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What's the longest, steepest grade you have towed

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Old 07-22-2016, 01:34 PM
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What's the longest, steepest grade you have towed

This weekend, I will be towing my new 5th wheel up to North Carolina. The last leg of the trip involves going up Geer Hwy that goes from SC to NC up through Caesar's Head State Park. It is a very steep and crooked climb that's about 6 miles. I have towed up the route with my 6.0 liter pulling a 27' 10k fiver and with my 2012 6.7 pulling a 36' 11.5k fiver. I haven't had much trouble, but I am always watching the temps and I usually get to hear what the fan sounds like. This time I will be in the 2016 6.7 towing my 39.5' Montana that I expect to weigh around 14.5k.


I think the worst part of the whole thing is the very sharp switchbacks, where you have to slow down and lose momentum then start to accelerate again. Oh, then coming back down is no fun either. I'm looking forward to trying out the exhaust brake on the way down.


I know that some of you guys, especially out West, tow heavy up and down some pretty steep grades. What are your experiences?


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Old 07-22-2016, 04:56 PM
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Worst

Hwy 155 with a 10k TT. Bad part was about 20 miles. Hard switch backs with a very narrow road. Never exceeded 20 MPH on the bad part.


Don't listen to the GPS when towing.
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:25 PM
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Bishop, Ca. To June Loop turn off. Roughly 50 miles with a 12 mile, app, section around 7 to 8 degrees. 60 mph on cruise control pulling my 31' 5er. Couldn't even tel the 5er was behind me. I was however burning some fuel. Lol
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:56 PM
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Should be fun. Only thing I hate about those 2 lane switch back roads are the camber shifts. The longer your wheelbase and rig, the more twisting and off camber turning you'll make. The high center of gravity and carrying a little too much speed can make the weight shifting more dramatic than we'd like. Have fun.
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ruschejj View Post
Should be fun. Only thing I hate about those 2 lane switch back roads are the camber shifts. The longer your wheelbase and rig, the more twisting and off camber turning you'll make. The high center of gravity and carrying a little too much speed can make the weight shifting more dramatic than we'd like. Have fun.
Never really thought about that, but you're right. Everything is getting all twisted up in multiple planes. One side is in tension and the other is in compression. Then it's all twisted up like a segment of a Möbius strip.

