Looking for some advice and comments - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-03-2003, 11:53 AM   #1
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Looking for some advice and comments

I have always driven stick-shifts, but my present truck is a Ford F150 V8 auto. I'm starting to think about replacing her and my mind is returning to its former manual transmission state! I know Everybody says "tow with auto," but I can't help but think that a five speed on a 5.5 liter V8 would do just fine with a Casita 17SD. I'm also thinking that the five speed would be (somewhat) better on gas mileage-- not a trivial subject in these times. Every little bit helps!

Would love to get some in-put from this group.
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Old 03-03-2003, 12:38 PM   #2
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Auto for me

:steer I will never own another manual transmission in a vehicle. I sold a new one with a manual transmission because of a injured leg kept me from driving. With the inability to use the clutch, gas and shift at the same time it grounds you. And you never know when you may get in that shape.
Also I have pulled a trailer with a manual transmission and it requires a lot of shifting. And it is even worse in hilly areas. It is awful hard on the clutch when you have to take off up a incline. Even worse when taking off when some dumb driver has pulled right up against you on a hill. Sometimes it is impossible to start forward with out using the brakes to hold everything from rolling backward until you have the proper rpm and clutch pressure to start forward. Makes a trip more like work than fun.
No thanks ! I'll stay with an automatic and pay for the gas.
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Old 03-03-2003, 08:02 PM   #3
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I have towed with both. The down-side of the automatic isn't the gas mileage since the one I use has the lock-up torque converter and gives the same mileage once it is locked-up. But I have had to pay for a couple of rebuilds to the tune of approx 1500 clams each. Fortunately both times I was able to limp home solo and traveling back with our trusty old 78 Chev 4x4 with the standard 4-speed.

I agree about the shifting, especially with a sprained ankle, leg in a cast or whatever.

Another consideration -- our old 78 Chev 4-speed has a very low first gear, especially with the transfer case in 4 wheel drive. I have no problem starting off on the steepest grades. But a lot of the new pickups, especially the Japanese ones have close ratio 5-speeds that are really nice on the road, but their low gears are just not low enough to get a serious load started off, especially on a steep hill, with ease. You might want to check that out before you purchase.
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Old 03-04-2003, 09:01 AM   #4
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another $.02

For my opinion, I will never, ever, even under threat of being boiled alive in jalepeno juice, buy another car with an automatic transmission. Ever. Period. After 7 full rebuilds in a two year period, I've learned my lesson. Car manufacturers can't build a decent automatic transmission to save their lives. That applies to my family car. Now, my tow vehicle is a different story. I, unlike Mike Watters and several others, don't believe in driving the Queen Mary so I can tow a little bubble. I want efficiency and low gas consumption, which is one of the primary reasons for having an egg in the first place, and I prefer a medium duty tow vehicle, set up to maximize it's potential. Therefore, with a less than full-hog tow vehicle, the clutch just won't hold up well while towing. My tow vehicle is also my 4x4, and nothing is worse off-road than a stick. So, I tow with an auto, but there are many autos out there I won't even consider (let's just say there is only one automatic that I WILL consider), and I insist on a transmission cooler, and never, ever, tow in overdrive.
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Old 03-04-2003, 10:09 AM   #5
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No yes, no answer

I will use Ford as an example because they have an excellent towing guide online. In the case of the F150, the towing range for a manual is 2000 to 3500 pounds depending on the rear axle ratio, not the engine. For the auto the range is 2900 to 8900 pounds. BUT in the case of the F250/350 Superduty, the tow range is 6900 to 13400 for the auto and 6800 to 13300 for the manual. It will depend on the vehicle you choose. Most of the lighter trucks (both full size and compact) have clutches that are too small to tow heavy weights.
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Old 03-04-2003, 10:15 AM   #6
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The Queen Mary?!?

Paul... I'm injured... :violin

As I've said... My choice of tow vehicle (Dodge 1500 conversion van - larger than the Boler itself) was based on two things. First - when we bought the van we didn't know what sort of trailer we were going to be getting yet. We knew it was in the works though. So - I looked at all the reasonable candidates and made sure we were getting something that could handle any of them easily - The Boler of course is lighter than them all by a large margin. :)

Secondly - our choice of tow vehicle was actually MUCH more influenced by the fact we wanted something that would be very comfortable to be riding in for the whole family on long drives. We first went looking at minivans - but decided they had become far to 'mini' to be worthy of the name 'van'. The kids both appear to be taking after me height-wise - so when checking out cars, first thing I'd do is go sit in the back seat and make sure I'd be comfortable. PLUS - having two kids the idea of twin captain's chairs (ie SEPARATE chairs) had a lot of appeal - if ya know what I mean.

So - Overkill was part of the story - but overkill on whatever we were likely to get (after all the midrange pop-ups or small hybrids can run around 2000 - 2500 lbs or so. Comfort while driving was a larger concern and bigger reason behind our decision. We do several long trips per year with just the car along (grandma lives 350 miles away), so that was the deciding factor.

mkw
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Old 03-04-2003, 10:19 AM   #7
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>>Queen Mary

Me, too! Me, too!

