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Old 05-24-2016, 10:31 AM   #15
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you got the best advice already.USE TOW HAUL AND DOWNSHIFT before you start down the grade get control right from the top you should be in 4th or 5th right off the bat and stay out of the overdrive gears when decending ( not knowing what tranny you have). Too many folks do it too late and the trains already rolling faster than they want and if that doesn't work to your satisfaction you can increase your setting on your brake controller a little bit to let the trailer help you a bit more as you apply light braking but stay off continual braking. Driving out west can be an adventure but use your vehicle to help control your load. Starting down a grade going 65 isn't going to help you get comfortable starting slower will make a big difference and you'll find your tension level drops too which will make it easier for the next grade.
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:05 AM   #16
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Like I said, if you aren't over the redline for RPMs, you're not hurting anything. Get that rig downshifted into the gear that will hold it's speed down the hill the best, and if that means you are creeping down the hill, then turn on your hazard flashers and hope you don't get stuffed in the back by someone that isn't paying attention.

*Light* braking is perfectly ok, light steady braking is acceptable, but if you notice that light braking sin't doing the trick anymore, your brakes could be heating up and losing effectiveness. In that case, you need to use what's left to slow down even more, and downshift again and again until you get a gear that can hold the rig back from picking up speed. Your engine will seem like it's screaming, like it will spin itself apart, but if you don't go over the redline, you aren't hurting anything.
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:59 AM   #17
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Start steep downhills in a low enough gear you don't need your brakes. Hot brakes can kill.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:14 PM   #18
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Half ton drivers unite! Tie another 1/2 ton to the back and radio each time you need to slow down.
Just kidding! You are getting good advice on using lower gears and going slower.
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:12 PM   #19
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Half ton drivers unite! Tie another 1/2 ton to the back and radio each time you need to slow down.
Just kidding! You are getting good advice on using lower gears and going slower.
Well, thanks everyone for the advice! This was exactly the kind of stuff in needed to know.
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:17 PM   #20
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You haven't mentioned what your rig weighs. I'm guessing your 1500 Ram is about 5500# and the trailer is about 5000#. Add two people, water, food, clothing, supplies etc and you have another 1500-2000#. That adds up to 12500#'s. Add another 500 for incidentals for a 13,000# total weight. That's still 1700# below the GCWR of a Ram 1500. If these numbers are correct, you are below the towing rating and also the GCWR. If you have a good quality load leveling hitch with sway control and it is set properly, you should have no trouble on your trip if you use the engine and transmission to control speed both going up and down the hills/mountains. Start your decents slow and gradually increase the speed as you gain confidence in your ability and that of the Ram. Take your time and enjoy your trip. Don't concern yourself with the people that may line up behind you. They're not your problem, but your safety is. Be careful with the cross winds out west, as I have seen more than one travel trailer and tow rig jack-knifed and flipped over.
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:26 PM   #21
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WARNING - If you need to ride the brakes all the way down, then you're going to fast....

I have a rule, never go down a hill faster than I went up the hill. Slow down, select a lower gear, a turn the four way flashers on, and enjoy the trip. Generally, if the road is traveled by 18 wheelers, just fall in line with them.

If I see I'm backing up traffic, 4-5 cars, I'll find a place , pull over, and let them pass.
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:24 PM   #22
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I appreciate all the suggestions to buy a bigger truck, but that ain't happening right now. My question really had to do with how to drive in the mountains. For example, as a newbie, I was unaware that I should use engine braking preferably rather than the wheel brakes.

Luckily I've been told there are no significant grades along my chosen route and that I should be fine. Thanks again for all the tips!
As a newbie, you shouldn't even be thinking about traveling in those areas until you've spent some time talking to someone with experience. Going down such grades, engine brakes are your primary braking system. Overlooking them is like driving without tires.

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Old 05-24-2016, 04:26 PM   #23
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I like to check what grades are on a route using a tool that I was told about on IRV2.

