Nissan Patrol manual or auto GU 3LTD

Submitted: Friday, May 27, 2005 at 20:51
ThreadID: 23368 Views:4313 Replies:14 FollowUps:11
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I am intending to change from my current Patrol 2001 GU3LTD to a new 2005 model. I have been following the debate between the 4.2 and the 3, but after 95,000 kms of trouble free with the 2001 model including towing a camper trailer on 3 x month long outback trips I can't fault it. My question is, I am thinking of moving from the current manual to an auto, has anyone had experience with the auto? Cheers Scooter
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Reply By: govo - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 21:03

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 21:03
Hi scooter..we have auto's at work and we flog the hell out of them ( well i do ).
They seem to pull just a good as the manuals if not a bit better, i have a 2002 manual and will be thinking seriously about updateing to an auto over the next few years.
AnswerID: 113255

Reply By: Member - Paul P (Bris) - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 21:11

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 21:11

I have a manual. The reason was that I wanted the extra torque and was not impressed with the additional price of the auto. My previous vehicle was a TD5 auto Disco Series II.

Having said that I feel that the auto is a better proposition with a turbo diesel. The auto disguises much of the turbo lag and is generally easier to drive around town and off road. The manual requires much more concentration to get it all right. The manaual is nice off road (low range) and when touring and towing.

With the new Patrol there is less power/torque/towing capacity with an auto 3.0l than the manual.


AnswerID: 113257

Follow Up By: Member - Glenn D (NSW) - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 20:14

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 20:14
Hows it going,

I also had an issue with being stuck with the low power under 2000rpm associated with the 3.0td. Not sure if this is really best blamed on turbo lag , I recently fitted a Dtronic unit and the difference is great, smoothed out the rev range and it doesnt die on sttep expressway hills.

A mate at work has an auto and didn't know what lag I was talking about

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Follow Up By: Member - Paul P (Bris) - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 20:38

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 20:38
G'day Glenn

The Dtronics do make a big difference. I drove a previous model with one and was very impressed. I investigated one for mine but was informed that the new model motor mapping resulted in the dtronic having a large effect above 2500rpm but nothing below.

Mine is quite good from 1500rpm.Its still very new but like all turbo's if its off the turbo things can come to a halt. I find that in low range comming of the turbo has not been a problem to date.

The auto do disguise this in any turbo.


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Follow Up By: Member - Glenn D (NSW) - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 21:09

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 21:09
Have been told the problem is with the fuel sheduelling set up to meet euro emissions laws.
The dtronic apparently sets the fuel mix and timing to optimum.

good improvement for the money and trouble it took to install ( none )

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Reply By: Fusion - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 21:27

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 21:27
Hey Scooter,

I've got the latest model Auto and love it. Spent ages looking at the 4.8 & 3.0 manual and auto, and eventually went auto. You can look up my posts about this using the search facility.

Have driven about 15,000km's since January lots of towing an Adventure Camper at about 1.1 tonnes, some offroad, sand etc. In all cases I've loved the Auto. From all my research the only area a Manual is superior to an auto is on extreme downhills, and there are ways to make this easier with an auto too.

The 2 things I hate about the auto are:

1) Nissan have reduced it's torque output, by a lot comparted to the manual. I gather 'cause the auto box can't handle it.

2) 2.5 tonne towing capacity. I'll never need more, but it's rather pathetic that Nissan put a weak auto box in the diesel patrol, but a much stronger one in the Petrol.

Both of these things can be fixed, but it costs money to do it aftermarket.


AnswerID: 113261

Reply By: Member - Steve & Paula - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 22:26

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 22:26
Have a 2002 auto towing a KK. Never owned an auto 4x4 before and now wouldn't go back to a manual. Fantasic in sand, great over rocks and in water, hills require a little more skill. Worth every extra penny!!!
AnswerID: 113272

Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 22:33

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 22:33
Hi Scooter,

I have a 2003 GU manual while my brother-in-law has a 2002 GU auto. I went the manual as all my previous 4WD's were manuals and I have always considered a real 4WD must be a manual. But after driving my B-I-L's auto, I reckon not getting an auto was a big mistake.

While I don't know what 4WD I will get next time (1-1/3 years to go on novated lease) I do know it will be a turbo diesel auto.



