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Old 16th May 2008, 15:05   #61
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I want to emphasize what simplythebest said. check the brakes and take a break. Allow them to cool down.
This is what the authorities do abroad. While coming down from a mountain, they check the temperature of your brakes midway and will ask you to take a break for 30 minutes.
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Old 16th May 2008, 15:24   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
I want to emphasize what simplythebest said. check the brakes and take a break. Allow them to cool down.
This is what the authorities do abroad. While coming down from a mountain, they check the temperature of your brakes midway and will ask you to take a break for 30 minutes.
The best way to check out drum heat on mountain trail when coming down is to stop, touch the drums / wheel and see if it's too hot. How do you know if it too hot? Check the heat on a normal city run with your hand. You'd get to know what normal heat is, any running generates some amount of heat.

I had a similar situation when I was running down from Joshimath, Chamoli, Karnaprayag, Almora on my Fusion. When I reached Chamoli, it was reasonably hot and at Karnaprayag when it touched the drums, they were piping hot, in fact the Rear R drum was smoking. Stopped for some time to let it cool down before I proceeded. All throughout, I used to take either a break which gives time-out for the drums and pads to settle down. Used the 2nd and 1st gears on most of hard decends for engine breaking, the engine WILL scream.

--Ramky
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Old 16th May 2008, 15:32   #63
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I second what Hondadude said:

- Use the same gear for downhill that you used to go uphill in.
The engine acts like a brake thereby reducing the need to use the foot brake.

Which is the right gear ? Well I play it by the ear. The engine should be revving harder than on a flat surface, but should not be screaming. you should feel the car slowing down or feel as when you brake, in the gear when going downhill....
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Old 16th May 2008, 15:38   #64
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Don't know why auto manufacturers do not give a temperature sensor for brakes and warn if overheated.
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Old 16th May 2008, 15:48   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
Don't know why auto manufacturers do not give a temperature sensor for brakes and warn if overheated.
Because under normal driving conditions such a read-out is almost never needed.
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Old 16th May 2008, 15:52   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolphin View Post
The terrain is indeed very steep.

While descending, you have mentioned to stick to 1st and 2nd gears even if the engine is screaming. Here is exactly what I want to know. Does this damage the clutch plates? Because I remember some mechanic or a friend of mine saying that downshifts at a relatively high speed affect/damage the clutchplates of the car or even melt them!
You could always brake before you downshift. If you start your descent in lower gears and keep tapping on your brakes as and when "engine is screaming", you would be fine. Using lower gears does not eliminate the need to use brakes. Its just that when are in 1st or 2nd gear, you need to brake less hard and thus you prevent the brakes from overheating.
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Old 16th May 2008, 16:13   #67
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I was in second for most of the descent and could never reach 2 on ascent, thanks to that yawning gap in the ratio between 1 and 2 in my Palio.

I could never think of going to gear 4 while descending. As is already mentioned, you were in a higher gear, thereby, were braking a lot.
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Old 16th May 2008, 17:04   #68
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Now in that section you can see boards reading

"STAY IN 2ND GEAR FOR DOWN HILL"
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Old 16th May 2008, 17:44   #69
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you mentioned driving in 3rd and 4th alot of the time.... from what i remember of that route, you ought to have been in 2nd and 3rd gear mostly.... it's no wonder that you got into trouble. let the engine rev a little higher - your life is worth more than the car will ever cost.
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Old 16th May 2008, 17:47   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watashi75 View Post

The clutch won't be affected by downshifting. But the engine life will be shortened a bit because of the high revs.
I don't think engine life will be affected as long as he is not redlining the tacho.
Clutch may get affected too while downshifting, say if one shifts to 2nd from 4th at a speed of 50 kmph, and releases the clutch without slowing the vehicle to around 20 kmph.
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Old 16th May 2008, 18:45   #71
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The reason for for the engine screaming is, as per my understanding, you had moved to a higher gear on the slope, maybe just 3rd gear for sometime, which cause momentum to be gathered, taking the weight of 6 people into consideration. At that point moving down to 2nd will cause it to scream.

Maintaining in 2nd, with foot off the clutch and slight braking while approaching the turning should hold you good. Braking is only to do slight corrections and not continuously to be used.

But all said, great to know that you had a good presense of mind! That is something that can save you in any situation and cannot be taught! :-)
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Old 16th May 2008, 19:58   #72
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Dolphin,

It isn't entirely your fault since the Esteem has amongst the lousiest brakes I have come across, specially the mid-nineties models. My '96 Esteem would have 0% braking left after a spirited drive from Nariman Point to Shivaji Park (approx 14 kms).

1. Keep the car slow and do NOT let it gather momentum. The higher the speed, the more braking it is going to need. This is fundamental to safe driving in hilly conditions.

2. Use the gear (engine braking) as much as the brakes. Or use a combination of both. Engine braking is an art that's easy to master. Once you do, you will use it not only on hills but even in daily driving conditions. Just make sure that you don't revv the engine too high, or shift into too low a gear at too high a speed (mechanical over-revving).

3. If the brakes feel weak, STOP and let the brakes cool down for a while.

4. Even automatic cars can use engine braking. For instance, when going down steep declines, slot the lever in 1st of 2nd.

I have seen some idiotic taxi drivers go down ghats in neutral to maximise FE. They really couldn't be any more suicidal than this!
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Old 16th May 2008, 20:03   #73
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This is really a nice thread. Got to learn a lot since this is my first car, and i need to explore a lot.
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Old 16th May 2008, 20:04   #74
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A few other tips & rules for hill driving are:

On any stretch of the road, the Vehicle going uphill has right of way.
Religiously stick to your lane, particularly on hairpin bends & blind curves.

Shift into a lower gear BEFORE getting into an uphill hairpin bend, to preclude the possiblity of stalling midway through it.

If your car stalls on a gradient, immediately apply the handbrake. Slot into first, rev the engine to medium revs, release the clutch and when the car just starts moving release the handbrake. This comes with a wee bit of practice.

If you take bends at a slow speed, you will reduce the incidence/severity of travel sickness amongst your (susceptible to it) family members/friends.
Remember travel sickness is largely induced by the centrifugal/centripetal forces produced on curves. And these forces are directly proportional to the speed at which you are travelling.

Wherever you stop/park on a gradient, turn the wheels in the direction such that if your car rolls it will not disappear into the ravines below! Needless to say you must engage the hand brake and 'leave' the car in first or reverse gear, whichever you feel is the 'logical' one!

Starting your car on a gradient is best done leaving the handbrake on, keeping the car in first gear, pressing the clutch and then applying the starter. Not the normal practice, but very safe, as you have control available immediately at startup.

If, by any chance your car 'refuses' to crank (slotted into gear) with the clutch depressed, you know that the clutch is not correctly adjusted and needs attention.



What else? Hmmm, can't think of anything more, but I'm sure others will fill in.

Be safe, and enjoy the hills.

Last edited by anupmathur : 16th May 2008 at 20:24.
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Old 16th May 2008, 20:10   #75
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Great post Anup. Lot of good tips for folks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
On any stretch of the road, the Vehicle going uphill has right of way.
Religiously stick to your lane, particularly on hairpin bends & blind curves.
It is so damn irritating to see vehicles hurtling downhill at a high speed thinking that uphill vehicles should give them way. One of the most abused rules of hill driving.
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