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Old 05-26-2014, 04:06 PM   #1
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Driving techniques for 2011 Georgetown 337 XL DS - uphill/downhill

Before we recently purchased our 2011 Georgetown 337 XL DS motorhome (33'), we owned a 2006 Winnebago Sightseer, 27' motorhome. When going up or down steep grades, I would downshift as needed and let the engine do the work. Especially with downgrades, I did my best to use the breaks as little as possible.

The 2011 Georgetown motorhome has the Ford V10, 5-speed overdrive, TorqShift automatic with tow/haul feature. At this point we are not towing a car behind us. Rather, we have a platform on the back where we carry a two-seater Honda motor scooter.

The brakes on the 2011 Georgetown motorhome have a much different feel to them than the breaks on the 2006 Winnebago Sightseer.

I'm still getting used to driving the 2011 Georgetown. With the V10 engine with the 5-speed overdrive and TorqShift transmission, should I still be down shifting when dealing with upgrades/downgrades? Or, does the transmission do this itself automatically?

I apologize if this sounds like a silly question.

Rick Lillie
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Old 05-26-2014, 04:13 PM   #2
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Had this conversation with Smokey Yunick years ago about using the engine vs the brakes and he advised using the brakes intermittently as it is cheaper and easier to replace brakes components than engine components. Using the engine is hard on rings, etc.
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Old 05-26-2014, 04:31 PM   #3
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Your engine/transmission assembly is totally controlled by the computer. If you let the computer do the thinking it will be impossible to hurt that engine. It pains me to admit that the power plant is smarter than me, but it is.

Simply find a speed that you are comfortable with, set it Tow/Haul mode and engage the cruise control. I'm old school when it comes to always wanting to have that low RPM, big block engine. I know about carbs and distributers and powerplants like that and it did take me awhile to get use to the new high winding engines that are really big computers that sip gas but I'm learning. Just keep in mind that during a climb your engine RPM can go above 5000. It is made to do that! Going downhill keep the TOW/Haul engaged and the cruise engaged and it will select the correct gear for you. If you want to force a downshift then momentarily use the brake and it will shift down. And I agree that the brakes just don't seem right. But I've had to make a couple of real panic stops and they will stop you! Let the machine do it's magic.
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Old 05-26-2014, 04:40 PM   #4
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+2 on using the cruise control for downhill. That's what we do through the Rockies and it manages to hold the speed even in the steepest hills. You are not going to hurt anything as the Ford V10 is made to rev high. That may have been true long time ago, but nowadays with advance machinery, materials, and oil, engines are virtually indestructible.
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Old 05-26-2014, 04:54 PM   #5
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Thank you for the great feedback and guidance. In July, we're going north to Oregon and Washington State. Toward the beginning of the drive, we will go down the "Grapevine" on I-5. My hair's already "white." But, the "Grapevine" can make it more white!

I would like to make sure I understand your instructions regarding use of the Tow/Haul mode on the gear shift. I assume "Tow/Haul" is the same thing as what "overdrive" used to be.

Whether going uphill or downhill.....

->Push the Tow/Haul button on the gear shift lever.
->At the speed where I'm comfortable, set the cruise control.
->Let the engine do its thing from this point on the upgrade or downgrade.
->Once again on level road surface, turn-off the Tow/Haul button.
->If appropriate, reset the cruise control at the desired speed.

Did I say this correctly?

Thanks,

Rick Lillie
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Old 05-26-2014, 04:56 PM   #6
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Thank you for your advice to use the cruise control when going up/down grades. Lostdog added to engage the "Tow/Haul" mode before setting cruise control. Do you do this as well?

Rick Lillie
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricklillie View Post
Thank you for your advice to use the cruise control when going up/down grades. Lostdog added to engage the "Tow/Haul" mode before setting cruise control. Do you do this as well?

Rick Lillie
No, I have never used the Tow/Haul mode. I would only use it if I was towing something. As far as I know, when active it runs the tranny gears differently. For example, it will hold a gear longer, etc.

Let me clarify the use of the cruise control on the V10. If you set the cruise control at 60, the engine will keep it at 60 regardless if it's going up or down a hill. With that being said, under certain conditions such as rolling hills, it will shift down two gears which is very annoying an unnecessary. Some drivers will predict this and either turn off the cruise or speed up a bit to avoid this.

I was not happy with it so I ordered a custom tune and now I'm totally happy with how it shifts and runs.

Now, on really steep climbs if you set the cruise at 70, it will do it...at least on ours it does but we have the smaller 20.5k chassis. However, you will be able to see the fuel gauge needle move to the left. I always disengage the cruise through steep climbs and slow down to a reasonable speed usually in between 18 wheelers and cars.
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricklillie View Post
Thank you for the great feedback and guidance. In July, we're going north to Oregon and Washington State. Toward the beginning of the drive, we will go down the "Grapevine" on I-5. My hair's already "white." But, the "Grapevine" can make it more white!

I would like to make sure I understand your instructions regarding use of the Tow/Haul mode on the gear shift. I assume "Tow/Haul" is the same thing as what "overdrive" used to be.

Whether going uphill or downhill.....

->Push the Tow/Haul button on the gear shift lever.
->At the speed where I'm comfortable, set the cruise control.
->Let the engine do its thing from this point on the upgrade or downgrade.
->Once again on level road surface, turn-off the Tow/Haul button.
->If appropriate, reset the cruise control at the desired speed.

Did I say this correctly?

Thanks,

Rick Lillie
The TOW/Haul mode is no longer a switch to disengage an overdrive. The transmission is a 5 speed with no overdrive as we all knew them to be. The TOW/HAUL is now a computer function that includes torque convertor lockup, different transmission shift points and other computer functions. You can actually see it at work when you start up a hill. Let's say your RPM is at 2200 when you start up. Watch the Tachometer. As the load increases on the drive train the tach will inch up a couple of hundred RPM. That's the torque converter unlocking so the engine can wind up a little more. The all important computer works in conjunction with the engine parameters, speed over ground (that's why your mileage and speedometer no longer comes through a cable) temperatures, how much oxygen (altitude) and about another bazillion data points.

When we are dragging a toad along I never come out of TOW/HAUL mode. I might come out if not towing the Toad. Probably not.

Just keep in mind that you will probably experience many downshifts, even when just going up over an overpass but the machine knows what it is doing and let her fly.

A good friend of ours has the exact rig we do and he refuses to use the TOW/HAUL because he feels it burns too much fuel. We both drive at 63 or so and he cannot prove that his mileage is better than mine and it really rubs him the wrong way. HA HA.
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2011 Georgetown 378TS in FireMist
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Max E. Dog, the new pup
Eureka the Old Cat, still hangin' on
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