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Old 06-02-2011, 11:49 AM   #1
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Mountain Driving

I had my real first experience with some of the Pennsylvania mountains with grades ranging from 6% to 13% - GPS took me on this crazy route PA 43. I have a GT 373 2008 gasser that I drove and was scared to death. Here is how I moved the big rolling turd over these mountains - when approaching the incline I would down shift to 3, 2, or 1 depending on the grade. The Big Turd would decline in speed and crawl the incline. Once I'm at the top I would leave it in the same gear that I just crawled up with to control the breaking. I monitored the transmission, oil, temperature guages and never once did any of them change. Here is what I would like to know:

1. When I shifted to gear 3 and realized in needed to really go to gear 2 or 1 I never pressed the brakes since I was really worried about slowing the motorhome even more. Do you think I did any damanage by not pressing the brakes when shifting to lower gears?
2. How do you folks who live in Colorado etc. manage to drive the mountains?
3. I am officially scared now to venture out west as this past experience was a bit much for me and I am looking for others who have overcome this type of fear. I simply felt that anytime the motorhome could have just stopped and I would be stuck on an incline and I was not prepared or skilled on what I should do if this were to happen. Do you have any suggestion or experiences on this?
4. For those of you who have venture from the east coast to the west coast via gas motorhome how did you do and what was your mountain experience?

Thanks for your feedback!

Shortyhttp://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/images/smilies/eek.gif
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:28 PM   #2
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We must have the same GPS. Ours took us the same route. We were in a 4x4 truck pulling a 30 ft. TT,it was no better than you said! I put it in 4x4 low to go down the grades. Did you Pray a lot? Youroo!!
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:34 PM   #3
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I haven't driven too many mountains but the ones I have I first push the button to put it in Tow Mode. It not only helps with braking but excelleration is a bit better as well. I changed my air filter intake to the Banks Cold Air System. It has a K&N Air Filter and allows more air in. It also gave my uphill travels a kick in the pants as well. Before I felt the same way, my speeds would decline as I climbed the hills and the farther I pushed the pedal, the less it seemed to do until it would downshift and then scream up the hill around 4200 RPM as I watched the gas gauge drop. I now am able to maintain speeds at lower RPMs without really pushing down too hard. I'm sure part of it is I've gotten better at my approach to the hills. I try to get as much momentum as possible when I see them coming.
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:38 PM   #4
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Youroo - I am still thinking about that experience even though I made it. It sure is something I never want to experience again. I am still thinking about it and just needing others to help me through this because now I do not want to even head out west if I have to experience anything like this again. I will do just fine running up and down the east coast.
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:14 PM   #5
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the passes out west are even higher. LOL
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Old 06-02-2011, 02:52 PM   #6
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Well, I don't have a MH but a TT and go into the mountains here in Colorado quite a bit. Some of the same applies and mostly I just leave the TV in tow/haul mode and all I have to do is tap the brakes a bit and it automatically starts engine braking to slow on the downhill and if need be will automatically downshift another gear to slow even more. On the uphill side it help a great deal as well in keeping the RPM in a range that is usable. Don't get the best mileage (7.5 average last trip up, 10.5 roundtrip) but its to be expected.
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:35 PM   #7
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You won't damage anything when downshifting like that, if you are in excess of the range allowed it shouldn't downshift, however it will sound like it when you start rapping up the RPM's suddenly. It is best to use the brake as you downshift, just don't ride the brakes, pump the brakes to slow as if you are approaching an intersection with a red light, then let up.

As for the GPS, they are great tools and I absolutely love them, however, they should never eliminate the use of maps, rather augment your collection of maps. Always check the route and reference it to a map, preferably to a topo map. This will prevent you from taking a bad road. One issue with the map on the GPS screen is all your minor roads look the same, where as a paper map is graded quite well for your secondary and tertiary roads. There are incidences of GPS maps getting people lost with direct routes on tertiary roads, locally a couple was lost, one was found 7 weeks later, the other has yet to be found.
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Old 06-02-2011, 06:38 PM   #8
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I agree with all the comments. Don't let the mountains scare you, just be prepared to take your time climbing the hills, put the trans into tow mode and it will shift into the proper gear. Going down long hills, I like to shift down one gear, and then slow the rig down using the brakes on and off, not letting them heat up. Going up a long inclinde, patience is the word.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:23 PM   #9
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Thanks guys - I truly feel better that at least what I did was correct. I just now have to gain confidence that going slow up the mountain is ok and the my motorhome will not stall out on me. I will start to review paper maps more for sure as I was soley relying on the GPS to get me to my destination. Thanks a bunch!!!!!
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shorty View Post
I will start to review paper maps more for sure as I was soley relying on the GPS to get me to my destination.
there are numerous tragic stories of people who relied only on their GPS, resulting in their death or others with them.
here in California, there have been a number of these incidents. some ending up on desert dirt roads and others lost in frozen wilderness. all because they had not looked at maps and trusted their GPS solely.
i'm a map geek and only gave into the GPS thing reluctantly.
the DW's new car has a built-in Garmin that's removable.
so, since i'm the one with any tech ability, i had to learn how to use it.
i still will use a map first and only use the GPS, once i get to the city or town we going to, to find the street.
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