PS. Survey to date looks pretty convincing for auto!!!
AnswerID: 113273

Reply By: PeterB - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 22:35

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 22:35

I traded in a 1998 4.5L auto petrol GU for a 3L TD auto just over 12 months ago. I tow a 1.5 tonne boat all over NSW but principally between Sydney and Lake Eucumbene in the Snowy Mountains. Initially I was concerned with the towing ability of a relatively small capacity, auto TD vs the 4.5 L petrol, but after the dealer arranged the loan of of one for a w/end, I went with the 3.0L auto and so far, I couldn't be happier with it. The towing performance has exceeded all my expectations and in fact, I think it is way ahead of the larger petrol engine. The fact that it uses a fraction of the fuel is an added bonus. The auto keeps the turbo spinning at all times once over abt 2000 rpm, so it is always in the power band. It has no trouble keeping up to the speed limit on the open road and rarely, if ever needs to drop below 3rd gear. I would go the auto without hesitation.
Cheers Peter
AnswerID: 113275

Reply By: motherhen - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 23:37

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 23:37
We chose the 3 ltr TD auto. mainly because my husband is getting deaf, and finds it easier than listening to gears; also one foot goes numb on long journeys and he can't feel the pedals. For towing, it is more economical as it selects the best gear more appropriately that i can. It has a choice of selecting own gear, holding in gear for longer etc. modes. Depends on what you want to do. If i drive in the city - i love the auto. Out in the bush, i feel more secure with a manual, knowing it is easier to start, tow etc. if in trouble. My 4wd crazy son prefers auto, and chooses do things like put V corvette motors in hilux with auto gearbox.
AnswerID: 113278

Follow Up By: Member - Kingsley N (SA) - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 23:55

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 23:55
I have a Dec 2003 3.0TD auto and have just clocked up 41000KM. It is a pleasure to drive. I tow a 1200KG camper and it sits on 100KPH on the bitumen spinning at about 2200 rpm returning 15.0 litres per 100KM (about 11.5-12.0 when not towing).

I do notice that when towing in traffic and when in hilly terrain the engine responds much better if you lock out the O/D and select "power" on the small console switch. It changes gears more readily and has more punch.

I tried a bit of sand dune climbing on Big Red last week (without the trailer of course). It made it to the top on second attempt with the transmission locked in 2nd gear low range and pulling about 3500 to 4000 revs. Normal hillclimbing is much more relaxed with the auto box allowed to do its own thing. I am very pleased with the auto and could not stand having to stir the stick on a manual.

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Reply By: Patrolman Pat - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 00:03

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 00:03
Another vote for the auto here too. Steep downhill slopes are the only disadvantage but a bit of practice at left foot braking soon sorts that out.
AnswerID: 113280

Reply By: Swine Hunter - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 02:48

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 02:48
Well it seems an overwhelming vote for auto, I would like to ask all those with experience the following:

When in severe off road situations and particularly when all but bogged, what is the auto like to rock between a forward gear and reverse?

Manuals do this exceptionally well, and in a GQ Auto I have owned, it was useless! The GU may be different, but I think this is an important question, as it could mean the difference between digging/winching etc and driving away.

Food for thought!
AnswerID: 113283

Reply By: fourstall2000 - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 09:05

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 09:05
Scooter, I am another Auto fan.
Even though I suffered the dreaded engine failure of the early models,this is the best truck out of 15 4wds previously owned.
Off road it is terrific,Why? because in addition to the Auto I have fitted Marks low range gears to the transfer case.
For around $1500 bucks you have the very best of both worlds,engine braking better than most manuals and non stalling hill climbs.
It tows my 17ft van with ease and runs on the sniff of an oily rag.
AnswerID: 113290

Reply By: scooter - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 09:54

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 09:54
To all that took the time to answer my question a big thank you. I am off to the Nissan dealer today to have a look and a test drive. Cheers Scooter
AnswerID: 113298

Reply By: Member - TonyG (Qld) - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 14:18

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 14:18
Hi Scooter,

I have a 2004 3.0 TD Manual.

Whilst I love driving the Patrol, a couple of items I have noticed when 4 x4 ing with other people with auto's.

1. You have to watch when reving around 1500 to 2000 revs. I used to kangaroo hop in 1st gear inititally until I learnt to drive the car properly.

2. Low range gives you more control on downhill slopes, but not a crucial facter in deciding on the manual.

3. Sand driving is a bit of a bugger. If you are on soft sand, then low range is fine. When in high range on sand, the gear ratios can seem too far apart.

