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Old 03-03-2016, 07:04 PM   #1
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I am taking a trip to gatlinburg Tennessee in about 3 weeks. I am in North East ohio and my route is taking me through West Virginia and Virginia to Tennessee etc... I seen some of the down hill grades are pretty steep 5% I was wondering if any one has made this trip. And how do the brakes hold up etc... I am running a Ford excursion with v10 and pulling a Coachman 292 bdhs with outdoor kitchen fully loaded with gear around 8000 lbs.. I can also go sort of out of the way over to Cincinnati OH through Kentucky. Not sure about the mountains on that path.. I guess in a round about way I am asking for advice or knowledge of the areas to see what my best options are.. Thanks for the help in advance.

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Old 03-03-2016, 07:14 PM   #2
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The lower the gear and the slower you go the less brakes you will use. Pretty sure you would have the tow/haul mode on your truck, if so use it.

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Old 03-03-2016, 07:42 PM   #3
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Use your engine braking by downshifting and you will hardly use your brakes with that V10. Don't be scared of 3.5K-4K RPM's if you see that. The V10 is made to run at those RPM's all day long.

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Old 03-03-2016, 07:50 PM   #4
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I was sort of thinking that but wasn't sure.. Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2016, 08:01 PM   #5
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Just remember to gear down going up and down the mountains. A good rule of thumb is to use the same gear going down that you went up in. If you have to use your brakes, do a quick stab to drop you about 10 mph and then let off. You can do this intermittently. Do not ride your brakes. Gearing down will help immensely. 5% is a little steep but not horrible. Many mountains in NC and VA Have 7% grades and out west they are steeper than that. I think with smart driving you will be ok.
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Old 03-04-2016, 07:28 AM   #6
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I have done this run a lot with various RVs. Last time was with my 35' windjammer and I pull with an 8.1L 3/4 ton suburban. Use the advice given above. Gear down both up and down the mountains. Touch brakes occasionally and you will be fine. Don't forget to bring $ bills to pay the tolls.

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Old 03-04-2016, 07:36 AM   #7
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Thanks nc-canuck hadn't thought about the tolls.
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:00 AM   #8
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Hey not meaning to hijack your thread, but how do you like your X? My husband and I are going to look at one this weekend to hopefully replace our under powered Durango.
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:20 AM   #9
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We went last year to Tennessee from NE Ohio also, we took I-71 and picked up I-75, went through Cincinnati and Ky, and it was a pretty easy drive. The mountain passes weren't as big as I-77 through WV area. We went to the same gatlinberg area as you. Once you get south in KY and into TN you'll have some longer hills and grades but nothing that would be concerning. Either way, take your time and stay to the right . Enjoy it there, it's a bueatiful place.
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:42 AM   #10
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Karrun I like my x, it has 3:73 gears instead of 4:10 the 4:10 would be better especially on the hills etc.. But it is also a daily driver so fuel economy is a little better. We have two kids, two German shepherds (each 100lbs or more) and they fit great. The two dogs are "cosy" in the far back area and the kids each get a row of seats on long trips (saves fights) or if they each have a friend etc... We have plenty of room, rides great and comfortable. If you are looking at the v10 model make sure you look at the exhaust manifold studs. They usually rust and brake off and makes it sound like an exhaust leak. Most people try and tell you that is the problem ie.. The studs can be replaced with stainless ones but it will cost around 800-1000 to have a shop do them. If you can get a good price on an x with this issue it is worth it. But if you are paying top dollar you may have to think about it. Now if you are looking at a 6.0 diesel one basically I would run as fast as you can from that.. The 6.0 motors were not the best and are really finicky and problematic and very expensive to maintain. Don't believe the hype on the "bullet proofing either" if your husband is really really handy then you may be ok...

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