Automatic vs. manual transmission - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-17-2011, 12:59 PM   #15
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Use whichever you like and prefer. Either will work. Downshift either one appropriately for steeper grades. With an auto, generally it's best to also tow with overdrive (top gear) locked out.
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:34 PM   #16
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Just remember what goes up must come down. you will be fine just take your time.
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Old 04-17-2011, 02:56 PM   #17
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Gregg and Barrie:

I was trying to make a point to the towing camper people not to the truckers. Trailer towing people have brake fluid and stick shifts and if they don't know better they may try to down shift to late and get stuck in neutral.

I had this happen when I was very young with a truck bed camper and a stick shift.

I crossed the Alps many many times and have had the brakes fade on a VW 1965 Camper, and crossed the rockies and had them fade on a 1962 Pontiac.

I have never heard of a camping trailer tow vehicle with an automatic getting stuck in neutral.

Driving through West VA on Interstate 64 will surely educate any driver going through those mountains. You really have to be cautious going down those mountains so you don't get going to fast. I think the grade is 7% and really long.
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Old 04-17-2011, 03:28 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
A review of the towing specifications of vehicles you will find that an automatic has a heaver load towing capability.

Once you get stuck in neutral on a steep hill while trying to down-shift you will then understand why on really steep hills truckers are mandated to STOP and down-shift at the top of the hill and told to stay in that gear all the way down. You will also, if you live through the runaway, appreciate the Automatic transmission.

Ever have your brakes FADE? Once they get to hot it boils the brake fluid and the brakes become useless that is why the big trucks have to stop and shift to a lower gear B4 going down the steep hill. The steep hill also has RUN OFF areas for the runaway vehicles so they can come to a stop.
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Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
Gregg and Barrie:

I was trying to make a point to the towing camper people not to the truckers. Trailer towing people have brake fluid and stick shifts and if they don't know better they may try to down shift to late and get stuck in neutral.

I had this happen when I was very young with a truck bed camper and a stick shift.

I crossed the Alps many many times and have had the brakes fade on a VW 1965 Camper, and crossed the rockies and had them fade on a 1962 Pontiac.

I have never heard of a camping trailer tow vehicle with an automatic getting stuck in neutral.

Driving through West VA on Interstate 64 will surely educate any driver going through those mountains. You really have to be cautious going down those mountains so you don't get going to fast. I think the grade is 7% and really long.
And just how do you get 'stuck' in neutral? With the clutch in and synchro gears, you should be able to shift up or down with ease. If you go to a lower gear you may over rev the engine but shifting to a higher gear will take the strain off the engine but will allow the car to speed up and require the use of more brakes.
I recall the first truck I drove on a paying trip, a 1959 Chev, and without synchro gears the scenario you offer was possible but no longer. Automatics won't provide the engine braking a manual does and shifting one to a lower gear is just trying to simulate a manual.
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Old 04-17-2011, 04:27 PM   #19
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It was a 60s something 3/4 ton Chevy. Brakes wasn't worth anything until I put a JC Whitney retrofit vac assist on the thing and the transmission was the best way to slow the thing down B4 the vac assist. I guess I was going to fast B4 it attempted to do the shift down anyway S#%* happens.
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Old 04-17-2011, 05:37 PM   #20
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Once with our motorhome we heated up our brakes on rt 2 in Washington state on a side of the mountain 2 lane road. After that we bought 2 two books that define tough eastern and western grades. Now we down shift before we start the grade.

There may be a web side for this but I'm not aware of it.

Norm
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Old 04-17-2011, 05:49 PM   #21
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Have used auto and manual:
In the end like auto better, 2 of the three automatics had transmission or transaxle coolers and a hill setting.
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Old 04-17-2011, 07:30 PM   #22
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Cool Truck brakes, Auto vs Manual Xmissions etc.

Truckers stop at the top of long hills to check (and adjust) their air brakes. I don't know what it all entails, but I do know that air brakes are a science in themselves.

HowStuffWorks "How Air Brakes Work"

Since the advent of high mileage cars and their coorespondingly small engines, engine braking isn't what it once was. Of course if you have a pick up with a 6 liter V8, it still may be, but 2 liter fours just don't have it, even for the car itself.

This is probably why so many light cars, Subaru, etc require electric brakes on trailers, the cars themselves just don't have the Moxie.

BTW we drive only manual shift cars. I have found no problem from driving the car alone or with a tow. Of course one has to be conscious of not "riding the clutch" but this is true in any situation.

