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Old 04-01-2011, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Northridge/Porter Ranch, Calif.
22,151 posts, read 26,606,075 times
Reputation: 6441

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merc63 View Post
BMW lifetime fill, no dipstick. My Range Rover is the same way. Oh you can check it by removing the trans and getting to the fill hole on top, but that's a bit of a pain.

One of the guys in my owner's group has come up with a billet dipstick for the transmission that can be installed in a hole that was drilled oout for a sensor on a different version of the transmission, but blcoked off on ours. Really slick part that means you can check and fill like a normal transmission. I'll probably install it on my next E38 7 series.
Yeah, I would feel more comfortable with a dipstick. In case, for instance, the transmission starts dripping fluid; I would want to make sure the level is above the "add."

The 1966 Dodge Dart GT I once owned also had lifetime transmission fluid. According to the owner's manual (which I still have):
"The transmission fluid and filter installed at the factory will provide satisfactory service for the life of your car under normal use and service, and need not be changed."

Changing it was recommended for "severe" service... trailer towing, taxicab or police use.

I did change the fluid (and filter) in my Dart because I put in a shift kit and the fluid drains out anyway when you take the pan off. I put in B&M Trick Shift.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:42 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 86,783,990 times
Reputation: 29355
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merc63 View Post
*sigh* I'm not saying they don't. But the average person buys what they buy due to being told what to buy, and for decades, that has been slanted towards automatics for reasons other than simply being lazy, which is the ONLY reason manual transmission fans ever trot out.

it's the wsame for manula fans. They no longer remeber WHY Sports cars had manuals only, they only know that sports cars are fun, therefore manual transmissions are fun BECAUSE sports cars had them. Few peopel even remember WHY sports cars had them. And they can't understand why NOW sports cars are moving away from manuals the way they moved away from drum brakes back in the day (and like disc brakes back in the day, Ferrari was one of the last to really embrace manumatics in their sports cars).

So it's no surprise to me that most manual transmission fans can't see any other "logical" reason other than being lazy to buy an automatic.
Ah yes, so now we're back to the "the consumer is too stupid to know what they want and why they want it" argument; an ironically patronizing argument considering your screed about how those who prefer manuals are patronizing toward those who prefer automatics.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:13 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 14,716,763 times
Reputation: 10227
I started this thread, and don't think I was patronising to people who prefer automatics. I admit that I thoroughly enjoy the act of driving and am a "hands-on" type of gal...I also dislike power windows and prefer gauges to warning lights and electronic reminders. I dislike the soft, floaty feel of big slush box sedans (I've rented plenty). I have no interest in the history of why sports cars were available in manual trans only...I just like what I like and have owned and driven plenty of both.

However, even current vehicles available in both manual and automatic list slightly better gas mileage for manuals, and slightly faster "0-30 or 60" acceleration.

My personal experience has been - cheaper to own, cheaper to maintain, cheaper to run a manual v an automatic. No matter how long it lasts, a clutch and related components costs somewhere between $600-800? to replace, an automatic transmission $2,000 - $5,000.

I lived 17 years in Colorado, plus currently 9 1/2 years in Michigan. I've also driven quite a lot in other continents - Europe, the Middle east, South America. I have only ever twice lost control of a vehicle on icy and slick roads (luckily no wrecks or injuries) and both of those were in automatics. I also drove several hundred thousand miles in a semi without an accident. I have a ton of experience driving on nasty roads, and feel much safer and more in control with a stick shift.

I personally don't feel it's one nano-iota onerous or difficult to drive a stick shift in commuter traffic....I honestly do it without any conscious thought so it's not a big deal. I have two vehicles; one an old 5-speed truck and one a newer auto minivan. Usually I prefer driving the old truck.

