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Old 04-28-2015, 07:25 PM   #1
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DP Motorhomes, Mountains, Engines, Brakes

Okay, so we cut a deal, we get our 08 Mandalay Presidio, on the FL chasis, 400hp cummings on the 8th.

We are planning our vacation, 16 days, S.C. to Colorado. Will head from here to Durango, 4 nights there, Durango to Steamboat for the 4th of July parade and rodeo, 3 nights there, then 3 nights at Estes Park. From Estes we head home, may spend one night in Branson and catch a show on the way home.

So my question. I've towed campers for many, many years. Just traded a 39' 5th, which I towed with a Superduty. And, I learned you just don't go tromping around the moutains with that rig, unless you like buyin transmissions and such. It is awfull hard on things. What about Class A DP's? Should I carefully pick my routes around Colorado? Of course I need to stay where I'm permitted to be, but have I moved to a level where I don't worry as much about that stuff?

We will be towing a 1-2 bike trailer, going to guess about 3,000#'s.

I should add, our new rig has and exhaust brake, with 2 different levels we can select. The trailer will have brakes as well.

Checking out this trip, it looks especially challenging to get from Steamboat to Estes. I've been there before, and the pass through the park is way steep, way narrow, and way high.

Thanks, L.
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:43 PM   #2
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When going up hills watch your engine temp. and if it starts climbing too high manually shift down. You probably won't need to as the engine will usually manage that itself.
On your engine if it has a two stage engine brake it is most likely an engine brake rather than an exhaust brake. When starting down a hill that is long and steep, slow down at the top and start down slow enough that your engine brake will hold you back without having to ride your brakes. You can always go up a gear if it is too slow, and you will be able to figure that out as you get used to your coach. When you slow down and the engine brake comes on it will shift down as you slow down so when you reach a comfortable speed you will be able to hold it there with the odd foot brake application.
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:45 PM   #3
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I never worry about it. We just pick an interesting route and follow it till another comes along. Hills going up, let the transmission do its job, Hills going down use the engine/exhaust brake. Most of all, enjoy the ride.
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:47 PM   #4
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A 400 hp Cummins is most likely an ISL. A two stage engine brake is most likely not an exhaust brake, but a true Jake brake.

Our Jake brake equipped ISL can handle most grades without use of the service brakes. I start with the Jake set on low, if my speed creeps up I toggle to the high setting. This usually results in a reduction of speed and I switch back to low. By toggling back and forth between low and high settings, I can cantrol my downhill speed without using the brake pedal.

Of course if a sharp curve appears on a steep descent, I may have to stab the brakes once or twice, but that's the exception.
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:00 PM   #5
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MH will have the Allison 3000 MH. Good trans and pretty much bullet proof. As was said earlier you have the ISL and it should have a true engine brake with a high and low setting. Will work fine but you may need to watch the coolant temps.
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:19 PM   #6
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I agree I wouldn't be concerned about the mechanical side of it, the transmission and motor will be fine as long as you watch your rpm's and thermostat. Take it easy and you will not be disappointed. I pull 10,000lb trailer in the mountains with a 425hp and Allison 3000 MH.
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:26 PM   #7
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I own a 2002 Monaco Windsor, 38' but it's go the full steel cage construction so it is HEAVY. I have a 350 ISC with an exhaust brake. I pull a 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

I usually don't have any trouble traveling in the mountains, the exhaust brake does a good job but you do have to watch to make sure you don't start gaining speed. If I do I usually pulse the brakes to bring the speed back down (my wife is always helping me also)
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:54 PM   #8
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Dang, your right. I went back to the pics they sent us, and it says engine break on the button! Thought I read exhaust brake. You guys are good!

Sounds like I should plan the trip to have fun, and not spare the horses. Awesome!

Anyone added a transmission temp gauge? Or no worries?

L.
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:55 PM   #9
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My limited experience so far was our trip from Florida to Nashville through the hills in Ga and Chatanooga. My 300 hp ISB pulled our Excursion 35c and 3700 pound towed Murano up and down with little effort. I watched the engine and transmission temps go up and down up 5 and 6% grades. Occasionally the Allison would shift down to 4th and we'd be around 50 mph (with most of the other traffic). Engine brake seemed to work fine keeping things under control going down.

