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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am beginning to read some comments about running down hill with a heavy load. It is my impression that folks pulling heavier loads (like I plan to do - 5th wheel weighing in between 7-8000lbs), are having difficulty holding speed with just engine braking on 7%+ grades. That being said - would it be prudent before getting our 5th wheel to update the brakes? I am already planning on putting timbrens on the back end or something similar.:confused:
 

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It is true that the Eco does not assist much in the way of engine braking. Knowing what not to expect is a good thing in this situation. As for upgrading the braking system with better/larger rotors and pads it couldn't hurt anything more than your wallet.

I have been towing for a long time and what I have found is the importance in setting the trailer brakes for the load weight is often overlooked. Before I spent the money to upgrade I would try a few trips and experience the pull in stock form and try adjusting the brake power to find that sweet spot. With time you will need to replace brake pads or rotors, it is at this point that I would look at the cost to upgrade as well as how comfortable you are towing in stock configuration.
 

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im a big fan of ceramic brake pads and put them on everything when i have to change.
i have never needed to get different rotors or calipers i just added top end ceramic pads and was very impressed with brake performance.
absolutely no heat buildup and no wheel dust
 

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I think upgrading brakes is unnecessary. I have towed heavier weights (10k+) through some pretty steep grades, and yes, engine braking alone won't do it, but that doesn't mean the stock brakes aren't up the challenge.
 

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@brian351w - Have you installed ceramics on your EB? If so....How do they perform comparing to stock pads? How heavy are you towing? How do they perform on long 6%+ downhill grades? Just curious. I like the no heat build up and no brake dust.
 

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While upgrading could be beneficial, I think having the proper technique is key. Lots of people pulse their brakes on big grades, which is actually not beneficial. Put your put on the brake and keep it there the whole way down, this keeps air from getting in and creating heat build up like pulsing does. I've seen people using pulsing with heavy loads and as soon as you hit their tire with water it literally explodes or a blow out happens due to the heat build up.
 

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While upgrading could be beneficial, I think having the proper technique is key. Lots of people pulse their brakes on big grades, which is actually not beneficial. Put your put on the brake and keep it there the whole way down, this keeps air from getting in and creating heat build up like pulsing does. I've seen people using pulsing with heavy loads and as soon as you hit their tire with water it literally explodes or a blow out happens due to the heat build up.
I'm with you on pulsing your brakes but let me tell you that if you ever tow through the grapevine on Route 5 in California you will quickly find yourself unable to keep your foot on the brake pedal and keeping it there. I've turned wrenches on many vehicles over the years and have grown up with the change from drum brakes on all fours to disc brakes on all fours and have replaced many of both. I have never tried ceramic brakes though. Curious how well the work and how well they really dissipate heat. I have read a few stories in Hot Rod mags and the reviews come in positive.
 

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Ok the safest way is control of speed I am a hazmat truck driver and believe me thier is no room for mistakes on a heavy downgrade at the top of grade do you ever wander why they have signs that say all truck stop to check brakes that accomplishes two things one is to check brakes and the other is to actually dart off in a low gear to control speed and before everyone starts hackeling me try this stop at top put emergency flashers on start down the grade and maintain the slowest speed that is legal while having the truck in a gear that helps hold that speed now I'm going to tell you now that a lot of people are not going to like you trust me I know. I get paid to make sure I arrive allive and to make sure that the cargo I haul arrives safely. And that is the safest way to do it and if done right you will be very comfortable knowing that you won't be the one with a tangled wreck at the bottom of the grade. By the way I'm just telling you this cause I'm getting tired of seeing body bags from people that play macho man ( truck drivers mainly ) if you hauling a trailer you fall into that category. So please be safe I know about big rigs but I am new to a pickup and travel trailer and I am going with what has kept me alive for the 23 years I've been hauling hazmat. Thanks all

Sent from my EVO using F150 EcoBoost
 

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Ok the safest way is control of speed I am a hazmat truck driver and believe me thier is no room for mistakes on a heavy downgrade at the top of grade do you ever wander why they have signs that say all truck stop to check brakes that accomplishes two things one is to check brakes and the other is to actually dart off in a low gear to control speed and before everyone starts hackeling me try this stop at top put emergency flashers on start down the grade and maintain the slowest speed that is legal while having the truck in a gear that helps hold that speed now I'm going to tell you now that a lot of people are not going to like you trust me I know. I get paid to make sure I arrive allive and to make sure that the cargo I haul arrives safely. And that is the safest way to do it and if done right you will be very comfortable knowing that you won't be the one with a tangled wreck at the bottom of the grade. By the way I'm just telling you this cause I'm getting tired of seeing body bags from people that play macho man ( truck drivers mainly ) if you hauling a trailer you fall into that category. So please be safe I know about big rigs but I am new to a pickup and travel trailer and I am going with what has kept me alive for the 23 years I've been hauling hazmat. Thanks all

Sent from my EVO using F150 EcoBoost
Well said and in my opinion....Who cares about the hecklers and the people that simply don't get it. Drive safe, stay safe, stay alive and keep others alive at the same time.
 

