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The Future Of The Manual Transmission

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,851
    edited January 2013
    Actually I wouldn't mind a transmission where you used a regular shift lever but without a clutch pedal--the problem with this type of engineering (which has been done many times already) is that you cannot make the system able to shift quickly enough. But I really liked the old Porsches with the Sport o Matic.

    As comments to the article suggest, this transmission is often criticized by people who never actually used it. It's actually quite pleasant to drive and not all THAT slow.

    http://ranwhenparked.net/2009/02/11/what-lies-beneath-porsche-sportomatic/

    MODERATOR

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    As comments to the article suggest, this transmission is often criticized by people who never actually used it.

    I actually find that to be true about a lot of different transmissions. Some of them can really surprise you when given the chance.

    of course, others perform about as expected.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,711
    Or it could be like a MB Hydrak system, good luck with that - although I guess the biggest problem with it was user error.

    I'd like cars and bikes both that allow shifting but don't need constant clutch work. I like shifting, I don't always like clutching.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    I'd like cars and bikes both that allow shifting but don't need constant clutch work. I like shifting, I don't always like clutching.

    Ahh, a fellow heretic ;)
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,330
    A CVT frankly can shift even faster than a DCT if programmed right.

    I can't imagine a CVT ever shifting faster than a DCT after my experiences with them in a Nissan Murano and Audi A4. (My car is an A3 with DSG).

    Even if it could shift faster, it would still take 3 more light years to reach 60 MPH from 0.

    Do you have any statistics backing up that a CVT can be a performance oriented choice?
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    edited January 2013
    Drive an AWD Juke and then let me know if your imagination is revised. It's not like the Murano is a sport-oriented vehicle, despite the name "SUV." :shades:
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,330
    Well, Edmunds says that the FWD CVT Juke will reach 60 MPH in 7.3 seconds, which is impressive given the engine size and output. They said the AWD was about the same speed, but made no mention if the manual FWD version was faster.

    I'd be curious to know.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Well, the AWD version is CVT only, but the AWD is a performance-oriented thrust-vectoring system similar to Acura's SH-AWD. So it's worth trying out.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    I test drove a manual FWD Juke last year. Pretty quick, seat of the pants wise.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,851
    One would have to get past the Juke's looks however, even if you agreed that the CVT was pretty good. That car is not terribly attractive IMO.

    Motor Trend liked the CVT although they said it needed "loads of prodding" (translation--manual shifting). CR said it was doggy off the line until the turbo get worked up.

    MODERATOR

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Yeah, it's definitely more responsive when you keep the engine on boil.

    I don't mind the looks so much. Yeah, it's ugly. But it's a mean kind of ugly. And you don't see it so much from the driver's seat. ;)
  • spiritintheskyspiritinthesky Posts: 207
    edited January 2013
    Even if it could shift faster, it would still take 3 more light years to reach 60 MPH from 0.

    3 more light years? That's 18 trillion miles, not a measure of time.....

    ....but I have to agree with your sentiment. This talk of CVT, PDK and DSG in the same breath is adding dog food to my previous analogy of steak and salmon.

    The advancement of automatic transmission technology in the Porsche's PDK and other DSGs is two fold: get rid of the "slush" in slush box by replacing the torque converter with an actual clutch and gear system. And then do it again to always have another shift ready to execute. Once in gear, the clutch is disengaged and there is no "slippage". This has been a fairly complex development process, as the first SMG's were not well received by enthusiasts (e.g. BMW's previous M3's).

    CVT technology, if you can generously call it that, doesn't use solid mechanical linkages. It essentially uses glorified rubber bands to "slip" into lower and higher effective gear ratios on a continuous basis. It is a very simple concept. Without a lot of manufacturing challenge. And about 10% of the manufacturing cost of Porsche's PDK or Ferrari's F1 transmissions. Rubber bands are pretty cheap in Japan.

    The drive train loss in a CVT is probably less than your grandfathers 3 speed slush box Olsmobile 88. But not much. Figures of up to 25% loss between the engine and drive wheels have been verified on dynoo's. The fact that a Nissan Juke feels fast is probably due to a decent engine and weight of the car; absolutely NOT to the efficiency of the CVT.

    Are some CVT's better than others? I'm sure that's true, just as Iams is probably better for your golden retirever than Purina. But when you are trying to decide whether to get a Boxster S in PDK or manual transmission form, thankfully you are getting to choose between salmon and steak. Not dog food.

    There is one reason why manufactures use CVT's over DSG's. They are cheaper to design and build. Period. They may be fine for your grandmother and grandfather, but no serious driving enthusiast debating between a DSG and manual is not going to notice the fake rubbery feel of a CVT in vigorous driving. Don't take that mushbox to your local track day if you don't want to feel it for yourself. Mark my word, you will NEVER see a CVT in a Porsche. Their old chicktronic was light years ahead.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,455
    edited January 2013
    pretty fancy steel ruber band.

    image

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    You clearly don't know very much about CVTs. For one thing, they don't use "rubber" belts anymore, they use steel ones. As in solid mechanical linkages. And simplicity is a good thing sometimes (I thought that was one of the advantages of a manual, simple and inexpensive? Guess I was wrong heh).

    A good CVT doesn't have a fake rubbery feel in serious driving. Unless you have a fake rubbery image of a CVT in your mind, which you clearly do. ;)

    If you don't like them, that's your personal preference. But I would take a good CVT to a track day, yes. And I'd take a good CVT over a bad DCT in a heartbeat. That doesn't necessarily mean I dislike DCT, I happen to like good DCTs too. Key word GOOD DCT.

