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Old 04-06-2009, 11:55 PM   #11
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Re: How does your SMB take on hills and mountain passes?

In terms of power, no problem with the V10 on the San Juan Skyway (Colorado), Beartooth Pass in Montana/Wyoming, or Going to the Sun Road in Montana.

Handling is a different story on these narrow roads. Power is no problem, cornering at high speeds is.

steve
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:34 AM   #12
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Re: How does your SMB take on hills and mountain passes?

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Originally Posted by daveb
I was a bit surprised of the lack of power until I found out that Ford de-tunes the diesel. I expected more horsepower. But for what it has, my 11,500Lb van and towing a SMB trailer full of equipment does OK. Only the steepest grades slow me to the 45MPH speed. I also watch turbo/trany temps and pull over or slow down when necessary which is usually driving in 90-100+ air temps.
After we had the 4wd installed, we also had a problem with overheating on steep grades in hot weather. It turned out the aftermarket bumper restricted airflow into the radiator. The bottom 1/3 of the radiator never got any bug debris, while the top did. I machined eleven 2" holes in the bumper to allow airflow and no more problem. Since that is right where the winch would mount, I'm very leary of mounting a winch and restricting airflow again.

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Old 04-07-2009, 02:17 PM   #13
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Re: How does your SMB take on hills and mountain passes?

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CellularSteve said:
Handling is a different story on these narrow roads. Power is no problem, cornering at high speeds is.
A very good point. There are several paved roads such as Going-to-the-Sun in Glacier National Park that I have driven in the Northern Rockies where you have to be very careful in a large wheeled vehicle such as an SMB not to drop a tire off the pavement on straight-aways as well as curves. Often, there is no shoulder, period, and dropping a wheel means dropping the rig over the side. Not fun.

The Dalton Pass road coming out of the Yakk valley to the east above Lake Koocanusa in northwest Montana comes to mind, one of the nastier paved roads I have ever driven.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:04 PM   #14
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Re: How does your SMB take on hills and mountain passes?

Wow, Ed, Sounds terrifying road! Got any pics of that?
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:53 PM   #15
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Re: How does your SMB take on hills and mountain passes?

Being that they are 4x4, we can just climb back up the hill right? Just kidding.

So it seems there are those with no problems climbing the highway passes, not to be confused with non-paved hill roads, and those whose engines and trannys get a bit hot for some reason or another.

From what I can tell here it seems that the gas engines are doing better than the diesels at climbing or not????
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:03 PM   #16
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Re: How does your SMB take on hills and mountain passes?

Like I said in my 1st post, my van is very heavy and I have a 6.0 PSD. It's amazing the difference when I'm fully loaded and pulling my trailer. I feel diesel engines crawl better while off roading. Lower torque is nice but the gassers do fine. If I were to re-order I might go gas. It depends on a lot of things that I won't go in to. But compare what a gas driven pickup has in HP as apposed to a diesel 6.0 PSD. If my van had the HP of a pickup there wouldn't have been an issue; the vans are de-tuned and don't have the overall HP that the pickups do. After the warrantee is off I might add an engine tuner and use it sparingly. I just wish for more power that I thought I was going to get and never did . Now I'll go off topic a bit. With my van I follow a few rules. Unless you monitor the turbo/trany temps you would never know when to pull over. I use common sense precautions that some might say is not necessary. I've never had my trany run over 220 degrees and I pull heavier loads than most SMB owners do, but if the trany gets close to 220, I give it a break just in case. BTW I do have a larger oil pan. The only time the transmission temps rise to higher levels is when I'm pulling my trailer up extreme grades at slow speeds. I've also found that it's best to drop into low range which helps reduce the T-temps. This might apply to a gas vehicle also but really can't comment there. As far as the turbo, I've never had it overheat, but because the 6.0 has had a poor turbo record I just take precautions and slow down if necessary. Many turbo chargers fail because of the driver shuts down the engine before letting it cool down. It's also a good idea to let the engine warm up a bit before throttling it up and hitting the road. I also avoid consistant short runs. Not good taking it 2 miles to work every day from what I have gathered. Diesel engines! So back on topic; I will say I'm satisfied with my setup just a bit disappointed because I thought I was going to have more HP than what I really got. Two vans Side by side running up the same grade where both are the same exact vehicle and one has the V-10 and the other has a 6.0 I don't know who would win. Even if I lost I would still be happy with my vehicle. Maybe fuel mileage, engine life or maintenance would be more of a factor. Kind of up to the buyer.
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:44 AM   #17
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Re: How does your SMB take on hills and mountain passes?

I agree completely with everything that daveb , including the precautionary measures taken
that should be acknowledged and taken when ever possible . I follow the very same measures If I had it to do over again I would forsake the little additional milage and go with the V 10 ,
I have owned three 4x4 Gas powered Vans and they were fraught with fewer problems and more able to pull the large boats that I have and have owned . Two of these previous vans gave me 150,000 plus great trouble free miles .
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:59 AM   #18
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Re: How does your SMB take on hills and mountain passes?

Other than crossing my fingers with the 6.0L I have no complaints whatsoever with power. Of course I am a little biased since I have been driving my 01 Xterra on trips. It can barely get out of its own way. So for me the 6.0 has plenty of juice.
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:21 PM   #19
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Re: How does your SMB take on hills and mountain passes?

My F250 pulls way better in my experience. I've had it loaded to the gills with a Jeep fully packed on my trailer, and fully packed interior, never felt going up anything was an issue. While flat towing the TJ on 35s up the mountains the van reached it's limit. I haven't tried the exact same load, but I feel like the F250 with 7.3 pulls better than the van with the 6.0... likely because the van is detuned.

Flat towing the same rig when it had 32s, or putting it on a trailer hasn't been a problem, but I feel like I'm close to the limit of the van and I don't push it as hard. I've got no issues with the power, but compared to the F250 it does have limitations.
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Old 04-13-2009, 02:21 PM   #20
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Re: How does your SMB take on hills and mountain passes?

My 2005 SMB diesel is the first diesel I've ever owned (or driven). I didn't really know what to expect, acceleration is "leisurely", but once it overcomes its 9300 lb of inertia, it does fine, and going up long grades with just me and my stuff in it is fine. For anyone familiar with I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass East of Seattle, if I get a running start (a few miles East of North Bend), keep it at 2,000 RPM, it takes the pass without kicking out of overdrive.

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