Die hard Manual guys get in here!

tom_sprecher

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I got one of these a couple of years ago and did not care for it. It was too short for my tastes and for some reason after a couple of hours of hard driving in the mountains the trans did not want to shift until it cooled back down. That problem went away once the OEM shifter was swapped back in.

I did this at the same time and it is still in there. Can't say there is much difference.

In retrospect I did not have any real issues with the OEM trans or shifter and still don't. I just thought I would try something different based on forum members here swearing this or that was so much better. Different is not always better and that includes some people's opinions.





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Norm Peterson

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I was all about that harsh shifting. Fast as possible and make that 4 banger and clutch work hard. I beat the crap out of cars when younger. Jumping and offroading cars and leaving parts behind as I went. I remember laughing so hard when I shifting and looked at my hand to see the shift knob no longer attached. Then casually handing it to the passenger for them to hang on to. Oh to be young again!
Young for me meant a "3 on the tree" shift linkage on an 8 year old mid-1950's Chevy with a 1-barrel inline-6 for "power". Long shift throws in a vertical-ish direction and shift linkage that generally looked like the below image with all those flexy bends were very effective at discouraging race-like shifting. Not shown are still more linkage components running to the shift lever proper . . . no wonder floor shift conversions came about.

1609246002443.png


Young also meant I couldn't risk breaking stuff through abuse.


Norm
 
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Norm Peterson

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Hello; Got my license in 1963. Back then driving a manual trans was a rite of passage. I have had some crummy manuals and have driven some really nice ones. The manual preference is at best a personal thing anymore as automatics have caught up with manuals in terms of fuel economy.
This, in spades.


I guess the few remaining objections for an auto are how they can hunt on grades, how they do not give the control in some rare situations and are generally more expensive to repair. (That last part may not be true anymore. I may be out of touch.)
For me at least, there's a few more. Automatics usually don't make their shifts when I'd make them manually, and being just a little out of step bothers me. I also don't care for downshifts commanded by throttle position; let's keep shift commands separate from throttle commands.

The worst shift action I can recollect was with a Borg-Warner T10, after one of the synchro hubs split itself into three pieces that tended to taper-jam the slider. Which resulted in my wife christening that car with the name 'Cranky', a name that stuck with the car even after I swapped a very nice-shifting Tremec 3550 into it.


Norm
 

Sivi70980

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Young for me meant a "3 on the tree" shift linkage on an 8 year old mid-1950's Chevy with a 1-barrel inline-6 for "power". Long shift throws in a vertical-ish direction and shift linkage that generally looked like the below image with all those flexy bends were very effective at discouraging race-like shifting. Not shown are still more linkage components running to the shift lever proper . . . no wonder floor shift conversions came about.

1609246002443.png


Young also meant I couldn't risk breaking stuff through abuse.


Norm
With a driving age putting me in cars around late 90's early 2000's, the few experiences I have of driving cars from the 60's has always given me that nice check. 25 year old me thought I could drive a stick well enough. 69 Camaro's 4 speed took me about 15 minutes to get it moving. I'm sure a "3 on the tree" would take me a bit even now as I've never experienced it.

Took me a couple ungentle transitions back to a bicycle to realize I should treat cars with at least some respect.
 

Hack

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Funny, if back in the day when most of us were driving manuals you plopped down a modern A10 transmission we all would have crapped ourselves and then lined up with cash money to get one. It would have been a magical thing really.

So, for someone who has shifted gears a billion times, for my 2020 I went "pussy version" (as one of my buddies put it). Snort!

I do have a question for the kids who drive manual, do you double-clutch any more or is that not needed with the new nanny manual transmissions..? :sunglasses:
Well, if they had an A10 available for a 1970s car, the transmission would cost more than the entire car. Needlessly complicated and overkill is what people would have thought. It would have been available in a Ferrari or a Bentley - maybe - but definitely not a Ford.
 

