13 Speed Transmission

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Danny F.'s Comment
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Hello everyone! Now that I've passed my tests and will most likely be going to TMC for orientation the end of February I'm curious how the thirteen speeds work. We had 10 speed trans in school and took some practice to shift properly. I had a hard time remembering what gear I was in and to push the selector down when I came to a stop in 6th gear. Now the ten speed is a pretty simple concept. 5 low 5 high. So what in asking is how does the thirteen work?

Old School's Comment
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Hey Danny that thirteen speed is a wonderful transmission, especially when hauling a really heavy load up and down some hills. Don't let it stress you too badly though. You can actually drive it much like you do a regular ten speed. The major difference is that there is a second splitter on the thumb side of your shifter that will allow you to split those higher gears if needed so that there is not such a momentum grabbing gap in the way the RPMs drop off in between gears. Don't sweat it too badly, just let them know when you are at orientation that you learned on a ten speed and they will show you how it works. You're not the first person to show up over there who had never seen a thirteen speed.

Much of the time when you are just getting started you won't even realize the need for splitting those extra gears, but as you gain some experience you can start experimenting with it a little and you will probably find you like the way the truck pulls when you can keep that RPM from falling off so much when changing those higher gears.

Here's a photo that might give you a little idea of what the shifter looks like:


The red button on the side is the additional splitter.


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Michael's Comment
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Don't sweat the 13 speed the instructor's will walk you through it. You will only use them for about a week and that will be it unless you get a driver trainer with a pete 379 all the other trucks are either 9 speed or autoshift

James P.'s Comment
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I learned on a 13 speed, and I love them. I'm not much of a fan of 10 speeds, but others prefer them. It's not that bad. 13 speed is like a 9 speed with a splitter for high gears so you can get a little more out of them. If the side splitter seems like too much, you could always shift it like a regular 9 speed I'm sure.

Danny F.'s Comment
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Thank you for all the insight. Sounds like it will be a breeze. Just was wondering how it all worked. Shifting in a truck is nothing like a four wheeler. I've driven manual all my life so that was quite an adjustment. Michael, I hope they don't put me in an auto. I enjoy shifting and feel like you would have more control?

Danny F.'s Comment
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Michael, do you drive for TMC?

Phil C.'s Comment
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My truck has a over/under drive on the side of the shifter, for the low gears only to help get it moving, and the high gears are not split. So shifting it is like this: under/Low, Low, under/First, First, under/Second, Second, under/Third, Third, under/ Fourth, Fourth, High Fifth, High Sixth, High Seventh, High Eighth. I also use under/ Reverse quite a lot when I am backing in construction sites. The 18 speed transmission adds over/under to the high gears as well, shifting goes like under/fifth, fifth, under/sixth, sixth, under/sevfenth, seventh, under/eighth, eighth. Basically over/under give you the ability to split each gear in low and high range. He re is a link to shifting an 18 speed:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uemq1PpA63M


6 string rhythm's Comment
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I learned on a 13 speed Kenworth. Now all I drive is 10 speed Freightliners and Volvos. The 10 is easy peasy ... I could really use a 13 speed though for all the mountains I regularly traverse. Old School nailed the description.

Pat M.'s Comment
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Old School, the only problem with your photo is that shifter is for an Australian truck. The red button is on the wrong side.... LOL

You are really going to love being able to split the gears and it is not only on the hills. The truck I learned to drive on had a 13 speed and at 65 you ran it in 13 cruising down the highway. But when the speed limit dropped to say 55 you would be lugging the truck in 13 and running high rpms in 11 so you stayed in the 13 hole and flipped the red button back.

I like to think of it as shifting 1/2 a gear. The rpm range is closer so when pulling a hill it is easier to keep shifting without missing momentum.

Michael's Comment
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@ Danny yes I do.

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