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Horsepower and Brakes... good and bad :-)

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Last weekend was a fun one for sure. 


It started off with a towing trip to the edge of the Frank Church Wilderness. I was loaded up at a light 23,320 lbs. It's a 260 mile tow but there are 2 notable grades to pull. 


The first is Horseshoe Bend Hill on Hwy 55. It's about a 3.25 mile pull that averages a little over 5% but has about 2 miles of 7% as well. Depending on traffic I usually pull this grade anywhere from 55-60. Since I knew I was a little heavier than I normally am I wanted to see how the truck did and ran it at 60, which in 5th is about 2300 rpms. 


Normal camping weight (19-20K max) puts me at about 80-85% load, but not this trip. On the 7% sections I was at 99-100% the whole way. I never slowed down but the load showed near max the whole time. This put me at 28 psi and 1240-1260° pre-turbo and 920-940° post turbo. All in all that's right where I want to be with sustained WOT. I also don't think I need to be going much faster than 60 at 23K up a 7% grade lol. Based on 850 lb/ft of torque in this rpm band that's about 375 rwhp, which is apparently plenty for me. I get just over 400 rwhp WOT at 2500 rpms. 


The next long grade was the 5ish mile pull up Banner Summit. This one is only 6% but it ends just a hair over 7K feet. I pulled it at 55 with power to spare, approx 85-90% load. It's really amazing what 5 mph will do. I don't recall exact numbers but even thou it was 3K feet higher in elevation it wasn't noticeably hotter.  


All of that and I got just under 10 mpg for the 200 mile drive from Kuna to Challis, ID. No complaints from me at all. 



The trip out was a little more interesting. I left for home just before noon on Sunday in a snow storm at 6,000' but it wasn't sticking to the road. It's a 65 mile dirt road drive to Challis from camp. About 15 miles from camp there is a hill we have to climb on the single track USFS road. The pass is at 7400', and the snow was sticking to the road from 6800' up. Based on the weight going in I still had my 19.5's on and they aren't the best snow tires... something about 70 psi minimum and LRG sidewalls/tread. I did fine going up but decided to chain up all 4 for the descent. It was nice to know that my chains fit them rather well, thou I hope to never do that again. I needed the chains for about 2 miles and removed them, no big deal. 


Now the real fun beings. 20 miles later I was on a larger USFS road that in technically 2 lanes but everyone still slows to pass head to head. I ran into oncoming traffic so I went to slow and pull over and my brake pedal was VERY soft and I had minimal braking. I turned on the exhaust brake and passed the traffic. Once there was a wider spot I pulled over to see what the issue was. My inital thought was the chains damaged a brake like but I had used them quite a bit since the chains were off. Turns out my tailpipe came loose and was dangling on the rear axle. The bouncing of the tail pipe on the axle punctured the right rear brake hardline... crap! I was probably 20 miles from town at this point. I pulled the loose exhaust pipe out from under the truck and tossed it in the bed, and then pinched the brake line as best I could with some pliers. I got a little bit of brakes back but only 10-15% and nothing constant as I still had a leak, but it was a dirt road I know well and I had a functional exhaust brake so I slowly went into town. 


In town I stopped at the fuel station and after some monkey work I started chatting with an older gentleman who was inside drinking coffee. Turns out he was the former owner of the station and offered to pinch the line in the shop for me. So I handed him a 6" piece of the hardline with the fitting on it and he pinched it very tight. It only leaked small drops with the brakes applied, so I had good brakes but nothing I could hold and sustain for long periods of time. I decided to head for home the long way. The route thru Arco added 70 miles but it's a much straighter route requiring a lot fewer brake applications. I made it 143 miles before I needed to use the brakes at a stop sign, and then made it home with only 3 more brake applications... Exhaust brakes are AWESOME!


I also pulled 19.4 mpgs coming home at 70+ most the way. 


I got lucky and Peterson Dodge in Nampa had the part in stock and it's all fixed up. I put the tailpipe, with mangled tip, back on and will replace it this winter. The exhaust was on the docket for this winter anyhow. 


Edited by AH64ID
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Sounds like it all worked a lot better than it could have. And I agree on the exhaust. One of my favorite mods.

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I had a similar issue here in town with a horse trailer on the back.   i ended up having to use  apair of vise grips to pinch the drivers front line haha.  that was "fun"

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