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Old 07-29-2008, 04:41 PM   #1
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Is there anything one of you veteran "Rockies" guys want to share with me prior to my trip west on I-70 from Denver, through the Eisenhower tunnel and onward towards Leadsville via 91? I just did the Black Hills with a toad last month and swore I'd never do another hill. But, plans change and I'm going to try the Continental Divide without the toad this weekend. I did I-5 north and south on the west coast and managed to end up with a burnt plug wire. Just havent' done the real high altitude climbs yet so tell me if I'll ever see anything over 40 mph.
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:41 PM   #2
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Is there anything one of you veteran "Rockies" guys want to share with me prior to my trip west on I-70 from Denver, through the Eisenhower tunnel and onward towards Leadsville via 91? I just did the Black Hills with a toad last month and swore I'd never do another hill. But, plans change and I'm going to try the Continental Divide without the toad this weekend. I did I-5 north and south on the west coast and managed to end up with a burnt plug wire. Just havent' done the real high altitude climbs yet so tell me if I'll ever see anything over 40 mph.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:39 PM   #3
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Paul T:

We have travelled that route a few times, each time in a gasolene driven engine. The first time in a carburetored ford van (460 ci) and we had a bad case of the vapors (vapor lock). We spent a bunch of money installing a return loop in the fuel line to keep the fuel moving to and past the carburetor and back to the fuel tank, keeping the fuel cool. Unfortunately we were not able to test it on that particular stretch of road. We had the problem headeng east on the west side of the tunnel, near the US6 exit. We spent quite a bit of time waiting for the fuel to cool and liquify again. This was in the summer.

Then a few years later we obtained Chevrolet 454 CI Southwind motorhome (1992 model) and it had a different type of carburetion (I cannot recall it exactly, but it wasn't pure fuel injection, but some type of hybrid system between fuel injection and old fashioned carburetion) With that motorhome, we pulled the hill west of Denver up to and through the tunnel. The coach did not stop pulling, but did load down quite a bit and I did hear and feel some missing. I don't think we lugged down much slower than 35 MPH, pulling a Jeep Wrangler. The motorhome was a 37' unit with tandem axels. The unit was underpowered, using a pick-up truck transmission, but still did the job admirably.

I would imagine that a 2006 Suncruiser (I really don't know what chassis it has) would have full fuel injection, and you should do just fine, especially if you buy fuel tailored for the altitude.

Just a few casual observations....
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:56 PM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Paul T:
Is there anything one of you veteran "Rockies" guys want to share with me prior to my trip west on I-70 from Denver, through the Eisenhower tunnel and onward towards Leadsville via 91? I just did the Black Hills with a toad last month and swore I'd never do another hill. But, plans change and I'm going to try the Continental Divide without the toad this weekend. I did I-5 north and south on the west coast and managed to end up with a burnt plug wire. Just havent' done the real high altitude climbs yet so tell me if I'll ever see anything over 40 mph. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>\\

Check air filter is spiffy clean.

Haul only emergency level water in tank..fill up when you arrive at destination.

Haul only planned needed gas plus reserve to first refueling point. Don't be a gas truck.

Empty black & grey tanks prior to climb.

Travel in morning when cool and winds are calm..Stay away from A/C switch.

3000-3600 is a good top gear range.

If you rest stop...open engine hood for increased engine cooling.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:50 PM   #5
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Paul ...

I think your coach will make it up the hill just fine ...

for first time mountain drivers <span class="ev_code_Red"> getting up the hill is a much smaller problem than getting down the hill </span>

Watch closely what gear the transmission uses to get you to the top of the hill .... when you reach the summit
1) slow to the same speed that you you were moving at the steepest part of the climb
2) shift into the same gear that the transmission downshifted to on the steepest part of the climb
3) when it is necessary to apply the brakes ... apply them firmly and it bursts ... DO NOT "RIDE" your brakes
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:39 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by skigramp:
Paul ...

I think your coach will make it up the hill just fine ...

for first time mountain drivers <span class="ev_code_Red"> getting up the hill is a much smaller problem than getting down the hill </span>

Watch closely what gear the transmission uses to get you to the top of the hill .... when you reach the summit
1) slow to the same speed that you you were moving at the steepest part of the climb
2) shift into the same gear that the transmission downshifted to on the steepest part of the climb
3) when it is necessary to apply the brakes ... apply them firmly and it bursts ... DO NOT "RIDE" your brakes </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Use your grade brake...that's what it's for...
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Old 07-30-2008, 03:06 AM   #7
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I have three suggestions:

1. Do what Skigramp says
2. Do what Skigramp says
3. Do what Skigramp says

Last year in travelling out west, we went over the Continental Divide nine times - your MH will make it too!

