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Old 05-02-2015, 08:49 PM   #1
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I 70 east bound over the Rockies

First of all dont tell me you should have bought a diesel I cant afford one. I have a 2008 Damon Challenger 38' with a Workhorse 8.1L chassis with 33,000 miles pulling a 2 dr Jeep Wrangler. While heading east on I 70 going up to the Eisenhower tunnel I came to the first steep climb at 10,000'. I ended up in first gear going 30 mph with the gas peddle to the floor. Then I got a warning on the instrument cluster "CHECK TRANS TEMP" so I pulled over and let it cool down. Then unhooked the toad and let the wife drive the toad and follow me in the MH. We dropped back down to 9,000' and then up to 11,120' at the tunnel. We made it through and re-hooked the toad and went on our way. Before we pulled out that morning I made sure all fluid levels were good. Why I had a problem and others go over with no problems doesn't make scene to me. I am telling this to give you food for thought if you make a grade like this. I looked at other posts that said there would be no problem doing this grade well I didn't make it with out any problems.

Mody n Domy
full timing it
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Old 05-02-2015, 09:36 PM   #2
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at 30 MPH with the gas pedal to the floor, it would not take to long before you started to over heat. I have traveled all over the US in several different Gassers 36 to 38 ft towing a toad. I find that on really steep grades that I gear down before starting up the grade and when I am in first gear I back off and slow to 20 or 25 MPH Never hold the pedal to the floor. I have pulled grades that took as long as 40 minutes to reach the summit. Never had a problem. If you need to pull over to the side or a turnout, don't turn the engine off until you have let it idle for 5 minutes or so to stabilize the temperature. are the fins of the radiator plugged with bugs, or something like a boot on the front restricting airflow? Since I am retired I am not in a big hurry and take it easy going up and down grades and try not to tax the engine Especially when the temps are 90 deg F or above with no wind or breeze blowing..

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Old 05-02-2015, 10:35 PM   #3
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Mel has very good advice. I go over passes just as he describes. Look for the slowest moving semi and I follow behind at 25, 20 however slow they want to go, relax enjoy the scenery and a cool running rv. This will greatly add to the longevity of the running gear and save money too. I love to drive and a long slog up a grade is just as fun as any other part of the vacation. Last time I traveled eastbound over the Blue Mountains in Oregon we clawed all the way up at 20 mph. The wife will get up for refreshments on the slow segments. She drives the mh very well, but prefers to relax in the passenger seat with all her electronic gizmos.

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Old 05-03-2015, 04:10 AM   #4
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I do the Eisenhower a couple times a year. I'll select 1sr gear so its not popping back and forth between 1st and 2nd. I then hold, 15 - 25 mph, whatever the 18 wheelers are doing. Engine is revving about 3500 rpm. The gas pedal should not be mashed to the floor. Temperature guages astays abot in the center,

I just cruise along along with the 4-ways on and enjoy the scenery.

I-80 east of SLC is almost as bad. I-80 east of Larimie WY, same thing
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Old 05-03-2015, 05:46 AM   #5
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Unhooking the toad and taking it easy is the best advice
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Old 05-03-2015, 06:00 AM   #6
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As an RV'r one of the biggest problems we face is to realize that big bus just can not travel over the Mountains the same as the cars that we normally drive. So our tendency is to push as hard as we can in an attempt to keep up. Patience is the key. Equiptment failure can be the cost otherwise!
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Old 05-03-2015, 07:02 AM   #7
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I went up the west side of the tunnel 2 years ago in a 2010 dodge pickup pulling a 4 wheel u haul. Had the dash set so I could read the engine and transmission temp. I went up the hill not pushing it very hard while watching the trans temp. The temp never quit climbing. I hate to think what a motorhome trans temp is running. Slow down and be safe.

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Old 05-03-2015, 07:03 AM   #8
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OP thanks for all the advice this is the first time I have pulled a grade this steep. So next time I know how to handle it. Being from Michigan it was intimidating going over 8,000' as an overpass is about it there.
Mody n Domy
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Old 05-03-2015, 07:08 AM   #9
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Here's my little lesson: A few years ago, we intended to get to Yellowstone on rt. #16 from Buffalo WY. We were in our previous '95 Trek with the 6.5 Diesel, towing a car trailer, the road was 7% grade for 10 or miles, and it was 100 degrees. After several overheating episodes, we gave up that plan, returned to town and went to the visitor center to return the guidebooks. Upon hearing of our situation, the attendant said how wise we were since at least one motorhome per year caught fire and burned to the frame after overheating and continuing to climb the road. Again, likely an attitude of "Full throttle" without considering the consequences (extended full throttle makes the exhaust manifolds red hot, sets some under hood insulation on fire, and... ).

Originally Posted by Mody n Domy View Post
... I ended up in first gear going 30 mph with the gas peddle to the floor....
George Schweikle Lexington, KY
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Old 05-03-2015, 07:15 AM   #10
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When I had my Bounder workhorse it would get warm in the Rocky's Changed Trans and Motor to synthetic , Motor Mobil 1 10/40 I was running 3500 to 4000 rps, Allison trans use TranSynd synthetic fluid, and I always unhooked the Jeep. Helped a lot.
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Old 05-03-2015, 03:42 PM   #11
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Yep, just slow down a little and let the temps tell you how fast you can go up the hills. You need to try Teton Pass just west of Jackson, WY. It has an 11% grade that will slow down the biggest engines. Going down it is even more fun.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:14 AM   #12
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I pulled that grade both ways about 5 times when I had my 2005 Winnebago Voyage with a W-20 chassis towing a Saturn SL2. Never dropped below 35mph and never overheated. You have to anticipate the grades and get a running start so to speak. My GCVW was 22,000lbs. The only thing I did different was I put 91 octane fuel in at the bottom of the mountains before I made the climb


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