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Old 06-08-2016, 12:49 PM   #15
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Last summer we did I 70 East from Utah thru Colorado. Had no issues up hill, however I really was uncomfortable with the downhill.

I left the transmission to manage it,,, as said for the up hills. When we started down we were in 6th, jake on high, and we went faster than I like, and had high engine RPM's.

If I were to do it over, I might at the top force a shift down, maybe even to 4th gear???,,, and come down the pass at a lower speed, in a lower gear, which I hope would keep the RPM's down?

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Old 06-08-2016, 12:54 PM   #16
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One "rule of thumb" I heard somewhere about downhills was to top the hill at the same speed you wanted to be at on the downhill at the bottom. Makes sense, you want to start the downhill at the proper slow speed and use the engine brake and "Snub" braking to keep the speed and rpm in line.
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:47 PM   #17
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Here is another adage. "Whatever gear your coach needed to be in as you approach the uphill crest (let's say fourth or third on a steep climb) is the same gear you want to be in as you begin the descent." Do that by maintaining speed as you crest, kick on the low jake and see what the coach does. I would never start downhill after a mountain pass in 6th. Most likely I am in 4th, where tranny was as we created.

My left hand moves to the Jake control. With the jake on and in 4th lets say, I see what the speed does. If it climbs lets say to 50, I move the jake to high. That should slow the coach along with any automatic Allison downshift to let's say 40. If not, then I snub brake down to 40, then move the jake to low and see how we do. When we get back to 50, back to high jake, and or snub, and repeat. My left hand stays on the Jake shift switch until I see the bottom of the mountain. If I am too slow, I turn off the jake until I get back up to an appropriate speed, turn on the jake and follow the same logic. VERY steep descents, I use the same process but maybe between 30 and 40.

I really obsessed with how to do steep downhills in an automatic transmission, asked a lot of questions, and got a lot of good pointers and was referred to lots of stuff on the Internet. It IS quite different from a car so it is a new learning process for everyone. What I am describing has worked very well for me and is my SOP. No white knuckles.

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Old 06-08-2016, 02:09 PM   #18
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An old semi driver taught me when descending a hill that most all unsafe problems occurred at the crest of the hill...starting off too fast. " Always start off 1 gear lower than than the one needed to crest the hill". Of course, this will require up-shifting as the grade decreases. As noted in previous posts, let the engine brake work and assist it as needed by "stabbing" the air brakes to maintain a safe speed and not overheat the brake pads, since it will decrease braking to nothing should they get hot enough (they will crystallize, thus requiring a complete replacement of pads).

I never used the cruise control when climbing. I watch the engine temp, if it starts increasing, I downshift to increase RPMs to the engine cool.
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:10 PM   #19
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Thanks guys, good info for me.
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Old 06-08-2016, 05:14 PM   #20
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Have fun!! You will feel completely in control following all those suggestions. All if them are good advice, and all of them are fundamentally consistent.

I am always amazed that I just came down a 6 or 7 mile long constant 7% grade and probably never touched the service brakes. Just amazing. And no period of concern the entire way down. I have heard owners of Cornerstones say that they virtually never use the third (highest) Jake level....the bottom 2 are enough to do the job.

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Old 06-08-2016, 06:42 PM   #21
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There is no reason to avoid downshifting to a lower gear at the crest. I never do a 5% downgrade in 6th the same token, I rarely go up a challenging grade in 6th gear.

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Old 06-09-2016, 08:44 PM   #22
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You do not need to fear overspeeding the engine because the Allison transmission won't allow it. The transmission will automatically upshift to protect the engine if RPMs get too high. In my previous coach which had a comparatively ineffective exhaust brake, I descended many a hill with the RPMs at 2400 and had zero problems in ten years. Occasionally the transmission would shift up a gear in order to lower the rpms, whereupon I needed to use my service brakes in the "stab" fashion described above to keep the spred under control.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:00 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Mike&Chris View Post
When pulling a long grade and the speed drops down to around 50 mph do you keep the petal to the floor until you reach the top and start to regain speed? This is my only diesel experience with the exception of a Ford 6.0 and we know what that was like.
what do you mean about the 6.0
mine was oustanding....

but for hills and climbs
water temps and tranny temps
if its getting hot, back off
otherwise use common sense
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