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Old 06-23-2019, 11:57 PM   #1
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Driving our Sunseeker up a 7% grade in the Big Horn Mountains.

We are not towing but are at the weight limits of our 2015 3010DS. What should we use so we do not burn out the brakes or transmission. Should I use the tow/haul on the grade? Or just a lower gear. Thanks for any advice since this is our 1st time driving in the mountains.
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:25 AM   #2
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I manually shift on all hills- up or down.
Slow down...don't worry too much about who is behind you...maybe put your flashers on. Obey the curve speed limit signs.


Let the engine do some of the braking...keep the RPMs up.
Try not to ride the brakes for too long a period of time- stab them on...let them cool off for a bit and downshift.
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:33 AM   #3
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Using emergency Flashers while driving in most states is illegal and some older vehicles, emergency flashers will stop the brake lights from working. If the chassis has a true tow haul, by tapping the brakes will shift to a lower gear allowing you to descend using less braking effort.
https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/hazard-light-use/
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:37 AM   #4
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Out in the West where there are real mountains it's not only legal to use the hazard lights while driving slow up or down grades, it's recommended. In states where it's prohibited there is an exception for "traffic hazards" and a very slow moving vehicle certainly fits in that category.

Sure beats getting run over by someone who's traveling along at speeds a lot faster.

I drove an old Southwind MH up through those mountains back in the 1990's that was equipped with a carbureted 454 cu in engine. Had barely enough power to pull the grades in low gear and if I had the accelerator to the floor the engine would just cough back through the carb.

Pass I was climbing was only 9700 feet but the grade was the steepest I've encountered on a regular highway.

When descending use lower gear but watch engine speed. When RPM's get too high, brake relatively hard to a slow speed and then just let it coast until RPM's rise again.

You've probably heard it before but it's worth repeating. DO NOT ride the brakes. Even if they don't get too hot and fade, damage done can be expensive.
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Butch & Lena View Post
We are not towing but are at the weight limits of our 2015 3010DS. What should we use so we do not burn out the brakes or transmission. Should I use the tow/haul on the grade? Or just a lower gear. Thanks for any advice since this is our 1st time driving in the mountains.
Yes, use the Tow Haul mode (mine is on all the time). Being from Florida I never experienced steep mountains either. We purchased our RV ( Twin to yours) in Ohio, and on our way home drove over Sand Stone Mt in WV. I believe that is a 7.5 grade for maybe 8 or 9 miles. Tow Haul worked great, and we had no issues.

Passing a lot of rigs on the way up......and getting passed by a lot of rigs on the way down....LOL !
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:25 PM   #6
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Did the Big Horn Range last year with a similar vehicle. I tried using t/h on the down grades and I think it red lined the tack a couple times. The problem with t/h was that every time you touch the brakes it downshifted to the next lower gear whether you wanted it to or not. And on the some of those switchbacks you are going to be touching the brakes a lot. I turned off the t/h and downshifted a gear or two as needed.
Very scenic drive though. You will enjoy it.
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:29 PM   #7
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Driving our Sunseeker up a 7% grade in the Big Horn Mountains.

I live in Montana and do a lot of mountain driving in western states, including a 10% grade in Utah this past spring. I also tow a Jeep behind my Class C. I go slow on down grades and down shift a lot to save my brakes and have had no problems. Just be patient and go slow. Love the Big Horn Mountains.
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:36 PM   #8
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tow/haul always on...

