Feeders Mountain driving?

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by brown67, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. brown67

    brown67 Active Member

    Just finished my 1st week of feeder school. On the 4th day we drove up I-70 to the Eisenhower tunnel. Instructor drove up and I got to drive back to Denver down I-70. 6% grade for 6 miles or so. UPS teaches us to gear down and to ride the brake very lightly on the way down. I guess they don't like us to stab brakes, because they get hot and when you let up on the hot brakes the oxygen gets in and can start a brake fire. FYI no jake brake either. Instructor did it on the way up and we stopped and got out to smell the brakes and they were fine. I did it coming down and did get them a little hot and smelled a little too, but didn't smoke them. My instructor just told me to be a little lighter on the brakes. Do all of you feeder drivers do this? Just goes against everything I thought I knew abut braking, but I'm a newbie and don't know much.

    Interested in feeder school? Day 4. Mountain driving. Never driven in my life. They do push you hard in school. Almost quit on Wed. Hardest thing I've done. So much is tossed at you so fast. Did go back on Thursday (mountain driving day) and things started coming together. After running the mountains and coming back into Denver at rush hour, I really got a confidence boost. Still lots to learn, but now I feel I'm starting to catch on.
  2. rod

    rod retired and happy

    I'm surprised they teach you to ride your brakes--even if it is very lightly. That goes against everything I have ever heard
  3. blaeux35

    blaeux35 New Member

    i drive feeders in texas. flatland thank goodness:happy2:. i can't imagine driving a set of doubles through the mountains on dry pavement, let alone snow or rain:whiteflag:. good luck to you
  4. NNJDriver

    NNJDriver New Member

    Agree with you when i was taught to drive truck was always told not to ride the brakes. ridding the brakes to long they heat up glaze over and then your screwed when you need them most.
  5. Covemastah

    Covemastah Suspension Ovah !!! Tom is free FU Goodell !!

    I have never gone down a mt with that type of grade,Mts in N.H are big,but not like that.We do fan the brakes alot coming down and in bad weather I try to go down as slow as possible in a gear that I feel will hold me back.You will see what I mean after a while out there!! The main thing is your the Captian of that ship & you do what feels comfortable to you,not to me or your boss!! The main thing is to get home safe to your family.It will all get easier as you go along. A bad day here beats a great day in a pck/car which im sure you will here alot!! good luck!! A good piece of advice written here a while back from Over 9.5 :: if you think your going slow enough on a snowey road, your not!! slow it down more""" or along those lines he said........
  6. outta hours

    outta hours Active Member

    Not sure where you are, but you can get a little taste of it on Ranger Hill heading out I-20 or going through the Arbuckle Mountains on I-35 to OKC. But that's nothing like those Rockies.
  7. bluehdmc

    bluehdmc Well-Known Member

    Light constant application is better than- hard application then letting off-then hard application again, etc. The hard applications generate more heat but the brakes don't have enough time to cool off while they are released. (not that the oxygen would get in and cause a fire, the heat generated and any grease on brake components is what burns.) Brakes fade when the build up too much heat. Some trucks have brake application gauges, I was told no more than 10lbs, which isn't much more than enough to light the brake lights. We don't have those type of grades in the northeast and so it's not mentioned here.
  8. anonymous6

    anonymous6 Guest

    I agree with you. We drive down Donner Pass in CA on I 80 every night. It's 40 miles of down grades. ( it has 2 runaway truck ramps )We all have Jake brakes. The main thing is selecting the proper gear BEFORE going downhill and keep a light pressure on brakes. stabbing does not work as mentioned above.

    UPS loads are really not that heavy. most of our drivers go by the shop and have the brake adjustment checked before leaving. that's real important, especially with the rental trailers.

    good luck
  9. brown67

    brown67 Active Member

    I know the light constant pressure works, because my instructor did it. I may have been a gear to high, because the trucks rpm and speed would get away from me a little and I would have to give the truck more brake pressure. I wonder with a high grade if its possible to keep the rpms in the right place without hitting the brakes, or will the light pressure keep it from running away.
  10. blaeux35

    blaeux35 New Member

    im in mesquite, so ive drove both of those paths many times. those are bumps in the road compared to the rockies:happy2: . i have been on sleeper teams headed to the east coast and there are some pretty mountainous areas up there with some pretty steep grades, but not a six mile 6% grade like the OP was talking about:anxious:
  11. 29th Christmas

