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Old 10-04-2009, 08:25 PM   #1
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Unhappy 8.1 engine power

Somewhat concerned by the power of the Workhorse 8.1 gasser, (OK very concerned), Going over the Raton pass in New Mexico. Finally got over but engine was running at 5000 RPM and going 25 MPH, towing a ford explorer, weight is 27000 lbs. Chassis is a W-24....Looking for answers????Help
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:15 PM   #2
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wiscjc,

I wouldn't be too worried. You're pulling a lot of weight and a naturally aspirated engine loses about 3% power for every 1,000 ft in elevation. At nearly 8,000 ft. you are down nearly a quarter of your power compared to sea level. The grade would have an impact on climbing ability also.

I've had my 8.1 in the Rockies and several very steep roads and have been to nearly 5,000 rpm many times for considerable periods of time both going up and coming down. While anything mechanical can fail, I don't worry too much about the rpm as I had two solid lifter big blocks back in the 60's that went 7,000 rpm every time I started them. It was way too much fun hitting 2nd gear at 7,000 with over 400-450 horsepower.....

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Old 10-04-2009, 10:35 PM   #3
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I agree with Davel; we full timed all over the west in our W24 and a long, high haul would slow us down, but we always made it. You're at the upper limit of your weight limit, and heck, for a gas engine to move that much mass effectively is a tribute to that big block. If you're really bothered by the slow speed, you can try Brazel's ultrapower add-ons, they get great reviews.
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:51 AM   #4
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I'm not familiar with the Raton Pass but unless it is 7 or 8% or steeper then 25 mph sounds a little slow. I try to keep my rpm at 4600 or less and have been able to go over the Rockies several times at closer to 35 mph or higher. I have the W24 loaded to about 23,500 pounds and tow a 3,500 pound load.
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:53 PM   #5
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wiscjc,
If you're really concerned, then spend $700 for the UltraPower and get another 60 hp. My guess it that you would be one gear higher and pull that hill at 45 mph instead of 25 mph. I've had UP for 3 yrs now. At 39 ft and 26000+ lbs my rig, like yours is heavy, but the only time I've gotten down to 25 mph was when I-70 Eisenhower Tunnel was closed and I had to go over Loveland Pass at 12,000 ft. But that route must be around 8-10% grade.

You can expect UP to give you about 10-15% better gas mileage too. Mainly because the added power keeps you in a higher gear (overdrive). And UP will run a bit leaner in the mid-throttle range, that is, normal cruise speeds on flat lands. If you search the Workhorse forum here, you'll find hundreds of positive testimonies for the UltraPower. Just notice the UP in all the signatures of the WH owners of the forum members.

Brazel's has a money back guaranteed satisfaction on UP ....go for it!!!

Happy Trails,
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:21 PM   #6
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Duner,
I've only put about 1200 miles on my coach since I had Ultrapower installed - I sure have not experienced the 10-15% increase in mileage that you speak of, and my reading of other posts indicate most have not realized that gain either. There is no question that it has increased power (less downshifting on hills for example).
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:40 PM   #7
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Duner,
I've only put about 1200 miles on my coach since I had Ultrapower installed - I sure have not experienced the 10-15% increase in mileage that you speak of, and my reading of other posts indicate most have not realized that gain either. There is no question that it has increased power (less downshifting on hills for example).
Maybe it has to do with speed and how much time you can drive with the throttle in the mid-range. Mid-range is where UP has it running somewhat leaner. I drive around 60-62 mph on flat with no headwind. If you run 65 mph, regardless of headwind and grade, the throttle is probably close to full, and the fuel/air ratio is same with/without UP.....ie same mpg.

Also, because of the additional power, most folks will just be going faster where exponentially increasing wind resistance will negate any gains in mpg..... 60 vs 65 on flat ground or going over a hill at 25 vs 45 mpg.

Looking aback at my mpg, yes 10-15% is too high. I think it's more like 5-10%. In the West my mileage went from 6.8 to 7.2 mph, a 5.5 increase. In the flatlands of the central plains, Florida, East Coast I've seen an increase from 7.0 to 7.5 mpg, a 7% increase. So yes 15% is not going to happen in my size rig and my driving habits.

Another complicating factor is the introduction of 10% Ethanol in gasoline at the same time frame as an UP upgrade. Many folks reported a 10% decrease in mpg using ethanol gas. I did not see any decrease.
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:49 PM   #8
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IMHO the engine has enough power, But the trans needs better programing to down shift less and up-shift at a lower rpm when near or at WOT.

