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Old 10-17-2021, 07:01 AM   #1
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Mountain Driving With F450

After driving diesel pushers for the past 20+years, I just downsized to a 2020 Entegra Esteem which is 32+ft. long, with a Ford F450 chassis. One thing that concerns me is going down hills and mountains. I tow a F150 and the chassis is rated to pull 7500 lbs, so I'm well below the rating. I also use a Brake Buddy in the toad.

Looking for suggestions as to how most navigate mountain driving with this chassis.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:30 AM   #2
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You've got tow-haul which is helpful but nothing replaces gearing down manually and maintaining a speed that fits the conditions. The old saying “go down the hill in the same gear you came up in” applies. Tow-haul wont maintain the desired speed other than on mild grades, so you need to maintain your speed with judicious applications of the brakes as it starts to gain. The key is to keep it in a range that makes sense rather than repeatedly trying to recover from over-speed situations. My coach has a VGT engine brake with is only minimally effective so I tend to crawl down the more challenging grades to save my brakes. Also it will help to refer to your chassis as E-450 for clarification.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:58 AM   #3
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Turn on Tow/ Haul and cruise control.

I have never needed to select any gear besides drive on my E450 6 speed.

Tow/Haul will Rev your engine up to 4800 RPMs but it will hold you back .

If you feel it's not holding, use your brakes, on and off to help it. Remember that using the brakes cancels cruise.

Just been on some steep grade here in PA. One was 13°.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:02 AM   #4
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Never had a problem with using the Tow/Haul with driving in steep terrain. Never needed to manually gear up or down when in that mode. Occasionally the Tow /Haul downhill feature didn't kick out as soon as I would like and I simply turned it off. We tow a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk that weighs in at 4200 lbs.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:18 AM   #5
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Mountain Driving With F450

Tarheel, We to just recently downsized from a class A. We pull a 2017 F-150 w our Nexus Viper 27V (29’ long). You probably know this but the E-450 chassis GVWR is 14,500 and the CVWR is 22,000. Your 32’ Esteem will probably bump against the limits depending on how it’s loaded. If you haven’t do so already you may want to get your combination rig+toad weighed. We weigh in around 18,000lb when towing, so well below the CVWR capacity. We tow mostly out west and through the mountains. As the others have stated, tow/haul mode is your friend and just take it slow going down hill. Safe travels.

Edit: You can also manually down shift versus tow/haul.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:25 PM   #6
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You mean E450?
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:46 PM   #7
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Yes, E450.
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Old 10-19-2021, 11:16 AM   #8
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Cool Dat's da fact Jack...

Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Turn on Tow/ Haul and cruise control.

I have never needed to select any gear besides drive on my E450 6 speed.

Tow/Haul will Rev your engine up to 4800 RPMs but it will hold you back .

If you feel it's not holding, use your brakes, on and off to help it. Remember that using the brakes cancels cruise.

Just been on some steep grade here in PA. One was 13°.
Yep, what he said ^^^

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Old 10-20-2021, 03:15 PM   #9
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I chose the gear that keeps my speed down. Over use of brakes causes brake fade due to overheating which kills people.
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Old 10-20-2021, 03:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I chose the gear that keeps my speed down. Over use of brakes causes brake fade due to overheating which kills people.
I can choose D, 4, 2, or 1. No 5 or 3.

I'll let the computer choose gears while I watch the road.
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Old 10-20-2021, 07:55 PM   #11
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What is the difference between letting Tow/Haul slow you down and gearing down manually? Been using it on 5/6-spd U-Hauls and a E450 rental RV but never manually geared down since the computer or whatever would do it for you. Now I have a F53 with 5spd and would like to know what best to do (headers don't make for good engine braking). Coming out of the driveway, its a 330' drop in less than 1 mile to the main road!
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Old 10-20-2021, 08:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCatsRV View Post
What is the difference between letting Tow/Haul slow you down and gearing down manually? Been using it on 5/6-spd U-Hauls and a E450 rental RV but never manually geared down since the computer or whatever would do it for you. Now I have a F53 with 5spd and would like to know what best to do (headers don't make for good engine braking). Coming out of the driveway, its a 330' drop in less than 1 mile to the main road!
Headers have nothing to do with gas engine braking.

It's the closed throttle plates and engine friction that slows you down.

Tap the brakes and it will downshift. Tap again if you need more engine braking.
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Old 10-20-2021, 10:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Headers have nothing to do with gas engine braking.

Thanks, but in my experience, free-flowing exhaust in combination with headers had reduced the effectiveness of engine braking.

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Old 10-21-2021, 02:10 PM   #14
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Surprised an F53 only has a 5-speed. In any event manually down shift to 1st to take off and up-shift from there as needed on your steep downhill.

I currently own automatics and shift them all manually as conditions warrant but I grew up driving sticks......some with two sticks.
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