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Old 05-05-2019, 04:57 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Ingram, TX
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Will my 1997 Southwind be able to make it up and down the mountains in New Mexico?

I love my Southwind, but not when it comes to hills; she can barely do 35 mph going uphill in the Texas Hill Country. I want to work the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta this year but am hesitant to attempt the journey from Texas in this coach. I'd like to get advice from experienced drivers so I can either make plans to go or start saving for a different rig. "Granny" is a Ford gas 7.5L EFI V-8 engine on a Ford chassis, 34 ft., no auxiliary braking system yet, 4-5 mpg, towing a CR-V.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:38 PM   #2
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Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: NW Ohio
Posts: 7,114
My Ford V10 runs (crawls) through the mountains with no problems.. (I have the early V10, 275 hp)

I generally force a downshift and hold a speed / gear that will give me 3500 - 4000 rpm without having the gas pedal on the floor all the time while making climbs. There are some high altitude climbs where I've done them in 1st gear at 25 mph.. (Eastbound I-70, 11,000 ft, Eisenhower tunnel)
1999 Fleetwood Southwind 35S (Ford F53 6.8L V10 275hp 4R100 4 spd trans) - Toad 2003 Saturn Vue.

It won't do MACH 2, but I can get a sandwich and take a pee.
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:59 PM   #3
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Posts: 1,021
On a good day you should get no less than 6 MPG with your CRV in tow. Your 4-5 MPG would indicate a problem.
My 7.5 (460) 95 Bounder 32H with CRV in tow will do 7 MPG or better on a good day.
You should be able to negotiate any road in the USA with you rig.
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:39 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 423
Honestly, I would not worry how fast your coach goes up mountain grades. I drive our 1996 gas coach by rpm on cool days and by the transmission temperature gauge on hot days.

Our 7.4L Chevy has max torque at 1400 and stay pretty flat until 3200 rpm. So I drive it no faster than 3200rpm climbing grades. If the transmission temperature climbs over 160 degrees (measured after the cooler, with the cooler fan on) I slow her down.

I believe the 460 Ford has a higher torque number but around 2500 rpm. I would double check I drive accordingly.
Always bring your A game.
1996 Flair 29V, 454 TBI, 4L80E
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southwind, wind

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