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Old 03-11-2013, 07:54 PM   #1
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Mountain driving

I have a 34 ft. 2005 National Sea Breeze with a vortec 8.1engine. We will be driving on I-80 through the sierra's soon, what rpm should we run at going up grades. Thanks for any help givin.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:12 PM   #2
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I was told to gear down to keep it above 2500 rpm and under 3300. Also use the same gear going down as you used going up if the incline is the same.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:25 PM   #3
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I have a 34 ft. 2005 National Sea Breeze with a vortec 8.1engine. We will be driving on I-80 through the sierra's soon, what rpm should we run at going up grades. Thanks for any help givin.
Let the transmission do it's job going up hill. Watch the engine temp gauge. If it's climbing into the hot zone, then downshift to increase RPM's around 2000-2500 to cool the engine.

Going downhill, use the transmission to slow you down. Usually need to use the same gear going down hill as you did climbing the hill. Make sure to downshift early by turning the OD off, for example, before you get going too fast downhill. Start downshifting at 50-55 mph, for example, before you get going too fast racing down that hill.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:53 PM   #4
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What a coincidence. We've got a 2005 National Dolphin 34' with the same drive train and we live at the base of Sierra's in Reno, NV. We travel them often. Take advise as you wish, but the way I do it is to downshift manually at the base of the grade. I try to keep the rpm's between 3500 and 3800 depending on the length and amount of the grade. You're not going to kill it if you hit 4000 for a little bit on the steepest grades. If I drop more than 10mph below the posted speed I put on the flashers as a courtesy to those approaching me from behind. I watch my gauges and listen to my motor. I may turn off the ac some of the time to get a few extra horsepower that the compressor robs.

For going downhill use your grade brake if it's got one. It downshifts as you apply the brake. If the rpms get up around 3800 to 4000 when going down the hill use a firm brake and fairly quickly shave off 10-15 mph of speed, then release the brake and let the transmission do it's job, resuming to slow you down. It will allow the brakes to cool off a bit before you have to do it again. Watch your mirrors and rear view camera when you do this so as not to send a wrong message to some knucklehead that might be following a little to close. Don't ride the brake. It's a technique called stab braking and is taught, or at least used to be taught to cdl license students.

Hope this is helpful information.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:58 PM   #5
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Benicia Tom, the comments by Pusherman and Redwing are geared to DP. Like Wolfpact Fan, I too have a 8.1L V8. I follow the procedurers as Wolfpact described, with the exception I will let the RPM climb to 4200RPM. Take your time and enjoy the scenery.

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Old 03-12-2013, 12:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fred and Bonnie View Post
Benicia Tom, the comments by Pusherman and Redwing are geared to DP. Like Wolfpact Fan, I too have a 8.1L V8. I follow the procedurers as Wolfpact described, with the exception I will let the RPM climb to 4200RPM. Take your time and enjoy the scenery.

fred
I don't know of any diesels in MH's that will run 3,500 rpm unless it's one of Banks racing ones! Our ISC is limited to 2,200 rpm under throttle and 2,400 under exhaust braking. The CAT 3126 we used to have was limited to 2,400 under throttle and 2,600 under exhaust braking. I don't think the venerable ISB will run to 3,500 although I've never had one either.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:54 AM   #7
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The OP seems to have a gas engine, so the engine speed advice seems best given for that type.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:30 AM   #8
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one thing you might consider is planning for the hill instead of reacting to the hill

if you're talking 2 to 3 % grades, should be no problem, but if you get up higher, then planning really helps...

i.e. if you see a hill,
accelerate a bit while on flat or bottom of downhill to build up some momentum before the grade starts to slow you down, then as others stated use your tranny to keep the rpms up into YOUR engines best torque range (look up the specs for your engine to know that)

here it says "From 2004 through 2006, the engine's torque varied from 440 pound-feet at 4,200 rpm to 450 pound-feet at 3,200 rpm."

then as you top hill, let off to allow it to coast downhill, limiting speed with stab braking and tranny control as stated... (our fords have a tow/haul button to auto downshift to help with that)

if up and down a lot, be sure to control the tranny and brakes working too much and you'll be fine...

maybe your mpg won't be, but your coach will be

then just enjoy the view and be excited about the great mpg your house is getting !
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:40 AM   #9
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The 8.1L engine will run up the RPMs as needed to generate power for the climbs. You don't have to worry about harming the engine - it is governed by its ECM to prevent damage to engine or tranny. You are going to be tired of the noise long before you are in danger of stressing the engine anyway. Peak horsepower on the 8.1L isn't generated until it reaches 4200 RPMS anyway, so it is quite acceptable to run up to that range. Even though it sounds really loud!

So, leave it in Drive and press the accelerator down to get up the hills. Let the tranny and the ECM do the job of managing RPMs and power. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge just in case, though. You can always back off if need be.

You want at least moderate RPMs, say 2000+, for best cooling, but under-revving is not a concern with a gas engine (but it is for many diesels).
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:53 PM   #10
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i run mine at 3200 in watever gear it takes to maintain a speed. i'm in no hurry and iwant my engine to live a long time.
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