View Full Version : Exhasut Brakes

07-30-2004, 03:22 PM
I have a 2001 F250 PSD 4x4 CC, looking to upgrade the truck and install exhaust brake. Do they really help that much, and is it worth the money to have one installed. also looking into a Banks Transcommand to install on transmission. Does anyone haev one and do they work.

07-30-2004, 03:59 PM
You can probably do without one in the east but you will need it heading west.

Just completed a trip a month or so ago and heres what the brake did for me in West Virginia when I encountered two different 8 percent grades, each one about 4 miles long.

Starting down the grade I clicked my overdrive off, locked up my torque converter and turned my exhaust brake on. I was able to go down both grades at 50mph and did not have to use my truck brake or trailer brakes. Of course no one stopped in front of me. So it saved my brakes and so I could use them in reserve.

My brake is a DIY variation so it is an el cheapo. Commercial brakes will probably give better performance.

A word of caution. If you have an Auto Tranny then you must get it that has some form of Torque Converter lockup. Other wise it will not work well for you.

Reason follows:

Inside a torque converter there is a clutch that locks when the computer says to do it. Until it locks you are on fluid flow. When you apply your brake the TC automatically unlocks and you must accelerate above a certain speed to lock it back up. So usually when you go down a grade you have a tendency to tap the brake which unlocks the TC. When that happens you lose engine braking.

In most cases in the east all I need to do is lock up my TC and my engine braking does the job well. But for 8 percent or better I will be using the brake also.

So it is a judgement call on your part.

07-30-2004, 07:00 PM

I've had a Banks transcommand on my rig since 1998. It firms up the shifts under hard acceleration and/or heavy loads. Under normal driving conditions you probably won't notice any change from stock. It's was very easy to install and came with a bypass plug for technical diagnostics if needed.

You might check with a Ford dealer about the exhaust brake. Mine installed an illuminated rocker switch in the dash, added a relay or two and rewired something between the computer, turbo and transmission (E40D) for $400. He warranteed the job and it was much cheaper than a Pac Brake, etc. It was worth every bit of what I payed as far as I'm concerned. It won't automatically turn off the cruise control as will the more expensive aftermarket units, but I don't use cc in the mountainous areas anyway. I believe lightingjack11 spent considerably less on his conversion according to an earlier post, but I don't know how it compares to mine. Good luck on your decision.

07-30-2004, 10:05 PM
Thanks guys for the above post. Good info to have. Happy rving...

07-31-2004, 02:39 AM
Did you install the transcommand yourself and where did you put the computer part or does it come with good set of directions. I've been quoted $275.00 for the transcommand and 85.00 to install. But if it's simple I might try it myself.

07-31-2004, 04:23 AM
Broome 101,
The unit came with detailed installation instructions and was a simple install. I'm not sure, but think you probably have a different transmission on your later model Ford, but would expect a simple installation in your case also. At any rate, I did it myself in less than an hour as I recall. The unit was mounted to the body just outside the frame rail on the passenger side. After removing three pins from the stock connector and moving them to the Transcommand harness, just plug the new harness in and go play.

07-31-2004, 06:14 AM
Thanks searchers I think I will give it a try. Let you know how it goes. I also think I will get temp gauges before exhaust brake install.

08-10-2004, 02:51 PM
Well I have gotten the transcommand installed works great, will let oyou know how it does under load. Had X monitior by BD power installed as well, monitors trans temp, EGT, and boost. All works well. Looking at adding exhaust break later down the road. Will finsh up with new shocks and air bags first.

08-11-2004, 04:18 PM
Go for the Exhaust brake while your at it. I was amazed at the difference.

08-20-2004, 01:22 PM
I assume you mean keep the same truck and install the exhaust brake. I hear that's a good thing to do. But if you mean trade the truck and you get the new 6.0L Ford, you won't need an exhaust brake if you have the auto tranny. In tow/haul it not only does intelligent downshifts for you the engine closes down the variable vanes in the turbo, acting like a builtin exhaust brake or compression braking.

Trailer Trash 2
08-20-2004, 07:20 PM
This is what I got from Ford

From Ford Moter Co.
We appreciate the time you have taken to inquire if the after-market
modification voids vehicle's warranty.

The Ford is the tough, hardworking full-size pickup both
commercial and personal-use customers rely on to get the job done,
whether it's hauling construction materials or towing a trailer or boat.

All alterations or modifications to Ford Motor Company vehicles must be
done in compliance with all applicable State and Federal statutes and
regulations. If an after-market modification is linked to a component
failure, the warranty may be voided for that repair. If this were the
case, you would need to seek assistance from the manufacturer or
installer of the non-Ford Motor Company product for repairs. Therefore,
Ford Motor Company does not recommend modifications to your vehicle.

We strongly recommend discussing this modification with the Service
Department of your local Ford dealership before initiating this
procedure. Ford Technicians have the necessary training and experience
to advise you of what effects this modification may have on your
warranty or the operation of your vehicle.

