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Old 03-31-2014, 08:22 AM   #1
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How steep can of a mountain can I descend?

I got my TT in May of last year. I have had it up and down some hills but I wonder how steep I can travel safely? I live near Atlanta and want to take my camper through the North Georgia and Western North Carolina mountains to get to Asheville. There are hills of 7% and 8%; can I get down those safely? I have a Ford F-150 w/ the 4.6L v8 and a 22 ft TT that probably weighs around 4,600 lbs loaded.


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Old 03-31-2014, 08:32 AM   #2
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Don't think you will have a problem. Just remember you have a shift lever that can be used. If you have too, get over in the truck lane and go with the trucks both uphill and down if necessary. I do it and set the max rpm @ 3,000. If that's not fast enough, folks can pass me or tolerate. Makes no difference to me.

Just remember, you don't have to go 55-60mph up the mountains or down them.

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Old 03-31-2014, 08:36 AM   #3
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Well, it all depends on many things. But I made that trip, and even up the blue ridge parkway to Shenandoah pulling a 4700lb TT with a 4.7 Tundra back in 2009. The bigger issue was pulling the hills. Your descents will depend on how you drive, the condition of your tires and brakes, weight of the tv, how you apply brakes, how your tt brakes are adjusted, etc. But, yes, if all these things are in proper order, you can make that trip thru the smoky hills. But this is just my opinion and experience. be safe.
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:32 PM   #4
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Our first rig combo was an F-150 Super Cab long bed (5.7L V8) with a 26 ft TT with a dry weight of around 4,800 lbs. We pulled several times from the plains of Colorado up to an elevation of 9,200 ft and up/down a 10% grade in one or two locations along the route. We never had a problem going either way although the truck worked hard towing up the hill and we started down slow, used a lower gear, and used the brakes sparingly to keep the vehicle speed within a safe range.

Having the trailer brakes properly adjusted to slow the trailer is an important part of keeping downhill speed under control. There are lots of articles on how to figure out the correct brake controller setting for your combination...but I've always started with a setting around 6 and adjusted from there until I don't get the feeling that the trailer is 'pushing' my TV while I'm trying to slow down.

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Old 03-31-2014, 02:04 PM   #5
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Should be no biggie, here's my trick for handling hills (Mont Eagle anyone?)

Soon as you crest or start heading downhill downshift, I like matching my max speed to just short of my max RPM. My redline is 3200 so I don't let it exceed 2800, which is 4th gear at 60 IIRC. Being a gasser your redline is likely 6,000, so I'd go no higher than 4,500-5,000 or so.

If the grade is shallow enough that engine braking will maintain your speed, awesome! Never let it get away in the first place.

But what if you can't be in a lower gear and maintain a decent speed? The slope is too great, the gearing doesn't match just right.

If the limit is, lets say 55, and the engine isn't holding the speed down, it's creeping up faster and faster. Then I'm going to let it coast up to 60ish then use the brakes to pull it down to 50 or so, then off the brakes and let it coast up to 60 again, then brake down to 50 again. The engine braking maintains about 70% of your speed, using the brakes on occasion takes care of the remaining 30%.

Why do that? If you drag the brakes to control speed, even just a little, they will build up so much heat that they'll glaze over, boil the fluid, and before long you have no brakes.

But by using the brakes sporadically to scrub off large amounts of speed, the time where the brakes are off and it's building speed back up the brakes are cooling off.
Plus they build up less heat during the slowdown process meaning that you're all the safer.

In short, you should be fine simply downshifting. But if you find your speed creeping up then you can use the brakes to pull it below your desired speed and let it slowly build back up while the brakes cool off.

But, if you're still having an issue maintaining speed then as OC said slow down to a speed that you can safely maintain. Folks will get over you going slow in the right lane, they won't forgive you for tangling them up in a preventable crash.
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