Engine Braking/Downshifting

Engine Braking/Downshifting

This is a discussion on Engine Braking/Downshifting within the RAM 1500 Diesel Towing & Hauling forums, part of the RAM 1500 EcoDiesel Forum category; Today I was towing our 7,000 pound travel trailer through the Smoky Mountains and several times, when descending a steep grade, I noticed that the ...

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Thread: Engine Braking/Downshifting

  1. #1
    RAM Rookie JLawley's Avatar
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    Engine Braking/Downshifting

    Today I was towing our 7,000 pound travel trailer through the Smoky Mountains and several times, when descending a steep grade, I noticed that the engine was running at very high RPMs and slowing the rig down without requiring me to use the brakes. However, this did not happen all the time. Can someone tell me how I can make this happen when additional braking is desired and not when I'd like to use the momentum to help me get up the next hill? Thanks.

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    RAM Sr Member BrianF's Avatar
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    Do you have an exhaust brake tune? The vehicles I have owned that have tow/haul use downshifts to help with engine braking. Its what they are supposed to do.

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    RAM Bronze Member Bounty Hunter's Avatar
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    Try just tapping the brake to force a downshift, increasing RPM. Not sure how the stock ECM and trans tunes do with this but it's worth a shot.
    2016 Laramie CC 6'4", Delmonico Red, GDE Hot tune and Trans tune, External oil cooler, PPE Trans pan

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    RAM Wizard Brokedownbutgood's Avatar
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    With an aftermarket tune from gde or t&s you get a lot better exhaust braking. Its easy to control it using the plus and minus buttons on the steering wheel.

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    RAM Regular TwoBobs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLawley View Post
    Today I was towing our 7,000 pound travel trailer through the Smoky Mountains and several times, when descending a steep grade, I noticed that the engine was running at very high RPMs and slowing the rig down without requiring me to use the brakes. However, this did not happen all the time. Can someone tell me how I can make this happen when additional braking is desired and not when I'd like to use the momentum to help me get up the next hill? Thanks.
    If you want to upshift to a higher gear to gain momentum for the next hill, take the truck out of tow/haul, press the throttle slightly and the truck will upshift. But you'll have to do some juggling to downshift as you start climbing the next hill - hit the T/H button again and maybe use the shift buttons on the steering wheel to get the truck to downshift into it's power band. If you want more engine braking going downhill just tap the brakes and the trans will downshift another gear.

    In my experience towing through the Smokies, Appalachians etc where there aren't tremendously long downhill grades that it's less hassle and just as effective to let the truck's engine and transmission do the shifting work for you. There isn't much advantage to trying to gain momentum for the next hill that typically isn't that long of a grade - the truck will manage it just fine. If you need a bit of momentum for the next uphill run just goose the throttle a bit and run the RPM's up a little higher and let the engine's torque carry you up the hill. With the GDE tune it's very easy to traverse the uphill and downhill grades, especially with their refined exhaust brake. Never have to ride the brakes on the way down the hill and the truck just pulls up the next grade like it's butt-uh.

    Bob
    2014 3.0 EcoDiesel, Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab, Graphite Gray, Saddle Brown Leather, 5'7" Box w/ Ram Boxes, Factory bedliner, BakFlip F1 Cover, BedRug, Air Suspension, 3.55's, DeeZee Tailgate Assist, Amp Research bumper step

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    RAM Sr Member leehunt19's Avatar
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    I just got home from a 1900 mile trip towing my travel trailer from Oregon to San Luis Obispo. I used the + and - on the cruise control to manage my speed and breaking GDE exhaust break is the best $50 I ever spent. It only works above 2000 rpm but in tow/haul mode I never saw it drop below that while doing highway speeds. I'm leaving today for a trip to South Dakota and feel confident I will have a stress free trip now that I know how to use the exhaust break.

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    RAM Ninja DrivingZiggy's Avatar
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    The thing that worked for me was to have the cruise control set at the speed I wanted to descend. The truck downshifted as my speed increased and the GDE turbo brake did the rest. Kept me EXACTLY at the speed set.
    TwoBobs and sourdo like this.

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    RAM Regular TwoBobs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrivingZiggy View Post
    The thing that worked for me was to have the cruise control set at the speed I wanted to descend. The truck downshifted as my speed increased and the GDE turbo brake did the rest. Kept me EXACTLY at the speed set.
    My experience as well, Ziggy. Never have to touch the brakes on a downhill grade - saves the truck and trailer brakes from even getting warm.


    Bob
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    2014 3.0 EcoDiesel, Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab, Graphite Gray, Saddle Brown Leather, 5'7" Box w/ Ram Boxes, Factory bedliner, BakFlip F1 Cover, BedRug, Air Suspension, 3.55's, DeeZee Tailgate Assist, Amp Research bumper step

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    RAM Rookie JLawley's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I failed to mention in the original post that I have the stock tune and I was using the cruise control at the time...if that makes a difference. Maybe the cruise control was using the engine to maintain the speed going down the hill. I don't know. Although it seems it was on most of the time but engine braking only occurred occasionally.

    I'm seriously considering getting the GDE tune. It sounds great. My only concern is how it might affect my extended warranty that I purchased with the truck. Again, thanks for the replies.

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    RAM Ninja DrivingZiggy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLawley View Post
    Maybe the cruise control was using the engine to maintain the speed going down the hill.
    No, it was actually using the transmission.

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