Engine Size & Mountains

I am looking at a 2004 Damon Challenger and need some help ! It has a 8.1 Vortec Chevy Engine. It is a 36' class A & I will be towing a Jeep Liberty. Is the engine strong enough to pull through the mountains ??? My 1991 Bounder 31' with a Ford 460 is terrible & it needs 93 octain gas. The Damon owner says it only needs regular gas. Any help please!!!


PS Is the V10 any better? Does Ford or Chevy have a better transmission ?

C Nash

Senior Member
Engine Size & Mountains

Dean,IMO the 8.1 should have the power for the mountains. I have the V10 in a 32 ft towing a tracker and it handles the mountains fine. The 8.1 has more hp and torque. The transmissions are about the same wit nither being what they should be for a MH IMO. Heat is the main reason for failure in both. Keep them serviced and don't overwork them and either will give good service.
Engine Size & Mountains

Dean, the 8.1 should be adequate for the mountains. I had a 93 43' bounder witht he 454 and it was great. Remember you wont drive up hill as fast as on the flat. Also remember you dont go downhill any faster that what you went up. I assume you have the Allison tranny. It is great. Learn to manually downshift on the way up and the way down.

gary Pisel


Senior Member
Engine Size & Mountains

If you are going anywhere near a mountain, you need a good transmission temperature guage. They are reasonably cheap and simple to install. I got one which included an external filter and was $40 or $60 bucks for my old truck; the new truck came with one installed.

Most transmission problems are caused by the transmission fluid breaking down. The rate of fluid breakdown is almost completely dependant on the temperature of the fluid. At a high enough temperature (280 degrees perhaps?), transmission fluid can go from brand new to damaging in only a few miles.

Oh, and if you don't already have a large transmission cooler, add one.