Jump to content
amarie1

Crossing the rockies for the first time, advice?

Recommended Posts

Yup,my 2014 f450 platinum has it,use it all the time towing or not. Helps slow down using turbo back pressure and shift points so you don't have to use brakes as much 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

I'm confused by I-84.  She's not driving from the north. She's coming across on I-80.  Where is Echo?

Look about 35 miles East of the Wyoming state line on I-80 - there is a large reservoir named 'Echo" on Google Maps... and I-84 splits to the Northwest at that point.

https://goo.gl/maps/nbwhx7GZE8YcVhtD9

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Jim & Alice said:

Look about 35 miles East of the Wyoming state line on I-80 - there is a large reservoir named 'Echo" on Google Maps... and I-84 splits to the Northwest at that point.

https://goo.gl/maps/nbwhx7GZE8YcVhtD9

 

Ah... got it & it is good.  I was trying to find a town named 'Echo'.  Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Use the Tow/Haul. It does nice things for your transmission and speed control.  

Topping the hills to start a descent can be done at 60mph on most grades, or whatever your speed is climbing the hill.  If you have Cruise Control and are On at a comfortable speed, Tow/Haul will kick in and slow you if you exceed your On speed by 5mph.  You want to flow with the traffic, not be an impediment.  Some trucks will be slower than you, so pass them.  A lot of traffic will be faster, let them go.  Serious grades are well marked, lots of signs, and most have a brake test area at the top. It will be almost all trucks, but they are nice folks. Pull over into it, take a break, walk the dogs, and relax.  Now you are stating slow and just follow the trucks.   It is really easy and simple, you just need to let it happen.  You may find you need to feed it a bit of gas on some hills to keep up, others may need a bit of brake.  Just chill, your imagination is running on overdrive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, mptjelgin said:

Tow/haul mode on the "newer vehicles" (since at least 2010 for Ford) is very different than overdrive, and includes the descent speed control feature that I've described above.  Taking it out of tow/haul mode disables that feature and leaves it all up to you.  Also, you have a  6-speed transmission in your 2017 RV.  You will very likely be able to descend grades in 5th, 4th or 3rd gear.  I wouldn't recommend jamming it manually into D2 or D1 as that is completely unnecessary.  Just let the truck do its thing.

My '05 which is a 5 speed also has tow/haul. My shifts are a bit harsher when in tow/haul so on level ground I turn it off. If there are no sharp curves you do not need to slow down. Tow/haul will select the correct gear to maintain the speed limit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Tee Jay said:

Just chill, your imagination is running on overdrive.

rofl ... you sound like my daughter. 😉  (the one in California I'm going to see ...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you have been given excellent advice by others and Kirk described the route perfectly.

Having lived 25+ years in Colorado where almost every pass is higher than the one you cross in Wyoming my best advice is stay in the right lane and go slow. Use the transmission to your advantage by downshifting and use the brakes as little as you can as hot brakes are worthless. 

I also agree with Kirk that you feel more like mountain driving when going over Donner pass. While it isn't particularly steep at 3-6% it is long, deceptively long, and (for me at least) there are sections where the GPS says you are descending yet it seems like level ground or even climbing. 

Bottom line. Easy does it, go slow up and down, stay in the right lane, don't let other motorists (car or truck) hurry you out of your comfort zone and most of all, have fun! There is some very impressive scenery along that route. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the update. I ended up sticking w/I-80 through Wyoming and Utah (didn't do the I-84 bypass), and experienced the grade up and down. (Donner Pass to come in a couple days.) I lived 😉  so thank you!

What I ended up doing, and I hope this is what I gathered is correct from this thread, is 1) always drove in Tow Haul mode; and 2) 90% of the time kept it in cruise control at 60 or 65, except for those "50 mph curves".  It seemed to me that the combination of cruise control and Tow Haul turned on the Ford's shifting intelligence and kept me going at about that speed. I admit the engine did make some strange sounds sometimes, like "rowrrr!" when the RPM went up to 4000 or 4500 for a bit to keep the speed up while going up an upgrade. Was that not good? Should I turn off cruise control on the upgrades/downgrades? 

Also, from what I understand, I either use Tow/Haul mode, or I manually downshift/upshift, not both. So I kept my hands off the shifter, left it in D the whole time. Correct? Or not.

