Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-09-2019, 03:40 PM   #1
Winnebago Watcher
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Chesapeake City Md
Posts: 4
Downshifting on mountain grades?

I recently purchased a 2016 Trend with the Ram ProMaster Chassis
280 hp 3.6L 6 speed automatic 62TE transmission.

We are planning a trip out west and was wondering about driving on some
of the steeper mountain roads. Is it recommended to downshift to a lower
gear when descending the steeper grades?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
JCostick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2019, 03:43 PM   #2
Winnebago Owner
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 184
Yes highly recommended will save on brakes and you also will not burn them up. I always down shift on grades.
__________________
Ray & Diane
2005 Winnebago Vectra 36RD
Honda CRV
RD Eagle is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2019, 03:58 PM   #3
Winnie-Wise
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 382
Definite need to control the speed in some way other than brakes as the brakes go pretty quick. what works best depends on what features may be built into the new rig. Older units may require you to actually shift to a lower gear and that is pretty hard to actually anticipate what gear for each hill unless you can see far enough or know the road that well. Some will do the engine braking by using the speed controller and I use it for running downhill in my Ford Probe but it gets kind of iffy when I want to run slow, set the control but still find it is too fast for some corners which only come around every few miles on long grades. I may get to a 15 mile corner at 30 and have to use the brakes, which automatically turns off the speed control, so that leaves me in a bind when I get through that corner and want to rest for 30!
Best operation I've found/used is on the 2014 Winn vista which has a button on the gearshift to press to turn on towing/ downhill setting. It downshifts to control the speed but if I arrive at a corner and use the brakes, it doesn't rest or if I brake hard enough, it actually downshifts one more gear.
Many people sweat having enough engine to get up the hill but the truly scary for me is whether I can control it coming DOWN! Those runaway truck ramps are not there for giggles and I don't want to find out what it feels like to go into the "mush" to stop a runaway.
The only time I have truly lost all the brakes, I overheated them but got lucky as I did not find they were too hot to work until pulling into a casino halfway down and there was enough room to let it coast around the lot until it stopped! That was only a van and not towing. It scared the H out of us as well as cost a set of rotors.
Read up on it and stay off the brakes!
Morich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2019, 04:18 PM   #4
Winnebago Owner
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 226
Lots of variables to consider when deciding to downshift or not. Degree of grade, ambient temperatures, road conditions, condition of brake drums/rotors/pads, traffic around you, and the list goes on.

Most folks use the transmission to some degree to assist the brakes in controlling your descent. You'll have to try it for yourself in different downhill situations, to see what works for you.

Definitely don't ride the brakes on long downhills over 6% or so, or you'll cook them pretty quick. Use the "stabbing" method of applying brief hard braking to reduce your speed to a safe speed, and then let off the brakes completely, and let the transmission slow your acceleration, and then repeat, until you hit the flats. Check your mirrors before the first "stab" at the brakes, or you might get rear ended. If you're maintaining a slower rate of speed that the rest of the traffic around you, keep right and use your hazard flashers to indicate it.
One more thing, if the vehicle begins to shudder when you apply the brakes, you might be in the early stages of overheating them, so you might want to downshift and/or pull over as soon as possible, if safe to do so, to let them cool down a bit.
__________________
2018 (2017 Sprinter Cab Chassis) Navion24V + 2016 JKU (sold @ ????)
2016 Sunstar 26HE, V10, 3V, 6 Speed (sold @ 4600 miles)
2002 Roadtrek C190P (sold @ 315,000kms)
Winterbagoal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2019, 05:20 PM   #5
Winnie-Wise
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 382
When new to mountain grades, I always recommend doing it the safest way posilbe until you get a real feel for what it may need. It will change with each unti and each trip as you go to different locations. We tend to get into thinking we know what to do because we have done some of what we are looking at and it makes us feel like we can handle it. But just because a person has driven through some of the mountains in the East like I-64 does nothing to teach us about driving some "REAL" mountains like w might find out West. No way does a trip over interstate make us ready to face roads like over Monarch Pass or lots of places where it is not interstate. Interstate grades are limited to how steep they can be and still qualify and the relatively short length of the downgrades are much less prone to overheating the brakes than those which may be ten miles of extremely steep grades with extremely sharp corners along the way.
Downshifting may make you seem like an old coot driving but I would rather be thought of as that than thought of as a fool for killing the whole family! Overheating brakes may not give you any warning---just not be there when you want them.
Morich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2019, 06:14 PM   #6
Travato 59K
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: DE.
Posts: 31
We have the Promaster on the Travato. Although you can use the manual mode, the Promaster Transmission will shift into a lower gear on its own going down a steep grade. The highest rpm I’ve seen when it did this is around 4,000 rpms. According to some on the Promaster forum, it’s designed to do this.
__________________
Ron and Cindy
2018 Travato 59K
Raxel7851 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2019, 09:50 PM   #7
Winnebago Owner
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 207
I downshift and I tow a CRV so I stay on top of the speed.
Mike Owens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 01:46 PM   #8
Winnebago Camper
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 42
We have an Aspect 30J and tow. When traveling in the mountains downhill, my husband uses the tow/haul setting which automatically downshifts. Works great.
Hopeful1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2019, 04:27 PM   #9
Dives2Little
 
