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Old 04-13-2009, 11:32 PM
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The Manual Transmission Saddens Me.

I've been doing some reading lately and my admiration for the great stick shift has been shattered. The new Camaro is faster as an auto and many other cars are posting specs where the manual just isn't the competitive choice. Even F1 racers don't use a stick and clutch. Mpg differences just aren't significant enough to warrant the manual option. Torque converters are no longer necessities and CVT provides the ideal rpm for the engine at any acceleration. What grieves me most is the grim future for the manual.

What's so fun about driving a manual is knowing your control, judgement, and ability provides benefits in virtually all aspects. The rewarding sensation of endlessly practicing the shifts to realize faster 0-60 times, better gas mileage, and even gentle driving characteristics just can't happen in a auto. I'll tell ya, it's that whole fruits of your labor thing. You put the effort into mastering the stick and you're rewarded with all around more enjoyable experience. The problem is, that enjoyable experience is in jeopardy.

Sure, everyone can always say that the control aspect is just a win-win condition but would it really be worth it knowing your controlling an inferior performer? See my problem is, the idea of putting effort into driving a stick shift only to find a handicapped performer just defeats the point of a manual. You drive it to have fun, but at the back of your mind, you know you're driving a slower car, getting worse mpg, and in vain trying to achieve the impossible - beating the automatic. This is the future I see for the manual. Already today we're seeing the decline of the manual. Fewer than 10% of cars are sold manual. The new Hyundia Genesis Coupe has a lousy manual since the engineers knew investing large amounts of money into the manual wouldn't appeal to a largely automatic oriented society. It's economics. If people want automatics, companies will design the best autos they can. With all the big name companies focused on the auto, the manual will become a thing of the past.

Technology has always replaced man's meager capabilities. So my question to you is, even if autos become vastly superior to manuals, will you still drive the stick shift? What are your reasons? Why wouldn't driving an inferior alternative bother you, especially if you are a car enthusiast?

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Old 04-14-2009, 05:45 AM
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Manuals aren't dead yet, the formula guys actually use manuals with electronic cluthches and shifters.Also road tests of vehicles depends on operator skill a camaro with a manual and a monkey driving will get outrun by an auto.But put a skilled driver in and it will be a different story.I don't think they have figured out an auto that doesn't consume more power than a manual yet.
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:34 AM
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I am like you I like the shifting, the big reason auto is used in the hotrods is pure and simple .......... ease of installation, clutch peddle as one quick example.

Now that being said here is a driving story for you. I have a 34, it has a 350 auto B&M, & 10'' converter. The trans has a shift kit of course, I did say I like to shift a transmission ...... well I have found that this combo allows me to drive the auto as a manual in every aspect, up shift, down shift with a rev to sink up the engine speed and the lower gear. I have grown to like this in ways I did not realize at first.

Here is another item I like about the auto trans, you drop too first/low, nail the throttle and just watch the tach and bump that shifter to the next gear at your red line and I will tell ya, you will beat Mr manual shifter every time and have one heck of a ride doing it ..


Yes finally I like the auto transmissions, today the technology has improved to the point that make these transmissions a real nice item... and fun to drive
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:06 AM
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:12 AM
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I like an Auto. My everyday driver is a 5-speed Manual, man it gets old fast. Now for having fun a manual is nice but, it's very hard to be consistant with a manual trans. You don't miss shifts with an Auto.
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:25 AM
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Being a big rig truck driver, I have driven both an Eaton Ultrashift semi-automatic 10 speed RT-10 shifted by a computer and air solenoids, and an Eaton RT-10 full manual, and rather the Ultrashift for the slow traffic stuff and city driving only.shift

I was first shown how to float the gears, but evidently not well enough for it to fully sink in, I have NO problem double clutching through all 10 gears, and can skip as without problem as road speed and load conditions allow.

I prefer manual in the big truck, and auto in the car, but am slowly working on converting my Suburban over to manual.
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:52 AM
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Still though, I'm looking for an answer to my question earlier. If in the near future the automatic capabilities exceed manual transmissions, would you guys continue to drive the manual? And why would you? Or would the auto just be too convincing?
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:19 PM
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Automatic trannies pretty much exceed manual ones now and have for a while. Porsche has there tiptronic tranny that can be up and down shifted manually way faster than your average gear banger can. Drag racers use automatics for consistency. I think the lack of manual trannies being used by hotrodders is due to the fact that there hasn't been a really tough manual tranny until the past few years. I wouldn't say auto are inferior it depends on what you want to do with it.
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:28 PM
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I will continue to (with little choice) drive manual transmissions in work trucks, I will also have one of VERY few Suburbans with a manual transmission when I get it done, and if there is a choice when I go for another vehicle the manual would be my choice.

I also have most of the needed parts to swap a 5 speed into my Malibu, but have no idea what all I want to do with the car, I have many parts to do many different things.
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:23 PM
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7 vehicles

1 vehicle with an AT

Hate auto trans cars---have only had one that did not ever fail for the life of the car---And she and I drive cars to DEATH!!