You'll probably find more challenging roads out west, but I'm sure your rig will handle it fine.
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:33 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=slickest1;2533466]When going up hills watch your engine temp. and if it starts climbing too high manually shift down. You probably won't need to as the engine will usually manage that itself.

I totally disagree with this statement. Read your engine manual or download it if you do not have it. I have a 2005 allegro bus with the 400 ISL engine and pull a 2012 buick enclave which is a fairly heavy car. I can pull most of the mountain grades in 6th gear and the engine never shifts down. I did this on a trip from Arkansas to California on I40 Through some pretty steep mountains. On the way back I traveled through North California and traveled accross the mountains around Lake tahoe. My engine had more than enough power to pull in 6th gear. HOWEVER> The temp would not do it. I had to manually shift down on almost every mountain sometimes 2 gears. In order for your engine to run cool at high elevations in high temperatures you have to keep your engine at Maximum RPMs to move more water through the radiator or some reason. It is very common to read about on here. When I went on my first trip I did not know about this and when traveling up the pass on the other side of the desert my engine started getting hot and i pulled over to see what was wrong. The engine cooled down almost immediately and I started again only to have the same thing happen. I tried downshifting and the engine started cooling down. When I got over the pass to a rest stop I took the manual out and saw that it said to do that. I finished my trip that way. The point i am trying to make is if you have to downshift to keep the engine cool it is normal.

The engine brake advice is right on. No matter how big the mountain I was going down I just put the engine brake on and let my engine just idle me down to the bottom it works perfectly. I think it is one of the biggest advantages over the 5th wheel that i found when i changed from a 5er to the DP.
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:59 PM   #11
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We are new to the motor coach scene. Just bought our first rv which is a 98 monaco dynasty . Reading as much as possible on everything i see that would interest me. This thread has been great to read and learn from. Our coach has an exhaust break only. This thread has really helped simplify things on traveling through the mountains. Again thanks everyone !
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd in S.C. View Post
Dang, your right. I went back to the pics they sent us, and it says engine break on the button! Thought I read exhaust brake. You guys are good!

Sounds like I should plan the trip to have fun, and not spare the horses. Awesome!

Anyone added a transmission temp gauge? Or no worries?

L.
If you want to know everything about your engine and trans get the Silverleaf
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd in S.C. View Post
Dang, your right. I went back to the pics they sent us, and it says engine break on the button! Thought I read exhaust brake. You guys are good!

Sounds like I should plan the trip to have fun, and not spare the horses. Awesome!

Anyone added a transmission temp gauge? Or no worries?

L.
VMS or VMSpc will read the trans temps. I've used both, but in different MH's
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:15 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=gemini5362;2533623]
Quote:
Originally Posted by slickest1 View Post
When going up hills watch your engine temp. and if it starts climbing too high manually shift down. You probably won't need to as the engine will usually manage that itself.

I totally disagree with this statement. Read your engine manual or download it if you do not have it. I have a 2005 allegro bus with the 400 ISL engine and pull a 2012 buick enclave which is a fairly heavy car. I can pull most of the mountain grades in 6th gear and the engine never shifts down. I did this on a trip from Arkansas to California on I40 Through some pretty steep mountains. On the way back I traveled through North California and traveled accross the mountains around Lake tahoe. My engine had more than enough power to pull in 6th gear. HOWEVER> The temp would not do it. I had to manually shift down on almost every mountain sometimes 2 gears. In order for your engine to run cool at high elevations in high temperatures you have to keep your engine at Maximum RPMs to move more water through the radiator or some reason. It is very common to read about on here. When I went on my first trip I did not know about this and when traveling up the pass on the other side of the desert my engine started getting hot and i pulled over to see what was wrong. The engine cooled down almost immediately and I started again only to have the same thing happen. I tried downshifting and the engine started cooling down. When I got over the pass to a rest stop I took the manual out and saw that it said to do that. I finished my trip that way. The point i am trying to make is if you have to downshift to keep the engine cool it is normal.
The will depend on the cooling system in the RV. Some are far more efficient than others. With the Dutch Star ISC with Banks the only time I ever had the temps get high was when the radiator stack needed cleaning (after 11 years of never doing it). Once that was done it ran cool again.
With the ISX it never heated up at all even in 6th over the Grapevine and Tehachapi passes.
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