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Old 12-14-2005, 07:56 PM   #1
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Is it ever better to have a manual transmission in a conversion or is a automatic a better choice?

And why?

thanks
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:46 PM   #2
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....I like my super 10- I like to shift!......I don't want the expense of rebuilding an auto....I can not so it myself where as, I can do a manual with it being removed-that I can't do my self anymore.......geofkaye
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:57 PM   #3
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B.D., thats purely a mater of choice. IMHO, there are really good points to both sides. the auto is easier to drive [more lady friendly], is probably quicker to 60-70 mph, i know others will jump in with more. that said i wouldn't trade my eaton 18 auto shift for any other tranny in a BIG truck made today. yeah, some would ? my sanity. but i simply am crazy [see even i know it]. however, with a low-low and 18 gears and pulling a 3.08 rear gear i've never had a moments dissatisfaction with how my coach is geared. this past summr we drove from ga. to ottowa, then calgry, then fairbanks, ancorage, washington, then idaho,loottssss of mountains both up and down, thru all of yellowstoneback thru st.louis and back to ga. our mileage varied from 7.? to 11.?. the lifetime average is now 9.89mpg, which is since i picked it new. it climbs, jakes like you wouldn't believe, gets good mileage,IMHO, and will top out at over 115mph. again this is only my experience and i reccommed that you try to get to drive some of the different rigs set up like you want yours.-- best of luck --- happy huntin'----mase
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Old 12-14-2005, 10:02 PM   #4
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geof i knew i was saying too much---- thats how you got posted b'4 me. i do agree with your point 'bout being easier to work on and i'd think cheaper and last longer too.----- mase
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Old 12-15-2005, 05:02 AM   #5
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a big factor here is how much power do you have to work with ? with something like a 3126b cat your foot is always to the floor so you might as well have an auto trans !
Reliabilty?= manual trans
ease of operation and confort = auto trans
fun (till you are in rubber neck traffic) manual!
Although I have never had trouble with the "hard" mechanical parts of big autos , I have had trouble with the electrical and computer part of them !
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Old 12-15-2005, 05:19 AM   #6
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The only time I think a manual would be better is when you have a computer glitch and can't get the auto into gear!!! Had that happen last week.... but I was at the shop so not as big a deal as if out on the road.
I think that zero to 60 is probably faster with a manual than an auto.
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Old 12-15-2005, 08:33 AM   #7
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There I was a upstate ny boy in the middle of miami trying to go foward after one of the many times I had to reverse cause I was lost and in a place way to small for the rig I was in ! and bang no shift ( allison world class)
about 2 am badd bad area and no matter what button I pushed nothing just a goofy astrick !
After what seemed like days( it was about 15 minutes for real) I kept praying and starting and stoping the engine and finaly it went in gear !
My wife made me leave it in gear till we hit daytona !
The auto is way quicker out of the toll booths and to about 40mph but I would have to understand the electrical and computer fluently before I would have one in place of my 9 speed !
I found and fixed the problem but the people that owned the toter( it was a loaner) said they had it in many shops many times for that problem and they could not find or fix it ! pretty squirley if you ask me ! I will stick with the oar in the floor for now but when I get in traffic I want for the auto! (bad left knee) T
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Old 12-15-2005, 07:37 PM   #8
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Do some, many...commercial class 8 box trucks 5th wheels have automatic transmissions installed or are autos used primarily in the conversion trucks only?

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Old 12-16-2005, 05:05 AM   #9
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For many years the auto's have been a rarity in class 8 trucks. But in the last 3-4 years the # of auto's being sold on new trucks as gone thru the roof. Most of the very large trucking companies are starting to spec the auto's for 2 reasons.
1) maintenance. no clutch to constantly adjust becouse of poor driving habits (riding the clutch)
2) many of the drivers coming into the market today are not learning to drive the stick but are schooled in an auto. Auto's bring in more new drivers becouse they are more like the cars today.

Now the 2nd part is scary becouse todays new crop of truck drivers are coming out of schools and driving the class 8's like it was a car....more accidents.

Wick
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Old 12-16-2005, 05:08 AM   #10
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There are many autos in this area in class 7s & 8s and school buses ! My next(heavy)class 8 roll back will probably be an auto! and I am building a pu truck out of a baby pete and that will be auto also!
Not my conversion though we travel too far with that and I am gun shy from my last mishap! I am sure I will get over it though ! T
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Old 12-16-2005, 06:05 AM   #11
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I have driven OTR with a 10 speed, in our MH we have the Meritor 12 speed. To be honest I enjoy shifting and all but when your driving that MH and going on vacation it sure is nice to slide the switch and go, plus now my wife can drive. In my opinon the Meritor is a superior tranny to the allison and yes I have driven the allison auto also. The Meritor is a much smoother tranny in my opinon.

