Manual vs Auto-shift transmissions

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by Dahmer8afew, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. Nootherids

    Nootherids Light Load Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    Woodbridge, VA
    I also agree with everyone that it is definitely better to learn on a stick although with the many different kinds of manual transmissions out there every single driver will need some getting used to each truck cause you can change trucks 5 times and each time have a different transmission. In that sense, it's mostly the concept and respect for the manual tranny that is important to develop early on.

    But I have an Eaton Auto-Shift 10sp and it is a SOLID transmission. I have tested it in a short but steep downhill on my Volvo 670 with a full load I have been able to leave it in auto mode, set the J-brake on, use the breaks to bring it to 7th/8th gear and let it do its job. The auto tranny worked flawlessly with the J-brake and slowed the truck down to 15mph with zero brake assist.

    As others stated the Auto-Shift is still a Manual transmission with a smart computer. It does give you the ability to use it as manual but it does require a similar level of tranny specific skill to be able to switch it into manual mode while driving and to trigger the gear changes without the dreaded beeping.

    I really don't understand the hatred that people have towards them. For those old school drivers that complain about less connection with the road, it's not much different to today's suspension technologies which allow you to roll down the road and barely feel road imperfections. Why not complain about that. But truth be told, it is a matter of preference. Some people enjoy the motion of having the stick shift or just the direct coordinated control over such a huge machine. Not saying this as a bad thing. I fully respect it. And I can understand it because it is the same type of ego-boosting controlling feeling I get when I end up in the mountains and have to switch to manual for the sole purpose of knowing that I'm the one that's picking the right gears for the hill grade. But the moment that the road flattens out again I am more than happy to put it back on automatic and cruise as necessary, especially through urban traffic.

    P.S. It is true that auto-shifts (not automatics) are much slower to get up to highway speeds than the manuals. But yeah, you can also set it to manual if you want to deal with it and take of from a stop on 2nd gear. I must admit though that changing gears through a little button is not too much "fun" so I just prefer leaving it on automatic through the cities.

    I'll stick with Auto-Shifts.
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  3. dstar

    dstar Bobtail Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    toledo, ohio
    Auto shifts rule and manuals drool! Just kidding. But ain't nothin better than drinking a hot cup of coffee while the guy next to you is shifting away.
  4. Dahmer8afew

    Dahmer8afew Guest

    Thank you everyone for your input. My wife and I will go through CDL training with a manual transmission. When we get hired on with a company, there's a good chance we might get a manual tranny as well. I would prefer an auto-shift or even an automatic. But even a manual will be fine. I would especially like to thank the person who posted how to shift. That must've taken a lot of time to type.
  5. gravdigr

    gravdigr Road Train Member

    May 2, 2011
    Hollidaysburg, PA
    SHifting a truck isn't too hard. I did have a few bad habits to break but nothing big. Pushing the clutch to the floor when shifting was one. floating the gears was the other, though that was only a problem in school. I'm told once I'm otr it's not a big deal but you caught hell for it in school.
  6. Ezrider_48501

    Ezrider_48501 Road Train Member

    Apr 2, 2011
    bismarck, nd
    i somewhat agree with the posting that driving stick shift cars and pickups is a disadvantage. first time i jumped in a big rig i thought it was gonna be like driving my 6speed powerstroke with a few extra gears, boy was i in for a rude awaking.
  7. Svoray

    Svoray Medium Load Member

    Feb 3, 2011
    No joke lol

    I felt the same thing after owning a couple of manual cars...boy was I wrong! Heck, I've been hauling some misc lubercants using a 6 spd Dodge for work when ever i'm not hauling diesel. I'm so used to floating gears in the big truck that I get a little lost trying to drive the Dodge lol

    Anyhow, I agree with the over all thought that you need to know how to drive a manual. That way you're not limited to certain companies and don't have a auto restriction on your lic...I think someone posted this was coming but not sure.
  8. Ezrider_48501

    Ezrider_48501 Road Train Member

    Apr 2, 2011
    bismarck, nd
    i agree that you need to know how to drive a manual big rig as well you don't want any restrictions on your lic or limit company you are able to drive for.

    knowing how to drive a automotive stick shift though is completely unnecessary about the only thing the same is they both have gear shifters, its a whole different beast in a big truck.
  9. fadetoblackmm

    fadetoblackmm Bobtail Member

    May 26, 2008
    DeFuniak Springs, FL
    I was just assigned an automatic, I can't say the company but I was told they are going all automatics as they sell off the standards. One reason and one reason only. They have proven with their own trucks that they get a 1/2 MPG improvement. For a mid size fleet, that's the bottom line. I had tried them years ago when they would bang into gear but I have now accepted the fact that I am in the 21st century.
  10. Wargames

    Wargames Captain Crusty

    Jul 22, 2010
    real truckdrivers dont drive automatics.
  11. Gears

    Gears Trucker Forum STAFF - Gone, But Not Forgotten.

    Aug 20, 2009
    Guess I'm not a real truck driver then.
    bottomdumpin and Injun Thank this.
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