Hope this helps

AnswerID: 113319

Follow Up By: macka - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 21:22

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 21:22
Hi All...
We have a 2002 3ltr Manual Patrol,from new 100K on clock.. 35/40K of that towing 2.5+ ton Off-Road Caravan. All of you are towing small loads, so won't notice. But with heavier loads. On good downhills. There is no retard from the Auto trans...You will just wind up..going faster and faster, with only the brakes to slow/halt you..You can only do that for so long.. I've seen brakes on fire ..have you..
.Up to maybe 1.5 tons max, Auto ok.. Over that go for Manual..It's a lot safer... Oh We do have a Terano Diesel Auto too. which I also tow with..But out of preference I take the Manual... You have total control of what gear you are in. and retard in all of them...
Tony G. Just as a matter of interest, how do you find the Navara ute.. The Terano is near changover time..Also the waeco's are brilliant.We have the 50ltr and 80 ltr.. The 80 uses a lot more juice than the 50 (bigger compr,) 50watt panel for the 50... 2 x 40,or 1 x 80watters for the 80..(just a comment)
REgards to All
FollowupID: 369515

Follow Up By: Member - TonyG (Qld) - Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 08:26

Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 08:26
Hi Macka,

My opinion of the navara dual cab changes, depending on what you need the car for.

I use mine for work, and weekend fun for 99% of the time, and occassionally have to use as family wagon carting kids around.

The points I would highlight are:

1. Mechanically it is a fantastic bulletproof piece of machinery.
2. It drives as comfortably as a sedan, only difference is slightly noiser engine because of the diesel.
3. Drivers seating position is approx 1/2 way between the upright seating position of the patrol, and the layed back driving position of a passenger car.
4. I am 6'2" tall, and my knees miss the steering wheel by about 2". Pretty tight squeeze if you where taller.
5. The leg room in back seat in non existant because I have the drivers seat all they way back.
6. Fuel economy is excellent, about 10-11km per litre.
7. As a 4x4 toy, the vehicle isvery good in standard form, but if I put a 2" lift kit, I reckon it would be magnificent.
8. Low range in 4 wheel drive is brilliant for clutch control, it feels like a really good gear ratio.
9. If you need this car to be family car as well, might get away with it as long as your kids are small, but my kids are approx 5 feet tall, and rear leg room is a problem.

If there is anything else I can help with, please let me know


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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 22:50

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 22:50
4.2 only comes in Manual.....

But I'd buy a 4.2 and go an Auto Conversion... best of every world.
AnswerID: 113410

Follow Up By: DARREN - Monday, May 30, 2005 at 08:51

Monday, May 30, 2005 at 08:51 of every world...................but slower
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 19:07

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 19:07
if speed was an issue, I'd buy a ferrari
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Reply By: woddonnee - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 23:26

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 23:26
I went through this process just over 2 years ago and got an auto 3L. At the time I test drove both manual and auto, I didn't really want to spend the extra, and being an ex heavy vehicles driver and instructor I really like my manuals. I found though that the auto just performed so much better that I was left with no choice. :-) Plus some good feed back from members here :-)
I tow a 1.5 tonne boat and it does it easy. Only problems with the auto,
1. You have to learn how to use the throttle ie if you want to accellerate quickly you have to gradually sqeeze it as you go through the gears
2. When towing I somtimes wish it had the manual shift mode as it seems to want to kick back like its a petrol motor (higher revving) but I want it to grunt along. Easily controlled by just backing off a little, but you can't really put your boot into otherwise it revs to hard. Its no big deal but could be better. When towing the boat and I hit some hills I turn off the cruise control otherwise it goes flat to the floor style.

I like the brake pedal size and location, I only use my left foot for braking in the auto and it is well located (the pedal) for right or left foot. Earlier in life I was a forklift driver and learned to use my left foot, I used to just use it in tight spots for convenience and safety, but as it is so convenient and safe I do it all the time now. It does take some practice though, particularly on that rare occassion when something unexpected happens.
I enjoyed mastering some pretty rough crash gear boxes in heavy old trucks, but I love my auto turbo diesel :-)
AnswerID: 113420

Follow Up By: Outbacktourer - Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 18:18

Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 18:18
woddonee, I'm just about to install a torque converter lock-up manual over-ride switch to over come the problem you describe. It allows you to hold 3rd or 4th. There are some others here that have it and reckon they are good.
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Follow Up By: woddonnee - Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 18:51

Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 18:51
G'day Outbacktourer
Thanks for that, sounds good, I might have to look into that :-)
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Follow Up By: woddonnee - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 22:01

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 22:01
G'day outbacktourer and all
Just returned from my central oz escapade. Having done 6000k's in 2.5 weeks mostly towing I did some experimentation with the above problem. I found that when those steeper hills come along if I just intervened by increasing the throttle myself and preventing the reduction in speed the problem did not occur. If the hill was that steep that a drop in speed was inevitable I would just turn the cruise off, then resume again after the hill was behind me. In the 6000k's I probably only need to do that about 10-20 times. Mind you its not a really hilly part of the country.
The longer I own this 3L Patrol the more impressed I get :-)
FollowupID: 371952

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