Automatics For Millenials?

Topic 22745 | Page 3

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Patrick C.'s Comment
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Gee, I've come to fall in love already with an automatic. This 56 year old can only imagine how his left knee would feel like ight now if I had a 10 speed. lol

Easy fix, just suffer permanent nerve damage to your sciatic nerve roots in your lower back. No more feeling your leg being tired. If you can't feel it, is it really tired?

Splitter's Comment
member avatar

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Gee, I've come to fall in love already with an automatic. This 56 year old can only imagine how his left knee would feel like ight now if I had a 10 speed. lol

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Easy fix, just suffer permanent nerve damage to your sciatic nerve roots in your lower back. No more feeling your leg being tired. If you can't feel it, is it really tired?

I came into training with sciatica. The skin around my left shin is numb & I still felt excruciating pain in my left knee in my first trainer's truck. The clutch was brutal on my knee when I was on the pad.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm past feeling pain in my left leg. I have little feeling left in my left leg and some "weakness". But hey, I don't feel the "burn" when my leg gets tired in heavy traffic.

Don's Comment
member avatar

Ouch! Noooooo....thank you!

double-quotes-start.png

Gee, I've come to fall in love already with an automatic. This 56 year old can only imagine how his left knee would feel like ight now if I had a 10 speed. lol

double-quotes-end.png

Easy fix, just suffer permanent nerve damage to your sciatic nerve roots in your lower back. No more feeling your leg being tired. If you can't feel it, is it really tired?

Dustan J.'s Comment
member avatar

I got put into a 10 speed autoshift T660 on a heavy haul fleet a couple years back. I was skeptical, and was suspecting that the manner in which I was put into the truck was to just dump it off on someone for whatever reason. I sucked it up and didn't complain, and just drove the crap out of it. My left leg quit aching, and it really made life easier for the most part. There is a bit of a learning curve to handling mountains and icy roads. If your automatic has a clutch, it's really handy if you need to back into a dock or a parking spot because the Eaton autoshift system is all-or-nothing and it really gets challenging when you need to finely control the truck movements, and pressing the brake even lightly will disengage the drive train. Mine had a manual setting for steep grades, and it's a life saver. Ever try to grab a gear pulling into traffic while making a turn, and you have to start all over? The autoshift system mostly keeps you out of the situation, but if you're a heavy haul trucker then you'll have to work out when to use manual and when to go back into drive to get your speed. Overall, it's a good system. I loved my 13 speed, but honestly the clutch will wear out your left leg and I never imagined that my left knee would take such a beating in such a short time.

Jrod's Comment
member avatar

Sort of like "Power Steering for Baby-Boomers"...

Same thing happened then - "You need POWER-STEERING?!? What are you? Some kind of wuss that can't turn your truck? Dang Baby-Boomer/GenX Steering Wheel holders..."

Can you even imagine not having power steering now? Same excuses too: "But I prefer manual steering because I can feel the road better, and I can tell when my tires need changing or more air..."

Jrod's Comment
member avatar

Us too here at GO Express- most of the Automatics we have are with the 55+ crowd. The young bucks are still trying to prove they are "REAL" truckers and insist on manual transmissions, while the smarter, older ones have figured out the "work smarter" technique.

My company has been on automatics exclusively for years now. The fuel savings alone has been tremendous. And I think you're over estimating the amount of "old guys" that would rather drive stick. Most of the old farts I work with prefer the autos. They're just tired of the stick.

Big Scott's Comment
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When I started with CFI just over a year ago, we were told the fleet is switching to all autoshifts for three main reasons. 1)Fuel Savings 2)They have gotten much better, less expensive and longer lasting. 3)Most new people coming into trucking have never driven a manual transmission anything. The newer manuals are not as forgiving as the older ones and they were getting torn up by new people learning how to shift. So, it comes down to money. For your information if you take your CDL in an autoshift you get an automatic only restriction on your CDL limiting your job prospects. I don't know if you will ever see autoshifts everywhere.

