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Old 09-19-2021, 12:52 PM   #1
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Cool Steep grade driving while towing

We have a 2021 Open Road Allegro (gasser) and tow a small Jeep Wrangler. Recently drove from Holbrook AZ to Scottsdale through Tonto National Forest. Although it was beautiful, the 6% ascents and descents were not fun. We were in tow/haul mode but transmission seemed like it struggled. Loud roars with tach above 4000. I’ve read and watched (videos) that say “go for it”. We have a 7.3l, V8 F53.

Should I be shifting into “M”, 2 or 1st gear? Going up to Williams, AZ tomorrow with 7% climbs…

Thanks for any tips or reassurance.
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Old 09-19-2021, 01:26 PM   #2
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Surprised they use the 7.3. I have that engine in my pick up truck and when towing my equipment trailer it struggles at times going up grades, not hills. You are listed at 22k and my pickup is listed at 7k. My equipment trailer scales out at 4900lbs.

I will say I crank the rpms over 4k regularly to make some of the grades. The motor and 10spd trans is designed for high revs when pulling grade. Not exactly the answer you were looking for, but I have used that engine since 2020 in that truck. It’s a beast and capable of high revs.
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Old 09-19-2021, 01:59 PM   #3
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I have a class C, (V10) but being a gasser and towing a Ford Ranger, pulling that much weight, it is treated the same. Going up and incline you need to try to speed up before the climb and once into it, make sure you keep foot on the throttle. Don't let up or it makes it harder to regain momentum.
Going downhill. With it in tow haul mode, lightly press on the brake to force it to downshift. If you need to further slow, press again a little harder. Do not press to hard all at once or it will downshift to a too low a gear and RPM's will go high.

I know that with the V10 as being a tried and true engine they say not to worry about the RPM's (within reason) not sure of the V8. I don't believe its been around long enough for anyone to say.

I recently had to go up a 13 degree incline on a mountain road with switchbacks. Had to put in into 1st gear manually. It would not downshift to 1st on its own for some reason, even with my foot to the floor. Drove 20 MPH up for 7.5 miles. kept it at 4,000 RPM but all was good.

That said, I have no issues with a gasser. 95% of the time you will not have any issues.
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Old 09-19-2021, 02:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrdbetsy View Post
We have a 2021 Open Road Allegro (gasser) and tow a small Jeep Wrangler. Recently drove from Holbrook AZ to Scottsdale through Tonto National Forest. Although it was beautiful, the 6% ascents and descents were not fun. We were in tow/haul mode but transmission seemed like it struggled. Loud roars with tach above 4000. I’ve read and watched (videos) that say “go for it”. We have a 7.3l, V8 F53.

Should I be shifting into “M”, 2 or 1st gear? Going up to Williams, AZ tomorrow with 7% climbs…

Thanks for any tips or reassurance.
We have the 2021 Open Road Allegro 34PA and we tow a 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Yes, I agree the 6% grades are not fun up or down. We recently climbed from CA central valley up to Lake Tahoe passing over 7,200 feet. Some grades were 6% and one down hill grade was 9%. We also use tow/haul mode. I try to keep it above 3,500 RPM on those grades, and if I let the auto transmission do its thing it will not stay there. So, I do Use M mode and shift down to 3 or 2 when needed. I watch the RPMs and try not to go much over 4,500 RPM. It gets really noisy under those conditions, especially when the electric fan (I assume) kicks on; the first time I experienced that fan kick on I thought we had a serious problem... "what the hell is that!". This is my first big class A motorhome, so I have nothing to compare to... it seems like I really have to push it hard under those conditions and I hope it will hold up. We did have a problem along the way, so please make sure you are aware of the following...

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f106/imp...es-552415.html

Please keep us informed and best of luck to you!
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Old 09-19-2021, 02:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrdbetsy View Post
We have a 2021 Open Road Allegro (gasser) and tow a small Jeep Wrangler. Recently drove from Holbrook AZ to Scottsdale through Tonto National Forest. Although it was beautiful, the 6% ascents and descents were not fun. We were in tow/haul mode but transmission seemed like it struggled. Loud roars with tach above 4000. I’ve read and watched (videos) that say “go for it”. We have a 7.3l, V8 F53.



