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Old 09-12-2015, 10:54 AM   #1
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First trip to SD and in mountains.. Advice??

Hi Folks!! Excited to be taking our first trip to SD next week. Had our 2005 Winnebago journey about six months and have made several trips but this will be our first experience in mountains. Any suggestions for how to handle climbs and decent. Will be towing jeep wrangler.

Thanks!!
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:04 AM   #2
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Take it slow and easy and let the engine and transmission do it's thing.
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Old 09-12-2015, 11:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunset4k View Post
Hi Folks!! Excited to be taking our first trip to SD next week. Had our 2005 Winnebago journey about six months and have made several trips but this will be our first experience in mountains. Any suggestions for how to handle climbs and decent. Will be towing jeep wrangler.

Thanks!!
sunset4K,
Well, if you've already driven it for several trips, then you have the basics down on just how that motor basically performs. And, unless you live in Kansas or, any other part of the country that it perfectly flat, I suspect you've got at least some hill driving experience with that coach.

Now, with that being said, that engine, I assuming it's either a C-7 330HP or, 350HP CAT, is a darn good engine and, for the most part, can do really well on many grades, even towing your Jeep. Our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT, is very close to yours in weight and design and, we have ran all over that area you're intending on going, towing different toads and, carrying a 900 lb. Honda Goldwing on Hydralift, on the back of the coach. It did just fine.

Yours (and mine) will not rocket up some of the steepest grades but, it will get you there. The key is to know when do downshift, prior to the engine/trans waiting to do it on their own. Sometimes outthinking the that combo helps drastically with heat build up and, makes things easier on the whole climb.

Now, I don't know what's been done on your coach as far as radiator/blow-by tube relationship but, do make sure that your CAC and radiator fins are clear of that nasty old grime/sludge/build-up that happens to so many of our coaches, when things aren't taken care of properly. Once that's done, and, you learn to use the best rpms/torque range of that motor vs the weight you're transporting, you'll be good to go. Good luck and have a great time in that area.
Scott
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Old 09-12-2015, 12:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunset4k View Post
Hi Folks!! Excited to be taking our first trip to SD next week. Had our 2005 Winnebago journey about six months and have made several trips but this will be our first experience in mountains. Any suggestions for how to handle climbs and decent. Will be towing jeep wrangler.



Thanks!!

When you are starting a long climb, go ahead and gear down so your RPMs are up close to the hp peak for your engine. As the climb continues, gear down as necessary to keep RPMs up close to that hp peak. Watch the engine coolant temps. Keeping you RPMs up should help control temp rise. If coolant temps continue use to rise, drop another gear and back out of the throttle somewhat. WOT with high turbo psi is a real heat generator.

At the top of the grade or when starting any long decent, make sure the exhaust brake switch is on. Your initial speed should be no higher than where you can maintain 4th gear at about the same rpm as climbs, up around the hp peak. If you start building speed, employ snub braking technique. That is a firm application of the service brakes for no more than 5 seconds. Do it again in 5 seconds if needed. You need to get the speed down to the point that you can drop another gear.

I'm sure you will do fine. Just exercise common sense and good judgement.


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Old 09-12-2015, 12:50 PM   #5
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Get off the interstate when you can. Our country is beautiful.


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Old 09-12-2015, 03:03 PM   #6
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x2 ON LETTING ENGINE,TRANS,AND computer do their thing.I have 300 hp isb I just step on it and go.Many times it will downshift settle in and upshift and not downshift again.
Just use caution going down,slow is better till you aer used to your rig.


I keep an eye on temp gauges but neither has ever risen much above normal.Diesel engines like to work so let it.