How far did I run? - Create running maps with On The Go Map

After I learned how to use it, I could create the routes I wanted to travel and see what the grades were like along the way. Let me plan a little on breaks, fuel usage, steep hills and passes, etc.
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:40 PM   #24
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Good information !! I took delivery of my first rig on May 13th. TV is about 5,000lbs and the TT is about 5,500lbs loaded. We will be leaving on July 27th on a 5,600 mile trip from Toronto to Victoria and back. Being a little nervous having never towed anything larger than a small utility trailer, I am, of course, concerned about our driving through the Rockies.

I've been told, however ...

1. Start slow
2. Gear low
4. Keep your brake controller cranked
5. If your speed increase by 10 mph, use your brakes to bring it back down then let go.
6. Don't worry about the speed demon behind you

My dad tells me of an experience coming down on of these grades where he lost his brakes. Although he was hitting some pretty impressive speeds, he did make it to the bottom. As the car slowed down, two of his tires blew. Good thing that didn't happen fifteen minutes earlier, or I wouldn't be here to convey the story.
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:52 PM   #25
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I'll improve on the list, and welcome others to correct me (my additions and changes in red)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MBirch View Post
1. Start slow
2. Gear low
4. Keep your brake controller cranked Don't make any changes in your brake controller as hot brakes on the trailer are useless. You need to use all of your brakes as little as possible, period. You'll need them if a need for an emergency stop arises.
5. If your speed increase by 10 mph, use your brakes to bring it back down then let go. If your speed increases, use the brakes very lightly. If very light braking doesn't hold you back, you need to down shift, and maybe more than one gear.
6. Don't worry about the speed demon behind you
7. Your destination will still be there when you get there. Hurrying reduces your chances of getting there as safely as possible.
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Old 05-24-2016, 05:01 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MBirch View Post
Good information !! I took delivery of my first rig on May 13th. TV is about 5,000lbs and the TT is about 5,500lbs loaded. We will be leaving on July 27th on a 5,600 mile trip from Toronto to Victoria and back. Being a little nervous having never towed anything larger than a small utility trailer, I am, of course, concerned about our driving through the Rockies.

I've been told, however ...

1. Start slow
2. Gear low
4. Keep your brake controller cranked
5. If your speed increase by 10 mph, use your brakes to bring it back down then let go.
6. Don't worry about the speed demon behind you

My dad tells me of an experience coming down on of these grades where he lost his brakes. Although he was hitting some pretty impressive speeds, he did make it to the bottom. As the car slowed down, two of his tires blew. Good thing that didn't happen fifteen minutes earlier, or I wouldn't be here to convey the story.
Negatory on 4 & 5.

You set the brake controller where the trailer neither pushes or holds the tow vehicle back. Then leave it alone.

Jerking on the brakes to slow 10 MPH is nonsense and a good way to anger the folks behind you. Just don't let it pick up too much speed in the first place.
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Old 05-24-2016, 05:10 PM   #27
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you've gotten some very good advice here already. Remember that the "mountains" and passes out east are not like the ones out west. I live west of the Continental Divide and drive a 3/4 ton diesel pickup. I've towed various horse trailers, a 36 ft 5th wheel, a 25 ft 5th wheel and now a 25 ft MH. I learned real fast to drive slowly up and down mountains. I drive up the hill at 50 MPH and down the hill at 50 MPH. My diesel has far more testosterone than that but bad decision to do so. Downshift before you crest the pass and don/t pass the 18 wheelers. Pull over when you start the parade to be courteous to other drivers.
The downhills are no joke and believe the warning signs! otherwise have fun. The west is awesome!!!
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Old 05-24-2016, 08:13 PM   #28
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I had a thought and it is not a good one. What if what we are sayinh can not be done. I have been in a situation where the TV was being pushed to the point of red lining the engine. I shifted one gear up as not to blow the engine then I was moving faster and faster. I tapped the brakes and scrubbed off 5 mph which I regained very quickly. Then the engine started to red line that gear. Lucky for me this mountain was only 1.5 miles long and leveled out.

I just want to bring up the point that in some cases it is impossible to keep a slow speed.

If this is what the OP experienced we may not have a rock solid solution.

Remember a gasoline engine gives very little resistance to be pushed down a mountain.
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