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Old 06-12-2013, 06:29 AM   #1
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Driving through mountain passes

Been rving many years but only in the flat lands. This year we'll be driving from Amarillo north going over Raton Pass and then turning at Trinidad headed for Creede CO. We drive a 2012 Thor 28' Class C and have a Jeep Wrangler as our toad. Any input to keep me from being white knuckled?
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:51 AM   #2
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You'll love creed,I assume you"ll be staying at the big RV park and resort,if you do say hell to the camp Pastor Brian and tell him darrell from SMET said HI!

As for as passes those two you will see are fine,just slow down going down any and use lower gears to help you and you'll be all right.
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:54 AM   #3
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Not sure about the pass you're going over. Must be a doozy if it makes for white knuckle driving. Here's my humble reccommedations. Keep your speed where it's comfortable but still safe. Turn on your 4 way flashers if you've got to go more than 10 below the posted speed because it's a steep grade. Don't rely on your cruise control when climbing grades.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:28 AM   #4
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Not sure about the pass you're going over. Must be a doozy if it makes for white knuckle driving. Here's my humble reccommedations. Keep your speed where it's comfortable but still safe. Turn on your 4 way flashers if you've got to go more than 10 below the posted speed because it's a steep grade. Don't rely on your cruise control when climbing grades.

Not arguing here, but I think 10 below the posted speed limit is a little too early. In the years I have been on the road, it appears that the guys and gals that drive for a living (truckers) turn on the flashers when they hit or are below the MINIMUM posted speed limit. In lots of the states that's 45 mph.
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:07 PM   #5
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Not arguing here, but I think 10 below the posted speed limit is a little too early. In the years I have been on the road, it appears that the guys and gals that drive for a living (truckers) turn on the flashers when they hit or are below the MINIMUM posted speed limit. In lots of the states that's 45 mph.
Good call Chief. I'm overly safe sometimes.
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Old 06-13-2013, 04:54 AM   #6
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Here's us a publication that a lot of use to let us know exactly what to expect / avoid.
http://www.mountaindirectory.com/
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:09 PM   #7
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Cruise control only useful in the flat lands.
Even in our little TN. I never use it.
Turn on you Tow Haul going down hill. If you have an E450.
Trans will down shift with brake use. Use brakes sparingly. NEVER ride them.
My worst mountain road was the Grape Vine in CA. With a class A.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:15 AM   #8
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My daddy taught me how to drive mountains at 16 (40+ years ago). He worked for the County Road Dept. and hated people who didn't know what they were doing. First off you need to relax and be in your happy place.
1. Go slow and easy - don't be in a hurry and take your time
2. Go down the hill/mtn. in the same gear you went up
3. Let the tranny keep your speed down
4. When needed apply the brakes to slow you down by say 10mph and then let up on the brake. This way you don't burn them out.
5. Get your speed down to what you feel comfortable with and if necessary go slower. If needed drop down another gear.
6. If you have to pull over and take a break. Walk around the rig, look at the view, kiss your wife (that's an option).
7. Relax and go to your happy place.

Remember you are in no hurry and don't worry about what someone behind you thinks.
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:15 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by awarnes View Post
My daddy taught me how to drive mountains at 16 (40+ years ago). He worked for the County Road Dept. and hated people who didn't know what they were doing. First off you need to relax and be in your happy place.
1. Go slow and easy - don't be in a hurry and take your time
2. Go down the hill/mtn. in the same gear you went up
3. Let the tranny keep your speed down
4. When needed apply the brakes to slow you down by say 10mph and then let up on the brake. This way you don't burn them out.
5. Get your speed down to what you feel comfortable with and if necessary go slower. If needed drop down another gear.
6. If you have to pull over and take a break. Walk around the rig, look at the view, kiss your wife (that's an option).
7. Relax and go to your happy place.

Remember you are in no hurry and don't worry about what someone behind you thinks.
This is it right there...


My first time in the mountains (no toad) I used this advice and never had an issue. Same gear going down as going up is the advice. That V-10 doesn't red line at all according to the Tach...I was going down a 7% grade at 25-30 in 1st or 2nd gear for 2 miles and never touched the brakes. The V-10 is a beast!!! Good luck and have fun!!
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:09 AM   #10
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Whenever you begin to climb or descend and you have a Ford V10 chassis, disengage cruise control and engage tow/haul. The engine/transmission perform well in this mode.
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:20 AM   #11
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What is the red line on a V10? What effect does lowering the gear on the transmission manually have(still using tow haul) versus just tow haul and it downshifting?


Is it the same?
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:08 AM   #12
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No V10 experience, but I can share a couple of points. First, going up is generally not the issue. Put your foot on the mat and let the tranny do the thinking (assuming your cooling is in good shape). It's going down that gives me the willies!

Second, what I learned is the slower you go down, the more engine braking you'll have available? So cresting a hill doing 60 and heading down a 6% grade, you downshift, but the coach STILL starts increasing it's speed? You can't downshift to an even lower gear at that point, because you'll over speed the engine. You have to get on the brakes moderately hard to slow the coach down to a speed where you can safely select the next lowest gear. Learn those speeds, and you'll have a clearer idea of what gear to start out in for your trip down various grades. For instance, you can drop down maybe one gear for a 4% grade (to hold say 60 mph), but a 6% grade (or more!) you might have to drop 2 or even 3 gear ranges (to hold at 35-40?)?

Last, if you do need to brake because the engine braking isn't working well enough, get on the brakes as though you were stopping moderately hard to slow you, then get off them!
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
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What is the red line on a V10? What effect does lowering the gear on the transmission manually have(still using tow haul) versus just tow haul and it downshifting?


Is it the same?
there isn't a red line on my tach, i have a 2012 e450. i don't use tow/haul at all even when towing our jeep. going through PA when we got kicked off the turnpike because of an accident we were forced to use back roads. ther were some narly roads, i put it in second gear for a 7% grade for 2 miles holding 30 mph without touching the brakes and the tach only went to 40005000 rpm.
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:18 AM   #14
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All good comments, and I have taken the exact route you described. With my class A and toad, and the biggest pass is La Veta and it is not a bad one, more long and gradual than steep.

However, Some of the comments regarding braking prompt me to ask a question. I have a Workhorse W22 , with Bosch Brakes and have had decent issues before, so I am very sensitive to steep down grades. When descending these steep grades, I ALWAYS use the tranny as much as possible. But at the same time worry about over revving the engine. I would appreciate readers comments regarding over revving; comments like how much over rev, for how long, shifting and anything else.

P.S. I have a Allison tranny.....reportedly a rock solid tranny.
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