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.
Dustan J.'s Comment
member avatar

As far as I can tell, there is a lot of merit for both automatic and manual shifters. I prefer the manual transmissions myself because I want the control in the shifting so that I can decide what RPM I use for the mountain roads and for controlling my speed. There is a benefit in automatics for those who might struggle with that, with the shifting, etc. Manual transmissions aren't too forgiving when someone can't fully grasp how the transmission works in the scheme of the drive-train, and that is where an automatic is useful in having a driver in the truck to run the loads. Also, I see a lot of people out there who are either nursing a sore knee or are headed that way. Again, I personally prefer a manual, but I certainly won't complain either way since I'm not the one paying the bills on it. One thing I really didn't like was the way that the Eaton automatic would try to upshift on a grade, thus causing the truck to immediately lose speed and the damn thing couldn't figure out where to downshift to. I had to set it to Manual and force it to stay in that gear until it needed it to go back into Automatic. Oh, and the upshift going down the other side will certainly cause anxiety and an accident. These things were not discussed prior to getting into the truck, by the way. I only knew that from studying here on this site and from using a manual shift long enough to understand the way a truck handles different types of driving conditions. A failure to understand these things is evident in the crashes that I see on the mountain roads here where I live. It is fairly common to find the paint markings on the road and the destruction left behind after a driver fails to control the rig and it tears up the ground and the trees as it slides at whatever speed it was going when it tipped over.

I can appreciate the fuel savings, but if the driver is being conscientious and pays attention, AS THEY SHOULD BE, fuel can still be saved. I was able to bring the MPG on an old Peterbilt 379 with a CAT motor damn near to 5 MPG, up from whatever the previous driver was getting. It simply required the attention on my part and some record-keeping to work it out. I liken this to land navigation, such as in the wilderness. You might do ok for a little while just using a GPS without knowing how to plot your own location with a map and a compass, and then walking to another place using those same items. There is an underlying fundamental principle that must be understand in order to do this well enough, and if you can come close to something approximating fluency or mastery, then the GPS is a far more powerful tool in your hands than it would be otherwise. We can know this to be true on the road as well with our trucker's atlas and a ruler, and common sense. So, with an automatic, if your basic knowledge of the truck and trucking is lacking, as it is when you first start out, then your chances of something bad happening are pretty damn high. Unacceptably high in my opinion! I'd contend that companies may be jumping the gun a bit if we consider the risk/reward ratio by slapping someone's butt in the seat before having a reasonably realistic understanding of HOW and WHY transmissions deliver power to the wheels, and how to manipulate that system to safely operate and control it. It seems like common sense, yet it is still happening. Money is the major force in those decisions, and that is compounded by an obligation to deliver a return for the investors and stakeholders.

There is a place for both of those systems, and I would certainly agree that an older driver facing the aches and pains of age could benefit from an automatic transmission, and that in many cases the fuel savings are substantial. I don't agree that it is a suitable substitute for not having some reasonable skill with a manual transmission that is demonstrable.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

With the possible exception of Prime, most of the TL carriers have an override to “manual mode” on their automatic shift transmissions. When I switch to manual-shift mode, I have no less control in the mountains than with a fully manual transmission. I have driven both, and although I like shifting, the allure of it quickly wears-off when driving in traffic congestion or on secondary roads.

In addition if roads are dry I use “cruise” to control speed ascending or descending a grade(s) on the Interstate or limited access highway. You cannot do that with a fully manual transmission; the two systems are not integrated, designed and engineered to work as “one”.

Once you understand how the technology works, you cannot convince me a fully manual transmission can equal the fuel economy achieved with auto-shift regardless of who is driving the truck.

Fuel economy was and is the number one business criteria impacting carrier wide decisions to transition to automatics. It’s incredibly obvious. A fleet wide 1mpg increase in overall fuel economy for the largest carriers, converts to millions of dollars saved in fuel consumption.

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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