I guess my perception that manual transmission vehicles are cheaper all-round hasn't been changed in the discussion here so far, and that was what I was wondering mostly in these tough economic times: are people willing to sacrifice thriftier driving for the convenience of driving an automatic? Apparently the answer is yes, but since IMO a stick is so much cheaper, all other things being equal, seems to me they'd be more in demand.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 86,783,990 times
Reputation: 29355
chiropetra, I wasn't saying that you specifically were patronizing anyone, but a recurring theme in this forum is that car companies lead consumers around by the nose and that consumers are unable to exert their influence to determine what features are offered on cars and what features are not. Sometimes one group of consumers gets left out to streamline product offerings to a larger group of other consumers, this being the case for those who want a wider variety of cars offered with manuals. But by and large, auto companies configure their product offerings in response to consumer demand. That's why products vary from place to place around the world. (Obviously the different regulatory environments also play a role but differences in regulation can also influence consumer demand.) The companies that are slow to respond to market shifts end up in financial trouble or needing bailouts or going bankrupt or all three. But where the ubiquity of automatics are concerned, it's not nearly as complicated or cynical as many in here insist on making it: they are ubiquitous here because the vast majority people want them for the vast majority of vehicle applications. Now, that doesn't answer your question as to why automatics are so much more popular than manuals here. But it does answer the question as to why they are offered to the increasing exclusion of manuals.
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 14,747,741 times
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Simply because we can afford them. Automatic transmission cars are more expensive to produce than manual cars. Other countries whose populaces can afford to have their own cars often impose punitive taxes on them, which the U.S. doesn't. Also, automatic transmissions tend to be slightly worse in the fuel efficiency department than manual vehicles, and considering the even more punitive taxes that developed countries place on fuel, this must be a consideration when buying a car. These two factors, combined with the fact that Americans have more disposable income than just about anybody, and that we drive to practically every destination, translate into automatics being far more popular than manuals here. Although manuals can be fun for many people, they fare poorly in congestion, in hilly environments, and in my experience, lend themselves to a "jerky" driving style (with all but the most skilled shifters) which quick becomes fatiguing when you're spending 2 or 3 hours a day in car.
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
15,148 posts, read 15,198,298 times
Reputation: 10872
I love sticks, make the driving less boring. Also, one of the easiest way of increasing gas mileage is to either add an extra gear of make the top gear a overdrive. Here is how it goes, this is the best gearing for high mileage: 6th gear-overdrive, 7th gear-super overdrive (granny gear in reverse, very, very low torque and low rpms).
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Old 04-06-2011, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Pikesville, MD
5,229 posts, read 11,481,696 times
Reputation: 4846
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
I started this thread, and don't think I was patronising to people who prefer automatics. I admit that I thoroughly enjoy the act of driving and am a "hands-on" type of gal...I also dislike power windows and prefer gauges to warning lights and electronic reminders. I dislike the soft, floaty feel of big slush box sedans (I've rented plenty).
My BMW is not a floaty big boat. It's a tight sport sedan with a sport automatic. Have you driven a sport model 7 series (they don't rent them)? Just looking for a point of comparison for you.

Quote:
I have no interest in the history of why sports cars were available in manual trans only...
It's pertinent to the discussion of what is or isn't more fun and why the perception got that way, as manuals are being aligned with sports cars and sporty driving.


Quote:
I just like what I like and have owned and driven plenty of both.
Have you driven any with modded automatics?

Quote:
However, even current vehicles available in both manual and automatic list slightly better gas mileage for manuals, and slightly faster "0-30 or 60" acceleration.
Until you get to DSG/PDK/and steptronic types.

Quote:
My personal experience has been - cheaper to own, cheaper to maintain, cheaper to run a manual v an automatic. No matter how long it lasts, a clutch and related components costs somewhere between $600-800? to replace, an automatic transmission $2,000 - $5,000.
My personal experienc is that it's no differnt and often cheaper to deal with an automatc, as i have had only two automatics fail on me. the first one had a seal going bac that required teh trans to warm up in gear for a few minutes until it woudl move. I bought a $16 seal kit and rebuilt it myself for no cost and it worked fine afterwards. That was a Ford C6 3 speed automatic in my '71 Torino GT. the other was teh stock AOD that I put behind the built 5.0 in my Mazda RX7 autocross car. I took it out and spent about $300 putting in a shift kit, new seals, new bands and new clutches, as well as another $150 ona performance torque converter.

If the one in my BMW dies, it would cost less to replace it than to swap to the 6 speed manual (in fact, I can get a good replacement automatic for about $500, a 6 speed swap would be a minimum of $3k to do it myself). But, and this is the repeated point, I have 185k miles on my original automatic with it's original fluid in it. So obviously there hasn't been much in the way of added cost to it. And fellow BMW club members have gone well over 250k on their original automatics.


