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Old 09-16-2010, 12:47 AM   #1
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automatic vs standard

Which is better for a multi trail use (mud, rocks, snow etc.).

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Old 09-16-2010, 01:46 AM   #2
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Most rock crawlers prefer autos due to better control on the rocks...aside from that, it's just a matter of personal preference. Some swear by autos and others swear by manuals.

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Old 09-16-2010, 02:06 AM   #3
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I swear by the auto. Keep your mind on the line you are taking not the clutch and gear. Love to drive the 5 speed just not on the trails and/or rocks.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:42 AM   #4
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Personal prefrence. I bought a manual because I already have an auto pickup, and I like shifting.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:57 AM   #5
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Manual for snow/ice/slick driving surfaces. Better control slowing down using engine braking vs. service brakes.

Manual for rocking vehicle when stuck.

I can understand auto for rock crawling to a point. However I'd rather replace a single dry clutch than burnt trans fluid and rebuild from smoked clutch packs. If my manual clutch gives out, then I can still get home. Auto dies, it gets towed.
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:13 AM   #6
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i do just fine on any surface with a manual even rocks
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:48 AM   #7
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What do you drive in mostly is the big question and what do you prefer to drive? ^^^^^
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:59 AM   #8
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I say an auto if your going to do rocks. You have to thank about the roll factor,that can really be a bad thing. Please don't get me wrong I love a stick shift (have a 13 speed in my truck)but in some places a auto will be better.
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:11 AM   #9
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2003 rubicon, beefed up and skid plated end to end...auto is the way to go for rock climbing, and UPHILL stuff, but you wear out brakes going downhill even in 4wd low and 1st gear...really steep stuff the engine just can't keep it slow enough but it has the torque to overpower your brakes...can be touchy.
I also have a 94 YJ 4 banger with 5 speed-and I have followed my rubicon (wife driving) and had a blast-hardly used the brakes at all and only used 1st and 2nd gear for most of it...but it's easier to spin tires climbing a rock with a stick shift. With the different jeepers I run with-I'd have to say those that have stick shift swear by it, those running automatics swear by it...and each has different reasons. But if my wife could drive stick shift, the rubicon would have been a stick...because everytime we go UP something around here, it's a steep DOWNhill after it and I've been replacing brakes every year for only a couple thousand miles of driving!
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:14 AM   #10
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Although I almost despise an automatic, I would think that would have to be better for rock climbing, and such.

Edit:
I'll change that to JUST rock climbing. In the other 2 parts you ask about, give me a stick any day!!
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:22 AM   #11
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I never thought about the break problem. I'm not sure yet witch I'm going to do when I do my build up for the big trip this spring .
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:41 AM   #12
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see its all in preferance. if you get a stick, and dont like having to quickly pull your foot off the break onto the gas on the side of a rock face, you can get a throttle on the shifter forl ike 50 bucks for this purpose alone.
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:44 AM   #13
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I like the control my stick gives me. Maybe if I climbed more rocks I would have a different opinion, but I can't imagine having an automatic transmission in a Jeep
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:46 PM   #14
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I've been driving stick shift trannies for 45 years. For sports cars, stick shifts all the way. For Jeeps that never see really difficult trails, stick shifts are fine. But the tougher the trail, the better an automatic performs. You even get 2-3X more low-end torque from the torque converter inside an automatic transmission.

For control on an extremely tough trail, there is no comparison... an automatic gives MUCH MUCH (!!!) better control. In fact, the pro-level rock crawlers long ago switched to automatics. Stick shifts in competition level rigs are mighty rare now, automatics are what most top competitors run now.

I converted my last TJ from a 5-speed to an automatic four years ago and its hardcore trail ability shot up dramatically. Converting from the 5-speed to the automatic gave as much of a dramatic boost in its offroad abilties as when I installed front and rear lockers.

For sports cars, go with a stick. For a Jeep that is a daily driver or sees really difficult trails, go with an automatic. For easy trails it doesn't much matter but if you really like doing tough trails, you'll be able to do tougher trails with an automatic. Not just because it's easier, but that you'll have far better control and more low-end torque with the automatic.

Heck on one trail where I had to winch my TJ up the same three rocky obstacles every year with its manual transmission, I was able to make those same climbs without a winch once I converted it to the automatic. Same 35" tires, lockers, and 4.88 axle ratio.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:52 PM   #15
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I swear by my auto. But only in my Jeep, otherwise I like a manual trans.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:00 PM   #16
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:07 PM   #17
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Easy answer: It's all personal preference.

My thoughts:
The first time you start to lose momentum in a mud hole and have to downshift, pushing in the clutch and interrupting power to the wheels even for just an instant, you'll wish you had the auto.
True, a manual can give you more low speed control on the trail, but brakes are cheaper than a clutch and Jeeps have 4-Low for a reason.
Taking off on a slick surface is much easier with an auto.

