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Old 09-17-2013, 12:54 PM   #1
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Question Cruise vs Manual

Has anyone ever tested the difference in mileage when using cruise vs manual operation of the gas pedal when going through mountains? Do you see any difference either way?
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:15 PM   #2
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I haven't ever done a test, but I don't ever use cruise when pulling the trailer. I find that you can anticipate and react to changing road conditions much better using good old common sense than automatic cruise control could ever do. A couple of examples: 1) On an uphill grade, you can let the speed drop a bit instead of pushing hard to maintain a constant speed. 2) As you approach a significant downhill grade, you can let your speed drop a bit early to avoid racing down the hill and then having to hit the brakes.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:23 PM   #3
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I agree with you, that is what I do on hilly/mountianous roads. However, when I am on flat ground like most of Ohio I use cruise.
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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I don't think my DH has ever used cruise control, even without the trailer in tow!
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:40 PM   #5
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You're absolutely right about the flat roads. In my case, though, the roads never seem to be flat enough or have light enough traffic to use cruise!
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:28 PM   #6
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Living in the mountains I would NEVER use cruise control, trailer or no, in mountain driving. I will use it out in the wide open, like eastern Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, northern New Mexico while towing. For me it is just a convenience that lets me stretch my legs a bit.

Edit: and I have never seen that it effects fuel economy one way or the other.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:34 PM   #7
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I don't use cruise in the mountains either. I have noticed going up hill and/or down hill has a big impact on mileage. Speed is the other big impact.
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gonervn View Post
Has anyone ever tested the difference in mileage when using cruise vs manual operation of the gas pedal when going through mountains? Do you see any difference either way?

This practice would kill your automatic transmission faster than you can say "automatic transmission".

Heat kills automatic transmissions and using cruise in the mountains, your transmission will be continually searching for the correct gear, causing the trans temp to rise very quickly.

In "most" cases, I gear down to 5th and keep the engine in the torque sweet spot, purring to the top of the grade. I don't use the tow haul function any more, I find that it waits too long to down shift and usually has to drop to 4th and sometimes to 3rd. Then on the down grade it down shifts too quickly. It bothers me to see the RPM heading above 3K. Usually 5th gear and the exhaust brake will keep the speed where I like it for the road conditions.

Your transmissions best friend a temperature gauge and keeping a close watch on what it is doing.

Check the heat chart on this site. Transmission temperature/failure chart.
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:37 PM   #9
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This practice would kill your automatic transmission faster than you can say "automatic transmission".

Heat kills automatic transmissions and using cruise in the mountains, your transmission will be continually searching for the correct gear, causing the trans temp to rise very quickly.
I am not trying to start any kind of argument here but merely relaying personal experience.

I do not use cruise in the mountains for safety reasons not for transmission protection. Cruise, in my opinion, builds a certain comfort level that is not good when the roads are winding around. I do use tow/haul as it is designed to optimize the shift points when pulling a load (and who am I to outguess the engineers that designed the transmission?). The transmission does not seek gears, the only thing I see is the boost on the turbo adding more pressure and this is true regardless of whether the truck is in cruise or not. To clarify, to me, seeking gears means it is going back and forth from one gear to another.

One final note. When we go to a favorite camping spot we have to cross over three passes each around 9500' in elevation. The transmission never exceeds the engine temp which is well within bounds for the transmission of my truck.
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:22 PM   #10
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Our TV (2014 Ford F350 Lariat) has a tow/haul mode that actually changes the cruise control behavior. Our truck is a diesel and has built-in engine braking. The cruise control characteristics change to maximize engine performance in tow/haul mode. In addition, the cruise uses engine braking on downhills. However, the cruise will turn itself off on a grade that it is too steep. I can't remember offhand what that is, but I am sure it is more than 5%. The truck also has anti-sway control as well. It's an extension of the stability/traction control software. In addition the built-in trailer brake controller is handled by the same software as the ABS. If you set up the controller correctly, the trailer brakes won't lock and will be intelligently applied (so Ford says). In fact, Ford says not to use the manual brake switch on the controller except for initial setup.

Last summer we were towing with a 2013 F150 FX4. It's tow/haul mode did a great job even in cruise mode. It downshifted at the right times and only need manual override on steep downgrades.
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hddecker View Post
This practice would kill your automatic transmission faster than you can say "automatic transmission".

Heat kills automatic transmissions and using cruise in the mountains, your transmission will be continually searching for the correct gear, causing the trans temp to rise very quickly.

In "most" cases, I gear down to 5th and keep the engine in the torque sweet spot, purring to the top of the grade. I don't use the tow haul function any more, I find that it waits too long to down shift and usually has to drop to 4th and sometimes to 3rd. Then on the down grade it down shifts too quickly. It bothers me to see the RPM heading above 3K. Usually 5th gear and the exhaust brake will keep the speed where I like it for the road conditions.

Your transmissions best friend a temperature gauge and keeping a close watch on what it is doing.

Check the heat chart on this site. Transmission temperature/failure chart.
This hasn't been our experience with the F150. The cruise control kept the engine in its sweet spot. Our transmission temp gauge never got pass halfway even on very steep (10%) grades when we tow. I think the F150 had a transmission fluid cooler. I know our new F350 has one. They are designed for tough hauls up and down steep grades.
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:23 PM   #12
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I set the cruise at 68mph and sit back and enjoy the ride.

Not much for big hills in the wetern part of MI, but do get to hit a few larger hills on I65 (Kentucky/Tennessee)heading to Florida and back every year for spring break. I know my Denali is pretty light compared to some campers on here, but there is only one grade all the way down that my truck drops out of OD.
Granted my truck has not been at the stock power levels in a long time
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:52 PM   #13
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I use the cruise on flat ground while towing. Also with my Ford F-350 when going down hill the cruise will down shift to keep the speed set at. It's a nice feature I like. Heading out to South Dakota come July so will have lots of miles I can use the cruise.
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