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Old 09-07-2013, 06:33 PM   #21
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Not to be argumentative but I have a different perspective on the safety issue: I'd think using the exhaust brake is very similar to a letting off the gas in a gasoline engine
Not at all, the exhaust brake slows the coach down far more effectively then a gas engine gearing down and that is why there is a need for a brake light. It was mentioned earlier that big trucks are equipped with brake lights, I have never heard of that and that is because an exhaust brake will not slow a heavy truck nearly as fast as a much lighter motorhome.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:20 PM   #22
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Besides for the fact that commercial trucks use engine brakes, not the typical exhaust brakes found on some motor-coaches. There are some fortunate RV owners who have engines equipped with the 2 stage Jake Engine Brake.

Unfortunately, my engine is not one of them.

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Old 09-07-2013, 08:00 PM   #23
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My American Dream does just like most do. You are slowing down so the brake lights will come on.......That's the whole purpose for brake lights, to alert the tailgater that you are slowin' down.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:52 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by TRAILERKING
My American Dream does just like most do. You are slowing down so the brake lights will come on.......That's the whole purpose for brake lights, to alert the tailgater that you are slowin' down.
Let's hope we're slowing down....
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:44 PM   #25
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I do a lot of mountain driving and am going to pretty much agree with 1cedardog. I had Cummins make a programming change to my ECM so that the coach brake lights do not come on when the exhaust brake is engaged, and believe it or not, this is for safety reasons. Here's my explanation of how my setup worked which led me to have Cummins make the change.

First all I want to clarify a couple of things. My coach is an 09 Tiffin on a Freightliner chassis, and only has a single stage exhaust brake. My supplemental brake system is a Roadmaster Brake Master, which upon stepping on the service brake in the coach, almost immediately activates the toad brakes (similar to a M&G or AF1 system, except I have to attach and remove the Brake Master in my toad).

I also have installed a Brake Switch which allows me to leave my exhaust brake switch in the ON position at all times, other than in when I'm in adverse weather conditions. The exhaust brake is activated by stepping on the coach service brake (I don't have to apply constant pressure. Just a step and release will activate it). It is then deactivated when I tap the throttle pedal.

I installed a separate bulb kit in my toad. When I stepped on the service brake that separate bulb would illuminate along with the brighter OEM brake light blub. However if I left the exhaust brake activated (foot off of the service brake), the separate bulb would illuminate, but the toad's OEM brake light bulb would stay on.

The following is a You Tube link of my system in action prior to the Cummins modification. The reason I pointed out how my exhaust brake was activated, is the first thing you'll see in the video is evidence of me stepping on the service brake. You will see the bright OEM bulb come on for a second when I activated the Brake Switch. The bulb kit (the dimmer of the two) also came on, but stayed on as long as the exhaust brake was engaged along with the coach brake lights. As you watch the video I think you'll see when I was applying pressure to the coach service brake for a few seconds at a time, because the toad's OEM bright brake light comes on, which was activated by the Brake Master activating the toad's brake pedal.
Video Link

Before I had Cummins make the change some one following me while I had my exhaust brake engaged would never know when I was applying the service brake except by observing the brake lights on the toad. That might be okay, but what about when I'm not towing?

The fact of the matter is a single stage exhaust brake does almost nothing to drastically slow the vehicle until and unless it automatically shifts down. That means there is little difference if I were to manually shift down with the exhaust brake off and without applying the service brake.

The way mine is setup now is every time I step on the service brake my coach and toad brake lights come on. When I remove my foot from the service brake the brake lights on both vehicles go off even though my exhaust brake is still engaged until I step on the throttle. Vehicles following me will clearly know every time I am stepping on the service brake pedal.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:22 PM   #26
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I have an engine brake (not an exhaust brake) on a Freightliner chassis with a Cummins ISL 400HP engine. The coach brake lights come on whenever the engine brake is activated. I also have a switch on the dash to select off, low, or high engine braking. I usually keep the switch in the low position at all times unless I need more braking such as on a steep decline.

When coming to a stop, I let my foot off of the accelerator and the engine brake kicks in. In most cases, I do not have to use the service brake until I am almost stopped. If the brake lights did not come on, people behind me would never have known that I was slowing and coming to a stop until I was down to a crawl.

Just a side note, my toad brakes are not activated until I apply the service brake. I prefer it this way. If I need more braking than the engine brake provides, I apply the service brake and both the coach and toad brakes come on to provide the additional braking needed.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:35 PM   #27
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Don't know, I can't talk DW to ride in towed to see!!!
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Old 09-08-2013, 04:35 PM   #28
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Brake lighting is activated on our Ultimate Freedom with activation of the exhaust brake. This it totally separate from our towed M&G brake system, which is only activated by coach air pressure when service brakes are applied, although both brake lighting systems are connected
Talked to a Cummins rep last week. I am concerned about the seemingly common issue of cracked exhaust manifolds on the ISC engine. He said in his opinion the over-use of the exhaust brake caused over-heating at the exhaust manifold, which then cracked. He continued to say not to run with it on all the time, have it on only when descending steep grades.

