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Old 06-18-2013, 10:38 AM   #1
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Manual or Automatic Trans?

As I look to buy a Jeep, (97-2000 TJ most likely, I6) I'm wondering which type of trans would be best. I plan on doing some mild to moderate crawling with it and if it doesn't already have larger tires/ lift kit/ winch I'll be adding those in the future.

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Old 06-18-2013, 10:45 AM   #2
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Depends on your preference. Personnally, I prefer an auto, when crawling, especially in the rocks, but some prefer the stick.

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Old 06-18-2013, 10:52 AM   #3
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Auto will be a lot easier to use in the rocks
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:17 PM   #4
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Let me sum up the arguments for you:

You absolutely must use [insert automatic or manual here] because I believe that it's better because of [insert argument based on a point that only matters to me here] and the other kind can't do [insert another argument based on a point that only matters to me here]. Because of that, everyone needs to make the choice that I made.



Seriously though, what you get depends a lot on personal preference. What are you looking to get out of the Jeep? How are you going to use it? Are you going to modify it and if so, how? The year are you looking at will also affect which specific manual and automatic were available and, of course, they all have their benefits and drawbacks.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:24 PM   #5
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If you don't learn to row and get the auto instead, it will be harder to tell your friends to shove it when they ask to drive. 16 is the perfect age to learn how to row through the gears, get the manual or else you'll be one of those guys that can't drive a stick.

It's just not a jeep (to me) if it has an auto. Now if I had a hardcore trail rig, I'd have an auto. But I DD my jeep, so no thanks.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:31 PM   #6
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The autos for a while up until 2002 were 3 speeds if that helps. That is a lot of gear in 1st if you plan on using as a driver for highway speeds.

I got a 5 speed because I have never had one before, and at 37 I felt it was time to force me to learn. Not planning on crawling much. I still fear roll back and starting from an incline. (Working on the same fear on my motorcycle as well).

That and it fit what I wanted, price was where I wanted. Kind of fell in my lap.

What I have not seen discussed much is what I experienced in my diesel. Moving slow and not having torque converter locked or 4 low will at least on my 4 speed dodge would over heat fairly fast with more than a empty load. The converter slipped and speed of tranny does not move as much fluid when slow or air cooling is not as efficient. But that was a 5.9 04 ram 4x4. Jeeps probably are different.

But to be fair, if I would have found something in my price range and specs in an auto, I probably would have bought it instead of the 5 speed.

This was a useless post from me, I know. Just burning some lunch time.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:33 PM   #7
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Manual. It's just more fun, it's impressive to people because a lot of people can't anymore and also it's important to know because if your out with friends and everyone's messed up and you are good and gotta drive your friends manual car you need to know how.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:55 PM   #8
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Preference. What are you going to be using your Jeep for?

Agreed that everyone should be able to drive a stick. Learning how to drive is a different and unrelated topic.

My two previous wheeling rigs were manuals, which is why I prefer the auto in my Jeep.

Sometimes when in a large group on a tight mountain trail with deep ruts, rocks, and big tree roots to navigate, we just hang out and wait. We listen to the sweet sounds of the symphony of starters as the other rigs battle through. Maybe grab a snack out of the cooler, and take in the smells of burnt clutches, and flooded engines re-firing.

Can't wait for the next big run. I'm getting hungry.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:56 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input!!! The knowing how isn't a problem..........drove a 5 speed truck and car for many years. Like I said I may do some mild to moderate crawling, but mostly street driving as a DD. Are there certain years/trans. that I should be leary of?
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:59 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input!!! The knowing how isn't a problem..........drove a 5 speed truck and car for many years. Like I said I may do some mild to moderate crawling, but mostly street driving as a DD. Are there certain years/trans. that I should be leary of?
Get a NV3550 5-Speed if you want a manual. Very reliable transmission and extremely durable. Couldn't tell you as far the automatic goes.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:59 PM   #11
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Preference. What are you going to be using your Jeep for?

Agreed that everyone should be able to drive a stick. Learning how to drive is a different and unrelated topic.

My two previous wheeling rigs were manuals, which is why I prefer the auto in my Jeep.

Sometimes when in a large group on a tight mountain trail with deep ruts, rocks, and big tree roots to navigate, we just hang out and wait. We listen to the sweet sounds of the symphony of starters as the other rigs battle through. Maybe grab a snack out of the cooler, and take in the smells of burnt clutches, and flooded engines re-firing.

Can't wait for the next big run. I'm getting hungry.
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:20 PM   #12
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Drove manual for almost 15 years, and know how, I never had any problem in any hills. Now I did extensive rock crawling for the first time with my Jeep last weekend, I have a manual, ..., this wasn't easy, I guess I'm now on a new learning curve.

As a daily driver, I'm glad I took it manual, lot more fun, in the trails, up to now I had more fun than automatic I guess, but last weekend, ..., I wished I had an automatic.

