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  1. #1

    Default Flattest route from Michigan to Florida

    Hello, I'm looking for a little advice regarding getting to Florida via the FLATTEST route. We're coming from Michigan and heading to the Tampa area. We will be pulling a trailer full of stuff so I would like to find the flattest route possible - if there is a flatter route (than I-75) that doesn't cost me more than 24 hours I'd really like to take that.
    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    All Interstates are built to criteria which limit the grade to a maximum of 6%. I75 already skirts the worst of the Appalachians (which are neither high nor steep to begin with) to the south and west. There just isn't any real need to add miles to your trip.


  3. #3


    Thanks AZBuck, we will be in an older motorhome (1988 w/454) towing a 24' trailer, I'm just trying not to tax the old beastie too much.

  4. #4


    I think you'd have to swing as far west as the I-55 corridor (more or less follows the Mississippi River from St Louis into southern Mississippi) to completely avoid topography. Even the I-65 corridor crosses the Cumberland Plateau for lots and lots of miles. I would think adding lots of flat miles would be as taxing, if not more, on your motorhome than some Interstate grades over a much shorter distance would be.


  5. #5


    Thank you Foy. You've both convinced me that it's not worth the effort - there's something to be said for all the of repair resources along I-75 as well if we do encounter trouble.

    AZBuck - my concerns have been addressed, thats for sure. If you would like to delete this thread that's fine with me.
    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    A 454 is a workhorse. I doubt you will have any problem, just don't expect it to be a speed demon. If it has an overdrive transmission, I'd recommend you keep it out of overdrive and suffer the fuel penalty, it will be a lot easier on the transmission.

  7. #7


    You're welcome.

    Perhaps no need to delete. The posts serve as a resource for those similarly situated.

    I would imagine an older motorhome with a 454 V8 would have an automatic transmission. If so, my bet is that's your long RoadTrip weak link, especially when towing a big trailer behind it. I think I'd be looking at a full transmission fluid and filter change-out as well as a full cooling system flush/refill, and I'd consider replacing the hoses and belts, too, if they're more than, say, 5 years old. Ditto the thermostat. Ditto a fuel filter. I imagine any such rig already has a heavy-duty transmission cooler. If not, they're fairly easy to install.

    Excepting major internal engine failure, overheating and cooking the transmission or blowing a head gasket is about the worst that seems possible, and you can insure against that to a degree as noted above.

    I'm taking my F350 diesel on a summertime trip which should be in the 7,000 mile round-trip range. She'll have all of the above before we roll out.


  8. #8


    good tip glc, and as Foy mentioned below, I'll add tranny cooler if there already isn't one in place (maybe I'll add a 2nd one even)

  9. #9


    Thanks Foy - all great "pre-trip" suggestions. Having once had the "pleasure" of changing a water pump on a 1994 Ford van in an Auto-Zone parking lot on one 100 degree July day somewhere in the middle of Georgia, i've learned that you can't be overly prepared. I agree that the tranny will probably be the weak link - do you think there's an advantage to adding a 2nd cooler - other than introducing more fittings into the plumbing what could it hurt?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If it already has an external cooler, adding a fan to it would be better than replacing it or adding a second cooler. If it does not have an external cooler, adding one is just about mandatory - if it doesn't have one, I don't see how it's lived this long on just the cooler inside the radiator. Synthetic transmission fluid would also be a plus - it can withstand higher temperatures before starting to break down. Note that just dropping the transmission pan only dumps about 1/3 of the fluid - if your torque converter has a drain plug, you can get most of the rest of it out. Modern torque converters have eliminated the drain plug, this is why shops use a fluid exchange machine now to do a complete fluid replacement.

    Overdrive is the killer when you are towing. The converter will be running unlocked most of the time, building temperatures up drastically. Direct drive is a lot easier on it even though the engine RPM's will be higher and it will use more fuel.

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