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Old 09-03-2012, 09:31 AM   #1
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Grade Brake update possible?

Hi I have a Winnebago Brave on a W20 2004 chassis with an Alison 1000 transmission, anybody know if its possible to add a grade brake to this?

Ian
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:33 AM   #2
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I added it to my 2003 W-22 with the Allison 1000 and it works great.
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olley View Post
Hi I have a Winnebago Brave on a W20 2004 chassis with an Alison 1000 transmission, anybody know if its possible to add a grade brake to this?
Ian, "Yes" You can add a UltraPower GradeBrake. Call Jon at Brazel's RV Performance to get all the details.

I installed the 1st unit in the field ... here's the article I wrote about it.

See " Workhorse Important Discussions "

and Item #17; Ultrapower Grade Brake Project
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:39 AM   #4
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I can't imagine paying extra for that! I have it, as it came with my unit new, and the switch stays OFF. When I hit my brakes, I want to slow down, not put the transmission down to a lower gear and have the engine scream up to red line. How annoying and dumb is it when you are on the freeway and hit the brakes for a second, and the engine brake downshifts to a lower gear, making your engine scream....it's certainly not good for your engine.

When I bought my Winnie, I was glad to have it, now, don't use it at all as I want to be able to select what gear I want to downshift to when I am going downhill (especially on these mountain grades)....the Engine screaming at 4,300 rpms doesn't thrill me at all! What would you rather replace. brake pads or a blown engine?

Oh by the way....I'm on my original brake pads, even living in the mountains. Coming down steep mountain passes, do the stab and release when braking....keep in a lower gear, but save your engine from the wear and tear of the engine brake as every time you hit the brakes, it invariably goes to a lower gear with the switch on....all the way up to 4,500 rpms.
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:33 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=MntDriver

.... When I bought my Winnie, I was glad to have it, now, don't use it at all as I want to be able to select what gear I want to downshift to when I am going downhill (especially on these mountain grades)....the Engine screaming at 4,300 rpms doesn't thrill me at all! What would you rather replace. brake pads or a blown engine?.[/QUOTE]

Okay, I wonder about this also.... I don't use it for the same reasons, the engine screams, and when on a steep grade it is downright scary when it keeps down-shifting every time you pump the brake pedal. Am I missing something important here? I don't want to hijack this thread, but even though it is possible to add the grade brake, the OP may be open to more discussion on its usefulness.... (If not, I can open a new thread on it)

So, who uses this thing, and how does it function properly? Just on slight grades? On Freeway grades? Because it is just crazy to use it in lots of up-and-down (serious) hills. I don't need to use it (and I probably never will again), but I am curious about others' experiences.
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Old 09-07-2012, 03:12 PM   #6
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I love my grade brake and use it all of the time and I never turn it off. Mine doesn't downshift every time I apply the brakes, it seems to know when the downshift is actually needed. I wouldn't own a gas coach without a grade brake.
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Old 09-07-2012, 03:50 PM   #7
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Would Love a Grade Brake

Had the grade braking option on my Duramax/Allison towing a fifth wheel. Loved the way it helped control the load. Would add the same to my motorhome if my wife had not cut off my spending for the rest of the year.
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:27 PM   #8
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I only activate it on grades I thought it worked great. The time that impressed me the sign said 6% downgrade next 12 miles tapped the brakes before things got going too fast, I think it was around 3500rpms all the way down. Had 3600 lb toad behind me. If I had to pay extra to have it installed now I think I would just move the shifter.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:05 PM   #9
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Do not dismiss out of hand that the Transmission Grade Brake does not operate the driver! It take a little practice to fineses the operation of the brake and to maximize its use under any condition.

A P51 is a great aircraft however if you don't kick enough rudder into a departure roll you could flip the aircraft over.

Transmission Grade Brake (TGB); Don't leave home without it and leave it ON. My Ultrapower Grade Brake has been "ON" since the day I installed it.

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Old 09-07-2012, 08:23 PM   #10
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I have manually shifted for downgrades until I upgraded to the UP grade brake addition several years ago.

Although I don't use the GB on all hills , I do leave it on 100% of the time but selectively deactivate it on some downgrades where simply disengaging OD is adequate. The GB might otherwise downshift another gear with minor brake application that's really not needed to maintain speed.

The advantage of GB for me has been and still is the prevention of mistakenly over-moving the shift selector into the Neutral position when resetting back to Drive!

This often resulted in a clunk in the drive line that sounds like it can't be doing any good.


Mostly not able to see the shift indicator and not wanting to be distracted from watching the road.

