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Old 10-03-2016, 11:05 AM   #29
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1996 25' Excella
Tillsonburg , Ontario
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Those of us who only have gas engines seem to do just fine with out exhaust braking. I remember my first big down hill...nearly stopped the truck to put it in 2nd gear. Didn't need to... While there are some nasty switchbacks that need really slow speeds, I have yet to find a downhill that requires me to go down to the gear that I needed to get up. I don't believe I've ever applied brakes more than twice on a long down grade, including some twisty ones. Certainly do know that I have a second gear if I need it!! I just start out slow....sometimes because that's my speed when I got to the top, sometimes because it is the reasonable thing to do.
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Old 10-07-2016, 05:29 PM   #30
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1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxite View Post
Keep in-mind that while travelling down-hill, even with engine-braking in lower gears...the trailer is trying to "push" the Tow Vehicle. Going straight doesn't pose too great a problem.
But...When a curve comes up, the trailer tries to push the rear axle of the TV to the outside of the curve. All you need now is a little loss of traction on those TV rear wheels and you've got a really nice jack-knife/roll-over possibility.

It might be helpful to remember that entering a downhill curve might be a good time to consider a little application of trailer-braking if things get dicey, and going downhill in wet-weather is a really bad idea if it can be avoided.

I should add that I plan to replace the OEM drum brakes as soon as possible with disc brakes to avoid the drum brake's tendency toward heating and fading.
Boxite

Thanks for pointing this out. I had never really thought about it but you are exactly correct. I will now make sure that I stretch the tv/trailer connection by using the trailer brakes when I am going downhill in a turn.

I also plan on ditching the antique trailer drum brakes and changing to disc brakes.

Thanks again Boxite!

Dan
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Old 10-07-2016, 06:49 PM   #31
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The Tow/Haul on our 2014 Ram 1500 does all the work for us, it seems like if the speed gets to fast the truck shifts to a lower gear and will change back when needed. I do use the brakes when a curve is coming up and the speed is to fast for me.


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Old 10-07-2016, 07:55 PM   #32
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How to manage brake systems on long downhills.

Braking for a long descent is primarily a speed chosen to keep the transmission out of overdrive (there may be two, even three of these gears today), AND a speed target which is easy to re-acquire after exceeding it. Usually the gear below Direct is the first one to choose barring further experience.

The gear chosen should be long enough to provide sufficient rpm to do the following (as there should be no gear changes until at the bottom):

Say one is using 35-mph as target. Once nearing forty, one uses the brakes of the combined vehicle to bring speed back down to 30-mph. And then allowing the brakes to cool as the rig continues the descent. Preferably the rise in speed isn't rapid. If it is, slow to a lower speed and lower gear. Do this while the brakes are fresh.

Not all grades are the same. One may be warned a 7% downgrade is ahead, but in fact only a stretch of it is that steep. So, don't go thinking that the next 7-percenter miles down the road is as easy. And if one hits that sharp decline with hot brakes, there may not be enough left to hold her back. (Last I heard the state will send you a bill for about $20,000 for a runaway ramp restoration). You young pups ain't had much fun without experiencing loss of brakes in the bias ply tires + drum brakes all around good old days.

What residual brakes remained depended on a slow descent. One has to get off the road, right then.

There's no substitute for best brake performance (lightest TV with big disc brakes plus discs on trailer; hint, it ain't a one ton).

Someone else brought up curves. Yes, the trailer is going to push the RV to the outside. I've been pushed completely off the road in an 84k oil field semi-truck by a downhill short sharp turn. In the flatlands of South Texas. A minor rain had changed yesterday's easy drive into an embarrassing slide today when the clay surface was wet. Sure, I was slow . . . but not near slow enough as I thought 8-mph was good. Engaged the second drive axle and then locked the differentials to crawl out. (I was later told at least 20 other trucks slid off that morning).

As to big trucks: the (really) old road down Berthoud Pass was a truck graveyard. They'd bring up the bodies. Usually.

Also mentioned above was making the ascent at high speed. Bad idea. There's always someone else having to slow. Running up behind them or next to them isn't wise. Lack of space. In the same way, an sustained engine load above 75-80% just burns fuel and heats things up for no good return. There'll be plenty of heat to shed on the way down in any event. Speed up the hill isn't any more relevant to flat land travel speed than speed down the hill. Break the hypnosis. Speed limit signs have no meaning in themselves.

Proper gear choice. Short use of combined brakes to reacquire target speed. Plenty of brake remaining to keep distance from others AND to be able to slam trailer brakes AND accelerate TV simultaneously to correct trailer sway.

There's no passage or vehicle more vulnerable to a loss of control accident than a rig like ours on a mountain descent. Hitch in compression is Russian Roulette.

Now let's add some wind gusts. (Their source won't matter).