AM

 

Edited by amarie1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't use cruise when going up or down a steep grade. If you have the 363 hp version of the V-10 than the peak torque RPM is 4750. I had an earlier version of it and I always tried to keep the RPM around 4000 but you should be OK up to the 4750, or above.

Edited by Kirk W

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't generally use cruise on steep uphill grades as I don't mind losing a few MPH on the way up. With the cruise on, the vehicle will try its hardest to maintain speed and that can lead to unnecessary downshifts just to hold on to that last mph.  But, keep your rpm up as the Ford V-10 needs to spin to make horsepower. Don't worry, you cannot overspeed the engine as the computer will not allow it to happen. If 4500 is the sweet spot, run it there.  My advice is to not "get behind" and let the motor home lose momentum by trying to keep the rpm's low. It is made to turn that fast, so let it. Anticipate. 

Using cruise on the downhill grades is absolutely fine. The cruise control and the tow/haul mode work great together to limit the speed. Kirk has never owned one of the newer Ford's with these systems and so has no experience with them.  I have/do and using the cruise control going down a grade is just fine, and in fact is a good idea. 

Leaving it in D the entire time is also fine. These vehicles do not require you to actively select gears. My advice at the top of a steep grade is to be at the speed you would like when descending (which is to say relatively slow), engage your cruise control at that speed, make certain that the tow/haul mode is on (all of the time) and let the vehicle do its thing.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, mptjelgin said:

Kirk has never owned one of the newer Ford's with these systems and so has no experience with them.

Really?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

Really?  

I recall that your V-10 motorhome was a 1998?  Have you owned a 2017+ Ford?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, tomorrow (Friday) is THE DAY. Last day of this journey, and the day I do the Donner pass. I'm just outside Reno right now, and plan to leave tomorrow morning for Oakland, driving around fire zones if necessary. 

So about that ... today while driving I took Mark & Teri's advice and turned off cruise control while going up steep grades. (Tow Haul on, always.) I just kept the pedal to the metal, but not pushing it too hard. Then at the summit, I'd get to my comfort zone speed (around 60 mph), put it on cruise, and let the Ford and Tow/Haul do the work. 

Now I just saw a video from a couple RVrs about mountain driving where they said they downshift when going up steep grades, even with Tow/Haul mode on. I thought Tow/Haul did the downshifting for you? I've never downshifted in my life. My auto trans shows D, 4, 2, and 1. When I'm going uphill and the engine's trying hard, should I move it to 4? Is that a single downshift? If it's still having trouble, move it from 4 to 2? And then when I start downhill, move it from 2 or 4 back to D? Can I jump from 2 to D if I'm going downhill?

I hate to be in the dark about this.  Thanks once again for any help.

AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I posted in another thread here, I survived! lol I made it ... I'm in Oakland now, arrived yesterday afternoon. Thank you all so much for your help.

I ended up not shifting to anything since I didn't know what I was doing. I let Tow/Haul do its job. I turned off cruise control on the uphills and just used manual acceleration. 

At one point, the Check Engine light started flashing on the dash board display, toward the beginning of the trip. It flashed for about a minute, which was a long time to me! lol I'll bring it to a service station but I'm curious if anyone had heard of this. I hadn't just filled up my tank (which I know sometimes a loose gas cap can cause that). I had just heard the engine rev up as it doing its thing going up the first incline. I don't know if that was coincidence. It never did it again, and I was paranoid about it. 

Thanks for all your help! I will learn more about downshifting while I'm here 😉  so I know better when I return to Chicago in a couple/three weeks.

AM

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About the engine check light. The engine's computer should have stored a code detailing the reason for the check light. Many auto parts stores will bring out a tool and pull the code and tell what what the cause was.  It is a good idea to write down the code and cause info for later reference.  The parts stores generally do this for free.   I would call the stores around you and ask if they will pull the code from your Ford Van E350 or E450, whichever chassis you have.   The person answering the phone may not realize that when you tell them you are in a motorhome or RV that it is just a Ford Van they will be dealing with. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About manually shifting the transmission:   

For your peace of mind, The engine and transmission computer will not let you manually shift the transmission into a gear that will damage the engine or transmission.  By that I mean you can manually shift from D to 1st at 55 mph and the computer will not allow the transmission to shift down all the way to 1st until the speed is low enough that the engine will over rev the engine.  It may quickly downshift to 4th or even 3rd and give you quite a jolt, but it won't damage the engine or transmission.  