This is unrelated but bears saying. The cruise control has no effect on slowing the vehicle, as some folks mistakenly believe. Running with both systems turned on creates a "fight" between them IMO, and eliminates the possibility of coasting down slight downgrades to save a bit of fuel.
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:25 PM   #29
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Sorry, but I have to disagree with what the Cummins tech had to say about having to turn the exhaust brake on and off.

Mine has been on since I bought the coach back in 2003, ten years. It never gets turned off. I also have recently added an EGT gauge that came with the Banks Power Pack Kit that was installed on August 1st.

If one monitors the EGT properly you should never damage a exhaust manifold. When the temp reaches 1300F it's time to back off on the accelerator. However, my Banks control module does it automatically so I don't have to think about it.

I can't imagine how using the PacBrake Exhaust Brake would increase the EGT to the point that would crack an exhaust manifold.

Maybe someone with more experience can explain that to me.

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Old 09-08-2013, 07:51 PM   #30
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Ray - since I think I may be the only one that mentioned cruise control - I was referring to it more for getting up the hill, and down shifting on the other side. I didn't mean to imply cruise was a brake in any way. But since the grade was described as descending at 55 - 60 mph - and I thought the idea was to top the hill at the speed you plan to begin descent - I figured I would be using cruise to get there. And just down shift my way to maintaining speed. That was before the 45 degree turn entered the picture. Having only a retarder and not a full blown engine brake - I can't say how I would use that. I don't think leaving the retarder on full time is something I will do though. I notice it's effect when on and it is a much different start and stop feeling in town and in stop and go traffic. Just trying to learn here. One thing I do know, I am glad I have the East / West Mountain guides and iRV2 to fill in the blanks.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:18 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by flaggship1 View Post
Ray - since I think I may be the only one that mentioned cruise control - I was referring to it more for getting up the hill, and down shifting on the other side. I didn't mean to imply cruise was a brake in any way. But since the grade was described as descending at 55 - 60 mph - and I thought the idea was to top the hill at the speed you plan to begin descent - I figured I would be using cruise to get there. And just down shift my way to maintaining speed. That was before the 45 degree turn entered the picture. Having only a retarder and not a full blown engine brake - I can't say how I would use that. I don't think leaving the retarder on full time is something I will do though. I notice it's effect when on and it is a much different start and stop feeling in town and in stop and go traffic. Just trying to learn here. One thing I do know, I am glad I have the East / West Mountain guides and iRV2 to fill in the blanks.
flaggship1,
Actually Sir, there are cruise controls on some makes and models of certain vehicles out there that can and do control down hill speed. One that comes to mind was our two Grand Cherokee Overland models. One was an '04 4x4 with the HO 4.7L and, the second one was our '07 with the 5.7L Hemi. Both of the cruise controls on those units would work with the engine ECM and, the speed sensors and, on down hill grades, the instant you started descending a grade with the cruise already on, the trans would downshift and keep you at your intended speed.

That was only two cars we've owned so, I'm most certain there's plenty more out there that capable of that option. Now, as for 80 gazillion pound motor homes, nope, I don't know of any that perform that way. Not to get too far off the original subject here.
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:30 AM   #32
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^^^ I'm aware of that - I'm not sure about all it can do but was reading about another members adaptive cruise control on the Lincoln MKX. That may be a another one that does so as well. I think the cruise on my Bounder may let go - disconnect - in the down hill situation on grade when it can't maintain speed. Like I said, not a lot of mountain experience with Class A DP. Looking forward to getting some time in mountains next year. This year it's Texas Hill Country. Won't learn a lot there but it's a nice place to visit.
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:47 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by flaggship1 View Post
Ray - since I think I may be the only one that mentioned cruise control - I was referring to it more for getting up the hill, and down shifting on the other side. I thought the idea was to top the hill at the speed you plan to begin descent - I figured I would be using cruise to get there. And just down shift my way to maintaining speed. One thing I do know, I am glad I have the East / West Mountain guides and iRV2 to fill in the blanks.
flaggship1
Do use your cruise control when driving in mountain roads?
I didn't think anyone did.
I only feel safe/comfortable driving mountainous, (and/or very hilly), roads if/when I'm in control!
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:52 AM   #34
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I can't imagine how using the PacBrake Exhaust Brake would increase the EGT to the point that would crack an exhaust manifold.
The exhaust brake is only operated at zero (or very near zero) throttle so there is no combustion going on so essentially no great amount of heat out into the exhaust manifold
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:23 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by mel stuplich

flaggship1
Do use your cruise control when driving in mountain roads?
I didn't think anyone did.
I only feel safe/comfortable driving mountainous, (and/or very hilly), roads if/when I'm in control!
Mel
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Ok - My response was specific to what I envisioned the OP was describing. Not being an experienced mountain driver - not sure how many ways or times I have to say that - when I read 55 - 60 mile descending speed - I was not thinking of a treacherous mountain road. Nor was I thinking a switchback climb or descent. I was thinking more of long "easy" grades - some of which I have seen going north in New Mexico into Colorado and even some in Wyoming and Montana. Not Chief Joseph or Teton Pass - neither of which have to my memory a 55 - 60 mph down side. Or when coming off a plateau into long, easy down grades. What do you think of when you read 55 - 60 mph mountain descent? Hairpin turn ahead?

