshift into 2nd. Let the engine determine your speed and stay off the brakes as much as possible. Avoid prolonged braking periods. If third provides too much slowing, you can upshift.

For the steepest grades, you might actually start at 30-35 mph in second and see if that holds or you can safely upshift. Every now and then, we've had to slow further and drop into first, but that's very unusual. (2009 28' International: 2013 Sprinter 3500.)

We don't use the active controller mechanism often, but rather change the overall setting while underway (with our digital controller, easy to feel the up/down buttons and count # of pushes without taking eyes off road.) Need to remember to reduce that aggressive setting when you fine out if the mountainous driving, particularly if you inti the other extreme extreme--city stop and go traffic.

Set your brake controller to be more aggressive in mountainous country at highway speeds. This will let your trailer brakes do a lot of the work, holding your TV brakes in reserve, and also allowing the trailer to act as a "sea anchor", keeping your rig straight should you have to brake hard.

Err on the side of too slow until you learn the right shift pint let gear and which gear suits which grade.
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Old 06-14-2016, 07:10 PM   #33
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Downshift,
Go slow,
Feather the brakes,
If you smell something burning, pull over and enjoy the view and let things cool!
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:42 PM   #34
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Braking is braking. It does not matter if you use light, moderate, or heavy braking if you are slowing down from one given speed to another given speed. The heat produced is a function of kinetic energy dissipated only. That is, energy converted to heat. Most of the advise here is good stuff, but don't think light braking, other than checking your brakes, will save your brakes. When you think about it, multiple activations put more wear on the mechanical parts of the brakes than one single application.
If the brakes fail where will you end up? To sum it all up: The best setup is a diesel with grade braking, tow/haul mode, and trailer disc brakes. However, some are forced to live with injected gas engines, some even with low displacement (compression braking), no tow/haul, and freewheeling trannies. Be sure you know what gears your tranny has direct drive (lock up) through the drive train. Even with the latest equipment you should know that. Now, before you start down hill, remember it going up hill in the reverse mode. Know the grade steepness, max speeds, and curves ahead. Drive the slow lane, start slow in lower gears that lock up the tranny, until you know what's up ahead. If speeds can't be held down with down shifting the tranny, hit the brakes. Use one long application to get back down to a safe speed. If you use a lot of light applications to just barely keep the speed under the max, then when you need them in an emergency, you will be in for a big surprise. Usually, brakes either work or the don't. Rarely fail slowly except for drum brake fade out. Be careful out there!
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:47 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cando View Post
We have driven a 2007 and now a 2012 Tundra and have been in the mountains a lot with our 25' AS. All of what was said above is good advice however we have found that using the transmission in the manual mode and utilizing the lower gears early, both up and down mountains and hilly areas. One thing we have found is that the Tundra has the hold back of a runaway train. Shift early and utilize the transmission like a manual. We had no transmission problems or even new brake pads on either Tundra. The 07 was traded with over 120,000 miles pn it
Even on amything but perfectly flat road we drive in the manual mode in 5. Works for us and gets the same mileage and better performance than running in D or 6. Good luck
Yes, my 2014 Tundra could be like a runaway train. Downshift early before the descent. The cruise control would NOT hold the speed in check; manual shifting was the way to go.
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:50 PM   #36
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Preparation, anticipation, forethought, downshifting early in manual mode, slowing speed, emergency flashers on . . .

Pretty much of a non-event if done right.

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Old 06-14-2016, 09:55 PM   #37
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Always start your descent at a slow speed. Start out slow and you will be good.
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Old 06-14-2016, 10:58 PM   #38
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Alternatively, you could just head downhill while listening to this tune by Harry Chapin.

https://youtu.be/ODMye94wMfk
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Old 06-15-2016, 12:54 AM   #39
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I'm a novice at this but my 2010 Tundra has a haul mode which works great downhill, hardly needed to brake. The trailer brake control could stop the truck and trailer by itself too!! Not kidding, very powerful. Just my 2 cents worth
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:00 AM   #40
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Ps .., my trailer weighs about 5,000lbs .. Only grade I've used on was the 101 south in California headed to Pismo, so nothing too crazy. I would imagine brakes would get a serious work out when I take to the Sierras in August.
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:40 AM   #41
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Be sure that the gain on your brake controller is set properly for your trailer. When you squeeze the control to apply the trailer brake at about 30 MPH the wheels on the trailer should lock up on dry pavement. When you get to that point, back off the gain until it does not lock the brakes. At this point, you will have the adjustment where the TV and trailer brakes are working together optimally. As everyone has said, keep your speed down when going down a grade as you may not be able to reduce speed quickly enough if you come to an unexpected curve. Don't worry, you will get into the rhythm of this and be comfortable in all terrain. Happy travels!
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Old 06-15-2016, 12:05 PM   #42
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I have a 2014 Tundra and a 25' Eddie Bauer (we travel at about 6,700 lbs of trailer weight). Just got home from a trip west including crossing Wolf Creek Pass heading west and Monarch coming home. We did the Ike and Wyoming last year in the same rig. We have done 9% down grades in Wyoming (heading east out of the Big Horn National Forest) and near Paradox Valley, Colorado without incident or need to change clothes at the bottom. Your rig can handle what you're heading to.

Lots of good general advice here. I didn't see any specific comments on the Tundra. From your trailer size, I'm assuming you have the 5.7 L engine which automatically includes the towing feature package. Naturally, make sure you are in "Tow/Haul Mode". The downshift features on your Tundra are activated by moving the shift lever from "D" to the left to engage "S" (whatever that stands for!) mode. When you move the shift lever it will not change the gear you are in. If you were in 4th in "D", you will be in "S4" and its up to you to change thathat as you wish. To downshift pull back toward you, up shift with a forward motion. I do not use "S" uphill. The truck generally knows where it wants to be if you leave it in "D" with tow/haul. I would plan to climb the uphill sections on any major Rockies crossing at 40 MPH. Maybe 45 in the easier sections. Most of the steep setions approaching passes are 5 or 6 miles long and include 3,000 or more vertical feet. If you find a semi doing 35, hang behind him even. The Tundra works hard pulling 6 or 7,000 lbs up a grade that steep for 10 straight minutes or more. Go easy on her.

Coming downhill I do not let the truck top 45 MPH. 40 MPH is my target speed on anything 6% or steeper. I'll drop to 35 if there is a curve at the bottom of a steep pitch. I will downshift as low as "S2" (the current gear is always displayed on the center of the instrument panel for you... Check it often when in "S" mode). In "S2" at 40 MPH your tach will read about 4,000 RPM... only 2/3 of red line. Your passenger may complain that it sounds like you are burning up the engine, but the truck likes it. I would never, ever use the trailer brake controller at that moment. (If you have a Tekonsha Prodigy 2 like I do, let me know and I'll share the settings I use.) Your rig has 8 good brakes. If you are in a situation that screams for braking, why in the name of God would you use only four of them? To manage speed to the targets above I use short bursts of heavy braking... Like 3-4 seconds... then ease off. Your truck may shudder in a way that you have never felt it before. That's because you've probably never asked it to brake that hard before. Trust me, your truck and trailer will handle it.

Most of all, the sights in the west are well worth the trip. You will come away with new respect for what your Airstream, your Tundra and your driving can do. Enjoy!
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