You may want to consider unhitching and have your copilot drive the toad up and over the Eisenhower Tunnel leg.

Safe travels, and enjoy the scenery.
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:50 AM   #8
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I learned the hard way with my first coach - 99 LaPalma Ford V10 w/ 4 spd tran. - Going down is the hardest part.

DO WHAT SKIGRAMP SAYS!!!

Just got back from 3600 mile round trip to the Black Hills and Yellowstone - no major problems. Your grade brake will howl going down the mountains - its the cooling clutches on the tranny - that's what my dealer told me. It did return to normal on the flat lands coming home to Ohio.
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:11 AM   #9
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Paul,
I drive that route quite a bit so I know it well. I also agree with what Gramps says but I will add that you need to not be in a rush. You will have times when you can do 70 and other times when you drop down to 35 due to climbs. Enjoy the scenery. The pull going West out of Denver is LONG especially the first 20 or so miles until you crest Floyd Hill. Then after a downhill portion you have a gradual climb until Georgetown which has about a 3 mile climb. When you crest that hill to the Eisenhower Tunnel it is a gradual climb but now you are at altitude and the engine wants air/oxygen. You will drop to 35 in this last 2 miles but don't worry you will make it. Try to keep your foot out of it because it just doesn't/can't respond. Then the long grade down to Silverton -- use your Grade Brake -- it works. I am making this run to Leadville today, spending 3 days there to cool off then we will proceed to other mountain Camps to enjoy the cool fresh air. We are in the midst of a heat wave in our area so a 3 week trip through the Colorado Mountains will be a great relief.
Enjoy the drive -- Frank O.
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:12 PM   #10
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I agree with all the above. Been years since I've been through the Eisenhower, but we go over Monarch and Red Mountain passes one-two times a year both ways and no problem. We now have a 36' DP but have been over in a 28' and 32' gasser pulling a toad. Use your gear shift lever going up to keep your revs up, don't worry about 25-35 MPH, and don't try to keep the peddle to the metal - in the thin air it doesn't do any good when the engine can't use it. And again, use the gear shift going down tapping the brakes only a few seconds at a time as they will get hot. I've heard a good rule of thumb is to go down a mountain grade in the same gear you had to go up in, but sometimes one side is worse than the other. Still a good thought to keep in mind. Mountain Passes are beautiful, we've been RVing to Colorado from Oklahoma since 1988 and enjoy every minute of it. If you want a great drive sometime, take 550 from Montrose thru Ouray, over Red Mountain, to Silverton, then over Coal Bank and Molas Passes to Durango. Only about 120 miles but plan on averaging about 20-25 MPH. Enjoy your trip.
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:00 AM   #11
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I've been reading this thread to DH. He says to tell you that in addition to all the good advice you've gotten here, you might consider investing in the book "Mountain Directory for truckers, RVs and motorhome drivers." We have the one for the 'West". It tells you what percentage the grade is, what mile marker it starts at, how many miles long it is and how long the decent is. Very good book to have. The book is a bit hard to find now - apparently they are in the process of deciding to update it or not print it anymore...but I found it for sale at Amazon.com. We found ours at Camping World...you might still find a copy there.

Have a safe trip!!
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:40 PM   #12
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Mission complete and uneventfull. I thank you all for your input. I've done the I-70 and the Rt 91 trip to Leadville numerous times in a car or SUV so the route was not new, just my expectations for the RV. I did not pull the Toad this time and if I do it again will have my co-pilot drive it separately. I believe my performance at 11,000 ft seemed a lot better than what I was getting in the Black hills pulling the Toad at a much lower altitude, (around 5 or 6 thousand feet max I believe). Lowest speed was about 30 in 2nd gear for the really steep 7% grades at altitude. Grade brake worked great going down as it did last year doing northern I-5 in CA. Before the trip I thought I might have a plug missing once and awhile but managed to rule that out.
Thanks again for those that gave me all the tips for trips.
And, All-4-Fun was great!!
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