You want to become accustom to listening to and feeling the transmission shifting and the RPM's that it shifts at.   By paying attention to these details you will have a much better feel for what happens to the different gears and when to expect a shift.  This is the first step in feeling comfortable in downshifting and upshifting in the mountains.  

Take the RV out early in the morning or on a Sunday morning when there is very little traffic.

As you start off from a stop, listen to the engine and watch the RPM gauge and pay attention to the transmission shifting.  You will hear engine speeding up and then feel the transmission shift from 1st to 2nd and so on.   You probably won't get into 6th gear until 50-60 MPH.   However on city streets at up to 30 mph you probably won't get beyond 4th gear.  So this several times to get a feel for how and when the shifts happen.  

Drive to a large open empty parking lot, such as a mall.  Come to a stop and manually select 1st gear.  Start off and accelerate while watching your speedometer and RPM gauge.  Make a mental note of your speed when you get to 4000-4500RPM.   Also listen to the engine and learn how it sounds as the RPM's increase.   Next, come to a stop and do the same thing in 2nd gear.  

Find a road or street where you can get up to a speed of about 50-55 mph for several miles with little traffic.  Speed up to about 55mph and shift from D to 4 while watching the RPM gauge.  You should see the RPM's go from around 2000 to some higher number.  Drive in 4th gear for a while, speeding up to 55-60 mph and slowing down to 30mph or so.  Make a note of what your RPMs are doing.   This gives you an idea how the RV works in 4th gear.    This is useful on long somewhat steep climbs or downhills where you may want to just put the transmission in 4th gear and let it go up or down the mountain.  

As you drive in the future, get used to paying attention to the shifting, especially when you get back on the highway and start going up some smaller hills.   After a while you will notice when the transmission shifts down from 6th to 5th to 4th as you go up the hill.  

You are probably asking: "Why do I want to go through all this trouble?  Why not just let the Tow/Haul mode take care of it?"   

Yes you can do that.  However:

--  I have found on most long uphills or down hills the grade changes a little along the way.  As the road levels out a little the transmission will upshift/downshift to a higher/lower gear for a while and then shift back again.  

--  I have never found an automatic transmission that downshifts soon enough to suit me when going up a hill or mountain.  I hear and feel the engine loading down.  This loading down and late downshift heats up the transmission and the engine sooner than if you manually down shift.  Also the shifting up and down add some heat.   Going uphill I like to keep my RPM's between 3000 and 4500.  The steeper the grade the higher RPMs.  Also some 2 lane highways have turns that are for speeds of 30mph down to 10mph.  You want to keep your RPMs up to keep the transmission/engine from overheating. 

--  Going down hill I like to select a gear and RPM that will hold my speed constant for miles.  Or at least allow me to drive a half mile or more at 35-45mph w/o touching the brakes.  It is really nice to come down a 2-5 mile 5%-7% grade and never have to touch the brakes.  Relaxing drive this way. 

If in the future you spend a fair amount of time in the western mountains manually shifting comes in handy.  

By the way, if you have the 6 speed transmission I have read (heard) that you can put the transmission in manual mode where you can select any gear you want and it will stay in that gear.  The details should be in the Ford chassis manual.  

Happy travels and enjoy your stay with family.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, amarie1 said:

I let Tow/Haul do its job. I turned off cruise control on the uphills and just used manual acceleration. 

The current tow/haul functions are much improved from previous versions, but I am old school enough to believe that it is wise to know how to control your climbing and descent situations manually, just to be sure. I made my living repairing electronic/mechanical things for 40 years and that was only possible because these things do break. While it may be less common for things to fail, if it happens on the top of a steep mountain it is still dangerous. Now that you have some experience you can relax, take your time, and really get to know your RV and what it can do. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only thing I remember about driving in the mountains is that you should go down the grade in the same gear you used to climb the grade. I think. :)

Linda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, sandsys said:

The only thing I remember about driving in the mountains is that you should go down the grade in the same gear you used to climb the grade. I think. :)

Linda

I have read that for years and years.  However, once I get to the top I go down the other side which has a different slope than the one I came up.  

