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Author Topic: Auto or manual trans ?  (Read 2195 times)
travelingfools
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« on: May 09, 2007, 06:39:12 AM »

As we get closer to our bus purchase, we see a lot of busses out ther with manual transmissions. My questions are; Do those who have manual trannys love em , hate em or indifferent; and does a 4 speed manual have a high enough 4th gear to be comfortable on the highway ?
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John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
Dreamscape
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2007, 06:43:38 AM »

We own a 1968 Eagle 01 with a 4 speed manual. Traveling in 4th gear is no problem, will cruise at 70 plus. Although first gear for me is too tall. Thought of switching to an auto but I don't mind the shifting and it works and I can put the money into something else, like the rest of the coach. Wink

Happy Trails,

Paul

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Hi yo silver
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2007, 06:54:00 AM »

Travelingfools,
Welcome to the board.  These guys can help tremendously!  I don't own a bus yet, but have driven MCIs with automatic and manual transmissions in charter service.  My take on the issue is that I used to think nothing of changing the gears, and you can easily become adept at the shifting.  I used to even enjoy it, then the charter company made the mistake of putting me in one with an Allison automatic for a trip.  I never wanted to bother with the shifting again! The automatics are easier on the knee in stop and go traffic.  Also, they help in the resale when the time comes.  On the downside, there is a decrease in fuel mileage.  Somebody else on this board can tell you how much difference to expect. I personally, would prefer to find a bus that was originally equipped with the automatic, but most of these guys have more mechanically ability than I do, and some would not find the changeover too daunting if they decided to upgrade to an auto later on.  Just my 2 cents worth.  
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Blue Ridge Mountains of VA   Hi Yo Silver! MC9
jjrbus
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2007, 07:06:21 AM »

 If you ever plan on selling your bus, manuals are a tough sell, hence the lower price. If you plan on keeping your bus forever and like manual transmissions you can save some money. Remember you will spend more time living in your bus than driving it.
 If you think you may buy a manual now and then convert to auto later, spend the money now, much cheaper and no headaches!
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Kristinsgrandpa
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2007, 07:56:25 AM »

........and does a 4 speed manual have a high enough 4th gear to be comfortable on the highway ?

Unless you get an overdrive, all transmissions have a final drive ratio of 1:1.  There are probably exceptions, and I'll probably hear about them, but basically this holds true.

The ratio of your differential is what decides your top speed.

Ed
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travelingfools
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2007, 07:59:30 AM »

thanks all...I think just on the resale issue, I'll stick with the auto..
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John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2007, 08:17:55 AM »

I love the manual trans in my bus...
Not many people can drive a manual these days and of them few will attempt driving a bus.
Not too many people ask if they can drive my bus because of it.

.
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2007, 08:57:59 AM »

I drove cross country truck with nothing but 13 speeds in them.  Manuals are used mainly for their inherent better fuel mileage (1-2mpg), and their simplicity in design.  But thats where the advantages stop.  The Allison transmission will give you superior performance-especially under 40mph-like around town, makes driving an enjoyable experience for the driver, is easier on the drivetrain (no crunching of gears, or possibly popping the clutch, etc), will always be in gear (can't miss a gear and possibly go down the hill in neutral), will have much higher resale value, and anyone will be able to drive it (what would happen if you became incapacitated and no one else could drive the bus-in a severe case could cost you your life).
If you're in the process of buying your bus, I highly recommend you pay the extra money and get a bus with a 4 stroke engine already in it with the Allison 6 speed world transmission (B400, B500).  You'll recoup your extra money spent in fuel mileage difference.  In some cases, you can buy a bus that will get about 5mpg.  The electronic 4 strokers can tickle towards 10mpg, and have much better hill climbing capability.  Look for a Detroit Series 60; Cummins ISL, M11, ISM, N14, ISX; Caterpillar C12, C13, C15, 3406 (NOT 3208), International DT466, DT530; Mercedes-Benz power. 
My first truck had the 8V-92TA in it and didn't realize just how much maintenance it consumed until I got a Caterpillar 3406B mechanical (425hp-in my opinion thee most reliable engine ever made-and that's on top of the Detroit 2 & 4 strokers. Not the best fuel mileage-that's Detroit Series 60) on my next truck, which was basically adding fuel and oil and adjusting the valves once a year.  Good Luck, TomC
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Ross
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2007, 09:58:08 AM »

If you're in the process of buying your bus, I highly recommend you pay the extra money and get a bus with a 4 stroke engine already in it with the Allison 6 speed world transmission (B400, B500).  You'll recoup your extra money spent in fuel mileage difference.  In some cases, you can buy a bus that will get about 5mpg.  The electronic 4 strokers can tickle towards 10mpg, and have much better hill climbing capability.

You're talking about a boat load more money, not just a little extra.  An older MC9 with a Allison auto can run 10K give or take in decent shape.  The 102A3's and C3's are also getting affordable.  The 102D3's and DL3's would be 4 strokes and they are still big money.   It would take many years and/or a lot of miles to recoup that difference in fuel savings.  You're talking about saving 2-3MPG over an 8V71 with HT740.  My MC9 gets 7-8MPG depending on how I drive it.

