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Old 06-21-2012, 11:09 PM   #1
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ok try this one more time i have a 1999 class a motorhome ford v10 with automatic transmission ..and i wondering what gear an what speed for going step grades ..of course also steep grades going down ...whats the best gear and at what speeds ..thanks

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Old 06-21-2012, 11:14 PM   #2
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What ever you feel like going or how fast your rig will go flat out up a grade! There is no way for us to know how you drive or how hard you want to push it.

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Old 06-22-2012, 12:05 AM   #3
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Best to check in your owners manual and look for max sustained RPM, On my old Dodge V10 , 8l, that number was 3800, actual red line was 4600, the momentary number. You would not want to run up-hill at a speed , in a gear that put the engine over that RPM. I used to hold a speed and gear with the engine at 3000,up hill and down, and that allowed some reserve for pulling out around the semi's as I caught up. Rule of thumb on down hill , is never go down a grade faster that you could go up, so if you were slowed to 40 on the up side then 40 on the down side. This is subject to all sorts of interpritation as no hill has the exact same grades on both sides. So it is up to you as a driver to decide your CONTROL SPEED, the down hill speed that you feel you can come to a controled stop from in any situation. Most of the really bad hills will post a truck speed limit or a speed per weight limit , those limits would be a good start point as you drive and learn your control speed.
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:30 AM   #4
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On the way up is easy. Once you've slowed to 40 or 50, just put your foot on the mat and let the transmission do it's job. On the way down is a matter of experience. You'll learn what the motor home needs as far as what gear to be in for each "degree" of grade (5%, 6%, 7%, etc.). The slower you start down the grade, the better your engine braking will work.

On the way down, pay attention to the sign telling you about what the grade is going to be and remember it! Soon, you'll be able to associate that percentage with what gear you need to be in, and what speed you need to be at when you make that shift. After figuring that out, going down is much easier! A lot less stress.....

If you're building speed and the engine is over speeding or approaching that point, you need to get on the brakes and quickly slow it to the speed where you can try the next lower gear. The lower the gear, the more effective the engine braking.

I'm running a DP so I can't give you exact numbers for your coach. (Maybe somebody else can chime in here?) Just for instance though, starting down an 8% grade doing 35mph in second gear will allow MUCH more effective engine braking (require less brake usage) than if you entered that same grade doing 45mph in 3rd gear. A 5 or 6% grade might be negotiated a little faster because it won't require as much engine braking. Entering that at 45 in 3rd gear may work?

Obviously, starting down at a slower speed much easier on your brakes than finding out you're going too fast...
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:55 AM   #5
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Another thought about going down hills is that you ideally want to be able to coast down with very minimal use of the brakes. That means you rely on engine compression or exhaust brakes. With a gas engine you have a fair amount of engine compression but it is based on what gear you are in (the lower the better). That is what determines gear and speed. What gear will hold you back going down the hill.
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:02 PM   #6
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On long hills (1/4 mile or more) gear down so engine will maintain speed with out using brakes. If that means 1st gear, so be it. Several years ago we followed a MH down a 11% grade that was about 8 miles long. We saw the MH ahead of us before we started down. There was a sign notifing us of the grade just before the top. About a mile or two down, DW asked if our brakes were hot. I said no I'm not using them, it must be the MH. I was geared down so it was holding 25/30mph. Another mile or so we saw the MH setting in a wide spot on the left side of the road. Columns smoke were going up tthe MH sides and above the roof from all 4 wheels. You don't want to go there.

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Old 06-22-2012, 01:22 PM   #7
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I have same year, engine and trans. There is NO need to fool with the gears on uphill grades, the computer handles it the way it needs to according to your right foot.

On downgrades, turning off the OD usually takes care of that with occasional hard and short breaking. You dont want to "ride" the brakes.
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Old 06-22-2012, 03:50 PM   #8
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Going up is just how hard you want to push. V-10s love to rev but I was never happy hearing it scream. Even if you go easy it will still take you over the hill. Going down I choose a speed I'm happy with and use my gears to stay below it. If I get above that speed I use the brakes to slow down at least 10 MPH below that speed. then go back to relying on the gears. NEVER go faster than you feel comfortable with! That's it.
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:01 AM   #9
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Ed has a point. You HAVE to use brakes somewhere on the descent or the engine can over-rev and damage itself. Not riding the brakes down certainly, but hard application until the speeds drops to where it is safe. Few of the motorhomes on the road today have true Jacob brakes - most have none and many have engine brakes that essentially lock the torque converter and use the engine compression to 'brake' the descent speed. Imagine your towed in gear as you start of and get faster. The engine will spin until it comes apart or something breaks.
In the descent, gravity is the pulling force and the MH is the towed. The lower the gear you chose, the faster the engine will spin. Brake application is essential to keep things together.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:00 AM   #10
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I would depend on the incline sometimes you may not have a choice but 1st and crep along.

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