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« Building Engines | Main | Lito Green Motion »
Tuesday
Dec042012

Manual Transmissions

We all know that every automotive pundit prefers a manual transmission for the presumed control that it affords, and we constantly hear the lament of this model or that combination is not available with a manual. 

At the same time automatic transmissions have more gears than manuals. 

By now you know that we are not fans of manual transmissions unless its in very specific applications which always involve a clutch pedal, and at least a V8 and appreciable horsepower. 

We have been involved with cars for enough years to remember the early days of automatic transmissions, the cars with a 3 speed column shift manual transmission, Hurst floor shifts, 4 speed transmissions with a low gear to get a diminutive 4 cylinder to generate some torque to the rear.

Obvious enjoying a V8 with appreciable power, coupled to at leats a 4 speed manual with a stout shifter, and slamming gears every now and then. There is genuine joy and satisfaction shifting gears, hearing the synchronizers in the transmission, feeling the mechanical connections on every shift.

Because we go back a few years, not only do you shift gears, we have our own expectations of how a clutch should operate and feel. When clutches had mechanical linkages and were relatively easy to adjust, to quickly put power to the ground, the clutch was adjusted in a fashion that it would engage close to the floor (in principle the top part of the clutch pedal was free play). 

There are 2 advantages, once the clutch engages close to the floor it engages quicker, puts power to the ground (rear wheels) quicker. The other advantage there is little slippage of the clutch.

Obvious that a V8 with reasonable power is helpful with such a clutch adjustment.

Obvious too that its much easier to stall the engine. 

A few months ago, after always entertaining the "benefit of the doubt" that perhaps we were wrong, we had the epiphnay that many folks that prefer the "control" of a manual transmission, also prefer to use the clutch as a "torque converter". Perhaps its only us...that prefer clutches that engage immediately.

A few days ago we heard of abused/roasted clutches on cars with V8's and again thought of the "torque converter".

Our benefit of the doubt is hanging by a thread at this point.

 

 

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