I love a manual transmission, but only on clean, dry roads. I've owned several sports/muscle cars, most manuals. I love the stick when out messing around, but hate it in traffic and bad weather. In my Jeep, I like to be able to sip my coffee and drive at the same time.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:15 PM   #18
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True, a manual can give you more low speed control on the trail...
Having had both transmission types in the same TJ, I disagree with that. My automatic gave MUCH greater low-speed control on extreme level rock crawling trails than my 5-speed was capable of. My previous 5-speed wasn't even in the same league.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:16 PM   #19
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I have heard that about rock crawling, and I know its just a prejudice in my mind, but an automatic jeep just always seems wrong to me. "Beefy, tough, capable automatic?" Just seems like it should be "stick.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:18 PM   #20
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Having had both transmission types in the same TJ, I disagree with that. My automatic gave MUCH greater low-speed control on extreme level rock crawling trails than my 5-speed was capable of. My previous 5-speed wasn't even in the same league.
Hence the CAN.
but to do that with the manual, you end up winding it out in a low gear. some folks don't mind doing that.
i do.
most people's typical knocking around on the trail is a far cry from rock climbing, though.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:19 PM   #21
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I have heard that about rock crawling, and I know its just a prejudice in my mind, but an automatic jeep just always seems wrong to me. "Beefy, tough, capable automatic?" Just seems like it should be "stick.
It only seems that way to those who aren't experienced with truly difficult offroad trails. It is really usually only newbies who generally think you need a manual transmission for a Jeep, and some secreetly think you need a manual transmission to be "manly". That isn't the case... at least not for most of us.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:23 PM   #22
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It only seems that way to those who aren't experienced with truly difficult offroad trails. It is really usually only newbies who generally think you need a manual transmission for a Jeep, and some secreetly think you need a manual transmission to be "manly". That isn't the case... at least not for most of us.
depends which manly world you live in. in drag racing, it's cool to see a guy banging gears, but his car will usually go faster (we're not talking stock hondas here, i mean cars that make good power) and always be more consistent with a good auto.

and a built auto with a big converter and trans brake, pulling the wheels for 60 feet is pretty damn manly to me.
try that with a stick. BOOM.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:28 PM   #23
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Anyone can put a car in D and go to me standards are an art if you can do a hard trail with a standard than you are 2x the driver the average Joe with an auto is IMO.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:28 PM   #24
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Yep if I still had my old '57 Chevy, I'd take out its 260 V8 and replace it with a 327 or 350, 4-speed manual transmission, and Hurst shifter. That kind of car deserves a 4-speed manual transmission. 2nd and 3rd gear "scratch" is something you can only get out of a stick shift.

But for my hard-core rock crawling Wrangler TJ, I'll stick with my automatic transmission. Every day, any day.

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Anyone can put a car in D and go to me standards are an art if you can do a hard trail with a standard than you are 2x the driver the average Joe with an auto is IMO.
Come out and do a few of the "Hammers" trails in Johnson Valley with me, you'll maintain that opinion for about ten minutes.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:33 PM   #25
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Yep if I still had my old '57 Chevy, I'd take out its 260 V8 and replace it with a 327 or 350, 4-speed manual transmission, and Hurst shifter. That kind of car deserves a 4-speed manual transmission. 2nd and 3rd gear "scratch" is something you can only get out of a stick shift.

But for my hard-core rock crawling Wrangler TJ, I'll stick with my automatic transmission. Every day, any day.
i've got a nice little small block in my 55 chevy with a warmed over th-350. i want to put a tremec 5 speed in it. it's a mid 12 second car and never sees the track, so i can get away with a manual. when i get the engine i really want in it, they'll be no running a manual anymore.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:35 PM   #26
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I don't fix up my jeep to trash it Jerry I dot think I would get far with my 32 and 2 1/2 inch lift.If I could borrow one of your standards I would be more than happy though
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:39 PM   #27
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I don't fix up my jeep to trash it Jerry I dot think I would get far with my 32 and 2 1/2 inch lift.If I could borrow one of your standards I would be more than happy though
I didn't fix my Jeep up to trash it either. My comment was strictly aimed at your comment about stick drivers having 2x the skills. Apples and oranges, that's like saying someone with 30" tires has 2X the skills by getting through a trail where 35" tires used. It's not about skills, it's about what frigging works best. Don't try to lay the auto vs. stick thing on skills as justification for a stick shift... it doesn't work that way for those who know better.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:53 PM   #28
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Wheeling is all about fun and I'm not trying to bad mouth an auto it is better for hardcore rock crawling I'm sure so a manual would be a handicap on that type of terrain.which is why skill was brought up.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:03 PM   #29
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@ Jerry how much trouble is it to swap a trannies from standard to auto.
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:46 PM   #30
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i would prefer an auto for most of the reasons listed here. but its my opinion that all autos are screwups and cant be trusted. ive owned about a dozen cars and trucks and they were all standard except one. and that one auto let me down bigtime. this is of course only counting factory stock trannys not aftermarket ones. ive had one professionally built c4 in a mustang and that is definatly a different story.

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