School me on downshifting...

Willworkfortruck

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Ok so Im new to this rotary dial shifter that goes P R N D and thats all.

Today while descending a very steep and windy (not breezy, curvy) city street in Gatlinburg Tn, I wanted to “drop it into 2nd” instead of riding or stabbing the brakes.

So how does one do that?

I used the steering wheel + - control to lock out 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, trying to make it stay in 3rd, seems like a strange way to do it as I’m used to 40 years of pulling the handle down into 2... is that how its done? The truck did gear down, I’n just wondering...
 

knightro84

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Yes, you use the +/- buttons on the steering wheel to select the highest gear the truck will use.
 

Willworkfortruck

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Yes, you use the +/- buttons on the steering wheel to select the highest gear the truck will use.
I looked it up and understand it better now, just wondered why not have a “2” on the dial setting? Seems like it would be useful, or maybe these fancy multi-speed transmissions can’t operate that way.
Yes I’m old, the 727 Torqueflight only had 3 gears... I get it...
 

SpeedyV

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Ok so Im new to this rotary dial shifter that goes P R N D and thats all.

Today while descending a very steep and windy (not breezy, curvy) city street in Gatlinburg Tn, I wanted to “drop it into 2nd” instead of riding or stabbing the brakes.

So how does one do that?

I used the steering wheel + - control to lock out 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, trying to make it stay in 3rd, seems like a strange way to do it as I’m used to 40 years of pulling the handle down into 2... is that how its done? The truck did gear down, I’n just wondering...
Note: An optional feature (that your truck may not have) is Hill Descent Control; click a button and the truck maintains a steady downhill speed in its own. It might be overkill for street use in good weather conditions, though.
 

Rick J

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Note: An optional feature (that your truck may not have) is Hill Descent Control; click a button and the truck maintains a steady downhill speed in its own. It might be overkill for street use in good weather conditions, though.
I don't think HDC would apply to the OPs situation even if his truck is equipped with it:

Enabling HDC
HDC is enabled by pushing the HDC switch, but the
following conditions must also be met to enable HDC:
• Driveline is in 4WD Low Range.
• Vehicle speed is below 5 mph (8 km/h).
• Parking brake is released.
• Driver door is closed.
 

SpeedyV

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I don't think HDC would apply to the OPs situation even if his truck is equipped with it:

Enabling HDC
HDC is enabled by pushing the HDC switch, but the
following conditions must also be met to enable HDC:
• Driveline is in 4WD Low Range.
• Vehicle speed is below 5 mph (8 km/h).
• Parking brake is released.
• Driver door is closed.
Hence my ‘overkill’ comment, as I was being a little facetious. The OP more or less answered his own question with the comment, “...or maybe these fancy multi-speed transmissions can’t operate that way.”
 

Gman

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The steering wheel +/- is the same as newer vehicles with flappy paddle or manual shifter gear selection. I haven't had a vehicle that had L1/L2 since 2011.
 
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SpeedyV

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The steering wheel +/- is the same as newer vehicles with flappy paddle or manual shifter gear selection.
No, it’s not...not in the sense that you can actually select the gear you want. If I’m driving my wife’s Audi, I can manually trigger shifts whenever I want, and I can force it to hold gears while accelerating. The Ram simply lets me set a maximum gear, as opposed to selecting and/or holding specific gears.

And an increasing number of “flappy paddle” transmissions are actually clutchless manuals. They are different in every way from the Ram’s gear limiter.
 

Willworkfortruck

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So basically its “technology advancements” in shifting. Instead of a wider spread set of ratios like older 3 and 4 speeds had, now we have the smaller ratios and the ability to limit the tranny electronically.
 

the wanderer

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As SpeedyV said, you basically select the max gear the transmission can use; and it selects the best gear it needs from 1 - that gear you picked; this is exactly like the old school transmission shifters, they all work the same way. You're not actually shifting, you're just setting a limit.

So if you're used to "pulling the handle down", then using the gear limiter switches on the steering wheel is the replacement for that. I'm sure the reason they went to a dial knob and toggle buttons for this, is because there are 8 forward gears in total, plus the Park, Reverse and Neutral, just too many of them to do it with mechanical linkages these days.
 

Willworkfortruck

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As SpeedyV said, you basically select the max gear the transmission can use; and it selects the best gear it needs from 1 - that gear you picked; this is exactly like the old school transmission shifters, they all work the same way. You're not actually shifting, you're just setting a limit.

So if you're used to "pulling the handle down", then using the gear limiter switches on the steering wheel is the replacement for that. I'm sure the reason they went to a dial knob and toggle buttons for this, is because there are 8 forward gears in total, plus the Park, Reverse and Neutral, just too many of them to do it with mechanical linkages these days.
Yes, has to be that. I was uncertain when I first looked for the means to use engine braking like old times however it worked ok, just seemed more “fiddly”.
Thanks all for the info. Always something new. Now if I could just get used to talking to the nav unit... more 1st world issues.
 

