Car transmissions - Standard or automatic?


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Profile Gordon Lowe
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Message 1551104 - Posted: 1 Aug 2014, 21:06:33 UTC

I was reading with some interest in the Beer Drinkers thread the discussion about manual vs. automatic transmissions. I think this sort of thing ignites passion on the stick end, sort of akin to Mac vs. Windows, but that's a whole 'nother thread. ;~}

I learned how to drive on an automatic 1982 Dodge Aries(terrible car, but again, a whole 'nother thread, ;~}) The first car of my own was an automatic 1984 Toyota Celica. The next car I bought was a 1990 Nissan Sentra. I bought it for $300 from a friend, who told me she'd put the keys in her mailbox and it was mine. One caveat - it was a stick, and I had only attempted one harrowing adventure attempting to learn such a beast on another friend's car, and vowed never again! But, hey, I thought, why not buy this car for $300, and teach yourself! It can't be that hard, right? I figured it out on the way home. Killed it a few times, but I got the hang of it, and actually grew enamored of the concept, and have never wanted another automatic. My current vehicle is a 1999 Saturn SC-1, with a hydraulic clutch. ~Smooth as butter, and I feel weird driving Automatics now. It's a love it or hate it sort of thing - no in between.

What type of transmission and car did you learn on, and what do you prefer?
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Message 1551110 - Posted: 1 Aug 2014, 21:15:45 UTC

Beeing german we learn on manual gear.
Like you said Gordon its love or hate.
For me its to boring driving automatic since i like to drive very fast.
Here in bavaria aren`t much speed limits and i love to drive 240 KPH.
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Message 1551111 - Posted: 1 Aug 2014, 21:16:51 UTC
Last modified: 1 Aug 2014, 21:24:18 UTC

My first car was a 1973 Cougar XR-7 with an FMX Automatic transmission. Big engine, big transmission, BIG car. GVWR over 4000 lbs. If this car had been a stick; I NEVER would have been able to drive it. TOO BIG, TOO HEAVY. The FMX Automatic is equivalent in size to a C-6; but was installed to match up to the 351 Cleveland that was shoehorned into the hood space. FAST CAR!!! :-) She was the sister car to the Mustang Mach 1 of '71 to '73.

The Mustangs were all built for 0-60 runs; the Cougar that I had was better for 60-100; or, freeway runs. I had the car at 110 mph on California's 680 freeway, and the car didn't hiccup, once. SMOOTH!!! :-)

[EDIT]

17.5 Ft. Long, 5.5 Ft. Wide. Front wheels all the way forward, rear wheels all the way back. U-turns were quite challenging.
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Message 1551148 - Posted: 1 Aug 2014, 22:02:19 UTC

It doesn't bother me what transmission is fitted, I'll still drive it. ;-)

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Message 1551155 - Posted: 1 Aug 2014, 22:29:35 UTC

1. 1961 Ford Falcon, 170 cubic inch (our of wrecked 63) in line 6 with three on the column. Hit hard in the rear and pushed into the car in front of me by a young teen driver.
2. 1962 Ford Falcon Futura with the same 170 cubic in from the 61 with 3 on the column. Sold used in 82
3. 1982 Ford Mustang GT 302 (5 liter) V8 with 4 on the floor. Traded at 150,000 miles in 1996
4. 1996 Mustang GT, 4.6 liter with 5 on the floor. Current car with 127,000 miles.

Needless to say, I like manuals because I have driven autos and I sometimes find they aren't in the gear I want to be in. I also drive by engine sound and the torque converter slip messes with my ear. I lose the fine speed control by ear and have to look at the speedometer far more often.
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Message 1551161 - Posted: 1 Aug 2014, 23:06:11 UTC - in response to Message 1551155.
Last modified: 1 Aug 2014, 23:09:55 UTC

1. 1961 Ford Falcon, 170 cubic inch (our of wrecked 63) in line 6 with three on the column. Hit hard in the rear and pushed into the car in front of me by a young teen driver.
2. 1962 Ford Falcon Futura with the same 170 cubic in from the 61 with 3 on the column. Sold used in 82
3. 1982 Ford Mustang GT 302 (5 liter) V8 with 4 on the floor. Traded at 150,000 miles in 1996
4. 1996 Mustang GT, 4.6 liter with 5 on the floor. Current car with 127,000 miles.

Needless to say, I like manuals because I have driven autos and I sometimes find they aren't in the gear I want to be in. I also drive by engine sound and the torque converter slip messes with my ear. I lose the fine speed control by ear and have to look at the speedometer far more often.

