After my "no start" issues recently; I wouldn't have a JK with an auto. Period. With my manual, I can roll the Jeep down a hill, or get a pull, or have some help pushing and bump start it, but with an auto one is flat screwed if the starter won't engage.
Experience= What you get right after you need it the most!!
Just make sure to get 3.73 gears minimum when you order. I may be mistaken but I think some manual JK owners have pretty much lost 6th gear with 35s. Just don't get stuck with 3.21s (like moi).
FYI- 2012+ JKs have "manual" mode in the automatic. Clutchless shifting. When I am feeling Sporty-er- I drive my JK in manual mode and shift. Whenever I enter a California freeway- I pop it right back into auto. (The traffic is mind-boggling). You can crawl in 4LO by shifting, or keep it in automatic. My only complaint is that on a broad power-banded Jeep its hard to tell what gear you're in. You can drive around in a Jeep at 30 MPH in 1st and hardly notice. I find myself checking the dash alot to see where I am at since there isn't the "feel" of a shifter.
On the Hill Descent- its weird. It works, but its weird. The gas pedal and the brake operate totally without you. (You can of course still hit the brakes.). Like someone else said- its not necessary for crawling. Only used it once to see what it does. We have fire roads/trails here that take you up mountain peaks- its more handy on a long descent than anything else. Lest the stupid human ride the brakes too much and toast them.
Times 2 on "On the Hill Descent- its weird. It works, but its weird. The gas pedal and the brake operate totally without you". The first time I used it, I forgot that the button was pushed. I touched the brakes and it was hard and pulsating. Funny sounds, too.
321 SMW Grand Forks AFB, ND 1979 - 1987
If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them.
In the name of science-I took off after work last night and hit the nearest fire road before it got dark. Plus I wanted to test her before the lift gets put on this weekend. Important research and all. Not exactly heavy stuff- not exactly crawling- but I tried the hill descent again on a gnarly side trail. It worked really well- but its so hard to "let" the Jeep do it by itself I just don't think its beneficial. I can't imagine relying on the HDC on a really steep or difficult maneuver.
I love my Jeep! Top down, sun setting through the canyons, gettin' dirty in my plain old stock JK. Still grinning like a fool on just a plain old fire road. Why does anyone drive anything else?
Yeah, I was wondering how that came into play. I'll read your link, but any quick summary for how the torque converter changes the equation, so to speak?
Adding: Or any information on the torque converter in the new JK?
Yeah sorry, wish I knew but I don't. I have a stick. I would imagine you'd need some unpublished engineering spec on the converter to really get a sense of how the torque multiplication aspect would play into things.
This could be a really interesting technical discussion if we had more info, but we'd almost need a powertrain engineer to really break it down for us. I do not think that there is any appreciable advantage to either transmission in any situation that you are likely to encounter. I think that if you were going to be hard enough on the Jeep to notice the difference, you'd already be so hard-core into offroading that you'd already know the answer.
I don't mean that to be insulting, goodness knows I have no intention of doing anything crazy with my Jeep to where the difference would be appreciable. And I am just as interested as you are in how the technical aspects of the different transmissions come into play. I just don't think we are likely to get a satisfactory scientific explanation on the internet without involving an engineer with direct powertrain experience.
My '11 was auto and my '12 is stick. For the trail I MUCH prefer the auto. The HDC is simply awesome. It'll hold you to slow speed in 1st, a little faster in 2nd, and 15 MPH in 3rd I believe. I really loved it. It's also great being able to just shift to drive and 4-low and then forget about the rest. Makes the trail so much more enjoyable.
The manual is good for the road...I'm seeing better mileage and I get to pick the gear for my needs to keep RPMs down and economy up. I like that.
~Lots of modded Jeeps and a Toyota 4Runner~
kcraw: This thread hasn't seen too much activity lately but I've got exactly the same questions as your original post. My question to you is... what did you ultimately decide to do? Did you stick with the stick or move on to the auto? Are you happy with your decision? If you moved to auto, can you share your thoughts on the upside/downside?
