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Are trucking companies switching to automatic transmissions?

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Cleft_Asunder's Comment
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Here is more info: http://cumminsengines.com/powerspec-isl-engine-brake-features-and-parameters

Sandman's Comment
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I think one of the biggest determining factors for a switch or at least buying a few automatics for these companies is the demand they have for drivers. The idea is because not everyone can figure out a manual and they can hire more. I believe that being the biggest reason. In my view if you can't learn to shift the truck... you should not be driving it. Would I ever say its a bad idea for standard? No. It would take away a lot of distraction. The leading cause of fatal crashes is? Yep, a distracted driver. There are a lot of very good drivers but a lot more that are not. Everyone cannot drive these trucks just like everyone cannot play in the NFL. This opens the door a little wider to new prospects.

Sandman's Comment
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I think one of the biggest determining factors for a switch or at least buying a few automatics for these companies is the demand they have for drivers. The idea is because not everyone can figure out a manual and they can hire more. I believe that being the biggest reason. In my view if you can't learn to shift the truck... you should not be driving it. Would I ever say its a bad idea for automatic? No. It would take away a lot of distraction. The leading cause of fatal crashes is? Yep, a distracted driver. There are a lot of very good drivers but a lot more that are not. Everyone cannot drive these trucks just like everyone cannot play in the NFL. This opens the door a little wider to new prospects.

Made a typo.

Cleft_Asunder's Comment
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From the jacob's brake manual:

The Jacobs Engine Brake depends on the free flow of engine oil for operation, so be sure to let the engine reach full operating temperature before switching on the engine brake. Normally, the engine brake is then left in the “On” position whenever you are driving. The exception is when roads are slippery due to bad weather conditions. Refer to the section entitled “Slippery Pavement” for specific operating instructions. The operation of the Jacobs Engine Brake is fully automatic, once it is turned on. When your foot is off the clutch and you remove your foot completely from the throttle, the engine brake is automatically activated. (There are some systems that will activate only once the brake pedal is depressed.)

Daniel B.'s Comment
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The issue is that you're using it no matter the road conditions. That's the real issue here.

Jon R.'s Comment
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One other aspect here for new drivers ,and newbie drivers ,,from a instructors perspective ...

new drivers , when taking the road test have far less to be concerned about with automatic transmissions ( points wise ) normally there is a 29-30 point limit ) fail state of idaho " for manual " trans if you grind too many gear's or lock out out or cannot find a gear while driving in your test the tester can fail you " ,,,and have you repeat ( then you have to repeat the ENTIRE PROCESS ...FROM PRE -TRIP RANGE / TO ROAD TEST ... if you have an auto there is less to worry about ,,and less points allowed to miss as well 25 ..most states .. instead of 30 to fail ....

I instructed @ Sage caldwell Id. for 5 yrs . 2006-2011 ..

many student learned in a manual trans. ( they required double clutching ) then went to drive ultra shifts for 6- mos to 1 yr ...and quit co. then had to come back to sage to RE learn how to shift again cause NEW co. required they floated gears /or RE -LEARN HOW TO DOUBLE CLUTCH cause they failed their road test w/ new co. ...catch "22" ....did ALOT OF SPECIALIZED TRAINING LIKE THAT .... but now many co. will never go to autos ,,,and swear by manuals ,,and Visa / Versa ...and if you go local / line haul / etc ...you have to diversify !

I like the addage I can drive anything I'm put in !!!!

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Rolling Thunder's Comment
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I did not like autos at all until I got into my new 2015 Freightliner a couple weeks ago. This thing is cool.

As mentioned above, I can set the cruise to 65 and let it roll. It will get to 70 (probably actually 69) then automatically engage the engine brake to get me back to 65. If I set the engine brake, cruise is cancelled until I disengage it. Of course, I do not use cruise during rain, snow...etc.

After driving autos for over a year, I have learned to appreciate them. It takes skill to drive a truck safely whether you are shifting gears or not.

Heavy C's Comment
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Things are getting a little hostile here. Let's all down shift a gear or two. First off let me explain my thought process for the Jake. You have to look at the fact that you're controlling two separate vehicles. When you use the Jake you're only slowing one vehicle at a time. The problem with this is that during wet weather you're only slowing the front vehicle and allowing the trailer to want to take the lead. Anyone can see why this is not an ideal situation to be in. Can you use the Jake on wet roads? Of course, but why would you want to add more risk then need be.

As far as shifting, I think you haven't given floating gears enough of a chance. Using the Jake may be the problem or it may be the old tranny. In my opinion you need turn the Jake off and learn to use proper braking techniques. Then maybe you can really start controlling your rpm and road speed well enough to make smooth shifts.

That's all I got. Have a good day

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
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new drivers , when taking the road test have far less to be concerned about with automatic transmissions

Jon, they've recently made a change to the procedures now. If you test in an automatic you will have a restriction on your license that says you can only drive automatics. So they can't just use automatics to make the testing easier anymore.

This is an extremely confusing conversation. I'm getting lost. But let's continue on....

I don't like floating gears because it wont pull out of gear very often even when I let the gas pedal off to relieve the pressure. It gets completely stuck in the lower gears sometimes.

The only thing I can say is that in my experience I've never driven nor heard of a truck built in the past 30 years that can't be floated. And I've driven everything from big rigs straight out of the factory to 30 year old Mack dump trucks and everything in between. I've even floated the gears in a couple of different 4-wheelers a few times just to see what it would do. Not a good idea, of course, and not something I did more than a time or two. But I was curious. It's much more difficult in a 4-wheeler, but totally doable.

So at this point I agree with Heavy C:

As far as shifting, I think you haven't given floating gears enough of a chance

My guess is it's just your technique. Of course I could be wrong. There could be something wrong with the transmission or clutch or something. But you would think after driving about 50 different trucks over a 15 year period I would have come across one you couldn't float, but I haven't. And I don't think a problem internally with the transmission would allow it to come out of gear using the clutch if it won't come out of gear without the clutch.

Keep tinkering with it and see if you can get it to float properly. Here's a couple of ideas off the top of my head:

- You might not be accelerating hard enough to relieve the pressure on the gears when you let off the gas. Try mashing on the gas harder as you're accelerating.

- When you do let off the gas, don't do it slowly. Do it instantly.

- Make sure you have a little pressure on the shifter before letting off the gas and "pop" it out of gear the moment you lift your foot. Don't try to slowly ease it out of gear.

- You have a window of about 1/10 of a second from the time you let off the gas until the weight of the trailer puts pressure on the gears from the other direction and keeps you locked into gear. So you have to accelerate hard and pop your foot off the gas pedal quickly while popping the shifter out of gear at the same time.

When you see a veteran do it, it seems like they're doing it slowly and smoothly but in reality they're making quick, sharp movements off the gas and out of gear. Keep the word "pop" in your head. Like I said, you only have about 1/10 of a second where the pressure is off the gears. Jump off the gas and pop the shifter out of gear at the same time.

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

Jon R.'s Comment
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Hey Brett ..

I will definately check into this clause about restriction of the automatic ..I have friends who still train folks presently ,, and am aware that it varies state wide (i'm in idaho ) "but I'm going to verify "... there has been auto's for years ,10 that I know of ..just now as prevelant as they are now ,,

when did this ruling apply ..do you know ?

I know personally the independent tester for the state of idaho ( Jim Smith ) Caldwell Id. area ) ..

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