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Old 02-04-2014, 10:09 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Red Deer
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Steep grade towing

Good day. We are going to be taking Highway 93 from Lake Louise to Jasper this Summer. Along the way, there is an extremely steep climb, up and down. I'm sure someone is familiar with it, I cannot find the grade. Anyway, I have not had the pleasure of towing up a steep grade nor down one yet. And I am tempted to not bother, because it scares me just a little.. But, I need to ask. What is the advice for doing this? My tow vehicle is a 2009 Dodge Ram Laramie 1500 5.7 Hemi Crew Cab 4X4, 20" tires, 3:92 rear end with the tow package, brake controller and everything. I tow a 21 foot Shamrock Hybrid, it has brakes. It will have no water load in it, dry weight is 4200 lbs, so lets say I am towing 5000 lbs, its just the two of us. How do I downshift? Do I just put on the tow/haul button and it will downshift for me? Or do I need to use the manual shift the truck comes with keep it in 2 gear or something? Do I use the tow/haul button going up also? And down? I always use the tow/haul button when towing anyway, I suspect I don't really need to, but that's what it's for. The truck tows this trailer of course with zero effort normally and I suspect it will do so for this, but I find comfort in asking the experts. And I use a WD hitch system. Thanks so much.

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Old 02-04-2014, 10:41 PM   #2
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I don't know if your (Steep and My Steep) are the same but to play it safe place your (4wd in Low transfer) more power going up and more resistance going Down! Youroo!!

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Old 02-04-2014, 11:13 PM   #3
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Put it in low and use tow haul button, its my understanding with tow haul pushed in tranny fluid pressure is increased pushing more through the tranny cooler and that keeps your truck safe.
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:27 PM   #4
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Wow, how steep is this hill to worry you that much?...the only issue i could see is if you are pulling up super steep incline at very high altitude....u may need to slow down and not run 60 on cruise up the hill like I have been known to far as going down, use tow haul and downshift so u use less brake

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Old 02-04-2014, 11:44 PM   #5
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I have driven and towed this highway both ways a few times.Just use your tow haul, follow the posted speeds, your intuition and gear down and go slower if you feel the need when going down hill.Going up the hills, let the tow haul do it's job.You will do just fine.You have more truck and less trailer than I have.I think that this is a relatively easy road to drive.

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Old 02-05-2014, 12:13 AM   #6
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I think you are talking about the Sunwapta Pass (steep climb going north after a hair pin bend on the flat - about 10 to 15 km south of the Columbia ice fields). It has an elevation gain of nearly 700 m in the space of about 6km. Unfortunately, I cannot find the gradients listed anywhere but you could always try calling Parks Canada, I'm sure they must have this listed. Using your tow haul up and down should be able to hold your climb and descent while keeping your transmission from overheating.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:17 AM   #7
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Definitely shift into lower gear especially coming down. If you don't, you run the risk of overheating tv brakes. Don't ask me how I know.

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Old 02-05-2014, 07:28 AM   #8
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Simple answer...take it slow...things only get out of hand when you are going too fast.
Don't sweat it, truck & camper will do fine
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:48 AM   #9
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I have been down fairly steep hills with my setup. (if there are truck runaway ramps, i figure they are steep) I still had to pull down the hill due to wind resistance.

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Old 02-05-2014, 08:02 AM   #10
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We have done some 9% grades (according to the Eastern Mountain Directory), and in some cases have used 1st gear to help with braking, even though 2nd gear usually does the trick. With the 9% grade and some curves listed at 15 mph, 1st gear worked better. If there are convenient places to pull off the road, a little break to allow the brakes to cool off is a good thing, also.

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