Marty
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UFO Pilot View Post
I love my grade brake and use it all of the time and I never turn it off. Mine doesn't downshift every time I apply the brakes, it seems to know when the downshift is actually needed. I wouldn't own a gas coach without a grade brake.
Okay. Thanks to this post and some others that were positive, I'm thinking I need to learn more about this. I'm thinking that if it is working for most of you, but not for me, then I must be suffering a bit of operator error.... Back to the manuals, eh? And thanks to Ian, the OP, for letting us steer his thread, it has been helpful to me.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:40 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by steelheadbluesman View Post
Okay, I wonder about this also.... I don't use it for the same reasons, the engine screams, and when on a steep grade it is downright scary when it keeps down-shifting every time you pump the brake pedal. Am I missing something important here?.....
So, who uses this thing, and how does it function properly? Just on slight grades? On Freeway grades? Because it is just crazy to use it in lots of up-and-down (serious) hills. I don't need to use it (and I probably never will again), but I am curious about others' experiences.
Steel: Keep in mind the TGB feature is simply a "convenience" to save you from manually selecting a lower gear via the shift lever. The use of engine compression to retard speed is not harmful in theory, but I certainly agree that repeating progressive downshifting, which seems to happen with every brake pedal "activation", can be both annoying and cause concern about excessive RPMs and noise. That said, the TCM & ECM brains are susposed to prevent any downshift that will damage either the engine or the tranny. I use my OE TGB, and leave it ON, because it is designed to not cause a DS unless the TCM sees "negative slip" which occurs only when coasting DOWN a grade. It is not susposed to activate on flat roads or typical stop & go city traffic. Like you and others here, I am somewhat troubled by the "extra" downshifts that sometimes take place when I did not think another DS was needed.

What I really don't like is the seemingly long delay before mine will upshift once I begin applying a little throttle, which is how the TGB "learns" that it is time to stop decreasing speed. If I'm already spinning 4K because the TGB put me in 3rd, and I have to increase RPMs even higher to cause the upshift back to 4th, that is troubling to me and so I just turn the TGB off momentarily, which seems to "release" it quicker than applying throttle.

Bottom line is that this convenience feature isn't perfect, and I wish it worked better than it does, but I think it is a better alternative than trying to manually operate the shift lever while driving. I don't remember anybody claiming their TGB blew up their engine, and I trust the TCM/ECM will upshift before allowing the RPMs to exceed a "safe" level.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:26 AM   #13
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I am somewhat troubled by the "extra" downshifts that sometimes take place when I did not think another DS was needed.

What I really don't like is the seemingly long delay before mine will upshift once I begin applying a little throttle, which is how the TGB "learns" that it is time to stop decreasing speed. If I'm already spinning 4K because the TGB put me in 3rd, and I have to increase RPMs even higher to cause the upshift back to 4th, that is troubling to me and so I just turn the TGB off momentarily, which seems to "release" it quicker than applying throttle.
Bingo! Ed nailed it and that is the very reason I leave mine OFF. If I want to just slow down a bit by hitting the brakes, the darn thing downshifts the Allison to a lower gear, and to get it to move it back to a higher gear, you have to INCREASE speed to get back to the original gear or do what Ed does and quickly turn the switch OFF and the transmission will go back to 6th gear....it's just flat NOT GOOD for your engine to scream like that even if it's for a short time.

I do agree it wont allow the Allison 1000 to downshift unless the engine is in RPM range is allowable, but I just dont consider Engine 4,500 RPM "desirable" even though the computer think's it's "allowable". I prefer to keep my RPMS below 3,500.....even on these steep downhill mountainous roads in Colorado (where we live).

Leaving the switch OFF allows ME to control my engine rpms and downshifting, as I dont want the darn thing downshifting every time I hit the brakes!

I'm looking for engine longevity here....not a way to save brake pads.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:51 AM   #14
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And yes....if you have it ON, and you are on the freeway, and press the brakes, it WILL downshift....everytime. And it takes a minute or so to get it back to 6th gear. Hardly smart at all.
MntDriver, If I turn my Grade Brake OFF while in 5th gear (that's all I have) and I step on the brake the TCM will automatically call for a downshift. That's built into the computers and it has nothing to do with the Grade Brake especially on a straight and level Interstate. Go ahead and try it, it will downshift every time regardless if the TGB is on or off.

The fact that it takes you a while to get back up to 6th gear has no bearing on the TGB. What causes the delay is the .61 to 1 final drive ratio on 6th gear. Your machine has to be going at exactly the right speed, have the right load on the drivetrain and be at the right RPM before it will upshift to 6th. When your bucking a headwind for example, I can guarantee you that the transmission will never upshift to 6th because 5th will be making more revs to maintain speed. If 5th ain't happy it'll never make it to 6th.
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