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Old 07-12-2021, 10:05 PM   #1
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Hendersonville, NC south to FL- steep grades?

We will be heading south to FL from Hendersonville, NC (south of Asheville). It appears that there are unavoidable steep down grades the first 15 miles. Has anyone experienced issues?

We are newbies with an old (2003) class A Coachman (Ford V10) and are a little nervous about the -6% grades showing on RVTW.

Thanks.
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Old 07-13-2021, 11:38 AM   #2
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You won't have any problems with the grades. We travel south through Hendersonville every year in 1999 Rexhall v10 hauling a trailer. Start down the grades at the speed you are comfortable with the transmission overdrive turned off. If the engine braking doesn't hold your desired speed, use your brakes to drop your speed 5 MPH below your desired speed. Stay off the brakes until your speed is 3 to 5 MPH above your target, then brake to 5 MPH below. The intermittent braking gives the brakes time to cool and prevents overheating that causes brake fade.

We travel roads with more than 6 degree grades with no issues. It's slow going up and we usually target the downhill speed pretty close to the uphill ones. The RV won't stop very quickly going downhill!

Safe travels
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Old 07-13-2021, 11:42 AM   #3
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Everything 56safari said, plus turn on Tow/Haul mode. And also read/learn about tow/haul so you know how it works, how to force down shifts, things like that.
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Old 07-13-2021, 12:22 PM   #4
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Podivin provided great advice, but, unfortunately, your 2000 does not have a tow haul mode. It is a great feature, but didn't arrive until later. The only way to downshift our year F53 chassis is to move the gear shift lever.
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Old 07-13-2021, 12:52 PM   #5
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Time2Roll,

If you find the steep hill down I-26 to be worrisome, try cutting off of I-26 just below Hendersonville onto US-25. It goes through Travelers Rest and hits Greeneville. From there, you can take I-385 South for 20 miles or so, until it hooks back up with I-26. It is probably 5-10 miles further, but the downhill on US-25 is a lot less steep than the downhill on I-26.

Hope this helps.

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Old 07-13-2021, 02:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 56safari View Post
Podivin provided great advice, but, unfortunately, your 2000 does not have a tow haul mode. It is a great feature, but didn't arrive until later. The only way to downshift our year F53 chassis is to move the gear shift lever.
Well darn...
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Old 07-13-2021, 02:52 PM   #7
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Time2Roll,

If you find the steep hill down I-26 to be worrisome, try cutting off of I-26 just below Hendersonville onto US-25. It goes through Travelers Rest and hits Greeneville. From there, you can take I-385 South for 20 miles or so, until it hooks back up with I-26. It is probably 5-10 miles further, but the downhill on US-25 is a lot less steep than the downhill on I-26.

Hope this helps.

Chuck
We live north of Asheville and tow our rig down I-26 often to get to Charleston, Savannah, and Florida. Itís no problem at all. We use tow/haul and shift to low for the steepest sections. I feel sections of US25 toward Greenville are just as steep. Just keep down speed to 55mph or less and keep your finger near the trailer brake control. If raining, slow down to 50mph. If snow, we go 40mph. The I-40 grades both East and west of Asheville are steeper, as well as the I-26 grade west (north) to Johnson City, TN.
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Old 07-13-2021, 02:53 PM   #8
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Traveling down hill. Find the gear that keep you at the speed you want to be with out using your brake. Several times I have slowed down with the brake to a speed to get slow enough to drop in lower gear. Once I was in first. Not going fast, but not burning up the brakes.
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Old 07-13-2021, 05:22 PM   #9
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We have no tow/haul feature in our 2003 Coachmen, or a "trailer brake" button.

Looks like we'll be shifting down for those steep grades and trying to keep from braking too long. We'll also take a closer look at that alternate route down US-25 (@Air Conditioned Gypsy).

@marine359, we plan to avoid the I-40 near Asheville because of the terrain. We're taking the I-20 east, then up through Atlanta before heading to Hendersonville. For some reason, I was just not thinking that heading straight south to FL would be such a descent from Hendersonville.

@56safari, thanks. If the downshifting isn't keeping us slow enough, we'll follow your advice on the braking.
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Old 07-13-2021, 06:09 PM   #10
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Before we got our Open Road, we had a 2004 Forrest River Georgetown (38'), also on the Ford F53 chassis, w/ 4-spd and no tow/haul. Had it out West in the mountains with car in tow, and it did just fine on the descents. Manually downshifting on the descents has to be standard operating procedure for you to help hold your speed and not overwork your brakes. Downshifting is easily done on your rig. Practice it and get used to the sounds and sensations. My recollection is the RPM differences, both 4 to 3 and 3 to 2, were around +1000 RPM with the lower gear of course having the higher RPM. So, anticipate your downshift from 4th (or 3rd) by already being at a speed that will have your RPMs at the low to mid-2000's. Downshifting at that RPM range will put you at your lower gear in the low to mid 3000 RPM's and give you good engine braking until you have to hit your brakes hard again to get your speed down. Have confidence in your RV, don't ride your brakes, downshift to allow your engine to help control your speed, and relax and enjoy your ride.
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Old 07-13-2021, 08:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Time2roll View Post
We will be heading south to FL from Hendersonville, NC (south of Asheville). It appears that there are unavoidable steep down grades the first 15 miles. Has anyone experienced issues?

We are newbies with an old (2003) class A Coachman (Ford V10) and are a little nervous about the -6% grades showing on RVTW.

Thanks.
I've driven Mexico 40D down the mountain from Durango to Mazatlan Mx in a 2000 HR 36' on an F-53 chassis towing a VW Safari with no brakes on it. You drop from 11,000 feet to sea level in 122 miles. That's a long downgrade. All the advice given is correct. Get your speed down, when you use your breaks keep the time on the pedal short. Hard breaking does not generate any more heat than light breaking but allows you to slow so you can get off the brakes quicker.

Yup, in 122 miles all downhill there were places where it levels out a little and I just stayed in a low gear as to stay off the brakes and let them cool.

You won't have any trouble. I drove semi for several years and what you call mountains around Ashville, we call hills.

Just remember. if your down to 25 MPH going up, that's where you should be going down. And then when the road straightens out and you can see the bottom, let er' go.
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