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Old 03-14-2012, 07:52 AM   #1
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Colorado Mountain Driving Question

Hey Guys,

I'm planning a trip in my E350 5.4 Quigley Class C from Lake Placid NY to Crested Butte CO. I'm a little nervous about the roads that I might encounter on the way. The unit has pulled it's heavy butt up many east coast mountains but never anything out west. We weigh in at 12,000 lbs fully loaded with a KLR 650 hanging from the hitch. Can I craw slowly up the mountain passes without getting killed? Will trans temps be a problem? Should I use high test? Will my little motor blow up?

I appreciate it.

Jim
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:57 AM   #2
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Re: Colorado Mountain Driving Question

Did you see what the guys from Top Gear did with mini vans?
All joking aside, it's going to depend on what shape your vehicle is in, what roads you take, the weather and how your luck goes. I'd say go for it. Plan out a trip and avoid places you're worried about or at least have a backup route if it gets too rough.
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Old 04-23-2012, 04:42 PM   #3
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Re: Colorado Mountain Driving Question

Hrumph. I've driven them with a Sprinter who was flat towing a Jeep. Shouldn't be a problem.

I think High Octane is higher up high too, so I use 91 in my Jeep to get more hp, that's the highest they sell in Denver.
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Old 04-23-2012, 04:53 PM   #4
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Re: Colorado Mountain Driving Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
Hrumph. I've driven them with a Sprinter who was flat towing a Jeep. Shouldn't be a problem.

I think High Octane is higher up high too, so I use 91 in my Jeep to get more hp, that's the highest they sell in Denver.
The higher you go the less Octane rating you need, and higher rating will not give you more power.
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:26 PM   #5
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Re: Colorado Mountain Driving Question

If you do have to slow down going up the mountains, you won't get run over - you will just be in the truck lane with the really slow semi's.

You may have to downshift, but you will most likely keep up with traffic. And you will be so happy to be out of the flat prairies that you won't care about downshifting.

Mike
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:12 AM   #6
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Re: Colorado Mountain Driving Question

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The higher you go the less Octane rating you need, and higher rating will not give you more power.
Ah, ok- but it does increase my MPG enough to justify the 20˘ spread... I did the calculations when gas was going to $4 and saw a direct increase in MPG. My assumption has always been that was due to a small hp boost...
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:38 AM   #7
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Re: Colorado Mountain Driving Question

Jim:

It's not the going up that's a problem. It's the coming down! I downshift all the time, especially when towing. I go thru front brakes once a year (but I drive 25k-30k/year).

You'll be fine. Have a great trip.
-Jay
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:51 AM   #8
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Re: Colorado Mountain Driving Question

There are a lot of myths surrounding higher octane. One simple truth; higher octane reduces the combustibility of the fuel - it is harder to burn. I doesn't follow that this would result in better power, performance or economy if nothing else changes.

Higher octane is need to reduce the instances of Pre-Ignition and/or Detonation which can be caused by excessive heat, lean mixture, wrong spark plug heat range, carbon build up, high compression, wrong ignition timing...

Suffice it to say; if your engine is in good tune and condition, there is no advantage to running a higher octane than your engine was designed for and is specified in your owner's manual.

There is the chance that if there is something wrong with your engine and it is experiencing Pre-Ignition and/or Detonation, that the Knock Sensor on the side of the block will detect this problem and tell the computer to retard the ignition timing. Retarding the timing will result in lower performance and less fuel economy. In this case higher octane will mask the problem, not tell the computer to retard the timing and you will get better performance and economy, in line with what you would have gotten if nothing were wrong with the engine.

Vehicles that specify higher octane fuels are typically "High Performance" engines (BMW, Jaguar...) that run much higher compression ratios and more spark advance to produce more power with less displacement.

Our SMB's use more displacement - bigger engines!

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/cons...tos/aut12.shtm
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:59 AM   #9
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Re: Colorado Mountain Driving Question

As to over working that 5.4L, it will be up to the job. I tell everyone to "feel your car's pain" and listen to what it is telling you. If you hear pinging, back off the throttle, check gauges often, and use your nose. You'll know if your over pushing it - so just back off a little. It is a vacation, not a commute - slow down and enjoy!
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:52 AM   #10
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Re: Colorado Mountain Driving Question

Most of the mountain roads around here are really curvy, so you'll have to slow down anyway to make the curves, unless you're on I-70. It's fairly straight.
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