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Old 12-13-2010, 08:19 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by akadeadeye View Post
OK. Many interesting comments.

I have a question. Rather than taking a poll of who uses the exhaust brake and when, how about asking (I am asking...) why do you leave it on all the time? It seems to me it is needed most when going down steep grades to keep from burning up the service brakes or in out of the ordinary situations of having to stop quicker than normal. But I am a relative rookie to all of this so what do I know.

I have used mine for steep grades and for the unexpected added braking required in a few situations. I do not leave the switch on all the time.

Maybe I should. I am just interested in hearing why you do leave it on most or all of the time.


Hereís my answer to Why. I use my exhaust brake all the time except when roads are slick. The E brake is faster than I am as it comes on as soon as the throttle is up. It is a fact that it takes at least ĺ sec. to get your foot from the throttle to the brake peddle (@60 that is 66í). That could be enough to make a difference.
I respectfully suggest that you rethink that wet roads are always OK. The first rain after a dry spell can make roads like ice. Also when there is enough water on the road to cause hydro planing you donít want braking from the Ebrake. You certainly don't want use the Ebrake while towing if there is any chance the road might be slick unless you are also using the trailer brakes. JMHO
Looks like where I learned to drive. (another part of Idaho)


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Old 12-13-2010, 08:31 PM   #16
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I drive a tractor trailer ( car hauler) for a living and I never ever turn the jake off. Haven't jack knifed yet ( touch wood ).

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Old 12-14-2010, 08:14 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by CD View Post
Looks like where I learned to drive. (another part of Idaho)
Cow Creek road - Lucile, Idaho
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:18 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Monacoach View Post
I drive a tractor trailer ( car hauler) for a living and I never ever turn the jake off. Haven't jack knifed yet ( touch wood ).
I guess the key word here is "Yet".
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:45 PM   #19
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77,000 miles and the exhaust brake has never been off. The other benifit is that my service brakes look like new
NOTE; I am not responsible for typos, poor grammer or misspelled word !
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Old 12-14-2010, 06:42 PM   #20
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I also belong to the camp that believes that if your exhaust brake is 'off' you won't be able to find the switch fast enough to engage it if you want to. This is why I engage it with the cruise switch as my hand is closer to this switch than the exhaust brake switch which is on the dash.

By having the exhaust switch programmed to no lower than 4th gear, I don't think it will get me into a situation on wet roads which will get me into trouble (touch wood).

This is why I keep it on all the time.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:32 PM   #21
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First of all, you need to determine if you have an exhaust brake or an engine brake. My guess is you have an exhaust brake. There is a difference. And it makes a difference in stopping power. As with exhaust brakes and engine brakes, the later models have different stages you can select. If you leave it on the highest setting (with less braking) the roads would have to be very slick to cause the tires to break free when the roads are wet. Snow, that's a different matter. If the roads are slick, the last thing you want to happen is have your front brakes lock up by the driver who over reacts and steps on them to hard.

It does not harm or cause excessive wear on the engine to use the exhaust or engine brake. So, why would you want to wear out your service brakes in the majority of the times you have sufficient distance to slow down?

And yes, many motor homes do have engine or as they are called Jacobs Brakes (Jake Brake). I use mine ALL the time.

Of course, these are just my opinions.

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Old 12-14-2010, 08:00 PM   #22
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I guess the key word here is "Yet".
Just got home from a very snowy trip.... didnt jack knife today...
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:19 PM   #23
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I would leave it "available to use" all the time.... it sure saves your service brakes and just makes it easier to control the coach in general. When cresting a hill, you should be going nice and slow so you can use your PAC brake to help control your RV.
Some of the bigger RV's have JAKE brakes, but most are the PAC brakes which don't make enough noise to hurt anything. Let the systems do their jobs.... use the PAC brake to help control your rig..... do all your testing and getting used to it on dry roads first so you get a good feel for what it does and how. I would never turn it off. You want that "option" all the time....
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:41 PM   #24
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I have my engine brake on most of the time and am a big fan of using it. The engine doesn't slow down that much with it off. I will switch it off on gradually rolling hills on the interstate that I guess are about 2-3% grades that can be annoying to have the brake come on when the engine will hold back enough to not go over 65 mph. I don't tow over 65 mph with my Honda CRV toad. I usually drive 60 mph.
My Jacobson 2 stage brake quits at 10 mph and pulls down in all gears. I like it.
I have lived in snow all my life so feel comfortable with slick roads (mostly). I had to drive on ice and snow from N Idaho to get to Arizona and the brake was on most of the time, usually low setting. I use the high setting mostly in heavy traffic and 6-7% or steeper grades. More effective to shift down and use at higher rpm.

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