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Downshifting vs. braking

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Old 06-08-2018, 08:21 PM
Surfhero
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Question Downshifting vs. braking

What is the proper speed limit for me to begin descending in 2nd gear and/or 1rst gear. My van is a 1994 E150 4.9 L with heavy load. The country Iím currently traveling Guatemala, and other Central American countries typically have steeper downgrades and upgrades for that matter than would be normally legal or to code in the states. Already replaced the shoes and pads once.
 
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Old 06-08-2018, 10:17 PM
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You can put it in 1 or 2 at ANY speed. The computer is smart enough to prevent the downshift if you're going to fast. It will wait until you've slowed to where it is safe to downshift, and then shift.
 
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Kovalsky View Post
You can put it in 1 or 2 at ANY speed. The computer is smart enough to prevent the downshift if you're going to fast. It will wait until you've slowed to where it is safe to downshift, and then shift.
Ive assumed this for decades. But never had the courage to try it
 
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:51 PM
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Many years ago, when I was working with Chrysler on the EATX program (Electronic Automatic Transmission Controller) we were riding in the test vehicle to evaluate a software change. The test vehicle was a Caravan equipped with a fixture in front of the passenger seat that held the EATX module in an open test fixture. I was riding in the back, the project lead engineer driving and his technician in the right front seat. We decided to run from the plant up the interstate of a BBQ place for lunch. We were cruising on the interstate about 75 mph when the tech commented that the crystal sure looked vulnerable sitting up like that exposed the way it was. He and the engineer discussed possible issues for a moment and then the tech said; "I wonder what would happen if I did this?" and flicked the crystal with his finger.

The thing you have to know about the A604 automatic in FWD Chrysler applications is; if anything goes wrong with the transmission or controller the typical response is for the controller to put the transmission in 2nd gear. Which it did in this case. The problem was we were doing 75 mph at the time. We had to have the van towed back to the plant and it had to have a new motor as all of the valves were bent.

The tech's new nickname was "thumper".
 
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:23 PM
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And that's why Ford's default gear is always direct (1:1) or overdrive. We often wondered why Chrysler had a second gear default.
 
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Old 06-11-2018, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Clubwagon View Post
We had to have the van towed back to the plant and it had to have a new motor as all of the valves were bent.

The tech's new nickname was "thumper".
Damn, what does Chrysler make their rods out of, Bubble gum? That's a lot of stretch. Like my Ford buddies would say, "Mopar no Car".
 
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:00 AM
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There is no shortage of brake shops here in Central America. There is also a much higher ratio of standard transmission vehicles the automatic vehicle here. I will be down shifting for downgrade carefully nonetheless.
 
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Surfhero View Post
What is the proper speed limit for me to begin descending in 2nd gear and/or 1rst gear. My van is a 1994 E150 4.9 L with heavy load. The country Iím currently traveling Guatemala, and other Central American countries typically have steeper downgrades and upgrades for that matter than would be normally legal or to code in the states. Already replaced the shoes and pads once.
My advice to you is not to wait til you need to downshift on the grade but do it at the top. It'll save your life one day. I'm a 41 year verteran truck driver and been down almost every pass there is to go down out west. (and a few that I wasn't supposed to be on) Why wait and take the chance that the transmission will fail in downshifting or burning up your brakes first ?
 
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Im50fast View Post


Ive assumed this for decades. But never had the courage to try it

THAT made me really laugh out loud!!!!
 
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Im50fast View Post
Ive assumed this for decades. But never had the courage to try it
Then you're probably glad you weren't riding with me when I shifted a truck to reverse (automatic) at 80 MPH. On purpose.
 
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Kovalsky View Post
Then you're probably glad you weren't riding with me when I shifted a truck to reverse (automatic) at 80 MPH. On purpose.
****, I did that at the dragstrip with a C4 ! With a mini spool in the 8" rearend. That was a wild ride ! So used to shifting a Toploader, I got a little enthusiastic manually shifting the C4 with a floor shifter. Went sideways, then recovered. The C4 was none the worse for it.
 
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Kovalsky View Post
Then you're probably glad you weren't riding with me when I shifted a truck to reverse (automatic) at 80 MPH. On purpose.
Iíve always wondered what would happen if you did that...
What did happen???
 
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:50 PM
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The engine stalled. That's it.
 
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:21 AM
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LOL That's kind of anti-climatic!!!!!
 
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:28 AM
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Yes, it was. But it sure beats what could have happened,

Actually, I knew what was going to happen. It first did it at about 15 MPH, then worked my way up to 80 MPH. And I wasn't just screwing around, I was on a test track in a test vehicle.
 
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