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Old 08-07-2017, 08:28 AM   #1
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M2 performance in mountains

We are considering the purchase an '18 Verona LE on the M2 with the 350 horse motor and want to hear from those of you who own a similar rig on your experiences with travel in the mountains... Having owned a Newmar diesel pusher with a 600 Cummins, I'm a little leery about the M2/350 platform.

While we won't spend a large percentage of our time in the mountains, living on the coast of Virginia, we have to do at least the Appalachians to go west and we're also considering spending at least part of the fall out near Wyoming and the Dakotas....

Ready....set....go!!
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:36 AM   #2
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Having just returned from the Appalachians and going back next week, I can say it should be close if you compare HP to Weight ratios for both and factor in torque as well.

If you leave it to cruise control the whole trip you'll be disappointed a bit, but drive it and you will find it spirited enough.

Since our VSB is new to us, I have been experimenting with driving it and I am satisfied with the performance. Previously had 43' Wanderlodge with DD Series 60 at 52,000 lbs and the performance is similar but more fun in the M2

I'm sure Frank Tamez will chime in soon as he just crossed the Rockies with his new Explorer (same chassis and engine/transmission), but I believe he had similar experience. If you read his thread on the new Explorer, you'll notice talk of "turning up the engine".

Also, no matter what sized engine, it will get you up those mountains, if not fast enough, sit back and relax .
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:05 AM   #3
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Rebelsbeach....My VSB Verona now has 7400 miles on the clock and I feel the Cummins is honestly just beginning to feel somewhat broken in. I have yet to hit any large climbs other than a few here in the White Mts of NH and the 350 climbed those with no issues at all (no toad). I would say she gets off the line real nicely, there is a little "numbness" perhaps in that 40-50 MPH band, from 60 to 75 it does very well. I would have to agree with Ziggy that I bet with the weight differnce between your old Blue Bird and the Renegade the HP/torque will be comparable. What I like is I am getting low to mid 10"s all day at 68 MPG. Renegade's build quality is great and their service is even better. I email/call Woody (at the factory) and he gets right back to me within hours. Best of luck.
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:28 PM   #4
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I was wondering how the ISL Jake brake did on the more serious downgrades. I have driven the 1250 torque ISL, but almost all on flatter terrain. I thought the ISL Jake brake was underwhelming. My comparison is the Detroit series 60 and DD13, different animals however. Can a 6% downhill be done (plus toad) with Jake brake only with the 1000 torque ISL? Does the Jake force a downshift of one gear with the Jake engaged? I was considering the DD13 mainly for the ease of going down hill with high/med/low Jake brake options, my foot is usually flat on the floor all the way down the hill. I drive DD13/Allisons frequently for work, I think they have spoiled me rotten.
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by johndfd View Post
I was wondering how the ISL Jake brake did on the more serious downgrades. I have driven the 1250 torque ISL, but almost all on flatter terrain. I thought the ISL Jake brake was underwhelming. My comparison is the Detroit series 60 and DD13, different animals however. Can a 6% downhill be done (plus toad) with Jake brake only with the 1000 torque ISL? Does the Jake force a downshift of one gear with the Jake engaged? I was considering the DD13 mainly for the ease of going down hill with high/med/low Jake brake options, my foot is usually flat on the floor all the way down the hill. I drive DD13/Allisons frequently for work, I think they have spoiled me rotten.
So mine is stock 350/1000 and the Jake brake does drop a gear. I am in much better control going down steep grades now than with the gasser I had.
We have done a few 6% grades going to flagstaff and it seemed fine. I think I had to apply the brake a few times, but for the most part it kept the speed in check.
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Old 08-09-2017, 07:28 AM   #6
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the above was with a Jeep toad also.

The performance going up the hills is fine. high 40's
I could probably go a bit faster if I manually dropped the transmission down a gear.
I think I end up in 4th gear at the slowest points.
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Old 08-09-2017, 02:32 PM   #7
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I appreciate all the info...thanks!
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Old 08-11-2017, 04:30 PM   #8
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I have to agree that compared to the Detroit's the Cummins engine brake is a bit underwhelming. Feels more like an exhaust brake than a compression brake

That said. Cabbage hill is a 6 mile 6% downgrade just east of Pendelton Oregon.

Speed limit on the curves is 55 and I geared down to 5th and attempted to descend at 55 like I always did with my 60 series Detroit's. It sped up so I braked down to 50 and shifted down to 4th. I kept it between 48 in high brake and then low brake to 52. Made it just fine.

Explorer and a 5000 lb toad.

Its doable and shouldn't be a deal breaker as I also got almost 10 mph at 68 in the hills. Big upside for a very small downside as far as I am concerned.
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Old 08-11-2017, 05:39 PM   #9
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Its doable and shouldn't be a deal breaker as I also got almost 10 mph at 68 in the hills. Big upside for a very small downside as far as I am concerned.
Frank,

That's sound advice Sir....

I think I've pretty much cooked my own goose, since I've shown the "better half" all of the pictures and information about the Verona LE at North Trail. The better half herself makes a good point, when she made the statement to me that "we're retired and not supposed to be in a hurry, so what if we climb the mountain at 50...

Looks like we'll be planning a trip....to Fort Myers.
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