    But generally one doesn't have a choice between a good DCT and a good CVT in the same vehicle. It's usually a choice between a manual and either a DCT, CVT, or slushbox. Assuming the manual is available, which in a huge number of vehicles is no longer the case. In that situation you take the best you can get, and that best might just be a CVT. Then again, it might be a slushbox. Depends on the implementation, Hyundai's DCTs have not impressed me very much at all, and I hear the Fiat unit Dodge is using shifts pretty slowly.

    You know, there's technology, and there's ideology. It seems like some people see transmissions more as ideology than technology. Or perhaps even theology. :shades:
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    That's an excellent cutaway diagram, got a higher resolution version?

    We should find a good DCT one too, I think there's one in Wikipedia.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    "..there is still the lower cost..."

    True, but resale value is generally lower too, so you forfeit some of the initial cost savings of a manual at trade-in time.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    Didn't Packard offer a clutchless manual at one time?
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,330
    edited January 2013
    3 more light years? That's 18 trillion miles, not a measure of time.....

    I beg to differ, 3 light years is still 3 years. :) I know, I exaggerate, but the point is, CVT has never been thought of or invented because of "performance" unless you are just measuring fuel economy.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    Does anyone know what the effect of "fake gears" in a CVT have on performance and economy, compared to the gearless CVT mode?
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,455
    well, logically, it has to negatively impact it to some degree, if you aren't taking full advantage of the adjust-ability. How much difference it really makes, no clue.

    those set ratios are only in the "manumatic" mode though, right? So odds are, 99% of the owners 99% of the time will live it in auto mode, so in that case, no difference!

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Naah, some of them are in standard driving mode too, the idea being to help with acceptance of the things. Honda's CVT pretends to be an automatic unless you go WOT, then it acts like an actual CVT. Subaru's new high-torque CVT has modes that mimic a 6 speed automatic or an 8 speed automatic, both with manual shift capability, or it has standard CVT mode.

    Obviously when using those sorts of things you lose the advantage of keeping the engine at the ideal RPM all of the time, so there is a definite trade-off. On the other hand, Americans tend to be more accepting of automatics than CVTs. And having the engine drone at a constant RPM the whole time might not be the most wonderful thing, especially if the engine doesn't sound very pleasant to begin with. But life is about trade-offs.
  • scwmcanscwmcan Niagara, CanadaPosts: 394
    The trade off for some may be to buy a different car, one without a CVT ( and not necessarily a manual, but a different type of auto, traditional, or DCT). I think the Chrysler DCT is tuned to feel like a traditional slush box to try to avoid the criticism of harsh/ clunky shifts at low speed like Ford and even VW have been getting, haven't driven any of them so do t know if it works or not.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I beg to differ, 3 light years is still 3 years.

    Not to get in the middle here, but I beg to differ, 3 light years is a measure of distance, not a measure of time.

    I'd stick around for your response, but I only have 30 feet until I have to go to a meeting. I'm hoping it won't last more than a mile, so I'll check in when I get back.

    ;)
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Some may make that decision, true. Depends on the individual car and car buyer.

    I think Chrysler TRIED to make it mimic a slushbox, but even good slushboxes shift quickly. That one doesn't.

    The Ford DCT shifts quickly after the clunk fixes....my problem with that one is that it upshifts automatically in "sport" mode...which is probably why they don't call it "manual" mode. :)
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,330
    The Ford DCT shifts quickly after the clunk fixes....my problem with that one is that it upshifts automatically in "sport" mode...which is probably why they don't call it "manual" mode.

    As long as it shifts at least a good few ticks well into the red line, I don't mind that one bit. I mean, at that point, you have other choices, none of which I find superior to a lighting quick up-shift; those choices being destroying your engine if there's no rev limiter, or bouncing off of the rev limiter over and over.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,330
    I'd stick around for your response, but I only have 30 feet until I have to go to a meeting. I'm hoping it won't last more than a mile, so I'll check in when I get back.

    That's funny, but reminds me of the dumb girlfriend filmed by her boyfriend being unable to answer how many miles they would travel in an hour going 80 miles per hour. Ended up on Youtube.

    If she'd of remembered that 80 MPH is both a measure of speed and time, then she'd know the answer was 80 miles.

    The H in MPH stand for hours, a measure of time.

    Just like 3 light years theoretically is the same as 3 LYY (light years per year).
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited January 2013
    Just like 3 light years theoretically is the same as 3 LYY (light years per year).

    I don't know if you theoretically skipped out on math classes, astronomy classes or both, but if you keep this up, we may have to put you on YouTube.

    A light year is the measurement of DISTANCE light travels in one year at 182,000 miles per second. Roughly 6 trillion miles, if you do the multiplication. There is no "per year" in the DISTANCE term "light years". Ask your high school math or physics teacher, if you don't believe me.

    3 light years = 18,000,000,000,000 miles. Period.

    "3 light years per year" = is not a term I've every heard, but I guess could be interpreted to mean 3 times the speed of light. Which is impossible. Except in the first .00000000000000000000000000000000001 second following the instant of the Big Bang when the universe went from singularity through hyper inflation. But even then, there was no such thing as light in that instant, and the laws of physics as we've known them in the 14.3 billion years since didn't yet exist.

    I do agree that the CVT's I've driven fell sluggish. Nissan especially.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    As long as it shifts at least a good few ticks well into the red line, I don't mind that one bit.

    No, it's short of redline. Personally a prefer that it hold at the rev limiter instead of shifting.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,851
    I wonder how many drivers in America even know where the rev limiter kicks in on their cars.

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
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