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Old 08-18-2018, 10:56 PM   #21
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Default Re: Down Shifting or Braking

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Originally Posted by rollerbearing View Post
I'll run AC full bore and turn on the head lights in order to put a tiny smidge more load on the engine to help braking. Can't say I really feel it doing a whole lot, but in theory it has to help.

Reminds me of a high school friend who lived in Leadville Colorado - claimed they'd coast down the pass in his VW pushing the doors open for braking. Not sure I ever believed it but it made a good story and sounded like something he'd do.
The Chevy Bolt has a charging option called “Hilltop”.
It only charges to 90% so that you can use regenerative braking if you live on the top of a hill.
A neighbor has one, (We live over 2000’ higher than Albuquerque) leaves Home at 90% and arrives at work near 100%.
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Old 08-18-2018, 11:13 PM   #22
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Default Re: Down Shifting or Braking

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Originally Posted by 4wheeldog View Post
The Chevy Bolt has a charging option called “Hilltop”.
It only charges to 90% so that you can use regenerative braking if you live on the top of a hill.
A neighbor has one, (We live over 2000’ higher than Albuquerque) leaves Home at 90% and arrives at work near 100%.
Cool! - Hadn't heard of that. The Prius Hybrid doesn't fully charge its battery pack so that it has some room to put current from regenerative braking. Don't know what happens if the battery gets full - just dissapate it as electric heat into a load? I assume they also have conventional brake pads that come into play.
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:16 AM   #23
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Default Re: Down Shifting or Braking

The Sprinter engine does provide good braking. I often drive in the mountains, Georgia, Carolinas and Virginia. My prior motorhome was Cummins powered with an exhaust brake that was noticeably more effective than downshifting the Sprinter. But on long downgrades, downshifting the Sprinter to 4th and snubbing speed with the brakes is still effective. Comments on the Turbo not helping to brake are correct, just because it is in the exhaust, it still is not a brake, engine compression provides the braking.

Set your speed for a downgrade, downshift early and as you reach that speed, firmly brake to get below and then get off the brake until needed again. On a steep grade get slower and use 3rd gear if necessary. The Allison transmission in the larger motorhome would select 2nd gear as the desired gear and then continue to downshift to get there without overspeeding the engine.
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:13 AM   #24
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Default Re: Down Shifting or Braking

Exactly a year ago, I took the Sprinter up to Pikes Peak in Colorado. It's 14,115 feet high and an amazing experience going up and down the mountain.

I used engine braking as much as I could even though I was probably the slowest one to get down. Lots of pullouts to let others pass.

Around the half way point, there is a checkpoint where they check the temperature of the brakes. Many others we're pulled over due to overheated brakes and they had to wait a while until they cooled off.

Mine were only 97 Fahrenheit. If I had used the brakes and gone faster down the hill, they would have pulled me over too.

I use engine braking a lot in local driving. I let off the accelerator, tap the gear shift once to 6th gear all the way down to 1 to nearly a complete stop. Sometimes I'll tap the brakes if others are behind me. All depends on the traffic situation and grade of the road obviously. Been driving like this with many different vehicles for over 30 years. Safely.

Added the Mandatory Brake Check Photos from Pikes Peak in Colorado. Brakes are at 97F

Last edited by sprinterdiscovery; 08-19-2018 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 08-19-2018, 05:00 PM   #25
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Default Re: Down Shifting or Braking

... and that's part of the game ...

Unlike the Sprinter (so far), YOU can look ahead and see that you've got a consistent 3 mile down-grade coming up (or already started).
Therefore you can downshift *now*, when it's still gentle on the tranny/clutch, rather than waiting for the Sprinter (if in cruise control) or riding on the brakes.


--dick (i do wish my Kia didn't pop out of cruise control when i downshift)
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Old 08-19-2018, 10:31 PM   #26
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Default Re: Down Shifting or Braking

My gps blares speed warnings and upcoming sharp curve warnings at me (when I allow it). Wonder if 3D maps will ever be integrated with the TCU to control all that hill shifting?

Last edited by rollerbearing; 08-19-2018 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:27 PM   #27
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Default Re: Down Shifting or Braking

In 2013 my wife and I took our 2007 Winnebago View on an Alaska trip. It's built on a 2006 Doge Sprinter chassis with the T1N 5 cylinder engine. Going down the pass into Skagway is very steep. I was in 1st gear before I got down into town. Downshifting was the only way I could control my speed without burning out my brakes. Braking hard when I needed to combined with downshifting worked well.

While setting up in a campground in Skagway I saw an older couple from Colorado in a Winnebago View who were towing a car. I talked with the man and he told me he did not downshift when he came down the pass. I thought right then and there his brakes had to be toast.

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Old 09-04-2018, 02:35 PM   #28
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Default Re: Down Shifting or Braking

Even without engine braking, if you go slow enough..... But that's pretty slow. If their towed vehicle had a brake controller, the extra brake loading would have been pretty minor.
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Old 09-13-2018, 04:57 PM   #29
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Default Re: Down Shifting or Braking

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Originally Posted by rollerbearing View Post
My gps blares speed warnings and upcoming sharp curve warnings at me (when I allow it). Wonder if 3D maps will ever be integrated with the TCU to control all that hill shifting?
I would be happy to just get road grade information on maps and navigation systems. I still remember the time one summer that I was towing a small 1100 pound cargo trailer with a 14-year old Dodge Caravan (180,000 miles on the odometer) and decided to bypass Tioga Pass in favor of Sonora Pass because I was just traveling through (east to west), didn't want to pay a park entry fee for Yosemite, and the other route was slightly shorter...

I hit the turnoff to Sonora Pass just as it was getting dark, and drove past the grade warning sign without stopping. Luckily my wife was paying more attention than me, and asked me about the "26% grade" that I had thought read "2 - 6% grade". We stopped, (she) ran back to check the sign, and after verifying that it really said 26%(!) we turned around and went back to Tioga Pass.

By the time we got back to Tioga Pass it was about 11 pm, and no one was there to collect the park entry fee. We had an eerily beautiful drive through under an almost full moon with not a single other soul on the road.
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Old 09-22-2018, 07:18 PM   #30
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Default Re: Down Shifting or Braking

Living on the front range of Colorado for the last 25 years, I’ve always used engine/transmission breaking in the mountains. Can’t imagine doing it any other way. You can smell the out of state brakes all the way down the mountain.
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