Quote:
I lived 17 years in Colorado, plus currently 9 1/2 years in Michigan. I've also driven quite a lot in other continents - Europe, the Middle east, South America. I have only ever twice lost control of a vehicle on icy and slick roads (luckily no wrecks or injuries) and both of those were in automatics. I also drove several hundred thousand miles in a semi without an accident. I have a ton of experience driving on nasty roads, and feel much safer and more in control with a stick shift.
I've never had an accident in 30 years of driving in manuals or automatics (other than a couple people that rear-ended me at a stop, one of which was driving a stick shift car)

[quote]I personally don't feel it's one nano-iota onerous or difficult to drive a stick shift in commuter traffic....I honestly do it without any conscious thought so it's not a big deal. I have two vehicles; one an old 5-speed truck and one a newer auto minivan. Usually I prefer driving the old truck.[quote]

I drive manuals and automatics back to back. While I was burned badly on both legs and the left ankle burned through, I can still operate a clutch on the street ro race track just fine 9though it gets a buit painful after a while, especially in a long commute like in DC traffic. I just don't see it as being absolutely necessary to get me to work and back.

Quote:
I guess my perception that manual transmission vehicles are cheaper all-round hasn't been changed in the discussion here so far, and that was what I was wondering mostly in these tough economic times: are people willing to sacrifice thriftier driving for the convenience of driving an automatic? Apparently the answer is yes, but since IMO a stick is so much cheaper, all other things being equal, seems to me they'd be more in demand.
People still want comfort and convenience, and it's why we work to earn more than the minimum wage. We also tend to spend more time in our cars than Europeans do, so look to make that expereince as comfortable as possible, I'd guess. But my 740iL cost less than, say, a new manual trans Fiat 500 or Yaris, so I'm being mroe economical with it. Yeah, a cheap used economy car can be cheaper than my 7 series, but once you get down that low in price, you still have a huge choice and you're really aren't spending much more for comfort and convenience. I mean, *I* woudn't buy a small engine car with an automatic, but I can see why soudn woudl want to. the fuel economy difference is rather small.

And if an automatic in a $2500 or cheaper car is going to strain you economically, you have much bigger problems than what your left foot is doing...
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:07 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 14,716,763 times
Reputation: 10227
Merc I don't know how to do the point by point answer thingie you got going there.

By "big floaty boats" I was thinking of Buick, Olds, Lincoln, full-sized vans... I have a good friend with a late-90s Lincoln in gorgeous condition...I admit I enjoy driving her car! It's so very plush and quiet. I wouldn't go out and buy one but it is really nice to drive. For a while I dated a GM engineer, he was given a newer company car to drive every couple of months and I always talked him into letting me drive. I must say, I was really impressed with the Cadillac CTS, for a big luxe car it felt very connected to the road and handled great.

By "no interest in the history of..." I wasn't inferring that it was irrelevant to the discussion, simply that I had no personal interest. Or knowledge. I am not a gearhead. I am a little middle-aged woman who has driven extensively on several continents (middle east - Turkey, Egypt, a lot in Israel - several countries in Europe; I lived there, USA and Mexico), drove a semi for a living all over the US and Canada, and generally really enjoys driving. That's all. I don't even change my own oil - I can, but I don't. I've never raced or anything like that, although I always thought it would be a blast!

I have not driven a modded automatic, no.

I've always said I could be a real car snob if I could afford it, LOL. Practicality trumps having a really cool car (I paint houses, I do dog shows and events with large dogs) and my last really cool car was a 2000 Saab Viggen, one of about 420 imported that year. I sold it in 2004 so I could pay cash for a house. (I don't know whether to out a smiley or sad-face emoticon there!)
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:09 PM
 
6,400 posts, read 6,497,983 times
Reputation: 9803
Hope y'all don't mind, but I skipped a lot of the thread when the chest-beating got too loud.

I've been driving a stick since 1989, and I learned in my brother's 1988 Mustang GT. Both cars I've had since learning have been stick, and I enjoy the connected feeling I get when I drive a stick. I also dislike big, floaty luxury cars (I get carsick even when driving in those), and prefer something a little sportier.
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:34 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 14,716,763 times
Reputation: 10227
LOL @ the chest-beating, Emerald...I'd rep you but I guess I'm out of rep points for the day.
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