Dives2little's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: High Desert of New Mexico
Posts: 8
Downshifting is never a bad option going downhill. I always roll into a strange hill 10 MPH under the speed limit (the engine brake starts downshifting, but I like to ride herd on it). I can always speed up, but I can't always slow the beast down!
__________________
Chuck and Jo Ann Culpepper
(Plus Max, Minnie, and Midget)
2016 Ellipse 42QD/2015 F-150 Eco Boost 4X2 Dinghy
Dives2little is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2019, 06:20 PM   #10
Winnebago Camper
 
Trinityfly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 11
Sure, no problem. Yes down shift is necessary on steep grades. May I suggest you join the Facebook group Winnebago viva/trend group. Tons of info and and great people.
Trinityfly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2019, 09:39 PM   #11
Winnebago Camper
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 21
I travel in the Coast Range a lot and have been through the Rockies. My Super Duty has a tow haul mode and I don’t use it much. On 6 or 8 percent grades it is too aggressive and slows me down too much. I’m better off maintaining speed in normal mode with only occasional braking. The brakes on my truck have more than enough capacity to control my trailer. I would much rather apply my brakes for short duration rather than run my engine at 4K to maintain speed. It just doesn’t make sense to me. The compression braking is adequate.
I am starting to use manual control for the transmission when climbing. It is easier to select the gear you want and it prevents the gear hunting. If you are in normal mode and you are in 4th uphill and you let up you go to 5th and then you need to push the throttle to get back to 4th. Just my experience. Yours may be different.
09 harley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 10:01 AM   #12
Winnebago Owner
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Upstate, South Carolina
Posts: 97
Use same gear

An experienced RVer said to plan to go downhill in the same gear you used to go up. That may not always work, but you get the idea.
When not on interstate highways, some grades can get into the 12% area. I that case, you will probably need 1st gear to go down, especially with sharp curves. Don't be shy to use 2nd or 1st. The brakes will not last on long grades!
My solution: Diesel Journey with engine brake. Goes up and down like riding on a cloud.
__________________
2010 Winnebago Journey 34Y
2007 Saturn Vue toad, Invisibrake.
skyking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 11:31 AM   #13
Winnebago Camper
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 6
Morich above has it correct. For Me. I use the Tow/haul mode and brake to shift down on Winnie 2009 v10. The braking is excellent compared to my old 1989 Ford 460 E350. I lost the brakes on the 89 via of over heating and could never get it back to original braking effectiveness. Years ago I saw a MH at the bottom of a 10% steep grade in NW Bighorn Mtns. Terrible sight. Be for warned: What people don't realize is: If you use the brakes too much they overheat, the overheating causes the brake fluid to boil, Once the brake fluid boils that causes air in the line. Once air in the line in causes Rust and spongy brake and less braking power. If this happens you will need to bleed brakes. You can either go slow and take another 15 to 20 minutes or so to make it down the mnt. Or you can go fast and put your life at risk when the brakes fail now or later. For those who say they can't go fast enough using engine braking. Well they shouldn't be driving a MH IMHO.
tzensen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 11:53 AM   #14
Winnebago Owner
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 226
Downshifting combined with appropriate braking methodology to slow you down on steeper downhill roadways without overwhelming your braking system, is obviously a preferred best practice by almost everyone on this thread/topic.
The elephant in the room is being aware of what's behind you. While you're following your preferred and established safe braking procedures, there may be others following you who may not be doing the same.