The process I use is to slow down and manually gear down on steep grades like 6% to 10% and then attempt to select a gear and RPM that will keep me from needing to use the brakes more than once in 30-60 seconds.  Preferably not to need to use the brakes for 2-3 minutes or at all coming down the mountain.   When I do need to use the brakes, press hard to reduce my speed by 10-15mph in less than 10 seconds of pressing the brakes.   

I do use the Tow/Haul mode or exhaust brake on all downhills.   Sometimes Tow/Haul or exhaust brake will do the job w/o manually downshifting on inclines of 3% to 5%, sometimes not. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/22/2020 at 2:12 PM, Al F said:

Come to a stop and manually select 1st gear.

I am familiar with manual stick shifts. But the "D 4 2 1" in the auto trans display throws me. Which of these is 1st gear? I assume "1" correct? So you're saying, put the trans in 1, then start from a stop. When the rpm gets to 4K or so, move it to 2. Yes?

When I'm going up a steep incline, and I'm in D, and I can hear the engine straining and my speed is dropping, should I move the shift from D to 4?  Or don't do any downshifting on an incline. When going downhill, to have my engine do a lot of the braking, when I see the car is speeding up on its own (not holding down the accellerator), should I then downshift from D to .. 4? And so on ... if it keeps speeding up, move it to 3? errr 2? 

AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, amarie1 said:

I am familiar with manual stick shifts. But the "D 4 2 1" in the auto trans display throws me. Which of these is 1st gear? I assume "1" correct? So you're saying, put the trans in 1, then start from a stop. When the rpm gets to 4K or so, move it to 2. Yes?

When I'm going up a steep incline, and I'm in D, and I can hear the engine straining and my speed is dropping, should I move the shift from D to 4?  Or don't do any downshifting on an incline. When going downhill, to have my engine do a lot of the braking, when I see the car is speeding up on its own (not holding down the accellerator), should I then downshift from D to .. 4? And so on ... if it keeps speeding up, move it to 3? errr 2? 

AM

Yes start off in 1 and as the RPM gets up shift to 2nd.  Just like driving a stick shift.  You don't have to wait til 4000 but going to 4000-4500 gives you a feel for what it sounds like and what to expect when climbing or descending mountains.

Be sure and look at the Ford chassis owners manual to see if there is a manual mode for the transmission shifting.  If there is you can drive it just like a stick shift, just no clutch to fool with.

About the D to 4 and the 4 to 2 on your gear selection:

--  I have not driven, what I assume you have, a 6 speed transmission, so I can't say for sure what happens going from D to 4 & 4 to 2.

---  However it may work like the Ford 5 speed I have driven.  There is a D and 3 2 1.  When you manually shift from D to 3 it skips 4 and goes directly to 3, If to computer will allow the shift w/o over reving the engine.  

--  So it may be that the D to 4 works the same way (i.e. 6th to 4th) no way to manually shift to 5th gear and the same with 4 to 2.   Hopefully there is a manual shift mode that allows you to the gear you want.  

So, what I did when going uphill is to turn on the tow/haul and as I hear and feel the engine loading down, gently press down on the accelarator to force the transmission to shift down to 4th (5th in your vehicle).  If it was still loading down, I would manually shift from D to 3.  Since I am already in 4th that would downshift me to 3rd (4th in your case).  

The reason I do this is I feel it is easier on the engine and transmission if I can keep the RPM's steady and keep the transmission from shifting up and down.  

An additional reason I manually shift is on long inclines going up I will select a gear and RPM's in the 3000-4000 range and by manually selecting that gear I can turn on the speed control and it keeps me at pretty much that RPM & speed for the next few miles until the climb gets steeper or levels out at the top.   Going down I do my best to select a gear that will either keep my speed steady or just very slowly climb.  It is so nice to just coast down a mountain for 2-5 miles in 4th, 3rd or 2nd gear and not have to use the brakes.  Even 1st gear at 15mph on some 8%-10% grades with sharp turns and just touching the brakes for 2-3 seconds once in a while to keep my speed between 15 & 20 mph. 

I guess you can say I am old school and I tend to "drive" a vehicle instead of leaving it up to the computer.   Keep in mind that computers don't think they only do what a HUMAN programmed them to do.  We can cuss out computers all we want, but they are just programmed by humans to do something.   BTW I do use the tow/haul and speed control and let the computer do the work, it just depend on the road conditions.  

