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Old 01-25-2008, 10:36 AM   #1
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I just took our new 2007 36 FDTS Alpine for a 60 mile jaunt to the body shop (gouged two bay doors on a rock in my own driveway) and I noticed the light on the exhaust brake switch did not go on when using it as I was going down a steep but short hill near my house. The hill was so short I'm not sure if I could tell if the exhaust brake was working or not. Any way can I tell besides finding a long steep hill?
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Old 01-25-2008, 10:36 AM   #2
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I just took our new 2007 36 FDTS Alpine for a 60 mile jaunt to the body shop (gouged two bay doors on a rock in my own driveway) and I noticed the light on the exhaust brake switch did not go on when using it as I was going down a steep but short hill near my house. The hill was so short I'm not sure if I could tell if the exhaust brake was working or not. Any way can I tell besides finding a long steep hill?
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:12 AM   #3
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Hi Clark, your coach has a Jacobs 2 stage compression brake. The switch on the dash has 3 positions.
Down position is Low
Center position is Off
Up position is High

When the compression brake is turned on, and you take your foot off the accelerator pedal, the compression brake should engage. There is not an indicator on the dash to let you know it has engaged. If you are going fast enough for the transmission to be in a gear higher than 4th, the transmission will shift down into 4th when the compression brake has engaged.
Hope this helps,
Kip
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:14 AM   #4
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Thanks Kip...

Would the switch light up?
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:48 AM   #5
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It might light up with the dash lights, but I don't remember it ever lighting up when the comp brake engaged.
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Old 01-25-2008, 12:55 PM   #6
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Kip...

What I meant is: When you move the switch from off to high or low does the light in the switch come on? It seems like it should.
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Old 01-25-2008, 01:22 PM   #7
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Clark,
I went out to the 2007 36MDDS Alpine, the light does not come on when the switch is moved to high or low position. I agree that it would be a good idea if it did. I will mention it to WRV.

Kip
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:13 PM   #8
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Mine lights up w/the dash lights only, which IIRC was the same on our 06.
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:37 PM   #9
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EMike & Kip... Thanks for taking the time to check.
I'm leaving in the Alpine in a week or two and towing my Land Rover over the Siskiyou Summit on I5 and I wanted to make sure the the Jake brake was working for that long icy downhill going into California.
As an aside,am I the only one who would like to not have to really press on the brakes to make them work? They remind me of the old non-power brakes from the 1950s and 60s

Clark
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:55 PM   #10
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Clark,
If the road is icy going down any hill I would advise you to leave the Jake OFF. It will slow the back wheels enough to make them slide if the surface is slippery enough. And with a heavy toad that could mean jackknife!

Brad
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Old 01-25-2008, 04:39 PM   #11
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Brad...

Boy, thanks for that advice. I would have used it almost immediately. Never even thought about the jackknife issue but it certainly makes sense. I guess the ABS should help and the trailer has a surge brake.
I generally avoid snow and ice with the motorhome, both from my lack of familiarity with a big RV in those conditions and not wanting to install chains if they are required.

Clark
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Old 01-25-2008, 06:36 PM   #12
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Clark - You DO NOT want to use your Jake brake on ice. We got caught in the snow storm up there the first weekend of January. We bought chains for the Coach at Les Schwabs in Talent/Phoenix for only about $100. But we decided to go back to Grants Pass and go over to the coast. Instead of snow & ice in the Siskiyous, we had horrible winds to contend with that closed 101 for an hour twice and then closed the Bay Bridges so we had to back track again to get over to I-5. Took us 2 hours to go less than 10 miles! Took us a extra day & a half to get back to Orange County!
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:15 PM   #13
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We are also heading south, hopefully the 4th or 5th. We may take the coast route if the pass is to crappy. I would rather stay off snow packed roads if I can.

Brad
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:35 PM   #14
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Clark:

The exhaust brake is very obvious in slow traffic.

1. Start with it off and while moving along, let off the accelerator.

2. Regain your speed, switch on the exhaust brake to high and let off the accelerator again. You ought to see a huge difference, even at only 10 - 20 mph.

3. Try the same thing with the exhaust brake on low.

I use high when in city traffic (surface and freeways)and on 6% or more grades, low on medium traffic interstates and off for open interstates and highways.

No lights come on except instrumentation lighting.
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