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Old 08-21-2012, 03:20 PM   #1
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Engine Brake Assist

Hello Everyone! I'm sort of new at this...so I'll ask for patience.

I own an '06 Travel Supreme Envoy w/ 350 Cat engine.
, 3000Allison Transmission.
On a recent trip to Cap Cod ( I'm from SC), the engine brake failed to re-engage . After sitting for while the transmission engaged & I never turned on the engine brake switch again. I finally got back home.

The MH is currently in shop, and tech says it'ss an electrical problem, not mechanical. Still has not found problem.

Now, I'm scheduled to leave Greenville,SC to Bristol Tn on Thursday. Question is will it be safe to downshift transmission and tap service brakes on the steep downhill grades into Tennessee on I-26 West???

Would appreciate your response.

RLJ 4580

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Old 08-21-2012, 05:05 PM   #2
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Yes,I have driven that route many times. Manually downshift and use brakes when needed but don't ride them,don't want them heating up. Are you pulling a toad?

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Old 08-21-2012, 05:38 PM   #3
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The long down grade from the TN state line will require keeping your speed under control. A diesel doesn't have much in the way of retarding power without that exhaust brake. No matter what gear you select, it will happily rev right to the red line and then force an up shift. It will take very conservative driving if you are use to driving with the exhaust brake.

If they couldn't find & fix the problem you need to fire them and take it to Freightliner in Gaffney.
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:55 PM   #4
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I'm with Steve. Engine brake is a necessity on a heavy rig. A good shop will have the engine map to check pin-outs where signal can be read that a) the engine (ECM) is getting engine brake signal (this is a vehicle mfgr signal from the switch, not a Cat signal), b) the ECM is sending the signal out to the trans to manage shift points (Cat ECM generated signal), c) the trans is sending signal back to the ECM to engage engine brake (Allison generated signal after managing the shift), and d) ECM has signal out to the engine brake. If your outfit can't follow the signal path to isolate the problem, they are the wrong guys and need a relief party of professionals to pinch hit this inning.
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Old 08-21-2012, 06:58 PM   #5
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Engine Brake Problem

Thanks for your insight.....problem is I can't take it to Gaffney since it sits on a Spartan chasis!!!

I have used Freightliner with a previous coach....great people.
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:04 PM   #6
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Why not take it to a Cat dealer, there are several in Greenville? Here's the Cat dealer locator: Caterpillar Dealer Locator I like having Cat folks working on my engine. I agree with the previous posts that this shouldn't be such a big deal of a problem to find.
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:32 PM   #7
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in spring of 11 had sim. prob. Pack brake would not release if i let the the tranny go into 3rd gear I was in Tahacipi Ca. going west really long grade to Bakersfield. I just shifted out of econy. mode geard down to 4th had no prob. I shifted up to 5th I just watched the rpms when they get to 2500 start tapping the breaks bring it bk. down to around 2000 going down hill is all about rpms exh. brake or not. lots of luck n have a safe trip home

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Old 08-21-2012, 08:04 PM   #8
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On my Fleetwood Discovery, for the first 6 years of her life she did not have a working exhaust brake. Previous owners had driven her over the Rocky Mountains said everything was fine. I owned her for 2 years, and went to 3 different major Cummins repair facilities where they replaced the frozen exhaust brake valve 3 times swearing up and down it worked perfectly. One of them even went so far as to say they posted a technician in the back and he visually verified it was working. I got so disgusted I video taped the exhaust valve and showed them it just wasn't working.

One day I was exploring in the engine compartment when I found a connector that wasn't connected to anything. Long story short, the connector went to the exhaust brake and it never was hooked up from the get go. The other end of the connector was found deep inside the wire bundle with a protective cap still firmly in place. Once I connected that connector the exhaust brake worked great.
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Old 08-22-2012, 05:50 AM   #9
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I have made many trips over the rockies (Rabbit Ears, Lost Creek, Vail, Lookout, and Power River Pass) and most are 6-8% grades and no way would I go down these mountains without an engine brake. Getting the breaks hot is not an option. The only way I can hold my motorhome back is shift to first gear. Cat engines have no compression so get the break fixed.

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