One thing I notice about automatics is I often see vehicles driving down the road with brake lights on. This probably means the driver keeps one foot over the brake pedal and one foot on the gas. The brake foot gets tired and rests ever so slightly on the pedal and good bye brake linings.
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:37 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
A review of the towing specifications of vehicles you will find that an automatic has a heaver load towing capability.
Not technically correct, Manufacturers generally "rate" manual transmissions lower because of a well founded lack of trust for many driver's "capabilities"
For example my Ranger's manual transmission has an input rating of 450ftlbs of torque,which is more than the rating for it's contemporary automatic counterpart.
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:31 AM   #24
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Personally, I'm good with Darwin's comment. Technically, the tow rating is exactly what the automaker says it is, not what someone thinks it should be. Generally, and I qualify my statement because I haven't checked every manufacturer's specs, autos are rated higher for towing than manuals.

In Ford's case, I agree with you that the manuals are mostly rated for higher torque than the autos although I can't find any Ranger transmission rated as high as 450 lb-ft in the recent decade. Since transmissions are mated to a variety of engines and rear ends, the transmission rating doesn't directly relate to towing ratings. So I'd be cautious thinking that the higher transmission rating indicates hidden towing capacity.
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Old 04-18-2011, 11:19 AM   #25
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I have up until my current vechile always gone with manual - live on the side of a mountain and so we do get more snow than those in the lower parts of Vancouver. Having a manual made it easy to rock the car out of any sticky situation I might find myself in :-) When Subaru decided to go auto only on the Outback model I have I was a little bit concerned but it has not been an issue at all. Never have had a problem getting out of a sticky situation as they do have what they call the sport option on the shifter that I can switch over to which acts much as the manual did. I can also use the sport option if I'm towing and hit a really big hill and feel the car needs a little help with deciding on what gear it needs to be in. As I also spend a lot of time driving in a big city I have to say that having the auto trans has been a big plus and not sure I would ever go back to a manual shift.

The only down side I have experenced with having gone to auto vs manual is that I did go through brake pads faster than on my previous manual transmission Outbacks. When I asked the repair shop about that they pointed out I do live on the side of a mountain and when in auto drive the brakes are having to be used a lot more as the transmission is attempting to go forward even when stopped. Having said that though I never had a situation where I felt the car was not stopping as well as it should even when towing. If you have the car serviced as the manual states they will tell you when the brakes are getting near the end of their life before you have any problems.

So the only down side so far to having the auto trans is a bit of an increase in the yearly running costs as a result of having to change the brake pads a bit more frequently.
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Old 04-18-2011, 01:50 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Steve L. View Post
Personally, I'm good with Darwin's comment. Technically, the tow rating is exactly what the automaker says it is, not what someone thinks it should be. Generally, and I qualify my statement because I haven't checked every manufacturer's specs, autos are rated higher for towing than manuals.

In Ford's case, I agree with you that the manuals are mostly rated for higher torque than the autos although I can't find any Ranger transmission rated as high as 450 lb-ft in the recent decade. Since transmissions are mated to a variety of engines and rear ends, the transmission rating doesn't directly relate to towing ratings. So I'd be cautious thinking that the higher transmission rating indicates hidden towing capacity.
When your knowledge of the subject is seriously limited it is always best to be cautious about what you think, especially when using those thoughts as a basis for advice.
Following the manufacturer's recommendations is prudent, and knowing their rationale merely adds to a better understanding of why.
While it is true that automaker's "ratings" are immutable, it is also a fact that aftermarket modifications change the vehicle's "capabilities".
The automaker's tow rating is in fact "what someone thinks it should be"
and the words capability and rating are not directly interchangeable.

IMHO,
Clarity and informed understanding are preferable to blind obediance when making any decision, whether it is carpentry,diet,mechanics, or even medicine.
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Old 04-18-2011, 02:24 PM   #27
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One thing I've learned from all these years in the engineering side of OE manufacturing is that it's almost never as simple as one thinks it is. And I must respectfully disagree because it's certainly not just what someone thinks it should be. Safety, government regs, competitiveness, warranty, fuel economy, intended market, cost, and revenue all impact every decision to different levels.

For example, while it would probably behoove a manufacturer to claim the highest tow rating possible for competitive reasons, that desire is tempered by anticipated warranty costs based on past experience and the existing technology available.
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Old 04-18-2011, 02:49 PM   #28
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One thing I've learned from all these years in the engineering side of OE manufacturing is that it's almost never as simple as one thinks it is. And I must respectfully disagree because it's certainly not just what someone thinks it should be. Safety, government regs, competitiveness, warranty, fuel economy, intended market, cost, and revenue all impact every decision to different levels.

For example, while it would probably behoove a manufacturer to claim the highest tow rating possible for competitive reasons, that desire is tempered by anticipated warranty costs based on past experience and the existing technology available.
After all these years of fleet maintenance,and building cars for both street and track, I understand just how complex those decisions can be.
All of your caveats merely inform that decision, and can often contribute to a product fraught with conformity and mediocrity.
At my house , and with everything I own, it eventually comes down to what "I think it should be" and that decision is almost never as simple as one might think.
Ultimately, in any organization, it eventually does in fact, come down to " just what someone thinks it should be".
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