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BikeRider 02-10-2013 01:08 AM

Planning our first trip
We are planning our first big trip in April. Heading from Michigan to Brevard NC. It looks like 670 miles or so. We should have a few short weekend trips under our belt before then but the whole family is excited. We plan on staying a week and then heading back home.

I've read a lot about driving in the Mountains but any suggestions for a newbie would be appreciated.

This summer is going to be fantastic.

tulipvendor50 02-10-2013 01:19 AM

Planning our first trip
An old trucker told me - never go down faster than you think you can go up, and with the old FC's that is slow LOL.

If you have a retarder, find a gear and the retarder in pos #2 that will hold the speed steady downhill, and you will not have a problem.

If you have a line up of cars going downhill, so be it, better safe than sorry.

Have fun driving your coach.

BikeRider 02-10-2013 01:49 AM

No Jake Brake that I know of. Maybe just downshifting huh?

Icefixr66 02-10-2013 02:00 AM

Ben and Nichole, If you are going to Brevard,NC in april , WHY NOT come a little farther south to Myrtle Beach and join the rest of us at Ocean Lakes campground for the Birds at the beach Rally. You will have a "Big Time", meet many wonderful people, see many birds and eat way too much. It's what THIS FAMILY is all about! Give it serious thought

Jim Brookshire 02-10-2013 08:30 AM


We will be home from about April 10 thru the end of the month. Check out the map, Saluda is less than an hour from Brevard. You are welcome to come by and talk Birds with or without your coach. Several mountain grades on I-75 and I-40 between NC and Mich, but nothing extreme. You should be fine if you just take it easy.

gcyeaw 02-10-2013 09:23 AM

The old 3208 doesn't offer a bunch of resistance, so watch your speed down hill. You need to watch out for over-reving the 3208 and breaking valves. Trying to maintain too high a speed will also result in much more brake use and overheated brakes. The more you need the brakes the slower you should go.

On my FC35 with a turbo I use third gear below 40 mph and down to second below 30 mph both climbing and going down if needed. (dependent on your differential ratio) The max RPM on my 250 turbo is 2650 and I watch it constantly. If you have a manual fan control engage the fan on the way down too, it adds some resistance to the system. With a little experience you will get the feel.

On my first GPS induced extreme and very long downhill grade I ended up with smoke billowing out of the wheel wells half way down. I was trying to maintain 40 mph..I should have been aiming at 20. I was lucky to find a place to pull off to cool down.

Bill Pape 02-10-2013 09:35 AM

Hi Ben & Nicole,

We are also trying to rearrange our schedule to attend Birds at Myrtle Beach.
We live east of Ann Arbor , Milford/Commerce, Once out of Michigan there are Bird owners along your route in Ohio.
We checked out your Bird last October when it was parked at Penn Diesel in Cranberry,Pa, for generator repairs.
Try to avoid the Ohio turnpike. Tolls seems to have really increased since adapting the Easy Pass and connecting to the PA and Eastern States toll roads.

tulipvendor50 02-10-2013 12:30 PM

Planning our first trip
No Jake Brake that I know of. Maybe just downshifting huh?

To check if you have one - is there a lever on the left side of the steering wheel, with numbers 1-4 on it? OR, look under your coach, on the driveshaft between the transmission and rearend, there would be a magnetic type device - HUGE.

This is not an engine type JACOBS brake, but a magnetic type. These work really well on the FC's.

If you don't have one, yup, downshift and as others have said, watch your engine speed, do not overrev it.

safe travels, just don't be in a hurry.

peteaeonix 02-10-2013 02:15 PM

One hint is to use the same gear going down the grade as you used going up the grade. (But I'll admit I found that hard to do...)

As several others have pointed out, on the downgrade take it easy. Don't "pump" the brake as that will bleed off air pressure quite quickly. (You need to preserve the air pressure, so keep track of the air pressure gauge. Below 60# and the spring brakes will kick on.

The best approach is to choose a speed that you are comfortable with. Select the gear that is rated to something above that speed (so you don't accidentally over-rev). As the speed builds up to about 5 mph above your target speed, press the brake pedal with an even pressure sufficient to slow you down until you are about 5 mph to 10 mph BELOW your target speed. Then release the brake and let 'er roll until you're at 5 mph above the target speed and repeat the process.

If you're rolling up to the 'above' point too fast -- then reduce the target speed by 5 mph and slow down to 5 mph below the new target. (This may allow a down-shift -- if necessary, pick a target speed that's safely in the speed range of the next lower gear and slow down to downshift.)

The other "depends" ... some downgrades are a straight shot (this is mostly in the Western mountains across Wyoming and Nevada and/or NM and AZ) -- then you can safely allow the target speed to be somewhat higher, as (traffic permitting) you're not too likely to need to slow down to make a curve, etc.

George Roberts 02-10-2013 04:28 PM

Remember you can go too slow many many times. You can only go too fast once.

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