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Old 08-05-2015, 12:41 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
26% is extreme, but still... smoking? So you remember your road speed, the engine speed, and/or what gear where you using to get it?

I admit, I handled the situation like a real novice. I was going very slow and mashing the brakes. The 26% grade was at the very end of the pass so my brakes were already very hot.

The main problem was that my brake controller was not adjusted properly. My truck was doing nearly all of the work. In hindsight, I should have been applying the manual override on the brake controller or perhaps some of the emergency brake, but I was panicking. Lessons learned the hard way.
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Old 08-05-2015, 12:55 AM   #22
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Not a lot of people consider vehicle braking ability when deciding on a tow vehicle but in your extreme situation having the size of tow vehicle you have surely saved your bacon. Things would have been even more interesting had you been at the limit of tow capacity.

None the less excellent report!
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:19 AM   #23
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I often to remind wifey to downshift to use engine braking downhill, just keep an eye on the tachometer.............
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:23 AM   #24
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I admit, I handled the situation like a real novice. I was going very slow and mashing the brakes. The 26% grade was at the very end of the pass so my brakes were already very hot.

The main problem was that my brake controller was not adjusted properly. My truck was doing nearly all of the work. In hindsight, I should have been applying the manual override on the brake controller or perhaps some of the emergency brake, but I was panicking. Lessons learned the hard way.
I don't think the brake controller was the main problem, because the trailer brakes should not be continuously dragging down the grade. Applying the emergency brake definitely wouldn't be a fix - depending on GM's design, either the parking brake is just another way to run the same rear brake calipers (which would be no help at all) or it is a little mini-drum inside the "hat" of each rear disk, which is so small that it would be just destroyed without doing much good. These things are basically parking brakes, and can be used if both primary hydraulic braking circuits fail (which essentially never happens in this century), but they don't add to total braking capability.

The solution is engine braking, which is why I was asking about speeds. The weight of the truck and trailer pulling down the hill has to turn the engine, and with the transmission in a low enough gear, the engine is turning at a relatively high speed; it takes a lot of torque to turn the engine quickly with the throttle closed, so that torque works as a braking effect. Yes, all that braking is happening through the drive wheels (the rears in a 2WD pickup truck, all four if you have a 4WD that can work on pavement), but we're talking about enough braking to control speed, not panic-stop level of braking.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:43 AM   #25
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I don't think the brake controller was the main problem, because the trailer brakes should not be continuously dragging down the grade. Applying the emergency brake definitely wouldn't be a fix - depending on GM's design, either the parking brake is just another way to run the same rear brake calipers (which would be no help at all) or it is a little mini-drum inside the "hat" of each rear disk, which is so small that it would be just destroyed without doing much good. These things are basically parking brakes, and can be used if both primary hydraulic braking circuits fail (which essentially never happens in this century), but they don't add to total braking capability.



The solution is engine braking, which is why I was asking about speeds. The weight of the truck and trailer pulling down the hill has to turn the engine, and with the transmission in a low enough gear, the engine is turning at a relatively high speed; it takes a lot of torque to turn the engine quickly with the throttle closed, so that torque works as a braking effect. Yes, all that braking is happening through the drive wheels (the rears in a 2WD pickup truck, all four if you have a 4WD that can work on pavement), but we're talking about enough braking to control speed, not panic-stop level of braking.

All vehicles I have ever owned prior to this one have been standards so I am familiar with downshifting and engine braking. My Colorado is automatic with a manual mode but it does not indicate what gear I am in. I was going very slow because at the end of the grade was a hairpin turn. The tachometer was nearly redlining. So, according to your comment I guess there was not much more I could do...
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Old 08-05-2015, 08:01 AM   #26
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I'll echo everyone's comments on "Great trip report"! and absolutely loved your photo!
Lucy
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Old 08-05-2015, 08:08 AM   #27
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I don't have extensions, and had no idea they were required in some places. I can see sufficiently without them, I just have to be a little more cautious (which is not a bad thing). Honestly, I just think they would look terrible and cheap on my truck.
We have custom fit mirror extensions for our Silverado. It took a while for them to become available since our truck was a new model. Etrailer now has a couple different versions available. Not beautiful by any stretch, but are much nicer than the universal type. You could drop an email to etrailer and they probably have an idea when they will become available. It's nice to have a better idea about what's going on behind you.

Great trip report. Wish we had taken your route back to Ohio. Everything was closing coming back from Chilliwack through Yellowstone in October. We did come down the coast to Redwoods in Northern California. Should have come back via the Grand Canyon.

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Old 08-05-2015, 12:59 PM   #28
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:14 PM   #29
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[QUOTE=Daubsy;104287]I admit, I handled the situation like a real novice. I was going very slow and mashing the brakes. The 26% grade was at the very end of the pass so my brakes were already very hot.

Thanks for the account of your journey along with the grade information. I get cautious with 6%...needless to say the only way I will go there is by "Google Earth".
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Old 08-10-2015, 01:15 PM   #30
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You're much braver than we are. We had issues on a 10% grade coming out of Yellowstone so can I only imagine what towing on a 26% grade would do to my nerves (funny, that road has never seemed that bad in a car ... ). Glad you had a memorable (and safe) journey home.
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