Barney556180

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According to the 2019 Owner’s Manual “When frequent transmission shift occurs (such as when operating the vehicle in hilly terrain [among several situations] select TOW/HUAL mode, or use the Electronic Range Select (ERS) shift control to select a lower gear range. “

“...using a lower gear range will improve performance and extent transmission life by reducing excessive shifting and heat buildup.”

I prefer to use TOW/HAUL in the hills for the added engine braking.
 

SpeedyV

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According to the 2019 Owner’s Manual “When frequent transmission shift occurs (such as when operating the vehicle in hilly terrain [among several situations] select TOW/HUAL mode, or use the Electronic Range Select (ERS) shift control to select a lower gear range. “

“...using a lower gear range will improve performance and extent transmission life by reducing excessive shifting and heat buildup.”

I prefer to use TOW/HAUL in the hills for the added engine braking.
That’s a good point, and something I’ve done on previous vehicles.
 

Gman

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No, it’s not...not in the sense that you can actually select the gear you want. If I’m driving my wife’s Audi, I can manually trigger shifts whenever I want, and I can force it to hold gears while accelerating. The Ram simply lets me set a maximum gear, as opposed to selecting and/or holding specific gears.

And an increasing number of “flappy paddle” transmissions are actually clutchless manuals. They are different in every way from the Ram’s gear limiter.
My reference was only related to automatics (since that's the topic at hand). I have to cast serious doubt on what you're saying.

If you have an auto, the vehicle will not let you specify a gear that will over-rev, bog down/stall the engine, or drag the tires due to excessively reducing wheel rotation. You can state what you would like it to be, but there are controls in place that over-ride your selection. If I'm in 8th doing 80mph, selecting 1st will not actually take effect (on my Mercedes, Hyundai, or RAM). If you slow to the point that the vehicle can safely get to first, it will prevent up-shifting to 2nd. If the RPMs get high, the vehicle will usually complain about the driver not allowing the up-shift (while also performing rev-limiting). If you select 5th and come to a stop, the automatic transmission will not stay in 5th.

Is it true that you can specify your gear selection and destroy your valve-train or stall your vehicle? Educate me.
 
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SpeedyV

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My reference was only related to automatics (since that's the topic at hand). I have to cast serious doubt on what you're saying.

If you have an auto, the vehicle will not let you specify a gear that will over-rev, bog down/stall the engine, or drag the tires due to excessively reducing wheel rotation. You can state what you would like it to be, but there are controls in place that over-ride your selection. If I'm in 8th doing 80mph, selecting 1st will not actually take effect (on my Mercedes, Hyundai, or RAM). If you slow to the point that the vehicle can safely get to first, it will prevent up-shifting to 2nd. If the RPMs get high, the vehicle will usually complain about the driver not allowing the up-shift (while also performing rev-limiting). If you select 5th and come to a stop, the automatic transmission will not stay in 5th.

Is it true that you can specify your gear selection and destroy your valve-train or stall your vehicle? Educate me.
Of course not. You can select your gear of choice within certain constraints, such as RPM range, as you’ve already pointed out. But you CAN run the vehicle nearly to redline in your preferred gear in manual mode, whereas this simply isn’t possible in the case of the Ram.

Again, I was responding to this statement:
The steering wheel +/- is the same as newer vehicles with flappy paddle or manual shifter gear selection.
That statement is incorrect, or at least requires a number of qualifiers. In addition to the scenario I just outlined, there’s no ability to upshift as desired. You can effectively downshift on demand, although it’s much more awkward to do so than with paddles or a shift lever, and it may not let you do so as aggressively as with a manual shift program (I have not tested this, as my Ram is not our sports car).

You could make the case that the biggest fallacy is calling a simple gear limiter the same thing as a fully-developed manual shift program / mode. In our Audi and other similarly-equipped vehicles, there are even engine and transmission tuning characteristics that are changed when selecting manual mode. The Ram’s system, by comparison, is just a basic towing aid.

Finally, while you and I understood the context, some readers may not be aware that there are many “flappy paddle” transmissions that are, in fact, manuals. I was just setting the context. No offense intended.

Cheers!
 

Gman

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I've used the gear limiter for downshifts on steep descents going up and over through the Eisenhower Tunnels. It will let you downshift to near red-line, feed it some brake and downshift again, repeat. Leaving the limit engaged will let you run it to red-line with the throttle if you don't allow it to up-shift.

Using the +/- on the wheel can effectively let you shift up and down through the gears, but it would be very cumbersome.
 

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