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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, I apologize. I do hate to post on a topic that has been beaten to death, and I definitely don't want to incite another round of debates, but....

I'm finally ready to place an order for a new JK, to the point of having a sheet from Koon's. I was all set to order a manual but I'm having doubts. When I decided that it was finally the right time to get a Jeep, many months ago, I was planning to get the auto as one of the few options I actually want.

http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/another-getting-ready-to-order-thread-1939682.html

After I talked myself out of buying at that time, I started thinking I would step up to a Rubicon, mostly for the 4.10 gears. Since auto + 4.10 works out to a $2000 option, and I am still trying to be budget conscious, I decided the manual was the way to go. Now, I have driven several manuals in my time, most extensively a mid 90s Honda Civic, but I have never owned one. I have owned motorcycles for my entire 22 adult years (bought my first at 18, 40 now), but those transmissions are sequential shift, and a hand clutch always seemed easy and natural to me. An automatic motorcycle is just a big scooter. It is too dangerous around here nowadays for me to ride anymore. The Jeep will not be a daily, but a fun weekend vehicle to replace both my motorcycle (open air) and my aging truck (adventure). In that regard, the manual makes sense as it's arguably more fun, and certainly more involved. A manual driver is an active participant rather than just along for the ride.

Now that I am getting serious about ordering, I've come back around to planning on a Sport, but I still have the lingering wish for a manual from when I was looking at Rubicons. Except that the auto is a much more budget friendly option in a Sport. I will admit, the NSG370 problems I have read about are influencing my doubts. I have never had, or even driven, a Jeep. I know auto is better for crawling, but I am not sure what type of wheeling I will do, except that I want to be in the woods. There isn't much hardcore stuff in FL for 4 wheeled vehicles, afaik anyway. I have been lurking here for going on 2 years and the knowledge base is very impressive, and has definitely earned my respect when it comes to Jeeps. I guess I'm just looking for some guidance.

I didn't intend to write a book, so if you've read all this, thank you.

tldr:
Manual or Auto for non dd fairweather weekend suburban cruiser and forest exploration vehicle?
 

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Hell I have a manual and I deal with commuting in Atlanta traffic (50+ miles to downtown and back). I don't mind it though because I enjoy the involvement a manual provides.

A weekend warrior would be gravy.
 

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Non DD I would have definitely gone with a manual. But mine is a DD in the LA area so with all the traffic we have, I went with auto.
 

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I have a manual and love it. That said, if I were to buy again I'd get an auto. Having been on the trails a couple of weeks ago, the auto is actually just as, if not more, capable.


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I love my manual. I have 3.73 gears 34 inch tires. its a little sluggish in 6th gear going up a hill but in 5th gear I can putt putt alone at 1000 rpms in traffic as low as 30 mph and gain speed if I give it gas.
 

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From my experience, the manual is fine if you plan to keep your Jeep until you die.

I have found its extremely difficult to sell a vehicle with a manual. Even when your ad pretty clearly says that it has a manual transmission, 99.999999999% of the people who come to look, don't want a manual at any price. It takes a long time to find that one unique buyer.

All my used vehicles sell within a day or two, if not within hours, of me putting them up for sale. My first Wrangler, fully equipped except for with a manual, took almost 3 months. As I said, lots of traffic, but the manual scared them off.
 

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Take both for a test drive, back to back, hopefully in the same model and gearing. If you haven't driven stick in awhile, first borrow a friends car or something so you are re-familiarized with driving manuals.

Mine's my DD, thought I would go stick again but after test drive, first auto I've bought in 25 years. Loving it so far.

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Most of the vehicles I've owned have been manual, but I have no regrets getting the automatic in my 2017 JK. I prefer them when slow-going offroad. The 5 speed auto is a proven workhorse.
 

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The idea of a manual driver being more engaged might be true for the first few weeks, but once you know what you're doing it's second nature. You still work the brake, you still work the gas pedal, but not the throttle since it's drive by wire regardless of transmission, and you still don't advance your own timing like someone really operating their vehicle instead of just being along for the ride. :thumb:
 

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I have a manual and love it. That said, if I were to buy again I'd get an auto. Having been on the trails a couple of weeks ago, the auto is actually just as, if not more, capable.


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I had planned to get a manual, but switched at the last minute because my wife wasn't comfortable with it. I am very glad that I did. The automatic is very nice in the Jeep and I have not once regretted my decision. That being said, for a weekend driver I might get the manual. I know I didn't help, sorry..... you won't regret the auto!
 

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If I was buying new now, I would wait for the 18 with the 8 speed auto. As painful as the wait would be. That new trans is going to be a great improvement in every way. It's already a proven Jeep trans.
 