The auto has some offroad advantages that make it easier to drive off-road. If your into really gnarly stuff it could even make it more fun. I personally love having a stick.
Sand / Steep Inclines - Your not going to loose momentum when in between gears with an auto.
Manuals cannot (shouldn't) shift in deep water/mud.Some have gotten away with it, but others have needed new clutches after a mistake. There is a vent in the bottom of the clutch. Basically at the height of the bottom of the tub. You cannot plug it up. You can go through deeper water if you don't shift it won't be a problem. So what if you stall. If your in 4-Low you can start without clutching in case you get stuck. So if you stalled you could put it into reverse (with no clutch) and hopefully bucking bronco your way out by just starting the Jeep in gear. To me it is the biggest negative.
One of those additional benefits is useful during extremely difficult low-speed 4Lo trail running. The automatic's torque converter gives what is in effect an infinitely low first gear ratio, which in turn gives an extremely high crawl ratio (which is a good thing). On an easy trail, you won't notice this benefit. But the tougher the trail, the more this becomes a HUGE benefit and is why most of the high-end championship level rigs converted to automatics years ago. At a championship-level rock crawling event you would be hard pressed to find anything but automatic transmissions.
All of this is why after driving manual transmissions off and on since 1964, I converted my '97 TJ's 5-speed to an automatic transmission last month. What a huge improvement in its offroading ability noted in its first offroad trip two weekends ago! Wow, I almost felt like I was "cheating" during a steep climb of a desert trail. Just for grins, I stopped half-way up the climb by just letting off on the gas and held my position. I backed off the gas a little more and it let me roll back a few feet, then a little more gas and I was on my way again. Talk about control, that was more control than I had ever experienced with my 5-speed.
I'll never go back to a 5-speed for an offroad Jeep again. Sure I'd never have anything but a manual transmission if I was buying something like a Porsche sports car but for an offoader Jeep, I'll never again have anything but an automatic.
If the (auto's 2012+) "ERS" electronic range select really works well I don't see why anyone would use the hill decent control HDC. HDC basically uses the breaks to slow you down, but then you cannot touch the breaks. I would think it would be better to just lock it into a low gear and use engine breaking like you would in a stick?
Usually in these threads someone brings up that autos can over heat. I think that with the current state of the auto transmission cooler that isn't a major issue.
I have heard there is also an issue with auto's going very near vertical where they can stall out. I'm sorry I cannot expand on why it happens.
I've found the hdc works pretty well on moderate descents. Its pretty useless on ice, she can't keep up with slipping and descending, & anything steep and rocky that I need to seriously crawl down slower than she can handle in first. You can use the brake with hdc, but its weird & if I need to go slower that it can handle, I just turn it off. But for a moderate descent it works well & keeps me off the brakes.
As far as the auto/manual all of my jeep friends swear by their manuals - until they wheel mine. Not saying they'd give up their sticks, just yet, but I can see the love & appreciation growing.
Ive driven sticks all my life but with knee surgeries I opted for the auto on this Jeep. I'm glad I did as I'm still learning to drive off road, it's much less stressful to not have to worry about what gear I'm in. The one thing I find hard to remember with the auto is to keep my hand on the shifter to dump it in neutral if her ass end is slipping out on me on the ice, of if (God forbid) I'm about to go over backwards going up a steep incline. I forget.
All 7 of the Jeeps Ive owner over the past 25 years were manuals. I loved having control and shifting gears. I never had good luck with autos lasting . For me in years past it came down to I felt the manual was a more reliable option over the autos and everytime I would test drive one it was in the back of my mind Chrysler auto tranny = junk but now it is no longer the case. The new auto with the manual shift offers the best of both worlds and has proven itself reliable and possibly more so than the new manual . I like that I can take manual control when I want to hold a gear on the trail or full auto for my DD when I dont want to be pumping a clutch pedal in traffic.