    29th Christmas New Member

    Good luck 67. I went through feeder school in the early 90's, I thought that's what I wanted to do, but on the last day I told 'em nope. The feeder boss was dumbfounded, as that's all I used to talk about. Good thing I didn't go in as they eliminated all but 2 runs from our ctr and I would of had to work out of another or bump back into pkgs. Things worked out well though, shortly afterwards I became lead swing driver and then moved to a satellite. I hope you'll be able to have a route going north on I25 or I70 east outta denver--no mountains, just icey,wind swept roads:)
    PS...We don't take to kindly to feeder delays to the north of you :wink2:
  12. brown67

    brown67 Active Member

    I shouldn't see any mountain driving. My center is an hour north of Denver up i25. Just back and forth to Denver.
  13. anonymous6

    anonymous6 Guest

    you have to experiment with being in the right gear. I can go down a 6 percent grade in 9th gear with a jake brake and not even hit the brakes. Without a jake , i would probably have to be in 8th gear. it's better to err on the safe side and work your way up in the gears instead of going to a higher gear and try to go down. we have seen too many trucks in the runaway ramps who learned the hardway.
  14. S hammer

    S hammer New Member

    I don`t know of any driver with reasonable experience that uses the stab braking system! Light reasonable steady pressure with occasional letting up on the brake as you feel the unit NOT speeding up beyond control. This is with jake brake equipped tractors..Never driven without jakes.. By the way, when I first started driving I used the stab method once. I was desending an unknown hill to me which was rather long and STEEP with curves & stabbing all the way down and braking was getting less & less effective! Why? Because I was fanning all of my air supply away; I got lucky on that one and NEVER use the stab method again!....Get in the right gear considering the mauntain grade,weight,weather, etc. and use the steady braking all the way down to the bottom...P.S. You can also let up on the braking and let the jake brake hold you back and re- apply the brake pressure as needed too..(most common method I use) no fires,no air loss and in control...This is only attainable with good brakes and properly adjusted by the way!
  15. anonymous6

    anonymous6 Guest

    I forgot to mention that before we start down the 40 miles of downgrades there is a brake check area where we are required by law to pull over and cool and/or check brakes.

    i do a walk around and bump tires , check air lines and make sure again that the air valves are closed on the rear trailer.

    also pull the hand valve to make sure there are no air leaks.
  16. SmithBarney

    SmithBarney Well-Known Member

    brown, you should volunteer to do Red Mtn Pass or Wolf Creek..
    Red Mtn, scares me in my personal car...
    Good luck.
  17. dilligaf

    dilligaf IN VINO VERITAS

    Never been on Red Mtn that I know of but Wolf Creek is beautiful.
  18. brownrodster

    brownrodster New Member

    You should be able to drive around without using the breaks. Use the throttle and shifts to slow down. I rarely used to even use the clutch. I know mountain driving can be sketchy. I was riding shotgun with my boss coming down I90 and the engine quit on us. My boss freaked and yelled what do I do!!!!! I just said "turn the key"!!! "Turn it back on!" He was too panicked to think properly. Fun times. Can't wait to get into feeder.
  19. MrFedEx

    MrFedEx Engorged Member

    Those who don't live out West don't really understand the concept of mountain driving. When I used to drive CTV (feeder) for FedEx, we had a training center in Blytheville, Arkansas, since shut down. I was there for doubles certification, and the second day of the class, Billy Bob the instructor told the class that the next day we'd be doing some "mountain driving". He told several horror stories about handling joints in the mountains, and the class was generally terrified.

    The next day we did about 150 miles of driving through Tennessee and Missouri and at the end of the day I asked the instructor why we never went through the "mountains". His reply was that we'd been doing mountain driving most of the day. I'm guessing the largest hill we negotiated gained about 700 feet in elevation...I almost started laughing.

    At the end of class I pulled Billy aside and told him about Donner Pass, Pipestone Pass, the Siskyous, and some of the other places I'd run for other companies. He couldn't believe we had mountain passes where you gain nearly 8,000 feet of elevation and then lose another 8,000 feet going downgrade.

    You need a Jake, you need experience, and you probably don't want to snub or stab brake unless you want to experience an escape ramp....he didn't even know what I was talking about.