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Old 07-18-2003, 09:16 PM   #1
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GearMaster makes a "Gear Availability and Synchronization Indicator".
www.gearmaster.com
This ($1500.00) device inputs your speed and engine rpm, and gives you indication when to shift. It appears that it can help you float shift both up and down the gears. Anyone out there have any experience with this product? Opinions?
....If this device works as advertised, ANYONE could shift a 10 speed Volvo 610, or any manual transmission on any truck. This would open up the availability (for us trucker challanged old guys) of 5th wheel hauling Volvo 610's, with manual transmissions, in the $20K to $30K range. There are a lot of nice ones out there.

See the world from the front seat of a Volvo 610.
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Old 07-18-2003, 11:32 PM   #2
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<Truck drivers point of view>

I can only see one problem with a device such as this. While you're paying attention to the screen, who's watching the road?
Traffic, speedo, traffic, tach, traffic, pyrometer, traffic, primary air, traffic, secondary air, traffic, trans temp, traffic, engine temp, traffic, front diff temp, traffic, rear diff temp, etc. With all this going on, can you really afford one more gadget which needs your attention?(Note: I didn't mention cell-phones. Hang up and drive!)
If you are truley uncomfortable with the concept of learning to float or double clutch a non-syncronized transmission, don't buy a truck that has one. There are many quality trucks on the used market with either the Eaton Autoshift or rhe ZF Meritor Freedomline transmissions that you shouldn't feel forced to buy a non-automated trans.
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Old 07-19-2003, 03:11 PM   #3
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with all these guages-analoge readouts-LED screens and computers checks-cell phones-computer guidance...might we have come to the point where we are too busy to drive?.....there are now voice ammouncements on some vehicles like airplane pilots have....OY!.....geof
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Old 07-22-2003, 12:50 PM   #4
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I like it! I float 95% of my shifts. Going up is no problem in most cases. But every so often you lose a gear and man that sucks. I was heading to Mid-Ohio Race Course this past weekend and I started out in 1st by mistake. I quickly lost the gears turning onto a pretty steep hill around a ton of traffic. Needless to say that sucked! Stopped on the hill and then I had to start in 1st, with the world giving you the finger. Also downshifts would be so much nicer with this unit. I usually will just free wheel to a stop, but when you are on back roads with hills, and the traffic in front of you is brake checking like total losers, man you are jumping around in gears and this would be a huge help.

I think I do have another issue with my trannie though. When it is still pretty cold it shift like a dream, but but some miles into it and it seems to be a mother to shift. It is like the window for a shift is so small that you have to be dead on, where when it is cold it is much more forgiving. I think I have to have the FL boys take a look at it soon.

James you need to add back up camera & GPS to that list.

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FL 120 www.showhauler.com
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Old 07-24-2003, 10:02 AM   #5
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Just a update, I bought one. Should have it in a few days, and I will provide a complete report on install & usage. BTW they have lowered the price!!

I know you guys mention that there is so much to look at, but this really is going to take the place of looking at the tach when you are shifting.

Also, this is going to be awesome when your layed up for the winter and you break the rig out in the spring and your a little rusty with the gears. Also you may even get that copilot in the drivers seat with this.

Now I am just thinking out loud, but the next step is to get these guys to connect the unit to a shifting device and automate the whole shifting process, and I don't think it would be to hard to do. That would be slick, and even better, allow the driver to pick whether they want to shift or have the computer do it. That would be cool!

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FL 120 www.showhauler.com
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Old 07-24-2003, 09:45 PM   #6
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I met Mr. Gearmaster at a rest area outside Vancouver Wa. I had passed him on a hill onthe way south. He was interested in our use of retired tractors. He gave me a brief demo in a chevy pickup it had a gas engine. It seemed to do as he said.

This was my first trip as a two axle
Tom

1998 volvo 420 volvo engine 425 hp 450k miles,3 axles overall length is 25' I have four wheeler behind cab
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Old 07-26-2003, 11:21 AM   #7
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I would hope that this is a staggering waste of money. You should be able to drive, including skip shifting, entirely by ear and feel. It takes only a modicum of experience, especially when you only drive the same power train and don't have to use multiple vehicles, to know your drivetrain well enough that you don't need the tach to shift.
While I had an assigned tractor when I drove OTR, I used a lot of different power units when I did city driving loading out bound trailers on the weekends as a part time job. I drove everthing from 5 speed Macks (roar and rake) to Cum-a-parts with 15 speeds. I'm not the most graceful person in the world, but it was not difficult once I had some experience.
When bobtailing in my CH, I started in 4th or so, and only used 3 gears to get to 9th - it was not much different from what is being described here.
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Old 07-26-2003, 01:56 PM   #8
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Doug you just gave the reason why this is a great product. Most of us are not OTR drivers. I don't get to drive the rig daily or even weekly in most cases. There is nothing like seat time to perfect driving skills, unfortunetly I don't have the freedom to travel as much as I like. I can float the gears, skip shift, but man do I suck and bringing the gears down. I grew up on a golf course/farm and drove every type of tractor, farm truck, and dump truck unfortunetly non where non syncro trannies. I even owned a business where we had Mercedes & FL box trucks and flat beds, but again all had syncro trannies.

This device is just going to make my life just a little better when it comes to that occational lost gear or down shifting. I'll let you know how it goes.

Bill

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FL 120 www.showhauler.com
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Old 07-26-2003, 08:46 PM   #9
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My old POS White 9000 Widowmaker used to tell me when to shift....It would pop out of gear...startled-I had to do something-Damn thing kinda' knew when I wasn't paying attention.....geof : > )
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Old 07-27-2003, 10:30 AM   #10
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Think of it this way: for $1500, you can get 9 - 10K miles worth of fuel, and go practice.
It's a psychomotor skill, and will improve with practice. I rarely use the clutch in anything I drive (including passenger cars), and it's actually pretty easy once you get used to the idea of what you have to pay attention to.
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