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Old 04-06-2014, 10:09 AM   #15
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I travel this with the coach from here to Flag and there is not too much to worry about. It's a goat trail in some spots and shakes the hell out of the coach. We were comming back to Kingman and it was so rough it loosened the mirrors. Just watch the speed decending and use the exhaust brake. I caught myself doing almost 80 west of Williams. Other than that it's no big deal. Have Fun!

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Old 04-06-2014, 10:22 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by RVluvin View Post
I can't think of any steep grade you need to be all that concerned with on I-40 between NM & CA. There a little of a climb as you approach Flagstaff from the east, but not even close to 6%. Now If you choose to head south on I-17 from Flagstaff to Phoenix you'll run down a couple of steep grades, and one 6% climb at Camp Verde. If you stay on I-40 to Barstow and head south on I-15 in CA, there's a good drop after you pass Victorville. If you continue east from Barstow to Bakersfield on Hwy 85, you're going to do some climbing at Tehachapi Pass. These are all highways motorhomes travel every day. If your not experienced with steep grades, going up is easy, you need to be more concerned with going down. Just take it slow, come down a gear or two, and let other pass if they want. Welcome to the Southwest!
I took the tehachapi pass both ways in and out, and thought it was sooo much nicer with a wider shoulder and smoother road surface.

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Old 04-06-2014, 10:33 AM   #17
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Keep the RPM up, as others have advised, and watch the engine temp. Downshift if it starts to climb. You'll do great. The grades on I40 are minimal compared to what we face here in the Colorado Rockies. Go DOWN hill in the same gear you went UP hill, and use the engine/exhaust brake.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:28 AM   #18
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I just came back from Vegas most of the time on I 40, didn't have any issues with it. Sure there are some downhills that I kicked in the Pacbrake. Only problem I had with climbing is when a durn semi would cut me off and get my speed to low. I still went up just slower then I needed to in a couple of instances.

I have a 92 American Eagle with only a 4 speed transmission 300hp engine, I never overheated going up on transmission or engine. A couple of the inclines were "interesting" going down. Weigh about 30k towing a Saturn.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:29 AM   #19
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Don't know when your tranny downshifts but as said before. Keep RPMs over 2000. If you have to do it manually do it.
That means you may have to slow down just a bit to hit the next lower gear in order to keep the rpm up. If you just get on the throttle and expect the tranny to do it, you WILL lug it down/overheat on really long climbs. I followed a couple of new Tiffin's (but brand doesn't matter here) up a steep grade in Canada last summer and they were blowing steam and coolant when they pulled over at the top because they did not downshift to keep the rpm up, and then they shut them down as soon as they pulled over in the overlook rather than hitting high idle and cooling down before shutting down.

And more than likely, you won't even have to touch your gears until you go downhill, but your coach is SMART, you're driving a top of the line rig there man, and your's, like mine, knows exactly when to shift and when not too. Going downhill, once I put on that engine brake, it knows what to do... once you hit a specific slow speed, it will nail 2nd and hold it.
Quite possible you won't have to worry about many manual downshifts on I-40. BUT, the last part of this is not necessarily true as many engine brakes are set to go to 4th rather than 2nd, and 4th is too high for much engine braking on a steep descent.

Two days ago we went down the 6% 15 mile descent on US 82 losing 5,000ft from Cloudcroft to Alamogordo NM. I manually went to 3rd at the top. Speed limit 40 most of the time, and sometimes 35 for trucks/large vehicles. I had to punch the brakes maybe twice on the long descent when speed crept up approaching another switchback. 3rd held it under 45 almost all the time. In a couple of days, we will go up that mountain on the return trip. I have no concern about the rig making the climb ok if I let the speed drop to 45 or less as the climb begins, and then manually shift down to 3rd and keep it there until we reach the top. If I come up on a slower climber, as I have on this climb before, I may have to go down to 2nd. I was down to1st behind the two lugged down, overheating rigs last summer in Canada simply because the drivers did not know how to make a steep, slow, curvy climb in a large vehicle.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:19 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by plasma800 View Post
Are you just passing straight through AZ from New Mexico to Cali? What's your route and trip here?

Hey if you go by Kingman, there is a GREAT rv park there just off the freeway, we allllmost didn't leave that place. Blake Ranch RV Park
Another recommendation for the Blake Ranch RV park. Nice folks and great facilities at very reasonable rates.
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Old 04-07-2014, 05:47 PM   #21
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I've stayed at Blake Ranch a couple of times. It is a very nice campground but maybe 15 miles east of Kingman. The only facilities outside the campground are a truck stop, a repair facility and an adult book store so if you are thinking of staying and maybe eating out or looking for other things to do you need to know it is a good distance from Kingman.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:37 PM   #22
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Plenty of good advice for climbing grades. Descending grades, especially long ones, demands topping the "hill" at the maximum speed you want to descend. The Allison transmission will automatically upshift(regardless of what you want or do) when you allow the RPM's to climb to the unsafe(redline) point. This has ramifications that can allow you to get in a position where you over-heat the service brakes because the exhaust brake alone cannot exert enough back-pressure to control your descent. This is when manually downshifting is very important-before speed gets out of control.

Start out, overly-cautious on downgrades. As you gain experience you will be able to judge what gear you should use, and how much speed you can control.
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Old 04-08-2014, 06:25 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
Start out, overly-cautious on downgrades.
X2!! Don't ride the brakes.

Also, do not feel like you have to maintain the posted (maximum) speed limit climbing up the hills. Climb at a speed that is comfortable and stay in the right most lane. If less than 45mph, turn on your emergency flashers. My old '94 454cid gasser towing a Jeep Wrangler will climb any of the hills here in the west but it won't do it at 75mph!! I'm not in a hurry.
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:49 AM   #24
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Lots of great advice here! I had never driven in really high mountains before taking a trip out west in 2012. It was enlightening to say the least!
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Old 04-09-2014, 09:27 AM   #25
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Yes, at first I was panicking. When my husband called me, he does daily, I said I have done something wrong. The engine temperature is 195 to 200 and the tranny is something like 195, I had never seen either one move much before. I even pulled over for a bit. In fact I thought the transmission temperature gauge didn't even work as I had never seen it move. I too am a flat lander, had not driven this old one in mountains. He told me to calm down if they were no higher then that and I was climbing a grade there was no problem at all. I never did get hot where it was a worry and my rig is old.

I guess my engine has 2 hydraulic fans on it for cooling so that's a good thing.
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:30 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by pagosajoe View Post
Keep the RPM up, as others have advised, and watch the engine temp. Downshift if it starts to climb. You'll do great. The grades on I40 are minimal compared to what we face here in the Colorado Rockies. Go DOWN hill in the same gear you went UP hill, and use the engine/exhaust brake.
Amen! Always go down in the same gear as you went up!
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:59 PM   #27
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The RED has an Allison 2500, not 3500 I believe. Irrelevant to the question at hand tho, your rig will do great.
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:34 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Capt Steve View Post
Another recommendation for the Blake Ranch RV park. Nice folks and great facilities at very reasonable rates.
We just drove from Portland, thru Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and are now in Wichita Falls, Texas this morning. After the mountains of Southern Oregon, I-40 was a breeze. We also stayed in Kingman at Blake Ranch and would recommend it. As far as hills go (I have a Cummins 400, pulling a Jeep), I just set the cruise and the MoHo does everything. No problems. It's when going downhill that you have to be careful. NEVER let your RPM's run (on my engine) over 2,300. EVER! The Jake will downshift so ride the tach. On I-40, I didn't need the Jake at all. But east out of Kingman, the roads are terrible so expect to be bounced around a lot.

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