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Old 09-22-2017, 02:41 PM   #1
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Allison reprogram review in Seneca

I had my 2018 Jayco Seneca Allison 2500 transmission reprogramed at Premier Truck Sales and Service in Knoxville, TN. this morning.

Before the reprogram the Seneca accelerated well off the line on level terrain. It did not seem to have a passing gear. The 2018 Seneca does not have a OD lockout or Tow/Haul mode button. On shorter hills it usually did well if I approached at 65 mph or higher. If I approached at 55 mph it would quickly lose speed. If it was a long incline it would lose speed and at full throttle it would not down shift until it reached about 1,400 RPM. Once it downshifted it would hold the gear until about 1,800-2,000 RPM and then upshift. Consequently it had very poor climbing power. It was frustrating climbing long grades at 30-40 mph.

After communicating with Matt Lazier, programing engineer at Allison Transmission, I learned that the Seneca was ordered with the Economy program as the primary and the Performance program as secondary. Because there is no Tow/Haul or OD lockout button there is no way to access the performance program.

Matt provided the technician at Premier, Nate, the information to swap the Performance program to primary. Fortunately there was a hill on I-40 next to Premier. We test drove the new performance program and it made a big difference in that on a climb at full throttle the transmission would downshift at about 1,700 RPM instead of 1,400. This seemed to keep the engine from losing too much power and was a big improvement. However, the transmission would still upshift at about 2,000 RPM which on climbs limited power. We contacted Matt about this and he sent the technician a program where on full throttle climbs the gears are held to about 2,500 RPM. This made a huge difference.

On normal, non-full throttle acceleration there seems to be no difference in the shifting pattern. At about 1,700 RPM I can hit the throttle and drop down a gear instantly. I only drove from Knoxville to Maryville, about 30 miles, but it did have some climbs. It really felt like I was driving a different vehicle. It was much more responsive.

Next week I will be driving to the Georgia mountains and should get a better impression. The Seneca now drives like I thought it should from the beginning. This is how it should come from the factory.
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Old 09-22-2017, 04:06 PM   #2
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Thanks for the details and information. It looks like this is a worth while investment. I will see if I can get this done before my trip to nc in two weeks. Safe travels


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Old 09-22-2017, 04:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for a great review.Was the upgrade covered by the warranty ?
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Old 09-22-2017, 04:33 PM   #4
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I'm going to head over to Dartco next week and see if they can do this same thing on mine.
Thank you for posting up the info !

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Old 09-22-2017, 06:09 PM   #5
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It sound's like the improvement that was made to my unit. I think this is one change that can really make a difference in how these units pull and drive, I am glad it worked for you also, gord
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:18 PM   #6
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It sounds like Allison sponsored this reprogram. So there is no warranty issues by having this done. Is that correct?
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Old 09-23-2017, 08:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by submariner View Post
Mark
Thanks for a great review.Was the upgrade covered by the warranty ?
If not, would you mind sharing what it cost? Thanks!
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Old 09-23-2017, 12:09 PM   #8
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I went in with the expectation that I would be charged at least a couple hours of labor and felt it would be worth it. Surprisingly, they decided it should be a warranty issue.

Even if it were a couple hundred dollars I would still have been happy with the outcome. .
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Old 09-23-2017, 01:19 PM   #9
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I went in with the expectation that I would be charged at least a couple hours of labor and felt it would be worth it. Surprisingly, they decided it should be a warranty issue.

Even if it were a couple hundred dollars I would still have been happy with the outcome. .
Definitely worth a couple of hundred if it comes to that. I've got another trip out west planned for Feb and I definitely want to get this done. Luckily, there's an Allison shop right here in Panama City. I'll email Matt on Monday. Thanks for the good info!
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:16 AM   #10
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I sent Matt an email to asking about the reprogram and was directed to my local Allison repair facility.

Just and FYI from Matt at Allison:
While I realize that I have provided direct support to other owners of Jayco RVs in the recent past, I have been instructed to direct such requests to an Allison approved service center. I have worked with Dartco on other cases, so they should be able to fully support this request if you choose to go with them. They will take your vehicle information and request a calibration from us if necessary. If your calibration is set up similar to the others that we dealt with, then a significant performance increase will potentially be possible.


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Old 09-26-2017, 10:34 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by MD3 View Post
I sent Matt an email to asking about the reprogram and was directed to my local Allison repair facility.

