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Old 04-11-2019, 12:09 AM   #1
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Exhaust Brake

Hi,

First off, I hope this is in the appropriate category.

We are getting ready to start traveling from the west coast to the east coast. This will be our first real road experience with a diesel. My question is when to use the exhaust brake; 1. all the time, 2. only on steep downgrades 3. do I need to also downshift on long downgrades or will the exhaust brake take care of that?

We have a big test leaving San Diego heading east on the 8 down to the the desert floor and I want to be prepared. Any suggestions will be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

Fred
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:44 AM   #2
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Altho we escaped from California quite some time ago, we make the Tucson to San Diego run every year for family reunion. That exhaust brake is invaluable between SD and Ocotillo.

We run ours "on" all the time. Carefully through municipalities that restrict it. Believe it saves brake pads.

Between SD and Ocotillo, I am often up and down shifting, driving on the temp gauge and tach.

East out of Jacumba, going down the rumarosa, you've got to downshift and let the exhaust brake take the load. Still, a tap on the brake now and then are needed to keep you in the 35mph truck speed limit.

West out of Ocotillo to Jacumba, everyone I know downshifts to maintain RPM and keeps a close eye on the temp for that steep climb. Normally, downshifting will lower engine temps on those steep runs, From Jacumba to SD, you're back to letting the exhaust brake take the load.

It is white knuckle the first time. After that, just another walk in the park.

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Old 04-11-2019, 09:32 AM   #3
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Mine stays on on all the time - saves on service brake wear in town and is effective on my coach down to 15mph before it kicks off. It does have a slight delay before it kicks in when letting off the throttle... 1-2 seconds? Don't worry about municipal restrictions - those are for the loud "Jake" (engine compression) brakes we hear on trucks - yours is an exhaust brake like mine - not as effective as the Jake but quieter.

Ours definitely helps on downgrades but on the longer/steeper ones you will still need to apply service brakes intermittently to keep speed from getting too fast, which can cause the transmission to automatically upshift to prevent overspeeding the engine, and then you'll really start to roll!. Best to not ride service brakes but apply them hard enough at intervals to bring speed and RPMs down and then slowly let it build again while brakes cool. Mine is a Cummins engine and Allison trans so acceptable engine rpms differ from your CAT engine but i think our transmissions and exhaust brake funtions similar.

Been back and forth across the Rockies and other steep grades in CO, MT, ID, WY, WA, OR, and CA on 2 lane and interstate roads, coach at 30,000lb pulling 4300lb Edge (w aux braking system) without any issues...well except one. I did foolishly let my speed build too high coming down Teton Pass (10%) and nearly rearended a line of cars that suddenly appeared around the corner stopped at a construction zone! Only time I ever smelled hot brakes in the coach in 60k miles. Should not have taken that road to begin with but that's another story.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:06 AM   #4
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Correction: Missed that your coach a 2014 so you also have Cummins engine - disregard my comment about Cat engine! (Had Cat engine in my 2001 Journey..)
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:37 PM   #5
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Exhaust brakes

I run with mine on all the time. The restrictions in the towns are for the trucks that run jake brake exhaust brakes and no mufflers that makes them loud. Just apply the service brakes to slow down below speed and then off and let the brakes cool. Do not ride the brakes as that will heat them up and can catch fire. Take it easy the first time and you will get better with time.
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Old 04-12-2019, 12:03 PM   #6
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I leave mine on "most" of the time.

Every once in a while on low rise rolling hills the cruise control, Allison transmission, and exhaust brake don't get along and I get some gear slams when they all try doing their thing at the crest of a hill. Usually I turn one of them off and it cures it, and that is usually the exhaust brake.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:51 PM   #7
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Guys, I appreciate your advice!

Oldchinahand, we too are escaping; and thanks for the rundown on our route. I was hoping someone with that experience would respond.

Rmedad and Meridian42e, You guys have given me invaluable advice since I joined this site and always look forward to your advice.

Matterbery, thanks for the tip on brake fires...excellent advice.

Thanks again...really very much appreciated!
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:58 PM   #8
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I have a Winnebago and the choice is on or off. I did not like being unable to coast as the brake was always activated. It did also not make sense to me to be turning the switch on and off - in an emergency, you don't need that distraction.
I had the settings reprogrammed by Cummins so that the brake is activated when the brake pedal is touched and deactivated when the throttle is pressed. When programmed that way, you can release the throttle and coast or coast going down small grades - all with the ability to engage the exhaust brake with a light tap on the brake pedal. I highly recommend this configuration over the "always on" default. Cummins charged one hour labor to make the change and test drive it.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:17 PM   #9
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Mine works same way - switch always on but just a tiny bit of pressure on the throttle pedal keeps exhaust brake from activating and let's me coast when desired. Came that way as built.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:49 PM   #10
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Rmedad
You have the default Winnebago configuration. With the reprogramming, you can take your foot completely off the throttle and the exhaust brake will not activate until you tap the brake pedal. The reprogrammed configuration is dramatically simpler.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:14 PM   #11
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Thanks Bob! You just don't know what you don't know. I drive as Rmedad describes. Just thought that's life as we know it.

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Old 04-22-2019, 01:02 AM   #12
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Last i checked, the going rate at the CAT dealer to change the braking mode was about $200. Has that changed?

We bought the coach in Seattle and drove it back to So. Cal, and the first trip was into Death Valley- the steep road from Ridgecrest.. Downshifting will seriously save your brakes, and you'll know when that is when you smell them, and it doesn't take much. When I let go of the throttle the trans wants to downshift to second along with the EB. You may need to help slow the coach to let the transmission make that shift, but you’ll know when that shift happens..

Never ran without EB, and see no reason why I ever would, although I do downshift the trans on occasion when I need more engine brake power sooner.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:10 AM   #13
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Well I was spared the white knuckle ride down Devil's Canyon. We ended up going to Newport Beach for a few days and left for FL on the 10. But along the way I got a good feel for the exhaust brake. Wow, what a difference. And I can see what you guys were describing regarding reprogramming.

Thanks again for all the great advice!

Fred
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