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The Future Of The Manual Transmission



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited September 2012
    50/50 split requires a totally open center diff'l/planetary and only "works" with equal F/R traction. Like the current WRX, and with no functional VC.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,558
    This is opague to most consumers.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    edited September 2012
    The longevity of an early 90s Dodge minivan transmission is less than a clutch. ;)

    Or a 90's Ford Taurus - those things went through trannies faster than tires.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Some imports, too. Pre 2004 Honda V6s and 626 with the CD4E trans are 2 I can think of.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Yes, right up until they find themselves in actual need for AWD functionality. And damn few of those, which is exactly what the industry "banks" on.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    Just got to demonstrate a push start to my boys last week. Long story why the battery went dead, but a gentle decline to the empty parking lot had the car up to walking speed in about 20 yards and that was all it took to get us going again. Not something to do on a regular basis, but nice to know the option is there without having to wait 45 mins for the tow truck jump start, and we were on a very tight schedule.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    These days sticks can't do that either.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited September 2012
    Used to be that Ford automatics could do that but then they eliminated the otherwise useless rear, output drive shaft, ATF pump.

    "..sticks can't.."

    Please explain/elaborate....

    Unless you mean battery so low the ECU/Etc. doesn't run...
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    That only works with a generator, not with today's alternators.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    edited September 2012
    ECU that's all I can think of. Battery can't be flat dead, but mine was down enough that the clock reset!!

    2009 fwiw which I think is pretty modern so should qualify for "these days"
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    It still works. I did it frequently (multiple times a week) with my Escort. I'm curious whether it will work on my Fiesta with the push-button start. Were it not for that goofy ignition, I'm sure it would start just fine. I'll have to try it now. :D
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Absent an ECU/Electronics voltage problem with more modern cars I have never found a battery being so discharged that a push start doesn't work. '78 911 and '88 911 have both worked at one time or another.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    You can absolutely still push start a stick. You do need to have the battery installed to complete the circuit, but it does not need any charge.

    With a generator you don't even need a battery in the car. I drove my '63 Corvair all summer without a battery. Just parked on hills.

    I pushed a '57 chevy automatic to start it once - had to get up to abut 45 mph though (pushed with another car).
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Now that my statute of limitations is up, I can confess that I even clutch started my 2005 911 once when the battery died and I was parked on a slight grade in our neighborhood. There are all sorts of skull and crossbones warnings in the owners manual not to do it, but it worked just fine, with no ill effects. If Porsche hasn't installed something to mechanically prevent this old trick, I doubt anyone else has either.

    Hopefully Porsche doesn't read this and try to retroactively jail me.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..You can absolutely still push start a stick..."

    Provided it isn't new enough that it requires an ECU or electronics to "fire" the engine.

    " does not need any charge..."

    If we're talking about a car old enough that it still uses the "kettering" ignition system, "points" and coil inductive "kick", it would still need a minimum battery charge to initially power up the alternator rotor.

    Maybe a magneto ignition out of an old farm tractor or aircraft engine..?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..battery died.."

    Only 2 possibilities...

    1. While the battery didn't have enough charge to power the starter motor it did have enough to FULY power the necessary electronics systems.

    2. Absent the above you would need to have had enough battery charge to initialize the alternator and then pushed the car far enough to have the alternator system bring the voltage level up to "snuff".
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Understand that even if the battery has no charge the alternator will provide power once you "pop" the clutch to engage the engine. In a case like this it may take a few seconds (2 or 3) to start the engine, but it will still start.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,558
    edited September 2012
    For me that might be IFFY. I tried that one session in a TDI with a REAL dead battery and it did not start. Now whether that was peculiar to me, I don't know. So I think Wwest's post probably covers a lot of the minority (being a minority has M/T's)

    Funny thing about VW Jetta TDI batteries are they really give little to NO warning. On one battery, I had just finished a three hour freeway trip. Luckily I had parked it in the garage. I went to start, deader than a door nail. Jump start, nada. Jump start with tow truck, (they have more powerful jumpers I think) nada, rolling start nada. Change out with oem battery @ VW dealers voila !!!!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Unlike the old DC generators the alternator's rotor does not retain any residual magnetism when power is removed. So, without some minimum level of battery charge to power the alternator rotor the engine electronics will not be powered.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited September 2012
    "..tow truck, (jump) nada..."

    Sorry, but given the overall circumstances/situation I have to believe the dealer did something more tham simply drop in a new battery.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,558
    edited September 2012
    No, they did nothing. I just pulled the battery. Went to the dealer. Bought the new battery. Gave them the old one to recycle. Went home and reinstalled the new one. Botta bing, botta boom.

