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Are trucking companies switching to automatic transmissions?

Topic 4925 | Page 8

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Jon R.'s Comment
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I heard at school from my instructor that Millis is transitioning into automatics. I actually didn't get my chosen trainer because they just gave her a new 2015 Kenworth automatic. I personally want to drive manual for a few years but must say I wouldn't mind an automatic after that. We haul mostly beer and from what I hear it doesn't change the ability to haul it like a manual transmission.

there are some trucks that have " trannies " that have "paddle " shifts" ,,,in an essence you pull up the paddle to up shift / and push down to to down shift ,,and they have a clutch ,,and incorporate the clutch when shifting as well ...( trassystems ) sugar beet haulers 'Idaho " and mining " in nevada green trucks " have these trannies ....

in the ultra shifts you can hold the gear in the MANUAL pattern and use toggle button ..to traverse up OR down hills .. & there is a anti roll feature so it wont allow it to roll back when starting on an incline ....

then as I said " many experienced drivers " say you have to get used to the tranny cause it takes a long time to get up to highway speeds ,, over shifting a manual ...or when progressive shifting ..style is used for us old timers ...and the computer uses the 1000 to 1500 power band and shift up @ 1500 ..unless you hold in manual mode ...and wont down shift until 900 rpm sometimes ...

we used to suggest students stay on a manual 9-13 speed for 1 yr. out of school ,,so they wouldn't for get how to shift one ... but to each their own ...and had many come back to Sage to re learn how to shift ,,a year later ...

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jimbo's Comment
member avatar

Interesting thread. USXpress is a company I had considered. But knowing that they were famous for auto's, I contacted one of their reps about having a choice as to what truck you get to drive...auto vs. manual. I was told that you drive what's available. Needless to say, I prefer to get my experience driving manual...I think it'll be awhile before auto's are the norm out there.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mikey's Comment
member avatar

Yea that's what I'm hearing at school too about companies going automatic. One of the guys told me he trained on a auto cause PAM uses autos but had no restrictions on his cdl. I have also heard of companies going to auto sticks and from what I heard that is a transmission that allows you to choose between manual or auto. Now that would be pretty cool.

Funny you to mention this the first gen. Auto shifts and ultra shifts had this very option. I have not seen the newer Trans and can only speak of the earlier stuff but they were not all that bad.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Greg H.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm hittin' on some old threads; ah well, I love cheese.

Back in the 90's when I drove there was talk of auto's, but you really didn't see one. And I hope, I hope, I hope it stays this way. Driving manual shift is simply more easy for me, traffic or no traffic, up hill, down hill, whatever, it's just easier on my nerves. lol, I still say you have more control. But, it's simply more than a control issue with me, it's just more comfortable I guess you could say.

But, on the flip side of this coin, I'm always running the numbers. I've been an (4 wheeler) independent contractor for years now, and whatever saves a penny, you tend to try to do.

So, let's run the numbers.... you drive say, 400 miles a day, approx. 300 days a year, at, I'll say 6 miles per gallon ( this is what trainer told me the trucks ran on average back in the 90's .... and I read one post that said 8 for the auto's so, we'll just go with 8 for now, just to even out the numbers...) and diesel per gallon is around 3.00 now I think (sorry, haven't seen the price in awhile... it really doesn't matter to much at the moment to get a general idea of fuel cost. if no ones figured it up before).

ok, 400 miles, 300 days, 6 miles per gallon manual-8 for auto, at 3.00 per gallon....

manual = approx. $200 a day ..... I bet a lot of people didn't know that this was how much fuel cost per day. You don't tend to add up the cost when the cost isn't yours.

auto = approx. $150 a day

A savings of $50 a day.

300 days, times $50 = $15,000 a year saved.

Just for the hey of it, manual shift fuel cost per year would be approx. $60,000 per year.

You could almost buy half a truck for $60,000 a year. ha ha

As for double clutching , I did both, and mm, what would you call it, when you go from say, 4th to 6th, skip a gear... my trainer didn't necessarily teach me, I would just catch him doing it and question him. I incorporated it all into my everyday driving a truck. I didn't necessarily double clutch all the time, or float gears all the time. You get so use to it, you just do it. I'd catch myself doing it and think, ok, enough of thinking about it, before I trip over my feet. lol

:) and Bretts right, you can't float gears in a 4 wheeler... I'm glad I'm not the only genius who tried this. Even though, you can double clutch. lol

ps I hope I got all the numbers correct above, or I'll really look stupid, LOL :)

Float 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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
6 miles per gallon manual-8 for auto

You're way, way overestimating the efficiency of an auto. When it comes to a big rig you spend 95% of your driving time on Interstates. You're not shifting very often so the efficiency would be even less.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

millionmiler24's Comment
member avatar

Right now my company only has one auto but we plan on getting more. We're averaging close to a 3mpg difference between that and the manuals. So over the long term they will end up saving a ton. Of course on the other hand I drive for a very small company who leases the tractors so maintaining them isn't so much a big problem. I couldn't picture the huge national companies going to mostly autos though.

I know this is a little delayed/late but CRST has a majority auto fleet.

millionmiler24's Comment
member avatar
It takes skill to drive a truck safely whether you are shifting gears or not

This is so true.

smile.gif

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Right now my company only has one auto but we plan on getting more. We're averaging close to a 3mpg difference between that and the manuals.

Again, there's no way there is nearly that big of a difference. Not with all else being equal. Not even close. I would guess an automatic might get 5% - 10% better fuel mileage, but not 40%. No way.

And in an industry with 3% profit margins where fuel is your #1 cost, even a 5% difference is significant.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

The company I work for has went back and forth. They ordered a bunch of autos, then ordered some more manuals. Wolding is an all Freightliner fleet. Since the New Cascadia has a big push for its "integrated power train". I see eventually an all auto fleet. Freightliner is pushing big on their down sped DD15 paired up with their D12 transmission (auto shift 12 speed)

Greg H.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

6 miles per gallon manual-8 for auto

double-quotes-end.png

You're way, way overestimating the efficiency of an auto. When it comes to a big rig you spend 95% of your driving time on Interstates. You're not shifting very often so the efficiency would be even less.

I was just going by what someone else had mentioned in this thread, and by what the trainer told me the manual was getting at the time. The information I put above is useless without proper information on fuel mileage. It's all only supposed to be a ball park figure.

I did run a search on fuel mileage between the manual and the auto, and there isn't much information on it, as far as I could find. One thread said anywhere from 7.6 to 7.9 in the auto's. And another site said that they both get around about the same. So, without proper information this is useless. I can only go by what everyone is saying that they are getting out of the auto's or the manuals.

I did read one thing saying that the auto's cost $6000 more than the manuals. I mean their initial price to begin with, nothing to do with fuel consumption.

I did find one site that says anywhere from 1 to 3% better. I think I'd rather go by what drivers say that they are getting in the auto's or the manuals to get a good average. It's a whole lot better than someone trying to estimate by what they hope that they are getting, or guessing at it. ha ha

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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