sk47

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Needlessly complicated and overkill is what people would have thought.
Hello; Yes to this and the comment about the extra cost of the additional complexity. It is not that there is no benefit at all from having a greater range of gear ratios, because there is a positive benefit in some situations.
With automatic transmissions a case might be made for one of the four speeds which has a lock up feature as being good enough for most situations. Not the latest technical achievement for sure, so not something to brag about in ad's.
I have driven the very old two speed automatics and did not care for them. Most of the automatics have been three speed types and they were satisfactory for driving but were not so fuel efficient.
My current pickup has a four speed automatic which locks up. Gets some better MPG than the last manual pickup I owned (a 1989 Ford F-150 with the 300 inline six) Most of the time it has no objectional quirks. I drive in the low mountains of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia and sometimes the downshifts on an uphill grade area bit harsh, but hot as bad as one of the older three speeds.
I have only test driven one of the ten speed autos in a new F-150 on mostly flat road so cannot say if having six more gear ratios is the better driving experience. The additional gears may make driving some better. May make more MPG possible. May shift quicker and give quicker elapsed times. Give me all of that at the same dollar cost and with the same reliability as a proven four speed and I am good.
If the ten speed adds a lot of cost to have, then give me the older four speed which I can live with for less money.

If the choice was still available a manual in a pickup would be my pick. My last F-150 had a five speed manual. Now not an option in a light duty pickup. However for the time being I can get a manual in a few cars and will if I can manage it.
 

Norm Peterson

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Well, if they had an A10 available for a 1970s car, the transmission would cost more than the entire car. Needlessly complicated and overkill is what people would have thought.
For sure. At the time, we were just beginning to see 5-speed manual transmissions and 4-speed automatics, and people were questioning whether we even needed that many forward gears. I know that for my Dad (b. 1920), only four for a manual transmission was "too many".

For most cars, a wide range of speeds and conditions can be accommodated with only 6 forward gears. Anything more than that - again this being for most cars - is going to be more about eke'ing out little scraps of fuel economy improvement than mechanical usefulness. Perhaps as you close in on an honest 200 mph capability, another gear might be justifiable from a purely functional point of view.

Much more than 6, maybe 7 gears is going to get too busy to keep up with manually and would tend to feel like 'hunting' if done automatically and the shifting was at all noticeable. That said, 8/9/10 speed 'conventional' automatics are still more robust solutions than the CVTs that they're apparently trying to emulate, particularly in a performance-oriented car.


Norm
 

Aaron1085

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I got one of these a couple of years ago and did not care for it. It was too short for my tastes and for some reason after a couple of hours of hard driving in the mountains the trans did not want to shift until it cooled back down. That problem went away once the OEM shifter was swapped back in.



I did this at the same time and it is still in there. Can't say there is much difference.

In retrospect I did not have any real issues with the OEM trans or shifter and still don't. I just thought I would try something different based on forum members here swearing this or that was so much better. Different is not always better and that includes some people's opinions.
that Steeda manual transmission bushing ‘kit’ looks nice. Would you say you have enjoyed the difference from OEM, or is it negligible?
 

Aaron1085

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it's a MUST do.
sorry, can you just explain a tad more ; just firmer shifting overall? I have never been a ‘short throw’ guy, so this looks like a nice add without swapping out the entire shifter.
 

shogun32

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the shifter action is more stable/predictable. Maybe you can call it 'firmer' but the win is the shifter doesn't fight you when you shift at higher RPMS or want to select gears faster. It doesn't change the length of the throw in any discernable fashion.
 

sk47

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For most cars, a wide range of speeds and conditions can be accommodated with only 6 forward gears.
Hello; While there are more, here are two situations where lots of gears are useful. One is where the power band of an engine is narrow. Say an engine tuned to make peak HP or torque that only makes that good HP/torque in a small range of RPM's. I had a two stroke motorcycle like that. It was a Suzuki 250cc twin road bike. Made good power only for a few hundred RPM's. It had a six speed trans so I could usually find a gear to keep it in that range.

The other would be a small displacement otto cycle (4-stroke) gasoline. A car which is close to being underpowered or actually is underpowered. I have had a couple of those sorts of cars. A couple more gears would have been nice.

With cars such as the V-8 Mustangs power is not the big issue. A four speed would do, they did for a few decades. To me a five speed is plenty good enough for most cars. Three underdrive gears, a direct drive 4th gear and an overdrive 5th.
I have not yet spent much time in a six speed manual. Only test drives so far. I do think a six speed manual could be the sweet spot in terms of the number of gears. A bit hard to pin down just how the ratios ought to be. In a Mustang V-8 I might like three underdrive gears, a direct drive 4th and overdrive 5th and 6th.
In a car with a less powerful engine perhaps four underdrive gears, direct drive 5th and an overdrive 6th for cruising.
 