I was trained only on Automatics, though I do have experience with manual trannys, in Motorcycles. I also drove for My DMV driving test in San Pedro CA and its narrow streets, a 1972 Mercury Marquis Brougham Sedan, I scored a 99% correct on both the written and driving tests, not bad for a 19 year old.

I've owned the following cars:

a Chrysler K-car coupe(I forget the year that I owned),
an '84 Pontiac Fiero(mine didn't overheat, catch fire or anything else bad),
an '87 Ford Mustang GT Hatchback,
an '88 Ford Escort Coupe,
a 2006 Ford Mustang GT(a loaded, but quirky car, cause the master power relay on cold winter nights, would suck the battery dry, Ford would not fix this problem, they'd only charge the battery and send Me on My way, I wasn't happy),
a 1999 Ford Escort zx2 sport Hot Coupe(My current ride and My last car I think).

Oh and the fastest I've ever driven was in the 2006 Mustang GT @ 135 mph on the speedometer, Mike at 240 Kph(roughly 149 mph) is still faster, but I didn't have enough room to push the 2006 300hp Mustang GT, I could have beat the 149 mph and that's on 87 octane gasoline.
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Message 1551186 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 0:55:59 UTC
Last modified: 2 Aug 2014, 0:56:54 UTC

I learned on a few cars at the same time,all manual:
1959 Willys 3 speed with Hi Low transfer case, 4WD (get out of the car and lock the axles) and a PTO winch (4 levers on the transmission hump).
1969 International Harvester Travel All with a 5 speed transmission (low was a walking gear and was not used to get moving - usually started in 2nd).
1968 Toyota Corona. 3 on the column.
1972 Honda Civic with a 4 speed.
1974 Honda Civic with a 5 speed.

My commute is in heavy traffic, and I now own an automatic.
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Message 1551193 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 1:34:37 UTC
Last modified: 2 Aug 2014, 1:36:43 UTC

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... my first car! It was so CUTE!! (ahem... sorry - girl in the room guys :)) Metallic brown mini vanden plas - fat tyres - tinted windows - soft roof - walnut dash - probably ten previous owners - total death trap - but I LOVED it. Only 100 like it were made in the world apparently (so I was told). Manual gearbox of course :) LOVE manual gearboxes :) Tremendous fun (and safer I think) when driving through the Drakensberg mountains or Blyde River canyon and Sabie river mountain area (can't remember the name of that range off hand - huh - brain going - must be) all long drives and many sheer drops... so a manual meant much less chance of falling asleep at the wheel. (In the space of a year - three of the people I worked with did just that whilst travelling with their families, very sad :(

Oh... I did drive a go-kart once when I was four - no gears - just pedals... not sure that counts :) and not sure drive is the right word either... found myself at the top of a hill and by the time I'd crashed at the bottom I'd managed to get my feet jammed under the pedals so they were nicely mashed which added quite a bit to the experience... :/

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Message 1551197 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 1:48:48 UTC - in response to Message 1551155.

1. 1961 Ford Falcon.


My mom's first car was a Ford Falcon, and her father, who didn't have a license, and really didn't know how to drive, told her she parked it wrong. He proceeded to back it into a telephone pole...
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Message 1551202 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 1:53:30 UTC - in response to Message 1551197.

1. 1961 Ford Falcon.


My mom's first car was a Ford Falcon, and her father, who didn't have a license, and really didn't know how to drive, told her she parked it wrong. He proceeded to back it into a telephone pole...


:)))))))))))))))) ... ahem ... oh dear... that IS a shame... manual or automatic? :)

Profile Gordon Lowe
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Message 1551212 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 2:04:20 UTC - in response to Message 1551202.

1. 1961 Ford Falcon.


My mom's first car was a Ford Falcon, and her father, who didn't have a license, and really didn't know how to drive, told her she parked it wrong. He proceeded to back it into a telephone pole...


:)))))))))))))))) ... ahem ... oh dear... that IS a shame... manual or automatic? :)


An automatic. She's told me her friends used to say manual's were the only way to feel like you're really driving. I don't know about that, but it does give you more control, good or bad.
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Message 1551215 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 2:21:16 UTC

I have driven a manual exactly once, to get home and back to work the next day when mine was being fixed. It was NOT a good experience for either me or the car.

When I got my license, my parents owned a 77 Vega and a 79 Monte Carlo. When they split, she kept the Monte Carlo.