At the end, I'm more happy with a manual.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:05 PM   #13
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I got a 5 speed because I have never had one before, and at 37 I felt it was time to force me to learn.
Umm...the 2013 auto is a 5-speed. The manual is a 6. You have a 5-speed auto?
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:34 PM   #14
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Umm...the 2013 auto is a 5-speed. The manual is a 6. You have a 5-speed auto?
I have a manual. The 2001 would have been a 3 speed auto if my research was correct. They did not start a 4 speed auto until 2002.

I was thinking in the years the OP said for years 97 to 2000 ish with the speed comparison between manual and auto. Sorry for the confusion.
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:04 PM   #15
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I have a 6 spd manual, do a decent amount of off roading, wouldn't trade the 6 spd for anything. Being in Jersey there's really not a lot of rock crawling, lot of deep puddles, mud and sand, it's all good!!
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:17 PM   #16
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Since i'm 18 (14 years ago..shit), I learned and got my license driving with a stick and drive my everyday car with a manual transmission (Golf IV R32).. but cruising and driving around my automatic 2003 TJ Rubicon, be it on the road or offroad, is purely a real pleasure and probably a lot easier getting over heavy stuff.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:29 PM   #17
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I had a 6 speed, but since it was my DD back & forth to work, 5 days a week, 31 miles one way & no highway, I decided to trade it in on an automatic....BEST decision ever! I hated being stuck in traffic with my 6 speed! I have a 6 speed Challenger that is my 'fun' car
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:00 AM   #18
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I had a 6 speed, but since it was my DD back & forth to work, 5 days a week, 31 miles one way & no highway, I decided to trade it in on an automatic....BEST decision ever! I hated being stuck in traffic with my 6 speed! I have a 6 speed Challenger that is my 'fun' car

Err, manual is much better to drive in traffic IMO. Automatic you have to use the brake, I just put it in first and creep. Need a little faster? 2nd at idle. A little faster yet? 3rd at idle. And so on. Manual is way less terrible than automatic for my driving.
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:52 AM   #19
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l'll throw my hat into the ring. I've had a manual, stock TJ for 13 years as a DD and love the obvious control over the driving experience that it has afforded me. There's no denying the fun factor there. However, when I lived in Los Angeles and had to deal with the stop-and-go traffic, an automatic would have been a relief. Idling above 1st gear wasn't an option, and sometimes, even trickling along in 1st didn't mean less trips to the brake pedal. Same experience on the beltway outside of D.C. That being said, I still wouldn't trade the manual for the automatic. Not ever.
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:56 AM   #20
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I prefer manual on mud terrain because of the shift control, while automatic is good when driving on rocks. But I think it doesn't really matter if manual or automatic, as long as it can get you out in different tough trails.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:44 AM   #21
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Err, manual is much better to drive in traffic IMO. Automatic you have to use the brake, I just put it in first and creep. Need a little faster? 2nd at idle. A little faster yet? 3rd at idle. And so on. Manual is way less terrible than automatic for my driving.
So I guess what you are saying is, who would want to use a trencher or excavator when you could use a shovel?
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:37 AM   #22
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I wish I had an auto trans








and auto braking








and auto throttle








and auto steering.








It would be so easy!








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Old 06-19-2013, 12:35 PM   #23
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So I guess what you are saying is, who would want to use a trencher or excavator when you could use a shovel?
That's not what I'm saying at all. An auto has one speed of idle. Too fast, or too slow, gas, brake, gas, brake, gas, brake--Annoying. I have 6 in my 6spd. I use the brake and gas much less frequently in the manual than I do in an auto in exchange for rowing gears-- and I don't even use the clutch except when stopped.
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:24 PM   #24
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You can use the autostick to specify a gear with the auto, if you want to maintain a certain speed, and you don't even need a clutch to shift it.
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:42 PM   #25
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That's not what I'm saying at all. An auto has one speed of idle. Too fast, or too slow, gas, brake, gas, brake, gas, brake--Annoying. I have 6 in my 6spd. I use the brake and gas much less frequently in the manual than I do in an auto in exchange for rowing gears-- and I don't even use the clutch except when stopped.
I was just jacking with you. My jeep is an auto, but my d.d. truck is a 6 speed. I hate to be stuck in traffic with my truck. I will take an auto any day in traffic. But to each his own.
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:46 PM   #26
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I've got the 6sp box, very happy with it.. The 1st gear is excellent for crawling..
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:29 PM   #27
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You can use the autostick to specify a gear with the auto, if you want to maintain a certain speed, and you don't even need a clutch to shift it.
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I was just jacking with you. My jeep is an auto, but my d.d. truck is a 6 speed. I hate to be stuck in traffic with my truck. I will take an auto any day in traffic. But to each his own.

Feeling the clutch slip everytime you step on the gas in any gear feels like money falling out of my pockets.

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