Good luck
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Old 10-10-2016, 09:11 AM   #33
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Didn't notice anyone saying it before: brake BEFORE a curve to get your speed down; avoid braking IN a curve.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:12 AM   #34
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1996 25' Excella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan and Liz View Post
Didn't notice anyone saying it before: brake BEFORE a curve to get your speed down; avoid braking IN a curve.
This is absolutely correct. There is only a finite amount of friction resistance where the rubber meets the road. If some of it is being used to overcome lateral forces in a curve, there is less available for longitudinal braking force.

This applies equally to exhaust braking acting on the drive wheels in a tight curve.
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Old 10-13-2016, 11:41 AM   #35
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One should already have that habit in driving solo.


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Old 10-31-2016, 10:54 AM   #36
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Quote:
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There's nothing that compares to a diesel TV with a tow/haul function on along with an exhaust braking system. Anything else in the Rockies is extremely dangerous. Gas engines lack the torque to slow you down and brakes fade rapidly.
Reference to torque applies very little to engine braking, and the brakes you denigrate are similar regardless of engine choice as they are sized in accordance to vehicle wt. ...not engine.

"Anything else (other than diesel) in the Rockies is extremely dangerous."
= r
e
a
l
l
y.....

That's silly.
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Old 11-01-2016, 01:17 AM   #37
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I'm really not denigrating anything. I used a Dodge Hemi 1500 to tow my Flying Cloud 28 over the Rockies and there were moments I wasn't sure I'd make it. I upgraded to a Dodge 2500 Turbo Cummins with an Exhaust Brake and it was a major improvement!
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Old 11-01-2016, 07:12 AM   #38
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More diesel vs gas BS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holy Grail View Post
There's nothing that compares to a diesel TV with a tow/haul function on along with an exhaust braking system. Anything else in the Rockies is extremely dangerous. Gas engines lack the torque to slow you down and brakes fade rapidly.
Congratulation on owning a diesel TV. I'm sure it's a wonderful truck and I'm glad you are happy with it. This doesn't mean folks who arrived at a different decision are idiots. I have ownd a variety of trailers, all pulled by gasoline-powered trucks, and negotiated most paved passes in the Rockies with no problem. A diesel truck is a poor substitute for a little common sense and experience.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:29 AM   #39
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How to manage brake systems on long downhills.

Been towing my 31' Sovereign from Miami to Yellowstone every summer for the past 8 years with a 2004 Nissan Titan. There was never a moment in the mountains that I felt the least bit that I was in danger or that my rig was inadequate.

3rd gear, 3500 RPM zips me right up the grades at 60 mph without the temp gauges budging a millimeter.

Down is simply a matter of managing inertia. Engine braking, correct brake application, moderate speed.

Nothing dangerous about it.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:08 PM   #40
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Diesels are nice. My F150 works fine, both up and down.
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Old 11-02-2016, 01:00 AM   #41
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Nice clean summary of the situation.

Ranger gig in Yellowstone? Business, or Monkey Business?

A Titan is no lightweight among trucks. Though there have been magnificent advancements in controls and capabilities since 2004. But you seem to be struggling along OK without them.

I'm not familiar with 31' Sovereigns, but I seem to recall that the coaches were lighter weight in the 80's than they are now. What is the effective weight of your trailer?

I'm pulling 5000 lbs with a strong and smart 5000 lbs truck. MOL

My wife is the primary driver (she has better eyes, and I'm a better navigator) Showed her all the accumulated posts when it was about a page and a half long, and within hours she was using the trailer brakes independently in exactly the right places. (When you need to slow down, and there's a curve involved. ) With a little coaching she soon picked up the M position of the transmission, and downshifted with the press on a toggle switch, until we were gliding down the hill with no foot on or near the brake pedal unless conditions required it. Usually traffic,

Trip over last Tuesday. Dang it! We spent 6 wonderful weeks in the Southwest by driving a wide and curvy loop through and around the Colorado Plateau. Plenty of mountains in Colorado to practice on. She got confident and proficient driving in the mountains, and there was still New Mexico and Arizona to go.

Diesels are great, but by no means essential. And we saw a lot of 25 and 28 Flying Clouds pulled by very conventional TV's - a couple of Porsche Cheyenne, a Lexus, and a Jeep. Met a guy a few years ago quite successfully pulling a 23 Serenity with a VW- Tiguan?? The big one. Most others were truck chassis, few diesels, though many 3/4 and 1 ton chassis. Campgrounds were fun - there were usually several AS models.

Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. We learned a lot from y'all, and had a safe trip.

"See ya down the road."

jsutro
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Old 11-02-2016, 06:00 AM   #42
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Thanks for the update. Reassuring to have a second good driver, and great that she stepped up to the task of towing with confidence. With foresight and patience the mountains are fairly straightforward.

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