I have owned:

69 Le Sabre, major rust bucket (only car I've driven at 100 MPH)
78 Monza wagon with a V6
79 Malibu, piece of crap
nothing (drove the Monte for a couple years)
94 Caprice Classic police car (the port injected 350 was fun)
98 Grand Cherokee (real lemon, would have gone in on Cash For Clunkers if I could've afforded a new car at the time) (shimmied over 80 MPH)
98 Chevy van (because it had a wheelchair lift, for my mother)
08 Trailblazer (current object of my love/hate) (the extended warranty I bought with it was money very well spent, as I have mentioned several times recently)
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Message 1551223 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 2:33:03 UTC
Last modified: 2 Aug 2014, 2:34:44 UTC

The first car, belonging to the family, was a '48 Chevy (3-speed, manual).
Have driven both automatic and manual, since then, with the present one a
Ford Focus (5-speed, manual).

In learning to drive in N. Dakota winters (as well as those in New England),
a manual has given me, a greater sense of security. Down-shifting into
the proper gear affords greater traction on snow-packed roads (wet, or dry).

For those who don't feel comfortable, or are not knowledgeable about
down-shifting, then an automatic transmission is pbly. the better way to go.

Overall, though, its easier on the brakes, as well as the engine (I believe.).
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Message 1551225 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 2:36:09 UTC - in response to Message 1551212.

1. 1961 Ford Falcon.


My mom's first car was a Ford Falcon, and her father, who didn't have a license, and really didn't know how to drive, told her she parked it wrong. He proceeded to back it into a telephone pole...


:)))))))))))))))) ... ahem ... oh dear... that IS a shame... manual or automatic? :)


An automatic. She's told me her friends used to say manual's were the only way to feel like you're really driving. I don't know about that, but it does give you more control, good or bad.


I hate to say it but that was a crummy transmission. The automatic was only a two speed.

Now for my punishment. The three speed had a snap ring that held all of the gears on the shaft. I once had that snap ring come off and all the gears ended up in the wrong place. The picture wasn't pretty because there were parts of gear all over the place in the transmission. It was rebuildable and a few days latter I was back on the road.
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Message 1551227 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 2:38:38 UTC - in response to Message 1551223.

Overall, though, its easier on the brakes, as well as the engine (I believe.).


I take my car out of gear and let it coast when I'm braking or at a full stop, so I agree, it probably is better on the brakes.
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Message 1551230 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 2:43:05 UTC - in response to Message 1551223.

The first car, belonging to the family, was a '48 Chevy (3-speed, manual).
Have driven both automatic and manual, since then, with the present one a
Ford Focus (5-speed, manual).

In learning to drive in N. Dakota winters (as well as those in New England),
a manual has given me, a greater sense of security. Down-shifting into
the proper gear affords greater traction on snow-packed roads (wet, or dry).

For those who don't feel comfortable, or are not knowledgeable about
down-shifting, then an automatic transmission is pbly. the better way to go.

Overall, though, its easier on the brakes, as well as the engine (I believe.).


I would rather replace the brakes than the clutch but the exception is long down grades. I shift to the desired gear and then flip on the cruse control. The cruse control will provide far more breaking than the engine alone because it will cut off the air flow into the engine giving you vacuum braking.
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Message 1551235 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 2:57:03 UTC

I learned to drive in a 1979 Ford Fairmont Station wagon and a Ford F150 pickup truck.

The station wagon was automatic and the pickup was stick.

Most of my cars have been automatic though.
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Message 1551254 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 3:33:40 UTC

Due to my physical situation all of my cars have been automatics. Since the mid 1970's they have been referred to as automatic stick shifts but I rarely do anything more than put it in drive.

Although of the things I think I have missed during my life shifting gears isn't very high on the list.

The highest on the the things I wish I could have done is to dance with a pretty lady.
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Message 1551287 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 4:43:47 UTC

First car was a '70 Mavrick, auto.
Fastest, not sure the statute of limitations is up.
Not going to list everything, but Dad was a FORD man and FORD really does mean Fix Or Repair Daily, but the current wheels is a 2011 Buick Regal (made in Germany), six speed auto.

I drove a stick once on a trip with a friend, his car. It would take some practice, but makes no sense at all in Los Angeles traffic. Also with the drive by wire stuff they seem to have the fuel economy favoring auto over manual.

However a bigger question is manual control or drive by wire?

I'm beginning to really hate drive by wire. Zero response.
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