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Tuesday, May 08, 2018


The heat! Last time we camped in 90 degree heat dry camping was in the Snake River Canyon between Alpine Junction and Jackson, WY. It was then that we decided to get an extra generator to connect with the existing Honda eu2000 we have. On another note, we just installed a WeBoost Cell phone signal booster in our FW and are looking forward to testing it.

This is such an amazing park. My favorite part is that the park is all open for hiking. There are no closed areas. Just park and head out to explore. We've stayed in the campground twice site 32. Check out our blog for some ideas:) Hope to see you out there for a little exploring.

Lucky you!! That's one place I'd brave the heat if we could get an RV site. Rainbow Vista is my favorite view of anywhere so far! Have a great time.


This is a little unsolicited information about mountain driving and the Ford V-10 engine with the 5 speed transmission. It is also free info, so you get what you pay for. :)

You probably already know all the info I am going to review here, if so just ignore this.

Part of my motivation for writing this, is your plans for exploring more of the out of the way nature places in the western USA. Being comfortable towing the jeep, in the mountains will, I believe, make your travels easier and more enjoyable. Repeatedly disconnecting the Jeep to go up and down mountains gets old pretty quick.

First it is good that you started out with your rig on a relatively easy climb and decent for your first trip. I know from following your journal since 2004, that you have some mountain driving experience with your truck and 5th wheel. This info or advice if you prefer, is more specific to the Class C or Class A with the Ford engine transmission.

My background is about 70,000 miles in a combination of a 2005 26’ Class C Ford E450 and a 2006 29’ Class A on the F53 chassis. All of the travels with the Class A are while towing a Chevy Blazer or Colorado P/U, each of which weight about 4500 pounds. The Class C is while towing a small utility trailer. I never disconnect the toad on any of our travels. I have quite a bit of experience with mountain driving in the western USA. I also have additional experience with towing a 33’ travel trailer, a 35’ 5th wheel and a 40’ DP over the last 15 years. A few of our travel experiences are documented in our blog: http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

First and foremost. The Ford V-10 is a high rev’ing engine which gets its power from being driven in the 3000 to 4500 RPM Range. When you mentioned going up the 6% grade and not wanting to get into the higher RPM range, I am not sure what you consider “higher RPM’s”.

From my experience, I have been really impressed with the V-10 and 5 speed transmission. Additionally the design of the cooling system (radiator, etc) in the Ford’s. I have never had the engine temperature go above above 210-214 degrees climbing 6-10 degree grades in 90 degree plus temps. Most of the time the temps are in the 202-206 degrees. Of course I keep my RPM’s in the 3700-4300 range which really helps the transmission.

When you are climbing 5%-10% grades it is normal, proper and best for the engine and especially the transmission, to go up and down the climb with the RPM’s above 3000. There is nothing wrong with driving up hill for several miles at 3500-3800 RPM (or even 4000 RPM) in 4th or 3rd gear. Driving this way really helps keep the engine/transmission temperature down. I’m sure you are aware that high engine temps are really hard on the vehicle.

Yes the engine sounds like it is screaming at this RPM range. However that is normal and better than trying to keep the RPM’s low.

About tow/haul mode:
– For going up hill, I agree that I don’t see much advantage gained from tow/haul mode. It is supposed to move the transmission shift point to a higher RPM than the normal mode.
– For going downhill low speed and engine braking is very important. The tow/haul mode really is an advantage here. Tow/haul will lock the torque converter so the engine braking works better. The second advantage is the engine braking is increased by the transmission computer automatically downshifting to a lower gear. Keep in mind that your Ford 5 speed transmission does not have a way for you to manually downshift it into 4th gear. Only the computer can do that. The gear shift lever only downshifts from 5th into 3rd. Going downhill you really want to be in tow/haul mode so you can get the transmission into 4th for engine braking. A hint about getting the transmission to downshift going downhill. Press somewhat firmly on the brake pedal for 2-5 seconds helps to get it to downshift. Keep in mind that if your RPM’s are already pretty high (3500-4000), the computer will not downshift as that would over rev the engine.

My preferred way to drive downhill is to use a combination of speed, lower gear selection and higher RPM’s to go for miles down a 5-7% grade w/o using the brake pedal. Granted my speed may be in the 30-45 mph range, but this way I have no concerns about the brakes overheating and fading. If I am going down a 10% grade, I may even be in 2nd gear at a pretty low speed. Additionally, for long downhill sections where the computer gets the transmission into 3rd gear, there are times I will then use the gear shift lever to go to 3rd gear. Manually selecting 3rd gear will keep to computer from jumping up into 4th gear in the sections where the road levels out a bit.

The bottom line is to select my speed and gear selection to only apply the brakes every 30-90 seconds and then press hard for 5-10 seconds to get my speed down about 10-15mph. After that drop in speed I depend on the engine braking to keep my speed down.

For mountain driving I strongly suggest you buy a Scan Gauge like this: https://www.amazon.com/ScanGauge-Automotive-Computer-Customizable-Real-Time/dp/B000AAMY86/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1526037914&sr=8-2&keywords=scan+gauge
The Scan Gauge gives you a real time way to monitor the engine temperature. When you see the temp going over about 202-204 degrees, it is time downshift to a lower gear. Additionally the Scan Gauge can be used to display the fault code if you ever get an engine check light. Saves a lot of angst if you can take the fault code and do an internet search to find out how important, or how minor the code is.

I am looking forward to following your future travels.

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