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  #1  
Old 10-17-2007, 06:01 PM
nomadic nomadic is offline
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Default Automatic transmissions in the trucking industry!

hello,


I am currently a truck driving student with allstate career, my classmates an instructors are having a debate,an i wanted to ask current truckers what they thought, are automatic transmissions in trucks good or bad in the industry? why?
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2007, 08:14 PM
joehill joehill is offline
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Default Re: Automatic transmissions in the trucking industry!

I've driven both, and I like standard shift myself...

Auto's are cool in congested urban area's ,but out west in the mountains I prefer to shift..

Automatics are supposed to deliver better fuel economy. I never noticed much of a difference.When I ran one, it was on a Northeast regional fleet, and when your waiting an hour and a half to cross the GWB, and riding your brake all day, it's hard to figure your fuel milage.

If they really are better on fuel, then I think they will be standard equipment, industry wide, before long..
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:47 PM
fozzy fozzy is offline
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Default Re: Automatic transmissions in the trucking industry!

This is another area that as the skill level and professionalism drops and the craftsmen are replaced by the lifestyle truckers needs to be done. The main reason that they came in is the same as most other new technology for the trucks. Everything that you can take out of the truck that can be misused and abused, the better the cost per mile. Everything that can be used improperly is eventually going to be gone. From Johnny bars, to sliding fifth wheels, the less that SOME people have to play with, the safer they (and the motoring public) will be and the less liability that the companies will face because of some boneheads. The drivers who CAN and WOULD use this equipment properly are an ever growing minority and those who do not care to learn use these items properly are growing daily.
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  #4  
Old 10-18-2007, 12:15 AM
nomadic nomadic is offline
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Default Re: Automatic transmissions in the trucking industry!

thanx for the speedy answers myself not having any experience in big rigs other then what i'm learning right now can see the wisdom of learning an using manuel trannies, you have more fleets an used truck with them which gives you more oppertunities to get a job when you graduate, but on the other hand having one less thing to woryy about seems a good idea as well i'll refeame from having an opinion until i have more knowledge an experience.
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  #5  
Old 10-18-2007, 02:03 AM
joehill joehill is offline
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Default Re: Automatic transmissions in the trucking industry!

You'd be suprised at how many consider themselves truckers, but can't run a 10-13 speed transmission..

Many companies are pitching the autos to rookies, I agree with you about really limiting your options..

These people driving at U.S. Express for instance, are going to have a difficult time getting a job at a different company if they can't use a manual transmission..Some of them can, but I suspect most can't.

They will probably be sent home right after their failed road test..
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  #6  
Old 10-18-2007, 09:47 AM
icantinaturner icantinaturner is offline
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Default Re: Automatic transmissions in the trucking industry!

I tend to agree with the guys above and I've never driven an automatic... but I sure wouldn't mind trying one, and especially in stop and go traffic.

From what I've read, there are a couple of different types but I recall an article about a 20+ year OTR vet that reluctantly tried one. He hated the idea at first and his company had to twist his arm. Once he tried it, it got better mileage and he loved it.

It seems that the type he used was programmed to shift at precisely the right time. The new motors are torque monsters and we really don't have to shift them like a small block Chevy but some of us refuse to use progressive shifting. I'm almost betting that the "slushbox" could do a better job than I can -- but I never said I was a great driver.

For newbies during the first few months, it seems like not having to shift might be one less thing to occupy their minds as they're becoming accustomed to driving that big truck. IMHO, I think that once they mastered the other aspects of trucking and those things are second nature, they could quickly learn to shift a manual fairly well. If I were just starting out, I wouldn't hesitate to drive an automatic if the company appealed to me.
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:56 AM
fozzy fozzy is offline
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Default Re: Automatic transmissions in the trucking industry!

Quote:
Originally Posted by icantinaturner View Post
I tend to agree with the guys above and I've never driven an automatic... but I sure wouldn't mind trying one, and especially in stop and go traffic.

From what I've read, there are a couple of different types but I recall an article about a 20+ year OTR vet that reluctantly tried one. He hated the idea at first and his company had to twist his arm. Once he tried it, it got better mileage and he loved it.

It seems that the type he used was programmed to shift at precisely the right time. The new motors are torque monsters and we really don't have to shift them like a small block Chevy but some of us refuse to use progressive shifting. I'm almost betting that the "slushbox" could do a better job than I can -- but I never said I was a great driver.