I'm hear asking questions not answering them. But if I were on a long climb and new 55 - 60 was the speed of descent - I would probably allow cruise control to put me at the top - switch it off and downshift if momentum were picking up. If I felt this wasn't working, I woukd hit the retarder. Would you feel out of control in that situation with cruise control? Maybe I focused too much on the down speed and should have asked more questions. Since a 45 degree turn was later added to the description, things changed a little.

I have so far learned some leave the engine brake on full time - some change their lights - and some feel out of control in cruise control. I personally wouldn't drive any distance if I felt out of control. Maybe I will just buy a big chain and boat anchor and install a anchor deployment switch. Since this thread started I have download many sites and files on braking in moutains. Think I will go with what's there. Thanks for playing along Mel.
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:26 AM   #36
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^^^ too late to edit - but 1ciderdog - not the OP posted about the 55 - 60 mph down hill.
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:17 AM   #37
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Cool

This is the link to driving steep grades on the iRV2 HomePage - just one of many I have bookmarked now.

Tips Driving an RV on Extreme Mountain Grades | iRV2 Forum

Enjoy
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Old 09-09-2013, 04:27 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Dr4Film View Post
Sorry, but I have to disagree with what the Cummins tech had to say about having to turn the exhaust brake on and off.

Mine has been on since I bought the coach back in 2003, ten years. It never gets turned off. I also have recently added an EGT gauge that came with the Banks Power Pack Kit that was installed on August 1st.

If one monitors the EGT properly you should never damage a exhaust manifold. When the temp reaches 1300F it's time to back off on the accelerator. However, my Banks control module does it automatically so I don't have to think about it.

I can't imagine how using the PacBrake Exhaust Brake would increase the EGT to the point that would crack an exhaust manifold.

Maybe someone with more experience can explain that to me.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
And that is your right Richard, it is after all your money and equipment to do with as you please. I merely passed along what I was told. Since a new ISC manifold is ~ $1,000, I don't use the exhaust brake unless I am driving in mountainous areas. A $400 brake job is a lot less money to spend.

Please don't shoot the messenger guys, I can't help it if I live 50 miles from Cummins HQ.
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Old 09-09-2013, 05:31 PM   #39
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flaggship1,
Actually Sir, there are cruise controls on some makes and models of certain vehicles out there that can and do control down hill speed. One that comes to mind was our two Grand Cherokee Overland models. One was an '04 4x4 with the HO 4.7L and, the second one was our '07 with the 5.7L Hemi. Both of the cruise controls on those units would work with the engine ECM and, the speed sensors and, on down hill grades, the instant you started descending a grade with the cruise already on, the trans would downshift and keep you at your intended speed.

That was only two cars we've owned so, I'm most certain there's plenty more out there that capable of that option. Now, as for 80 gazillion pound motor homes, nope, I don't know of any that perform that way. Not to get too far off the original subject here.
Scott
Scott,
Our Allison transmissions and CAT C7's are capable of slowing the coach while in cruise. There is a parameter programmed into the ECM which will activate the exhaust brake while in cruise to a preset over MPH situation. I think factory default is 7mph over the cruise set speed.

I had mine reprogrammed to engage at 5mph over the set cruise speed.

What happens is the engine brake will engage (if it's turned on) when cruise speed exceeds the 5 or 7 mph over the cruise set speed. The transmission will downshift in time, as speed builds, with the engine brake engaged, thus slowing the coach in this situation.

So yes, I do use cruise in the mountains on my diesel coach. If it doesn't react quick enough, I turn the cruise off, which engages my engine brake immediately and shifts to 4th (Latch Mode). I find the Allison extremely intelligent and drivable in most all conditions.
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:28 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Pusherman

Scott,
Our Allison transmissions and CAT C7's are capable of slowing the coach while in cruise. There is a parameter programmed into the ECM which will activate the exhaust brake while in cruise to a preset over MPH situation. I think factory default is 7mph over the cruise set speed.

I had mine reprogrammed to engage at 5mph over the set cruise speed.

What happens is the engine brake will engage (if it's turned on) when cruise speed exceeds the 5 or 7 mph over the cruise set speed. The transmission will downshift in time, as speed builds, with the engine brake engaged, thus slowing the coach in this situation.

So yes, I do use cruise in the mountains on my diesel coach. If it doesn't react quick enough, I turn the cruise off, which engages my engine brake immediately and shifts to 4th (Latch Mode). I find the Allison extremely intelligent and drivable in most all conditions.
I need to go to the Allison shop and see what is possible with mine. That sounds like there are many circumstances where that could be very handy. Thanks!
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