Originally Posted by lombardsoup
Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald
The old gear jammers said the same thing when automatic trannies first came out. Now, most of the big rigs have full automatics because they get better fuel mileage and actually need less maintenance, especially with newer drivers (how many of you can double clutch and shift a crash box without grinding the gears or keep up with a main box and a brownie without missing the shift? Of course, if you are really good, you don't even need the clutch.). And I have talked to semi drivers (and even drove a few semis around for loading and unloading).
On flat roads? Yes. Steep hills, particularly in bad weather? I want manual control.
That's what the old gear jammers used to say. Apparently, you have never driven anything bigger than an older 1/2 ton. The automatics on the newer 1/2, 3/4, and 1 tons have as much control as a manual (not to mention more torque). Even the little deuce and a halfs have had automatics for the past 20-30 years (I've driven them) and you can select which gear you want to stay in. The bigger automatics, like the Allisons, also have retarders to help control downhill speeds. Not only do you have more control with an automatic, they are way less work to drive and there is no chance of missing a shift on a downgrade, which could leave you without any engine braking since you will be out of gear.
By the time I retired back in '04 from the company that now pays my pension and (now) Medicare supplemental, almost all the company's 2 1/2 tone line trucks were automatics. They were gradually replacing the old semi tractors with automatics. Half of the outside carrier big rigs I loaded and unloaded had automatics. Many of the older gear jammers complained about them but many of them grudgingly admitted they were easier to drive, especially in town, and got better fuel economy.
Most of the big rigs I see on the road now probably have automatics. It's easy to see what kind of tranny they have when they hit a change in grade, even as little as 1% if they are fully loaded, because of the quick puff of smoke from the stack when they have to goose the engine to shift.
I used to favor stick shifts over automatics (I actually replaced the 4 speed Warner in an F300 with a 5 speed Clark) but I actually get better control, not to mention more torque, from the automatic in my '08 F150. Drive a fully loaded truck with a 5 speed crash box main (no synchromesh so we're talking double clutching and a four speed brownie or one with a 15 speed Road Ranger (been there, done that) and then tell me with a straight face you prefer a standard.Edited by Lady Fitzgerald - 4/28/17 at 9:37pm