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Back from the first trip with the Volvo. I think I may hate I Shift

Lance A Lott

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Well we're back, we were gone 3 weeks in all a few days longer than we planned Nadine's horse tripped and she was banged but pretty bad, nothing broken but still a hurting unit all black and blue.

We both enjoyed the truck, except for the I-shift. It was ok on the open road but starting off was not fun, and it sure hates to downshift. there were many times it was a 500 rpm and still didn't downshift.  Apparently it needs Nox sensors so maybe that will help.  I have a premium or whatever they call it shifter but didn't have time to have the computer changed so didn't put it in yet. by charging the trailer air I can take off in 1st then it shifts to 3rd and then usually 6th. without doing that starts in 4th then goes to 6th. this is very hard on the horses, I have a living quarters horse trailer. Under the right conditions I was able to use the shifter and catch it in a good gear and keep it from shifting.  once I was bobtailing and took off from walmart and it didn't go instrament cluster said I was working the clutch too hard. I put it in neutral and then started over, it went just fine.

I did get a lot better by the time we headed home. If I keep the trailer air charged and use the shifter a lot I can drive preity smooth, but I can't imagine pulling a full load unless it works better the heavier you are.

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I think there are different personalities available.  I think I read about one for hauling livestock somewhere. Having the premium shifter is a big improvement, at least when you are traveling slower speeds/maneuvering you can control it.

Yes, it shifts better the heavier you are.

Also, the engine brake setting changes the shift points. A is the smoothest, 3 is downright agressive.

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We had the same experience you have had.  We found it very difficult to drive smoothly when starting out from stop and driving slowly especially with a light load. We usually haul 20,000 lbs.  but last week we bought a horse 10hrs away so I hooked up the the 3 horse trailer for the first time and it hauled smoother than the 1 ton Manual trans I usually use.  With the premium I-Shift you have many options there is Eco mode, Premium Mode and Manual Mode. and the ability to downshift-up shift and hold it in a given gear.  We use Eco mode most of the time and manual mode when in the mountains with grades and switch backs.  The switch on the side will Up or Down shift and hold it in a gear if you hold the button.  I think you will learn to love the I shift or maybe the I shift learns YOU. 

Good Luck


2012 VNL730 I Shift D13 2.47 ratio
2018 Mobile Suites 40 kssb4


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I will be happy with it if I can get so I dont look like I cant drive a standard. Actually I got a lot better with it, or it got better with me. I can take off with out jostling the horses most of the time. Now the biggest frustration is that I cant down shift, that will be changed soon.

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Someone reported an issue when their load sensing was turned off in the computer, but theirs went through every gear every time, because it thought there was a full load.

I would suggest to have the tech look at the options when you have it in. 

98 379 with 12.7 DD

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Chrome habit I’m trying to kick.

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You have an issue somewhere if you are experiencing those problems. It should be smooth as silk with any weights. First, upgrade to the Premium and get the programming looked at. Then you can start pursuing other possible issues. But what you are describing is not normal.

Jack & Danielle Mayer #60376 Lifetime Member
Living on the road since 2000

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2016 DRV Houston 44' 5er (we still have it)
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2019 Volvo 860, D13 455/1850, 236" wb, I-Shift, battery-based APU
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