Fleets, Drivers Coming To Like Automated Manual Transmissions

Topic 26307 | Page 1

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DaveW's Comment
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Today, beginning drivers and grizzled veterans alike will appreciate that there is a new technology called AMT, automated manual transmission, that is becoming increasingly integrated into commercial fleets as well as driving schools' lesson trucks.

Fleets, drivers coming to like automated manual transmissions

Rick S.'s Comment
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Wouldn't necessarily call it "new technology". AMT's have been around for over a decade. But the initial offerings (including the Volvo I-Shift which is largely considered the leader) had some serious growing pains.

The latest generation of offerings seems to be pretty mature now. Main complaints are in low speed backing (jerking & bucking).

Most still consider the Volvo to be better - because (as the article illustrates and I have commented) - it is married to a Volvo motor ONLY (as opposed to multiple options for other manufacturers), so Volvo techs can "marry" the drivetrain systems more effectively as they own both sides of the equation.

Also important to note - older drivers - dem old bones and joints must appreciate the lesser wear and tear on their bodies.

And lastly (and very "toxicly masculine" - LOL), the "women drivers" thing - where one simply assumes that women can't learn to drive a manual - which we all know to be UNTRUE. Some people can NEVER MASTER THE COORDINATION it takes to double-clutch a truck gearbox, but this doesn't necessarily have to do with gender (any of the current 57 genders out there now - LOL).

Rick

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

DaveW's Comment
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During my short career on the road I actually enjoyed the process of shifting, especially once I mastered floating gears. I was a manual shifter very early in life and used to go nuts in my high performance '65 Mustang four-on-the-floor. Later on, I had forgotten how much fun manual shifting was until my son bought his first vehicle, a '96 Toyota 4-Runner, and I had to teach him how to drive it. (He's now an Apache helicopter pilot flying in Afghanistan, by the way, so he wins the "fun factor" contest hands down.)

Two caveats to my "enjoyed the process of shifting:" The first truck that GTI gave me to drive was an old Freightliner Columbia that had the manual clutch. That clutch was so dang stiff that by the time I had done a tricky backing maneuver my left leg was cramped up and spasming. When I got a newer Cascadia with the hydraulic clutch it was like dying and going to Heaven.

The second caveat was in traversing the LA Basin during rush hour, creeping along at 0 to 10 mph. One time I decided to count the gear changes getting from here to there and lost track after several hundred. That gets old fast.

Do I think the AMT is a good thing? Sure, it's a win-win for retention of older drivers and recruiting of new drivers.

Do I believe it will take the fun out of driving? Yep. Absolutely. My fondest memories of driving always include remembering pulling out of a rest area and running up the gears down the on ramp, floating the gears, hitting that beautiful sweet spot perfectly each time and slipping it into 10th gear as smooth as butter. An automatic couldn't have done it better, and it gave me great satisfaction.

Floating 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.

Greg M.'s Comment
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Recently my 2019 Cascadia A/S was in the shop and they gave me an older day cab with a 10 speed to run local for a few days. At first I thought, "cool, be fun to drive a manual again!!" About 30 mins in I was over it. Started calling shop a couple times a day looking for updates on my truck.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Big T's Comment
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Two caveats to my "enjoyed the process of shifting:" The first truck that GTI gave me to drive was an old Freightliner Columbia that had the manual clutch. That clutch was so dang stiff that by the time I had done a tricky backing maneuver my left leg was cramped up and spasming. When I got a newer Cascadia with the hydraulic clutch it was like dying and going to Heaven.

Did you get a chance to drive one of their fun paddle shifts? Clutch to start or stop but other than that you hit the paddle to shift. If however you shifted in say a curve or turn and the transmission got stuck in neutral you had to shut the battery off and back on to reset it. Which was a lot of fun when trying to cross US97 near Klamath Falls lol.

PackRat's Comment
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I'm starting to like the auto. This 2016 IH has the paddle shift. Biggest dislike is that it won't hold a selected gear without activating another switch. That one has an obnoxiously LOUD buzzer.

PJ's Comment
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I drove one auto. It was in a 09 Mack. I didn’t dislike it until I had to back a half full tanker up a incline that was tight and gravel. The thing wanted to go faster than I did, and it caused a really rough ride knocking the crap out of me. That was it. I was done.

In heavy traffic I put my 18 spd in liw range and creeping just work the high low button. Works well for me and no real shifting between gears. Just split the same gear as needed and very smooth.

I’ll be one of those keeping my manual.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Grumpy Old Man's Comment
member avatar

I’ve been in one a couple of weeks. A 2015 Freightliner Cascadia. There are things I fislike, but overall I love it. In traffic jams, it is great.

The disadvantages are when taking off it searches for a gear, a second or so of delay, sometimes it lurches like a drunk, but for the most part the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Junkyard Dog's Comment
member avatar

When I was with my trainer we had an automatic 2017 Peterbilt and that baby used to Buck when I was backing. My 2019 Kenworth is so smooth when I back it has never bucked. And going through traffic jams and creeping during accidents the automatics are sweet.

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