What bothers me is that it's nearly impossible not to cut the corners with the camper. We always head down the hill early enough that it's still dark and you can see headlights coming up, so it's easier to avoid others. Plus, at that time there's not much traffic and I can use all of the lanes.
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:59 PM
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About a 3000' climb to 9,600 feet over 9.5 miles, on gravel, tight switchbacks, washboards, and one section about 13% grade in the Santa Fe National Forest, northern New Mexico. Used 4x4H on the way up to dampen the effect of the washboards somewhat. Used 4x4L M on the way down to hold my speed down since the exhaust brake would not hold it .... needed to go no more than 10 mph in some places. BTW: 4x4L disables the tow/haul mode. This is a favorite boondocking camping spot off the grid ... no WiFi, zero bars and zero G's, dark skies, quiet, only AM radio. My truck does real well with this trip.
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by U235Fishin' View Post
About a 3000' climb to 9,600 feet over 9.5 miles, on gravel, tight switchbacks, washboards, and one section about 13% grade in the Santa Fe National Forest, northern New Mexico. Used 4x4H on the way up to dampen the effect of the washboards somewhat. Used 4x4L M on the way down to hold my speed down since the exhaust brake would not hold it .... needed to go no more than 10 mph in some places. BTW: 4x4L disables the tow/haul mode. This is a favorite boondocking camping spot off the grid ... no WiFi, zero bars and zero G's, dark skies, quiet, only AM radio. My truck does real well with this trip.
That sounds extreme! I bet there's a serious pucker factor on the way down.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by elee3 View Post
That sounds extreme! I bet there's a serious pucker factor on the way down.
Just start out slow in 4x4L M 2,3,4 and take your time. The washboards amplify problems with speed. The solitude is worth it.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:14 PM
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That sounds extreme! I bet there's a serious pucker factor on the way down.
I see that you might be of the nautical persuasion in a former life? Me .... USN '65-'72, USS Enterprise CVA(N)65 '67-'71, Tonkin Gulf '68 and '69.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:29 PM
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I see that you might be of the nautical persuasion in a former life? Me .... USN '65-'72, USS Enterprise CVA(N)65 '67-'71, Tonkin Gulf '68 and '69.
Mid 80's to early 90's for me. USS Ulysses S Grant SSBN 631 and USS Tennessee SSBN 734.
69 was a bad year for the big E. Hope you missed out on that bad day.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:50 PM
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Mid 80's to early 90's for me. USS Ulysses S Grant SSBN 631 and USS Tennessee SSBN 734.
69 was a bad year for the big E. Hope you missed out on that bad day.
Nope. I was inside the ship fighting fires .... burning fuel flowing through flight deck rips. It was a long day.
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Old 07-22-2016, 10:08 PM
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I live near Athens Georgia and often visit family living near DuPont state forest, right at the top of Caesars Head. I pulled CH multiple times with my 7500lb travel trailer and the oil temps would get high enough engage the fan near the top. But other wise it wasn't to bad up or down. The last four years I go around CH and take hwy178 up through Rosman and then cut over to Brevard on hwy 64. Taking the detour on 178 only added 20 minutes to a 3 hrs trip. But the road is so much easier on me and the truck. I have pulled what seems like every grade from the east coast to west coast in my 8 years, 50k + miles towing the travel trailer four years and the 14.5 klb 41ft fiver for 5 years. The worst aren't the steepest, but the the steep and very curvy ones. This requires very low speeds and thus reduced speeds and higher oil and coolant temps. On the long grades of very step, but fairly straight allow our beast trucks to blow past others struggling to make it and without the fan turning on. The hair pin turns on ch require the entire road and a wide swing to make with a long fiver. On turn in particular requires you to drop a tire on dirt while swinging wide so the trailer doesn't drop off the inside/opposite side of the road, parts of Caesars head is over 15% and most of the 11 miles is no less than 11%. My req is go around on 178 or take the interstate way around.
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Old 07-22-2016, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by U235Fishin' View Post
About a 3000' climb to 9,600 feet over 9.5 miles, on gravel, tight switchbacks, washboards, and one section about 13% grade in the Santa Fe National Forest, northern New Mexico. Used 4x4H on the way up to dampen the effect of the washboards somewhat. Used 4x4L M on the way down to hold my speed down since the exhaust brake would not hold it .... needed to go no more than 10 mph in some places. BTW: 4x4L disables the tow/haul mode. This is a favorite boondocking camping spot off the grid ... no WiFi, zero bars and zero G's, dark skies, quiet, only AM radio. My truck does real well with this trip.
That sounds like my kind of place! And you have me beat on elevation gain. I routinely drive up two passes in Colorado that are 7% and then one in Wyoming that is 11%.
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:34 PM
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Nope. I was inside the ship fighting fires .... burning fuel flowing through flight deck rips. It was a long day.
I have seen some footage from that and can only imagine how bad it must've been. We were shown footage from that fire and the one on the Forrestal to drive home how bad a fire at sea can be.
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Averill7 View Post
I live near Athens Georgia and often visit family living near DuPont state forest, right at the top of Caesars Head. I pulled CH multiple times with my 7500lb travel trailer and the oil temps would get high enough engage the fan near the top. But other wise it wasn't to bad up or down. The last four years I go around CH and take hwy178 up through Rosman and then cut over to Brevard on hwy 64. Taking the detour on 178 only added 20 minutes to a 3 hrs trip. But the road is so much easier on me and the truck. I have pulled what seems like every grade from the east coast to west coast in my 8 years, 50k + miles towing the travel trailer four years and the 14.5 klb 41ft fiver for 5 years. The worst aren't the steepest, but the the steep and very curvy ones. This requires very low speeds and thus reduced speeds and higher oil and coolant temps. On the long grades of very step, but fairly straight allow our beast trucks to blow past others struggling to make it and without the fan turning on. The hair pin turns on ch require the entire road and a wide swing to make with a long fiver. On turn in particular requires you to drop a tire on dirt while swinging wide so the trailer doesn't drop off the inside/opposite side of the road, parts of Caesars head is over 15% and most of the 11 miles is no less than 11%. My req is go around on 178 or take the interstate way around.
I have taken the route through Rosman a number of times. While not as steep as CH, it's still pretty crooked. It,s no fun going through the middle of Brevard with a long fifth wheel. That being said, I may end up taking that route.
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