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@brian351w - Have you installed ceramics on your EB? If so....How do they perform comparing to stock pads? How heavy are you towing? How do they perform on long 6%+ downhill grades? Just curious. I like the no heat build up and no brake dust.
i have not put brakes on this new Eco but they will be ceramic when the time comes to change them.
i upgraded my last truck 2004 F-150 with the ceramic discs all the way round i towed alot with that truck and the 97 F-150 before it
hills i travel are as steep as 8% with most in the 5%-6% range and most of the time i have a construction trailer 5'x10' loaded with an unknown weight but i have pulled onto the scale already and had 8,800 lbs
if you are familiar with those prev ford models you know that was well over the tow rating and i had no problems at all stopping
this trailer does not even have brakes on it so as you can imagine i am very dependant on the vehicle brakes and dont cheap out when its time to replace them
i have used Hawk performance brakes and i believe the others were Adaptive one ceramics
as far as comparing either of them to a stock pad they were almost double in price and provided an unmistakable difference in stopping power
i had no hot brake smell, no brake dust on the wheels and noticed no brake fade on downhill grades with the ceramics but the brakes did fade bad with semi metalics as well as smoked on a few occassions
of course the harder material eats into the front rotors over time and i had them turned when they would get a big lip on them and replace them eventually but i never worried about braking any load

so a little rotor wear is my only con to ceramics and i consider rotors a consumable just like brakes and gas and dont think anything of having them turned once and replaced at around 50K miles
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That is really interesting - I always thought pulsing the brakes allowed them to cool as opposed to applying constant pressure. On my vette, they have special air ducts that channel air to the the brake rotors both front and back in order to keep them cool. So you are saying that applying constant pressure to the brakes on a downhill slope will keep them cool because air cannot get in? I think I may start a thread or look that up to confirm your thoughts. Thanks for the info, I will check it out.
 

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While upgrading could be beneficial, I think having the proper technique is key. Lots of people pulse their brakes on big grades, which is actually not beneficial. Put your put on the brake and keep it there the whole way down, this keeps air from getting in and creating heat build up like pulsing does. I've seen people using pulsing with heavy loads and as soon as you hit their tire with water it literally explodes or a blow out happens due to the heat build up.
Thank you for bringing up technique as it is very important. However, your assertion concerns me. Heavy, constant brake application can drive up heat levels. However, if brakes have been applied correctly, one should not usually need to stop without the brakes having the opportunity to cool down. Thus avoiding your water/explosion scenario.

So, it would seem that enough constant break application (as you suggest) to keep speed in check and also constant would be counterproductive, causing the following:


  • Steady, dangerous build up of heat
  • Thus, a decrease in pad friction
  • Possibility of slow exhaustion of reserve vacuum (which can make emergency braking unavailable)
  • Not all the wheels to brake evenly (see article)
  • Muscle fatigue from holding the brake pedal down, but also holding it back/up
I am not advocating that a vehicle should be allowed to speed up unchecked until the brakes need to be slammed on to bring speed down. However, I am suggesting that starting at the top of the hill with a manageable speed before descent begins. Gear down, then only apply the brakes when engine compression braking does not exceed the momentum/acceleration. Then, the brakes should be applied in a controlled manner in order to slow the vehicle back down to the speed at which engine compression braking may restrict further acceleration.

This would accomplish:

  • Cool running, unfaded brakes at the time heavy braking is needed
  • Positive, effective friction when brakes are applied
  • Cool down when they brakes are released
  • Reserve vacuum
  • Relaxed/ unfatigued leg muscles
I have seen lots of drivers burn their brakes by not employing engine compression braking, and by "riding" the brakes partially depressed. Remember when Dad taught us to drive he said, "Don't ride the brakes"?


Here's an article that supports my thoughts in part:
Downhill Braking

Also, I've driven heavily loaded maxi vans up and down Pikes Peak tens of times as part of the support crew for an annual foot race that goes up the mountain to over 14,000 feet. Brake temperatures are taken at the bottom of a steep area, after descent, by authorities in order to keep vehicles with overheated brakes from entering traffic. By gearing down, and pulsing the brakes, I was able to keep my brake temps below 70 degrees on every descent. Other drivers who rode their brakes were not allowed to continue driving because their brakes were dangerously hot (as in your illustration above).


One last thought. When braking hard to a stop, I don't remain in the same position with my brake pedal applied. Instead, once safely stopped, I roll a foot or two forward in order that the hot spot on the rotor that was between the two pads doesn't remain there, with the heat trapped. The hot spot becomes free from the pads, and moved into free space where air convection can dissipate the heat, reducing the propensity for rotor warpage.

Thank you
 

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Sorry for digging up an old thread, but if I found it through a Google search, others will too, making it more current than one would think.
Thanks.
 

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Iv'e always used a combination of engine braking, trailer braking and pedal braking. My EB just doesn't have the engine braking I thought it would, but I'm also pulling a light trailer at 5500 lbs roughly. I'll let the engine attempt to do the work, but I'll inevitably have to use other forms of braking on the grades I usually travel on.
 

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With the 5* performance tow tune....they turn up the transmission down shifting points/pressure/engine breaking....and it does slow the truck with my 8k Springdale bumper pull without having to break as much.

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While upgrading could be beneficial, I think having the proper technique is key. Lots of people pulse their brakes on big grades, which is actually not beneficial. Put your put on the brake and keep it there the whole way down, this keeps air from getting in and creating heat build up like pulsing does. I've seen people using pulsing with heavy loads and as soon as you hit their tire with water it literally explodes or a blow out happens due to the heat build up.

With all due respect, riding the pedal all the way down is NOT what you want to do. That is horrible advice and will definitely put you in a bad spot. Grab a CDL manual and read up on the proper technique. Engine braking is great, but our Eco's just don't have enough to really pull your speed back down. Proper gear selection, proper speed at the top of the decent, and braking technique is the answer.
 

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A very good way to warp your
rotors and ruin your brake pads....yikes. :frown:

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