Mike
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:21 PM   #9
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IMHO the engine has enough power...
Mike
Yes, but if you had 5-6 ft longer coach, or if you're fulltiming like me, then another 1,000-2,000 lbs on the grades makes a whole lot of difference.
I pull an enclosed trailer w/my dunebuggy and it weighs 4500. My Suzuki weighs 3500 and I can really tell the difference on grades and my mileage drops almost .5 mpg. When I'm not pulling anything it feels like a rocket.

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.... But the trans needs better programing to down shift less and up-shift at a lower rpm when near or at WOT.
Mike
I agree, I wish I could set the up/down shift points. Or like the old days, when we had a clutch and stick shift. My 5 speed just doesn't seem to lug in 4th like I would expect. Mine likes to wait too late to down shift 5th to 4th..... and then jumps to 3rd too quick.
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Old 10-10-2009, 10:33 AM   #10
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8.1 Engine Power

I have an 8.1l in my 04 Adventurer and I tow a Honda Civic on a tow dolly and don't have any problem climbing or going down any hills. I have climbed Wolf Pass in CO with no problems and have never gone over 4000 rpm. The slowest I have climbed up a major hill was about 35-37 miles per hour.

You are towing a lot of weight in my estimation. What is your GVCW on your coach? You may be at the limit.

Lastly are you leaving the tranmission in D or are you shifting gears down as you go up the hill. I know a few people that even leave the tranmission in OD and let it downshift. When approaching a steep hill I take the transmission out of OD and as the speed decreases I shift to the next lower gear.I have climbed a few hills in second gear and had no problem. Don't forget that Alison Transmission is a fantastic transmission and also remember whatever gear you go up a grade you should use the same gear going down.

I really think your problem is that you are overloaded. In order to prove that, disconnect toad and have DW drive it up hill and use gears rather than leaving it in drive. That big block engine has plenty of power and if UP was so great than I'm sure WCC would have made changes(bet I'll get diasagreement on this one).
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Old 10-11-2009, 07:44 AM   #11
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Tom Thanks for the reply, my motothome is 27000 pounds with the explorer in tow. Total gross weight is 30,000. I don't feel it is overwieght? It is a 2006 Itascs 38J....

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I have an 8.1l in my 04 Adventurer and I tow a Honda Civic on a tow dolly and don't have any problem climbing or going down any hills. I have climbed Wolf Pass in CO with no problems and have never gone over 4000 rpm. The slowest I have climbed up a major hill was about 35-37 miles per hour.

You are towing a lot of weight in my estimation. What is your GVCW on your coach? You may be at the limit.

Lastly are you leaving the tranmission in D or are you shifting gears down as you go up the hill. I know a few people that even leave the tranmission in OD and let it downshift. When approaching a steep hill I take the transmission out of OD and as the speed decreases I shift to the next lower gear.I have climbed a few hills in second gear and had no problem. Don't forget that Alison Transmission is a fantastic transmission and also remember whatever gear you go up a grade you should use the same gear going down.

I really think your problem is that you are overloaded. In order to prove that, disconnect toad and have DW drive it up hill and use gears rather than leaving it in drive. That big block engine has plenty of power and if UP was so great than I'm sure WCC would have made changes(bet I'll get diasagreement on this one).
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:40 AM   #12
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8.1 Engine

Ok so you are Ok with gross weight now but how about your driving habits? Being that is a lot of weight going up hill, any help you can give it would be to your advantage.

I wish you all the best in solving this problem and I'm sure if you have any other problems this forum is the place to go or contact Winnebago direct.

Tom
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiscjc View Post
Somewhat concerned by the power of the Workhorse 8.1 gasser, (OK very concerned), Going over the Raton pass in New Mexico. Finally got over but engine was running at 5000 RPM and going 25 MPH, towing a ford explorer, weight is 27000 lbs. Chassis is a W-24....Looking for answers????Help
The best way to approach the onset of a grade is to have as much energy built up in the engine as possible. This will allow you a better rate of climb as you negotiate the grade. Keep your RPM up and you will see that your machine will climb better.

That said if the grade is very long you are eventually going to scrub some speed however the W24 is geared to pull and if you give it enough twist on the driveshaft that energy will carry you over the top.
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Old 10-11-2009, 05:16 PM   #14
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I drive a DP and still find it advantageous to do some manual shifting myself while approaching an incline to keep up the RPM without putting the peddle to the metal. These automatic transmissions are great but they can't anticipate an upcoming hill.

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