Automatic 4wd for me any time, any place.

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 21:29
ThreadID: 56832 Views:3210 Replies:13 FollowUps:20
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Autos are so much easier, and safer IMHO.

Proviso: I don't claim to be an experienced 4wd expert driver. I've been doing it for 15 years, but not to a very high level.

Other than engine braking, the Auto has it all over the manual in all stuations that I have experienced. On severe downhill declines, I have always been happy with the job the brakes do.

Autos take away the need for reverse hill starts, allow gear changing on the move without loss of momentum and are overall far more forgiving than a manual.

Sure, there may be some very experienced drivers who can make the most of a manual, BUT, for most, the Auto is a bettter way.

On the road, give me a manual performance car any day. But that is not the issue here.

Jim.

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Reply By: TD100 - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 21:40

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 21:40
Here Here Jim,

i have been telling people this for years! my 80 series petrol auto was crap for engine braking but for off roading in hard/harsh environments mud/slop its fantastic.my 100 series TD auto is brilliant,superb engine braking,good gearing in the 5 speed auto,love it.would not go back to a manual ever again(the 200 only comes in auto)on road--nup give me the auto too! hahahaha cheers Paul
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Reply By: Richard Kovac - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 21:43

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 21:43
Jim
I must agree with your comments on Autos, I have only owned two in my life
A Holden two speed HK and a four speed Ford Falcon :-)

Have never driven a Auto 4WD so can not comment, started when I was 21 and 46 now and I still don't know everything, have to wait till in retire .. LOL

Have fun

Richard
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Follow Up By: Stephen M (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 21:49

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 21:49
The old two speed power glide eh, how good were those things in the HK with the 350 under the bonnet, 90 mile an hour before they changed up. Trying to Pull them up wasnt much fun. LOL. Regards Steve M
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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:04

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:04
Stephen,

Hate to be pedantic, but the 350 with powerglide was the HT. I grew up with those things. My Old Man had an HK 327 4 speed (whether it was a Saginaw, Muncie or Borg Warner C 10 is a matter of conjecture). Only ever 250 of them bulit and the dopey old bastard sold it.

I stiil dream about that beast that he traded in on an HQ.

I still haven't forgiven him.

The "horror" Richard was speaking about was probably the 186 Kingswood with the Powerglide. Now that was a combination that produced not quite enough power to pull a Sailor off your Sister.

Memories.

Jim.




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Follow Up By: Stephen M (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:11

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:11
Actually I was just wondering myself after hitting the send button wether it was infact the HG but obviously it was the HT. My uncle still has his HG (you got me thinnking now lol) premier. Bought it new and still has it totally original, 3 speed auto on the coloum, twin headlights with a 186. 68 model sound write ?? Regards Steve M
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Follow Up By: Stephen M (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:15

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:15
"3 speed auto on the coloum" Wrong, meant to be 2 speed. Regards Steve M
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Follow Up By: Ianw - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:37

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:37
68 = HK
69 = HT
70 = HG

I bought a HT GTS Monaro brand new Jan 70. $3198 cash on the road and insured!
6 minutes from farm to work (16ks)

Sold it when I went overseas and bought a 70 HG GTS when I returned.
Both excellent cars but a bit prone to rust in the rear quarter panels.
Pity I didnt keep them!!!

Ian
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Follow Up By: Mainey (wa) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:41

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:41
Jim, is it the same sailor you warned me about last week ?

Mainey . . .
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:50

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:50
stephen m

I think you were right the first time HG 186 Trimatic 3 speed

Cheers Pop
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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 23:03

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 23:03
Jim 100% 186 two speed Kingswood sold it to buy mt first Datsun
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Follow Up By: Ianw - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 23:49

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 23:49
Here's a bit of nostalgia for you
HK Holden

Ian
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Reply By: Stephen M (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 21:46

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 21:46
Hi Jim, after having both I must say I do like the auto especially when I have been up to stockton beach, plant the foot and go and no loss of momentum when trying to climb the sand dunes where in the lux I would lose a lot of go mind you doesnt take much in a 2.8D hilux as everyone knows. Where I think the manual is better and especially in diesel form is down hill STEEP stuff. The hilux had brilliant low range. Dont know what the ratios are between the prado and lux, but the I have found the lux was alot better in low range 1st crawling. I fing the auto wants to try and creep up in speed and I definately use the brakes more. Same around town, give me a auto any day in start stop traffic (M4 here in Sydney can be like a carpark in peak hour) but open road driving and hilly bendy stuff I love the manual. In saying the above I have seen the new 200 series in action in auto and must say the hill decent system they have is brilliant but will need to win lotto before I get to have the experiance of being the one behind the wheel LOL. Regards Steve M
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Reply By: cityslicker - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:30