Just my opinion Dave
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Old 09-12-2015, 03:54 PM   #7
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We have a 350 Cummins and an Allison tranny. I put it in econo mode and drive. In the beginning I tried shiftng down etc but soon learned I could just let the machine do its thing. Only time it was an issue was on the Powder River Pass. But then again I'm not interested in being the first to the top of the mountain. Start down no faster than what you topped at. Hit your exhaust or engine brake. Firmly stab your service brake back to a comfortable speed if you get to fast
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Old 09-12-2015, 04:49 PM   #8
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The basic rule COME DOWN THE HILL NO FASTER THAN YOU WENT UP 😎
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Old 09-12-2015, 10:47 PM   #9
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First trip to SD and in mountains.. Advice??

Quote:
Originally Posted by dakratdave View Post
x2 ON LETTING ENGINE,TRANS,AND computer do their thing.I have 300 hp isb I just step on it and go.
That's a great way to overheat your engine and it is not the correct driving technique for mountain driving.

If you drive as you suggest, your engine and transmission is always reacting to something that has already happened. The coach hits the hill, slows down a little and then shifts down a gear. By the time it does that, you are already behind the power curve and will struggle all the way up the hill.

On the other hand, if you drive your coach correctly, you will shift down a gear BEFORE you get into the heart of a grade. In other words, you can ANTICIPATE what is about to happen and give yourself and your coach a huge advantage. You cannot leave these things in "D" and just drive...not if you want the best performance out of your coach.

Steve Ownby hit it dead center correct. You should shift down a gear before you hit the grade so you can keep your engine at its horsepower peak, which is going to be somewhere around 2,000 rpm with a diesel and around 4,000 rpm for a gasoline engine.


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Old 09-13-2015, 06:57 AM   #10
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In June we spent a few days in SD and Montana. First thing, don't hurry. Second thing, don't hurry. Speed is NOT your friend especially in the mountains.

Also, recommend a good supplementary braking system. Really helps with the down hill portion. We upgraded to the BrakeBuddy Classic. Well worth the investment.

Enjoy. It is BEAUTIFUL country.
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:04 AM   #11
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mountain driving

Take your rig out on level ground , put it in 3rd gear and floor it note when it hits the gov
when going up hill manually down shift so your tach is two hundered rpm's below the gov, this will be the sweet spot for the drive train and best cooling
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Old 09-13-2015, 10:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Ownby View Post
When you are starting a long climb, go ahead and gear down so your RPMs are up close to the hp peak for your engine. As the climb continues, gear down as necessary to keep RPMs up close to that hp peak. Watch the engine coolant temps. Keeping you RPMs up should help control temp rise. If coolant temps continue use to rise, drop another gear and back out of the throttle somewhat. WOT with high turbo psi is a real heat generator.

At the top of the grade or when starting any long decent, make sure the exhaust brake switch is on. Your initial speed should be no higher than where you can maintain 4th gear at about the same rpm as climbs, up around the hp peak. If you start building speed, employ snub braking technique. That is a firm application of the service brakes for no more than 5 seconds. Do it again in 5 seconds if needed. You need to get the speed down to the point that you can drop another gear.

I'm sure you will do fine. Just exercise common sense and good judgement.

Steve Ownby
Full time since '07
Spot on as usual Steve.
-------

OP.. dig into the Allison operating manual. It is the jewel of the coach. Keep the rpms up and shift it like a manual tranny up and down. Economy mode and automatic are for the flats and little rolling hills - not the grades. Use the retarder or engine brake on the down grade. You'll likely find that the combination of the gear down and engine braking can get you down many grades without a foot on either brake or fuel treadle. The snub braking will be employed when momentum builds. Knock the speed down about 5 mph below the desired speed then let her roll. Repeat as needed until you're out of the grade.

If you have a digital display set up to suit you. Mine is set to show three lines in the display. I have turbo psi on top - tranny temp in the middle - and engine temp on the bottom. Easy enough to watch the Temps and use the tranny to bring them down. You'll be amazed how fast the engine Temps drop as you down shift and the rpms rise. You can't see that on a needle gauge nearly as well.

On another note... the Mountain East and West Directories are a great addition to your traveling.

http://www.mountaindirectory.com/

Don't even price them on Amazon.
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