**How may gears do you want?** Do we really need the 6-7-8 gears in today's trans? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:07 PM
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**How may gears do you want?** Do we really need the 6-7-8 gears in today's trans?

When I was growing up in the 80's, and driving cars made in the 70's, your transmission options were: **Automatic: 2 and 3 speeds **Manual: 3 and 4 speeds.

Performance cars were equipped with 4 speed manuals and either 2 or 3 speed autos.

Then, in the 80's, the new performance cars(if you want to call them that) came with either 5 speed manual, or a 4 speed auto.

Then in the 90's and 2000's, cars began rolling off the lines with 6 speed manuals and 5 speed autos. Then, I began hearing of 7 speed and even 8 speed manuals and autos on some cars made around the world.

Now obviously the Powerglide is still popular with MANY, MANY drag racers even today, even though GM/Chevy have not installed a Powerglide in a new car for almost 40 years! There are 2 reasons for that: They are tough, but more importantly, they only shift ONCE!!

When you are trying to go fast, you must shift, and whenever you are shifting, you are not accelerating during the shift. So Powerglides are popular cause they dont spend much time shifting gears, so you are able to more consistently accelerate without your RPM's suddenly dropping off during 2,3,4,5,6, or even 7 shifts!

There is probably a trade-off though when comparing to a trans with more gears in race cars, but its probably not all that significant.

Not only that, but its simply easier to drive when racing as well, or shifting on the street if you have a Powerglide, and as I said before, tough. However, on a circle track, you'd probably want more than 2 gears!

Now I am not calling for everyone to switch back to the 'glide, but I am wondering whether we really need all these extra gears?

I like the 5 speed manuals, and 3 & 4 speed autos, but I don't see a need for more gears than that. In fact, I'd be happy with 1 or 2 less.

Now I had a friend name Howie, who's parent's had bought a '69 SS396 Camaro as an investment in the early 80's. They literally only drove it twice a year around the development, and only started it up about once per month. It was stored in their climate and humidity controlled garage under a cover. In 1991, they went out of town for a week, and Howie disconnected it's speedometer, and took it out one night, and took me with him. It had the Muncie 4 speed, 375hp, was yellow with black stripes, and the spoilers, etc.

We cruised around main street Newark, De, which was a huge cruise spot for decades. We even raced 2 people on a nearby rural highway. I drove it for over 1 hour. It must have had around a 4:11 rear, and its transmission gear ratio was ridiculously close, to the point where there was little difference between one gear to the next. You'd need to shift immediately after each shift.

That car could have used another 2-3 gears! Or a trans with different gearing at least, and maybe a 3:50 rear.

But I've also driven and owned older cars with 4 speeds that were geared well enough that 4 speeds were about enough. Maybe an overdrive gear would've been nice, but not absolutely necessary.

How about you......? Do you like or need LOTS of gears, or do you prefer only 2-3 or 4?

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Old 10-04-2011, 02:41 PM
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Chrysler's 8 speed auto
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Old 10-04-2011, 02:56 PM
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How many gears?

How "narrow" is your power band? If you want to keep things on the boil, you need to stay in the sweet spot. In some ways, the CVTs are ideal for some engines as the RPM never varies

Ask a trucker who has been saddled with an old-style Detroit that had "nobody home" below 1900 and a redline of 2300 with power falling off a cliff after 2100. You had only a couple of hundred RPM to play with, so the 15 - 23 speed boxes are needed.

With all the newer 'stuff" on engines now, there may really be a need to have a near-infinite number of gears
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:38 PM
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Staying in the sweet spot with close ratio gearing is what it is all about. Take a crotch rocket out for a spin, or just listen to one going through the gears, you can tell the rpm's don't drop much after shifts, keeping the bike accelerating quickly and through the torque band. I have a Yamaha V-Max, spin it up to about 6500 rpm and hold on, it hits redline quickly in every gear after that. I have often wanted one more gear, it's a 5 speed.
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:52 PM
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Gas prices and the need for overdrive to improve economy is what started it all. I think it is more of a marketing thing now than anything.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinger
Staying in the sweet spot with close ratio gearing is what it is all about. Take a crotch rocket out for a spin, or just listen to one going through the gears, you can tell the rpm's don't drop much after shifts, keeping the bike accelerating quickly and through the torque band. I have a Yamaha V-Max, spin it up to about 6500 rpm and hold on, it hits redline quickly in every gear after that. I have often wanted one more gear, it's a 5 speed.