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:30
Maybe I'm just a control freak but I still enjoy being in the gear I want to be in. Manual has always got me where I want to go, but then I haven't tried the alternative.
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Reply By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:51

Sunday, Apr 20, 2008 at 22:51
So i take it the best setup is Ford, Auto, LPG, with a Waeco fridge on a custom storage system ......

Andrew
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Reply By: Member - Barnesy - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 03:57

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 03:57
I love my big diesel 5 speed.
I can see why people like autos but I think being in total, direct mechanical control of the vehicle gives the best feel for the car and terrain, especially when towing off road.

The engine braking of a big diesel in low range first gear is second to none. All of these other situations where autos have an advantage are good but having a manual won't really do any serious damage.

But if you're on a steep, slippery slope with a trailer in tow and the bloody auto just won't slow down without applying brakes it can make you crap yourself. Especially if that slope is on the side of a mountain with a long fall below.

Not for me. I'll stick to my old fashioned, tried and trusted combo and risk geting bogged easier and get practice doing hill starts. I don't like crapping myself.

Barnesy
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Follow Up By: Top End Explorer Tours - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 14:05

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 14:05
I'm with you Barnesy.

Cheers Steve.
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Follow Up By: marcus - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 15:10

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 15:10
Must be why the real tough as you like 70series toyota and defender only come as manual with no auto option.Cheers Mark
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 15:28

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 15:28
I'm with Barnsey too.....but just because I prefer a manual behind my 6.5 Chev V8, doesn't mean I am not in complete agreeance with the original post. An auto box IS better than a manual in 99% of situation you'd be likely to find yourself in.

If you do drive an auto, there is a way of safely tackling a very steep downhill track......and it DOES involve using the brakes PLUS the accelerator (both at the same time). I'd be very nervous about trying it, but the driver training/instructor course I've done went through it. I was being assessed as an instructor, by a qualified DTU bloke from the SAFWDA. He was sitting in the back seat and I was in the front passenger's seat, while I had to explain to this poor coota how to drive HIS auto disco down a steep hill. He needed to place the vehicle in low range 1st gear, build the revs up to about 1500 with his left foot on the brake pedal. Then when he was ready, he gradually released some of the pressure on the brake pedal with his left foot, while maintaining his right foot in it's fixed position; pressed sideways against the kick panel for some stability.

The idea is that the torque converter works when you give it some juice, so the vehicle is trying to drive down the hill under power and the brakes are used to control the descent.

It worked really well.....but I still love the Marks Adaptors Transfer Case gears and the engine-braking capability of the Chevvy....
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Follow Up By: Cairns Offroad Training & Tours - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 11:32

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 11:32
Hi Roachie as an instructor I have never been able to understand that method. It seem unnessessarily?complicated. With the car in drive it is driving the wheels anyway and its not going to stall so why not use your most experienced right foot to do the braking? Momentum should be controled right from the start by braking progressively. By adding just a couple of clicks of hand brake you also encourage the LSD to work.
Teaching poeple to brake with the left foot while accelerating down a steep slope makes no sense to me I am afraid ;-(
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Reply By: Chaz - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 07:32

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 07:32
The old theory of no direct drive in an auto no longer exists with a modern auto. With a manual converter locking system, there is no difference and you can select the gear you want to be in.

As far as down hill descents go, the auto can be just as good. In extreme situations, I simply go down in reverse gear so instead of tapping the brakes, I tap the throttle for complete control. Been doing it for years, no problem but the vehicle must be fitted with a good cooler.
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Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 09:09

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 09:09
Hi Chaz, What vehicle do you have that you can go down hill in a forward direction with reverse gear selected in an auto ?

