Automated Manual Transmissions?

Topic 2524 | Page 1

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Harold B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone,

I talked with a Swift employee at there Canton Michigan terminal last week and the subject of the types of equipment came up. The person I was speaking with worked in the office at the terminal and during the conversation it was mentioned that Swift will be converting there fleet over to the automated manual tractors like the Volvo I-shift in the next 2 to 2 1/2 years. My question was why would they move away from manual transmissions and was told that the wear and tear from newer drivers was the main reason.

Now I am not trying to start any rumors but I was wondering if any Swift drivers on this site had heard this same thing.

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.

Logan T.'s Comment
member avatar

Nope I haven't heard anything about switching from manual transmissions but then again I try and stay out of terminals they tend to suck you in and it's hard to get out lol.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I haven't heard anything personally about that but I would be really surprised. Nobody that I know of is moving toward automatics at this point. There are a few companies still hanging on to them but most have gone away from them due to the high cost of maintenance and poor reliability.

But at some point someone is going to build a truly reliable, durable, inexpensive to maintain automatic transmission for big rigs and a ton of companies will move to them. But that's not going to happen quickly, that's for sure.

I drove automatics with US Xpress in the latter part of my career and I absolutely loved em! Everyone feels the same way at first. It's like, "My God I'm a trucker! You can't take away shifting or I'll only be half a man or a "little trucker!".

rofl-3.gif

But the first time you get caught in traffic knowing everyone else's clutch foot is wearing out or you pass someone going up a hill because they missed a shift and you quickly realize that automatics can be awesome!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Harold B.'s Comment
member avatar

Just to clarify,

These transmissions are actually auto shifted manual gear boxes not the regular automatic transmissions with a torque converter. If you get a chance go to youtube and look up the test drive of the Volvo I-shift truck it's pretty interesting, of course anything can be made to look good, but, if these transmissions are capable of the fuel numbers they are claiming I would think that trucking companies would look to go in that direction if they can prove the durability and an actual savings overall.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

One thing you are forgetting. Actually two things. One is drivers will use the auto side of the transmission the most and the problem will still remain. Automatic transmissons can not hold up to the high torqe engines of todays trucks for long periods.

2dn and the most important part is transmissions have very little to do with mpg. Sure it can help some but the transmission itself can not get the fuel mileage needed. to make it worth the cost of an auto trans or I Shift.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
These transmissions are actually auto shifted manual gear boxes not the regular automatic transmissions with a torque converter

Yeah, I believe all of the big rig automatics are that style. I think there are true fully-automatic transmission options but I've never heard of any companies using them. The ones we had at US Xpress were like you describe - they're manual transmissions with a computer-controlled shifting mechanism. So the fuel savings would come from shifting at the most efficient times and not missing any gears. It wouldn't make much of a difference in a small fleet but in a large fleet even 1/10 of a mile per gallon better mileage will add up to millions of dollars each year.

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