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Old 02-09-2014, 02:34 PM   #1
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Standard or Automatic?

I'm contemplating buying a used F350 with a 6-spd. What has your experience been with a 5-6spd towing a heavy 5er?
I currently have an F350 w/auto tran but am looking at a screaming deal on the std (because it's std).
Constructive comments please.
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:27 PM   #2
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In light trucks, the auto vs. standard question has almost been answered by the reduction in the availabilty of manuals being made.

But, the fact is that heat is the #1 enemy of automatic transmissions and friction causes heat build-up, so a manual is the mechanically best pick for towing heavy loads.

Since the OP is asking, then there's probably a willingness to drive a manual. That's probaby the biggest point...most drivers just don't want to be bothered to shift.

What kind of transmissions do most Class 7 and 8 trucks have? Manuals can take the heavy loads.

Best luck
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:29 PM   #3
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Had a co-worker years ago that swore by std trannies. She raised horses so her loads weren't huge. Her take was that a clutch was a heck of lot cheaper than an AT rebuild. Also, being able to downshift saved brakes. This was before exhaust brakes became popular. The only negatives that come to mind are that you do have to "row" which could be an issue depending upon your joints, and towing capacity is less.
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:44 PM   #4
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In today's trucks, only ram makes a manual tranny. With it it has less HP and torque and lower tow ratings than autos. Back in 90s all 3 had manuals but then the auto were not as reliable as they are nowadays. Most people (including me) just don't want to bother with changing gears. If you don't mind, then you can save some coin by doing so. They are very capable of towing.

Chad
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Old 02-09-2014, 03:58 PM   #5
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One of the problems with manual trannies is that a properly programmed computer controlled automatic transmission can up the MPG by a serious amount in city driving.. Not so much on the freeway (in fact I frankly do not see how it can make any improvement on the freeway).

Since the government is pushing for more and more MPG... Well the auto companies discourage Manual.

Personally. I know who to drive a stick, and in fact had to give my daughter some advanced training last year when she drove her "new" used stick shift to SC where we have these things called HILLS (I think she said in 5 counties where she lives there are something like 3 hills, I may have the county count wrong, here you have 3 hills... and you have not yet gotten to the end of the RV park's driveway). (Well 2 at the very least, depends on which way you pull out of the site).

Still.. I like a good old manual. If you get one you might want to invest in a co-pilot/logger and an accelerometer (your smart phone may do that) and run it through the gears logging acceleration at different speeds/gears/RPM's.. You may find your shift points are way lower than you think ,epically if you are in a GM product. (SOURCE: An article in Popular Mechanics back in the 1960s, even told how to make an accelerometer A simple one with only one moving part.. (Antifreeze).
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Old 02-09-2014, 04:42 PM   #6
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I don't remember gear ratios between then ZF5 and ZF6, but it'll be easier to stay closer to your power band with the 6 compared to the 5.
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:05 PM   #7
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I have the NV5600 6 speed manual behind the Cummins. If you haven't driven one of these big heavy 6 peed manuals then I would suggest you drive one and see if you can use it. There not for everyone.

I frequent several haulers forums and the ZF6 is much sought after by Fords owners especially for serious working duties. Much better over all mpgs than the big auto.

Operate one first and then decide if you like it.
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onechaddude View Post
In today's trucks, only ram makes a manual tranny. With it it has less HP and torque and lower tow ratings than autos. Back in 90s all 3 had manuals but then the auto were not as reliable as they are nowadays. Most people (including me) just don't want to bother with changing gears. If you don't mind, then you can save some coin by doing so. They are very capable of towing.

Chad
I knew the manual offerings were getting slim, but did not know that Ford and Chevy totally dropped theirs...learn something new everyday

Thanks
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:53 PM   #9
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I owned a Ford 6 speed for 7 years and love it. Will keep it till the wheels fall off.
1. A 4 x 4 is best with manual hubs. I use low range often for parking the 15k lbs 5th wheel.
2. I used a ScangaugeII to train me all the shift points. I only use 6 th above 50 mph for best efficiency.
3. The fuel mileage has been fantastic while using the ScangaugeII.
4. I did find out that cruise was kicking out in hills so I am using Hypertech Max Energy programer and the truck in tow mows the hills.
5. I always take off on bull low when towing and shift to second. Keeps from any chance of stalling. When not loaded I use 3 gears and I am at 60 mph in no time.
Do the same with our 5 speed Toyota.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:27 AM   #10
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Auto provides more torque which you need for towing.
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:14 PM   #11
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I think the other issue other than the manufacturers is a lot of people can't really handle a stick and tend to shy away from them. I personally own 2 stick shift trucks one an international 7speed and a chevy 4speed and I drive dump trucks with 13speeds on a regular basis. I like a manual for work and it doesn't matter for rving. it would be nice to have a 6,7,8 speed behind a duramax. The average person these days can't even move a stick car let alone yank a 12,000lb load. And a lot of the older guys that can don't want to anymore. The other thing I worry about with a manual truck is if something happens to me can my wife move it, and if I teach her will she be good enough no to ride the clutch going to the grocery store. Just me 2 cents.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:47 PM   #12
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Auto provides more torque which you need for towing.
What is that based on?
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:31 PM   #13
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What is that based on?
Well, technically i think cummins derates their engine for the manual, while the auto gets the full 850 ft-lbs.


But only a few years ago, the manual transmission was better than auto. Most of the big 3 only had 4 speed transmissions which weren't that great. They didn't have very good programming for downshifting to slow you down going downhill. So with a manual, you had an extra gear, you could also slow yourself down by downshifting.

Fast forward to today, i'm assuming they use an inclinometer and will help downshift and exhaust brake going down hill. All the new auto's have 6 gears, and automatic shifts much faster making lag between gear shifts something you only get with a manual.

So back to the OP, depending on the year of the truck, and driver skill, the manual would be better. But if it's a newer truck, the auto may be better.
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:39 PM   #14
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One of the above posters was correct-heat is the enemy of automatic transmissions. As far as GM is concerned the Dexron 6 fluid now in many of their transmissions is rated to 285 degrees. It would seem that if you got that warm you would have a slew of other issues. Personally, I see no advantage to a manual transmission compared to TODAY'S automatics.
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