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Old 07-16-2015, 12:26 PM   #1
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Climb Every Mountain!

Greetings all,
I'm looking for assistance with climbing hills/mountains, particularly long grades. My max Horsepower (HP) is 352 @ 5400rpm and max Torque is 382 @ 4200rpm.

Generally when I am climbing mountain grades, I keep the rpm's around 3000 - 4000 rpm in order to maintain speed around 55mph.

My question is should I be increasing my rpm for maximum torque or maximum HP?

Thanks!
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Old 07-16-2015, 06:52 PM   #2
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I vote for max torque.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:31 PM   #3
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If you aren't wide open throttle pulling the hill those numbers don't do us much good in my opinion.... However, I have always been told that it will be more "efficient" in the RPM range that it makes peak torque.
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Old 07-17-2015, 01:54 AM   #4
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I would like to share a post that was sent to me just a few weeks ago about mountain driving.

I am going to assume are not that familiar with towing a trailer, so I apologize if you already know this info, and I mean no offense at all.

Towing in the mountains puts extra strain on your entire vehicle, from transmission to brakes to cooling system to electrical system, so be aware of how hard your Caddy is working.
Check the owners manual for information on towing with regards to 'overdrive gear'. Some manufacturers recommend that you don't tow in overdrive.

Brakes have the toughest duty in the mountains. Use them sparingly, and if you are on the brakes more than 60% of the time, stop every so often and let them cool. Experience is the best teacher here. Get used to shifting into a lower gear on the downhill run, and keep your speed 5to 10mph below the posted limit. This will give you a good safety margin, and when your speed gets to the posted limit, put a little more effort into slowing down. That way you will hopefully never let it get going too fast. Use the engine and transmission to keep your speed steady, and use the brakes when it starts to creep up. DON'T RIDE THE BRAKES FOR LONG PERIODS. I can't stress that enough. Brake failure in the mountains is a bad thing. If you stop, get out and walk around and touch the rims to get an idea how hot the brakes are. The will be VERY warm, but you should be able to touch them. If you can't touch them, let them cool down for 15 minutes or so. If you smell a strong burning smell, or see smoke coming from the wheels, you are going to sit for a while. Then proceed very carefully to a place where you can check them for overheat damage.

Make sure your engine coolant is full, your radiator is clean and unobstructed, hoses and such are in good shape. Watch your temp guage going uphill, that is where your engine is working the hardest.

Don't get in a hurry. Going uphill, put the transmission in a lower gear (to make it easier for the engine to pull the heavier load) and keep your speed down. Don't worry that everyone is passing you. Be courteous and pull over every so often and let the cars behind you pass. It gives both you and your rig a chance to relax for a few minutes. Going downhill, use the same gear that you did going up, and keep your speed the same as you did climbing the hill. If you get going too fast, bad things happen in a hurry. That trailer is trying to push you down the hill as fast as it can, don't let it.

Always try to err on the side of caution with regards to speed and distances. Less speed, more distance. Just keep in mind that you tow vehicle is working harder, and responds slower with the trailer, and you should do fine.

Again, I apologize if this is condescending, I don't know how often or how much experience you have pulling a trailer, and I wrote this for someone that has very little of each.
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Old 07-17-2015, 02:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skarlin1976 View Post
I would like to share a post that was sent to me just a few weeks ago about mountain driving.

I am going to assume are not that familiar with towing a trailer, so I apologize if you already know this info, and I mean no offense at all.

Towing in the mountains puts extra strain on your entire vehicle, from transmission to brakes to cooling system to electrical system, so be aware of how hard your Caddy is working.
Check the owners manual for information on towing with regards to 'overdrive gear'. Some manufacturers recommend that you don't tow in overdrive.

Brakes have the toughest duty in the mountains. Use them sparingly, and if you are on the brakes more than 60% of the time, stop every so often and let them cool. Experience is the best teacher here. Get used to shifting into a lower gear on the downhill run, and keep your speed 5to 10mph below the posted limit. This will give you a good safety margin, and when your speed gets to the posted limit, put a little more effort into slowing down. That way you will hopefully never let it get going too fast. Use the engine and transmission to keep your speed steady, and use the brakes when it starts to creep up. DON'T RIDE THE BRAKES FOR LONG PERIODS. I can't stress that enough. Brake failure in the mountains is a bad thing. If you stop, get out and walk around and touch the rims to get an idea how hot the brakes are. The will be VERY warm, but you should be able to touch them. If you can't touch them, let them cool down for 15 minutes or so. If you smell a strong burning smell, or see smoke coming from the wheels, you are going to sit for a while. Then proceed very carefully to a place where you can check them for overheat damage.