I drive one of the biggest vehicles out there!

And love every minute of it!

I think, however, the towing capability is reduced slightly on a stick-shift Suburban ... so I always get automatic transmissions.

Besides, Pam got tired of sitting on the hump (even though I carried a pillow for such occasions!).
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Old 03-04-2003, 11:43 AM   #8
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for those who misunderstood me,

The Queen Mary is a VERY NICE BOAT. It is however, very, very large, and I'd never be able to afford to run it, or even book passage on it. However, there are many, many people who see it differently, and that's why they built her.

I certainly meant no offense, and those who like the larger vehicles can have at 'em. Keep in mind, I drive a Geo Metro, and I'd buy smaller if they made 'em that way. Used to have a Triumph Spitfire, and loved it.

The questions of overkill or not, bathroom or not, sink/stove or not, automatic or stick, microwave or not, fridge or icebox or cooler, all are personal preferences, based on our own needs and experiences, and we choose for ourselves. WHAT A GREAT COUNTRY!

P.S. And, no, none of the transmission failures were on my tow vehicle, nor related to towing or any abuse -- just really poor design, on a series of cars/minivans from different, supposedly reputable manufacturers.
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Old 03-04-2003, 06:23 PM   #9
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I have a manual clutch right now and this week I am having the rear end ratio changed to a much lower gear because the trailer towing has taken its toll on several clutches (I might add that my D150 was not originally meant to carry heavy loads , and the orig tow rating is only 2,000 lbs; the condition is further worsened by discontinuance of my tire size in my wheel size, so I am using the next size up, which is effectively like going to a higher gear). I don't have troubles with hills as long as I can keep moving (have been in and out of Telegraph Creek BC, with its 18 & 20 percent grades on gravel!), but getting started on hills or bumpy terrain is another story.

But I really do like the engine compression control on the downhills and the fact that my trans is putting zero heat load on the cooling system.

A plus for auto trans I discovered last year was that you need a healthy set of legs to work throttle and accelerator on a manual; I had badly ripped the muscle on my left leg and just flat couldn't depress the pedal! Since I often camp alone in wild places, I am going to install a couple of eyebolts in the floor so I can rig lines to the pedals if I break my legs or something.

Pete and Rats who can't push the pedal even together
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Old 03-06-2003, 08:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Orginally posted by Pete Dumbleton
A plus for auto trans I discovered last year was that you need a healthy set of legs to work throttle and accelerator on a manual; I had badly ripped the muscle on my left leg and just flat couldn't depress the pedal! Since I often camp alone in wild places, I am going to install a couple of eyebolts in the floor so I can rig lines to the pedals if I break my legs or something.

Pete and Rats who can't push the pedal even together
What a gruesome thought, but It's good to be prepared.
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Old 03-19-2003, 08:39 AM   #11
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transmissions

:wave have been driving all kinds of vehicles, tractors,jeeps, trucks automobiles etc., for well over 50 years and have found that in mud or gravel you will have better traction getting out of a bad situation with an automatic.
we presently have a tundra and last summer pull the casita down into a canyon that we should not have, eventually high centered the casita, destroying some plumbing, and was seriously concerned about getting out of there. but the tundra pulled us out without spinning the wheels.:r
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Old 03-19-2003, 10:23 PM   #12
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transmission discussion

We have had all kinds of vehicles, mainly because I am a sucker for wheels. We have pulled trailers of several weights, and sizes, and have had the best luck with automatic transmissions.

Our latest rig is a GMC 2500HD, Duramax and Allison 5 speed automatic. Our 17 Casita just follows wherever we go without any problem. Yeah, it's overkill, but we don't downshift at the all small grades that we used to with a lighter truck. No, it isn't noisy like the Cummins. Yes, it stinks like all other diesels.

Bottom line is an average of almost 18MPG at 65MPH towing our Casita that weighs in at 2660 lbs. It also comes standard with a transmission cooling system, and a guage that allows the driver to monitor the transmission.

We have a friend that just purchased a new 2003 Dodge 3/4 ton HD P/U with a 6 speed manual transmission. It is too new to tell much, yet.
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Old 03-19-2003, 10:30 PM   #13
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Hi All
All my tow vehicals have been with standard trany.I have never had a problem.
At one time here in Canada if you drove a standard and got your driving licence with a standard you were allowed to drive Automatic and standard, But not the other way around.:)
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Old 03-20-2003, 07:36 PM   #14
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I personally feel that everybody should have to take their drivers test on a manual. The reason is that you may be a passenger in a manual-shift vehicle someday, and the driver may become incapacitated, possibly in such a way that minutes count to save their life, and if you can't drive a stick, it could cost them that life. Being a driver is to accept the responsibility for the safety of those you are with, and being a licensed passenger is to be the co-pilot, who shares those responsibilities in case the pilot can't fulfill the duty.
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