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Old 03-03-2011, 03:52 PM   #1
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Manual Tranny Offroad

Hey everyone -

So I bought my first Wrangler (07 2-dr JK Sahara) about a month ago and am looking forward to doing some occasional offroading. (I live in Brooklyn and have a full-time office-job - so occasional means like once or twice a year). I won't be doing any crazy rock-climbing, but wonder who much of a challenge offroad driving would be with a manual transmission.

I've watched tons of videos and have noticed precise use and balance of throttle and brake which seems impossible to do with a manual transmission. It seems that, to get the right amount of wheel spin (or lack thereof) one would need to ride the clutch a lot, significantly reducing its life span, if not destroying altogether. Furthermore, it seems one could easily lose any progress made over an obstacle if there's even the slightest hesitation in the driver's foot transition from brake to throttle/clutch. Do manual offroad drivers use the parking brake to cheat a little?

This was my concern when I got the Jeep. I got a manual because I feel more in-control with that tranny on-road but worry that the opposite would be true when I trek beyond road's end.

I look forward to reading about your thoughts and experiences.

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Old 03-03-2011, 04:19 PM   #2
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I just wanted to provide this little bit of digging by Jeff to make sure you had it. It's not quite to your question, but I bet there's a lot of answers in there:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffk42 View Post
Here are a couple of other threads to keep you busy, if you're really interested in what everyone has to say on the matter:

1. Auto vs Manual
2. automatic vs. manual
3. Manual or Automatic...??
4. auto or mannual
5. Automatic or manual
6. automatic vs standard
7. Auto or Manual which one do you prefer?
8. Manual Vs Automatic
9. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f33/aut...sion-5243.html
10. Manual or Automatic
11. transmission preference
12. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/auto...nual-1390.html
13. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f33/6-s...uto-46271.html
14. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/sold...uto-45642.html
15. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f8/manu...tic-41567.html
16. STD vs AUTO
17. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/tran...uto-36464.html
18. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f33/aut...ick-29549.html
19. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/manu...ing-30562.html
20. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f33/6-s...uto-24665.html
21. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/auto...nual+automatic
22. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/stic...uto-21981.html

I'm sure there's more if you keep going back.
In direct response, it is of course true that an automatic is easier to drive. This is true on road and off. It's also true that a manual gives more control--on road and off. I don't wheel enough to give much advice beyond that.

However, for what it's worth, I drive a manual and have never had any problems in the limited wheeling I've done. If you're only going to be wheeling a few times a year, I expect you'll be no different. If you're going rock climbing at Moab, then maybe you've got a point but maybe cross that bridge when you get there.

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Old 03-03-2011, 04:22 PM   #3
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Once you are in 4lo---you wont be using clutch much {gee,I made a rhyme]. General thought is Auto for rocks and manual for everything else. You will be fine with trails,mud,etc . Once in 4 WD you wont be shifting very often. When you are in 4lo and stall out--you dont have to use clutch to re-start, just turn the key !!
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:34 PM   #4
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Stock gearing will get you thur most trails but when you get more aggressive and you will try regearing transfer case low gears in 4 lo will give you better control off road yet good driveablity on the road
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:43 PM   #5
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Competition or extreme rockcrawling, the consensus is that automatic has an advantage in control and application of power. However, tens of thousands of jeepers like me have a great time and are successful on serious trails with manual gearboxes. For example, in Moab I've been very much in control and successful on Behind the Rocks, Pritchett Canyon, Moab Rim, and similar trails with a manual. I will admit I've thought about converting to auto, but haven't wanted to badly enough to actually do it yet.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:04 PM   #6
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Some situations a manual will have an edge, some an auto, makes no difference for the most part. If you stay on trails rated 1-2 you won't see a difference. The 3s maybe but unlikely, the 4s definately.

