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 7/21/2009 1:47 PM

 I am traveling in a 1998 Fleetwood Pace Arrow gas motorhome and pulling my car.  I have a Ford V 10 engine.  A fellow camper told me there is a chip that can be installed that will give me more power climbing mountains.  Has anyone heard of this?  If so, where do I get it and who can install it?  I was also told that installing "headers" it will increase the air flow and I might get better gas mileage.  Is this so?  What are they actually called?  Where do I get them, and again, who would install them?  This is my first time in real mountains and I really wanted to go to Wash. and OR. but am having second thoughts.  I am on my way to Co Springs at present so I am east of the Rockies.   Thanks for all you help and advice in advance


Karen and Maggie Mae 34' 99 Pace Arrow 2005 Honda CRV
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 7/21/2009 2:04 PM

Hi Karen,

Anything I say will be hearsay, however, I was talking to the service man at my local RV dealer and asked about the Banks Exhaust System for my diesel.  He told me that this system worked well on the old Ford V-8 460 but didn't make a lot of difference on the V-10.  Also it would probably help my diesel.  I thought about that and decided that I wasn't in such a hurry that I need more horsepower and I could buy a lot of fuel for the $2,500 cost of installing a system.

My 2cw

Bob and Gwen K from PA '99 Endeavor 37WDS4 2009 Ford Tarus or boat Four cats
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 7/24/2009 7:58 PM

Hey Karen!

What if you go north from Colorado Springs, through the southern part of Wyoming, and then west from there?  I don't believe you've got to go over the Rockies to get to the NW -- it just won't be the most direct route.


Laura -- and Jed

Photobucket Traveling with Jed, my four-legged buddy
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 7/25/2009 12:14 AM
 Modified By RVA  on 7/24/2009 11:19:53 PM

Karen - The Banks system previously mentioned includes headers, a free-flow muffler, and a Ram Air scoop and less restrictive air filter to get more air through the system.  I have it on my Ford 8-cylinder and the performance improvement is impressive.  Like others that have installed this system, however, any MPG improvement isn't noticeable, because you end up negating any MPG improvement by accelerating and driving faster.  My son-in-law installed this system on his V-10 Ford PU and couldn't notice much improvement.  IMO, this system is worth the $2500 price on an 8-cylinder, but not on the improved V-10.  Regarding adding a "performance" chip, any car magazine will have zillions of ads promising all kinds of performance improvements with their chip.  The reviews I've read dispute those claims.  You might want to ask a Ford dealer if changing your computer chip, to modify the timing or fuel mixture for towing or for better performance in mountainous areas, would help. Good luck. - Dave



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 7/25/2009 4:14 PM



In 10 years of fulltiming and 40 years of Rving, I suspect I have spent far less than 1% of my driving time climbing mountain grades.  There is no way that you will ever recover the cost of adding either a Banks or headers to your rig.  Since the amount of mountain driving you will do is really very minimal, is it really going to be worth the expense to get a little more horsepower from your engine?  In fact, its not horsepower that makes your rig perform better, its torque and to my knowledge, you are not going to increase torque with either of your aforementioned add ons.

Thousands of stock RVs climb those western mountains every year.  You will be just fine. Save your money for fuel!


Libby and John and RV the CAT Ford F 150 towing a 2017 Forest River Vibe 277 RLS Click here to see our current location
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 7/25/2009 8:49 PM


Hi Karen, we are in Oregon and heading toward WA and have climbed quite a few mountains with our Ford V10, (36 ft Bounder)  pulling our Toyota. Our gas mileage is a little less, but what we notice most are the people who pass us as we level at around 45 MPH up the steep grades. LOL We keep the engine at around 3300 RPM, so we don't beat up the engine too much and get maximum push. carold

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 7/26/2009 10:59 AM


I owned a similar motorhome to what you have. I had a '98 Bounder with the V10 motor and drove it from Oregon across the Rockies several times. I always had a toad as well. This is just my opinion but I believe that the increase in horsepower and mileage on the V10 is not enough to justify the purchase and installation costs. We got along just fine in the mountains with the stock V10. You just need to adjust your expectations that you will not whiz along like you are in a car. You will go about the same speed as the trucks which is just fine. This way you can take the time to see the scenery and not worry about hitting the corners too fast. Your rig will do just fine. Check out the rpm for your motor so that you know the rpm for maximum torque and for maximum horsepower. Shift the transmission down so that you are climbing (and descending) in the range between maximum torque and maximum horsepower. Do not exceed maximum rpm speed and do not ride your brakes on the downhills. Use the transmission to hold you back, drive slowly at about the same speed that you climbed the hill and stab the brakes as needed to keep your rpms and speed down to safe levels.

Doug Sage 2007 Itasca Suncruiser 38J Fulltiming it and loving it!
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 7/27/2009 8:58 AM


Having squandered hard earned money on most of the items you inquired about, I agree with the others, although you may realize a slight improvement in performance adding headers "will not" make a noticeable increase in fuel mileage. They will however help keep the engine compartment cooler which will in turn allow the engine to operate cooler. As for the performance chip, unfortunately the "chip" referred to is pretty much a GM or Workhorse item, for Ford products the performance "chip" involves adding an entire new "black box" for lack of a better term to the engine harness. The result is sort of a trade-off, you'll get a noticeable performance increase but will sacrifice in other areas, usually fuel economy. The one thing I purchased for my 96 Ford gasser was a Banks Trans-Command unit. This is usually for older Ford E4OD model transmissions, it enhances the shifting pressures within the transmission making better more positive shifts enabling the transmission to operate more efficiently and side stepping overheating, something those older transmissions lacked the ability to do. The one thing anyone should encourage you to do is have your transmission serviced at factory indicated intervals. Don't let anyone talk you into having the transmission just back flushed. This will certainly put new fluid in but it does nothing for the filter nor cleans the sludge buildup in the bottom of the transmission pan. The "filter" was installed for a reason, they're easily purchased at most Automotive Parts houses, knowing the EXACT model is important however when purchasing the filter and new transmission pan gasket. Ford sells a reuseable, excellent transmission pan gasket for around $40. I recommend using it over the ones in the replacement filter kits.

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 7/27/2009 3:51 PM

Well Karen, it seems everyone pretty much agrees that the money would be better spent on fuel. 

Neil's advice about the tranmission fluid and filter change is right on the money.   Stick with the manufacturer's maintenance schedule.

Bob K from PA

Bob and Gwen K from PA '99 Endeavor 37WDS4 2009 Ford Tarus or boat Four cats
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 8/11/2009 5:46 PM

Karen ...

Our previous motorhome was a '99 with the stock Ford V-10 ... I crossed the Rockies on I-70, I-80, and I-90 without any difficulties ... I-80 is the easiest (lowest elevation and very few steep grades ... and they are short)

You will not be the first one to the top of the hill ... but you will make it just fine ...

Getting down the hill takes some discipline ... downshift at the top ... DO NOT let your SPEED BUILD UP ... DO NOT RIDE your BRAKES ... when you apply the brakes put them on hard in SHORT BURSTS ...

Wayne and Jeanette we call our rig Ernie the Journey
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