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Old 11-21-2016, 10:21 AM   #1
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Engine Brake

Probably a dumb question but was once told the only dumb question is the question not asked, so here goes.

When and how should the engine Brake be deployed? The right has a switch for engine Brake and a switch for engine hi/lo.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:28 AM   #2
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I use mine all the time, except maybe on ice covered roads. Saves service brakes.
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:03 PM   #3
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[QUOTE=Arby49;3344266]Probably a dumb question but was once told the only dumb question is the question not asked, so here goes.

When and how should the engine Brake be deployed? The right has a switch for engine Brake and a switch for engine hi/lo.[/QUOTE

Well Sir,
First off, you don't say what make/model/year/engine/trans/chassis you have which, could dictate just what system you have. But, in the interest of a speedy answer, based on your statement of "Hi-Low", I'd just about garantee that you have what's called a "Jake Brake" or, "Engine Brake" and not really an "exhaust brake". Since regular exhaust brakes don't have stages. They're on or off, period.

Now, yours being an engine brake, with two stages, will have two different levels of auxiliary braking. Obviously, "Hi" means more engine braking power and "Low" means less braking power. I can explain just what would or, could be needed for general principles or, long grades or many other situations but, in reality, the best thing you can do is, go out and PRACTICE using it. Get on a longer grade, get to a given speed and, let turn that braking system on in Hi and, see how the coach reacts and slows.

Then, do the same with "Low" and see how it reacts. From that point on, you'll have a good idea on which level to use, in your particular situation at the time.
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:42 PM   #4
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I always "support" my engine brake with the service brakes to prevent the transmission from gearing down. What this means is EG long steep hill (6%) over the top a little slower (like perhaps 50mph) then turn on Stage 1 (low) and let it hold at 55mph. f it is running away to a higher speed I switch to Stage 2 (high) to get the speed down. If the coach starts to slow I will touch the throttle a little which turns the brake off and let th speed pick up a little then let the throttle off to apply engine brake once again. I don't hold engine brake on for more than 30 seconds anyway just my thing from old days driving truck as internals can get hot from too long on the brake.
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Old 11-21-2016, 09:01 PM   #5
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I leave mine on all the time.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:20 PM   #6
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We've got a 3 stage engine brake .... and almost always use it when descending a hill of any real size. The stage 1 setting is the most gentle ... while stage 3 is like tossing out an anchor. Which stage I use all depends on the length and the grade of the hill involved.

I also use the engine brake when slowing from highway speeds - with the slowing/stopping distance I've got to work with determining which engine brake setting I select.

I'm not too worried about transmission temperatures when I've got the engine brake engaged. I've monitored my transmission temp while descending before - and had no real concerns. We recently drove I-17 from Flagstaff to Phoenix - which includes a descent that the signs say is 18 miles long ... with many portions of it signed as being a 6% grade. It was a 90+ degree day - and my transmission temperature topped out at 208 degrees.

I turn off the engine brake when I'm not using to actively slow the coach. I often let the coach "float" (i.e., coast) by hitting the "cancel" button on the cruise control when I need to increase the distance between the coach and the vehicle in front of me - leaving the engine brake on would have it immediately engaging when I hit the "cancel".
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Old 11-22-2016, 04:28 AM   #7
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engine braking

2002 Fleetwood Expedition. When using engine brake, what is maximum RPM should I get to, to not harm engine or tranny? Going down large grade, it has gone to 3000+ and I use service brakes. How high is to high?
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Old 11-22-2016, 04:51 AM   #8
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I keep the engine brake on most of the time. I try to avoid the use of the service brakes as much as possible.
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Old 11-22-2016, 05:23 AM   #9
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my exhaust brakes are ON when in mountain downgrades, and maybe in heavy city traffic, but otherwise, OFF - I like the ability to 'coast' when letting off the gas pedal, versus the exhaust brakes automatically kicking in when not needed...

mountain downgrades can create high RPMs, which means you'll need to use the service brakes periodically. when you top the mountain, the speed you are at when you let off your gas pedal will determine what speed the exhaust brake will try to maintain on the way down...
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Old 11-22-2016, 06:06 AM   #10
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swagn - you did not say your engine size, brand, model. If your coach is a diesel pusher then you are running too high RPM under braking at 3000RPM unless it is a 5.9 which IMO is still a bit high. My ISL works with the Alison and never goes above 2300. My inaugural trip back from Vancouver BC (where I bought it) to Calgary saw me the a windy southern /mountain road with some 8% grades to descend and it works great. Brakes are like new as coach now has 16000miles on it.
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Old 11-22-2016, 07:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swagn View Post
2002 Fleetwood Expedition. When using engine brake, what is maximum RPM should I get to, to not harm engine or tranny? Going down large grade, it has gone to 3000+ and I use service brakes. How high is to high?

Cummims diesels are rated to a higher max rpm when at zero throttle than when fueling. If your engine is a Cummins ISB then your max rpm under power is in the 2600-2800 rpm, depending on the version. The zero throttle rpm is several hundred rpm higher. Call Cummins with your engine serial number to get the correct info.
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Old 11-22-2016, 08:13 AM   #12
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I keep mine in the low setting all of the time when driving unless descending a steep grade and it will not hold the coach back, then I switch to high.
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Old 11-23-2016, 05:13 AM   #13
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Engine brake

5.9L 6BT ISB I THINK. 300 hp. I drove it on trip yesterday and it max,d out at 2900 rpm....when I let off a little on accelerator it kicks in and completely off (off of acc) engages 100 per cent of engine brake...I assume that is high/low as no manual button other than on/off. I should b ok as others have commented...
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Old 11-26-2016, 03:36 PM   #14
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It's purpose is to help hold your speed on down grades. I usually leave mine on all the time on open highways where you will run with the cruise control on. The trick is to set your speed at the top of the grade by stabbing your brake peddle to activate the GB. If you begin to over speed, say 5 mph over, then a hard stab of your brake to bring your speed back inline to your comfort zone is what you want to do. If your slowing down too much then turn off your GB until you have returned to the speed you want to maintain then switch it back on. Never, ever ride you wheel brakes on a down grade. They will over heat and damage the drums or rotors, brake shoes or pads. Your grade brake works in conjunction with the Transmission Control Module (TCM). It will also downshift to help hold your speed. All of this is programmed into the TCM and depending on the chassis manufacture there are different programs. You will have to play with it until you get a feel for how it works with your driving style. If you travel a lot in the western U.S. you will find it to be a godsend. I live there and I almost never use my wheel brakes on the open road.
One other note. I turn mine off whenever I'm in a residential area where the speed limit is 40 mph or under. The downshifting/up-shifting will drive you crazy and some towns and cities don't allow the use of compression/exhaust brake within there town/city limits. Usually I manually downshift into 4th gear and leave it there until I out of town and the speed limit is above 40 mph. Also never use it when you encounter slick road conditions. You run the risk of spinning out.
Hope I was of some help.
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