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Old 12-04-2020, 12:08 AM   #1
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Horsepower in Colorado

Looking for assistance on if I need to worry about horse power in the Colorado mountains. Most of the coaches I have been looking at are 400 hp or more. One is a Newmar Ventana at 360 hp. Allison 3000 -6 speed transmission. I live in Denver.

Thanks for your assistance.
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Old 12-04-2020, 01:12 AM   #2
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I have a 340HP Mercedes in my 38’ coach and we’ve been up and down the mts of CO time after time...

Monarch Pass, Eisenhower Tunnel, Raton Pass, etc.... All these towing a 4K lb SUV....

The key is using your transmission as it’s intended to be used - manually downshifting as you climb and engine brake as you descend...
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Old 12-04-2020, 06:25 AM   #3
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We were in Colorado this summer with our 340hp coach. The coach performed well while pulling our CRV. Sure, a larger engine will have a bit more pep, but when you get up in altitude, all vehicles slow down.
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennisok View Post
Looking for assistance on if I need to worry about horse power in the Colorado mountains. Most of the coaches I have been looking at are 400 hp or more. One is a Newmar Ventana at 360 hp. Allison 3000 -6 speed transmission. I live in Denver.

Thanks for your assistance.
Interesting - likely your answers will be all over the Board - Torque is the Key - IMHO - fact is even living in Colorado you will spend most of your time driving on the Flatter roads .....so it's is not nearly a critical as you might think. Keep in Mind you will spend even more time Parked.....

When I had my Coach Built they wanted to put the 500 HP Cummins in it - - I was a contractor and ran my Mack Trucks with 237's and 300's - the Dump trucks (237's) ran all day with 65,000 pounds in them, no problem
we used the 300 to haul the equipment around - often as high as 140,000 pounds, so smaller made me money, Fact - I paid Extra to have the coach Built on a 400 ISL frame with the smaller engine - Never looked back.

Colorado/Rockies is where we go to RV - Granddaughters live there - again, we spent the summer there this year in the Mountains - we survived again - - no we do not drive up as fast as we would in the Toad - but we do go faster than any of the heavy trucks and then we use the engine brake to get down the hill - which, IMHO is the most critical part of the Journey.

Brother has a 350 in his 34' Winny and the two of us had no issue - we both enjoyed our time there.

Summing it up most will work - just be sure you can get it to Stop, Going Down - IMHO - Go to the RV Parks and talk to owners of similar Coaches - that will give you the best info you can get.

Best of Luck,
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:35 AM   #5
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Weight divided by horse power. You will find most motorhomes have about the same number. The heavier the coach the more HP. Drop down two gears and you will go faster than you can take the curves. If the temperature starts going up back off on the throttle.
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Old 12-04-2020, 08:27 AM   #6
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I have a Monaco with the Roadmaster chassis, full steel cage, very heavy for my length. I have a 350 HP engine and it does OK on grades but it is by no means the fastest up the hill.

We drove across Colorado from Nevada to Nebraska though Denver, I think we hit some of the worse grades. We held our own and did pass some of the heavy loaded truck. The only real problem is if you get crowded in, you may not have the ability to easily pull out and pass.
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:14 AM   #7
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If you're talking supercharged engine (in whatever form) you'll see minimal to no difference at higher altitudes. In a normally aspirated engine then you can expect to see a 3% loss in power per 1000 ft of increased altitude.
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:23 AM   #8
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We have 450 HP but can't keep up with the Corvettes and Porsches climbing steep grands. We do fine and we did fine with a 320 HP V-10
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:38 AM   #9
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HP is not what you want to compare as it’s probably a Cummins ISB engine...850 torque. A ISC is 1050 and a ISL is 1250. Never heard anyone say they wished they had less power.

I would want 33 lbs of weight for each ftlb of torque. For a ISB that’s a 28,000 lb rig including the weight of the car...combined weight.


The turbo diesels will keep there full power up to 10,000’ and then it starts to drop off. I was happy with a ISL in a 44,000 combined rig until I had a rig with 1650 torque. It’s nice to be able to pull out and pass without holding people up.
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Old 12-04-2020, 10:01 AM   #10
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Mine has a 340 hp and Allison 2100,and towing a 4K toad, I have been up down a bunch of the higher passes and no issues. Now I don't the speed limit(65) most times but you get around the semi's and gasser MH. I am not in a race I am on a journey.
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Old 12-04-2020, 10:24 AM   #11
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Right after buying our Windsor in 2012 we took a 2-month trip out west, traveling through 13 states, including Colorado. Our coach has the Cummins ISC350 engine. Yes, we got down to 35 MPH going up those long grades, right along with the 18-wheelers, but we weren't in any hurry and we eventually made it to the top!
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Old 12-04-2020, 10:27 AM   #12
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In Colorado it's not so much the horsepower (torque) it's the traffic which is really bad now. As Colorado natives we've been running those roads all of our lives and our chipped 605 hp does us no good when we're too fast for the slow lane and too slow for the fast lane. It takes us almost as long from Denver to Grand Junction as it did in our first C7 Cat. Best just to settle in and enjoy the scenery and spend more time paying attention to braking on the downside. IMHO the high horsepower coaches are really of best use out on the open road where traffic conditions will let you use that power to get around a string of semi's on a hill.
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Old 12-04-2020, 10:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.C.Gray View Post
If you're talking supercharged engine (in whatever form) you'll see minimal to no difference at higher altitudes. In a normally aspirated engine then you can expect to see a 3% loss in power per 1000 ft of increased altitude.


Winner! Ding, Ding Ding!.

You are correct sir, if turbocharged, gas or diesel, altitude is not an issue but the 3% per 1,000' is a big hit on naturally aspirated gassers. At 10,000' you have lost 30% of your sea level HP.

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Old 12-04-2020, 10:40 AM   #14
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Winner! Ding, Ding Ding!.

You are correct sir, if turbocharged, gas or diesel, altitude is not an issue but the 3% per 1,000' is a big hit on naturally aspirated gassers. At 10,000' you have lost 30% of your sea level HP.


Correct. True and even published in many of the diesel engine manufacturer's spec sheets.


Not aware of any supercharged diesels (been a long time since a Detroit Diesel 2 stroke was sold for on-highway use) but turbos absolutely. And most are turbocharged with CAC (Charge Air Cooler) to pack even more/denser air into the combustion chamber.
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