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Old 03-03-2016, 01:15 PM   #1
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Driving in the Mountains

I've read that when driving steep grades that you should use the same gear going down that you used going up. My 2004 class C has a V10 with a 5 speed transmission. Since we live in Illinois steep grades aren't something I ever deal with.
When going up hills I know that it downshifts once or twice so I may go from 5th to 4th or third. My only choices for gear selection are D, 2, 1.
I would guess that I would drop down into 2nd when going down into a steep grade. Is that the procedure since it's the only option I have?
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Old 03-03-2016, 01:23 PM   #2
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Do you have a button to shut off O/D ? that would lock it in 4th?
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Old 03-03-2016, 01:33 PM   #3
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The old saw about same gear going down as going up is just a rough idea, more useful in a manual shift. It's hard to see grade (1%, 2%, 5%, etc) and know what it is by looking at it out the windshield. Pay attention to your RPMs and temperature gauge, they tell you about the grade. Auto transmissions try to pick the right gear, but you ultimately determine what's best. Act like putting on the brakes costs money and is a sign of weakness. (Save them for when you need them) A V-10 is a capable of high RPMs, it develops it's maximum torque and HP at the higher (noisy) levels. Don't be afraid to use them to climb hills and engine braking to descend hills. Downshift and use the engine for controlling downhill speed, not the brakes. When applying the brakes, do it firmly and drop speed by 10 MPH then take your foot off the pedal. Speed going up hill is least important, engine temperature should be your focus. Going up, pull over when traffic backs up behind you (they will appreciate your courtesy) Going down pull over to give your brakes and engine a chance to cool and you a chance to really look at scenery instead of the road.
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Old 03-03-2016, 03:15 PM   #4
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Smile Use the CRUISE!!

You are going to be amazed at how well your V-10 handle the mountains. I'm from Illinois also, and I find that when going up the grade my 31 footer handles all but the steepest climbs at a reasonable speed just by using the cruise control. Set the ideal speed you want to go and and the cruise will control downshifting as needed. And yes, it can get loud when you are on the steepest slopes. Stay in the right lane on the Interstates. On two lane roads, if you see more than two or three or cars behind you, pull off for a moment, when it's safe, so that they can pass, but try not to lose your RPMS, if possible.
But here's the REALLY amazing thing. If your Ford V-10 is set up like mine, you can also use the cruise control to control your DOWNHILL speed. Now you're going to want to monitor this carefully the first couple of downhills, but, in DRIVE, if you set the cruise at, say, 35 mph, it will downshift for you, again, as needed, to keep you from going faster than what you want to go. I had no idea the cruise control could do this (it doesn't in a car), but after several trips all the way over the top of the Rockies on both I-70 and I-80, and going into and out of Death Valley and over the Tioga Road at Yosemite, I can vouch for my rig's ability to safely negotiate the downhills.
Again, I stress that you should try this carefully the first couple of downhills before you start to trust it, but using this method can save your brakes, and nerves, a lot of stress. Happy Traveling!
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Old 03-03-2016, 03:30 PM   #5
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My '99 Ford had the V10 and I was pulling a 14000# 5ver. That engine is solid and high reving. Going either up or down I always dropped it into 2nd.
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Old 03-03-2016, 03:56 PM   #6
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A cruise (speed) control that downshifts going downhill for engine braking is called 'grade logic.' I don't know how long Ford has had it, but many complain about it downshifting too much on slight grades (uphill) and revving too high going down. The V-10, as I said earlier, is a high revving (and noisy) engine and many aren't used to the high RPMs. It does work, in most situations, but DON'T use it on wet or slippery roads, it might shift when you don't want it too.
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:37 PM   #7
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For one thing. I do NOT use cruise control going up hill in mountains. Not even here in TN.


You can set it for going down hill.
You can turn on Tow Haul. Simply tapping the brake pedal will cause the trans to down shift.
Traveling the interstates is no big problem in the mountains. We have been out west many times. The Ford V-10 has no problem with mountains.
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Old 03-04-2016, 03:14 PM   #8
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I absolutely agree. At least for traditional gas chassis cruise control that will downshift and go to full throttle in an attempt to regain the original set speed. This certainly eats fuel and isn't something the engine really needs. We're not discussing race cars that live at full throttle, rather an engine that we all want to last for a while. And, yes, Diesels are different but we're talking gassers.

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For one thing. I do NOT use cruise control going up hill in mountains. Not even here in TN.


You can set it for going down hill.
You can turn on Tow Haul. Simply tapping the brake pedal will cause the trans to down shift.
Traveling the interstates is no big problem in the mountains. We have been out west many times. The Ford V-10 has no problem with mountains.
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