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Old 10-19-2016, 11:26 PM   #15
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Shifting Allison 3000

Lots of good advice. To try to relate what I do: start the downhill run with speed under control (50?). Downshift to keep to that speed . If you speed up try downshifting to a lower gear. If the tranny does not allow the downshift , brake to a slower speed (40-45?) to allow the downshift. If I still gain speed , hit the exhaust brake . If you still speed up, brake to a slower speed (35-40?) to allow another downshift . (Turn off the exhaust brake if effect is too extreme) Bottom line: steeper grades = slower speed and lower gear. After you get the feel for it, you'll find your gear and speed based on the grade and likely not need to hit the brakes much at all. I typically find myself in lowered gear and hit the exhaust brake periodically to cut the speed a little (or leave it on if that gives me a stable speed). This works for me for grades up to 6%
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Old 10-20-2016, 02:42 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
"RIDER FAN"......I can give you some advice on driving your coach, because I had the same coach for ten years (2005 Diplomat).

To start, and not to offend anyone, the old saying of going down a hill at the same speed you went up, is an old adage that doesn't apply to many modern coaches. My 05 Diplomat had the power to climb 6% - 7% grades at 60+ mph, even while towing, yet the Exhaust Brake was incapable of holding the coach back at those speeds on a 6% - 7% downhill.

Your Allison will NOT allow the engine to over rev and will NOT downshift if the rpm's are too high. Your exhaust brake has just enough power to MAINTAIN downhill speed when turned on at 55 mph or less on grades that are 5% or less.

Anything over that speed and your exhaust brake will do little for you. Anything over 5% and your coach will gain speed proportionally to the steepness of the grade.

Your first downshift when the exhaust brake comes on, is typically 6th to 5th. Again, only a little help on slight grades. Your next down shift will help, but still won't hold the coach back. On my Diplomat, I eventually had to get to 44-45 mph, a downshift to third, before the coach would hold on grades above 5%. So.....if you know it's a steep/long grade, you'll want to get down to the 44 mph speed. I short grade, you'll be back on flat land before the coach builds too much speed.

Here's the problem.....descending grades at 45 mph usually brings an onslaught of semi's and other RVers roaring down your back side. Many will say, who cares, but it can be disconcerting and I hated it. It typically took a lot of work, both selecting speed, stabbing brakes and paying attention to the overall grade when using the exhaust brake.

This may not be the answer you're looking for, but it's what I found worked best for your coach after ten years of driving my Diplomat all over the mountain ranges out west. The only one where all the rules go out the window is the Eisenhower grade in Colorado.

When I owned the Diplomat, I was towing a Chevrolet Silverado 4 door. I knew when I eventually changed coaches, my next coach would have an engine brake. The newer coaches allow the engine brake to work with the cruise control and automatically adjust speed on steep grades. It's now a lot less work and I can descend most grades at whatever the rest of the traffic is doing.

Couldn't have said it better myself Don.
Craig & Carolyn Roberts Apple Valley, CA
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