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I've had a problem with my reverse gear grinding and popping in my 2017 Recon. I'm getting new gear and synchronizer. I'd buy it again however. It's a heck of a lot of fun to drive. Mine will get squared away soon.
 

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As good as the JK stick is, it isn't a sporty transmission. I had a 6 speed Rubicon. Never again. For the types of trails I do, it was a PITA. Once you are in 4 low, it's impossible to shift while you are moving, because you are probably 1/2 tipped over going up a hill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the responses.

WaltA: I do keep my vehicles a long time but I'm not sure the JK will last 30 years. As far as resale, around here it seems like manuals are more sought after, especially in the TJ/LJ market.

GDM: Excellent idea. I knew I needed to test drive a 3.73 Manual before ordering, but it didn't occur to me to drive it back to back with an auto. For refamiliarization, it just so happens, I will be spending a long next weekend visiting a friend with a manual Mini Cooper. Maybe she'll let me drive it a bit...

WhiskeyRanger: I know exactly what you mean. When I ride, I don't really consciously work the clutch and shift the gears, it just happens. Blipping the throttle, too. The left hand pulls, the right hand twitches.

YnotAJeep: I'm not really interested in the JL at this time. I would be waiting more than a year or two. If the 8 speed auto will be the same one that's in my 2015 Chrysler, I'm really not excited about it. It doesn't have any problems, but it definitely shifts funny. Not nearly as smooth as the already not perfect (I believe) 5 speed in my 2007 Ram.

I'm still undecided, and will wait to test drive before I make a final decision. That being said, I am leaning towards automatic. I feel like if I regret the auto, no big deal, I've always had autos. I won't really think about it much when I drive it. But if I regret the manual, I will eventually come to hate it, and I'll think about it every time I drive it. I keep my vehicles a long time, and don't want to be in a position where I want to get rid of the Jeep before it's paid for. I really do hope to have this thing on dirt almost as much as on pavement. It does seem as though the auto will be more enjoyable off road.

There is also something in the back of my mind that I didn't mention before. Although I am not as active as I once was, I still consider myself a mountain bike rider. The Jeep will be my bike hauler. Crashing is part and parcel of MTB. Over the last 15 years of riding, I have more than once had to drive myself home in a condition that would make clutching and shifting pretty difficult. I once drove two hours with a right AC separation... oh to be young and stupid again.

Thank you again for the input. I hope to be posting in the Waiting Room very soon.
 

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Auto/manual purely a personal choice. I chose a manual for the challenge in the rocks. With a auto it is point and shoot which at times is not bad but I have had auto's in the past playing off road so I wanted something different this time. I will say this about the Jeep manual, it has one of the easiest clutch in the world. I don't even mind stop and go traffic.
 

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OP, I have a manual and love it, but you have doubts and should get the auto. If you have good instincts always go with that. If you don't then your on your own.

Went strait out and looked for and bought a manual, never test drove a auto. The auto might be better for rock crawling, but the manual is better for my driving style. It's not the best manual in the world, but I have driven worse. B&M has a short shifter that I might put in one day when I am doing other work.

I disagree about being difficult to shift on hills in 4-LO, just takes some seat time to get used to things. If it's not possible to shift in 2nd, then who cares, I am in no hurry. Speaking of being in a hurry, I don't wheel around other people that are in a big hurry, get enough of that crap in the city, don't need it out in the boonies. If people's interest is in seeing how fast they can get up the trail, have at it, I let them go by. I rarely see any other vehicles where I like to go anyway.
 

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Test drive both, best thing you'll ever do to find out which model you'll like the most.

I had a Toyota FJC manual before the Jeep, loved the damn thing, and to make it even better, i did install a short shifter option, even without the short shifter, the FJ manual trans setup mopped the floor with the JK manual, tested both before deciding to bring the Toyota home at the time, shoot me for saying the trans in the FJ was smoother :) like i could give a damn crap about it, i call things like i see them.

After 2-3 years with the Yota, i sold it because i wanted something more capable for the rocks, and my JKU trashed the living crap out of my FJ in that regards, and all without a locker, even when i had 33's, the Jeep was a lot more capable doing heavy rutted trails, especially when rocks are present, went auto with the Jeep because i wanted to try an auto trans, and i don't have any regrets, frankly, i do actually enjoy the trails a lot more, as i can concentrate on the obstacle in full, no more bothering with the clutch, slipping backwards 1" when you almost had the proper line, holding up everybody because i had to "find" a new line, no more of being more aggressive with my equipment to sort the same obstacle, really can't beat the auto trans in the rocks, and in the 2012+ JK's and up, the NAG1 is pretty much bullet proof.
 

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if you are going to do significant driving/ towing, get the auto. Somebody posted here a while back that the auto NAG1 WA580 merc transmission is good for up to 600 Foot pounds of torque while the manual is only good up to 270.
 
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