Downshifting- How low do you go?

Discussion in 'Trucking Schools and CDL Training Forum' started by jmarc77, May 8, 2022.

  1. jmarc77

    jmarc77 Light Load Member

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    About to enter my 3rd of 4 weeks of in truck training in my CDL course. Something I'd like clarification on that I haven't really gotten a good answer to is- when you are downshifting to a stop (say on a 40 mph highway with a lot of stoplights and intersections, like a lot of the busy sections of the state and US highways) how low of a gear do you shift down to? Usually at 40 mph I'm in 8th gear, but 6th can bring me as low as 15. Do I need to shift lower than that?

    I'm an upshifting machine, I can double clutch or float, no issue going up. Downshifting is trickier for me. While driving a manual transmission'ed 4 wheeler, I developed the bad habit of shifting to neutral and coasting to my stop. Obviously in a semi, that's a no-no. I've always been able to bring the truck to a stop without an issue but I'm driving an unloaded truck and trailer.



    The truck I'm driving is an International Prostar sleeper with a very worn out 10 speed pulling an empty 53' dry van.
     
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  3. AModelCat

    AModelCat Road Train Member

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    I just keep downshifting until I'm in low range.
     
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  4. Brettj3876

    Brettj3876 Road Train Member

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    If I'm in top gear in a 10 I would bring it down to 1000rpm and hit 8th then repeat to 6th. I like to stay slow enough and far enough back that I don't have to come to a complete stop. Unless it's an unusual long light that works pretty good
     
  5. gentleroger

    gentleroger Road Train Member

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    6th is the highest you should stop in, under normal circumstances.

    As a trainer, I like seeing my guys bump down to 4th just to make sure they can.
     
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  6. AModelCat

    AModelCat Road Train Member

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    Usually 3rd or 4th you can putt along pretty slow at a lower RPM and still have enough torque to gently take off again. If you have to stop, just clutch in and stepping on the brakes should get you stopped smoothly in under a truck length. Then just pick your starting gear and get ready to go once its safe.
     
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  7. truckdriver31

    truckdriver31 Road Train Member

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    Depends if your driving a large car with jakes.
     
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  8. jmarc77

    jmarc77 Light Load Member

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    That sounds like a pretty good rule of thumb. The route I've been driving on is a busy main highway; lots of traffic lights and intersections. I just want to make sure I'm not relying on my service brakes too much to stop but I'm also not trying to do too much work by downshifting through every gear.
     
  9. jmarc77

    jmarc77 Light Load Member

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    They do have jakes but they turn them off.
     
  10. SmallPackage

    SmallPackage Road Train Member

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    I’m from the old school of letting the gears do the work for both accel and slowing.
    I have been known to go all the way down to 2nd before touching the brakes in a 13 speed. I don’t like doing brakes. Haven’t in 25 years. Still 75% in 689463 miles on my ‘67 with no steer axle brakes and rarely use the Jake. Lol!

    When I put a million on a 6speed I did the same finally hit brakes when back in 1st. Did two brake jobs in 17 years on that straight truck running 33,000 gross.

    takes practice to time the stops accordingly but if you set your mind to just sit back and cruise instead of being in a hurry it can be done.
    Autos are different. They are designed to eat brakes at a high rate.

    emergency situations and heavy fubared traffic different scenarios sometimes apply. Then its do whatever it takes to stop.
     
  11. Dave1837

    Dave1837 Road Train Member

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    I go to 6th sometimes 5th and just push the clutch in. Not gonna spend the time to shift 3 more gears when I could just push on the brake pedal. At speeds that low you're not burning anything up
     
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