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Although I am in Chicago, I'm curious to hear what people think about driving the Elise in the mountains. In particular, would you have to ride the brake, or would the engine/gearing hold the car back so you didn't wear out your brakes? Any thoughts?
 

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This is purely speculation, but I'd imagine that with such a high compression engine and a lightweight car that the engine would be plenty of drag to keep the car down to acceptable speeds. I've had to downshift going down big hills with a heavily loaded truck pulling a 30' trailer. My Explorer picks up a bit of speed going down steep hills when I'm pulling a car, but not much.
 

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Going downhill will be harder on the brakes than going up it. The car should be able to cope, but typically you will get some good heat into them. You will be unable to resist rowing through the gears, going at a very rapid speed, and then getting hard on the brakes while performing a heel-toe downshift. Then you'll turn in and accelerate out as the smile grows wider and wider.

And yes, at the next bend, you might be able to make it with just a lift, but on some roads you'll have to get hard on the brakes again.

:cool:

Sorry...to actually answer your question: as long as you put it in low enough gear it should be just fine, and you shouldn't be riding the brakes too much at all.
 

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And keep in mind that braking the car on a turn, going downhill will mean you should already be going slower as the car can not turn as well under braking. Better to brake in a straight line and use gearing.

As a general rule, I try not to ride the brakes on hills. It's not that hard to overheat them when you need them.
 

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Evl said:
I've never seen a standard xmission that couldn't hold a car back down a hill. Shouldn't be a problem.
Try driving a Passat 1.8T manual. :) The small displacement 9.5:1 compression engine with that much weight will not keep the car from gaining speed down a moderate/steep decline until you drop it to 3rd gear at high RPM.

I imagine the Toyo engine, with higher compression, will do a MUCH better job with 1300 less pounds than a Passat.
 

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Unless I am in 5th or 6th, my celica will not really pick up speed down hill. And its so nice to hear the motor revving high when going around the lovely sweepers on a mountain road.

Although, I should note that there is this really steep hill on my way to work, and even in second the car pics up speed. However, this is a really steep hill (private street), not the type you'll find on a typical mountain road.
 

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Where I live I got about 6 miles of steep climb and incline. I was told best practice for beaking on inclines is to keep a steady and constant preasure on the breaks vs on off breaking.

I have put about 45K on my TT without having to change breaks or my clutch. I do hard breaking almost everyday (-g thrills) and I also run thrugh my gears, I never tailagte and if you anticipate you can find yourself breaking a lot less unecessaraly than most drivers.

It kills me when I see a yound driver tailgating, breaking tailgating ........
 

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you shouldn't use your tranny 2 brake

your brakes are for braking, and your tranny is for changing gears. it puts unwanted stress on both the engine and tranny. you use heel and toe down shifting to be in the optimum gear to accelrate at the apex and out of the corner, not to put compression on your tranny or engine to substitute braking. have fun driving!
 

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Would add one thing, don't forget how the Elise handles, it's in the tights stuff that the Elise comes alive, REALLY comes alive. Therefore use more of a track style and get hard on the brakes in a straight line and then concentrate on getting out of the corner quickly rather than look to carry as much speed as possible into the corner. This is the safest technique. It's when you push hard going into a corner that you can get into trouble. ;)
 

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i'm only trying to help out here. if you wanna prove me wrong, then let's hear what you have to say. in ross bentley's speed scecrets pg. 20, he writes" what is the real reason for downshifting? many drivers think it's to use the engine to help slow the car down. wrong again! the engine is meant to increase your speed, not decrease it. in fact, by using the engine to slow down the car you can actually hinder accurate brake modulation and balance. race drivers, and good street drivers, downshift during the approach to a corner, simply to be in the proper gear, at the optimum engine rpm range, to allow maximum acceleration out of the corner.
again, the reason for downshifting is not to slow the car. i can't emphasize this enough. that's what brakes are for. too many drivers try to use the engine compression braking effect to slow the car. all they really achieve is upsetting the balance of the car and hindering the braking effectiveness(if the brakes are right at the limit before locking up and then you add engine braking to the rear wheels, you will probably lock up the rear brakes), and more wear and tear on the engine. brake first, then downshift."
 