Always keep an eye on the mirrors when headed up or downhill, in case someone behind you loses their brakes, or doesn't realize how slow you're going. I've been chased downhill by semi-rigs that don't seem to appreciate the fact that I'm trying to negotiate the longer steep downhill grades in a safe manner. I always use my 4-way flashers when doing long up or downhill grades when I'm below the posted speed limit, but even that doesn't seem to stop the big rigs from occasionally crowding/tailgating/pushing you if they're in a hurry, or simply just want you to get out of their way.
__________________
2018 (2017 Sprinter Cab Chassis) Navion24V + 2016 JKU (sold @ ????)
2016 Sunstar 26HE, V10, 3V, 6 Speed (sold @ 4600 miles)
2002 Roadtrek C190P (sold @ 315,000kms)
Winterbagoal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2019, 07:40 AM   #15
Winnebago Camper
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 6
I've been using the 3-5 car rule. When I get that many cars behind me I pull over and let them go by only when it is safe. This last trip I found some just didn't want to pass. They hang behind making it more difficult for others to pass. What I can't figure out IS how to signal them to pass. If I turn on my right signal or 4 way and slow down some just don't want to pass even though there is plenty of time and no cars. I have found this with my car too. I've almost been to a complete stop yet they don't pass. Any suggestions on what others do would be appreciated.
tzensen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2019, 08:26 AM   #16
Winnebago Camper
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 43
Blog Entries: 2
Use your “Tow-Haul”. It will automatically keep you in a lower gear. You can always disengage it if need be but it will definitely save on your brakes. Speaking of brakes, if you must brake, brake hard and get off of them. Do not ride them down the mountain.
__________________
ToolmanTim
USN Retired CPO
2018 Sunstar 27PE (Boardroom)/ Fiat 500L
T00lman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2019, 09:30 AM   #17
Winnebago Owner
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzensen View Post
I've been using the 3-5 car rule. When I get that many cars behind me I pull over and let them go by only when it is safe. This last trip I found some just didn't want to pass. They hang behind making it more difficult for others to pass. What I can't figure out IS how to signal them to pass. If I turn on my right signal or 4 way and slow down some just don't want to pass even though there is plenty of time and no cars. I have found this with my car too. I've almost been to a complete stop yet they don't pass. Any suggestions on what others do would be appreciated.
I've had the same problem - I've come to realize that you can't force or cajole everyone into passing you while you're still moving, so the only option becomes pulling over somewhere and allowing the trailing traffic through, if the tailgating gets dangerous or overly annoying. Depending on where I'm headed, and how urgent my trip is, I've also either sped back up and decided they must be happy staying behind me, or I've pulled over at a pull out or parking area, and given them all a break and let them by.
__________________
2018 (2017 Sprinter Cab Chassis) Navion24V + 2016 JKU (sold @ ????)
2016 Sunstar 26HE, V10, 3V, 6 Speed (sold @ 4600 miles)
2002 Roadtrek C190P (sold @ 315,000kms)
Winterbagoal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2019, 12:26 AM   #18
Winnebago Owner
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzensen View Post
I've been using the 3-5 car rule. When I get that many cars behind me I pull over and let them go by only when it is safe. This last trip I found some just didn't want to pass. They hang behind making it more difficult for others to pass. What I can't figure out IS how to signal them to pass. If I turn on my right signal or 4 way and slow down some just don't want to pass even though there is plenty of time and no cars. I have found this with my car too. I've almost been to a complete stop yet they don't pass. Any suggestions on what others do would be appreciated.
Maybe the cars stay behind as if they don't want to pass are doing that for the same reason that I do that: We're not "fast RV drivers", so often when in the RV I stay behind a slow moving vehicle in front of me on purpose because I want to go slow, too.

That way I let the slow vehicle in front of me "take the blame" for the slowness, so that I get to go slow without receiving the dirty looks and you-know-what finger from speed demon drivers as they eventually pass us. The slow guy I'm following in front of me takes the heat for going slow - instead of me.

Thank Heaven for the special lower speed limit for semi trucks on California highways. I like to follow behind them in our RV when driving in CA so that I can maintain a relaxing pace while letting them "run interference for me".
Phil G. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 09:50 AM   #19
Peaceful Explorer
 
RzRzRzR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Northwestern NJ
Posts: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by T00lman View Post
Use your “Tow-Haul”. It will automatically keep you in a lower gear. You can always disengage it if need be but it will definitely save on your brakes. Speaking of brakes, if you must brake, brake hard and get off of them. Do not ride them down the mountain.
Thanks Chief. I've been downshifting and I always wondered if the tow-haul button would do the same.
__________________
-- An old Coastie in a 2003 Itasca Sunrise 36M -- Semper Paratus!
RzRzRzR is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Winnebago Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:38 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×