Make sure your engine coolant is full, your radiator is clean and unobstructed, hoses and such are in good shape. Watch your temp guage going uphill, that is where your engine is working the hardest.

Don't get in a hurry. Going uphill, put the transmission in a lower gear (to make it easier for the engine to pull the heavier load) and keep your speed down. Don't worry that everyone is passing you. Be courteous and pull over every so often and let the cars behind you pass. It gives both you and your rig a chance to relax for a few minutes. Going downhill, use the same gear that you did going up, and keep your speed the same as you did climbing the hill. If you get going too fast, bad things happen in a hurry. That trailer is trying to push you down the hill as fast as it can, don't let it.

Always try to err on the side of caution with regards to speed and distances. Less speed, more distance. Just keep in mind that you tow vehicle is working harder, and responds slower with the trailer, and you should do fine.

Again, I apologize if this is condescending, I don't know how often or how much experience you have pulling a trailer, and I wrote this for someone that has very little of each.
Thanks, even if we did know that, I am sure none of us feel offended. One thing I have noticed on this forum is a large percentage of members are either past or present military and we are used to refresher training (a good thing!).
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Old 07-17-2015, 04:48 AM   #6
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You want torque....think of the little rice burners running around. They have a lot of horsepower (depending where measured), but their torque numbers purely suck. Tie a trailer to one, they won't have the grunt to get it moving. Find a similar HP vehicle with a lot of torque, it will move the same load effortlessly down the road.


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Old 07-17-2015, 08:49 AM   #7
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Thank you all for your inputs. I have been towing a trailer for over 10 years on all kinds of grades and lengths. More or less I was just curious to see what other folks do when they are hauling up hills; do you keep the rpm up around the torque level so as to maintain a decent speed or keep the rpm below torque max so as not to push the engine. I keep the tow vehicle in tow-mode and let the engine and transmission do their job. I usually like to keep the rpm's going up hill around 3000-3500.
My wife always wondered why I would downshift when going down hills but she understands that it is to maintain speed so I do not overheat the brakes. I've had that happen long ago and the smell is not nice
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Old 07-17-2015, 11:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calewjohnson View Post
You want torque....think of the little rice burners running around. They have a lot of horsepower (depending where measured), but their torque numbers purely suck. Tie a trailer to one, they won't have the grunt to get it moving. Find a similar HP vehicle with a lot of torque, it will move the same load effortlessly down the road.


Cale

Amen! Just as an example

My 1996 7.3 liter PSD generates 210hp @3,000rpm and 425 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm. It pulls best at 2500 rpm which is right in the middle of the power band. My "rice burner" is a 2013 Ford Focus 2.0 liter it produces 160hp @6500rpm and 146 lb-ft @ 4450 rpm. It is in the power band around 5,000 rpm. And believe it it or not it actually has a trailer hitch on it! Not that I would tow with it.

Gearing and transmission will come into the equation too. You need torque to get it moving, and horsepower to keep it moving. I had a 1984 Isuzu P'up 4x4 diesel back in the day. Amazing little truck. I used to win bets all the time by dragging 45,000# semis. A lot of the big boys couldn't do it with their gas powered 1/2 ton trucks. The P'up only had a 2.2l diesel in it. But with everything in low range it could break a semi truck loose and get it rolling at a slow walk.

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Old 07-17-2015, 01:30 PM   #9
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I towed a 26 ft TT with a V8 F150 and a 32 ft TT with a V10 F250 both gas. If I was on a four lane Hwy I would drive the tachometer and hold a steady RPM without regard to the drop in speed going up hills. On two lane roads I was more likely to drive the speedometer in consideration of traffic.

With the F350 diesel I can use cruise control and it takes a pretty big hill before it will downshift with the Voltage.

Wahoo, I also had a P'up in the early '80s. I lived in El Paso back then and could go over to Juarez and fill up for less than what a gallon of diesel cost today. I would just have to take some panty hose to slip over the nozzle and filter the wax out. That was a neat little truck.
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Old 07-22-2015, 04:39 PM   #10
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Thanks folks... The past trip on most of the hill climbs, I was keeping it around 3000-3500RPM with no problems keeping the speed around 55-60. The Suburban just seems to cruise best around that speed going up the hills.
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Old 07-22-2015, 05:16 PM   #11
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Towed just over 2850 miles this past vacation to Glacier N.P. My F-350 diesel pulls most all grades in fourth with no problem. Once my EGT start getting up to 1100 is when I shift down.
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Old 07-25-2015, 03:03 AM   #12
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I love all the help and advice I can get. I'm a newbie to hauling.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:53 AM   #13
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Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall
TORQUE is how far you take the wall with you.. lol

Best way it was explained to me when I was young.. lol


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