For newbies during the first few months, it seems like not having to shift might be one less thing to occupy their minds as they're becoming accustomed to driving that big truck. IMHO, I think that once they mastered the other aspects of trucking and those things are second nature, they could quickly learn to shift a manual fairly well. If I were just starting out, I wouldn't hesitate to drive an automatic if the company appealed to me.
This is more the case than most drivers realize. The majority of the scoffers and people who swear that they would never drive an automatic are almost impossible to get out of them once they drive one for a week or so. They ARE safer for everyone and help newbies a lot more by allowing them to focus all of their attention where the threats are (outside the cab) and to keep both hands on the wheel. The experienced guys get the same benefit, but would never admit to the safety aspect of the transmissions. At this company the auto's are everywhere but here and Texas. The next batch of trucks we lease will be all autos.... the grumblings and threats to quit over the issue has already started. They all did this with the Peoplenet paperless logs, and the electronic dispatch system.. I'm sure we'll lose a few hard heads over it... who will then be wanting to come back in two to six weeks...
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  #8  
Old 10-18-2007, 11:39 AM
aftershock aftershock is offline
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Default Re: Automatic transmissions in the trucking industry!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fozzy View Post

They ARE safer for everyone
Where did you find the statistics that indicate that automatic Big truck transmissions ARE "safer for everyone"?

IMO, Automatic Big truck transmissions are being installed so MORE folks who otherwise couldn't handle driving a Big truck can, which puts MORE less-than-qualified new drivers on the road.

I also think installing automatic transmissions in Big trucks is NOT for the "safety".
Nope!
Follow the Money Trail.

Automatic Big truck transmissions are expected to keep twinkies and cupcakes in their seats, rather than quit the Big truckin' companies, reducing turn-over in their employee ranks. Whether or not they actually "turn-over" remains to be seen.

What's next? A fireplace and a wet bar in the sleeper? How about a driver for the drivers? Maybe a robot?
"Where TO, driver"?

I hear "driving" isn't as "safe" as it used to be, back in the day --- before the twinkies and cupcakes invaded the Big truck truckin' industry. Maybe automatic transmissions will stifle their whinnin'.

Wah
Wah
Wah.

I can't shift a Big truck transmission!
Whatever shall THEY do?
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  #9  
Old 10-18-2007, 11:47 AM
icantinaturner icantinaturner is offline
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Default Re: Automatic transmissions in the trucking industry!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fozzy View Post
This is more the case than most drivers realize. The majority of the scoffers and people who swear that they would never drive an automatic are almost impossible to get out of them once they drive one for a week or so. They ARE safer for everyone and help newbies a lot more by allowing them to focus all of their attention where the threats are (outside the cab) and to keep both hands on the wheel. The experienced guys get the same benefit, but would never admit to the safety aspect of the transmissions. At this company the auto's are everywhere but here and Texas. The next batch of trucks we lease will be all autos.... the grumblings and threats to quit over the issue has already started. They all did this with the Peoplenet paperless logs, and the electronic dispatch system.. I'm sure we'll lose a few hard heads over it... who will then be wanting to come back in two to six weeks...
Ya know Foz, if I were the boss and some of those guys quit without trying them, I'd be reluctant to hire them back at the same pay. I'd probably cut the pay a little bit. If the guy was a "marginal" employee I probably wouldn't take his "shiftless" butt back at all. These guys are probably the ones who had a heck of a time learning to shift in the first place and the automatic negates their one crowing achievement. "Woo hoo! Look at me mom, I can shift a big truck!"

Giving this further thought, I'm wondering if the automatics might not be gentler on the drive train over the years. Occasionally when I'm pulling away from a steeply inclined dock under a heavy load, I have to get pretty brutal on my drive train and that ain't good.

I will be curious how the automatic thing shakes out over the years from a cost perspective. Some companies have been using them for a good while and I don't think companies are dumb enough to eat big losses if they didn't work.

Hey, don't you have sand to haul today? You lazy rascal... Seriously, I hope your day is going well. I haven't accomplished squat and I'm just goofing off as usual. My bride will come home and kick my henpecked butt.
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  #10  
Old 10-18-2007, 11:50 AM
fozzy fozzy is offline
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Default Re: Automatic transmissions in the trucking industry!

Quote:
Originally Posted by icantinaturner View Post
Ya know Foz, if I were the boss and some of those guys quit without trying them, I'd be reluctant to hire them back at the same pay. I'd probably cut the pay a little bit. If the guy was a "marginal" employee I probably wouldn't take his "shiftless" butt back at all. These guys are probably the ones who had a heck of a time learning to shift in the first place and the automatic negates their one crowing achievement. "Woo hoo! Look at me mom, I can shift a big truck!"

Giving this further thought, I'm wondering if the automatics might not be gentler on the drive train over the years. Occasionally when I'm pulling away from a steeply inclined dock under a heavy load, I have to get pretty brutal on my drive train and that ain't good.

I will be curious how the automatic thing shakes out over the years from a cost perspective. Some companies have been using them for a good while and I don't think companies are dumb enough to eat big losses if they didn't work.

Hey, don't you have sand to haul today? You lazy rascal... Seriously, I hope your day is going well. I haven't accomplished squat and I'm just goofing off as usual. My bride will come home and kick my henpecked butt.
Nope, not driving today.. today is computer geek day. I am the computer geek for this area... I have to travel to Henryetta tomorrow and Texas next week to download, repair and tweak some VORAD systems.. JOY!!!!
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