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Old 08-06-2012, 11:22 PM   #11
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Re: How to drive down a mountain?

At the top of the grade, when you see the signs that read, "Trucks and vehicles pulling trailers, use lower gears" they're talking to you (us). Personally I downshift before I even start down the grade. I've used 2nd on a 9% grade in Colorado.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TygerCub
Thanks guys! Excellent advice all!

So the next question is what are the 2nd and 1st gears good for? Is there a rule of thumb to follow? Is there a particular time to shift.

I never really thought about how FLAT Virginia is before now, and have always traveled long distances on motorcycle, so steep grades and hairpin turns were sought after, not avoided . It's difficult to wrap my head around NOT wanting to hit those kind of roads.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:01 AM   #12
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Re: How to drive down a mountain?

Quote:
According to the class A CDL booklet you use the same gear going down that you needed to get up
This is probably not a problem in most of our busses, but I don't think this is a good rule of thumb for today's semis. Many can go up a mountain as fast as they want.
Even with my little old 425hp Volvo there were a lot of mountains I could go up much faster than I wanted to go down. Or maybe I'm just super conservative, but I NEVER had
brakes smokin' at the bottom.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:18 AM   #13
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Re: How to drive down a mountain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
Quote:
According to the class A CDL booklet you use the same gear going down that you needed to get up
This is probably not a problem in most of our busses, but I don't think this is a good rule of thumb for today's semis. Many can go up a mountain as fast as they want.
Even with my little old 425hp Volvo there were a lot of mountains I could go up much faster than I wanted to go down. Or maybe I'm just super conservative, but I NEVER had
brakes smokin' at the bottom.
Really good point, maybe a couple of gears lower would be better as smoking brakes is "Not" a good thing...
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Old 08-07-2012, 04:23 PM   #14
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Re: How to drive down a mountain?

The advice others posted is good to follow.

i have driven several times in a bus from detroit to reno and back.

My preference is to follow a big truck down the hill at a safe distance, perhaps 1/4 mile. I like to do the same speed as he does. If he goes 60 around a curve, so do I. If he slows down to 30 mph, so do I!

I-80 is easy from here to there. The only place you need to use your brakes when traveling west is when you drop down into salt lake city.

I-70 is much more challenging.

Know how to adjust your brakes if you don't have auto slack adjusters. When you see a sign at the top of the hill that informs truckers to "check brakes" you should stop, get out, and physically check your brakes with a 9/16 wrench. (assuming you have air brakes)

Go slow, let your engine do the work, press on the brake pedal hard, for short periods of time. DO NOT KEEP YOUR FOOT ON THE BRAKE PEDAL! (or you WILL overheat your brakes.) when you use your brakes, do like other said and push hard for short periods of time. Then take your foot off the pedal giving brakes times to cool down.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:11 PM   #15
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Re: How to drive down a mountain?

Lapeer.. u be exactly right!

and I 80 is the way to go...
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:18 PM   #16
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Re: How to drive down a mountain?

I have "lost" my brakes 1 time on a downhill
I was towing my race truck(90-ish isuzu amigo) behind my 2000 rodeo (w/trailer brakes)
At some point,the chinese wire broke(yes broke,not pulled apart) to my trailer brakes.
I shifted down to 2nd as I approached the 6 mile 7% grade on 421 out of Boone,nc. To north wilksborro
All wass good for the first mile(I reset odo at top,so I knew how much further)
I was gaining speed and rpms(damn pos 4l30) so I did the normal hard push to slow and cool off brakes...half way down is was def.frkin scared!! Breaks were smoking and fluid boiling....I repeated brakes to floor let off....I was now tachiing 6000 in 3rd!!!and ging way to fast.
I actually grabbed my helmet bag and put my helmet on!yeah no shiat!I was terrified...I had flasheers on from git go.
I was taking corners wide flashiing my headlights...I actually thought about taking a runoff ramp,butwith 7000lbs behind me I knew what would happen.
When I saw the grassy median ahead at the last right turn I knew I was alive.
I coasted for miles hoping to cool the brakes.
I coasted and then stopped at the first business outside of n.wilks andgot out still shacking and feeling sick.
I looked at my still smoking brakes,the rotors were black!the color of my truck.
After about an hour,I limped it the race knowing it was flat with maybe 3 or 4 stops to make.
I had to replace 4 rotors,pads and clipers to get home that s
Sunday.

I never want to exp. That again.....I stop at the top of that and other mnts now to make sure my brakes are good
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