discussion on autos & 850s

Subject: auto Vs manual
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 14:00:07 -0400
From: pabloantoine
To: ozbrick

Go figure out why there's no such thing as auto transmission in a race

Because you are moving oil through tubes instead of moving the wheels to
begin with! The waste of engine power through an auto transmission goes
to even 15 % if the transmission is old, but stays at roughly 10% for
the new car -go compare the same model/engine, auto & manual from any

Automatics are lazier and more complicated and they break down at least
once in the life of the average car. Lack of care is disastrous for
them, while the mechanic shifters won't let you down (although the
clutch wears as well -but you'll know it long before failing). I was
also amazed by the way people describe their automatics breaking down
-"I wanted to go shopping in the morning and when I put the stick in
Drive, the car won't even move... Just some noises. I had to call
towing..." or " I was the first at a traffic light. When I accelerated
all of a sudden the car just seem to drag something heavy and barely
moved while the engine revved like hell. People were honking behind..."
Sorry if it sounds contrived, but it's from reality -cases I know.

Now the bright side of automatics - great acceleration from stop,
comfortable driving, less attention spent on the mechanics of the car
when you have to watch for traffic. Especially the first -acceleration
from stop- I discover  on my 740 GLE with great pleasure, after I also
bought a stickshift 850 GLT station wagon.

Most accelerations in town driving are from 0 to 30mph - a breeze for
automatics, a curse for manuals. Yet on the highway the advantage of
automatics is lost. Everybody drives 60 mph, you just need sudden extra
acceleration for maneuvering. Braking with the engine on long slopes is
another advantage of the mechanic tranny. Automatics often are
not responsive to engine braking because there is too much residual power
in the fluids even with the engine idling -you need better brake pads
instead! I drove a Chevy Lumina (with 215 hp) which practically
continued to roll like a cart after releasing the accel pedal! Not to
mention the need to press the brake constantly at long stops.
The stickshift is over 100 year old. It needs practice and passion, it
will start you slower, but it will take you to 60mph faster after all
because it uses the higher torque range of the engine DIRECTLY and the
whole input from the crankshaft goes abruptly to the wheels, no loss.
Acceleration you feel on a stickshift is proportional with the engine
noise, not disconnected, as it happens on automatics.

I  drove automatics -especially Ford Taurus and Chevy Lumina- that
inexplicably shift gears while maintaining a constant cruise speed. The
engine revved up and down without connection to the speed of the car at
around 60mph.

Automatics will give you what they can and the rest will transform to
heat and send it in the oil radiator...
Still, I think that it's a matter of taste, and the way you see safety.
For some safety means stopping fast, for others how to accelerate fast
enough to pass an 18 wheeler.



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