I-77 elavation change????

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I-77 elavation change????

Postby CVanDamme » Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:33 am

Thinking about doing a trip down to Bristol Tenn. for the spring NASCAR race. I own a 92 Bluebird T2000FE. Planning on dragging down 8 guys plus luggage, we'll be 22-23 000 lbs for sure. I live in Ontario and will go thru Detroit down thru Ohio, eventually the map sends me onto I-77 thur Virginia. I want to know has anyone drove their bus down I-77 and is a bus worthy of taking that road. Kinda nervous bout the elevation change! Any help will be appreciative!
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Re: I-77 elavation change????

Postby bikeforthelight » Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:25 pm

since i ride a bike cross country i often need to look at elevation changes. i map out everything in google earth. its a free download of a program. if you follow your route it will show you the elevations, and you can zoom in and look at the road itself. i have driven it, but was in a car and dont remember whether it would be ok for a skoolie. thats my advice.
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Re: I-77 elavation change????

Postby CVanDamme » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:27 pm

Thanks for all the advice, Ill have a look at google earth
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Re: I-77 elavation change????

Postby paul iossi » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:40 pm

anything that involves interstate driving should be no problem for a bus, the interstates are regulated pretty closely as to maximum grade, and the truckers still claim jellico hill on I75 in Tenn is the worst as far as grade and length in the eastern US. Highway 20 in ohio is a reasonable alternative to the ohio turnpike if you don't mind going thru all of the towns. :)
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Re: I-77 elavation change????

Postby Ob1 » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:52 pm

77 has some steep inclines, by my recollections from the non-rig driving days. I would pay close attention to peaking the tops of grades at a minimal speed and seeing how descents go. You will need to use your engine as a brake, and will need to start off slowly and allow speed to gain only when you know what the engine braking and wheel braking capabilities are. Generally speaking, if your are going 10mph too slow, it is a piece of cake to fix, but if you are going 10mph too fast, it can be quite a chore to knock off those mph's.

Ride your brakes all the way down and you may not have brakes at the bottom...
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Re: I-77 elavation change????

Postby CVanDamme » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:46 pm

That was another concern of mine...was the brakes!! thanks!
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Re: I-77 elavation change????

Postby CVanDamme » Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:22 pm

Quick question....if when you crest the hill, we'll likely be in 2nd anyways can you run down the hill in second and will it "engine brake" the bus enough to keep it at a decent speed with out staying on the brakes the whole way???

Or will the bus just speed outta control even in second??
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Re: I-77 elavation change????

Postby Ob1 » Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:19 am

All that very much depends on your vehicle. Not knowing the specifics...all I can say is be very attentive to your downhills.
Any speed you pick up downhill has to be dispersed by engine braking, wheel braking and ascending hills. If you dont pick up the speed to begin with, you dont have to deal with it. Start off slow, use engine braking and the proper gear selection to get to close to your target speed. If everything works out right, you should have to use the wheel brakes intermittently to slow the vehicle below the target speed, then rest the brakes, repeat as necessary.

It is so much easier to start off slow and stay there than it is to get going too fast and have to slow it down.

There is no problem with being slow in the proper lane. Ever see a runaway truck lane? Here is one, on I-77.

Image

Read up, but remember, it is a car drivers impression.

http://www.roadstothefuture.com/I77_VA_ ... lpage.html
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Re: I-77 Elevation change? Engine Braking?

Postby Redbear » Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:15 pm

You have to know your equipment. You should be able to answer your own question about engine braking.

Gas engines have engine braking. For diesels, I know there are engine ("Jake") brakes, exhaust brakes, and transmission retarders to help the service brakes slow the vehicles down. Either you have these systems or you don't. I've only driven with Jake brakes, so I can't speak for the others. It's been a while, but as I recall there was practically no slowing with the switch in the "off" position, and I think downshifting would only overspeed the engine.

If you have one of these, the safety guidance is to go downhill in the same gear (and approximate speed) you would need to use to drive back up.

Also, make sure your service brakes are adjusted, especially air brakes. If it takes all the travel to make the shoes expand to reach the inside of the drums, you'll still stop fine in normal driving. Metal expands when heated. I've read that the direction of expansion of brake drums is away from the shoes, so going down a long hill it's possible for badly adjusted brakes to lose the ability to put pressure on the inside of the drum. You can't just make another pump on the treadle like you could to pump more fluid to badly adjusted hydraulic brakes.

With any type brakes, don't just hold your foot on the treadle going down the hill. This will surely overheat the brakes and diminish braking ability. I lost braking in a compact station wagon once after coming down a mountain pass. It wasn't fun to be unable to stop at a stop sign in the city, no matter how hard I pushed the pedal. It was a good thing no one was coming. (What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, or at least smarter.)

Learn about "stab braking." Brake hard down to 10 MPH/16 kPH below your target speed, say 40 MPH, then use engine braking only until your speed reached 50 MPH, and brake again. This allows some brake cooling during the pauses.
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Re: I-77 elavation change????

Postby CVanDamme » Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:08 pm

I do realize I should know my equipment. But living in South Western Ontario...it is very flat, just like Ohio. So the only opportunity we get to drive different grades is when we cross the border and go over the bridge. And I don't think we've ever paid attention about engine breaking there!

As for I-77 I think we're gonna drive down I-75 and then jump on I-81...looks to be a bit longer but not as much elevation change!

Thanks for everyones input!
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Re: I-77 elavation change????

Postby CVanDamme » Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:16 pm

Great Pictures Ob1....and 4.5% grade don't sound terrible at all...just the 6 mile length is daunting. I think the other way will be better. Thanks again ALL
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Re: I-77 elavation change????

Postby Redbear » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:02 am

I do realize I should know my equipment. But living in South Western Ontario...it is very flat, just like Ohio. So the only opportunity we get to drive different grades is when we cross the border and go over the bridge. And I don't think we've ever paid attention about engine breaking there!

You don't need downgrades to check out the engine braking. Just drive on a level road about 30 MPH/50 kPH in a low gear and then lift your foot with the system active. You should be able to tell right away if the bus wants to keep going or drag to a stop.

On the other hand, as far as I know the various braking systems are all extra-cost options, and if you got your bus was local, it may have been ordered without anything. I don't think they are advised for use on ice, and the local transportation director may have tried to save money and avoid problems. If there's no control switch or shifter position, I would guess it was omitted. I don't see a picture of your instrument panel in the gallery.
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Re: I-77 elavation change????

Postby CVanDamme » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:59 pm

I don't have any jake brake or exhauste brake, I was just wondering about leaving it in second if the motor itself would slow the bus down or would it over rev the engine?? Don't think I can really figure that out on flat ground!....Thnaks for all the imput
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