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Old 10-18-2014, 09:56 AM   #1
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Low Range vs Brakes for downhill descents.....

The last few trips I have taken there have been long downhill descents where I was constantly on the brakes while in low range 1st gear. I drove down Silver Canyon outside of Bishop last week which for me was a solid 2 hours of braking to keep the van at a speed I felt comfortable. If I remember correct it's about 10 miles or so of downhill with 15 or so tight switchbacks.

I keep thinking about a lower low range to help and called Atlas Transfer to discuss the issue. Long story short they suggested not going lower than a 3.8 on a 10,000 lb van as it may tear up other components. I believe I have a 2.7 now with my V10 now.

I consulted my local expert about getting a lower low range (AKA "you don't need that") and he said exactly that. But we have slightly different driving styles.......he is usually on the throttle sliding around corners going down hills......

Anyway, I am sure there are a hundred answers but I would prefer to have the engine do most of the braking and have the brakes as secondary or backup.

It's a substantial investment to put in a new transfer case so I would like to hear your thoughts....

Side note, the upcoming years the van will see a significant increase in dirt use...
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Old 10-18-2014, 10:05 AM   #2
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Re: Low Range vs Brakes for downhill descents.....

Doesn't a V10 E350 have the Tow/Haul mode? Were you using it for the downhill?


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Old 10-18-2014, 10:19 AM   #3
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Re: Low Range vs Brakes for downhill descents.....

Yes, using the tow/haul, low range 4x4 and 1st gear. Van was revving to 4800 the entire way down the hill and still needed the brakes almost the entire way down...

Although I had the Tow/Haul on does it do anything in low 4x4 1st gear?
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Old 10-18-2014, 11:57 AM   #4
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Re: Low Range vs Brakes for downhill descents.....

I believe the T/H will hold a lower gear longer, but I guess your issue wasn't that it was coming out of first gear.

I never had T/H since it didn't come mated with the diesel.


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Old 10-18-2014, 01:57 PM   #5
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Re: Low Range vs Brakes for downhill descents.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
Doesn't a V10 E350 have the Tow/Haul mode? Were you using it for the downhill?
Herb
I find tow/haul inadequate for steep downhills--it tends to drop into lower gears suddenly, sending the rpms through the roof. I use it to downshift from overdrive to 4th, then drop into lower gears manually. (Requires taking it out of Tow/haul before shifting so you can brake to the lower speed without shifting too early. A PITA). A friend who worked for TRD in 90s told me their engineers didn't implement it cuz they thought it was marketing--though I think Toyota offers it today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haywoodphotomaccom
Yes, using the tow/haul, low range 4x4 and 1st gear. Van was revving to 4800 the entire way down the hill and still needed the brakes almost the entire way down...

Although I had the Tow/Haul on does it do anything in low 4x4 1st gear?
Tow/haul only works in the Drive setting. When you downshift manually, it is irrelevant. Low 4x4 and 1st gear is as low as you can go with the transmission. A silly question but did you lock the hubs? 4800 is awfully high. I've driven some pretty steep hills--as in, "did anyone see the road that was in front of me a minute ago?"-- and stayed below 3000 with my foot off the accelerator and breaking only occasionally.

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Old 10-18-2014, 04:20 PM   #6
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Re: Low Range vs Brakes for downhill descents.....

Hubs were locked. It would have redlined the whole time had I not been on the brakes. I had to keep the brakes on the entire time to keep it down in the 4500-4800. Anything past that was to fast for the road.
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Old 10-18-2014, 04:40 PM   #7
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Re: Low Range vs Brakes for downhill descents.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by haywoodphotomaccom
Hubs were locked. It would have redlined the whole time had I not been on the brakes. I had to keep the brakes on the entire time to keep it down in the 4500-4800. Anything past that was to fast for the road.
I missed your rear ended ratio. Mine is a 4:10 stock from Ford if that helps.i drive by a descanso every day during ski season where kids were killed when their bus' brakes failed on a descent. Like you, I stay off them as much as possible.

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Old 10-18-2014, 04:51 PM   #8
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Re: Low Range vs Brakes for downhill descents.....

I have the 4.10s too Don. That is exactly my reason too, I want the brakes as a back up as I think they are marginal too....
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:33 PM   #9
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Re: Low Range vs Brakes for downhill descents.....

Riding the brakes for a long distance is a bad idea, as heat builds up it is possible to lose your brakes!

Next time, hit the brakes hard and slow way down (~2000rpm), then off the brakes until the speed is up too high and repeat as needed. Doing that allows the brakes to cool between uses.

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Old 10-18-2014, 05:37 PM   #10
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Re: Low Range vs Brakes for downhill descents.....

Exactly what I was doing Mike but the intervals were every 15-45 seconds on that hill for an hour +. Just like to control the speed mostly with gearing and brakes as the backup. I could smell the brakes the whole time.....
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