There are tricks you will learn, like when to drive with a foot on the brake and other on the gas, but if you hook up with a club will help and be more fun to boot.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:39 PM   #7
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I also drive a stick due to I like being in control of the gear I put the Jeep in. If I find myself having to slip the clutch too much, then I just downshift. 4lo does wonders! I have a hard time stalling in 1st when in 4 lo. I can crawl over most obstacles, and I only have the 2.72:1 transfer case, 3.21 gears, and 35" BFG KM2's. The Rubi's 4:1 transfer case and 4.10 gears would make it impossible for the brakes to overcome the torque of the engine, so would make crawling over obstacles even easier.
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babiehughie
I also drive a stick due to I like being in control of the gear I put the Jeep in. If I find myself having to slip the clutch too much, then I just downshift. 4lo does wonders! I have a hard time stalling in 1st when in 4 lo. I can crawl over most obstacles, and I only have the 2.72:1 transfer case, 3.21 gears, and 35" BFG KM2's. The Rubi's 4:1 transfer case and 4.10 gears would make it impossible for the brakes to overcome the torque of the engine, so would make crawling over obstacles even easier.
How is the 3.21 gears on 35's? I have the same set up but I only went up to 31" tires. I want to go to 33" tires next. Is it a huge power hit/ what kind of mpg are you running?
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:09 PM   #9
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You must be watching some extreme rock crawling videos. Unless you are gonna go really hard core on those two days a year you wont even come close to having an issue. Once you learn how to drive your JK for real the stick becomes your friend. It's much more capable than you think and you will only learn that from experience. My JK does better in muddy up hill gulches with no wiggle room than it does on a snow covered street, i'm not joking in the least when i say that. You put that thing in 4 wheel and just steer it, you will be surprised what you go through.
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:26 PM   #10
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I got my first jeep not too long ago and it is a manual. I had the same concerns you have. I have been wheeling a couple of times and it just takes a little while to get used to it and then it's a snap. As others stated the 4 lo works wonders. You don't have to ride the clutch in 4 lo. You can go "feet off" (no clutch, no brake, no accelerator) and just let it crawl along in idle.
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:32 PM   #11
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Don't look at the parking brake as cheating. Consider it another tool or option at your disposal.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babiehughie View Post
I also drive a stick due to I like being in control of the gear I put the Jeep in. If I find myself having to slip the clutch too much, then I just downshift. 4lo does wonders! I have a hard time stalling in 1st when in 4 lo. I can crawl over most obstacles, and I only have the 2.72:1 transfer case, 3.21 gears, and 35" BFG KM2's. The Rubi's 4:1 transfer case and 4.10 gears would make it impossible for the brakes to overcome the torque of the engine, so would make crawling over obstacles even easier.
Have you actually killed it in first in 4lo? I was under the impression that if you are off the gas you can stand on the brake and the engine won't die. I have tried this in my rubi and I couldn't kill but I thought I read somewhere that it was a feature that you can't kill it in 4lo if you are off the gas and off the clutch.
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:28 PM   #13
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I killed my Jeep in 4low 1st gear in 20 inches of snow. I'm running 33.12.50 mud terrains and attributed my struggles in the snow to my tires. During this big snow I killed my Jeep many times, well I should say traction control killed it, and before I had never killed it once. Me and my Jeep struggled through the deep snow occasionally but i never stuck it to where it couldn't get out. In the snow I did wish I had an auto tho.. I had a hell of a time with my traction and stability control trying to kill my Jeep even with it fully disabled. But 4low second gear mash the accelerator to the floor I made it through drifts that were approx 3 feet deep.
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:44 PM   #14
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The firyst manual I ever drove was a Jeep. It was a funny sight. I think I killed every time I stopped.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:10 PM   #15
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I know this have been covered before but the whold esp/traction thing does suck to deal with from time to time. I do my best to push and hold the button to keep it off. I am thinking of taking more drastic measures or looking into a handheld device to turn it off for real. I've seen people in JK's stuck in mud from forgetting to turn it off or atleast partial disable. I'm not sure how much of an issue it is in an auto but I do not care for all that computer controling the wheel spin.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:44 PM   #16
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Most rock crawlers who want fine control over their jeep prefer standards. That is my bull shit statement as it is not confirmed by any scientific study. I get to say that just because I can. It counters the other BS statements saying the opposite!
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:01 PM   #17
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auto versus manual......I've never seen a manual explode and blow fluid everywhere while rock crawling.....can't say the same for the auto. it's personal preference and I find that I have more control with the manual. Ncossey prefers an auto and there's no shame in that. Like I said it's all personal preference
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:47 AM   #18
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True, while crawling around on rocks I don't want my tires to spin.. While trying to make it through deep snow and mud I want my tires to spin through it, when the tcs and esp stop that spin I get stuck lol
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:25 PM   #19
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Anyone can drive an automatic... A manual transmission seperates the men from the boys! .... LOL

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