Tom, I have experience with this transmission. I think that you would really like it. As far as tight quarters manuvering, you can't go from drive to reverse in a split second, but I don't do that normally. The 12 gears are nice when you need them, the transmission and engine brake work great together, barely needing the brakes for even the steepest grades. I am amazed how the transmission selects the proper gear either uphill or downhill.
You would have to get used to the sound of an experienced over the road driver shifting, while both your hands are on the wheel. Remember that the transmission controller will perform a perfect shift every time- minimum clutch wear, better fuel economy.
The only problems I've had are with codes coming up on the screen. The only code that needed attention was for a shifter, which is a Freightliner part, not Meritor, the Freightliner dealer replaced it. Any other codes erase easily. The only time a code needs attention, according to the Meritor trans tech, would be if the "SM" (system malfunction) fault also displayed.
Link to Meritor site: http://www.arvinmeritor.com/products...reedomline.asp
Another trans that we will be getting with the next Columbia chassis will be the Eaton 10 speed Ultrashift. I do not have experience with this trans but I predict it will be the same experience. Link to Ultrashift site:
If you are in the northern Illinois area, I would be happy to let you try out one of ours for a couple hours.
You can call me any time for additional input-