I now have a diesel pusher with a 6 speed Allison transmission that allows me to manually select any gear I want.  So much nicer than fooling with the Ford 5 speed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, amarie1 said:

I am familiar with manual stick shifts. But the "D 4 2 1" in the auto trans display throws me. Which of these is 1st gear? I assume "1" correct? So you're saying, put the trans in 1, then start from a stop. When the rpm gets to 4K or so, move it to 2. Yes?

When I'm going up a steep incline, and I'm in D, and I can hear the engine straining and my speed is dropping, should I move the shift from D to 4?  Or don't do any downshifting on an incline. When going downhill, to have my engine do a lot of the braking, when I see the car is speeding up on its own (not holding down the accellerator), should I then downshift from D to .. 4? And so on ... if it keeps speeding up, move it to 3? errr 2? 

AM

Once again, you are getting a lot of advice from folks with little or no experience with the current crop of vehicles or the particular characteristics of the 2017+ Ford Superduty chassis. You have already learned that you can safely descend grades with your vehicle in D, tow/haul on, and cruise control set. You've done it and it worked, right? Why make it any more complicated for yourself?

You absolutely do not need to do things like start in first and then manually shift up, or worry about what gear to be in coming down. Use the tools that your vehicle has provided for you.  The simplest thing to do is to have your speed well controlled at the top of the grade, and then set your cruise for that speed. The vehicle will downshift as necessary as you descend to hold that speed. Be aware that if for some reason your speed is building more that you are comfortable, a firm press on the brake should cause a downshift and create more engine braking. But cruise control should take care of it. 

These vehicles really aren't intended for a bunch of manual shifting, and it isn't necessary. No need to make this any more complex than it needs to be!!

My only problem with the tow/haul mode on a downhill grade as that the vehicle will "hold on" to the lower gear much  longer than necessary, and you'll find the engine turning unnecessarily fast on the flat ground at the bottom. It will come out of it eventually, but I sometimes will turn tow/hall off and then back on to "reset" it. 

Edited by mptjelgin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As always, a person should read all information given, even when the info differs on what to do.  Then take the info and try it both ways and select what works best for you.  

Many times I find myself using both ways depending on circumstance.  And also changing what I do based on someones different way of doing things when I find out I like that way better.

You can never have too much info.   

Just experiment and figure out what works for you. 

Also just because someone is very emphatic that my way is the only way, that doesn't mean it is the best way for you.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, amarie1 said:

Which of these is 1st gear? I assume "1" correct?

Yes, the 1 is for first and the 2 is for second, the 4 is fourth, and D means automatic to allow it to shift by electronic control. As mentioned before, there is usually no need to leave the tow/haul with cruise and just adjust the speed setting to maintain things, other than for a bit of practice, just in case you ever need it. Now if you do choose to try a decent under manual control, as all of us did until recent models of motorized RVs, then you use those lower settings to prevent the vehicle from over speeding. but you do not need to come to a complete stop, and treat it as a manual transmission. What you would do is to slow to a point that the engine will not be in excessively high RPMs when you go to the lower gear and then select the one that you wish to go down in. Over the many years that I drove various vehicles through the mountains with automatic transmissions that were prior to the current Ford heavy duty transmission (which has been a major improvement), I almost never use first gear to descend a grade on a paved highway and clearly not on any interstate route. If it were me, I would try descending out of cruise and tow/haul at least once or twice, but only downshift to 2 and then if that is too slow, move it up to 4 without stopping. When braking while in this mode you apply the brake sharply to slow below your desired speed and the allow it to slowly creep back up. You may never have an occasion to use this method, but I still believe it is good knowledge to have. Keep in mind that this is just a little experimentation, as what you have served you well on your way west, so the only point is to be a bit familiar. My experience with the engine/transmission combination that you have is pretty limited so I still tend to think of the older method and had your RV is a 2017 or more recent Ford chassis, you may never use the more direct control method, but it can't hurt to do it once or twice, just to understand how. For we old-timers, it is very difficult to sit back and allow the computer to do the work for us, which is exactly what happens under normal circumstances. Also, if you have not done so, take some time to read the entire section about this in your chassis owner's manual. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

DFW RV Roof

RVAir The cleanest air in RVing!

Rv Share

Dish For My RV.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

The Rvers- Now Streaming

AGS Now Hiring

RV Pet Safety

RVTravel.com Logo



×
×
  • Create New...