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Old 03-04-2013, 09:42 AM   #1
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Mountain Grade descents...

We are driving a 2007 Dolphin, Ford F53 Chassis, and beginning to drive in the Western mountains. What is the best way to handle mountain grades of 6% that go for miles? We are using a US Gear proportional tow braking system, pulling a 3,300 lb honda.

I am using the Tow/haul option... downshifting as seems reasonable.

What is the upper limit on rpm's that we should be allowing? What gear is the lowest we should consider? Other thoughts?

Thanks muhc in advance.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:39 AM   #2
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Treat your brakes like it costs money to apply, use as little as possible. Use a lower gear to retard RV, if speed starts to increase, step on brakes firmly to slow down, then lift foot off the pedal. RPMs will be limited by engine computer, but don't let them wind up too high, no higher than you would get on hard acceleration. By applying brakes for hard, short intervals you give time for heat to dissipate between applications. Never 'ride' the brakes to control speed, you'll soon find that the brakes are gone. If you notice brakes are loosing effectiveness or smell burning, pull over and let everything cool down. You don't want to descend a hill faster than you would climb it, so don't pay attention to speed limits, go as slow as feels in control.

Let the toad brakes work as they do, don't try to use those brakes to slow down the RV.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:05 PM   #3
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Just to add to BFlinn181's good comments, when running at slower speeds going
up or down long hills , put your 4-way flashers on, like the slower trucks do. On the descending side of steeper grades, gear down even more if necessary (2nd. gear) to reduce the need to use brakes & keep your speed from building up. I don't like to see
my rpm's go much past 3500.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim1950 View Post
We are driving a 2007 Dolphin, Ford F53 Chassis, and beginning to drive in the Western mountains. What is the best way to handle mountain grades of 6% that go for miles? We are using a US Gear proportional tow braking system, pulling a 3,300 lb honda.

I am using the Tow/haul option... downshifting as seems reasonable.

What is the upper limit on rpm's that we should be allowing? What gear is the lowest we should consider? Other thoughts?

Thanks muhc in advance.
Friend had an earlier model Dolphin, coming down a 6 mile 10% grade, he had no brakes at the end of it and said he saw 6,000 on the tach. I burned out the brakes on our dolly (surge brakes) on the same grade on our '97 Type B MH.
Now have a newer dolly with surge brakes, had to add another spring unit between the frame and hitch head to make up for the retarding effect of an exhaust brake. The newer Demco's come with it or they've changed springs.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:06 PM   #5
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Just a thought, you might try not towing through those sections, have someone drive the toad.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
Friend had an earlier model Dolphin, coming down a 6 mile 10% grade, he had no brakes at the end of it and said he saw 6,000 on the tach. I burned out the brakes on our dolly (surge brakes) on the same grade on our '97 Type B MH.
Now have a newer dolly with surge brakes, had to add another spring unit between the frame and hitch head to make up for the retarding effect of an exhaust brake. The newer Demco's come with it or they've changed springs.
OK, where is this monster grade.

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Old 03-05-2013, 06:44 AM   #7
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A must have if you drive in the Western States is the Mountain West Directory. It has info on the roads/passes that have steep grades and switch backs. Don't leave home with out it, that way no surprises around the corner.
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:01 AM   #8
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A must have if you drive in the Western States is the Mountain West Directory. It has info on the roads/passes that have steep grades and switch backs. Don't leave home with out it, that way no surprises around the corner.
I agree. I own both the Eastern and Western. A very nice guy owns the Co and has given me permission to post pages from it from time to time for our members.

http://mountaindirectory.com/
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:17 AM   #9
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I smoked the brakes on my F53 HR a few years back coming down the Teton Pass into Jackson Hole. I was geared down, pushing 4000 RPM and pumping the brakes trying to slow down.

It's the closest I've come to dying yet. When I reached the bottom my brakes were on the floor.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:29 PM   #10
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I smoked the brakes on my F53 HR a few years back coming down the Teton Pass into Jackson Hole. I was geared down, pushing 4000 RPM and pumping the brakes trying to slow down.

It's the closest I've come to dying yet. When I reached the bottom my brakes were on the floor.
Yep, Eastbound from Teton pass is a 10% grade for 5 1/2 miles. Gosh guys don't you consult the Mountain Directory?

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Old 03-05-2013, 06:40 PM   #11
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DONT PUMP THE BRAKES. This gets the brakes HOT and they never get a chance to cool, thus brake fade not failure. Keep steady,light, pressure on the pedal and keep your speed the same as what you came up the other side. 45 MPH goin up, 45 MPH goin down. Brakes will get warm, maybe hot, but won't fade.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:41 PM   #12
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Yep, Eastbound from Teton pass is a 10% grade for 5 1/2 miles. Gosh guys don't you consult the Mountain Directory?

fred
Yep. That's what the directory says.


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Old 03-05-2013, 07:21 PM   #13
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DONT PUMP THE BRAKES. This gets the brakes HOT and they never get a chance to cool, thus brake fade not failure. Keep steady,light, pressure on the pedal and keep your speed the same as what you came up the other side. 45 MPH goin up, 45 MPH goin down. Brakes will get warm, maybe hot, but won't fade.
I'm sorry to disagree, t55watson, but I think you are mistaken. I agree, pumping the brakes will heat them up, but that hasn't been suggested. In post #2 I said, "apply them firmly to slow down, then take foot off the pedal." STEADY, LIGHT, PRESSURE is a sure way to burn them up! The firm application is used to reduce speed by 5 mph or more, then coast or use the transmission/engine to reduce speed. The less time spent with foot on the brake, the safer you are. I've driven buses through many of the passes in the east and west, including Teton Pass a number of times, and never had an issue, just given it extra attention.
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:44 PM   #14
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I'm sorry to disagree, t55watson, but I think you are mistaken. I agree, pumping the brakes will heat them up, but that hasn't been suggested. In post #2 I said, "apply them firmly to slow down, then take foot off the pedal." STEADY, LIGHT, PRESSURE is a sure way to burn them up! The firm application is used to reduce speed by 5 mph or more, then coast or use the transmission/engine to reduce speed. The less time spent with foot on the brake, the safer you are. I've driven buses through many of the passes in the east and west, including Teton Pass a number of times, and never had an issue, just given it extra attention.
BFLINN181's technique will get you to the bottom of any grade ALIVE and with brakes intact. NEVER ride the brakes, unless you think you can survive the crash at or before the bottom. If speed builds too fast after you stab the service brake to slow down, you are in too high a gear. Slow down and downshift.
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