Should I be shifting into “M”, 2 or 1st gear? Going up to Williams, AZ tomorrow with 7% climbs…



Thanks for any tips or reassurance.
Presuming that you are using Tow/Haul properly by taping the brake to induce a downshift, I'd speculate you're allowing your speed in that gear to increase beyond the ability of the engine/transmission to hold it back anymore. (If you are already at 4000+ RPM's in that gear, if you manually downshift again you'll send the RPMs through the roof. At that point you cannot downshift anymore.) At that point you need to hit your brakes hard (but do not ride the brakes) to appreciably reduce your speed to a point that Tow/Haul can have a beneficial impact again. And if speed begins to rise again, hit the brakes again to get the speed down. Tow/Haul will not, by itself, keep your speed down, but in concert with judicious use of your brakes, you will easily manage your speed without overusing and overheating your brakes. The only other suggestion when about to go down a steep hill is to start the hill at a much lower speed than the posted speed at the start. And if you're concerned about traffic behind you as you manage your lower speed, put your flashers on to let them know you're engaged in a controlled descent.
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Old 09-19-2021, 03:18 PM   #6
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Presuming that you are using Tow/Haul properly by taping the brake to induce a downshift, I'd speculate you're allowing your speed in that gear to increase beyond the ability of the engine/transmission to hold it back anymore. (If you are already at 4000+ RPM's in that gear, if you manually downshift again you'll send the RPMs through the roof. At that point you cannot downshift anymore.) At that point you need to hit your brakes hard (but do not ride the brakes) to appreciably reduce your speed to a point that Tow/Haul can have a beneficial impact again. And if speed begins to rise again, hit the brakes again to get the speed down. Tow/Haul will not, by itself, keep your speed down, but in concert with judicious use of your brakes, you will easily manage your speed without overusing and overheating your brakes. The only other suggestion when about to go down a steep hill is to start the hill at a much lower speed than the posted speed at the start. And if you're concerned about traffic behind you as you manage your lower speed, put your flashers on to let them know you're engaged in a controlled descent.
This is pretty much what I do on descent. Short burst of braking to bring it down combined with transmission being in appropriate gear. Yes, the engine/transmission alone will not be able to hold it back. No riding the brakes... just burst of moderately hard braking to keep it under control. Good advice @Mike8253.
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Old 09-19-2021, 03:40 PM   #7
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If you look at your horsepower/torque vs RPM curve it will tell you everything you need to know.

Normally aspirated gas engines make HP on the top end. You are essentially putting as much fuel through the engine in as short a time as possible. fuel=power

There's a brochure that Caterpillar used to explain the HP requirements of RV in different weight classes. Although it focuses on diesels, HP is HP. It just means that when you need 340 HP it's going to be somewhere over 4000rpm, not 2000 RPM as in a diesel.

Diesels make power at lower RPM because the blower is stuffing more air/fuel in there than normally aspirated, and the higher static compression ratio improves efficiency too.
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Old 09-19-2021, 03:47 PM   #8
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One more thing. I keep it in Tow/Haul mode all the time. With the load of the motorhome on it, you may not be towing, but your always hauling.
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Old 09-21-2021, 01:37 PM   #9
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When I had a gasser I would be manually changing gear going up the hills because the auto transmission would not shift down quick enough to keep the revs up, especially going around switchbacks would have to put it in 1st or 2nd to keep going.
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Old 09-21-2021, 03:25 PM   #10
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A lot of the noise you hear might be the cooling fan. They can make a lot of noise especially when you are turning high RPM's.
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Old 09-22-2021, 12:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilj View Post
When I had a gasser I would be manually changing gear going up the hills because the auto transmission would not shift down quick enough to keep the revs up, especially going around switchbacks would have to put it in 1st or 2nd to keep going.
The 6-speed transmission in the more recent model year Ford F53's doesn't present that problem. It's a dream compared to the 4-speed I had in my 2004.
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Old 09-22-2021, 09:34 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone for your input and tips! We had a much more pleasant trip up to Williams, AZ. Knowing that the loud roar was cooling fan related and that it is okay to keep a steady push on the pedal made our trip a lot more relaxing. We were climbing 7%+ grades close to 60 mph and relied on Tow/haul mode for keeping us from accelerating down hills. I have much more confidence now and appreciate you all.
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Old 09-25-2021, 06:40 AM   #13
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Our 2016 Jayco was this way too. As mentioned it is the cooling fan. The V10 we had (and gas engines in general) use RPM's to get HP/Torque and while it sounds like it is screaming, that is just how it is designed and unless other adverse conditions exist, is annoying but not hurting anything. I drove mine from Washington to NY and back.....over 7K miles for the trip and it never once failed me towing my Cherokee, and never used a drop of oil or coolant, so I figured all was good.

I sure got a wake up call when I went to diesel a couple of years ago. Completely different experience, but generally, similar outcomes. A gasser is like a horse push it hard it seems, whereas a diesel is a mule...no matter what you do, it just gets the job done with a lot less audio drama (lower RPM torque curve).

Glad your trip went well.
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Old 09-25-2021, 06:57 AM   #14
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Our prior coach was a gas Workhorse chassis. I used to pick a gear that would hold 3,800 RPM climbing a hill and just move to the right lane. It would never keep up with traffic but I was close to 30K lbs. Going down, I needed to know the grade was coming and hopefully the % which would allow me to slow down and preselect the gear prior to getting too deep into the downhill.

I always shifted the transmission manually because I had better control over any situation. I also didn’t like to rev the motor to redline because there were less options should you need to do something whereas with a lower RPM and slower speed I still had my brakes and another gear available to me.
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