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I think we're splitting hairs here. Everyone uses engine braking - it's frequently the best way of accomplishing what needs to be done. Anyone who's autocrossed awhile can recognize those features on the course where a lift off the gas will slow the car and transfer the weight forward sufficiently that the car will actually not slaughter cones. Using the brakes in this situation would be overkill and result in slower times. On our local road course we have a couple corners with so little distance between them the fastest way through is to hit redline in 2nd gear between the corners, then lift to slow for the corner, then be back on the gas in the right gear.

The other end of the spectrum is coming down out of the mountains on that 15 mile descent at 6000 RPM and boasting how you didn't need to use the brakes.

Engine braking won't hurt your car if you do it sensibly. It's like anything else - just don't overdo it.

Jeff
 

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Guys chill out.

In a way, you are both right.

Gears should not be used to slow the car down when entering a turn, brakes are far more effective. No good racer uses gears instead of brakes, other than to be in the proper gear. And yes, a lot of people downshift to slow the car down, mainly because it's fun. Though brakes are cheaper than trannies and clutches. I tend to do this on the street.

However, we are talking about mountains and that is a different issue. Many professional drivers will tell you that a major part of mountain driving is brake conservation. The worst case would be to coast downhill and use only brakes to slow down and maintain speed. It would be easy to overheat the braking system. For that reason, you also use your gearing. And doing that, you will also be in the right gear to be able to accelerate, specially when things happen you don't expect.

I will now edit this thread to remove crap. :)
 

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Did I mention I type faster than I think..

Wait... that came out wrong.
 

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if your heating your brakes to the point where your brakes aren't good anymore on a public mountain pass, your probably driving too fast and are endangering yourself and innocent people who share the road with you. my friend was riding his bike on a mountain pass when he went head on with another rider who was riding balistic. both were badly, badly injured.

take it to the track, you'll be soo wore out from a track day that you won't have the itch to drive fast after learning the limits at the track are way beyond the street limits. it'll have you thinking that you've basically been getting away with murder all those times you've been driving fast on the street.

also, if your heating up your brakes too quickly, you need a better braking system. for instance, my stock brakes on my 01 m coupe heat up quickly and start to feel mushy with 4-7 laps on the big track at willow springs(willows big track has a lot of elavation, up hill and down). what i need to do is get better brakes, not rely on downshifting to slow the car down or just simply back off. the car came with average brakes. i'd rather replace brakes than trannies or engines.

tripledigits. i'm a track junkie, but i've been autox'n since i was 19. i'm 28 now. when you smoothly lift off the gas, your not accelerating anymore, so your decreasing your speed to make it through whatever section. your just slowing the car down by smoothly lifting off. i agree with you on some areas would not be good to brake but instead lift off. thillIX is concearned with wearing out his brakes, which i think should be sacraficed before his tranny or engine. just my .02 cents, happy motoring!:)
 

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majorbonr said:
also, if your heating up your brakes too quickly, you need a better braking system.
Have you ever seen the signs that say 'Trucks use lower gear.' They're there for a reason. On the track downshifts are just to get you ready for the next turn. If you depend on your brakes to keep your speed down on a very long steep grade you might be in for quite a surprise at the bottom.
 

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your talking apples and oranges. yes i have seen those signs which say trucks use lower gears(carrying LOTS of load), it doesn't say cars or elises that way less than 2000lbs does it?

anyways, thillIX was reffering to the elise and was concerned that he might wear out his brakes. no kidding you have to be in a lower gear to enter a corner that has speeds slower than the straight decline, but that's to be in the right gear to track out of the corner with some power. not to use your engine and tranny as brakes. do what you will, this is just my oppinion.

"again, the reason for downshifting is not to slow the car down. i can't emphasize this enough. that's what brakes are for. too many drivers use the engine braking effect to slow down cars. all they really achieve is upsetting the balance of the car and hindering the braking effectiveness(if the brakes are right at the limit before locking up and then you add engine braking to the rear wheels, you will probably lock up the rear brakes), and more wear and tear on the engine. brake first, then downshift." ross bentley
 

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majorbonr said:

tripledigits. i'm a track junkie, but i've been autox'n since i was 19.
In San Diego? Track and autocross? Who is this?
 
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