Norm Peterson

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Hello; While there are more, here are two situations where lots of gears are useful. One is where the power band of an engine is narrow. Say an engine tuned to make peak HP or torque that only makes that good HP/torque in a small range of RPM's. I had a two stroke motorcycle like that. It was a Suzuki 250cc twin road bike. Made good power only for a few hundred RPM's. It had a six speed trans so I could usually find a gear to keep it in that range.

The other would be a small displacement otto cycle (4-stroke) gasoline. A car which is close to being underpowered or actually is underpowered. I have had a couple of those sorts of cars. A couple more gears would have been nice.
I did say "for most cars" . . . so yes I realize that exceptions can be found.

But there are always other constraints. An underpowered car isn't going to be able to reach speeds where still taller transmission gearing would be necessary or even useful. Once you've got one gear that can't add any more speed, there isn't much point in having any more that can't. Might as well space that one away from the rest and only use it for relaxed cruising, pretty much what 1.00 5ths and 0.6x 6ths are giving us as it is. But there are other gearing philosophies . . .

And there's always the matter of how busy a driver is willing to be with his shifting. Gear spacings that are averaging less than 1.2 to 1.00 apart would be ridiculously close for normal driving where you're typically shifting at 3000 rpm. Manually shifting every 5-ish mph between 25 and 50 would be nuts. Sequentially shifting a bike with ratios that close is one thing, only involving small movements of the wrists, fingers, and left ankle. In a car, it's whole right arm and at least lower left leg movements which involve bigger and slower muscles. I can't imagine this not mattering for most people.


With cars such as the V-8 Mustangs power is not the big issue. A four speed would do, they did for a few decades. To me a five speed is plenty good enough for most cars. Three underdrive gears, a direct drive 4th gear and an overdrive 5th.
Four was "enough" until the speeds that cars could reach got past about 125 mph. "Enough" in quotes because for the most part we didn't know any different.

You need a short enough 1st to easily get off the line with minimal clutch slippage and there is a limit to how wide you can space the gears before you make the engine fall out of its powerband on the upshifts. Performance driving implies closing the ratios up so that you can take maximum advantage of what the engine has to give you, so the more you focus on performance (and have enough of it available) the more you're going to want more than four. Drag racing is kind of a special case in that time and distance matter more than speed and there isn't enough room to get much past what four carefully chosen gear ratios can give you. Hell, big-power automatic guys are still running 2-speed Powerglide-based transmissions.

Five is enough until you start driving at the higher speeds, and I can tell you that the big gap from 4th to 5th in my S197 at 120-ish mph makes the car fall flat. Taller axle gears (3.31 or numerically smaller) would perhaps solve that, but hurt driving off the line and at slower speeds. Truth be told, there's also too big of a jump from 2nd to 3rd as well, that makes 2nd too low to be useful in many track situations and not worth downshifting into. This gets into gearing philosophies; the 3650's ratios are perfectly adequate for most normal driving. Not so good for more serious performance driving.


I have not yet spent much time in a six speed manual. Only test drives so far. I do think a six speed manual could be the sweet spot in terms of the number of gears. A bit hard to pin down just how the ratios ought to be. In a Mustang V-8 I might like three underdrive gears, a direct drive 4th and overdrive 5th and 6th.
In a car with a less powerful engine perhaps four underdrive gears, direct drive 5th and an overdrive 6th for cruising.
I've driven 3-speed MTs, 4-speed MTs, 5-speed MTs, 6-speed MTs, and one 7-speed MT (that I never got to use more than four gears of up to about 100 mph on the track).

I can agree that for most average/normal "performance cars", 6 is a reasonable place to stop adding gears. The extra gate required for a 7th in a conventional H-pattern shifter isn't without the potential for adding a little fussiness.


Norm
 
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sk47

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I did say "for most cars" . . . so yes I realize that exceptions can be found.
Hello; Yes you did. I was expanding on this to some degree. I enjoyed your post. Well written with good points. I agree with you.
 

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so you want to drive a high powered golf cart?
 

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