Just and FYI from Matt at Allison:
While I realize that I have provided direct support to other owners of Jayco RVs in the recent past, I have been instructed to direct such requests to an Allison approved service center. I have worked with Dartco on other cases, so they should be able to fully support this request if you choose to go with them. They will take your vehicle information and request a calibration from us if necessary. If your calibration is set up similar to the others that we dealt with, then a significant performance increase will potentially be possible.


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That's interesting since below is the email I received from Matt just yesterday after I sent him an email thanking him for his help and great customer service:

"Mark,

That’s why we are here. I hope you continue to enjoy the new shift schedule.

Thank you,
Matt Lazier"
------------------
Hi Matt,

I want to thank you for your assistance in getting the program in my Jayco Seneca's Allison 2500 transmission corrected. Working with Nate from Premier Truck sales, you both made a great improvement to my RV performance.

I have only driven the RV a short distance but I can already tell the improvement is what I needed.

It is rare today to receive the customer support that I received from you.

Thank you,
Mark Silverman
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Old 09-26-2017, 04:10 PM   #12
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Meh, just bureaucracy.

I had something similar happen to me when I emailed Atwood for help. In the past, people have said they've provided direct technical help.

I got an email full of legalese.
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Old 09-29-2017, 06:09 AM   #13
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Yesterday I got to drive my Seneca from the Knoxville Tennessee area to Dahlonega Georgia with the new transmission program. There were a many mountain climbs, both long and straight as well as winding passes. I felt this was a good test of the new transmission shift schedule installed last week.

The Seneca drove like it should have. It down shifted appropriately. Before the reprogram it would go down to about 1,400 rpm before downshifting, slowing way down on climbs. It now downshifts at about 1700 which makes a huge difference. More importantly, on the long steep climbs it would hold a gear until 2,500 rpm which made a huge difference, before it would upshift at 2,000. On the long climbs the engine water temperature would get to about 210 degrees when the cooling fan would come and the temp dropped back down to 190. The transmission temp never went above 190.

I am very pleased with the reprogram, which raises the question of why doesn't the Seneca come this way? This is a factory program that's is already in the system. It is much more fun to drive now that my CNO (chief navagational officer) isn't in the passenger seat going "I think I can, I think I can.....on climbs.

I highly recommend that if your Seneca has the economy shift schedule as the primary, have this reprogram done. If you cannot contact Matt at Allison I would be happy to forward my emails with him, which then dealer found useful. Keep in mind that with just the swap it still up shifted at 2,000 at full throttle. Matt sent the tech another tweak which allowed it to hold the gear to 2500 on full throttle climbs.

I hope this helps.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:51 AM   #14
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Mark,
Thanks for the details. I just made my appointment for next Friday. If you could send the emails my way that would be great, I would like to be sure to get a similar set up that you have.


Found a service location that can handle the whole rig. Freightliner, Allison and Cummins under one roof. The other locations were all one or two manufacturers only and I would have to move it from location to location to get service.


I have also asked them to look at the sway bar and see if I can get up the upgrade under warrantee.
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:10 PM   #15
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I might hit you up for the emails. I'm going to talk to my local shop and if they need more info or if they can make it happen.

Thank you for all the info and feedback !

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Old 09-30-2017, 06:09 AM   #16
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Are there consequences?

I think this is something we would like to look at as well, however I wonder if there are significant consequences.

Do you feel fuel economy will be impacted significantly?

Does anyone feel that increasing engine RPM on a regular basis, as this new program seams to do, will decrease engine lifespan?

I'm all for this as we towed our car on a trailer for the first time last night and really got bogged down on many hills. The service center Mark used is only 3 hrs away from me so it could be done in a day and they know all about it.
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Old 09-30-2017, 06:54 AM   #17
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While I anticipate a reduced mpg, I hopefully will not feel the need to put the hammer down while going down hill just so I can comfortably get up the next hill. The way the unit is currently configured if I get behind a truck or someone on the right side, I don't feel I can start to pass them knowing I am just going to bog down so I wait behind them and end up going 45 up modest hills.


As far as the engine life we are driving 500,000+ mile truck systems that are more likely to fail from lack of driving than from overdriving. Things like lack of air dryers and the wimpy horn that will just make people laugh instead of getting out of your way are more likely to ruin the unit.


I am going for it and if I see something horrible I will work on getting the switch installed and run the performance mode when needed.
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Old 09-30-2017, 10:12 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by McGintys924 View Post
I think this is something we would like to look at as well, however I wonder if there are significant consequences.

Do you feel fuel economy will be impacted significantly?

Does anyone feel that increasing engine RPM on a regular basis, as this new program seams to do, will decrease engine lifespan?

