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Old 02-17-2016, 03:24 PM   #1
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Towing, Grades, Hills, PRND321

Question: When towing up and down grades what is the appropriate usage of the 3/2/1 gears.

I have the PRND figured out.

Yes I've read the manual but I want to know how you do it.

For those who need to know it's a 1500 pick up.

No arguing, name calling, brand bashing please. Educated explanations, experience and hands on welcome.
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Old 02-17-2016, 03:41 PM   #2
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Do you have a tachometer?
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:10 PM   #3
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:11 PM   #4
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All 1/2 ton trucks are not the same. Each downhill grade is different. There is no one correct answer.

Going down:
With my present truck I can press the tow haul button, the computer will apply the grade brake (shift the transmission), with me braking as needed.

With my prior trucks with 6 speed I had to manually shift down to an appropriate gear for the grade. If I started coming down a mountain grade 5% to 8% for miles, I would slow down at the top of the hill to shift to 2 or 3 depending on the grade and apply brakes as needed.

With the prior trucks with a 4 speed, I would shift down to 2 and manually apply brakes as needed.

Again, to clarify, I'm talking about steep grades in the mountains where I drive regularly.

Going up:
I try to select a gear that keeps the RPM's in the 3000-4000 range, where the gas engine has higher torque.
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:33 PM   #5
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OK thanks for your input.
Yes on all trucks are different.

So do you shift when going uphill also to keep the engine from whining/winding up.

I've been reading about going up and down in the same gears.
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:48 PM   #6
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Going uphill the transmission will generally select the correct gear. Leave it in drive. If the engine is running at too high a speed then slow down some.

The exception to this is if you are climbing a hill, and the transmission is hunting between two gears, going back and forth repeatedly. If you encounter that, then manually select the lower of the two gears to prevent the hunting, as the shifting is what causes heat and wear. Shift back to drive when appropriate, or keep in in the lower gear to descent the hill.

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Old 02-17-2016, 05:07 PM   #7
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The rule of thumb is. What ever gear you climb the hill in is the gear you use to go down the hill.

All too many people just leave the trans in high gear when the start down a long hill. They lose all engine retard and run the risk of losing their brakes.

If you crest a hill and see a grade sign that sign was put there for a reason.
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:15 PM   #8
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That's the best advice anyone can give to a newby.
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:17 PM   #9
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So climbing RPM's and a high crescendoing whining noise is an indication to step off the gas slightly, thereby losing a little bit of speed, and downshift to 3.
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:22 PM   #10
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Yes, trying to maintain a set speed is counter productive. Getting to the top is what you want to do, not set a speed record.
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:27 PM   #11
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Okay, start up the grade in D, if RPM's climb high and engine whines shift to 3, if it persists shift to 2.

Once up top or going over if there is a steep descent start in??
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:31 PM   #12
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The tranny should down shift itself to third then second. If the engine is revving too high, slow down to lower rpms. Anyone, is this correct?
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:35 PM   #13
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Jeff got this right. Going up you want to stay in the torque peak range of your engine. If it keeps hunting between two gears either slow down so it will be happy in one of the gears, or manually select a lower gear that will keep you in the happy RPM range.
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Going uphill the transmission will generally select the correct gear. Leave it in drive. If the engine is running at too high a speed then slow down some.

The exception to this is if you are climbing a hill, and the transmission is hunting between two gears, going back and forth repeatedly. If you encounter that, then manually select the lower of the two gears to prevent the hunting, as the shifting is what causes heat and wear. Shift back to drive when appropriate, or keep in in the lower gear to descent the hill.

Jeff
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Old 02-17-2016, 05:38 PM   #14
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Okay thanks everyone.

If the transmission shifts itself then what is the 3 the 2 and the 1 for.

The original question is how to properly drive up or down steep grades and how to properly use the 3,2,1.
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