Ross
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travelingfools
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2007, 11:15:24 AM »

10k is around where I hope to be for my bus...Ive seen many cheaper with a manual tranny. Last year we bought a nice '83 Class A (couldn't swing a bus). Looking to upgrade and the better half was thinking we couldn't afford a bus. After getting 8mpg in the motorhome, and seeing newer rigs going anywhere from 10k to 20k for what we wanted, she said we might as well buy a bus..thats all I needed to hear. Been shopping for about a year and am closing in...hope to have a bus in the driveway by this fall.
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John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2007, 11:26:56 AM »

Where do you hail from?

Someone from this board might be able to steer you in the right direction.

You won't get much for 10K, although I did and feel very fortunate.

Good Luck and keep looking until you find what you are looking for.

Happy Trails,

Paul

Dreamscape
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travelingfools
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2007, 01:56:41 PM »

We're in the western NY are..North of Niagara Falls...and we could use all the help we can get !!!
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John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2007, 08:57:27 PM »

We're in the western NY are..North of Niagara Falls...and we could use all the help we can get !!!

DONT buy one Local.. You know about the RUST.. I have a Fishbowl from NYTS, its got some Major rust issues..
SO. if you find one you like, you will have to travel a bit to check it out.. Unless theres one Local from the South West. Recently from the SW  Grin

I love an Automatic.. I dont mind Shifting, but sometimes its just a REAL pain in Traffic or in town..

BTW, Diesel here in S New Mexico is $3.19 gal.. OUCH.. whats yours.. ??

Paul...
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WEC4104
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2007, 10:02:27 PM »

I would choose my transmission based on the age of the coach. If I was opting for a newer shell then I would be concerned about resale value and be more inclined to build an automatic transmission dream coach (damn the expense).

Unfortunately, that is not where I am in my current economic status. I drive a basic 4104 with the standard 6-71 and Spicer 4 speed (and do it with a smile). During my first year of ownership I read everything I could find about converting to an automatic.  As the years and miles racked up, I grew more and more appreciative of the old manual Spicer. The more I learned, the more I realized I have the best trans for the beast I drive. Sure, I have gotten a left leg workout in traffic, but there is something special about stirring through the gears that makes a bus a bus.

Today, you could offer to convert my 4104 to an automatic for no charge and I would turn you down. The extra MPG of the manual is certainly a boost when it comes to fill up time.

My take on it is: if you are looking at older coaches (20+ yrs) don't rule out the manual tranmsissions. If you have the coin to spend on a newer shell, then I would opt for the automatic.
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2007, 04:16:45 AM »

My 89 Prevost was pickup in Reno Nevada and driven to Connecticut in 2006 and it has a 6 forward speed manual spicer, we got 8.5 miles per gallon going about 3,000 miles. We could have probably had better mileage but we only had so much time to get back and we were constantly crusing at 65 to 75. A steady 65 could get us 9 to 10 if it wasn't for some of the mountains. I enjoy the 6 speed, traffic sometimes a pain but the price was right. I have a friend who is a Diesel instructor and he is going to teach me how to do shifting not using the clutch once moving along. Find the best you can afford. To many rust buckets in the New England area go west young man. FYI. Check out some of your local area charter coach companies sometimes they are upgrading plus you can inspect them in person.
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Steve Canzellarini
Berlin, CT
1989 Prevost XL
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« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2007, 06:55:13 AM »

I enjoy a manual. I also like a automatic... Personal preference. My Courier 96 has the 5 speed Spicer (stick) that it came with. It is great for that bus. I enjoy it because of the memories driving it in the Canadian Rokies years ago. Our Junior Hockey team's 102D3 has the 7 speed Fuller (also manual). Some of our volunteer drivers only drive a couple times a year and I cringe at the thought of them undougtedly being in neutral with their foot on the break once in a while. A straight cut manual is great if you are good at shifting it: you have to drive that bus regularly like every day to be confortable with it. Bus companies used to get manuals for the better fuel mileage, and they are cheaper to buy and maintain. Now only 1% of new coaches are purchased with manuals, partly because so few people can shift a manual anymore. And the new automatics are so nice. A manual in your bus makes it a lot harder to resell, therefore less value.
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JC
Invermere, BC
1977 MC5C, 6V92/HT740
travelingfools
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« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2007, 07:06:43 AM »

well aside from the resale value, it seems like a personal preference. I drove truck for years, so shifting doesn't bother me. My wife drives a standard car..I wonder If I could teach her to drive a stick bus without us having some sort of domestic incident..lol Roll Eyes
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John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT
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« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2007, 09:14:43 AM »

Travelingfools, I bought a MCI 5C w/stick in AZ. After driving it home the stick came out. Not the same as sticks in autos.  Maybe it was not ajusted right, but I could not see my wife drive it and still have my hair left. I am in NW PA if you get this way.  Tom Y
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Tom Yaegle
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