I'm all for this as we towed our car on a trailer for the first time last night and really got bogged down on many hills. The service center Mark used is only 3 hrs away from me so it could be done in a day and they know all about it.
My experience so far is that the mpg is the same or perhaps a bit better. The only change is that the transmission will shift into the proper gear. The engine does not lug as often, which I understand is better for a diesel engine.

This is not some custom tune from a 3rd party vendor. This is a shift schedule pre-installed by Allison that would be accessible if we had the tow haul mode button that Jayco opted not to install. My engine is now operating in what feels like the correct rpm range. As far as the higher rpm range, according to both the tech who did the adjustment and Matt, the engine will de-fuel when you approach he upper rpm limit.

Tomorrow I will be driving about 500 miles back to Florida so I will be able to report on the mpg on regular hiway driving.

Now with all this being said, my particular transmission came with the economy mode as the primary shift schedule. Yours may be different. Matt was able to tell me how mine was optioned. Matt was a great resource and it would be a shame if he is no longer accessible.
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Old 10-03-2017, 05:39 AM   #19
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Attached below is the chain of emails with Matt Lazier, the calibration engineer at Alison transmission, regarding the shift schedule installed on my 2018 Jayco Seneca 37TS. After driving approximately 750 miles of mountain, back road and highway driving I am very pleased and do not understand why it does not come from the factory with this program. At this point I am not sure if I will add the OD lock out switch or not.

Please note that the shift schedule Matt is referring to in these emails changed the down shift points only. The tech needed to call Matt for the mod to allow the transmission to hold the climbing gear from 2,000 to 2,500 which made a huge difference.

The tech seemed to find this correspondence useful when I brought my unit in. I hope this helps.

-------------
Hi Matt,

I was given your contact info from a member of the Jayco Motor Home forum. I am hoping you can provide some guidance.

I own a new Jayco Seneca RV with an Allison 2500 transmission. My transmission does not have an Over Drive Lock-out or a Tow Haul mode. When climbing steep hills the RV seems to run out of power and the transmission will not downshift until the engine reaches approximately 1,400 RPM at which point I have lost too much momentum to maintain speed.

Is it possible to either add a Tow Haul mode or if not change the program so that the transmission will downshift at full throttle at a higher RPM?

I would appreciate any input you can provide. This lack of climbing power is my only real complaint with this RV and I would really like to correct this.

Thank you,

Mark Silverman


Transmission serial # 6311 508 382

VIN: 3ALAC XFC 0 JDJG 1060
---------------------------------------
Mark,

3ALACXFC0JDJG1060 currently has the performance shift schedule on secondary, which is controlled by wire 142. If the OEM has not provided any means of controlling this wire, then you will always be in economy mode.

I made a calibration that has the shift schedules switched, so that it will default to performance. Your service outlet will need the TCM assembly number to install it. The TCM assembly number is:

6ABR0D0D

Thank you,
Matt Lazier
Calibration Support Service Engineer
O 317-242-2287 | M 248-640-9421
matt.lazier

----------------------
Hi Matt,

Just as a follow up.

Is it possible to add the “OD lockout”?
Is your performance mode like a tow-haul mode?

Thanks, Mark
-----------------------
Mark,

The package included in your calibration does have Overdrive Disable as an option, but it is currently disabled. Your service outlet can enable it with DOC reprogramming. The function will at that point be controlled via wire 161, so there will need to be a switch or other means of controlling that wire.

The performance shift schedule would be more suited to a tow/haul-type of duty cycle than the original economy shift schedule, but the only difference between them is the shift speed; the performance shift schedule will have wide open throttle shift points about 300 rpm higher.

Thank you,
Matt Lazier
Calibration Support Service Engin
-----------------------------------------
Hi Matt,

I want to thank you for your assistance in getting the program in my Jayco Seneca's Allison 2500 transmission corrected. Working with Nate from Premier Truck sales, you both made a great improvement to my RV performance.

I have only driven the RV a short distance but I can already tell the improvement is what I needed.

It is rare today to receive the customer support that I received from you.

Thank you,
Mark Silverman
-------------------------
Mark,

That’s why we are here. I hope you continue to enjoy the new shift schedule.

Thank you,
Matt Lazier
Calibration Support Service Engineer
O 317-242
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:05 AM   #20
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Not as convenient as a reflash of the Allison's TCM to performance mode, but why not move the shift selector to the '3' or '2' position to force and hold a downshift? That way you could have performance when needed, and economy at other times.
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