    On another, A/T, a 7 year old oem battery on a Civic gave out and the same thing happened with the tow truck; the jump did NOT start the DEAD battery. Didn't of course do the M/T roll start. (obvious reasons?) Again brought the old one to the store. Bought the new one. It was reinstalled and started immediately.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Are you saying the tow truck "jump" was able to start the car but not "charge" the battery enough for later use...???
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,558
    No in neither case .Once the batteries are beyond a certain point (I had the readings in the A/T's case) were the battery jumps able to start the cars MT and/or A/T.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    In my 55 years in the drivers seat I have NEVER encountered a situation where in a "jump", even with a complete DEAD battery, assuming adequate jumper cables and a strong source battery, would not at least turn over the starter motor.

    Granted, modern day automotive electronics might need more of a supply voltage than the minimum amount it takes to turn over the starter. But again, the tow truck system should have been up to that task, enough voltage overall.


    On the other with that fully dead battery it often takes several days on a charger for it to recover and behind accepting a charge.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,558
    edited September 2012
    I hear you, but really do not know what to tell you, as reasoning. I am not sure what gauge the two two trucks jumpers were. I of course assume since they do this for a living, INDUSTRIAL as a minimum. In my case, I used 4 gauge wiring. I had read in passing after this episode, that for diesels (cars) 1 gauge wiring is now being recommended for jumping ?? !! Again a bit weird in that there was NO heating or anything close to over heating on the 4 gauge model. In addition, as you will probably know and agree, there is nothing special about the oem Civic batteries. But like I said, the reading the tow truck driver indicated it was DED !! :sick:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    From today's NY Times...

    Beyond the 6-Speed: More Ratios for Automatic Transmissions
    Published: September 28, 2012

    "GENERAL MOTORS and Ford next month are expected to announce an agreement that will pave the way for the automakers to jointly develop new automatic transmissions designed for improved fuel economy.

    The deal will enable G.M. and Ford engineers to study and possibly share a variety of future transmission designs, with an eye toward a manufacturing alliance, according to sources at both companies who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about future product plans. The automakers are known to have 8-, 9-, and 10-speed automatic transmissions in development for front- and rear-wheel-drive cars and light trucks.

    With the agreement, the companies, longtime Detroit rivals in most matters, are once again cooperating in a venture that could save them billions on technologies critical to meeting stringent new federal fuel economy regulations set for 2017 as well as similar standards coming in Europe.

    If the relationship evolves into a joint production program, 'it would have huge manufacturing cost and volume advantages over all the competition,' because of the combined size of G.M. and Ford and their supply base, said Skip Nydam, who tracks transmission developments for ND-Automotive, an industry analyst firm.

    G.M. and Ford already are successful in working together on transmissions. In 2002, they agreed to share design and production of a new 6-speed automatic for front-drive vehicles. The resulting Ford 6F and G.M. 6T70 transmissions, introduced in 2006 and numbering over 8 million produced, use common mechanical parts but have electronic controls specific to their applications. The independently developed electronics tailor the transmissions to nearly 30 different models.

    The auto industry’s race toward a greater number of transmission gears now resembles that of the bicycle industry of 25 years ago, when 10-speed bikes were left in the dust by those with 12, 15 and more speeds. But there’s no comparison in the investment required. Experts say there is not much change left from a billion-dollar investment in a new automatic gearbox that will be produced in numbers of at least 500,000 a year.

    Automakers that buy new transmission designs from specialist suppliers like ZF in Germany and Aisin in Japan, rather than designing and manufacturing their own, typically pay royalties on intellectual-property rights and license fees for each transmission, adding to the vehicle’s cost.

    'The biggest benefit in G.M. and Ford working together is it reduces their investment risk,' said David Petrovski, a powertrain analyst at IHS Automotive.

    'It’s just not economically feasible for them to separately chase after every new fuel-efficiency technology under the sun,' he said. 'By collaborating, they’re able to use the best engineering concepts from both sides.'

    Automatic transmissions with more gear ratios and more sophisticated electronic controls are crucial to improving fuel economy. Mr. Petrovski noted that as automakers replace existing engines with smaller turbocharged versions that use less fuel, the engines typically have to operate at higher speeds to produce maximum output. He cited the industry’s steady march from 3- and 4-speed automatics in the 1980s to 5- and 6-speeds in the 1990s, then the jump to 7- and 8-speed transmissions in the early 2000s. Chrysler is preparing to release a 9-speed automatic, designed by ZF, in 2013.

    Adding more gears helps to keep the engine operating in a speed range where it has the best performance with the least fuel consumption. An 8-speed automatic can deliver up to 11 percent better fuel economy than a 6-speed, for example, depending on engine, vehicle and drive-axle gearing.

    An important factor in the move to seven and more gears is the transmission’s ratio spread — the numerical relationship between first and top gear (called the overall ratio spread), or between adjacent gears — for instance, third and fourth gears.

    Adding more gears is the only way to have a large overall ratio spread (for both good acceleration and quiet highway cruising) along with a small ratio spread between gears (to keep the engine revving at its best power level for a given road speed). The higher the number, the better. The new 9-speeds will have a ratio spread close to 10, compared with a typical 6-speed’s ratio spread of about six.