I guess it comes to personal preference, as far as working on it, I wouldn't work on either, that's what my mechanic is for.
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Old 12-16-2005, 06:13 PM   #12
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Don't forget resale.

Your goona loose big on a manual unless you find just the right guy, and I say good luck!

Been there done that.
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:19 PM   #13
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......as I get older and the knees get noisy and noisier....I sometimes wish I had an automatic.....but when I figure I'm not in town that much and most of the time over the road -I'm on the X-way driving-the transmission is in 10th anyway.....it is all about cost and rebuildability-relyability on the road.....if I loose an auto for whatever reason -Lets say in Georgia- I'm screwed cuz the local Volvo Dealer is going to get all he can get-cuz I'm stuck with not being able to move the truck at a reasonable cost. If I'm here in Cincinchitty Ohio- I can get the truck moved 100 miles at no cost......even a factory authorized rebuilt stick is cheaper than an auto with minor problems if it has to be lifted out of the truck.....and at $90 an hour they got me and there is nothing I can do about it.....'cept bend over and smile!.....geofkaye
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Old 12-24-2005, 10:46 AM   #14
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I prefer a true manual, personally. Unless I end up short a leg, I would never have a full auto, even though there are convenience arguments in favor, especially the co-driver issue. I am simply not inclined to take the risk of not having a clutch, plus Fastlap's report on his experience with the World tranny is not confidence inspiring. One cannot make an appointment for an emergency, and a 15 second delay may be life threatening in some circumstances; 15 minutes is not acceptable.

My truck conversion will replace a house, for a lot of reasons, although it might spend a bunch of time parked on rural property. I get the tax deduction; I can get a wild hair and take a long weekend in Glacier or someplace like that; having seen the social aftermath of Katrina and knowing that mother nature can do lots of things having bad effects, I want an escape pod. (I do legal advising for law enforcement and public health here, in addition to other duties, on both the civil and criminal sides. Anyone who thinks that the social net will ever work better than the C-F in New Orleans is delusional.) I have big (protective) dogs now, and will have them as long as I am physically capable of doing so. They are too big to fly as other than freight, and the airlines and DHS/FAA tend to disapprove of my normal load of safety equipment. :-0

There are two choices for me, which will interact with other aspects of the specing to be determinative as to make of tractor, etc. If I ended up going with a manual, it would be a 13 speed Mack, with the extra low first and reverse for working in tight places without slipping the clutch. I have previously described my analysis of why a 13 or 18 is the winner for cross country, especially the ability to split the top gear in response to states which restrict MHs to much lower speeds. Obviously, that means a Mack tractor, with one of their high torque rise on-off road powerplants. Realistically, that would be enough torque for anything likely.

Otherwise, it would be the auto-shift Fuller 18. I think vapoppa is on the right track with that. In that case, it's a Western Star tractor, with the C15 Cat. I recently learned that the brake saver, which I would insist on, cannot be had on a Multi-torque motor, so I would probably go with the 475/1850 version. (Better to have more power and capacity and not need it than to have to mess with it later.) The Fuller service network is pretty broad, and as they move more of these auto-shift and full auto trannys into OTR trucks, service will get easier and less necessary.

I am not worried too much about re-sale. The auto-shift is not hard to drive as long as you can press the clutch a couple of time a day. In addition, the truck and conversion will be speced in a manner consistent with long term living and travel, being an escape pod, etc. It is not a goal to sell it. I will have generator capacity, solar panels, LOTS of marine storage batteries, NO PROPANE, household (not RV) appliances, lots of water capacity, etc.
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Old 01-03-2006, 10:18 PM   #15
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....I just drove from Caf'e Erotica[Macon Ga. ] to Cincishitty Ohio without using the clutch more than 7 times....thank God! my knees are killing me from all that beach walkin'.....geofkaye
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Old 01-07-2006, 10:33 PM   #16
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....Doug I agree and truly understand your second paragraph.....that is why I built my MH rather than buy one and have to alter my needs and wants and take a chance on safety and security issues.....I want to be able to get up and leave within an hour of notification of any issue....which around here in Cincinnati is usually civil unrest-electrical problems from Ice storms-and sometime highwind issues....but mostly civil unrest.....geofkaye
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