What Is The Logic Of Going From Clutches To Automatic Transmissions?

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ravenswood_65's Comment
member avatar

I would think double clutching would be a blast and avert some of the long-haul boredom inside the cab.

I never thought of automatics as efficient, fuel-wise, for heavy vehicle use.

I knew one man who was an ex-driver who said a master driver can often shift with no clutch if engine speed is synced correctly. The tach is often useful to observe for the greenhorn to learn this technique.

I only have experience with 5-speed manuals and Allison 5-speed automatics in the army on certain 5-ton trucks. They also had a transfer lever, since they were 6 x 6 vehicles, along with low and high ranges for those transfers. There was a front axle switch on the dash if I recall correctly. Some trucks had a PTO, power-take off as for a winch.

There were no range shifters or gear splitters which I still have yet to learn.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

"Floating" gears, shifting without the clutch, is not very hard to pick up. You definitely do not have to be a master driver.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I would think double clutching would be a blast and avert some of the long-haul boredom inside the cab.

Haha, we don't ever touch the clutch unless stopping or starting.

What is being called an automatic transmission is actually still the same standard gearbox that it's always been. The only thing "automatic" about it is that a computer engages or disengages the clutch and switches the gears for you. The logic is that it is more accurate than you for getting the best fuel economy.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I guess your question is in the title?

Companies driving thousands of trucks 24/7 look at whatever will get their freight moved for the least cost. That's everything from MPG to your CPM to how long they will keep a tractor before selling it off.

The conclusion about the transmissions is that an auto-shift transmission is the better deal. It has absolutely nothing to do with a driver's druthers.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

ravenswood_65's Comment
member avatar

Isn't it still prudent to go to a CDL school that teaches to shift the old-fashioned way?

Some companies may still have rigs that shift old school.

How will computerized shifting handle steep downgrades so the truck doesn't quickly accelerate out of control and brakes are not overused?

It seems to me the old-fashioned manual gives the driver the best absolute control.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

I wish you could go down some good mountains with me in my Volvo I-shift auto transmission. Absolute control, much better than I could do. I love this thing. Once you understand how it all works together with the Jake Brakes and the ways you set it to operate it, works like a dream.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, you need to learn to shift a big rig. Once you learn it you'll never forget it. My basic understanding of shifting still helps me operate my auto shift in a way that is safe and efficient. I can set it into manual mode and control the shifting if I need or want to.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Isn't it still prudent to go to a CDL school that teaches to shift the old-fashioned way?

Some companies may still have rigs that shift old school.

How will computerized shifting handle steep downgrades so the truck doesn't quickly accelerate out of control and brakes are not overused?

It seems to me the old-fashioned manual gives the driver the best absolute control.

You are better off learning and testing on a stick shift, as most states still require an "auto only" restriction if you test on an auto.

Some recent training experiences we've heard of here, have the CLP holder do their initial training on an auto-shift, then come back to the terminal to do shifting training (on truck & sim) and test on a stick.

Autoshifts can downshift on grades manually, to keep the rpms in the "sweet spot" for the jakes to work correctly.

Jury is out - many folks prefer the "control" of shifting manually. The biggest complaint heard on auto's, is when hooking a trailer - they exhibit a "jerking" when slow backing.

OTOH - you haven't lived until you've sat in bumper-2-bumper traffic, having to run 1-2-3 and keep holding the clutch down starting/stopping.

My preference would be for an autoshift (having driven both - though not full time OTR). Then again, I learned and licensed on a stick, and when I went through school, autoshifts were not quite "ready for prime-time".

Both the Eaton & Volvo auto-shifts are pretty damn cool. They aren't "automatic transmissions", like automotive ones (torque converters/fluid drive, etc), but are MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS that are shifted mechanically by air/solenoid and computer.

They are more durable (the modern iterations) and less subject to "driver abuse", than manuals. The clutches last WAY LONGER, and they get better fuel economy.

That and they're just more fun to drive. I LOVE a stick shift in my sports cars - not so much in a tractor.

Absolute control is fun, until you miss a gear on an inclines/decline and have to go hunting for it - not so on an auto - it NEVER GRINDS THE GEARS.

Rick

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Let report I had, from a Swift Road Mentor about 4 months ago, Swift trains you on a stick, but most of the new fleet is automatic.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Prime will be testing with sticks until 65% of the fleet is automatic... Supposedly towards the end of the year.

My FM puts out weekly MPG reports of the top 10 trucks on his fleet. Our fuel bonuses are progressive...so say getting 8.8 mpg might be 2.5 CPM bonus...this weeks top driver on my fleet got a 7.5 CPM bonus and was over 10mpg. Every single truck on that list is always an automatic.... Which is almost unfair cause I didn't have a choice of my truck. Although, I would have taken a stick anyway. I hate change. Was hard enough for me to learn the stick. But that is prrof enough for me that the fuel consumption is better with the automatic.

And double clutching and car clutching are two completely different animals. I was the only one in my class who never drove stick and I did better than most of them who had to relearn shifting.

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.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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