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Old 07-03-2015, 03:35 PM   #169
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Reading this thread is like watching an Airstream rollover.

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Old 07-03-2015, 03:46 PM   #170
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Two Airstream rollovers in a month

I can comfortably and legally tow my 31 footer with 15" LT tires and a Hensley at 80 mph with my 1/2 ton SWB 4WD truck..

Did I miss any hot button issues?

(Edit; while my electric fridge is running off my inverter)
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:12 PM   #171
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Controlling Speed with Cruise Control

I don't have anything to add to the religious aspect of the discussion, but I do have (what is to me anyway) a legitimate question. I'm relatively new to pulling an Airstream - 2 years, 12,000 miles - but I have many years of experience pulling large boats. Plus I've raced Porsches. Different circumstances but in both cases you learn to save brakes.

I've always been paranoid about sharp downhills and have gone slowly, downshifting to control my speed. But I have noticed that on a curvy road that my cruise control seems to do a good job of controlling speed on it's on.

When I'm on on road with intermittent curves and speed advisory signs I like to use the cruise control, adjust it to the suggested speed on the sign before the curve, and let it take over. Before I had my present vehicle, I thought that cruise control controlled speed solely by the engine, but that isn't the case with this vehicle. The car brake lights go on (I can see them reflected against the trailer) and the trailer brakes engage (the indicator light changes color). And it happens pretty decisively. Almost as if the car is doing everything automatically. I haven't tried this on long steep descents, preferred to stay with downshifting, but I'm thinking it would be effective and I'm going to experiment on a stretch of road that I'm familiar with.

Is anyone familiar with the mechanics of cruise control?

Cheers,
John
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:39 PM   #172
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I don't have anything to add to the religious aspect of the discussion, but I do have (what is to me anyway) a legitimate question. I'm relatively new to pulling an Airstream - 2 years, 12,000 miles - but I have many years of experience pulling large boats. Plus I've raced Porsches. Different circumstances but in both cases you learn to save brakes.

I've always been paranoid about sharp downhills and have gone slowly, downshifting to control my speed. But I have noticed that on a curvy road that my cruise control seems to do a good job of controlling speed on it's on.

When I'm on on road with intermittent curves and speed advisory signs I like to use the cruise control, adjust it to the suggested speed on the sign before the curve, and let it take over. Before I had my present vehicle, I thought that cruise control controlled speed solely by the engine, but that isn't the case with this vehicle. The car brake lights go on (I can see them reflected against the trailer) and the trailer brakes engage (the indicator light changes color). And it happens pretty decisively. Almost as if the car is doing everything automatically. I haven't tried this on long steep descents, preferred to stay with downshifting, but I'm thinking it would be effective and I'm going to experiment on a stretch of road that I'm familiar with.

Is anyone familiar with the mechanics of cruise control?

Cheers,
John

One of the forum members said he towed his Airstream from California to Alaska and back with a GL 350 and almost exclusively used the cruise control lever to control the speed up and down the hills and for the rest of the trip. As you said the CC does all the downshifting and braking.
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:49 PM   #173
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Two Airstream rollovers in a month

I guess it depends on your vehicle make and vintage. My GMC van is circa 2003, my Honda 2007, and my Hyundai is 2012. All have basic cruise controls whose programming is built to get the speed up to your setting. If you pick up speed they will reduce throttle, but none of them do any braking.

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Old 07-03-2015, 06:15 PM   #174
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After my post I did some searching and found some information on the cruise control on my TV, which is a Mercedes ML500. I don't know how many manufacturers have it, but evidently Mercedes was the first to introduce "intelligent cruise control" which utilizes both the engine and the brakes to control speed. I have always been aware that the cruise control did a great job of controlling speed but I until this trip to the Oregon Coast (came here to Cape Blanco to escape the 100 degree heat in Bend, now we're freezing) I had not realized that it used the brakes effectively as well.