I've owned a couple cruiser bikes, a Honda 450 Rebel back in the day, and a new 1200 Sportster Low I bought in 2006. They didnt have the closest ratio transmissions, but I had a friend who allowed me to drive his Yamaha FZR 600, and it had 6 speeds as I remember, and they were fairly close, but not too bad.

I drove a new 911 quite a bit in the 80's, and its transmission was a 5 speed manual, but the gears werent all that close. The gears were very long. 3rd gear was good from like 30-100mph! So you dont always need a really close ratio trans if the car makes good power at a wider RPM range, and the gearing of the rear is good too.

Compare that with the SS396 Camaro I mentioned, which had the closest, shortest gears I've seen aside from an 18 wheeler! 1st was almost like a creeper gear in an old pickup! You could just switch from 1st to 3rd, skipping 2nd, and hardly even notice it...... Plus, in 4th, it wouldve been terrible at highway speeds of over 55mph. You wouldve been running at 3600 at 55mph. I dont remember, and we didnt take it out on any highways that one night anyway.

As far as drag racing, look at all the guys who have powerglides who run 8,9,10 second 1/4 mile times, ending up at over 150 mph, with only 2 gears! They dont seem to have a big problem with needing all the extra gears to keep in the power band.
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Old 10-05-2011, 06:17 AM
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I drove a Chrysler Pacifica some time ago while my Ranger was being worked on at a Ford dealer.

Had one of those 6 speed automatic trannys.
The thing drove me nuts as it was always shifting.

My old Chevy pickup, I could just put in 3rd and that gear was just fine from 0 to 70, and that truck is geared pretty tall (3.08).

gears 1-4 are just fine and the fifth for an overdrive.
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Old 10-05-2011, 06:56 AM
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I have a 8 speed 87 firebird (at least that is what the sticker says) 700r4 + gear vendors overdrive, gear between every gear then double overdrive (not that it would ever pull double overdrive with my gearing) LOL
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:08 AM
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My 4 cyl Ford Escape has a 6 speed auto and I hate it. it's always shifting and the computer gets confused alot of time between shifts. BUT, it does get 27 mpg so I keep my mouth shut.
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:23 AM
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I don't care how many gears it is as long as I can shift it, but the people in detroit can't seem to sell what I want.
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Old 10-17-2011, 11:31 PM
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my 54 ford truck has a 4 speed ..and 5:14 rear gears don't go on the highway..but it is still fun..
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:44 AM
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I am just now removing the extra tall gears from my Dodge as I was pushing 4000rpm just to run 65mph
Felt like I was in second gear!
Bat outta hell in first but topped out around 105mph
Gimmie that Chrysler eight speed an aay-dap-tor kit and some open road !! Look out ya fuzzie little creatures.
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:57 AM
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wish they would put range selectors back in cars.. no need for more than 5 gears normal, but if the trans had a simple range selectors as a few had in the past. you could have 10 forward speeds and 2 reverse, but you wouldn't shift all of them.. As it is, I sometimes skip 4th on my truck
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Old 10-19-2011, 06:38 AM
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Good old CAFE standards mandates finding that last mpg increase a necessity. The multiple close ratio gears helps as long as the increased weight does not offset the gains. Get the gearing low enough to easily overcome the inertia may make carbon fiber type gearing possible, thus a meaningful weight reduction which will produce better fuel economy could be in the cars of the future. Electric wheel motors are going to be in the cards as soon as automotive engineers will get outside their little box and look at the locomotive industry for some new ideals. How about a diesel powered ONAN generator powering 4 tiny wheel motors. A thousand pound composite body that is as streamlined as an F-22 would become a rocket and run all day on a few gallons of diesel.

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Old 10-19-2011, 07:24 AM
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i wish my brides 300 had the 8 speed in it . she gets 28 now but would bump up to around 32 or better with the extra gears . would like to trade for a new 300 but they dropped the lifetime drive train warranty .
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