A lot of modern vehicles do not allow you to do this ! After a few seconds the engine will cut out and leave you with no power brakes and no power steering ! Then you are really 'in it' This is really dangerous and I would not recomend it.
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Follow Up By: Chaz - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 09:43

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 09:43
Hi Kiwi Kia,

I currently drive a GU PATROL. Not sure about some other vehicles, but my last TRUCK ran a TH700R4 trans which did it quite well and with very good control. My current Patrol does it just as easily, but I wouldn’t want to do it for too long because it does generate quite a lot of heat in the trans, hence the need for a good cooler. I did have a temp gauge on the trans which clearly displayed an increase in temps, but it never got anywhere near the same zone as it would when towing at speed.
The torque converter is simply a hydraulic coupling and as long as there isn’t any severe throttle input, there shouldn’t be a problem. Its no different to rolling back on a hill in drive or first.
My vehicle will bring up an auto trans temp light and an MIL under certain conditions, but certainly won’t cut the engine out.
I have rebuilt dozens of automatic transmissions for offroad and drag racing applications but have never seen any adverse affects from doing this in the short term, but it may shorten the life of the transmission in the long term. If you have a bullet proof transmission it shouldn’t be a problem, but in some cars it could be risky.
Rolling down a hill in reverse gear certainly isn’t for everybody or every vehicle in general.
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Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 14:01

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 14:01
Hi Chaz, Thanks for the reply. My 1999 2.8 TDi Pajero will cut the engine after about 30 seconds (must actually time it) of holding the vehicle in reverse on a slope. I demonstrate this sometimes to show people how you can get into trouble if you don't know about it. I understand this feature (cutting the engine) is common on many different makes.
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Reply By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 07:57

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 07:57
Geez, Jim, you're a glutton for punishment ;-))

I must agree, though. Both my cars are auto, and the Paj has the best 4B auto on the market.
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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 08:26

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 08:26
Hahaha.

Difference is I'm advocating something I don't have, own or drive.

Cheers,

Jim.

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Reply By: KSV. - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 08:56

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 08:56
Another troll. Everyone knows that 4WD must be manual to be useful. Furthermore I believe that there should be law about this, thus all 4WD (actually any car with GVM more then 1.5t) must be diesel, manual and with both live axles and as least leaf spring on the back (front OK as well). No electronics inside. No ABS or airbags. (Do you know such car? LOL). This is beautiful for people who need 4WD-ing, towing or carry extra load, but became useless as Toorak Tractor. As result smells from greenes about “big ugly truck polluting out city” eventually vanished.

I suggesting make petition to government about this idea.

Serg
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Follow Up By: bbuzz - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 10:00

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 10:00
HJ60 is what you are after. Slow on the hills too. Sailors steer clear as well!
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Reply By: Mainey (wa) - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 09:01

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 09:01
Yes, autos are so much "easier", and "safer" if your not really happy or proficient at using a manual in harsh and severe off road conditions, however as you say Jim "on the road, give me a manual performance car any day" it will also save having two (2) different vehicles when your happy driving a manual in tough off road conditions too.

I replaced my Asainwarner auto trans with a solid lock-up Borgwarner auto and had all the ‘blade’ tips curved to deliver maximum torque before I left Melbourne (1996) to do my (unfinished) lap of the block.
The difference is unreal, it’s (almost) as controllable as a manual in sticky situations.

But… I find the GF’s 5 speed Diesel Troopy is simply a joy to drive in the bush for the obvious reasons.

Mainey . . .
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 11:57

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 11:57
Why bother about gears at all. Give it a few years and all the autos will be replaced by CVTs.
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 17:11

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 17:11
Mum and Dads ne lancer has this and I want a drive of it when I get back to SA next
still upset they sold my old Skyline though
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Follow Up By: TD100 - Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 19:30

Monday, Apr 21, 2008 at 19:30
I agree Phil,

those little bleep ter honda jazz things have got that,bizarre thing to drive,they take off at 2500 rpm and stay there but speed increases.very odd to drive.cheers Paul
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Reply By: Wombat - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 16:06

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 16:06
Next time I'm at the top of Blue Rag and it's wet and slippery I'll content myself with the decision to purchase a manual diesel, but thanks for the opinion anyway, Jim.
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Reply By: Best Off Road - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 16:57

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 16:57
What I forgot to mention at the start of this, is I am now back in a manual after 4 years in an Auto. Prior to that, owned 2 manuals.

That is to say I learned my modest skills at the wheel of a manual and have plenty of experience in them.

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