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Old 08-25-2009, 01:47 AM   #1
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Mountain travel without air or Jake brakes

we have regular brakes on a gas national seabreeze with 5 speed allison transmission, is it safe to travel in the mountains without some additional brake to slow motorhome down on mountain grades, if not what do you suggest??? THANKS
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Old 08-25-2009, 05:50 AM   #2
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As long as the Brakes that You do have are in good working order You should have no problems. Use Common sense and a lower gear when descending the Hills and try to never go down faster than You went Up!
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:06 AM   #3
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Just recently went over the Bighorn Mountains in my Brave. Only problem I found was that I have a brake disk slightly out of round. When I would let the speed build too much and had to get on the brakes harder I would get a little shaking. After a couple of times I just didn't let the speed get that fast before braking. I first turned off the overdrive, then kicked it down a gear and after that used the brakes sparingly, no problems.
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:02 AM   #4
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Jake brake or no Jake brake. Going down hill you can get into trouble. The smart thing to do when going down hill is find a gear that will hold speed and if the means 1st gear just plan on taking awhile. First pick the gear you think will hold. If you start accelerating. Use the brakes to slow you down till you shift to the next lower gear. If that still does not hold same drill all over. Just use the brakes at a minimum and save them for an emergancy. In the Sierras on some roads I have gone miles in first gear in my old coach. Yes it took awhile but Im still here safe.

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Old 08-25-2009, 09:05 PM   #5
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A problem with hydraulic brakes is the fluid absorbs moisture.When the brakes heat up the mosture turns to vapor or steam.Manuals tell you to change brake fluid but who reads manuals?I know of two people that had that very problem and changing the fluid helped.
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:38 PM   #6
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We drove our 2002 Dolphin all over the USA, Canada and Alaska with no brake problems. Just slow way down at the top of a steep grade and use lower gears - as low as needed - to help hold your speed on the downgrade. And don't ride the brake - press it down firmly to reduce speed, then ease off and let it cool a moment.
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:48 PM   #7
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For those of you who have a Workhorse chassis with the 5 speed Allison you should check out the Brazel's Website or go to the Workhorse Chassis forum. He has the kit that will give you a grade brake that will automatically downshift when you tap the brake pedal on a downgrade. This is a feature of the newer trans. that can be added to the older ones electronically.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsinmich View Post
For those of you who have a Workhorse chassis with the 5 speed Allison you should check out the Brazel's Website or go to the Workhorse Chassis forum. He has the kit that will give you a grade brake that will automatically downshift when you tap the brake pedal on a downgrade. This is a feature of the newer trans. that can be added to the older ones electronically.
Automatic downshifting is a really good feature as I have found on my exhaust brake on my DP. The butterfly valve in the exhaust system helps some but the downshifting is far more important. I find that I am often too busy with other issues to downshift so the automatic downshifting is most helpful. The automatic downshifting is very aggressive also. It downshifts as soon as it is safe to do so without over-revving the engine.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:02 AM   #9
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Second the motion that if you have not had the brake fluid changed in the past few years, now is the time to do so. Have the shoes and drums checked while you are at it. We have done the highest mountains in a gasser coming down in 2nd or even 1st gear. Even with an exhaust brake we have had to gear down, NEVER ride the brakes. They will get hot. If the speed gets up, brake hard, slow down, shift another gear down. Also this is exactly how you drive a car in the mountains.
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