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Old 09-21-2017, 07:13 PM   #1
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Mountain towing


The DW and I will be heading to the mountains in a few weeks to enjoy the fall foliage. I've driven in the mountains on just about every type of road there is quite a bit over the last 25 years but have never towed anything. As strong as my TV is (sig), I am sure I won't be able to pull my TT 65+mph up the side of a mountain. Nor should I come down the other side without using something other than the brake pedal to control my speed. So, I'm really trying to figure out what to expect. I know the Saluda mountain has a steep grade (6%) and I'm sure there are plenty others.

The floor is y'all's....any tips, tricks, best practices, and experiences would be greatly appreciated.


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Old 09-21-2017, 07:21 PM   #2
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Gear up is usual the gear down. Let the engine do the braking not your foot on the pedal. If RPM or speed increase in a gear step firm on the brakes and go a gear down.

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Old 09-21-2017, 07:26 PM   #3
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So slow and steady wins the race. I have pulled all over the Rockies and patience is the best. Watch your temps, increase following distance, set the gain a little higher just to be on the safer side.
Exhaust temps can get up there. Not sure if I recall your tow vehicle but if it's a diesel I would keep it below 1500'F

In general, it will just take a bit longer and your truck will be working harder.

If you are Turbo'd (diesel, ecodiesel, ecoboost) be sure to let it cool before you turn off the motor. Idling for a short but will equalize the temps so there won't be any potential Turbo housing and wheel temps to normalize.

Just my thoughts is all

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Old 09-21-2017, 07:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ALJO View Post
Gear up is usual the gear down. Let the engine do the braking not your foot on the pedal. If RPM or speed increase in a gear step firm on the brakes and go a gear down.
With the big cans in that diesel you'll be fine. One the way done, let the engine slow you, manually downshift as needed. Try not to ride the brakes, so they do not over heat, and boil the fluids.

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Old 09-21-2017, 07:39 PM   #5
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try a search on this site for a lot of good comments and suggestions.

We have towed for years including last summer's trip through Colorado. During that trip we went over Monarch Pass. At 11,300 feet and 5 to 7% grades it averages a wreck a week year round. But we had no problems as we took all the proper precautions.

We checked tires and brakes before we left home and I rechecked every few days tire inflation. We dumped black, grey and most of the fresh water to save weight before we headed up the pass. I watched oil, water and transmission temps on the way up. We used the engine as much as possible to avoid heating up the brakes on the way down.

The real reason we avoided problems is making sure our tow vehicle was adequate (meaning a lot more than "just able") to tow our load. We never hurried on the way up and never on the way down. Don't speed up at the crest and keep your speed down on the way down. Use your engine to help with the braking. If at any time you feel uncomfortable than just slow down or pull over.

If at any time you detect or suspect your brakes are overheating then stop and cool them off.
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:33 PM   #6
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Your transmission Tow/Haul mode is your friend on the inclines!

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Old 09-21-2017, 09:32 PM   #7
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Good suggestions above. I would also set you brake controller a bit higher. I went down a 6% grade in the Sierras a few months ago. Used lower gearing and let anyone who wanted to pass, pass me. Never let myself go above 55 on straight, 45 on any gentle curves. Pay attention to suggestions above on braking, slow steady braking will over heat your brakes. Take your time and enjoy the ride.
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Old 09-22-2017, 01:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Murff View Post
Your transmission Tow/Haul mode is your friend on the inclines!

Amen to this. Your truck is a year newer than mine. You'll do fine if you let tow/haul mode do most of the work and use the brakes sparingly. I've towed our 35 footer up and down grades in the Rockies and this truck handled everything great.
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Old 09-22-2017, 02:21 PM   #9
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Be aware the mountains are getting snow and next week is predicted to be much colder. I would watch road conditions regularly.

Good Luck !
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Old 09-22-2017, 02:56 PM   #10
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Mountain Towing

On down hill 6-8% grades, engage engine brake, set cruse at 50. Usually don't have to hit the brakes. Uphill try to be at least 10-15 over speed limit, at base of hill. Seems to keep from downshifting so much with automatic. Thanks
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