You do what ever you think is right. If they were so good why doesn't Ford offer the exost brake as an option when you buy a new truck? you know as well as I if there is money to be made any manufacture of vehicles would have those parts or options available for sale and instalation $$$$.


08-25-2004, 03:52 AM
I'm a complete novice at the exhaust brake issue. (Actually at all things automotive that aren't straight off the showroom floor.) One thing I did notice is that everyone in this topic is towing with a Ford. Is this a Ford issue? NOTE: It's NOT my intent to start a "mine is better than yours" discussion. TT2 seems to have a point regarding the profit issue. If that's the case, the same arguement would seem to hold for power increasing chips that some use.

08-25-2004, 04:18 AM
In general, exhaust brakes relate to diesels. Chevy with the Allison, I believe has a mode for descent to assist in braking. The same for the new fords.

When you are descending down grades and you find you are using your brakes a lot then you might want to consider an exhaust brake. For example, I can descend down a 4 mile 8% grade without applying my truck and trailer brakes. (That is if someone does not stop in front of me. Will go down and 50mph)

If you can do the same with the Allison then you probably can do without the exhaust brake. The idea is to keep your brakes from overheating.

Never tried it in the west.

08-25-2004, 02:21 PM
As Tom said, it's more a diesel issue. The new Ford 6.0L diesel and automatic have builtin grade braking capability. I can do the same as Tom can with his and do not have an exhaust brake. It's truly an awesome feeling. Vicki says she can tell I'm watching the cars behind us very carefully as they come close, hit the brakes, come close again, hit the brakes again. I'm thinking they don't see any brake lights from us so probably think the trailer brake lights don't work. So sometimes I'll lightly touch the brakes, just enough to put the brake lights on. Probably just a little paranoia on my part but I don't want a really nervous driver behind us.

08-26-2004, 07:28 AM
Thanks Tom and Steve. Since I'm east of the Mississippi and haven't driven any place with that kind of grade (at least with the trailer), this probably isn't an issue for me. On the comparativly gentle slopes in the midwest, the Allison does a fine job of keeping my downhill speed under control. I've heard another term, "jake brake", from time to time. Is this the same thing?

08-26-2004, 03:28 PM
Gordon, if you get into Maryland on I68 there's a couple of 8 percenters along there, if I recall. We'll be back in that area again in a couple of weeks so will doublecheck that. Also, VA and WV have some pretty healthy grades although I don't recall the numbers. Worst I was ever on was marked 13%. That was a state highway out west somewhere. Fortunately it was only half a mile or so long. We were going downhill. I was tempted to turn around and see if the Ford would pull it up that hill but there was no easy place to turn around and Vicki gave me her "you gotta be kidding" look when I mentioned it outloud. So I didn't.

Coro from Maryland
08-28-2004, 05:30 PM
I agree with Steve that the tow-haul on the 6.0 auto will hold speed on 8% or less grades. So I don't see the need for an exhaust brake on my truck.

But just some notes
- the grades in the west rarely go over 8%. The grades in the mountans of the east can be higher, probably because the roads were laid out for horses. (But at least they are not as long.)
- The reviewer in Trailer life does not agree. He took his 6.0 down a steep grade to a CA campground on the beach, and ever since has recommended adding an exhaust brake to the 6.0. Guess it just takes one bad experiance. (Mine pulled my Montanna over Rocky Mountain National Park this summer without a care.)
- If you install an exhaust brake, you run the risk that Ford can blame it for any engine damage and void your 100,000 mile warranttee. (This is the main reason I haven't put one on my truck's birthday list.)

08-29-2004, 04:23 AM
Nice to hear that the Western grades are no more than the eastern grades. May try going to Phoenix next year.

I am not going to worry about warrantys on my old 97 truck. I will be the one repairing it.

About a year ago I heard there were lawsuits out there concerning Bargman connecters coming loose from the truck. If that happens the only braking you have is from the truck. If your TC is unlocked and your truck brakes go into overheat you are in big big trouble. I guess that is why Chevy and Ford went to better transmission braking. Does not help the older models.

As a precaution I just changed my trailer cable and installed a matching connector on the truck. Mine were loose and I had to shke the connector to get my turn signals to work. Even though I don't have to use much of the trailer brakes on descent, you can never tell when might have a malfuncton or a drunk pulling in front of you.

I have heard that some Ford garages have installed after market brakes. If that is true it will be hard to void the warranty on those installations.

08-29-2004, 07:23 PM
Last year I pulled my monty thru Smokey Mountain N.P., just as a test run on Hwy 440, accross Newfound Gap. It was pretty steep. I'm gonna get an exhaust brake.

09-07-2004, 08:27 AM
I was thinking about getting an exhaust break, just to give my breaks a little break, but have no idea what is good or bad, and just looking for some advice, what do you use and how do you like it?
I have a 2004 Dodge Ram 3500HD with the new Cummins 600 5.9lHO Turbo Diesel.
Any info would be great, I have read what is here already, and see that the Banks is liked by one, but I would like some more opinions if anyone has something else to add, especially if you have one with a Dodge Diesel.