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  #1  
Old 05-04-2005, 09:53 PM
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Question Climbing Thompson Pass!

Ok Alaskans, I got one for you...

My Excursion has a 5.4L v8 with auto trans and tow package. I just bought a "lightweight" travel trailer (dry weight 4600 lbs) and am looking at going to Valdez this summer.

I took the family on a "shakedown run" the other day to Nenana to see how my Ex would pull up the hills. It seemed to do fine...although the rv forum I belong to is telling me that I need more tow vehicle for that big a trailer.

I need some advice from ALASKANS who know Thompson Pass and who have towed up the hill. What do you guys think...is a 5.4L Excursion up to the task? My tranny temp gauge and my engine temp gauge never moved on the Nenana run and it didn't seem like it was huffing and puffing. My concern is that I have been told that going into Valdez is the easy part...coming home may be more difficult!
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Old 05-06-2005, 07:34 AM
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4600lbs doesn't even come close to the maximum tow rating of your X. I say go have a nice drive. I hauled logs into Valdez for three years so I have been over Thompson probably well over 1500 times. It is a quite a bit more of a pull coming home than going down but you should not have a bit of trouble. I use to pull a 27' travel trailer with a boat behind it(doubles)down to Valdez when the silvers were running. We have not made the trip as a family for three years but when we did I never had any trouble. At that time I was using my 96' F350 PSD but I would not hesitate to do it in our excursion. Ours does have the PSD but your 5.4 will do it, it will just do it a little slower but hey you are going for a vacation whats the hurry..
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  #3  
Old 05-06-2005, 11:12 AM
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How did the first long hill past Ester pull on your "shakedown run"? What was your speed at the top?

I could always follow you down to Valdez and give you a push over the top if you needed it
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Old 05-06-2005, 02:49 PM
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Thanks for the info guys. When I went to Nenana on our "shakedown run" I went about 50mph through the hills with the OD turned off. I "felt" I could have gone faster but wanted to err on the side of caution this first trip. The tach never reached 3000 rpm I don't think and if it did it wasn't for long.

As I said the tranny temp gauge and the engine temp gauge never moved from where they normally sit (the accuracy of these factory gauges is a matter of debate with some in my rv forum)

We are planning a couple trips to Anchorage and at least one to the
Kenai/Seward/ Homer area this summer so we'll see how Kermie pulls these trips.
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Old 05-06-2005, 05:35 PM
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Going up Thompson is much more of a pull than going up Ester. It is a little longer but not much steeper. You might find that the folks on your RV site are geared a little more to the full time, retired rv'er. It doesn't really make sense for the part timer that takes three or four short trips a year to get geared up like they do. You see them around town in there dually trying to find a parking spot that is wide enough. Your X will do great,,,,
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Old 05-06-2005, 09:40 PM
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I was just using the Ester hill as a benchmark of what I see towing. My old 1997 F-350 CC LB 4x4 with a 460, auto, and 3.55 gears would slow down to about 40 at the top of the Ester hill pulling about a 9,000# travel trailer. That truck was a little undergeared for that weight. Tranny temps would also climb and caused the CEL to illuminate.

Sound like your Ex will do fine.
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  #7  
Old 05-17-2005, 03:25 PM
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Slow and easy Wes and you will do fine. I pull it at 70 with my 7000 TT but I dont have a gasser. Plus you get to pay more attention to the views of Marshall pass and all of the glaciers. PS. Just beware of the 40 mph curve just past the Blueberry State Park. That one gets people here and there. You also have to stop at Worthington Glacier . Another 10 years and it might not be here the way it has been melting.
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Old 05-18-2005, 07:41 PM
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Hey Wes,

I just went down to the performance shop and bought a super chip micro tuner for the 03. This thing just woke up a sleeping giant. The difference is night and day. It has more power, more torque, tranny shifts much better. Now I need smaller tires. It was $399.00 out the door.

Tony
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Old 05-18-2005, 11:12 PM
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Wes send my a copy of your scheduel and I will do the same. Looks like we can meet one day in the middle, say Paxon-Summit Lake region. Be a good overnight BBQ trip.
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Old 05-18-2005, 11:36 PM
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2 more weeks and the freedom begins "somewhat". Wes one other hill of concern. Just after you go past the turnoff to Chitna-McCarthy you will drop down a small hill, there will be a gas station on the right then slow down and get ready for "Squire Creek Hill". 10-12% downhill grade. Just gear it down so as not to use up your brakes. Other than that its pretty easy going to the pass. Head down, go through the canyon and I'm 2 miles on the left.
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  #11  
Old 05-19-2005, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Y2K350
I just went down to the performance shop and bought a super chip micro tuner for the 03. It was $399.00 out the door.
If you are in the market for a tuner or chip there are cheaper places to get them. $399 isn't bad but $299 is better
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  #12  
Old 05-19-2005, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumm
If you are in the market for a tuner or chip there are cheaper places to get them. $399 isn't bad but $299 is better
I hate waiting for things to come in the mail. The anticipation kills me.
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  #13  
Old 05-19-2005, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Y2K350
I hate waiting for things to come in the mail. The anticipation kills me.
I can relate to that, especially with the speedy shipping to Alaska.
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  #14  
Old 05-23-2005, 10:45 AM
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Heavenbound,
Pull the rig up cleary summit. That will tell you how the trip up thompson pass will be. When you get to the bend halfway up the summit you well have to drop your speed down to 5-10 mph then start the climb all over again. you should be able to get back up to 35 by the top of the hill. Just go to chatinika lodge and turn around. The trip up cleary summit is short compaired to thompson pass but it is steeper. Also Thompson pass is and easy climb from the fairbanks side. The valdez side is where you will have problems if your going to but if you don't have any problems going up Cleary summit you should have any problems with Thompson pass.

I have more problems with Clearly Summit than I do Thompson pass as it takes a lot to get my 93 7.3 IDI to pull itself and a 13,000 5th wheel up that hill from a near dead stop halfway up the grade.
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  #15  
Old 06-17-2005, 04:09 PM
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Gota reply to this again. After driving to and from Fairbanks with the TT I think the worse part was from Eilson to Delta. All of the frost heaves right before a curve or hill made for a lot of slowing down. At least with the pass its a straight shot and you can keep going.
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Old 06-17-2005, 04:09 PM
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