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How smart is your RV's Allison transmission?

by Motorhomes of Texas
(Nacogdoches Tx)

Motorhomes of Texas

Motorhomes of Texas

This story was submitted on our
RVing Tips And Tricks Page.


Most Newell, Prevost, Blue Bird and other motor coaches with large engines like Foretravel, Country Coach and Monaco were built with the big 400 Allison while the lighter units came with the smaller 300. Regardless of who built your motorhome or which of the two you have, you will likely be surprised at some of the functions that your Allison transmission can perform. The manufacturer of your coach was given a list of options during the engineering of it's design characteristics and that manufacturer then chose which functions the Allison and the accompanying engine would incorporate. The purpose of this post is not to replace your Allison operators manual but to whet your appetite for more information which can be found in that manual. For example:

If your coach has the push button shift panel it likely has an up arrow and a down arrow. By pressing the two simultaneously the fluid level will be displayed in the display window. It will only provide the information if the transmission is at operating temperature, has been stopped for two minutes, is at idle and not rolling. It will then tell you how many quarts it needs if any. It will tell you if you have added too much fluid too. You can depend on it to tell you how many more miles to expect from the fluid and filters and provide a host of self diagnostic procedures to help maintain a healthy transmission.

Your Allison was provided with two shift "memories" It's shift points are programmed by you over a series of shifts. The transmission gets to know you and how you drive and gives you the best performance along with the best fuel economy depending on your driving habits and your payload. If your unit has a "Pac" brake the transmission is likely programmed to down shift sooner or even skip over lower gears in order to provide more efficient hill braking.

The "mode" button usually was given the feature of providing an "economy" performance mode where-in a lower set of shift points are incorporated to save fuel. When the coach is set on cruise control sometimes the selected speed of the vehicle can be close to a shift point and cause the transmission to constantly hunt for the proper gear. That can be remedied by selecting the "Mode" feature which changes the shift point.

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There are way too many optional features that were available on your particular transmission to list here, kind of like a DVD player but the difference is, you can save yourself a lot of money and get a lot more satisfaction out of a very well engineered and expensive piece of your equipment simply by reading the manual.

Textips from Motorhomes of Texas

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