Set one AT on fire in my less than one year old pickup
80,000 miles and 2 more autos it got a manual.
300,000 additional trouble free miles (trans)

I hear it now----trans not set up right----HORSEHOCKEY---should not have to beef up a trans to tow---that's what trucks are for---and hauling.


Now HER Windstar tranny is being stupid-----pfft

So the new gazzillion speed trannies get better mileage
probably have a .50 overdrive-----Drove a 6spd Chrys. Pacifica once with this silly trans-----damn thing was ALWAYS shifting.

With a manual---if I want to start in 2nd (inclement weather), I can.
(Ford has one up on GM and Mopar in this with their AT cars)

If I get tired of shifting in traffic-----3rd is good from 0mph to 70 mph in the 79 Chev----2nd is good from 0 to 60 in the 59----The Ranger needs to use 1st----but I go straight to 4th after I'm moving.

I prefer the manual----and will untill I cannot do it any longer
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:28 PM
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I have a clunky spicer 6-speed in my 24' box truck, and I prefer it to an auto. I don't even get tired of the heavy clutch in rush hour traffic. I'm of the engineer mindset: simpler is better. Although autos have become very reliable, I like the idea of a physical connection between me and the gear. I also detest how most modern autos shift. My F150 won't downshift unless you really lay into the throttle. My 4L60E "hangs" and waits to shift even if I back off the throttle, but then it can never make up its mind how many to downshift when you floor it. Driving at 45 in OD if you floor it, it downshifts right away to D, then a couple seconds later (after you're already doing 55) it downshifts to second. I can't stand having something else trying to tell me whats best, especially because that tranny is tuned to try and fit all types of drivers; grannys, teenagers, racers, etc. I want control over my own gears.

My 96 Impala is getting a T56, my F150 will get a 5-speed when this 4R70W dies, and my wife's car (very unfortunately) has an auto. I'm a big fan. But, you're right, autos are starting to surpass manuals in the performance category.
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:47 AM
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I hate automatics. I live in a flood-prone neighborhood, and an automatic can't handle a little dose of water inside it, even on a temporary basis. A stick can handle it no problem if you change the juice pretty soon. They do shift a lot better with 90w in them than they do with water, though.

And most automatics think they know better than I do what gear I want to be in. No way, Jose.

Plus, and I've said this before, you can't push-start the stinkin things. Except for some of the old ones, and you had to use something a lot stronger than your feet to push one of those off.
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittlePwny
Still though, I'm looking for an answer to my question earlier. If in the near future the automatic capabilities exceed manual transmissions, would you guys continue to drive the manual? And why would you? Or would the auto just be too convincing?
My wife and I have 5 cars/trucks with standards, one car with an auto. I never drive the car with the auto. (my wife hates automatics too.) The 2 motorhomes have autos and if it wasn't such a hassle I'd put a standard in at least one of them. I detest automatics, and will usually convert from an auto to a stick if I like the car enough to drive it.. the only reason I'd give up manual shifting when ever I could is if I give up driving.

Both of our children who drive prefer manual transmissions, learned to drive in manual cars and my daughter is having her BF put a 5 speed in her Jeep Cherokee because she hates the automatic that is in it. And she does take it to Pismo beach, and the local OHV park. ( if it wasn't such a good deal, she was going to turn it down because it had an auto)

Possibly if I sprouted mammarian protruberances and estrogen replaced all of the testosterone in my body...then I'd let a computer or series of sensors and servos select which gear I'm in. My wife already tells me what to do at home, damned if I'm going to let my car tell me what to do.

When the anarchy comes, a guy with a handful of tools will be able to do much more for a standard trans than he can for an automatic, especially an "advanced" automatic.

You can't convince me that any automatic that has another fluid pump to suck power from the motor can be more efficient and cost effective than a true mechanical connection from motor to wheel.

Racing autos are better? ? How much time does a guy spend truly racing? Non issue, not applicable in a street car AFAIC.


Traditional hotrods have 3 pedals.

On long trips the manual shifter gives me a good place to rest my arm so the ashes from my cig automatically fall into the ashtray.

I like gear whine and engine sounds too.

My left leg gets bored with an automatic.

Is this some kind of market study?

Santa Cruz... In Gilroy, I'm 27 miles from Santa Cruz, and lived in SLV for 13 years. Right now I'm building a truck for a customer who is one of the management at the Boardwalk...


Later, mikey
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Last edited by powerrodsmike; 04-15-2009 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:22 AM
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Just wait till the computers start driving the car for you entirely. Just like playing the computer in chess. It will be better than most humans.
I can't wait.
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:59 AM
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I like manual trannies, but my best friend has a 2008 vw gti with a dsg gear box it can shift within 4/100ths of a second, plus it has launch control where you put your foot on the brake and hit the gas a rev it to 3grand and let off the brake. Oh man you better hold on cause its gone.
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