I was coming through curves following the Umpqua River when I used the cruise control to go around a 35mph curve in the shade and noticed that the brake lights were reflected on the trailer. So then I started experimenting, reduced speed closer to the curves and noticing how quickly things slowed down. The next thing I noticed was that the trailer brake controller was engaging. A really, really neat discovery. I've always used the cruise control extensively, almost like a hand throttle, but I had no idea it was so sophisticated. It's not only convenient, I can see how it can increase my margin of safety in many different conditions.

Cheers,
John
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:01 PM   #175
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Reading this thread is like watching an Airstream rollover.

I am pretty sure that nearly everyone posting in this thread truly believes what they saying and are not trolling. The problem for me to figure out which ones are truly wrong and which are wrong by virtue of not agreeing with me.

Ken
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:19 PM   #176
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What is your tow vehicle?


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Old 07-03-2015, 07:20 PM   #177
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Two Airstream rollovers in a month

Problem with cruise controls is that they don't drive with economy in mind. I'll see a hill coming up, I'll gain a little speed. As I climb I'll back off the accelerator, this keeps me from downshifting and I'll get to the top with minimal loss of speed and still in the same gear. With CC on I'll lose speed and the CC will keep pushing down on the gas to hold speed and will eventually cause a downshift. You can really suck gas like that.

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Old 07-03-2015, 07:26 PM   #178
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Problem with cruise controls is that they don't drive with economy in mind. I'll see a hill coming up, I'll gain a little speed. As I climb I'll back off the accelerator, this keeps me from downshifting and I'll get to the top with minimal loss of speed. With CC on I'll lose speed and the CC will keep pushing down on the gas to force downshift. You can really suck gas like that.

Jac
I agree with that. I go manual up hills. I'm never in a hurry and I'd rather slow down and save the revs and the gas.

One other problem with cruise control, at least with mine. If I set it at a much higher speed than I'm going it accelerates like it thinks I've just challenged some one to a drag race. I increase it slowly and incrementedly for that reason.

One more comfortable thing about cruise control - I always know I'm going the speed limit (unless it's 80). When I enter an area with decreasing limits I just click it down.

Cheers,
John
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:40 PM   #179
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Two Airstream rollovers in a month

I go down to Branson on occasion and those hills on US 65 can be a challenge. I've learned that by gearing down early on a climb, I can come to top at a much better speed and possibly at a higher gear. If I let the computer make the decision, I'll find myself in second gear going much slower. Downhill can be equally challenging and I've occasionally tapped the trailer brakes manually as we are descending, to burn off a little speed and will gear down out of OD as we start down the crest. Dependent on the slope down without curves ahead, I'll go back to OD to allow for some speed build up as we start up the oncoming hill.

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Old 07-03-2015, 08:11 PM   #180
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What is your tow vehicle


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Whom are you directing this question to?

If me (since you posted right after me), It is a 2003 diesel Dodge Ram 2500 Laramie with Quad Cab, short bed, and 4X4. It has a cab height fiberglass canopy.

Ken
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Old 07-03-2015, 08:17 PM   #181
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Problem with cruise controls is that they don't drive with economy in mind. I'll see a hill coming up, I'll gain a little speed. As I climb I'll back off the accelerator, this keeps me from downshifting and I'll get to the top with minimal loss of speed and still in the same gear. With CC on I'll lose speed and the CC will keep pushing down on the gas to hold speed and will eventually cause a downshift. You can really suck gas like that.

Jack
In my opinion, another problem with cruise control is that it lengthens stopping distance. When driving without CC, the TV starts to slow as soon as you foot leaves the accelerator (unless your going down a significant hill. With CC, the slow does not start until the CC circuitry detects you food on the brake. Most literature I read says not to use CC when towing. However, I do use it when conditions and traffic are near perfect.

Ken
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Old 07-03-2015, 09:09 PM   #182
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Cruise control is convenient under certain circumstances where there is little to no reason for you to maintain manual control... like crossing valleys or plains at a constant speed for many miles on end and you aren't dealing with traffic.

But for the most part, especially where hills, curves, and other vehicles are involved, no CC for me... I want manual control as I can do a much better, much more intelligent (safer and more economical) job of adjusting fuel input for accelerating and for gradually slowing down.
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