tap the brackes let the tranny downshift and use the motor to slow you down.
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:46 PM   #9
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Another option that I use most of the time is cruise control, it will adjust engine revs as required just like tow/hawl
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:49 PM   #10
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Did the Big Horn Range last year with a similar vehicle. I tried using t/h on the down grades and I think it red lined the tack a couple times. The problem with t/h was that every time you touch the brakes it downshifted to the next lower gear whether you wanted it to or not. And on the some of those switchbacks you are going to be touching the brakes a lot. I turned off the t/h and downshifted a gear or two as needed.
Very scenic drive though. You will enjoy it.
Yes, I agree with you. Tow haul mode activates when I just want a little braking around a corner. Easier for me to just leave it in 3 (or 2 if very steep) and then moderate my braking with a firm on and then totally off the brakes as long as possible and then repeat the process. Going up, you can just leave it in D and let the tranny be where it wants to be (or you can work the tranny manual if desired, but not necessary).
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Old 06-24-2019, 02:07 PM   #11
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Using emergency Flashers while driving in most states is illegal and some older vehicles, emergency flashers will stop the brake lights from working. If the chassis has a true tow haul, by tapping the brakes will shift to a lower gear allowing you to descend using less braking effort.
https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/hazard-light-use/
Thanks for pointing that out. driving with any flashing light is illegal in many states.
But as my wife points out... I'm supposed to be aware of each states laws.
And the flashing light subject is scattered. I'll pull info from Triple A
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Old 06-24-2019, 02:27 PM   #12
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Read your particular vehicles manual on proper towing and use of OD, Tow Mode or Engine Brake settings. Each manufacturer has slightly different procedures and recommendations for their engines and transmissions while towing.
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Old 06-24-2019, 02:28 PM   #13
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Flashers On?

Found this info from AAA on driving with flashers on.
Attached Files
File Type: txt Flashing Lights by State.txt (4.2 KB, 121 views)
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:24 PM   #14
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Do as TitanMike says. In Idaho if you are going up a 7% grade (not uncommon) you better have your hazard lights flashing if you are going slowly. All the big truck drivers use their hazard lights on hills and they have more big rig miles driven than you have.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:47 PM   #15
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Do as TitanMike says. In Idaho if you are going up a 7% grade (not uncommon) you better have your hazard lights flashing if you are going slowly. All the big truck drivers use their hazard lights on hills and they have more big rig miles driven than you have.


Like I said, most states:
daho - Hazard light use is not permitted*while driving*except to indicate the presence of a vehicular

traffic hazard requiring unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:52 PM   #16
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We are not towing but are at the weight limits of our 2015 3010DS. What should we use so we do not burn out the brakes or transmission. Should I use the tow/haul on the grade? Or just a lower gear. Thanks for any advice since this is our 1st time driving in the mountains.
I always use the tow/haul up, down, flat. But beyond that just like everyone else says, take it slow and easy, use flashers, etc.
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Old 06-24-2019, 04:04 PM   #17
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Thanks for pointing that out. driving with any flashing light is illegal in many states.
But as my wife points out... I'm supposed to be aware of each states laws.
And the flashing light subject is scattered. I'll pull info from Triple A
The statment "Hazard lights are not permitted while driving*except to indicate a traffic hazard or when a hazardous condition is present".
I'm going to look at it this way. My flashers ARE indicating a hazardous condition because I'm going slower than the minimum speed for interstates (usually 40 MPH, roughly 55%). Additionally some say, "... in emergency conditions" and I say again, I am going slower and someone coming at me at a greater speed may be fortelling of an emergency situation. Lastly, if a highway patrol wants to pull you over for using them and they will do so, so be it. I would, nicely, tell them the same thing.
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Old 06-24-2019, 07:08 PM   #18
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The statment "Hazard lights are not permitted while driving*except to indicate a traffic hazard or when a hazardous condition is present".
I'm going to look at it this way. My flashers ARE indicating a hazardous condition because I'm going slower than the minimum speed for interstates (usually 40 MPH, roughly 55%). Additionally some say, "... in emergency conditions" and I say again, I am going slower and someone coming at me at a greater speed may be fortelling of an emergency situation. Lastly, if a highway patrol wants to pull you over for using them and they will do so, so be it. I would, nicely, tell them the same thing.
Agreed! I would take the fine rather than have someone rear end me because I didn't have my hazards on. Would make a really interesting conversation with police if I got stopped.

In British Columbia Canada it is a requirement for commercial vehicles to use hazards on hills when speed it less than 70K ( 40 MPH).
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:11 PM   #19
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We did it in our 2006 255DS up, down and up again Buffalo WY is a neat town to walk around and buy supplies. Going up was easy and I just let the automatic trans do the work. Coming down I used T/H and set the cruise control at 45mph and it did it's best to hold speed. When I was unhappy with the speed (a bit faster than I liked), I would break down to 25mph and repeat. If you do brake, give them time to cool off. Let the transmission do most of the work.
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:58 PM   #20
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I always use the tow/haul up, down, flat. But beyond that just like everyone else says, take it slow and easy, use flashers, etc.
Just curious, why would you always drive in tow/haul mode?
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