    Packing more gears into the compact transmission housings used in smaller vehicles — along with the hardware needed to deliver smooth, imperceptible shifts — is an increasingly tricky challenge, engineers say. They are designing the gearsets to 'nest' within each other to save space.

    However, there is only so much space available under the hood of subcompact and compact cars with front-wheel drive, in part because their transmissions are positioned across the chassis, rather than lengthwise as in trucks, large S.U.V.’s and most sports cars and large luxury sedans. The limited width between the front wheels restricts how wide the transmissions can be — and the number of gears that can fit inside.

    The lack of space to package seven and more gears is one reason that subcompacts like the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic don’t achieve higher fuel efficiency than the larger Ford Focus and Chevy Cruze. It’s also why compacts like the Focus and Cruze can’t top the economy of the midsize Fusion and Malibu. (The longer vehicles also have lower aerodynamic drag, which helps overall efficiency.)

    The tiny Chevrolet Spark had only enough space in its engine compartment to accommodate a 4-speed automatic. To quickly satisfy demand for more gear ratios from American customers who don’t want the standard 5-speed manual, G.M. plans to offer a continuously-variable transmission, supplied by Jatco, a Japanese C.V.T. specialist, in coming Sparks. The compact C.V.T. essentially offers an infinite number of gear ratios, enabling the tiny car to close the fuel-economy gap with its larger, more expensive stablemates."
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    you know, eventually they're going to hit diminishing returns with these transmissions. Mazda proved that you can make a very efficient automatic, but at what point does it become cheaper, simpler, and more efficient to take a CVT, preprogram some ratios, and basically do what Honda did and have it simulate an automatic in regular use?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited September 2012
    The auto industry’s race toward a greater number of transmission gears now resembles that of the bicycle industry of 25 years ago, when 10-speed bikes were left in the dust by those with 12, 15 and more speeds.

    The higher the number, the better.


    Lindsay Brooke is either just plain dumb or at a minimum needs a remedial course in mechanical engineering.

    Yes, a Tour de France bike has 20-22 gear ratios. But in the history of the Tour there isn't a rider that has ever shifted through all 22 of them in sequential order to get up to cruising speed. If they tried, he/she would die of exhaustion before getting halfway done. Those ratios are NOT intended to be sequential, they simply provide a wide variety of options for optimizing the pedal rpms for the particular rider under the particular riding conditions.

    The transmissions in a car ARE designed to go through the gears sequentially. Meaning that if you have 9 gears, you would typically be shifting 8 times to get to highway cruising speed. I'm not aware of any A/T's that jump gears in upshifts. This may be efficient for low torque engines with a narrow power band. It is NOT necessarily the most efficient for higher torque engines with broad power bands. And it can lead to fishing for gears at lower than highway cruising speeds which can hamper efficiency. That negative factor is greater for torque converter slushboxes than double clutch auto's, but fishing for gears isn't good either way.

    MORE is NOT always better. BETTER is always better. And when you look at companies like Porsche relative to high performance transmissions, PDK or manual, you quickly realize that they can get more performance out of a 3.8 liter 400 horsepower engine than GM gets out of a 8+ liter 500+ horsepower engine. That's called engineering. Not some brainless "more is better" or "bigger is better" infatuation.

    Someone should tell tell Lindsay to go back to engineering school.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited September 2012
    I think I'd rather have a 5 speed manual instead of a 6 speed manual for the kind of cars I drive. Maybe it's just because that shift pattern is ingrained, but it just seems like the right number.

    CVTs in bicycles haven't taken off. Can't get the weight down I think.

    12-15 speeds in bikes was partly marketing, like externally lugged frames. Schwinn frame technology in the 70s was better but some talking heads decreed that lugged frame bikes were better, and people believed them.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,558
    edited September 2012
    I think then you really ought to identify and buy those cars with 5 speed transmissions or know what cars are able to fit kits. How's about that for a shift ball?

    One of the factors I was not too happy with in a 2003 VW Jetta TDI buy was a 5 speed M/T. My op/ed was the 5 speed was dumbed down for the US markets. I have come to find out a few years later the exact same (European/world) model have 6 speeds. All new M/T's (VW anyway) are 6 speeds)

    Not to worry, albeit there are aftermarket 6 speed M/T kits for those 5 speed M/T's owners with 6 speed gear envy, albeit EXPENSIVE ;) :surprise: For those that just want to solve the "gear" problem or issue, one can actually do a "5th gear swap"(literally) and you can drop your rpm at particular speeds. :shades:

    Indeed one of the operational considerations within cost constraints of course is the "gear ratio spread". In the M/T, 5th and 6 gear are the two "over drive gears". Unless one is a gear head, there is not much written on this by oems.

    Tremec is one "vendor" (M/T maker) that covers it. Product Guide: Tremec Transmissions

    tremec TR 6060

    Here is an Aisin 8 speed A/T design TR 80 SD and TL 80 SN

    Here is the verbiage.VW product application
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