Yah, I never had a problem with slowing down on grades with my 2.3. Just drop her down a gear before your engine strains you should have no problems. Even in an automatic, kick off the overdrive before you approach the grade, that way you are in the upper part of your power band when you start. The truck itself doesn't know you are going up a grade, it just sees a higher load on the engine, then it down shifts. If you rely on that, then you are straining the engine longer then needed, then down shifting continually loses speed as you constantly stay out of the power band.
Think ahead of time and downshift early and you wont have problems.
1994 2.3 XLT Turbo
Ranger Roller cam 2*R, T3, Gillis @ 20psi, 3in downpipe dynomax ultraflow, no cat, Large NPR, Turbo XS RFL BOV, LA2, Bob's big log header, Gutted/Rotated upper, Knifed lower, 65mm TB
'96 Expo 8.8, LS, Disk Brakes
245/45/17, Chrome SALEEN's
Getting over hauled!